Chapter 17 : 16- Damaged Goods
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“Lucy, Luce, can I have a quick word?” Harry called into the brightly coloured Head’s office.
“But I’m- oh all right then Potter but it better be quick. I’m not sure whether you’re aware but I have work of my own to get on with.” But as soon as she had left the office and was facing Ron and Harry in the corridor, the door behind her closed to reveal Anthony who taped the back of her head with his wand. At once Lucy hit the floor with dull thud as she fell unconscious.
“You were supposed to catch her, Ron.” Anthony said, looking through the keyhole of the door to the office opposite. “Someone could have heard that.”
“I miss-timed it.” Ron shrugged, picking up Lucy’s wand.
Before Anthony could retort, Harry said “Just keep an eye out.” And from the inside of his robes, he pulled out his Invisibility Cloak and used it to cover the unconscious Lucy.
“Quick, someone’s coming.” Naomi warned quietly from the end of the corridor. “Terry’s gone to hold them off.” She looked at the place where Harry had just placed his cloak. “I still don’t get why you couldn’t have just called for her to come to your office.”
“Because,” Harry said, pointing wand at the now invisible Lucy. “If she is the mole, we don’t want her getting suspicious and making a run for it and if she isn’t, I’d rather deal with this as quietly as possible and it stops the real mole from taking their chance to run for it. Mobilicorpus.” And Harry felt on his leg, the cloak rise from the floor and the four of them left for the Auror Office.
“Thanks for the advice May.” They heard Terry say in an unnaturally loud voice and as a short plump witch walked past them, they saw Terry from round the corner. “Hurry up.” Terry whispered. “I’ve kept one of the lift doors open.” And before he knew it, Harry, along with Ron, Naomi, Anthony and Terry, had forced themselves into the lift with the floating invisible Lucy, who was so tall they had to check that her head wasn’t in the way of the closing doors, a task which Ron's only involvement included slamming the heavy golden gates of the lift repeatedly into her head until they shut properly. As the lift started its way down, Terry, to the annoyance of other Ministry employees, kept taping the golden doors of the lift with his wand, forcing the lift not to stop until they reached the third floor.
“All clear,” Anthony said, peering out of the lift. “But hurry up.” And the five of them entered the Auror Office, Lucy floating in the middle of them and, just before they reached Harry’s office, Harry heard the rough voice of Lawrence Marsh.
“Harry!” He called as he ran towards him. “Word’s just got in from Egypt. That dealer friend of Boris you wanted to know about was found dead two days ago by his brother.”
“What?” Harry gasped, Lucy being temporarily removed from his mind.
“Yep, in an empty storage facility that his brother swore was chock full of stuff just the other day so I’m guessing-”
“That Selwyn’s got a loyal local…” Harry finished. “We can’t take the risk, send word to Kingsley and International Cooperation to put the word out that there’s a high risk of another Erumpent Horn based attack.”
“You got it. You alright?” Lawrence seemed to have noticed that Harry had begun trying to edge his way to his office.
“Yeah, you know, considering…” Harry said with a forced smirk. “Actually, you heard anything from Gawain about him getting anything more from Bailey?”
“Only the name of the guy Emily killed a few months back after the Fryloin incident,” He replied. “Philison Carwall. Apparently he made a reputation for himself as a Snatcher during the dark days and became quite chummy with Selwyn. Not that any of this helps us now that the bastard’s been turned to mash.”
“And I think that’s your cue to head off.” Harry said with mock amusement leaving Lawrence to head off out of the Department with a satisfied grin on his face.
“Keep guard. If anyone asks, I’m in a meeting.” Harry whispered to Naomi as he entered his office. She nodded and, as he closed the door behind her, Harry drew and pointed his wand at the door and muttered “Muffliato."
Harry removed the cloak, stowed it back into his robes and levitated Lucy on to the chair opposite Harry’s desk chair. “Get ready.” Harry said to the other three who all had their wands out. Harry pointed his own wand at Lucy, muttered “Rennervate” and Lucy’s eye’s flickered open, focusing almost immediately on Harry.
“What the hell is going on!” Lucy cried and her hand went straight into her pocket. “Where is my wand?” She asked angrily, though none of them answered. “What is going on and where is my wand!”
Looking her dead in the eye, Harry answered, very calmly “If you just calm down and answer our questions, we will return your wand and let you go.”
“What questions?” Lucy asked as she angrily met Harry's stare.
“Miss Barnes, have you been into the Ministry Archives at all recently?”
“What?” Lucy retorted a little quieter than her previous questions. Harry repeated the enquiry and Lucy stared at Harry, bemused. She then started looking around and, for the first time it seemed, noticed that there were three other Aurors surrounding her, all of whom had their own wands out. “What is going on?” Lucy asked with a combination of anger and for the first time, fear.
“Harry, you might want to speed this up.” Ron said and Harry knew what this meant.
“Lucy,” Harry started and Lucy turned back to look Harry in the face. “I’m sorry, but I going to use Legilimency on you.” And as Harry, once again, raised his wand, Lucy seemed to splutter in an attempt to find something to say.
“But- What- You- ...Why?”
Harry searched through Lucy’s mind, images of her memories floating past Harry as he searched for the last time Lucy recalled being in the Ministry Archives. Although he could not find anything like Lucy being in the archives, he did however notice that many of her most recent memories seemed to be damaged. They kept switching from scene to scene, like someone constantly changing the channel on a television set. Harry looked into one of the damaged memories and found himself standing next to Lucy who was sitting at her desk, writing on a large roll of parchment. Suddenly, the door behind her started to creak open and, as Harry turned to see who it was, the image of the person became unclear, as though someone had smudged over their body to such an extent Harry couldn’t even make out whether the person was a man or a woman.
“Ah, there you are-” But as Lucy said the name of the blurred character, a high pitched screeching noise stopped Harry from being able to hear it. “Have you finished the list of the latest illegal Portkeys, or do I have to finish it myself… again.” Then, as Lucy finished, the memory blacked out and Harry was left in total darkness for a good few seconds until Harry once again found himself standing next to a sitting Lucy, who was continuing her work as if nothing happened. The door however, had been left open.
Harry searched through the rest of the damaged memories despite each of them showing him the same kind of scene every time. Each time, Lucy is by herself in a corridor or in her office, a blurred out figure enters the scene, darkness and then Lucy is left off exactly where she was last.
After witnessing the event for the fifth time, Harry decided to give up on trying to find anything new and left Lucy’s mind.
When Harry had lifted the charm, he found that Lucy was staring at him, holding her head as if she had just been hit with a Beater’s Bat. “What... what was that?” She said hesitantly.
“I believe,” Harry started, withdrawing his wand. “That you have been placed under the Imperius Curse and that the person cursing you has been modifying your memory just enough so you wouldn’t notice and anyone who tried to read your mind wouldn’t know who cursed you. Terry, would you mind escorting Miss Barnes to Saint Mungo’s?” Terry nodded and placed a sympathetic hand on Lucy’s shoulder as she rose from the chair and collected her wand from Ron.
As Terry and Lucy left, Ron spoke. “Right, so we still don’t know who the insider is.” He slumped himself into the chair that Lucy had sat in and started rubbing his eyes.
“We know they are a member of the Department of Magical Transportation. Lucy had been talking about work to them.” Harry stated.
“So we just need to investigate every single employee of that department, well that shouldn’t take too long.” Anthony said sarcastically.
“And a second background check wouldn’t work, would it?” Ron asked as Harry shook his head.
“Not if the Archive’s been tampered with.”
“Are you sure you couldn’t see any clues?” Anthony pressed. “A particular office that they work for or anything?”
“The memories were too distorted, I couldn’t even make out the gender.” Harry replied and as he took his own seat, he found himself casually taping on Lucius’ file with his fingers. “And they were always in a secluded place whether it be in a corridor or Lucy’s personal office.”
“I’ll talk to Seamus, maybe there’s something we missed on the Ministry’s Glass Viewers.” And Anthony left the room allowing Naomi to peer around.
“Um, Harry, I was wandering if you still wanted me and Fay to go to Wales.” Harry shook his head slowly.
“Not unless you want to go without the help of the Magical Transport Department. I don’t want to risk you being informed on and ambushed by Death Eaters.” Naomi looked down, nodded and she too left the office, leaving Harry alone with Ron.
“How are you holding up?” Harry asked, opening the bottom draw of his desk as he slumped into his chair, his head aching.
“I don’t even know.” Ron said wearily. “Grief for Emily, guilt for thinking she was a Death Eater and anger for the... for the....” But Ron’s voice tailed away in an attempt to describe what he was angry at.
“Drink?” Harry offered, pulling out a golden bottle of Oak matured Mead from his desk.
“Please.” Ron said giving Harry a weak smile and Harry pulled out two glasses and poured each of them a generous amount.
“Have you spoken to Hermione about it?” Harry asked before taking a sip.
Ron nodded and replied “Have you with Ginny?”
And Harry too nodded before raising his glass and said “To Aurors Emily Bates and Albert Kaman.” Ron raised his glass to clink it with Harry's and the two took a large gulp together.
“If you want,” Harry said after placing his now half empty glass on the desk. “You and Hermione could join us for dinner tonight. George, Angelina and Charlie will be there.” Ron shook his head in reply.
“Sorry mate, I was kind of hoping for a quit night in tonight.” Harry nodded understandably. “Kingsley made an announcement to the Aurors while you were out, he told us how the Death Eaters were able to Disapparate through our protective enchantments.”
“Yeah, that’s what me and Naomi found out. George is working with the Ministry trying to figure out a way to stop it.” Making a mental note to check up on his brother-in-law’s progress, Harry refilled the two glasses.
“How’s Rose?” Harry asked, after a few seconds of silent drinking and wanting to change the subject away from work.
“Noisy.” Ron said simply and Harry laughed as he took another drink.
“So when you said you were going for a quiet night...”
“It meant I was going to put a Silencing Charm on the kid.” Ron finished, he too was laughing now and, for the first time in days, Harry felt a splash of calm mix in with the grief for Albert and the stress of Death Eaters.
“Can I ask you something?” Ron said, swirling the remainder the golden liquid in his glass. “Have you ever felt like you’ve just had enough of… of all of this? Enough of all the fighting?” Harry was a little taken aback by this.
“Many times.” Harry replied simply. “Why?” But before Ron could answer, Kingsley burst into Harry’s office, his dark complexion paler than usual and his brow glistening.
“Harry, I’ve just received word from Minister Bernardine. Enfer Vann Prison has just had a mass break out.”
Harry barely had time to breath for the next few hours. One of his many jobs included getting more information about the break-out of the French Wizarding prison out of a French Ministry worker that their Minister had sent in her place.
As far as Harry could work out, the French employee knew about as much of the break-out as Harry or Kingsley. All they knew was that the revolt was led by two masked people who had broken into the prison and provided the prisoners with wands. Very few of the Wizarding guards had survived the uprising and Harry had a feeling he knew exactly how the masked leaders, who they knew to be Death Eaters due to the Dark Mark left in the sky above the prison, had gotten past the prison’s protective enchantments.
In response to this, Harry had assigned a small task force of Aurors to help guard Azkaban prison.
Although the prison’s defences no longer included the happiness-draining, soul-eating Dementors, it was however fortified with a combination of Wizarding guards, security Trolls, Ghouls, a number of Goblins who could not return to the Wizarding Bank of Gringotts after the war, some of the Ministry’s most powerful protective enchantments as well as a single Sphinx at the entrance of the fortress; an idea of Harry’s after Kingsley had sent away the Dementors.
Harry was also in constant contact with George and the rest of the team in charge of disarming an Amethyst Orb. Apparently, they were working on a spell that would affect the Bloodstone within the Orb to halt its affects when in the vicinity. As well this, he also still had the tedious task of arranging a safe house for Boris, all of which had to be done without the knowledge of anyone in the Department of Magical Transportation, which was tricky enough without the fact that they had to cover up that their Head of Department had left them for Saint Mungo’s.
After Kingsley had ordered Harry to go home and get some rest, Harry eventually made it back to the Auror Office, which was now scattered with Law Enforcers led by Kitty preparing them for the Night Guard shift. He was convinced he’d just go home and get straight into bed until George caught up with him.
“Wait up, Harry. Just thought I’d tell you, we did it.” George smiled at Harry who stared back, though tired, with blissful disbelief.
“Already!” Harry said.
“Works like a charm." George said with a wink. "They’re placing the enchantment around the Ministry as we speak. By the way, do you mind if I could just go straight to yours, meet Angie and Charlie there?”
“Uh, yeah sure.” Harry replied in a wearily happy tone. “I would’ve thought Ginny would think it too late though.”
George smiled and patted him on the shoulder as he said “Come on, you’ll feel better after dinner. I know it.” And after giving Harry a second quick wink, he opened the door to his office.
When George opened the door however, instead of walking straight towards the fireplace, they both stood there, stock still, as Naomi sat on Harry’s desk crying.
“You go on ahead.” Harry whispered to George. George nodded and soon vanished in flourish of green flames.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” Naomi whimpered as Harry sat next to her. “I just needed some space and I thought- I’ll just go and-” But as Naomi made to leave, Harry placed a hand on her shoulder and stopped her.
“Please sit back down.” It took Naomi a while to take in the request but eventually accepted. “I know it’s hard. I know that you would like nothing more than to just curl up in a ball and cry all night, but I think you'll agree when I say I don't think that's what Emily would want of you.” Even Harry’s voice was beginning to crack and Naomi seemed to notice.
“Does it get easier?” She asked.
“With time.” Harry answered simply.
“I’m sorry, with everything going on… I'm just being stupid now.” Naomi repeated looking down and wiping a tear away but Harry put up his hand.
“Never apologise for grieving, Naomi. A wise man once told me that that pain your feeling now is what makes us human. It’s what separates us from people like the Death Eaters. And, although it might not feel like it now, it’s what gives the strength to go on.”
Naomi stared at Harry, than let off a small laugh as she said “Dumbledore?”
“Dumbledore,” Harry replied returning the smile. “Look, why don’t you join us tonight, I’m sure we can make room for one more.” Harry assured her, standing up.
“I don’t know.” Naomi said, wiping away the last of her tears. “I’m pretty tired.”
“Okay, I’ll tell Charlie you said hi though, shall I?” Harry said in a slightly mocking manner and to his relief Naomi continued to smile.
“Well, I suppose I could drop by for a drink. But I want to go home and changed first, I still smell of dead Salamander.” And Naomi got up and made her way to the door. “Thank you.”
“See you in a bit.” Harry said consolingly and Naomi left the room, leaving Harry on his own.
He was just about to enter the fireplace of his office, when he noticed Lucius Malfoy’s file, still open on Harry’s desk. Without even thinking about it, he picked up the file and stowed it swiftly away inside his robes.
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