Chapter 19 : 18- Home Security
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The four of them were back in Harry’s office. Natasha was holding onto Harry’s desk for support, wiping a tear away for the death of her Senior Assistant. "Such a gifted... brilliant woman." She gasped as Naomi picked up Harry’s desk chair and helped her sit while Harry and Kingsley glanced at one-another. Harry knew that they were all thinking the same thing: The Death Eaters had broken in through this office.
As time passed, Kingsley and Natasha had left to carry on with their own duties, the Auror Office and Harry’s office were cleaned up and the bodies of the Night Guard had been moved and their families notified.
Harry sat there, in his newly repaired office, atop his desk with his Pensieve sat next to him as he stared into his fireplace. It’s the only way, he told himself while Naomi was trying a variety of charms in an attempt to salvage some of Harry’s photos.
“We’ve searched every corner of the building.” Ron announced as he came in. “Not a thing out of place. How you holding up?” But Harry was still staring into the fireplace. While he did feel sickened at the fact the Death Eaters had ransacked his office, his two biggest concerns were how they did it and what had they learned from it.
“I'm sorry, Harry.” Naomi said placing the picture of day James was born into Harry’s hand. “I've tried everything, but I can’t stop the burning.” Harry looked into the picture and saw that he, Ginny and the new-born in Ginny arms had cramped themselves into the corner of the picture to try and escape the burning. Also within Harry’s eyesight was his fireplace and the memory of another smouldering piece of paper came to Harry; the time he was having his fireplace here and the fireplace at his home linked.
The realisation hit Harry like an unpleasant electric shock. “Marietta,” Harry muttered quietly.
“What?” Ron said turning to Harry.
“I think Marietta let the Death Eaters in.” Harry said mechanically, his heart pounding. “She’s the one who linked my fireplaces and she’s in constant touch with Lucy, she could have easily have placed an Imperius Curse on her.”
Harry kept thinking for more proof but was interrupted by Ron saying “Harry, she helped set the up the Portkey that took the Malfoy’s to their safe house!”
Time seemed to slow down and, within what seemed like a heartbeat, Harry had ordered Naomi to get the Malfoy’s to safety and he and Ron were racing for the lifts and punching the number six button to take them to the Department of Magical Transportation.
When they reached the floor, they saw her, walking out of the Portkey Office with her wand out in one hand and a small lunchbox in the other. She turned and saw them, just in time to see Harry and Ron raise their wands. Their Stunning Spells fused together as they flew at her and she thrust the small lunchbox in front of her in an attempt to shield herself. The combined spells sent the box into the air, but instead of crashing down to the floor, as it became airborne it vanished with a soft popping sound in a flash of brightest blue. A Portkey.
Marietta saw her chance and made a run for it, barely escaping a second Stunning Spell sent by Ron.
They chased after her, heading towards the Apparition Test Centre and, Harry knew, the stairs that were used whenever the lifts were full, broken or, in this case, blocked off by Aurors. Sure enough as they turned the corner, they saw the long reddish-blond hair whip around as she turned onto the spiral staircase. Harry and Ron followed suit sending Stunning Spell after Stunning Spell after her, each time narrowly missing or else being deflected back at them, as they began the climb up.
They had just passed the Department of Magical Games and Sports which meant they were now only one floor away from the Atrium. Harry thought fast and, with a wave of his wand, cried “Expecto Patronum!” A silver stag burst from his wand and raced upwards past Marietta towards the Atrium. As they ran closer, Harry heard his own voice boom from the Patronus. “Shut down the fireplaces! Marietta Edgecombe is an insider for the Death Eaters!”
“No!” They heard Marietta cry and when Harry next looked, she had her wand pointing at them and heard her shriek, with a combination of anger and desperation “Crucio!”
Harry had to duck to avoid the curse, unable to believe that the shy quiet girl that never used to even speak was now aiming to use Unforgivable Curses.
“Stupify!” Ron cried in retaliation but the spell missed by mere inches as she continued to run upwards towards the Atrium.
They reached the Atrium with Harry and Ron now no more than a few meters behind. Harry saw at the far end, the fireplaces being sealed off as they drew closer and even a few Ministry Wizards and Witches drawing their wands. Seeing this, Marietta flung curses in all directions at them forcing the onlookers to dive out of her way so as not to get harmed. She had just entered the fireplace hall but she was too late. The fireplaces were being sealed off too quickly and a jinx sent by Harry forced her to dive out of the way and behind the wall of a sealed fireplace, trapping her.
“It’s over, Marietta.” Harry called, his wand pointing at the wall, ready to strike. “We know you Imperiused Lucy and used her to get into the Archives. We know you fixed my fireplace to link with that of the Death Eaters.” The arrest was beginning to draw a crowd of the morning arrivals and, louder than Harry had ever heard Marietta, she laughed menacingly.
“I'm surprised you’re still here then, Potter. I would have assumed you’d want to get back to your D.A tramp of a wife!” Although Harry felt furious at the offence to Ginny, he couldn’t help but feel slightly confused at the insult.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” He yelled, slightly angrier then he had intended and Marietta let out another screech of laughter.
“Who’d of thought a Head of Department could be so thick. You said so yourself, the Death Eaters have access to your Floo Network.” She then peered from behind the wall and said, with a smile to match her laugh. “Both ways.”
Harry’s heart suddenly felt like a lead weight. Panic and fear seemed to fuse together inside of him and, as Ron attempted to stun Marietta again, he ran towards the Ministry’s exit. Harry did not see whether or not Ron’s spell had hit its target but at that moment he did not care. All that mattered now was getting to Grimmauld Place as quickly as possible. To his wife. To his children. No, he thought to himself, I won’t let them be harmed. I can't let them be harmed. And he seemed to run faster than he had ever run in his life, shoving his way past Ministry employee’s and visitors and, before the light from the morning sun could hit his face as he ran through an exit and onto the London street. Finally free of the Ministry’s protective enchantments, he turned on the spot and vanished.
He reappeared on the pavement just outside his house, not caring that his Muggle neighbours had just seen him appear from thin-air. “Ginny!” He cried as he burst through the front door. “Ginny!” She was lounging on the sofa in the back room reading a copy of Quidditch Today, which she dropped at the sound of Harry’s yells.
“Where are the kids?” Harry asked, now drawing his wand. She was standing up now.
“Listen, we need to get the kids and get out of here. Where’s Keacher-”
“Harry!” Harry seemed to freeze at Sirius’ call and seemed to know what he would say next.
“It’s them! It's-It’s the Death Eaters! Harry!” As he said it, Harry turned, his wand raised and saw, stepping out from the emerald flames, six hooded figures their wands all raised.
“Well, well, I wasn’t expecting the great Potter himself to be at home.” Said the snide, cold voice of Edmund Selwyn as he removed his hood to reveal the round, scarred face and the long matted brown hair that dangled down his forehead. “And here we were thinking we’d only be taking out the girl and the juniors.”
For a moment Harry thought he could keep them talking, long enough for Ron to send reinforcements, but this plan was short lived by Rabastan’s rough bark of a voice as he ordered “Kill them.”
Harry and Ginny dived in opposite directions to avoid the curses that followed, hiding behind walls on either side of the archway that was the entrance to the back room. Harry aimed his wand round the corner and sent spells flying at the Death Eaters. Ginny did the same until they heard Selwyn call out “Bailey, Mosby, upstairs.”
Harry and Ginny stared at each other as the cries of their children came down from above, disturbed by the crashes and bangs of the fight below them. With terror on their faces, Ginny turned and aimed a Reductor Curse at the Death Eaters as Harry pointed his wand at the corridor which connected the two rooms to the staircases. As Harry pointed his wand, he saw dust rise from the polished floorboards and into the air and, although thankfully Harry couldn’t see it, he knew that Bailey and Mosby had just confronted the large dusty corps figure of Albus Dumbledore. Harry heard Bailey’s screams of terror as the dust figure echoed out above all other sounds “Severus Snape!”
Harry then turned his attention to the others. He saw Ginny, her face contorted, sending curse after curse at them, though curses were still hitting the walls they were taking cover behind, making them crack and crumble. Harry peered around the archway, and saw Selwyn and Felicia blocking Ginny’s rain of curses with Shield Charms. Harry raised his wand, his anger too getting the better of him. He saw Rabastan aim his own wand but Harry was too quick.
“Sectumsempra!” And Rabastan recoiled as blood splashed from his face and on to the wall behind him.
“Playing dirty now are we, Potter?” Bellowed Rowle. “Tell me, did that traitor Snivellus teach you that one? Well two can play at that game!” Harry knew exactly what was going to happen. He aimed his wand and as Rowle yelled “Confingo” Harry cried out “Protego!”
Rowle’s curse rebounded off of Harry’s Shield Charm and was sent right back at him. Rowle flung himself sideways to avoid the jet of purple light, which hit the wall with a colossal explosion.
The eruption shook the entire house, breaking apart large bits of ceiling above Ginny that were being supported by the crumbling wall she was taking cover behind. She stumbled sideways to avoid the falling debris, leaving her in the open. Harry didn’t have time to think as he saw Selwyn recover from the blast of the explosion and aim his wand at Ginny. Harry flung himself in front of her and as their wand free hands touched, he heard Selwyn shout “Avada Kedavra!”
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