Chapter 3 : Without a trace
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Harry stood in the middle of the empty Auror office and it occurred to him that it had been many years since he had last seen it so empty. He remembered the many night shifts he had worked after Voldemort’s fall. He had told the aurors on the night shift to go home, and was planning on going over every inch of the office. Harry felt his knees creak as he got down on the floor to search; he couldn’t help but chuckle he was getting old. After everything he’s been through in his life getting older was a strange thing to grapple with. Forcing himself to concentrate Harry began his thorough scan of the office. The sun was just making its first appearance when Harry finished his sweep. He had been unable to find any trace of anything which in and of itself was suspicious.
Harry walked back into his office and dropped into his desk chair. When he had done the sweep there had been nothing, no trace of any dark magic or dark detectors, no listening devices, nothing. The Auror department by nature had all of those things, they were brought in during cases and they left traces. All magic left traces, so if he found nothing it was because someone had already been here and had erased the traces to cover something up. Harry looked over the work schedule, if someone had erased all the magical traces in this office it had to have happened at night. Harry looked down the list of names, if someone within the department had wiped the magical trace it would have had to have happened with in the last day or so. It was most likely the night before he performed his search. Harry saw that all of the aurors who worked the night before last would be in today; He decided he needed to have a private chat with each of them.
Harry opened his case notebook and wrote down the list of names:
Harry hesitated before writing down the last name. Noah was Teddy’s best friend. They had gone to school together and the joined the program together. Noah and Teddy were partners; he had trouble believing Noah would do anything that would inadvertently cause Teddy harm. Harry almost crossed the name off the list, but it was best to leave him there the best of people will do the worst of things if they grow desperate.
Harry was pulled out of his reverie by a sharp knocking on his office door. Glancing down at his watch Harry realized the office was in full swing. He pulled open the door and saw Alex Carr standing in the doorway. Alex Carr is head of a new department within the ministry. Well not really new anymore. They are internal affairs, a department created after the war to ensure that the ministry didn’t fall into corruption again. Alex Carr had been the head of IA for the last three years and he had been working in the department for the last fifteen. Harry hated Alex Carr and the feeling seemed to be mutual. Carr had been a constant thorn in Harry’s side since he was made head of the Auror department ten years ago. If Carr had it his way Harry would be fired. If Harry had his way Carr would be fed to Hagrid’s old three headed dog Fluffy. “Morning Potter.”
“Carr what brings you here?”
“Don’t look like that Potter, I don’t relish being here anymore then you enjoy having me. I’m here on official business. It has been brought to my attention that there is corruption in your department. You have a leak and I have been sent to plug it up for you.”
Harry attempted to smile but it came out more as a grimace, “If you don’t mind Carr the Auror department is perfectly capable of plugging up its own leaks. The law says you will be brought in only if I request your help. I’m not requesting anything from you. The situation is under control.”
Carr smirked at Harry, “Well Potter you see there is one other condition you’re forgetting about. If another head of department or a member of the department in question comes forward and asks for our help we have to give it. You may have fooled the members of your department into believe you’re a saint, but others have seen through your act.”
“I’ve never pretended to be a saint Carr; my sins have always been very public. Do I get to know who has leveled this complaint?”
Carr smirked again; Harry thought his face looked ready to split into a childish look of glee. Harry wanted to wipe that grin off his face. “I’m afraid not Potter, the name of the person who put in the complaint is kept private for their safety. I have one more piece of news for you. As you have demonstrated an inability to manage this department you are being put on probation and are suspended from this office until we conclude our investigation. You will have five minutes to gather your personal belongings and then we will escort you from the building. Be warned that we will search you on your way out.”
With that Carr turned and closed the door behind him. Harry was furious, but now was not a time to lose his temper. Thinking quickly Harry pulled out a portal to Grimmauld Place he kept in his office in case of emergency. Number twelve was still a secure location, Harry could work from there. He shoved all the files and paperwork he needed through the portal. He made sure to leave copies of everything, but edited out pieces of information he didn’t want Carr to have. Four minutes and twenty five seconds later Harry walked out of the office with his bag over his shoulder and a stack of picture frames in his arms.
Harry saw that his aurors were watching Carr and none of them looked too pleased to see IA’s presence in their office. Carr made a show of searching Harry’s bags and lingered longer then Harry liked over the pictures of his family. Finally Carr handed Harry his things and two IA agents, who Harry was pleased to see looked very nervous, grabbed his arms and led him from the office. Before they could reach the door Harry heard a commotion from behind him. He turned and saw that his aurors were all standing up wands pointed at the wizards from IA. Harry shook his head no and the wands were lowered. He waited for wands to be stowed in cloaks and then spoke, “IA is here to investigate a leak in our department. I have been temporarily removed from the situation. I need all of you to continue with business as usual, and take care of yourselves.” Harry turned and allowed the IA agents to remove him from the building. On the way to the Ministry Atrium Harry thought about the expressions he had seen. No one had looked suspicious to Harry. He realized with a sinking feeling of dread that the only person on his list who wasn’t at work today was Noah.
Once free of the IA agents Harry aparated to number 12 and laid out what he knew. After several hours Harry was getting worried all his leads seemed to be going back to Noah.
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