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Chapter 20 : The List
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Harry clapped Teddy on the shoulder jovially. The boy had come over to his home nearly every day since he’d returned early from his honeymoon and Harry had instantly seen a way in which Teddy could be useful to him.
Teddy had connections at the Ministry unlike Harry who had already managed to burn all of his bridges. With Teddy funneling information to him he could still stay on top of his daughter’s investigation.
He didn’t want to wait to bring it up, but Teddy had seemed so obviously upset that he had to wait. Teddy still had two weeks off of work so asking him now would do nothing except upset him more.
Harry knew rationally that the Minister was right, Penglaze was right, to a certain extent. He was close to the investigation, yes, but that could only help him. The real problem was that he’d been living this twenty four seven since it happened.
Once all leads at been exhausted, his mind couldn’t come up with more suspects or ideas. He needed a rest, a break. His brain needed to refresh itself.
Harry had decided he would spend several days at home with his family. He couldn’t continue working the way he had with limited sleep and food. So deprived of the essentials of life he was no good to anyone, especially his daughter.
Also at home he would be able to question Ginny and Hermione to see if they knew anything, no matter how small or insignificant it could be. They might know something without knowing they did.
Harry was convinced there was some way to find his daughter. He couldn’t stand to be helpless. Throughout his life he had always had something to do, some sort of mission to accomplish.
Now his mission was simple: find Lily. Bring her home.
There was no murderous basilisk or series of tasks to complete. He didn’t half to find half a dozen horcruxes or defeat a giant chess set. All he had to do was find his daughter. It should have been simple, easy even, after what he did in the past.
“Does the Ministry know anything that’s not in the Prophet?” Teddy asked in hushed tones. Ginny and Hermione were in the other room and he didn’t want to upset anyone further.
“The Prophet has a lot in it that’s not true,” Harry said. He had criticized the Prophet every chance he got over the years, saying that they only printed sensationalized news, and everything that had happened the last several weeks only served to validate that.
Teddy shrugged. He knew it was exaggerated, he did work at the Ministry, after all, but it was the only way to get his hands on information regarding Lily. “I’ve been reading between the lines. I can’t figure out what James has been up to, though. His suspension? And drinking?”
“No one knows what’s he’s been up to, including James. He’s just looking for attention and he’s got it.” Harry shook his head. He didn’t approve of his oldest son’s antics. “The way to make him quiet down is just to ignore him. He’ll get tired of being in the paper soon enough.”
Teddy didn’t know what to say. He knew James and Harry had a strained relationship, but it had seemingly gotten worse since Lily was gone. The two rarely saw eye to eye on anything, and instead of coming closer together they’d drifted apart.
“The investigation?” He asked, bringing the conversation back to where he had originally intended.
“None of the leads panned out. Malfoy’s the last of the Death Eaters who still have their freedom and he had nothing to do with it. The Aurors supposedly looked through all my old files to compile a list of any wizards who might have a serious grudge against me, but Merlin knows how thorough they were.”
Teddy nodded. “I’ll do anything I can to help. I’m sure the Aurors are doing a fine job-” Harry snorted in disbelief. “-but we can always do better. So you need a list of every wizard and witch you’ve pissed off in the last, say ten years?”
Harry shook his head. Ten years wasn’t enough. Some people had long memories, all the way back to the first wizarding war when he’d defeated Voldemort the first time. “Anyone I’ve ever angered, ever,” he said. “You can never be too thorough.”
“My contacts can arrange that,” Teddy said with a nod. “All of your enemies in one ridiculously long list. What are we going to do with it?”
Harry hadn’t thought that far ahead. There was no way he could go knocking on the doors of all of his enemies looking for his daughter. It was very illegal, but that didn’t bother him. The problem was he’d be doing that for the rest of his life and still only get halfway down the list.
“We’ll split them up, you, me, and Ron,” he said. “We’ll take the most likely and check the people out. Once you cut out everyone dead or in Azkaban or soulless…” Harry trailed off as he thought of the number of people he’d put away. “Make your those people’s families are on the list. No stone unturned.”
Teddy nodded his head eagerly. He’d do anything he could to bring Lily home safe and sound, and he was sure Harry felt even more strongly toward it. “I’ll go do that now.”
He walked out to living room to make his goodbyes to Hermione and Ginny while Harry sat in the kitchen, thinking. He knew taking time from the case was the rational move to make, but something in his gut felt very wrong. Every day, every hour, every minute that passed it became less likely Lily would be found.
He’d been an Auror for years after the war, he knew all about cases like these. The first twenty four hours were crucial and after that it depended on the evidence. Since there was no evidence, no leads to speak of, Harry decided to replace it with tenacity. He would do anything he could.
Ron entered the kitchen a moment later and Harry explained to him what was going on and what the plan would be. Ron looked unsure of it to say the least. “Are you sure Teddy’s not going to get in trouble for this?” He asked, glancing into the living room where Teddy was speaking with Hermione. “He’s just got a really bright future, already in such a powerful position at the Ministry.”
“There’s nothing illegal about asking a few questions,” Harry said. “Besides, he’s getting his contacts to do everything for him.”
“Twenty five and already the kid has powerful contacts.” Ron shook his head in disbelief. “When I was twenty five I was lucky if I remembered to shave every day.”
Harry shook his head, but he didn’t have time to reminisce with Ron. He had too much to do, too much to plan for. Teddy was doing what he could, but there were more questions Harry could ask Ginny. He’d tried earlier, but Hermione had shooed him off.
“Would you mind distracting Hermione?” He asked Ron. Ron looked a bit taken aback and Harry’s mind quickly sped to come up with a quick story because he knew Ron wouldn’t approve. “It’s just she’s always by Ginny’s side and I want to talk to my wife alone. Is that okay by you?”
Ron nodded. That was something he could understand. He’d tried to get Hermione alone a few times because there was something he actually needed to talk with her about, but she wouldn’t leave Ginny. “If we both go in at the same time it should work,” Ron said.
They entered the living room together and Ron caught Hermione’s eye instantly. “Could we talk?” He asked quietly. Then he lowered his voice even more so Harry couldn’t hear. “I got another letter from Neville about Rose and Al. He said he’s noticed some things…” He let his voice trail off.
Hermione glanced at Ginny and Harry, then finally nodded. “Alright. Harry, are you going to be staying in here?” She asked. Harry nodded and she followed Ron upstairs.
He silently cast a muffling spell on the door so Ginny or Harry wouldn’t over hear. They were both so distraught over Lily that he didn’t want to worry them about Al, or especially Rose. “You got a letter from Neville?” Hermione finally inquired.
“Yes.” Ron pulled it out of his robe and handed it to her. “He said he’s been keeping an eye on them both like we asked and they’ve been more isolated than ever.”
“’They only ever talk to each other’?” Hermione read in a confused tone. “But they both have so many friends!”
“That’s what he’s worried about. He also said that Al hasn’t been eating much. When he comes to meals, if at all, he usually picks at his food then leaves early with Rose.”
Hermione scanned the rest of the letter with a worried expression on her face. “This doesn’t sound good. Maybe sending them back wasn’t such a good idea. I don’t like this at all.”
“We can’t pull them out now,” Ron said, pulling her down to sit beside him on the bed. “You know as well as I do that disrupting their situation would be even worse than leaving them there.”
“And the environment here isn’t exactly ideal, I know,” Hermione said. “It still doesn’t mean I like it. Maybe we should visit and talk to Rose. She’s doing all she can with Al, but I know she’s upset as well. Lily was really close to her, looked up to her in practically every way.”
“Do you think she’d want us to visit?” Ron asked. He knew when he was a teenager he’d have hated for his parents to visit him at Hogwarts, especially for an extended visit like what Hermione was thinking of. “They’re teenagers. I know this is incredibly rough on them, but they might just want to be left alone, to deal with it on their own.”
“I don’t know,” Hermione said, even less sure of herself. She wanted to help, but she’d never dealt with anything like this, even with Voldemort coming back to power when she was their age. Nothing she had gone through was even close to similar except in that it was emotionally traumatic. “Maybe we could ask Neville to talk to Al. Maybe Rose as well.”
Ron shook his head. He wanted his children to be in the best place possible, but he also thought they needed to live life on their own. “I don’t think so.”
“Please?” Hermione asked. She wasn’t really asking because she needed Ron to agree, but she did desire his support. Whatever his answer was she was going to owl Neville and ask him anyway. Asking Ron was just a formality.
“I really think it might be best to let them muddle through it on their own,” Ron said, although he was close to bending to Hermione’s wishes. He usually deferred to her when it came to their children because she always seemed to know what she was doing. The only times he didn’t obey her wishes was when he broke her rules, like when he’d gotten Hugo a broom when he first went to Hogwarts.
“Ronald, you don’t understand the psyche of these children,” Hermione said with a sigh. She couldn’t understand why her husband didn’t listen to her when she clearly knew more than him.
Ron wanted to say that they were children, Rose and Al were now of age and legally adults. They could do whatever they wanted according to wizarding law. But he could also see his wife’s point. She did understand Rose more than he did. “Alright,” he said finally. “Owl Neville.”
Hermione smiled tightly in triumph and began to neatly write Neville a note on the back of his letter to her.
A/N: So... Hi. Should I just pretend that it's not awkward I haven't posted in many months? Yeah... So sorry. If anyone still cares about this story even. I've read over bits of it and it's kind of ridiculously long and yet nothing happens. Not going to rewrite it, but I will try to get back to it enough to write the ending. I owe you guys that much at least. If anyone still reads this.
Ahem. Anyway. I'll post two chapters a week, Mondays (as I was in the past) and whatever other day I feel like because I'm lazy.
Have been away for a while so I've forgotten what I'm supposed to say in author's notes. Uh. Review please? You're all lovely? I'm secretly cthulhu and plan on destroying your soul? That probably covers it.
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