Chapter 23 : Ministry Visitors
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The lights around the house were bright, too much so for Ginny. In spite of this she remained perfectly poised on the couch, her hands clasped tightly in her lap. The hit wizards had come by to speak with her and her husband.
Harry was by her side, looking stiff and formal in his Ministry issued robes. He was wearing them to look powerful, like an authority figure even though he’d resigned from his job, something Ginny still didn’t know about.
It seemed to be working because the hit wizard team before them looked cowed. There were three of them in addition to Stilman White, the hit wizard leader who had become well acquainted with the Potter family.
“Because of the unique position of this investigation,” Stilman began somewhat awkwardly. He coughed and looked down at his hands, knowing the couple before him wasn’t going to like what he was about to say, particularly Harry. “The Ministry has decided that further progress on Lily’s disappearance should be in the sole power of one branch of law enforcement.”
Ginny looked at him, not understanding what he meant. Ministry speak was often lost on her as she’d never spent time in the official departments of the government the way her husband had.
Harry on the other hand looked quite enraged. His face had begun to turn a bright red as he stared at the men before him. “Harry?” Ginny prodded gently. She hated being kept in the dark.
“Who decided this?” Harry demanded to know.
Two of the hit wizards shrank back visibly while the other found an interesting stain on his cloak to examine. Only Stilman White kept eye contact with Harry, staring the legendary wizard down no matter how much he wanted to turn and run.
“It was well over my head, Mr. Potter,” White said coolly. “So I would kindly ask you not share your opinion with me as I have no control over the matter.”
“I want names,” Harry said, glaring fiercely at the younger man. “I want these people’s jobs because clearly they don’t know what they’re doing.”
“Harry?” Ginny asked, still unsure of what was happening.
“With all due respect, sir, these people know more about law enforcement than you ever will. They have risen to the tops of their fields-”
Harry’s face turned even redder, something Stilman had envisioned impossible. “More?” He asked, his voice cracking on the word. “They know more than I do? I destroyed Voldemort before you were born- twice! I was the top Auror at the Ministry for ten years! I was an advisor to the Minister himself for another ten years! There isn’t a person at the Ministry who knows more than I do about what it takes to catch a dark wizard and find my daughter!”
Stilman cringed and had to turn his face away from Harry’s rage. He had no desire to have a row with the older man, he’d simply come to inform him of the changes in the investigation, and he’d only done that because it was explicitly stated in his job description.
Fighting with a celebrity such as Harry Potter was not something he enjoyed. There was no way for him to stand up to the wizard. He had more experience, more credentials, and he’d defeated the darkest wizard of all time.
Stilman was in a very bad position, which was why he’d asked his boss to take him off the case. He’d refused of course, but Stilman still hoped that something would happen.
“You’re not even listening to me! He’s not even listening to me!” Harry threw his hands up in the air. “How am I supposed to trust this incompetent fool to find my daughter if he won’t even listen to me?”
Ginny would have attempted to calm Harry as she’d done in their first meeting with the hit wizards, but her mind was reeling. Harry was angry, White appeared anxious, she didn’t know what she was supposed to feel.
“I’m through with this!” Harry shouted as he stood up from his seat beside his wife. “I’m through with you and the Ministry’s utter incompetence!” His eyes flashed in such a way that made even Stilman White recoil.
If Potter had indeed destroyed the darkest wizard of all time his soul must me marred and dark as well, Stilman decided. There was something very disturbing about the man’s reaction.
Harry stormed from the room angrily and Ginny was left alone with the hit wizards. “What’s going on?” She asked, her voice shaking near as much as her hands. She gripped the sides of the chair tightly to still her hands.
“It’s been a month since your daughter’s disappearance,” Stilman said, his voice full of pity. He had children himself, no daughters, but two sons and he had no idea what it would be like if something happened to one of them. “After a month has passed the Ministry likes to make some changes to the investigation, reallocate resources and such.”
“I don’t understand,” Ginny said tearfully. “What does all of this mean?”
“The higher-ups have decided that your daughter’s investigation would be better worked by one branch of the law enforcement.” When Ginny continued to look confused, he sighed. “The Auror department will no longer have a part in your daughter’s investigation. It is solely under the jurisdiction of the hit wizards.”
“Why won’t the Aurors be involved?” Ginny asked, her bewilderment clear in her voice.
“As I said, the Heads of our Departments like to review cases such as these and see what measures could be taken to help close them.” What Stilman didn’t say was that other crimes had been committed and budgets weren’t what they once were. The Ministry couldn’t afford to have two separate teams working on an investigation, even one as high profile as this.
Reallocating resources was the kind way of saying they were beginning to give up. They couldn’t keep working this investigation as a priority case when it looked more and more like it would never be solved. It would remain open of course, but after another few weeks he wouldn’t be searching for new leads. He would have to wait for information to come to him while he worked on other investigations.
“But Harry seemed so sure of their abilities,” she said. Nothing was making sense. The Aurors were the best of the dark wizard catchers, at least according to her husband. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have them carry on the investigation instead of the hit wizards?
“These decisions were made by people well above my pay grade, Mrs. Weasley,” Stilman said. He couldn’t come up with any excuses for her. There was no way to tell a woman they were giving up on her daughter’s case. This was the best he could do.
He still cared and he was still looking for Lily Potter, but with dwindling leads and resources there wasn’t much more he could do. Soon she would become an afterthought. People would ask ‘whatever happened to so and so?’ and there would never be a good answer.
“But you’re still looking, yes?” Ginny asked desperately clinging to that one small sliver of hope.
“We will look for your daughter as long as she remains missing,” Stilman promised.
It was all Ginny needed to keep hoping. The small reassurance made her feel better, even if it was superficial. There was still hope that her daughter was out there- somewhere- safe and could be returned home to her.
“Thank you,” she said through a sheen of tears on her face. “Thanks you.”
Stilman nodded awkwardly, knowing he didn’t deserve the thanks he was receiving. He didn’t deserve anything for what the Ministry was going to do, which was sit on its arse and refuse to give him more resources.
Stilman sighed and ushered his men out after bidding his goodbyes to Ginny. Harry was still nowhere to be seen, for which he was very grateful, but he was also worried about blowback.
No, he didn’t think Harry could get him fired, but Harry Potter was an incredibly powerful figure in the wizarding world. If he wanted something chances were there was someone who could give it to him, or often many someones.
He didn’t know exactly how Potter would exact his revenge, but he knew it was coming sometime.
Meanwhile Harry was in the master bedroom of his home. He had a very clear view when White and the rest of the hit wizards, whose names he hadn’t bothered to learn, left.
He eyed them as they made their statements to the few reporters who had found out there was a Ministry presence at his house that day.
He couldn’t hear anything they men said, but he knew it was Ministry babble that essentially meant nothing. He certainly wouldn’t be telling them that the Ministry had given up. That wasn’t something they wanted spread all over the front cover, though it was what they were doing.
Harry wasn’t stupid. He could see through their official statements, explanations, and long words. Reallocating resources his arse. They were taking the Aurors off the investigation because they didn’t think it would lead anywhere.
The Aurors didn’t like to waste time and money on investigations that were pointless, something Harry had understood at the time, but now he couldn’t stand the idea. This was his daughter, the most precious person in the world to him. And they were giving up, going home.
The angry glint in his eyes intensified as White and his team turned away from the reporters and disapparated, presumably back to the Ministry.
He would find some way to get his daughter’s investigation back to high priority. If the Ministry wanted to let this case fall away into the shadows, Harry was going make sure that never happened. He would splash it over the front page of the Prophet if he had to, but they were going care.
They were going to keep looking.
And he was going to get his daughter back, no matter the cost.
A/N: I know things are a bit (incredibly) slow, but that was how I originally wrote this story. I'm going to try in the next couple of weeks to do some edits and maybe fix things up to make a better story. Until then I'll keep posting prewritten chapters.
Thanks for continuing to review, it really does mean a lot. :)
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