Chapter 21 : 20- The Traitor’s Offer
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Pure dread suffocated Harry as he stood in the empty safe-house. He had to inspect the now uninhabitable building for himself, hoping for even the slightest clue that might help them. Unfortunately, it was a fruitless effort.
The body of Cole, the Auror who had been guarding the house, had been moved. From the time of death the Healers had given, they believed the Death Eaters had killed him before attacking Harry’s home but after breaking into the Ministry. He had been outnumbered six to one, Harry thought. He hadn’t stood a chance.
But the death of one of his Aurors was just part of the aftermath of the Malfoy’s kidnapping. Harry was sure that, if Selwyn did in fact know of his Life Debt to Narcissa, he’d certainly use it to his advantage if he could. At this, Harry felt extremely vulnerable. If Harry at least knew in what way his debt could be used against him, he could at the very least prepare a counter plan for the event, but as it was he barely had that much information.
A small voice in the back of his head told him what deep down he knew he ought to do; head straight to Kingsley and take himself off the case of hunting Selwyn and his ilk. But his Aurors were already overwhelmed as it was without the loss of their new Head and Harry was desperate to help, to end what he’d spent the last nine years working towards. That desire at least he knew had nothing to do with his debt.
Harry suddenly came to an abrupt halt as he searched the downstairs and froze in the doorway to the room where Cole’s body had been found. Streaks of scarlet had been dashed across the white walls and tiny craters still remained from where stray spells had struck. Clearly, despite the odds, his Auror had put up a fight.
Harry felt a small pang of anger at this. His Auror. One of those who he now held responsibility had met his fate at the hands of those who then attacked Harry’s family home.
He could feel a bubble of rage balloon within him as he made his choice. Selwyn and his rabble would meet their end and he, Harry, would see it through. What did he care if Selwyn had some knowledge of a stupid debt when Harry had the full might of the Ministry behind him and, if Kingsley wanted to meet with him about what Harry thought he did, he could soon have even more than that.
When Harry returned to the Ministry, he ended up taking his anger out on the Head of the Tracker Division in front of his entire office for allowing another glitch to slip pass them. Seamus ended up trying to calm Harry, reassuring him that, though they were trying to protect the Glass Viewers from being Confunded, it was proving difficult to do so as they responded very poorly to any additional protective enchantments that were placed around them.
After sending Seamus back to work, a little more aggressively then he felt he should have, Harry remembered that the person responsible for all of the things that had happened that day was currently awaiting interrogation.
Without talking to anyone, Harry strode towards the Interrogation rooms, silently passing Ron announcing Cole’s death to the crowd of shocked Aurors around him and entered Marietta’s room, slamming the door behind him. She wasn’t looking Harry in the eye. In fact, her long reddish-blond hair had returned to its usual state of covering her spot-marked face, the wordsneak that branded her face barely visible. As Harry sat down opposite her, he noticed that ropes bound her to the chair. Harry searched his head for something suitable to say, but instead all that came out was “Why?”
Marietta looked up at him and said, more calmly then Harry was expecting “You know why.” Harry stared at Marietta, finally catching a glimpse of the blue eyes behind the hair. “Ever since I grassed up your little gang, I have been treated like shit.” Harry continued to stare emotionlessly at her, feeling no pity for the traitor. “Evan after the war was over, word spread around of what I did to ‘the brave army who fought the Dark Lord’. Do you know how hard it is to get a job when everyone is repulsed by you? My mother ended up persuading her bitch of a boss to take me on as her personal assistant.” She gave a small laugh as she said this. “Well, I was told I was her personal assistant, though I'm pretty sure the term slave would have suited me better. She only took me on as a favour to my mother and from day one she felt nothing but contempt for me.”
“When did you meet Selwyn?” Harry asked, still emotionless, still staring deep into Marietta’s eyes.
She laughed and said “Not as naive of us as I thought. I suppose Bailey broke like a twig-”
“Answer the question.” Harry interrupted and the slight smile that was on Marietta’s face subsided.
“I met him two years ago, I didn’t recognise him at first but by the time I’d figured it out, I didn’t care. We both had a hatred of our current lives and we realised that the reasons for it weren’t so different.” She then gave Harry the most accusing look that Harry had ever seen on a person. “I told him my job, though I’m pretty sure he already knew of it before approaching me, what I could offer to his plans and he took me up on my offer. Of course he trained me a little in the Dark Arts first before I could attempt anything.” She then leaned in a little and said quietly “Much more interesting than those kiddie spells you were so fond of.” She then gave a slight giggle to herself and said “Way beyond the level of Expelliarmus.”
She continued to giggle until Harry replied “It didn’t seem that kiddie when I used it to defeat Voldemort.”
Marietta stopped her giggling and winced at Voldemort’s name and Harry took pleasure at her moment of weakness.
“Where are the Malfoy’s?” Harry asked and she seemed to regain her calm composure at the question.
“Now? I have no idea. No doubt you’ll trace the Floo Network back to where they started, but they’d be long gone by now.”
“Another country maybe?” Harry asked hinting Selwyn’s plan and Marietta raised her eyebrows from under her hair.
“Well, well, looks like Bailey did let slip more then we’d thought.” And the memory of something else that Marietta was doing sprang to Harry’s mind.
“Where did that Portkey go? The one that vanished when me and Ron disarmed you of it.” Marietta’s eyes were narrowed now and Harry could see that she was thinking hard.
“You’re lying!” Harry shouted. As soon as she had opened her mouth, he had seen the lie in her eyes and he gave a laugh of his own.
“You abuse Bailey for letting things slip, but you’re no better at Occlumency than he is.” At once Marietta averted her eyes, but she knew she had already made her mistake.
Harry leaned in and said “We’ll find out where that Portkey went eventually Marietta.”
“And by that time it’ll be too late.” She retorted, chancing another look at Harry.
They stared at each other for a moment before Harry said “You are responsible for the deaths of so many people and you have the chance to salvage something for yourself.” And Harry saw Marietta’s eyes widen. “You gave the Death Eaters passageway to Emily’s house, killing her. My house, resulting in Natasha Walton's murder. The Ministry, causing the deaths of all of those Witches and Wizards on guard that night and the Malfoy’s safe-house, all of whom are now missing and whose Auror bodyguard is now dead. Help us stop the Death Eaters and I'm sure we can arrange something.”
Marietta stared at Harry for moment and a grin seemed to form on her spot-scarred face. “Selwyn wasn’t lying when he said how feeble you really are.”
Harry’s calmness suddenly subsided and rage seemed to take over. Standing up and drawing his wand, he shouted “Legilimens!”
Harry burst through into Marietta’s memories and saw her, in an almost deserted pub talking to Selwyn and overheard the familiar topic of ‘Whose side she’d be on when the war came.’
He then watched as she placed the Imperius Curse on Lucy, sending her into the Ministry’s Archives to retrieve the files of the newly recruited Death Eaters before wiping her mind of the event.
Then, he was beside her at the deserted Quidditch stadium as she carefully examined the walls of a corridor before finding a loose fitting. Within a blink of an eye he was back at an abandoned Transport Department watching Marietta place a Portus Charm on two magically shielded Erumpent Horns before watching them vanish.
Harry then dove into a memory where he saw her give two short, stumpy looking Death Eaters an empty plastic bottle and watched them vanish, just catching the mention of their destination. France.
After that, he watched Marietta talking to a tall, thin, masked woman with long straight brown hair and Harry had to listen carefully in order to hear the two women.
“Just remember to send word when you’ve met up with Grindelwald’s old lot, let us know what kind of state they’re in. Selwyn recons that their Ministry assault weakened them a lot more than their admitting. Then we’ll be able to inform Cade and Morgana and they’ll meet up with you with reinforcements.” Marietta smiled as she handed the Death Eater a battered old watch. “Then, and only then, must you act.” Marietta finished as the brown haired witch nodded once in understanding before vanishing with her own Portkey.
He was then witnessing her being confronted by two Wizards from the Portkey Office, enquiring about Portkeys being sent to other countries and why they hadn't been informed of them. After making sure that they were quite alone, she drew her wand on them, placed them under the Imperius Curse and forced them to forget about any Portkey that she had approved. Harry quickly made a mental note of what they looked like before seeing that she then did the same to a Witch whom she overheard being given the task of setting up Harry’s new Floo Network connection so that she could carry out the deed herself.
Eventually, after watching her send a message through Lucy’s fireplace that Rowle and Bailey had been captured, Marietta forced Harry from her mind.
Harry and Marietta stared at each other, the bound prisoner breathing heavily. “What’s happening in Scandinavia?” Harry asked trying to regain eye contact.
“You’ll get no more out of me, Potter.” She panted, blinking far more than normal. Harry straightened up and was just about to leave to inform Kingsley of the next attack in Scandinavia when Marietta stopped him.
“And where do you think you’re going?” She asked, still panting from the attack on her mind. “We’re not done here just yet.” Harry turned, surprised at her statement.
“What do you mean?”
“I have a message for you from Selwyn.”
Harry stared at her. Then, after a moment's silence, he sat back down calmly, though his heart was hammering away inside his chest. “We all knew that I’d eventually be caught, admittedly I wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon, but shortly after he had kidnapped the Malfoys this morning, he gave me permission to make a deal with you.”
Harry eyed Marietta suspiciously.
“What kind of deal?”
“For every prisoner you release from Azkaban, you get a living Malfoy.” Her maniac smile returned to her face as she said this and Harry’s heart sank. He quickly tried to think which Death Eaters were still alive in Azkaban but before he could even hazard a guess, Marietta continued “Obviously, I’m included in the deal and I get to pick which other prisoners get selected for the bargain.” They continued to stare at each other, Marietta still supporting her smile. “Should I give you some time to think about it?” She said mockingly, though Harry continued to stare into her eyes which, he was glad to see, was beginning to unnerve her.
Finally, he stood up and said quietly “Just for the record, I gave you a chance and you blew it. You betrayed the Ministry and, in our eyes, you are no better than a Death Eater and I can assure you when you reach Azkaban, I will personally escort you to the smallest, darkest and loneliest cell available.” Harry then leaned in and said, even more quietly “Considering you’re not killed in this war of yours of course.” And, sure that he had unnerved her, even if only slightly, he left, locking the door behind him.
After ordering Lawrence to the Department of Magical Transportation to bring round those who had been Imperiused and to track down the Portkey that Marietta had sent off, he then made his way to Kingsley’s office, ignoring the glances that came his way.
When he finally made it to the large, luxurious office, he noticed that both Hermione, who sprang up to hug Harry as soon as he opened the door, and the new Head of Magical Law Enforcement, Kory Casemen would be joining in on the meeting.
“Ah, Harry there you are. I take it you’ve been speaking with our mole.” Kingsley said. Harry nodded and, after Hermione had released him, sat down between Hermione and Kory and told them of his questioning with Marietta. How she had sabotaged the Ministry’s Floo Network, gained access to its Archives, plant the Erumpent Horns that had destroyed the Quidditch Stadium. Even of how she had sent out Death Eaters to other countries and, finally, of the deal Selwyn had offered.
After sending a Patronus to the Department of International Magical Cooperation to warn the Scandinavian Ministry of a second attack, Kingsley then turned his attention back to Harry. “Did she mention which Death Eaters she wanted released?” He asked and Harry shook his head.
“No, but she said she had say in which prisoners were considered.”
Kingsley considered this and after a moments silence, said “We can’t make deals with the Death Eaters.” Although Harry had expected this, he wasn’t prepared for sharp jerking feeling that started in his chest and seemed to move to the top of his head, forcing him to push on, though he knew Kingsley was not about to make any deals with the enemy.
“Kingsley, with all due respect, Lucius Malfoy might have some information on the Death Eaters that we don’t know about, not to mention the fact that there is a child amongst them.” This last part seemed to hit home on the Minister who closed his eyes as Harry said it.
“Well, we shall talk over that in more detail after but for now I would like to discuss with you about meeting with the International Confederation.” Kingsley said though Harry could clearly see that the prospect of an endangered child was rattling unpleasantly in the Minister's mind. “I have decided to bring Kory up to date now that we know who our insider was.”
Harry nodded before noticing that there were large plans of a building lay out across Kingsley’s desk. “The Ministers wish to discuss the situation as soon as possible and both Egypt and America say they have information that might have a link to current events. Which is why,” Kingsley then seemed to take a deep breath before finishing “We are arranging the meeting to take place tomorrow.”
“What?” Kory exclaimed, clearly shocked at the lack of time they now had to prepare. Harry too was taken aback by how soon the meeting was taking place, though knew that the sooner the Ministries began working together, the better.
“I know it’s short notice,” Kingsley said. “But Hermione thinks we can make it happen.” And Hermione indicated the building plans.
“Well, I thought, now that Marietta’s out of the way, we could use Portkeys to get the Ministers to the meeting place safely and on time.” She then handed both Harry and Kory with a copy of the plans and continued “This is an abandoned Muggle hospital. It’s located in a Muggle town just on the outskirts of the Staffordshire County, so it’s not exactly the first place the Death Eaters are going to be looking, and there are some incredibly large rooms there.”
“What condition is it in?” Harry asked noticing the dates on the building design.
“I had to repair some of the roofing and clear out the room I’d thought we’d use but I’ve checked it all out and everything seems safe enough.” She then pulled out from her small beaded bag, a large file and, from that, a series of letters. “I have these prepared to send to the other Ministers to inform them of the arrangements, considering you agree with the plan, of course.” She added with a shade of pink creeping up on to her face.
Kingsley read through one of the letters that Hermione had handed over and Kory looked at Hermione over his black sunglasses with the air of a man who had just been highly impressed. “I thought you worked for the Department of Magical Creatures.” He said as Hermione dug through her file.
“I do, but Kingsley asked me to help out while Percy dealt with the Archive situation.” She replied not looking at Kory but instead handing Kingsley more pieces of parchment.
“Well, if you have everything figured out,” Kingsley said in an unexpected tone as he handed back the pile of letters with a smile. “I see no reason to question you.” Hermione smiled back and after clearing up, got up to leave. As she left, she brushed Harry’s shoulder with her hand which he knew to mean ‘We’ll talk later’.
Seconds after Hermione left, Kory turned to Harry, pushing up his sunglasses. “So you’re seriously considering taking Selwyn up on his offer? After everything that’s happened today, may I ask how you know he’ll keep his side of the bargain?”
“I was using Legilimency on Marietta when she was telling me about the deal.” Harry explained. “There didn’t seem to be any air of deceit. From her anyway.”
“And say we agreed,” Kory retorted. “We’ve then got about half a dozen more Death Eaters on the run.”
“Do you honestly want to just sit back while they hold Draco’s child hostage?” Harry said calmly and, though Kory fell silent at this remark, his point had been hanging over Harry since Marietta had mentioned the deal. They had spent the past decade rounding up Voldemort’s old followers and now Harry was seriously considering letting some of them go for the sake of the Malfoys. But, although Harry was not the biggest fan of the Malfoy family, he couldn’t condemn them to the tortures the Death Eaters would surely put them through even if it meant the freedom of those who would see him dead.
Harry’s thoughts then turned to how he had felt just that morning, when the Death Eaters had threatened his sons and wondered if Draco was feeling that same sense of pure anger and hatred for those who threatened the safety of his child.
“No,” Kory said in a grudging manner. “But neither do I want to see a group who’s giving us trouble as is grow even bigger. You know what those we’ve got locked up are capable of, how could you even-”
“What they were capable of.” Harry corrected. “Our last Death Eater related arrest was Augustus Rookwood and that was over a year ago; it’s going to take anyone they want back weeks if not months for them to refresh their old talents.”
“Maybe so,” Kory replied hesitantly. “But it still means we wold have Marietta and four other known murderers on the loose again.”
“I know it’s tough to go through, believe me, but think of what we both would and could gain.” Harry stated. “So we need to recapture a few more Death Eaters, with the information that Lucius could provide we could track them down a hell of a lot faster.”
“But there’s the word that counts,” Kory countered. “Could. Do you actually know for a fact that Lucius Malfoy would have valid information on Selwyn and his comeback?”
“Of course I don’t,” Harry snapped back. “But it’s one more chance then we’ll have otherwise and just think of the outcry if it gets out that they’ve captured an infant. The backlash against us alone will make them look stronger than they actually are causing those who are like-minded to think they’ve actually got a chance and join them!”
“We’ll let it play out.” Kingsley intervened in a booming voice and Kory’s head snapped back to stare at him. The Minister had been so quiet during the argument that Harry had momentarily forgotten he was there. “Agree to Marietta’s deal and we’ll see what happens but at the first sign of foul play, we take action against it. Although I’d prefer it you could catch them before any damage was done. Even if they are threatening the Malfoy’s, we must remain vigilant.” Kingsley added and, after reminding Harry that his priorities now lay in the meeting tomorrow and shortly consoling them of the death of Natasha, he sent both Harry and Kory back to work.
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