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Chapter 65 : Interrogations
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A/N: Sorry for the delay, life has been quite hectic. But here is the new chapter nonetheless... Read, Review, Enjoy!
“Well?” Ginny asked as soon as she opened the door to Laurel’s knock.
The healer smiled in surprise. “You know I can’t tell you what Draco and I talked about.” She said as she walked into the room and took a seat on the bed.
“I know… but he’s okay, right?” She pushed, sitting next to her.
“You’ll have to ask him.” Laurel laughed lightly at Ginny’s persistence, reaching out to pat her arm. “But to ease your mind, I think he’s just fine. Now, how are you? I was so scared for you when I heard about the train yesterday.”
“I’m fine.” Ginny answered quickly. “I mean, my back hurts but I have herbs to take for that and it’s already getting better.” She added for reassurance.
“I’m glad to hear that… but we both know I didn’t mean physically.” She smiled before turning serious. “In addition to the horrors of having to fight, I understand that there may have been some emotionally traumatic experiences.”
Ginny nodded, wondering what exactly Draco had told the woman about yesterday. “There were, but I got myself past them.”
“Oh?” Laurel seemed pleasantly surprised, but it was the sense of pride Ginny felt from the healer that made her feel even better than before.
“I’ve moved past everything that made me uncomfortable and I accept everything that has, is, or will happen between me and Draco. As for the war… I think I feel more prepared to face it than ever before. Even with new villains and problems, I really feel like we could win. The only thing that still scares me is who else I will lose before it’s all over… but that’s normal, right?” She felt more like herself than she had in years, but to have someone who she trusted support this feeling was the thing she believed would push her totally back into the right frame of mind.
“I don’t know that normal exists in dangerously tense times like these, if at all… but concern for those you love is important if you want to be someone capable of sustaining relationships.” Laurel once again reached out to pat her arm. “I never thought there was anything wrong with you, Ginny. You just needed to figure yourself out and I’m glad to see that you are on that journey and embracing it.”
She nodded happily and giving into the moment, leaned over to throw her arms around the woman’s shoulders and hug her close. Laurel returned the embrace, giving her a reassuring squeeze before pulling away and looking in her eyes. Ginny wondered if she was thinking about her lost sister who she’d claimed Ginny reminded her of. “I’m glad you made me talk to you all those months ago.”
Laurel smiled warmly. “I’m glad you allowed me to come back.”
“It didn’t feel like I had much of a choice.” She laughed as they both stood.
“Yes, but you did. Clearly you had wanted the friendly ear offered to you.” Laurel returned with a smile. “Was there anything else, anything besides what happened yesterday that you want to discuss?”
Ginny thought about Fred and his secret captivity on the island… but they had already settled things between themselves. Then there was that fight she’d never settled with Ron… but after being presented with his and everyone else’s mortality yesterday, she felt they could also settle things between themselves, especially since he wasn’t acting like a jerk anymore. “No, I think everything else in well in my control.”
“Well then, it seems you don’t really need me anymore.” She teased.
“Of course I do!” Ginny insisted as dread overwhelmed her at the thought of losing this strange friendship.
Laurel laughed. “Don’t worry, I’ll always come if you need to talk. But I am extremely proud that you seem prepared to take control of your life and work through your problems with more thought and care.”
After another hug of comfort, Laurel took her leave to go see other patients… but Ginny liked that she felt she was special, that the woman would always drop everything to come to her aid. With a sigh of contentment, she made her way back to Draco’s room and confidently knocked on the door. He answered right away, an air of distraction around him as he waved her in. “Are you okay?” She asked.
He nodded and sat on his bed, staring off into space. “Just thinking.”
Ginny climbed onto the bed and moved to sit behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist. “About?” She prompted, resting her chin on his shoulder.
“What are your plans for when Potter and the others leave?” He asked quietly, reaching to absently run his hands up and down her arms.
“I don’t know… I guess I always figured we’d go with them. Why, what are your plans?” She felt wary all of a sudden and once more wondered what exactly Draco had discussed with Laurel.
“I don’t know.” He replied honestly. “I don’t want to be left behind… I’m not sure I want to go with… I don’t think I could stand myself if I just ran away.”
“I assume all of those options involve me.” She teased, lightly kissing his cheek.
“It wouldn’t be an option if it didn’t.” He assured her, turning and pulling her into his lap. She let him hold her, doing her best to offer comfort.
“I’m not the sort to run away anymore Draco… and you never were.” She recalled her attempt during the summer to lure him into leaving the country with her. He had refused then just as he hadn’t run after betraying Cho or Lucius, just as he hadn’t run after being bitten by Harland or beaten by the Slytherins. It wasn’t in him to abandon the new life he’d made for himself, the life he’d worked so hard to gain.
“If I went with… forget the dangers already out there waiting, I can’t be the thing that ruins everyone. There will be no Drake to brew up Wolfsbane as a backup… what if I lose my amulet again? Laurel thinks I’m capable of learning to control the wolf to an extent… but she also said a wild animal is just that and can’t be counted on to remember training that goes against instinct.”
“And if we stay behind and they run into other werewolves, ones who don’t care to control themselves? They have Jacey to help with any vampires they may come across… don’t you think they need you to protect them as well?” She said, playing to his sense of morality and desire to repay Harry for everything he’d done for him including giving him a place to live for as long as he wanted.
“With Lupin losing his job, he intends to go with Potter.” He argued.
“And that’s not more reason for you to go?” She argued back. “Your friends and now part of your family will be out there in the world, don’t you think they’d want you there with them?”
Draco shook his head. “I think I need to talk to Potter.”
“Well, he already left for Azkaban to talk to Mr. Macnair.” She told him, having been down in the kitchen when Arthur had insisted Tonks and Kingsley leave with Harry and Jacey before he left to go to the ministry with Luna to meet up with Xeno and Nerezza.
“Now isn’t the time anyway, not when there’s so much else to worry about.”
“Well, you don’t have much time to figure it out. They leave in less than three weeks.” She insisted.
Draco held her closer and nodded. “I know.”
Luna was nervous as she sat with her father and Arthur, waiting in Nerezza’s office for the man to appear. Just relax. Try not to look so suspiciously nervous. She heard Arthur think out to her in a comforting tone while offering her a wink and a smile of encouragement.
Technically I am guilty of what he accuses me of, I had a vision about the train. She thought back, unable to contain her concern. She wanted Harry and Jacey with her but knew it was better if they were far from those who wished to accuse them.
Before he could silently reply, the door swung open to reveal Seth Nerezza and another man. “Good morning.” He greeted them with a sneer as he took his place behind the desk and gestured to the man. “This is Gerald, he will be recording our… meeting.”
“Let’s move this along, we all have far more important things to deal with than this clear violation of the rights of two upstanding citizens.” Arthur replied coldly.
“Very well Minister.” Nerezza was both upset and pleased and though his mind was locked up tight, Luna knew he was very much enjoying this game. “Mr. Lovegood, how long have you been receiving visions such as the one you claim to have had yesterday?”
“Since I was born. Why is that relevant?” Xeno crossed his arms and sat back in his chair, intent on showing he couldn’t be intimidated.
“To establish whether or not you are to be believed.” Nerezza shot back readily. “So it is through your bloodline that this ‘ability’ was passed down to your daughter?”
Change the line of questioning! Luna quickly thought out to Arthur as a sense of foreboding washed over her. She didn’t want to go anywhere near the topic of bloodlines or let this man know that her family was connected to Gwendolyn Crowley. She knew Arthur had Moody pull all of their files from the records and archives and so the only way to confirm any suspicions Nerezza or Voldemort may have was to be tricked into talking about it… unless of course they already knew. Since Nerezza had been the one going into the Archives and taking things, he may have already researched both her and Harry. Thank goodness they didn’t know Jacey’s name… Only Elise had that knowledge and Luna had a strong feeling the woman hadn’t shared what she knew with Voldemort.
Answer him. Arthur silently instructed Xeno who was uncertain, but he was ready to put his faith in the Minister. “Yes, I passed on this wandless power to my daughter.”
“And so now their history of these visions has been established and I am willing to attest to the accuracy with which they are able to predict certain situations.” Arthur said with authority. “Move on Auror Nerezza, and I suggest that you keep your questions contained to yesterday’s events. We wouldn’t want anything you learn here to be tainted by an interview that directly violates the Lovegoods’ rights.”
“A well thought out statement, Sir.” Nerezza said with a note of sarcasm.
“Perhaps you should start thinking things out a little more.” Arthur returned.
Nerezza sat up straighter and turned his attention directly to Luna. “What exactly did you see in your vision?”
“I saw the tracks explode as the train went over them. And then I saw Death Eaters and Dementors overtake the train and attack any who survived the crash.” She answered honestly with Arthur’s approval.
“And?” The evil Auror pushed while strengthening the shields around his mind… clearly he didn’t want her or anyone else to know where he was going with all of this.
“And then I told Professor Lupin and he went to warn the driver.” She added simply, not caring to give more than what was requested of her.
Nerezza leaned forward on his desk and stared at her so intently she could feel her father stiffen in protective displeasure next to her. “Yes… now tell me about the vision that placed you all on that train instead of the Hogwarts Express.”
Luna sensed Arthur’s uncertainty and Xeno’s indignation and was unsure what to do, how to answer. What she did know was that it was best to keep the others out of it. “That one was less clear, more of a warning. But my warnings are almost always correct and so I went to Dumbledore and told him an attack was planned.”
“All by yourself? You alone put together what was happening?” He pushed.
She thought of Harry who had inadvertently shared the warning dreams she had leading up to the train crash, of Hermione and Fred’s communication devices and of the letter Elanya had sent Fred… then she went to that detached dreamy place that had served her so well and merely shrugged. “I saw the vision and went to Dumbledore… he made the decision along with the ministry to redirect the students.” It wasn’t a lie at all, she'd simply excluded the others from her story.
Here Arthur took his chance to jump in. “And if you have any more questions on the topic of why the decision was made to transfer students to another train, you can direct them to Albus and myself. We are the ones who chose to take Luna at her word and as the Hogwarts Express was also blown up, I doubt there was ever a way to avoid what happened.”
Nerezza shook his head and smiled. “I only have one more question for the girl regarding yesterdays events.” His smile darkened into sinister glee as he turned back to Luna. “What do you know of Elise McKinney, Sarah Elaine, and Elanya Delamora?”
“How is that relevant to her visions?” Arthur quickly interrupted.
“Because, according to reports, those are the names Hermione Granger and your son Ron gave to the Aurors when they went to warn everyone on the train of what Luna had claimed to see.” Nerezza answered pointedly without looking away from her. “Well, Miss Lovegood? Your friends specifically mentioned those women as a threat along with the Death Eaters and Dementors… and after the crash, it is clear from reports that not only had those women turned against Voldemort’s forces, they were helping you, Mr. Potter and several other students.”
“They were also fighting us… it was a three way battle out there.” She replied distractedly, allowing her focus to go out the window where she could see that it had begun to lightly snow. She now knew what he wanted from her… answers as to why Elise, Sarah and Elanya had turned against Voldemort and whether they were allies. She certainly wanted to assure the man that she and Harry were in no way aligned with the women, but she wasn’t about to go into the at-length history they all had together as enemies.
“Clearly those women are out for themselves.” Arthur argued. “If you wish to know the reasons behind their actions, I suggest you ask them.”
A knock at the door interrupted Nerezza’s response and they all looked up to see one of the new Aurors who’d tried to arrest her and Xeno at the hospital. “Sorry for the interruption, but Minister Weasley, you are needed in your office immediately.”
“Oh?” Arthur said suspiciously. “And what is so important?”
“Classified sir, I don’t know. I was only sent to find you and relay the message.” The unknown Auror answered with an air of demented amusement. It made Luna nervous to think of Arthur going anywhere alone with that man.
“Well, then I guess this interview is over.” He stood and gestured to her and Xeno that they do so as well.
“Hardly Minister.” Nerezza said casually from where he remained seated. “I will gladly wait for you to return before continuing with an official line of questioning. We’ll just maintain friendly conversation until then… I assure you, anything they say will be off the record.”
“I still find it inappropriate.” Arthur refused to relent.
“And I find it suspicious as to why the Minister is so insistent on protecting these two people that he is willing not only to delay a call for his immediate presence but also refuse such a reasonable offer from the Head Auror. It might make some begin to wonder what it is you’re so afraid the Lovegoods will say.” Nerezza’s face was blank and yet there was no hiding his intense enjoyment of this game of strategy. “It may even make some begin to wonder whether you have everyone’s best interests at heart or only those closest to you and I’m sure those are thoughts you’d rather not have spreading through the magical community.”
Go. Xeno told Arthur. It will be fine. We simply won’t speak to him at all.
Luna was as uncertain as Arthur was about whether this was a good idea, but she knew threats to his job had to be taken seriously and so she too urged him. We know they planned this, to get you away for awhile… let them, we’ll stay quiet.
He nodded and walked to the door. “If this distraction takes any longer than ten minutes, I’ll be sending someone to collect Xeno and Luna and we’ll continue this another time… if you see fit to go on with this ridiculous questioning.”
“Very well sir.” Nerezza said gleefully, waiting for the door to close completely before turning to Luna and her father. He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms as he studied them. “Well… it seems we finally have a few moments alone.”
Harry couldn’t shake the uneasy feeling he had, though unlike Jacey, it had nothing to do with the giants lumbering around them... She was huddled close to him, this being her first ever encounter with the beings. Relax, they probably won’t hurt us. He half teased in an effort to calm them both. But there was nothing to ease his extreme discomfort. He didn’t like being so far from Luna that they were unable to communicate… It always left him feeling empty and anxious, and it allowed his thoughts and fears to build up in that empty space in his mind that was usually taken up by her far more positive presence.
Jacey squeezed his arm in comfort as they were led into a room to wait for the Aurors to bring Mr. Macnair. You trust Arthur, right? Luna and her father will be fine… right now, we have to concentrate on finding out how to keep any other vampires from following you looking for Tristan. She thought to him. He merely nodded, knowing there was no way anything else would have his full attention at the moment. They sat with Tonks and Kingsley and waited in tense silence.
At last the door opened and Macnair was brought in. He glared at them all as he was chained to his chair… they used far more restraints this time than they had when Harry had come to see Cho with Arthur and Dumbledore. The vampire already looked thin and hollow, obviously weakened by hunger and Harry found himself wondering just how often a vampire prisoner would be fed blood. Clearly he would die without it, but they surely wouldn’t want him getting too strong… so where was the balance? Just how hungry was Macnair? It made Harry all the more nervous to know that there was one more reason to fear that the man wanted to rip out their throats… especially one as primal and instinctual as hunger.
Tonks and Kingsley stood and gestured that Harry and Jacey remain where they were. Pulling out a thick file, Tonks approached the vampire and spoke with confidence. “You are Henry Jacob Macnair?” He glared at her with furious hatred and refused to answer but she paid him no mind. “It doesn’t matter whether you answer, we know who you are. You have two choices today, speak to me of your own free will or drink the truth serum Auror Shacklebolt will happily force down your throat.”
Kingsley stepped forward, pulling out a large vial as proof of their intentions. “Forcing me to take that is a violation of my rights.” Macnair said in a low, dangerous voice.
Unfortunately for you, it isn’t. Until the law changes, humanoids don’t have the same rights as other wizards.” Tonks answered steadily. Only Harry and Jacey could see the deep discomfort she felt for making that statement as both her husband and her cousin were humanoids with few rights and could just as easily be caught up as Macnair. Hopefully things were going better for Luna who was entitled to all of her rights… at least until psychics were officially added to the list of people to fear…
His mind is open so he will not be able to lie in front of us, he is too weak. Jacey pointed out to them all. Harry hadn’t even taken the time to notice and doubled his efforts to keep his attention on the events taking place in front of him.
"Read my mind all you want little girl.” Macnair turned his full attention on Jacey. “I know who you are… most of my kind do. Shall I say hello to Alexandros for you once I free myself from this place?” He grinned viciously and Harry could feel Jacey’s anger, indignation and fear building within her. “Do your new friends know you could have just as easily been facing them in that fight yesterday?”
"She isn’t the one in custody being questioned.” Tonks took a protective step between Jacey and Macnair, breaking off their visual contact with each other.
You know Macnair? Harry asked.
Jacey was angry and confused. No, but I can understand how he would know me. It is a good thing Tristan never got a good look at me or there may have been an even bigger vampire problem at Hogwarts.
"So what is it that you want to know?” Macnair asked, still wearing his sneering smile.
"Why have you aligned yourself with Voldemort’s forces?” Tonks asked with purpose. “And how long exactly have the vampires been in his service.”
"Some have been with him from the beginning.” He shrugged. “As for me, I have my reasons, none of which I feel the need to share with you.” And then he leaned forward, looking past Tonks and directly at Harry. “Unless of course you’re willing to share what you know of my son.”
"Tristan Macnair escaped Hogwarts before he could be taken into custody for questioning about the disappearance of another student.” Kingsley answered while silently insisting that Harry remain silent.
"Lies!” Macnair hissed out. “And they both know it!” He pulled against his restraints in an attempt to point an accusing finger at Harry and Jacey.
"And why was your son transferred to Hogwarts in the first place?” Tonks threw back without hesitation, making Harry wonder how much Lupin had shared of what he knew with his wife… was she aware that Tristan was dead? A quick glimpse of her mind showed that she was and though he wanted to be angry that Lupin had shared the secret, Harry couldn’t feel anything other than relief that she knew enough to help them now.
"To gain a superior education.” Macnair answered with heavy sarcasm.
"Knowing where your alliances lie, I highly doubt that.” She returned. “How long has your family been aligned with Voldemort?”
"Since before there was a Voldemort!” He laughed.
The Dark Society… his family was part of them long before he was turned into a vampire. Jacey thought out, having picked up on the man’s thoughts. Harry felt her nudge him… they both feared that he may have just have found a link to information about Ruby and Richard Adler.
Get him to talk about it! Harry excitedly pleaded with Tonks who was confused but agreeable.
“So, the Macnairs have been involved in the anti-muggle movement since the Dark Society… Who were you following then?” She asked as if she didn’t care whether he answered.
It worked, the man was clearly eager to guide the conversation away to a topic he felt they should have no interest in… after all, the Dark Society was decades in the past. “No one. There was no leader back then. Just a group of mostly like-minded individuals.” Macnair easily answered.
“Mostly?” Harry asked before he could stop himself. Tonks turned to glare at him but he couldn’t help the hope that had burst out of him.
“There were a few who weren’t willing to go as far as the others. Their belief in a pure wizarding race wasn’t as strong.” Macnair was startled into answering, peering around Tonks to stare inquisitively at Harry. Looking at the man’s thoughts, it was clear he was interested to know why a seventeen-year old was eager for information about something that existed a whole generation ago…. He was also wondering how to use it to his advantage. “You want to know more about it Potter? Tell me about Tristan and I’ll tell you about the Dark Society. Until then, I have nothing else to say.”
Harry didn’t know what to do. He could feel Tonks and Kingsley’s anger with him… the prisoner was certain to remain silent now that it seemed he had information that was desperately wanted beyond normal questioning of his crimes. Their threat of using a truth potion had been a bluff, humanoid or not, defendants couldn’t be forced to drink anything that may compromise their defense… Hermione had told him this during Cho’s Hogwarts trial last year.
Let me talk to him alone. He quickly thought out, not caring what he had to say to find out more from the man. But he did care that whatever was said remained private.
Absolutely not! Tonks answered instantly.
You don’t have to leave, issue a cone of silence. He pleaded.
I will ensure that Mr. Macnair does not try to hurt Harry and vice versa. Jacey added her assurances in an attempt to help.
Why are you so interested in the Dark Society? Kingsley asked suspiciously.
I can explain later. Harry said with the intention of only buying time to figure out a viable lie… Luna, Hermione and Jacey were the only ones who knew anything about this and until he was sure about his grandparents role in the Dark Society, he didn’t want anyone else to know that his family could possibly have ties to something like this until and unless it was necessary. The last thing he wanted was to feel ashamed of his grandparents and if Macnair could help him prove that Richard and Ruby weren’t the people he thought they were then he would do whatever it took to get that information.
Please Tonks… it’s important.
She sighed and shook her head. Fine, just don’t tell Arthur… he was very clear that you and Jacey were meant only to be observers here.
“Have you all figured yourselves out?” Macnair sneered as he broke the sudden silence of the room. Harry wasn’t concerned… the man may know that they were talking in their heads but with him and Jacey shielding there was no way he knew what they were saying.
“Mr. Potter is going to speak privately to you now.” Tonks informed him as Harry got up and moved his chair directly across the table from Macnair. “Let me warn you both that should anything other than a conversation take place, we will do whatever is necessary to end it.” She looked directly at Harry before waving her wand and enclosing the two in their own little world of silence.
He could feel Jacey still in his head but she was much farther away now… ignoring the empty place in his mind where Luna should be, he focused on the man in front of him and tried to forget everything else. “You know I don’t even really have to ask you anything to get the answers I need, right?” He asked, lowering his voice to sound as threatening as he felt. “There are specific things I want to know from you and unless you want to risk me invading your head and seeing everything you’re hiding in there, I suggest you answer me honestly.” The vampire remained silent but Harry could see that he was reluctantly agreeable to the compromise. “Exactly how old are you?”
"Old enough.” Macnair said, clearly angry to be put in the position of being questioned by someone who would know if he was lying.
"Walden Macnair… he was your younger brother. Much younger.” Harry persisted, picking up on a few of the man’s swirling thoughts.
"As you can see, I was already in my 30s when I was turned. Walden wasn’t my real brother, he was adopted when my parents wanted to replace the son they thought they lost.” Macnair said contemptuously. “I only met him four times in his shortened life and it was four times too many as far as I was concerned.”
"Well, that explains why you never sought vengeance for his death.” Harry replied.
"There was nothing to avenge, he wouldn't have made it long in this war anyway.” He grinned with vicious impatience. “Get to the point Potter, before I really get angry.”
"Your threats lose their credibility when you're in chains.” Harry shot back. “Tell me about the Dark Society... Who led it? How many members were there? And when did they become the Death Eaters?”
"What's the matter, find your history lessons lacking at that sham of school? Or are they too spineless to teach the other side of the story?” Macnair taunted. Harry pushed with his mind, ensuring the vampire felt his presence invading his head. “Okay!” He sat back as if trying to distance himself. “No one led the Dark Society, they were made up of the brightest, strongest and most capable pureblood witches and wizards in London... twenty-five of them to be exact. And yes, my wife and I were among them, our affliction only made us stronger in the others' eyes. We made decisions and acted as a whole... until Thadeseus Rogan came around.”
"I've never heard of him.” He protested. Despite Macnair's dig, Professor Binns had briefly covered The Dark Society in class and if this Thadeseus was important then certainly he would have been mentioned. He began to wonder whether he really could believe Macnair's story without looking in his head.
"Nor would you have, he was Lord Voldemort's first kill... at least under that name. Who knows how many deaths Tom Riddle is responsible for.” Macnair smiled threateningly. “Thadeseus showed up spouting all these ideas about how the muggles and half-bloods were weakening our whole society and we would all be better if they were eliminated. Most of us agreed with him, though not to the same obsessed level. Only four voted against allowing Thadeseus to join the society, the Lovegoods and the Adlers.
Harry nearly fell out of his chair in surprise, in his mind he could feel Jacey's shock mingling with his. “The Lovegoods were part of the Dark Society?” He asked, forgetting his own grandparents for a moment. Were Luna and Xeno aware? Surely if Luna knew she would have told him... but if her Grandmother never told for the same reason that the Adlers had to disappear, then why had the Lovegoods been able to keep their family name? These thoughts whirred through his mind in seconds, leaving him feeling dizzy.
"There's darkness in the backgrounds of all families.” Macnair laughed meanly. “But to put your poor little heart at ease about your friend, The Dark Society only became fearsome after the Lovegoods and Adlers left. Before, it was more of a group of like-minded individuals looking to better their community by the promotion of keeping the bloodlines pure... though I will admit, there were some of us who weren't quite the respectable citizens we were pretending to be. Belonging to such a prestigious society helped in other endeavors we were attempting. Either way, the extreme measures taken in the name of the goal of purifying the wizard world only came about when first Thadeseus and then Voldemort took over."
Hearing something like regret or disappointment in the man's voice, Harry seized on it. “You sound like you don't exactly agree with the direction Thadeseus and then Voldemort took your group... why didn't you and your wife just leave with the Lovegoods and the Adlers?”
"Because we didn't disagree that strongly.” He bared his teeth, his fangs unable to hide due to his hunger. “And they didn't just leave.” He added, once more garnering Harry's full attention.
"What do you mean.” He demanded.
"They all four completely changed their way of thinking about how much damage half-bloods and muggle-borns were having on our community... You see, the Adlers had a daughter who was showing all signs of being a squib. Under Thadeseus's plan, they would have had to groom the girl for a life of servitude as a third class citizen, never able to rise above her position. And that was something they couldn't agree to, not with the possibility that the girl could still inherit Ruby's wandless powers.”
'Of course we knew! How could you not be, my dratted sister being what she was? Oh, she got a letter just like that and disappeared off to that ... that school - and came home every holiday with her pockets full of frog-spawn, turning tea-cups into rats. I was the only one who saw her for what she was ... a freak! But for my mother and father, oh no, it was Lily this and Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family!' Aunt Petunia's words floated through Harry's head as he recalled her telling his eleven-year old self that she knew all along about the wizarding world. Suddenly he had a new understanding of the woman and her jealousy of Lily... being a squib, Petunia must have been relieved to leave behind the magic for life as muggle where she would be considered normal- which explained why she strained her whole life to be the picture of perfection to anyone looking in from the outside. She would have been furious to know that her new life was ruined by Lily taking their new name back to the world she'd escaped... worse yet her parents had rubbed it in her face with their happiness that one of their children would be what they had wanted all along. Harry shook it off, not wanting to understand his aunt any better. This was about his grandparents... and apparently Luna's as well. “What about the Lovegoods?” He asked to continue the conversation.
"With their own son on the way, they sided with the Adlers and decided they couldn't raise their child in such a hateful place... They were such strange, dreamy people to begin with. It's not surprising that they didn't have the stomach for the death and destruction Thadeseus was proposing. More than that though, they left because Juniper Lovegood had those powers your friend inherited and Thadeseus was desperate to have her predict his rise to power... when she refused to tell him the future she saw was the one he wanted he became furious. She must have had seen his plans for her and was already certain her child would be taken from her to be raised by the group and trained to use his powers only for them.”
"So they left the group... all four of them...” Harry pushed.
"My wife was with Juniper when she received a vision that her husband was about to be killed while he was at work... she went to the ministry for help but it took them too long to believe her and so his body was found several hours later. Rather than blame the ministry for their ineptitude, she demanded they allow her to train for a position with the Aurors so that she would have the knowledge and ability to protect herself and her son. As far as I know, they wanted her to change her name and go into hiding, but serving in the Aurors' Royal Watch Division was something of a tradition in her family and she succeeded in getting placed there. It was a smart move, a hard place for Thadeseus to reach out to her what with the constant presence of other Aurors in the elite Division. And once Voldemort took over, her betrayal to the cause was lost with Thadeseus's corpse."
Harry knew that was all something that could easily be verified during the trip to see her grandmother that Luna had been wanting, and perhaps Juniper Lovegood would be able to verify the actions and eventual fate of his own grandparents... for now, he had to rely on Macnair's memory. “What about the Adlers?” He persisted despite Tonks' glare of impatience.
"They are trickier...” The vampire smirked, almost as if he knew why Harry was interested... but it was a bluff, a quick look through his mind proved that. He was fishing for something to give him the upper hand. Again Harry pushed against the other's mind to reinforce his threat to search out answers for himself.
"Why?” He asked with determination.
Macnair sighed and leaned back in his chair, deeming the information he had to give less dangerous to reveal than other things Harry could discover in his head. “Because they took something from Thadeseus and then completely disappeared.”
"What did they take?” He was unable to hide his eagerness for the information and Macnair knew it.
"Where is my son?” He countered, making his move and using the last of his strength to throw up towering shields around his mind. “I will end this conversation, all it would take is one lunge in your direction and your Auror friends will instantly send me back to my cell and far out of range of your thought stealing ability. You won't get the answers you seek unless you tell me where Tristan is.”
Harry pushed against the shields, feeling Jacey use her own powers to assist him. But the vampire had been waiting, conserving his energy for this moment and he was putting years of practice keeping mind readers out of his head into use. Perhaps if they had Luna, maybe even Gabby as well... but as it was, it would take a lot of time and energy before they two would breach the fortress alone. Should he gamble on Luna's grandmother knowing about the Adlers and just walk away from Macnair now? He just couldn't take the chance. “He's nowhere.” He answered quietly.
"What do you mean?” Macnair demanded.
"No... I answered a question for you, now you answer one for me. What did the Adlers take?” Harry countered.
"Okay, have it your way.” He angrily replied. “They took something that Thadeseus had stolen himself.... Did you and your friends kill my son?”
"My friends had nothing to do with your son unless he was threatening them, they certainly didn't kill him.... What was it that Thadeseus had stolen that the Adlers took?”
"Something Thadeseus thought would make him very powerful... Did you kill my son, Potter?” Macnair leaned forward angrily and bared his fangs. Harry silently told Jacey to keep Tonks and Kingsley back while he continued this exchange of information.
"He pushed me to the edge, we fought quite a few times and the last time we fought, things went very wrong for him... What exactly was this thing that would've made Thadeseus believe it would give him more power?” He tried. But it was over... they'd both exposed enough to each other to use their own knowledge and connect the dots.
"You killed my boy.” Macnair accused in a low menacing voice. “You have no idea the wrath that is about to descend on your head boy... Tristan was a lot more special that you could imagine and there is someone who will be seeking your head with more vengeance and hatred than even I could achieve."
Harry was on his feet in an instant, having seen the vampire's intentions in the way he tensed his body. The chains ripped away in less time than Harry had expected and he just narrowly escaped Macnairs outstretched claws. Tonks, Kingsley and Jacey were all in action... Jacey created a wall of fire between him and the vampire while the two Aurors used their wands to subdue the creature who had been hiding his strength under a guise of weakness. The cone of silence was gone and Harry could hear everyone shouting... but it was Macnair's last statement that was ringing in his ears as he picked up the raging man's thoughts. Fighting against the effects of the Aurors spells to bind him had shattered the focus Macnair had used to shield his mind and only one brief glimpse was enough to shake Harry to his core. Apparently, Tristan was very special indeed... He was one half of the only pureblood vampire twins known to have ever existed...
“Gerald, the tea. You should have attended to it while the minister was here.” Nerezza scolded the man standing next to him who wordlessly turned to a small side table to arrange a tea tray. He turned back to Luna and Xeno and she had to hide the shudder of intuitive distrust that wanted to rush down her spine. “I do apologize for any inconvenience this meeting has caused either of you. But you must understand that with a tragedy like we faced yesterday, every avenue must be explored to discover just what happened and how to proceed.”
“Of course. And so what if that means treating two people who helped out to the peril of their own lives as criminals?” Xeno muttered though he could reluctantly admit that his daughter's life had been far more at risk than his for their separate contributions to assisting in yesterday's tragedy. But that didn't make him any less upset that they were both now going through this interrogation for their troubles... It was one of the main reasons he'd never advertised his visions and hadn't wanted Luna to either.
“That is why you are both here.” Nerezza returned with a deceptively pleasant smile. “To ascertain just how much you helped so we can clear your names.”
“Clear our names of what?” Xeno demanded, taking the bait and forgetting his word to Arthur that they wouldn't say anything at all. Luna tried to rein him in, but he brushed off her silent warnings figuring he knew better.
“People like you and your daughter's friend Harry, people with these wandless abilities... they can't always be trusted. These powers make you all more dangerous to those without them as there are few ways of defending against you.”
“That's absurd!” Xeno argued, absently reaching out to take the teacup Gerald held out to him.
Luna received the vision in a flash and instantly reached out to knock the cup away from her father's lips. In her haste to stop him drinking the liquid, she accidentally brushed several things on the desk and sent them tumbling to the floor. “No!” She shouted as both her and Xeno leapt to their feet, causing their chairs to topple.
“What are you doing?” Nerezza demanded, signaling Gerald and calling in two other Aurors from outside the door to come in take them into custody.
“You had him put a sleeping potion in the tea!” Luna accused as she struggled to get Gerald to release her arms.
“Oh? What tea?” Nerezza sneered, waving his wand and making the cups and liquid on the floor as well as the whole tea tray disappear while leaving the chairs and the things that had fallen off his desk scattered all over. “We were simply having a pleasant conversation while waiting for the minister to return when you went crazy and started throwing things around. You have tried to attack the Head Auror in his own office, you are in big trouble young lady.”
“Like hell she is! Arthur will never believe it.” Xeno said, pushing against the two men who were holding him back.
“You are free to go Mr. Lovegood, clearly it was your daughter we really wanted as her powers to see the future are far more pronounced than yours.” Nerezza smiled threateningly. Against Xeno's protests and attempts to fight them off, the two Aurors dragged him out of the office leaving Luna alone with the Head Auror and Gerald.
“What do you want?” She asked with a strong voice, trying not to betray her fear.
“It's impressive you saw the trick with the tea, I had expected the older generation to have better control over their power.. too bad you weren't able to also see it for the trap it was.” Nerezza taunted, ignoring her question. “You are in my custody now Miss Lovegood and this has turned from an informal questioning to a decision about whether or not to charge you for your 'attack' on me. The only way the Minister can help you now is by getting you a proper attorney.”
“So, what do I have to do to walk out of here without your false charges being placed on me?” She demanded angrily, knowing that Arthur would probably risk his job to make this right and expose Nerezza. She couldn't let him do that for her and so all she could do was try to bargain for her freedom.
“You won't be walking out of here.” Nerezza replied steadily as Gerald forced her to stand still. “You have two options, either agree to willingly leave your friends and serve as Lord Voldemort's personal seer or rot away in Azkaban with the Death Eaters you helped put there until your friends can arrange a trial for you... a trial that I promise none of you will win.”
There was no way she would willingly allow herself to be brought before Voldemort, it would be a certain death sentence. But perhaps in Azkaban she would stand a chance of survival until she or the others could figure out how to get her out... and it would buy time as well as inspiration for Arthur to work harder at exposing Nerezza in a way that won't put him in jeopardy. “Send me to prison.” She declared with all the bravery she could muster. After all, she came from a long line of strong women, from Gwendolyn all the way up to her own grandmother who had spent years in the Royal Watch Division. Despite her father's attempts to drag their name further down into the depths of strangeness, surely there were some who remembered that the name Lovegood once meant something. Nerezza had only two ways to explain her disappearance without exposing himself, either she became a willing Death Eater and abandoned her friends and Harry or she went to Azkaban where any number of other inmates could recognize and kill her... despite how badly Voldemort may want her and her powers, she knew he didn't want her friends chasing after her and finding him before he was ready so unless she willingly went to him, he wouldn't want the trouble... maybe it would be worth it to him to get Harry but not her. Besides, if she were in Azkaban, at least Voldemort had the comfort of knowing where she was and that he could reach out to her at any time. This was all strategy and she could only hope she'd played it to the best of her ability.
So you are thinking that the thing Thadeseus had was the Marqueesian Scrolls? Jacey prodded Harry during their silent ride back home with Tonks and Kingsley.
I'm thinking a lot of things. He sullenly replied.
Yes, well... there is nothing we can do if it is true that Tristan had a twin. That is something we will have to deal with as it comes and perhaps we can discuss the possibilities with Lupin later. What we can do is unravel the mystery of your grandparents. She returned with force, trying to bring him out of this slump even while knowing Luna was possibly the only one who could reason with him... and even that was not a guarantee.
Yes, I think Macnair was saying that Thadeseus had the Marqueesian Scrolls. He mentally sighed. It would explain why Voldemort knew of them and if the Adlers stole the scrolls and handed them over to the ministry then that explains how they were able to barter for completely new lives... Surely Thadeseus would have come after them.
But Voldemort came around years later... Jacey thought hard, trying to piece it all together.
Harry shook his head. Macnair made a point of bringing up Voldemort's real name... Tom Riddle must have somehow known of or been involved with the Dark Society despite his status as a “half-blood”. Dumbledore or Arthur could probably tell us more about it, but I don't really care. Whenever he became involved, we know what happened. He turned the Dark Society into the Death Eaters and has been destroying lives ever since. What I need to know is everything about these scrolls and where they are and how Thadeseus was able to get a hold of them.
Because if it was that easy for him to get his hands on them, then it could be even easier for the man who killed him. Jacey finished his thought. What about this Jennitha August person you and Hermione were so sure helped your grandparents disappear? Maybe she knows about the scrolls... maybe she is the third person besides Dumbledore and McGonagall who knows where the scrolls are.
And how do we find her? He again shook his head, this time in frustration.
“You two are awfully quiet back there... must be an intense conversation.” Tonks teased from the passenger seat of the Ministry car that had been waiting to pick them up after leaving Azkaban's island. “We'll be home soon.” she added with a smile.
Harry perked up and looked out the window having been too distracted to realize they were so close to his house. Jacey sensed his distress immediately. “Something's wrong.” He said quietly, his face growing grim with fear and anger.
“What do you mean?” Kingsley demanded as he drove.
Rather than answer, Harry reached out and took Jacey's hand. She could feel him sending his mind out further, using her energy to amplify his. “What is it?” Tonks asked, already preparing herself for danger.
“Arthur and Xeno are back at my house... so where's Luna?” He was beyond upset and though she tried, Jacey could not sense Luna either... the girl was out of their shared range.
Tonks relaxed slightly knowing they were not in immediate danger, but she still looked disturbed. “Arthur promised they wouldn't be taken into custody.” She said quietly, more to herself than in an attempt to soothe Harry.
“You cannot promise anything when Death Eaters are involved.” Jacey muttered. Kingsley sped up, blatantly ignoring the rules of the road in his haste. Harry did not wait for the car to even fully stop at the curb outside his house before leaping out and running up to the front door. Jacey and Tonks were right behind him as he burst in and instantly went to the kitchen where he knew Arthur to be.
The minister was sitting at the kitchen table with his head in his hands while Xeno sat next to him... Molly was attempting to soothe them both. All three adults looked up with sadness and nervous fear when Harry entered the room, clearly Arthur had been dreading their return and the things he would have to tell them. “What happened? Where is she?” Harry demanded.
“Nerezza set us up!” Xeno loudly exclaimed, leaping to his feet and running his hands through his hair as he paced the kitchen in angry agitation.
Arthur slowly explained what had happened but Jacey could tell Harry wasn't listening, he was waiting for the end which Arthur was carefully hiding behind very high walls. “Neither Xeno nor I know what happened once they took him out of the room...”
“But?” Harry prodded impatiently.
“I've received word that Luna has been arrested for assaulting the Head Auror.” Arthur admitted, bracing himself for the reaction he knew was coming.
But Harry held himself together, keeping his anger closed up deep within himself. “Because of the tea tray that no one can prove was there.” He said in a tight, dangerously low voice.
“I'm sure the creep had wiped any trace of his spells from his wand by now.” Xeno replied as he still angrily paced. “And without everyone knowing who he really is, who out there besides Arthur will take my word over Head Auror Nerezza.”
“Anyone who knows Luna.” Molly answered soothingly. “There are enough people who know she would never do something like this, that anything she does is always to defend and never to attack.”
“Where is she now?” Harry interrupted, not caring to hear hope and wanting only action. Jacey reached out to place a reassuring hand on his shoulder but he shrugged her off.
“You know where she is.” Arthur quietly answered, hanging his head in defeat.
Without another word, Harry turned and walked out of the room. They all heard him storm up the stairs and the resounding slam of his bedroom door. Feeling awkward standing in a room full of virtual strangers, Jacey simply shrugged and followed Harry's lead with much less drama. She had just reached the third floor to go to her room only to find all of the teens gathered in the hall talking quietly. “What happened?” Hermione asked as soon as she caught sight of her.
With a heavy sigh, Jacey went to her room and gestured everyone in, waiting for them to settle before telling them everything she knew. “This is insane!” Ron cried out when she was done. “Nerezza will never be able to convince anyone that Luna attacked him.”
“Without anyone knowing he's working for Voldemort? Why wouldn't they?” Hermione sadly responded. “We know Luna, but to everyone else she's only Xeno Lovegood's daughter... and his name isn't held in very high esteem.”
“But her grandmother's was.” Jacey interrupted. “And since this Daily Prophet newspaper you have here in London has proven unreliable, his Quibbler magazine has gained a much better reputation... from what I saw in his head, he intends to use it to spread word of Nerezza and try to free his daughter.”
“Dad won't like that.” Fred shook his head.
“Which is probably why he has not said anything about it aloud.” She returned.
“I've never heard of this Seth Nerezza... he must be new to Voldemort's ranks.” Draco put out, trying to be helpful.
“So where did he come from?” Ginny wondered.
Catching something beyond her closed door, Jacey turned to the others and silenced their conversation. “Harry is on his way down here.” She warned them as she prepared herself for whatever haphazard plan Harry wanted her to be a part of.
Seconds later, he burst into the room without knocking and looked around at all of his friends as he clutched his invisibility cloak before turning to Fred and Hermione. “I need one of those compacts so we can all stay in touch.” He told them before turning to Jacey. “I'm going to Azkaban, are you coming with?”
Luna knew exactly where she was being led. The cuffs were digging into her skin but she refused to show any sign of discomfort as Nerezza and his Auror squad dragged her along behind the giant into the women's cell block... the very same one she and Harry had used to try and escape Azkaban right before school had started. She desperately wanted to hear his voice in her head once more, reassuring her that everything was going to be okay even if they both knew it was a lie. Elise had warned them that things like this were coming, that their powers would give people a reason to fear them and thus not care about their misfortunes.
Her eyes scanned the familiar corridor and landed on the sculpture of the tree and it's twisted branches... they where coming closer to Cho's former cell... surely they wouldn't put her in there...
“Hey, haven't you been here before?” Asked a low feminine voice quivering with age. Luna glanced to the side and saw the woman Cho had called Abigail, the one with milky, unseeing eyes who had begged them to take her with when they escaped.
“Keep moving.” One of the Aurors nudged her. “And don't mind the ramblings of the insane... I'm sure you'll be one in the same in a very short while.”
Without the Dementors there to terrorize the prisoners she doubted it... especially since she'd long ago gotten used to the giants. But she wasn't going to argue the point. In fact, she was determined not to say another word to Nerezza or any of his squad. “Here we are.” The Head Auror told her with a sneer. They had in fact arrived just outside Cho's old cell and they were indeed intending to put her in there. Rather than give them the satisfaction of shoving her in, she walked past the bars herself and kept her back to the Aurors as the door clanged shut behind her. “Turn and place your hands out.” Nerezza instructed.
Knowing that obeying meant the removal of the cuffs, Luna reluctantly turned and did as she was told, sticking her hands through the bars. Resisting the temptation to rub her wrists in relief as the cuffs fell away, she simply stared at them accusingly just in case any of them were able to feel guilt or remorse. “Bet you wished you had seen this coming.” Nerezza taunted with a laugh. “I'll be back in the morning to see if you've decided to change your mind.” He added threatening before walking away.
She didn't bother to shout a reply after him, not really caring what he thought of her. She knew why she hadn't seen this in her future... her ending up in this cell had been dependent on so many choices and decisions. Had her father not tried to reach for the tea she wouldn't have decided to stop him from drinking it... had Arthur not decided to go against all of their instincts and leave, none of this could have happened at all. And in the end the choice had come down to her... willingly abandon everyone she knew so they wouldn't chase after her to Voldemort or come to Azkaban and hope something could be done to help her.
Surely Harry knew by now what had happened... what haphazard plan was he throwing together? Would he risk coming here to break her out? Yes... she was fairly certain that's exactly what he would come up with in his panic. But should she go with him if he did show up here? What other horrible things would happen if she disappeared from a cell Nerezza had wanted her to be in? Her head was spinning with the possibilities and she desperately hoped for a vision... something to come and guide her in some sort of direction because at the moment she was at a complete loss for what her next move should be.
Feeling dizzy, Luna sat down on the small cot and stared at the wall, waiting for the world to right itself once more... above all things, she must remain positive. If she wasn't getting a vision it must mean that the possibilities for her release from here were endless.... The longer she stared at the wall the more off something about it seemed. Perhaps her attempts to remain hopeful were so powerful that her eyes were beginning to play tricks on her. She shifted her gaze to the floor for a moment before looking back at the wall... it seemed perfectly normal except for three bricks near the bottom behind the small sink. The area was bathed in shadows but for some reason, it was glaringly obvious to her that something was wrong... had she just received some kind of small vision?
Blocking out the sounds of other inmates talking and screaming, she slowly got up and made her way across the tiny cell. Getting down on her hands and knees, she reached under the sink and hesitantly reached out to touch those three bricks. Holding her breath, she gently pushed and was happily excited when the bricks easily moved. Now feeling emboldened, Luna pushed all the way and found her hand in a shallow hole in the wall between her cell and the one next to hers. It could have been here for decades, but she was suddenly certain that Cho was the one who had used it and so she carefully felt around now knowing there was something here she was supposed to find. At last her fingers brushed against a stack of papers and she pulled them out into the dim light.
They were letters, clearly hand delivered as there were no markings at all on the envelopes. She quickly opened them but found that whatever was written was in some kind of strange code... perhaps even another language though she'd never seen one like it. Well, she couldn't read them... but she certainly felt better having them in her possession. The only other thing that had ever seemed so oddly important to have had been the dragon's claw... she reached to grab for it in reassurance before remembering that the necklace had been taken along with everything in her pockets when she had been brought into the prison. She prided herself on thinking ahead and leaving her wand at Harry house that morning as she didn't want anyone like Nerezza to have it in their possession.
Clutching the letters, she chose to look at her current imprisonment in the best possible light... everything happened for a reason and if she had to come here to find whatever these letters were, then she was willing to wait and see what happened next.
Hermione and Ron had not been pleased with the idea that they were going to Azkaban to break Luna out but Harry didn't care. A compromise had been struck that the compacts would be left open at all times so they would all be in constant contact with each other... but he didn't care about that either. He wasn't sure what was going to happen, would they have to flee London and begin their travels early? Perhaps and he was ready to do it if it meant getting Luna out of Azkaban... it was the last place he wanted anyone he loved to be.
“If anything goes wrong-”
“I know, you'll go right to Arthur.” Harry interrupted Hermione's warning. “Do you have a better idea than this? Do any of you know the right move or what to do next?” They all shook their heads, looking anywhere but at him. “Okay then. The only person who can possibly tell us our next move is locked away in prison so I have to go there... if breaking her out isn't the right thing then hopefully she'll know what to do. But we have to be able to at least talk to her in order to do anything at all.”
“We all know that.” Jacey said softly, taking the invisibility cloak and preparing to wrap it around him and herself. “I am ready to go.”
“Be careful.” Ron and Ginny said at the same time.
Harry flipped open the compact and then disappeared under the cloak with Jacey. They were on Azkaban's island moments later and he immediately called out for Luna.
Harry? Jacey? You guys came even quicker than I thought you would. Her still positive voice returned. It was the best feeling in the world to have that connection to her again and already some of his manic anxiety was leaving him.
Where are you in there? Fred has the floor plans again. He thought to her while trying to figure out how to get in.
I'm in Cho's old cell... I found something that I think is probably important for us to know. I just can't read it, it's all in code or something. Luna told them.
Harry took exception to the calmness in her voice as he was freaking out that she was in the very cell Cho Chang had inhabited for nearly a year. Should we get you out? Jacey thought, hoping to get that out of the way before they went through the trouble of breaking in.
I don't know... Luna's voice trailed off in their minds and she began showing them the things she was seeing in her sudden vision. Apparently Hagrid was planning to visit the prison at some point as they saw him and Madame Maxime walking through the gates.
“What's going on? Why is it so quiet?” Ron's voice trickled up from the compact.
“Because they're breaking into Azkaban so shut up until they say it's safe to talk.” Fred's frustrated voice followed.
“We are talking to Luna before going in... she has just had a vision of your giant friend being here.” Jacey quietly answered after Harry placed a silencing charm around them.
So what's it mean? He asked Luna, handing over the compact to let Jacey talk to the others.
I'm not sure... I think they might somehow be the thing to help get me out. Luna hesitantly replied.
“Harry!” Hermione was calling for his attention. “Listen, if Hagrid is coming for some kind of meeting with the giants, then ask him to tell the Gurg that there's been some mistake about prisoner transport! He can get the giants to completely delete Luna's name from their records and then there's no proof other than Nerezza's report... and since Arthur has declared that all of the Head Auror reports go through his office, he can make that go away too.”
“If Hagrid can convince them.” He replied though he suddenly felt hopeful. He hadn't wanted to have to go on the run or risk endangering Arthur's job by forcing him to choose whether or not to order the Aurors after them. But could it be done this way?
It's worth a try. Luna answered his thoughts. Hermione is smart and I saw Hagrid for a reason.
Harry felt himself smile... this was what had been missing all day, that positivity infused voice that fueled his hope. And that voice had always been Luna's even before he'd known her... so whatever happened he knew one thing, he wasn't leaving without her.
“Look there's a boat coming to the island.” Jacey pointed out.
Far off in the distance, a small rowboat was magically making it's way across the water while the two large figures inside chatted with each other. Without even having to send out his mind, Harry knew it was Hagrid and Madame Maxime and quickly used his telepathy to tell them that he was there.
Harry? Why on Earth would you be here o' all places? Hagrid thought out.
Why are you two coming here? He thought back, wanting the full picture before attempting this plan.
Arthur wanted us ter talk ter the gurg abou' the giants sleeping in supervised shifts so that Sarah woman canno' use 'em ter break anyone else out. Hagrid answered, always one willing to give information and be helpful.
We need your help to talk to the giants about something else... and while you're talking to them, Jacey and I will be quietly breaking Luna out of the prison. Harry said as Jacey talked into the compact, letting the others know the plan and to fill Arthur in only if they were successful.
Luna's in there? Hagrid asked in horror.
Not for long. He replied before explaining exactly what they needed him to do.
Luna felt better knowing Harry was there and that they were currently working on a plan that wouldn't involve going on the run. He was working things out with Hagrid now... while keeping herself fully connected to him, she blocked off the conversation and used her time to look over the cell really well to be sure she hadn't missed something else that Cho had forgotten in her haste to escape.
And that's when the feelings of fear began to creep up on her... something or someone was coming. She was reluctant to let Harry know, certain that he would become careless if he thought her to be in trouble... but she was suddenly certain that she was actually about to be in trouble. “Auror's coming!” The woman in the first cell called out as the sound of the lock on the main door clicking open resounded down the corridor.
Luna shuddered, already knowing the Auror was coming to see her and that he was not one of the trustworthy ones. Still she held off in alerting Harry... better to wait and be sure that this man was going to be a danger.
Footsteps echoed around the suddenly silent cell block. Rather than press herself against the bars to see like the others, Luna retreated to the back wall and stared straight ahead, waiting. Sure enough, the man stopped right in front of her cell and looked at her for a moment before shaking his head and letting out a regretful laugh. “Well, it seems you already found what I came to look for... what a shame for you.” He pointed the letters still clutched in her hand, all placed back into their envelopes... their blank envelopes...
It hit her at once. “You're the one who delivered these to Cho.” She accused.
“For an appropriate price.” He said slyly as he regarded her with a predatory grin. “Of course, we could make a similar arrangement... I have always liked blondes better.”
“I won't be here as long as Cho.” She answered with false confidence as she resisted the urge to wrap her arms protectively around herself.
He shrugged and reached his hand through the bars toward her. “If you say so. Either way, I want those letters.”
“Why? Because they prove you had an inappropriate relationship with a now escaped inmate?” She moved her hands, keeping the letters behind her back with no intention of handing them over.
“They prove nothing. I didn't write them, I only delivered them. I had nothing to do with her escape, at worst I'll lose my job.” He replied angrily. “Right now I'm losing my patience... Cho somehow heard that you were being brought here and she wanted those letters before you could find them. So give them over!”
“No!” She shouted defiantly.
“You think you're safe in there?” He taunted. “You're the prisoner and I am one of the captives... there is no protection here for you little girl. This is Azkaban.”
“I know where I am and I know exactly how well protected I am.” She answered while silently calling out to Harry and Jacey... clearly it was time to admit she needed help regardless the consequences.
“This is your last chance... give me the letters.” He threatened.
“Very well.” He unlocked her cell and threw the door open as his entire frame blocked the entrance and preventing her slipping past him. “I was trying to play nice, but now you're about to see how mean I can be.” He said with a sinister grin as he raised his wand and came toward her.
NOTE: Again, so sorry for the delay and I hope to never have that long a lull between posts again. Thanks for reading and look for more soon!
NOTE: Aunt Petunia's quote from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling (Chapter 4, page 53)
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