Chapter 5 : Welcome to Day One
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“Her vitals are improving,” she could hear a faraway voice say.
“Dose her with a half inch vial of Wiggenwald potion,” another voice replied.
Lena struggled to open her eyes, she could feel that she was restrained and it felt like the more she struggled to open them, the harder they shut.
“Wiggenwald suspension administered,” a voice said.
Some time passed, and then out of nowhere, Lena felt a surge of energy course through her body, it automatically had her eyes open and within a few seconds she was in a sitting position, screaming.
Someone held her face and had her look at them, it was an Asian woman with short black hair.
“Agent Jordan,” she said to a Lena that was struggling to get out of her grip, “my name is Cho Chang, I’m a healer at St Mungo’s, you are in our emergency wing and I need you to calm down.”
“Let me go!” Lena screamed, “He’s coming to get me, don’t you understand, he wants to kill me!”
“You were in an accident involving a faulty muggle building which collapsed on you,” Cho calmly explained.
Lena was shaking her head, she did not remember going anywhere, but all she remembered was that Fiero had tried to kill her, “No, he was the one, he tried to blast me to pieces.”
Cho gestured to her assistants to leave the room before looking at Lena, “You suffered severe brain trauma, everything will be alright.”
“You don’t understand!” It was Lena’s turn to grab Cho, “I am not safe here!”
“Now agent Jordan-”
“I swear, you can check my memories,” she pointed at her head, “you will see him, you will see what I’m saying.”
“We already did that, there was nothing of the sort,” Cho tried to push her into a laying position but she was relentless.
“I’m not safe here, I need to get home, I need to make sure he doesn’t strike again,” she grabbed Cho’s sleeves once more and whispered, “okay, if you want me to stay here, at least get me my wand.”
“I’m sorry, I can’t do that. It’s against all protocol.”
Lena gazed desperately at her, “Please, if you were in my position, I’m sure you’d want the same,” she paused, on the verge of tears, “I know that you know what it feels like to feel like you aren’t safe.”
Cho looked at her for a while before waving her wand at her, immediately, Lena felt overly drowsy and fell into a dreamless sleep.
The next time Lena was waking up, she saw a bright pink suit in her line of vision. And as her vision cleared, she noticed, to her dismay, that it was none other than Umbridge.
“Oh, you’re awake now, thank goodness,” Umbridge said as Lena shifted herself into a sitting position.
“What do you want?” Lena asked, not bothering to be polite.
“I just came to give you this,” she handed Lena an envelope.
Rolling it open, Lena saw that it was a notice of leave, “But I’m fine, I don’t need a leave,” she snapped.
“You’re lucky you still have a job, your partner found you just in time,” Umbridge said, “you were as good as dead.”
“Where is he?” she asked.
“The CDAU does not pause just because you are not around,” Umbridge replied as she started to leave the room, “anyway, your grandmother is here and I would not want to waste any time dedicated to family.”
Umbridge was at the door when she turned and said, “And about your direct ignoring of my orders, we’ll talk about that when you get back to work.”
Lena released a frustrated sigh as Umbridge closed the door. Leaning back in her pillow, she felt something hard. Checking to see what it was, she found that it was her wand and a note. The note read;
You were right, I do know what it feels like to feel unsafe. Just thought you might need this, you know, for just in case.
Lena smiled, Cho had come through, she wasn’t half bad after all. The door opened and in walked someone, probably the only person Lena ever truly loved. Short thin woman, auburn hair and the brightest blue eyes she had ever seen. After her parents’ death, Lena went to stay with her grandmother Anya, hers was where she went when she left for the Christmas holidays, hers was all she knew as home. Lena never had any real friends growing up, or even at Hogwarts. Her brash, coldness had always pushed everyone away so for a very long time, it had only just been her and Anya.
“Puppet,” the old woman said as she briskly walked towards the broken auror in the hospital bed.
Lena had been quick to hide the wand under her pillow and leaned in for a hug, “I’m fine…I don’t know why they had to bother you! You shouldn’t have come.”
“Don’t say that!” the old woman scolded, “look at you…you could have died!”
“I’ve been through worse,” Lena rolled her eyes.
Anya sat down on the chair next to the bed, looking at her pointedly, she said, “Whatever, once you’ve been discharged you’re coming straight home with me!”
Lena did not respond, she knew there was no point in doing so. She looked away from the old woman and turned to face the window, the sun was shining brightly and Lena watched in amusement at the muggles that walked in the distance, completely oblivious to the large building close to them.
“…I said its final!” Anya said, causing Lena to turn.
“I didn’t say anything,” she shrugged.
“But I know what you were thinking,” the old woman retorted, getting up, “you’re gonna come, and I’m gonna make you nice toadstool soup with my new dragon scale pot and…”
Lena rolled her eyes and turned her attention back to the window, not bothering to listen to what she was mumbling on about. Her shoulder hurt, and her entire right leg was bound in an enchanted cast. Her left eye was almost swollen shut and she did not have any feeling in the last three fingers of her right hand. Anya was now speaking against why the Ministry allowed women to take on dangerous tasks and Lena kept at her job of ignoring her, the pain in her body rang like a thousand bells but she ignored it. Lena was tough, she had faced worse before and was not going to allow this to stop her. However, Lena knew that it was not just the pain that was ringing in her ears, it was more the questions she was burning to have answered. Every time they got closer to finding a new clue took them further away and every time she was told to give up the investigation, it brought a fresh load of questions to be answered.
She had been with Fiero in the same room, and though she had told Cho that he wanted to kill her, she had seen in his eyes that day that he actually did not seek to end her life. Lena had duelled dangerous wizards, dark and filled with insanity, she had looked into the eyes of murderers and knew when someone thought nothing of her life, but this was different; with Fiero, she felt as though he was more fascinated with her than anything. It was like he was just playing with her within an inch of her life, and he was going to let her live after all. But again, what was it that he was he referring to their whole conversation? He was so cryptic and it was like he did not want her to go forward with the investigation not because of evil, but more like he was scared for her. Lena shook her head; Ferro Fiero was a murderer who killed her parents in cold blood, he could not be trusted. There was no way she was going to make any excuses or assumptions about him, he was what he was and he was never going to change.
“It’s time for her to get some rest,” Lena turned and saw Cho at the foot of her bed, she had not seen her come in. To her right, Anya was angry about being told to leave but Lena could not help but feel a little relieved that she was going to be left alone for some time.
“Thank you,” she whispered to Cho after her grandmother had left.
The dark haired woman gave her a small smile and curtly nodded, “The ministry may not be saying anything but I know dark times when I see them…and we are in the middle of something very, very strange,” she walked towards Lena and helped her shift into a more comfortable position for sleep, “now, you need to get some rest.”
“I’m not tired…thanks,” Lena said feebly.
“Your brain is still trying to heal itself,” Cho told her, “you might feel dizzy, hallucinate and experience some fabricated memories…”
“But I’m not-” Lena did not finish her sentence before she felt a cloud whoosh over her forehead, she felt drowsy instantly. She knew that the Healer must have done something, but too sleepy to say anything, she laid her head on the pillow and was soon snoring.
“So, how was vacation at grandma’s?” Colin joked as they walked into the office.
“Haha, very funny,” Lena said drily as she dusted some remnant floo powder from her sleeve. It was two weeks later and she had been told not to apparate or fly for a month until she was back to normal.
They walked between the rows of desks where some clerks were vigorously going about their work and Lena calmly took in her environment, she was back, and she was ready to work.
“Agent Jordan,” Lena stopped and turned around, it was a little blonde witch carrying some files, “these are for you.”
“Thanks, Mary” Lena said as she accepted them.
The lady smiled and walked away and Lena continued on her path to her office, she listened to Colin explain his latest case which she would be joining.
“…the criminal’s motive is unknown but he’s a show off…leaving us little signatures, we should be able to find him soon.”
Someone tapped Lena on the shoulder, she turned around and saw Mary again, holding a similar stack of files, “Yes Mary.”
“These are for you,” she replied.
“But haven’t you already-” Lena stopped in mid-sentence when she saw that her hands were empty, less than a minute ago, Mary had given her the same files.
“Are you okay?” Mary asked.
“Yeah…yeah,” Lena nodded as she took the files and walked away from her, Colin following closely behind.
“What was that all about?” he asked as soon as they were safely in her office.
Lena walked over to her chair and sat down, “I…I…she had already given me this,” her voice was barely above a whisper.
“What?” Colin furrowed his brow.
Lena shook her head, “Just… never mind.”
Colin sat down opposite her and pushed her biscuit tin in front of her, “Jane refilled it yesterday…she’s the only one excited about your return by the way.”
“Why am I not surprised?” Lena sighed as she took out a biscuit and chewed on it. She looked at her office, nothing had changed; but she noticed that Jane, her assistant, had arranged her papers on her desk.
“Lena,” Colin suddenly took a serious expression on his face, “can I ask you something?”
“What?” Lena’s mouth was full.
“That night…” Colin started uneasily, “the night you were found in the house-”
“You mean the night you found me in the house?” Lena asked.
“Umbridge told me you were the one that found me in the rubble,” Lena replied, seeing the look on Colin’s face, she put her biscuit down and leaned forward, “Colin, what’s wrong?”
“I didn’t find you in that house,” he said, shaking his head, “I’d been assigned a mission to Scotland that night and I only came back two days after…Umbridge told me your gran had taken you to her cottage so Lena, today is the first time I’m seeing you.”
“Huh?” Lena breathed, her hands started to shake, something they had done since the accident.
“The only people with enough clearance to see you were Umbridge and McGonagall,” Colin replied.
“Then who pulled me out of that building?” Lena asked.
“I was hoping to ask you the same thing…word around the office is it was aurors from the Order that retrieved you.”
“I don’t remember…” Lena was getting out of her chair.
“Lena where are you going?” Colin looked at her, full of concern.
“I need to see Umbridge,” she was reaching for the handle when he stopped her.
“Don’t be stupid,” he hissed, “think about it first…remember the last two times you did something irrational?”
Lena opened her mouth to speak but closed it again.
“You nearly got fired and you almost got killed!” Colin finished.
Lena took a deep breath and went to sit back down in her chair, she looked up at her only friend as if he had all the answers. She felt like she was losing her mind; Cho said it was her brain adjusting from the trauma but now Colin proved that Umbridge had lied to her. Lena started to wonder if she had been tampered with on a deeper level.
“Colin,” she said quietly.
“Yes,” he was still standing by the door.
“I need you to take me to the Order,” she said quietly.
“They must have all the answers,” she said desperately, “Colin please.”
Before Colin could reply, a silvery light swooped into the office, causing Lena to flinch slightly, it took the form of a cat and opened its mouth to speak.
“Agent Jordan,” Umbridge’s voice came out of the patronus’ mouth, “meet me in my office immediately.”
The patronus disappeared and Lena shuddered, had she overheard their conversation? Had she placed spying charms in the office? Lena looked at Colin and knew immediately that he was thinking the same thing.
“I need to get back to work,” he whispered before leaving the room.
Lena swallowed hard and got out of her chair, walking to the door that her colleague had left open. Umbridge’s office was just down the hall and she tentatively knocked on the door, pulled on her best aloof face and walked in. The toady old woman was sitting behind her desk, a magic quill penning down something on the parchment next to her. She looked up at Lena and gave a warm little smile, Lena did not reciprocate instead she sat down opposite her and stared her dead in the eye.
“Welcome back Jordan,” she said.
“You wanted to see me,” Lena muttered.
“Willis must have briefed you on your latest directive,” she said. The more time Lena spent in that office, the more hostile she grew of the woman in front of her. It was like there was a tiny creature in her chest that was spreading the venom, convincing her that Dolores Umbridge had done something to her. Lena was about to ask her about it, but instead, she said;
“He did, we were just getting into details when you called.”
“Well, you can forget about it,” Umbridge replied dismissively, “you’re off the case.”
“What?” Lena was scandalised, “this is the second case you’re taking me off of…Willis is my partner and wherever he goes I go.”
“Your review just came back from St Mungo's,” Umbridge pushed an envelope in front of her, “you’re still not mentally stable to work the field.”
“Why do you have my personal records?” Lena demanded, “These are mine!”
“Those are the Ministry’s and whoever is concerned,” Umbridge replied calmly.
Lena hastily read the report, it claimed her hallucinations were too severe to allow her to do any dangerous work and she was scheduled for another meeting to evaluate her mental status.
“So, you think I’m mental now yeah?” Lena asked, mostly to herself.
“Your memories were retrieved to prove whether your claims were true,” Umbridge replied, “8 out of 10 results came out faulty and erroneous…it could be that you were experiencing false memories.”
“Alright this is nonsense!” Lena raised her voice, “You know none of this is true! You know I’m perfectly fit to go back to work and I know you know what really happened that night.”
“Yes I do,” Umbridge said, much to Lena’s surprise who was expecting her to deny, “you went out against orders and trapped yourself in a faulty building which had been scheduled for demolition in the muggle world.”
Lena shook her head, “Lies.”
“I will not be accused of lying,” Umbridge said sharply, “now, until your mental state is checked and stable…you have been assigned to Evidence and Archives with Weasley.”
“You’re sending me to the basement floor?” Lena asked incredulously, that was the most subordinate job any auror could have in the ministry, it was an insult to an auror of Lena’s status.
“Your shift there started ten minutes ago,” Umbridge ignored her tone, “if I were you, I’d rush there if I wanted to keep my job.”
Lena wanted to say a lot of things to the toad, but remembering Colin’s words of warning, she got up and coldly walked to the door, showing herself out.
Lena descended down the rarely used stairs to the basement floor. It was one long corridor lit by clinically bright lamps. It was one of the few places which had not been renovated since the ministry’s inception so the floors were still of the wood panels which once graced the entire ministry building hundreds of years ago. Lena walked down the empty corridor, the soles of her shoes tapping audibly in the silence, she approached the large oak door and pushed it open. The sight before her made her gasp silently, there were rows and rows of bookcases that had no end. On empty desks to her far right sheets of parchment were busy filing themselves and recording data.
“Hello?” Lena called.
“Oh hi,” Rose Weasley appeared from behind a tall filing cabinet, “need anything?”
“Yeah…apparently I work here now,” Lena muttered as she leaned on a desk.
The redhead smiled brightly and approached Lena, who did not return the smile, “I got assigned here too…ever since they shut down that case...you see the wizard that worked here caught spattergroit and-”
Lena cut her off, “So, exactly what is it we do here?”
“Nothing much…it’s just organising the tagged bags and sending out evidence when requested…nothing interesting ever happens down here.”
“No kidding,” Lena replied drily.
“I’ve been here two weeks, and the most exciting thing that’s happened is me finding an old chocolate frog card.”
The door opened and in walked two men suspending a stack of assorted items with their wands. At the sight of Lena, one of them lost focus of his task, causing the miscellaneous items to fall to the ground.
“Oh…sorry,” the little man squeaked.
“That’s okay,” Rose tried to reassure him as they hastily put the pile back together.
“You’re agent Jordan yeah?” the second wizard, a young man with shoulder length brown hair asked.
“So what if I am?” Lena replied.
“Your lot don’t come down here often, that’s all,” he drawled, then looking at Rose, he said, “this here’s the stack that’s come from Curse Breaking…so handle with care cos some of it’s Dark magic.”
Rose nodded and smiled reassuringly to the smaller man, “Thanks Grant, Poe.”
Grant and Poe walked out of the vast room and Lena and Rose remained alone once more.
“Well then,” Rose smiled at Lena, “welcome to Day 1.”
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