Chapter 18 : 17- Black and Dark
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Harry emerged from his fireplace in a flurry of emerald flame into Twelve Grimmauld Place and found himself being welcomed by both the stocky, ginger Charlie and the slim, dark-skinned Angelina Weasley, whose jet black hair had been braided for the evening.
“It’s about time.” Angelina beamed, pulling him into a hug.
“Well what do you expect?” Charlie said and he threw a copy of the Evening Prophet Newspaper onto the coffee table for Harry to see. “Catching Death Eaters, helping out other countries, I’m surprised you came back at all.” Harry picked up the newspaper and saw Thorfinn Rowle’s mug shot staring angrily back at him. The caption read ‘Potter’s Fight Continues!’
“Do you mind?” Harry asked, indicating the paper.
“Be my guest.” Charlie said making himself comfortable on the couch opposite the chair Harry was in. Harry laughed, opened the paper and began to read the front page.
Potter’s Fight Continues!
In the small Muggle town of Beacons Bottom, earlier today, Harry James Potter (Order of Merlin First Class and newly instated Head of the Auror Office) led a task force of Aurors into the conflict and capture of the notorious Death Eater, Thorfinn Rowle. Rowle, who was wanted for numerous felonies including murder and conspiracy against the Ministry of Magic, was one of few Death Eaters who had escaped the Battle of Hogwarts and has been in hiding ever since.
“Harry is a natural born leader.” Says a Chief Auror during a clean-up session of the area where Rowle was caught. “Albert taught him everything he knew and that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to describing his abilities. No one in the Auror Office has a doubt in their mind that Harry is the right man for the job.”
The new Head has also been spending his first full day dealing with international dilemmas, both helping the Scandinavian Ministry with the attack on their Ministry, resulting in the death of Minister Elof Soelberg (See pages five to six for more detail) and trying to attain detail on the mass break-out of the French wizarding prison, Enfer Vann (See pages three to four).
Harry Potter, who is most noted for his defeat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named at the Battle of Hogwarts that celebrated its ninth anniversary two months ago, is now the youngest Wizard ever to become a Head at the Ministry of Magic at the age of Twenty Six.
“They got in quickly about Enfer Vann.” Harry said and as he threw the paper back on the table, Ginny came in, and the moment she lay eyes on Harry, threw herself onto him, landed on his lap and kissed him full on the mouth.
“Hello to you too.” Harry said as they broke apart.
“Dinner ready?” Charlie asked as though nothing had happened.
“We might want to wait for Naomi.” Harry said still holding his wife.
“Naomi’s coming?” Charlie said with raised eyebrows.
“You be careful.” Harry said warningly, pointing a finger at Charlie. “She’s been through a lot the past few days.”
Charlie raised his hands in mock surrender. “I promise I will not do anything that could hurt Auror Pryce.” Though Angelina was eyeing him suspiciously but before Charlie could attempt to defend himself again there was a knock at the door. There was a loud pop as Kreacher Apparated and they heard him perform the task of answering.
“Ah, Miss Pryce, they are all in the living room.” And Kreacher led Naomi into the living room.
She wore a short, chocolate brown Summer dress and appeared to have transfigured her head bandage so that, though it still seemed to perform its task of stopping Naomi’s head from bleeding, it too was now the same shade of brown as her dress.
“Should Kreacher set another place at the table?” Kreacher asked as Ginny got up to greet Naomi.
“Yes, thank you Kreacher. Naomi, how are you?” Ginny asked as Kreacher vanished.
“I’m okay, thank you.” Naomi replied as Ginny embraced her in a hug.
After Ginny had introduced Naomi to Angelina and reintroduced her to Charlie, she suggested that they went for an ‘overdue’ dinner.
Before Harry had opened the door to the dining room, he could have sworn he heard George talking to someone and when Harry entered, he thought he saw him closing the door to one of the larger cupboards.
As they tucked into Ginny’s homemade steak pie, although Charlie started most of the conversations, Harry couldn’t help but notice how much was directed to the table in general and how much was directed at Naomi.
“... yeah, so when one of our Norwegian Ridgeback’s did give birth, we ended up with three new additions with a fourth still to be hatched.”
“I bet Hagrid’s pleased.” Harry said after Naomi had stopped oohing and ahing over the thought of baby dragons.
“Yeah, when I told him he said he couldn’t wait to see his grandkids.” Charlie laughed and that set the mood for the rest of the evening.
Once the laughter had died down and Ginny had enchanted empty dessert plates into the kitchen sink, their stomachs full, they all reclined back in their seats. “George,” Angelina said after a few moments of silence. “Don’t you think it’s time?”
George, who Harry assumed unconscious from the amount of steak pie and pudding he’d had, nodded and slowly rose from his chair. For a moment Harry thought Angelina had suggested they go home but instead of saying goodbye, George, without saying a word, walked towards the large cupboard that Harry had thought he’d seen him closed and pulled out from it a large rectangular parcel.
“We were saving this for your birthday, but given recent events, we thought you’d find it useful.” Ginny said as George placed the parcel in front of Harry and, after a fleeting look around the table, he began to rip off the brown paper.
As Harry allowed the paper to fall to the floor, he was astounded to see, staring back at him, his deceased God-Father, Sirius Black. There was utter silence as Harry looked into the portrait. Sirius was sitting in a plump crimson armchair and wearing long jet-black robes. The background was a long piece of fabric that rippled like a drawn curtain along the full length of the picture; it too a shade of red though slightly brighter to that of the armchair. Sirius himself was exactly the same as Harry had seen him when he had used the Resurrection Stone nine years previously. Tall, well-built, darkly handsome, with long black hair and striking grey eyes that surveyed Harry with pride.
“S-Sirius” Harry said after a minute or so of taking in the scene.
“Hello Harry.” He replied in a familiar rough voice.
“There are two portraits.” Ginny said. “One for here and one for your office. Now he’ll be able to tell me when you’re going to be late and plus, we have no real portraits since we got rid of all those old one’s of the Black family.” Harry laughed, thinking of how it had been Kreacher who had ended up taking down the screaming portrait of Mrs Black after an argument about where his loyalties lay, though Harry’s eyes were still taking in the contents of the portrait.
As the clock struck half-past eleven, and Harry had once again given his thanks, George, Angelina and Charlie all said their goodbyes, Naomi and Charlie’s taking an unnaturally long time, and Disapparated on the stone step outside the door of the house. Once Naomi too had said her goodbyes and thanked Harry again for everything, she followed suit and vanished on the spot.
Harry had placed the portrait of Sirius above the fireplace and was tempted to go straight to the Ministry and place the other portrait in his office, but was ordered to bed by Ginny. After creeping up the stairs to avoid waking his sons, Harry entered his room, changed, got into bed and, after a few seconds of thinking of Death Eaters, the Dark Wizards who were now running loose in France, Azkaban and Lucius Mafloy, Harry fell asleep.
Harry’s eyes flickered open. Although he couldn’t remember his dream, a flash of a green light still burned in his mind. He lay there, Ginny curled up next to him. Although he was trying to fall back to sleep, he found that he wasn’t all that tired. He looked at the clock on the bed side table, his wand and glasses placed right next to it. It was half five in the morning. As soon as Harry saw his wand, he reached for it and, unable to help himself, thought Accio and Lucius’ Minisrty file flew silently out of the inside pocket of Harry’s robes and into his hand. Placing his wand back onto his bedside table, he picked up his glasses and opened the file.
“CALLING ALL AURORS! CALLING ALL AURORS!” Harry jumped at the sound of his own voice shouting from his robes and, throwing the file to one side, quickly got out of bed, waking Ginny. “THIS IS A CODE DARK! ALL AURORS TO THE MINISRTY IMMEDIATELY!” The voice continued and Harry, his heart now pounding, pulled from his robes, which still had dust on them, his Auror ID card. “THIS IS NOT A DRILL! CODE DARK! ALL AURORS TO THE MINISRTY AT ONCE!” The voice was coming from his picture.
“What’s going on?” Ginny said in panicked voice.
“A code Dark means the Ministry’s been breached and the Night Guard need backup.” Harry said quickly, pulling on his robes and picking up his wand.
“Harry!” Ginny called but Harry had rushed out of the room his heart accelerating a hundred times faster than it had done a mere moment ago. He taped the ID card with his wand, silencing it but the loud order still seemed to have woken his sons, both of whom were now crying.
“Ministry of Magic, Head Auror’s Office.” Harry said as he reached his fire place and remained there just long enough to hear Sirius call after him though what the portrait said he could not hear.
Harry emerged from the emerald flames and into his office, his wand raised. His office had been completely trashed. His desk had been overturned, his Pensive lying upside-down on the floor and the cabinets were dented in all over and even the door had been blasted off its hinges. Even some of Harry’s personal possessions had been attacked. The few pictures Harry had had in his office were now scattered all over the floor. A picture of the day James was born was still smouldering before him.
Shaken at the sight of his office, he slowly made his through the now doorless doorway. Harry lit the tip of his wand and, as light poured into the darkened room, was sickened by the sight of the entire Night Guard that had been on patrol in the Office dead on the floor. Kitty was amongst them, her long red hair spread across the floor and covered in blood.
There was a bang at the door, which flew open and as Harry aimed his wand, Ron, Kingsley, Natasha Walton and many other Aurors and Law Enforcers burst through, all aiming at Harry.
“Hold your fire!” Kingsley ordered as he saw Harry, though he didn’t lower his wand.
Ron took a step forward towards Harry, his wand at the ready and said “What form did Snape’s Patronus take?”
Harry lowered his own wand and replied “It took the shape of a doe.”
As more wands were lit, Harry noticed just how many Law Enforcers were dead. Harry recognised Ethan, the Enforcer who was friends with Rowan and Ashley that Harry had comforted at the Quidditch match, lying a couple of feet away from Kitty and, even more disturbingly, he saw written on the wall at the far end of the Office a message written in what Harry feared was blood.
‘Surrender, Harry Potter, or war will be declared and all shall die!’
The entire room stared at the massage meant for Harry until Kingsley stepped forward and, with a wave of his wand, cleared the blood writing. “Search the building.” Kingsley ordered, still looking at the wall where the massage had been. “We can’t take any chances that they might still be here.” At once, the crowd of Aurors and Law Enforcers dispersed to search the Ministry until all that remained in the Department were Harry, Kingsley, Natasha, Naomi and several Law Enforcers who went to inspect their fallen friends.
“The prisoners, Rowle and Bailey, they’re gone.” Announced a short, muscular Law Enforcer from Interrogation corridor.
“How did this happen?” Harry asked quietly as Naomi placed her hand on his shoulder. “I thought we set up an enchantment against the Amethyst Orb?”
“Maybe we should examine the enchantment more carefully.” Kingsley said, his deep voice drained and tired. Though Harry knew George wouldn’t have set up an enchantment like this if he thought it wouldn’t work.
“Mr Potter, Minister, I think I’ve found something?” Harry turned to see a Law Enforcer crouched by Kitty and walked up to him. As Harry got closer, he saw that Kitty’s neck was the source of the blood and Harry felt sick looking at it. But as the Enforcer moved some of her hair, Harry saw, amongst the blood, a silvery strand of memory spilling from Kitty’s ear.
Harry didn’t hesitate and picked up the memory with his wand. Kingsley, Harry, Natasha and Naomi all looked at each other and, without saying another word, all headed for Harry’s destroyed office.
After rummaging around the mess as the others flipped his desk the right way round, Harry found his Pensieve in the corner of his office. After picking it up however, he noticed that his memory of his inspection of the Malfoy Manor was playing out silently within the basin and a sudden bolt of fear struck his chest.
“What’s wrong Harry?” Kingsley asked and Harry turned around, Pensieve in one hand and a memory-holding wand in the other, to see all three of them staring at him.
“Is there something wrong with the Pensieve?” Natasha asked sympathetically as though it were as good as broken.
“No,” Harry said quickly. “It’s just…” His mind was racing.
“Did they see something, Harry?” Kingsley asked, his eyes now narrowing as they darted from Pensieve to Harry and back again.
Harry’s head was pounding as he desperately tried to think of every eventuality. Had Selwyn seen? And if he had, would he know, would he truly understand what Harry was going through?
“Nothing serious.” He finally said, a little breathless. “My inspection of Malfoy Manor is all.” And he placed the Pensieve on his desk and as calmly as possible ordered the others to gather around.
The four of them looked down into the basin and, when Harry next looked, he was watching Kitty give orders to the Enforcers that had been picked for the Night Guard with Naomi, Kingsley and Natasha right beside him.
“Kat, Tammy, I need you two to guard Bailey. Kevin, Brent, you two on Rowle.” The four nodded and headed towards the Interrogation corridor. At Harry’s count, there were eleven guards. Kitty, the four she had just ordered to guard the prisoners, four more circulating the large office and three guarding the entrance to the Tracker Office.
Time passed and Harry and the others continued to watch in suspense as the Night Guard patrolled the Department, occasionally a Law Enforcer would ask Kitty something though Harry was on the alert for any sign of the break in.
After about half an hour of waiting Harry was beginning to worry that Kitty had left them a damaged memory, though Harry was shortly proven wrong as he heard a clutter of noise coming from his own office. Kitty too had heard the commotion and had her wand pointing at the door of the office immediately, three of the Enforcers who were circling the Department right behind her.
Several seconds of cluttering passed as they advanced but, before Kitty and her patrol had even made it half-way, the door of the office was blasted off its hinges and several jets of green light flew from the office, one of them narrowly missing Kitty by inches; the three Enforcers behind her not being so lucky as they all crumbled dead to the floor.
“No survivors!” Cried a rough voice as the rest of the Night Guard joined the fight. Harry recognised the voice at once. Rabastan Lestrange seemed to be leading the assault and immediately started duelling alongside the muscular Mosby Elfrin against the three Enforcers guarding the Tracker Office. Harry also recognised Selwyn, sending curses down into the Interrogation corridor. Although Harry couldn’t see whether his curses had hit his target, he heard Selwyn laugh as he took cover round the corner and start blind-firing spells into the corridor.
Right in the centre of the Office, Kitty was battling against a pale Witch with long curly blond hair, the surrounding cubicles detonating as stray spells collided with them sending splinters and parchment papers everywhere.
“Hurry up, Felicia!” Harry heard Selwyn cry as he took cover from a counter-curse. “We need those wands!”
“I’m- Kind of- Busy- Here!” Felicia retorted trying her hardest to land a direct hit, but Kitty was too quick and evaded Felicia’s curses, though Harry noticed that her offence was shaky.
“Mosby, get the door!” Harry heard Rabastan order as he started to duel the last of the three guards of the Tracker Office. Mosby made a run for the door, raising his wand, but was suddenly blocked by the last of the patrolling guards that Harry saw to be Ethan, though his fight did not last long. As Ethan raised his own wand Mosby parried it with his wand-free arm and spun skilfully behind the Enforcer. Ethan attempted to re-aim when Mosby slammed his elbow into the back of Ethan’s head making him stumble dazedly before he was shortly blasted off of his feet with a Killing Curse.
Free of any more distractions, Mosby pointed his wand at the door and there was an unnaturally loud clicking sound that was audible even over the sound of the fight and voices crying out from behind it.
“Kitty! Kitty, what’s going on in there?” Though Kitty was in no position to reply for she was still trying to fight off the advancing Felicia. Harry then heard a grunt and he turned to see Rabastan’s last opponent fall dead on the floor and that Selwyn had released Rowle and Bailey meaning he had successfully killed the four Enforcers on guard at the Interrogation rooms.
Kitty was now the last of the Night Guard left fighting, still duelling Felicia, dodging and deflecting her curses though unable to get a curse of her own in. Mosby tried to assist his ally though seemed to decide against it. The two Witches were ducking and diving around each other so quickly, it was just as likely to hit a friend as it was foe.
“Let’s not waste time!” Selwyn commanded to his fellows. “Leave now!” And it was clear that he then tried to Disapparate with the shoulders of Bailey and Rowle in his grasp. “No,” He hissed to himself.
“They had Nolan’s Orb,” Bailey began though he was nearly drowned out from the sound of the duel taking place in the middle of the office. “It’s possible that they’ve-”
“That they’ve ousted that little trick?” Rabastan bellowed.
“Then it’s back the way we came, come on!” Selwyn ordered as he ran back towards Harry’s office but when he, Rowle and Bailey entered the destroyed room, Selwyn was heard saying “Hold! What’s this then?” And Harry’s heart sank as he knew his theory of what Selwyn had seen had become fact.
“Mosby!” Rabastan shouted as he pointed towards the door where Enforcers were trying to break through. “They won’t be getting through anytime soon, why don’t you leave our dear Head Auror a message? Felicia, it’s time to stop playing.” And he raised his wand, clearly ready to enter the dual himself.
“Don’t- Inter-Fere,” Felicia screeched back. “This- One’s- Mine!” And with one final jab of her wand, Harry saw a curse hit Kitty in the throat and, as blood splattered from the wound, Kitty fell to the floor and the memory began to fade.
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