Chapter 30 : 29- The Rage of Debt
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The next two days made Harry feel as though he’d been thrown back in time. Every single member of Dumbledore’s Army had answered the call and had spent the time since then training with a number of Aurors. Although Harry had been preparing himself to say something as to why he had reformed the old Army, none of the members seemed surprised at all as to why he had called for help. Instead, they only required a quick brief as to what was happening and seemed ready to train with Harry and prepare for if Selwyn’s army attacked.
There were even more arrivals to the call then Harry had expected as many of the D.A members had brought their partners. Though Harry wondered whether they had been forced by said partner to bring them as Harry suspected was the case with Dennis Creevey, who kept a worried eye on his fiancée, Millie Baker, throughout the session.
Luna and her boyfriend however, were completely the opposite. While they worked incredibly well together, neither of them seemed too worried on the rare occasion one of them got injured.
One of Harry’s biggest worries was that, as most the members hadn’t so much as seen a proper fight since the Battle of Hogwarts, they would be shaky in the art of magical combat. This worry however, was quickly subsided by the amount of skill his friends were showing.
Although none of them showed the talents of his Aurors, Harry was more than satisfied with the progress they were showing in such a short amount of time and was sure they’d be able to handle themselves against any escaped prisoners whose magical abilities would surely be rusty.
“Great work everyone!” Harry called out when he noticed fatigue settling into the people around him. “I think we should call it a day for now.”
“Thank Merlin for that!” Cried a panting Seamus Finnigan as he grasped a stitch in his side.
“Come on, Seamus.” Terry said, smiling along with Neville and the rest of the Aurors whose stamina appeared to have been unaffected by the training.
“It’s almost like being back at Hogwarts.” Angelina said as she handed a wand back to a disarmed George.
“I let her take it.” He snarled at his sniggering brothers who he was clearly regretting bringing along.
“So, when’ll the next meeting be? Same time tomorrow?” Luna asked.
“I would’ve thought we’d know through the Galleons again.” Ginny replied looking at Harry.
“It makes sense, I can’t promise to keep up this schedule but-” But Harry was cut off by the sound of the doors of the Training Hall slamming and everyone turned to see Kory Caseman standing at the doorway.
“Harry, a word?” He said in a strained voice. Harry waved off the rest of the D.A, leaving Susan, Anthony and Terry to detail what would happen in the next meeting and left the busy room with Kory.
“I hear you’ve been leaking Auror information to non-Ministerial workers.” Kory said staring at Harry through his pitch black sunglasses once they had made it to the main office.
“It’s nothing people can’t already figure out, Kory, and if they’re offering to fight with us they have a right to know what’s going on.”
“Look, bringing ex-Aurors out of retirement is one thing but you’re asking people- Civilians!” Kory corrected himself. “To fight against Wizards and Witches who would give highly trained and skilled Aurors trouble. You didn’t even come to me for permission to train them on Ministry premises.”
“Time is of the essence, Kory, and we can’t afford to wait around for-”
“I have set my arguments against your recent actions aside for Kingsley’s sake but I cannot ignore this.” He interrupted making Harry’s head grow light with anger.
“This was Kingsley’s idea.” Harry retorted and, although he could not see Kory’s eyes, he noticed his eyebrows inch up slightly.
“Nevertheless,” Kory continued. “Even Kingsley has his limits and, while storing known and dangerous Death Eaters within the Ministry might not be it, I must warn you, if you continue like this you will land yourself into deep trouble.” He then watched as the D.A left the Auror Office and breathed deeply through his nose as though calming himself. “Have you at least record checked these... recruits.” Kory asked.
“Every person here was asked at least one security question but almost everyone here participated and risked their lives back at Hogwarts.”
“And the others?” Kory interrupted, inquisitively.
“A few of them brought their partners, but there’s no one here I haven’t already met.”
Kory watched as the last of the D.A left the Training Hall and said quietly “We’ve already had one Ministry insider, and if what I hear is true, that started out as a D.A member bringing someone along.” And before Harry could retort, Kory left, his long golden hair swishing through the air as he turned.
Harry didn’t know whether to feel angry or insulted. He knew that Kory hadn’t seen Harry eye-to-eye on a lot of his recent decisions, like most of the rest of the department, but he would have thought recruiting more people to help fight Selwyn’s army would’ve lifted Kory’s spirits. Deciding against pursuing Kory for an explanation, though making a mental note to raise the conversation to Hermione’s attention, Harry began making his way back to his office.
“You know, you could have stood up to him far more aggressively.” Said a rough female voice. Caitlin Tyrus was leaning against the wall round the corner, the perfect place to hear Harry and Kory’s conversation without being seen.
“The last thing I need right now is a full blown argument with Kory.” Harry replied. Tyrus shrugged with a smile and looked away from.
“Well I just thought a bit of hostility would’ve knocked the jealousy out of him.”
“And aggression into him.” Harry retorted. “And who said he was jealous of me?”
“Well it’s pretty obvious.” She said. “I mean you’re Kingsley’s right hand man, his go-to-guy before anyone else in this place. And as the Head of the entire Law Enforcement Department, that’s got to sting a little for old blondie.” Harry didn’t reply. “Suit yourself.” Tyrus continued as she stretched out yawning. “I suppose it’s not like he’s a threat to you or anything. As far as anyone in this place is concerned, you’re the number two man and even the number one in some cases.” And she nodded over towards the entrance to the Training Hall on the other side of the Department. Harry turned and could just make out Naomi walking along side Susan, Anthony and a muscular red haired man Harry made out as Charlie Weasley and he couldn’t help but notice the link between the figures of Naomi and Charlie.
“What I’m saying is don’t be surprised, or even bothered for that matter, if Kory lashes out at you.”
“Thanks but I think Kory is a bit more intelligent and professional than to feel jealous of me.” Harry retorted and Tyrus looked him dead in the eye, her expression changed to one of far more seriousness.
“Intelligence and professionalism rarely has anything to do with how someone might feel, Potter, and if you’re just learning that then I’m surprised you’ve made it as far as you have as an Auror.” Harry kept the stare between them going until eventually, she leaned back against the wall and said “So when are me and Savage needed for guard duty?” And Harry knew that was as much of a back-off as he was ever going to get with Tyrus.
“Tomorrow morning at ten.” Harry answered as professionally as he could. “You’ll meet me here and you’ll be guarding Kory’s office while we try and sway the Italian Minister’s judgement.”
“You think you’re going to convince that Pygmy Puff to fight? I didn’t know things were that bad.” Tyrus smirked though Harry didn’t smile.
“Just try and make sure Savage is sober.” Harry retorted and he continued his way towards his office.
As he strolled through the Department, he noticed many of his Aurors packing up earlier than usual or else passing the time by re-reading documents and papers and Harry guessed it had something to do with their lack of assignments and cases.
When Harry finally entered his office, he found Ginny sitting on his desk smiling at him.
“Thought I’d wait a bit before leaving. Let mum get rid of all the grand-kids first.” And she raised her arms in indication of a hug. “I knew you’d come round eventually.” She said as Harry walked over to her. “Only Neville and Kingsley kept telling me not to push you into the idea of asking the D.A for help. That it had to be up to you when you were comfortable with it.” She wrapped her arms around his waist. “Only you’re not comfortable with it, are you?” She continued and Harry shook his head slowly.
“No but Seamus and Terry seem fine with it.” Harry replied flatly before continuing “I’m asking my friends to fight and risk their lives for a situation that I should be sorting out, again.” Ginny placed her chin on his chest and looked up at him.
“And you expected your friends to watch as you took on Selwyn and his army on alone?”
“If the rest of the Confederation would just stop being so stupid and agree on a way to fight together instead of keeping themselves to them-” Harry started in frustration but Ginny had stood up and had put a finger on his lips to stop him.
“I know.” She whispered consolingly. “But they are being stupid and they are keeping themselves to themselves.” Harry began to speak again but Ginny kept her finger hard on his lips. “And I know you’re worried it might be a repeat of last time and I know you’re worried about Ron and the others in America. I know, Harry.” She finished calmly. She removed her finger and kissed him.
When they broke apart Harry said, weakly “I became an Auror so I could stop this sort of thing from happening again.”
Ginny nodded her head in understanding and said “Well, now you’ll have to stop it before it becomes worse than last time. You have to be a leader, Harry, and you can’t be a leader by isolating yourself.” The two stared at each other in the eye and as they kissed again, Harry was sure that, while he was not visible in his portrait, Sirius was keeping an ear on their conversation.
As the morning sunlight shone through the window of the Burrow spare bedroom, Harry’s eyes flickered open from his mercifully dreamless sleep. As he put on his glasses and picked up his wand, he saw it was already half-past-eight and forced himself to get up.
When he got downstairs, he found Molly, Albus snoozing in one arm, helping herself to her own breakfast while Harry’s rested on a plate beside her.
“Poor thing couldn’t sleep and I thought you needed at least one good night’s rest.” She said indicating the sleeping baby in her arms.
“Thanks.” Harry replied as he sat down and tucked in.
“Ginny said you were meeting the Italian Minister today.” She said as Harry swallowed a large mouth full of toast.
“Uh-Yeah,” Harry said as his windpipe cleared. “Kingsley said that she was the first to say no for sending Aurors to America so if we convince her, maybe a few others might follow.” Molly looked at Harry as though the decision had already been made. “We know it’s a long shot but it’s the best we’ve got right now.”
Harry wolfed down the rest of his breakfast in silence and as he stood up to clear his plate, Molly interrupted. “I don’t suppose you’ve heard from Ron.” Harry looked at her.
“No, not since he left. We’ve had updates from Lance and the American Minister but...” Harry’s voice trailed away as he held his Mokeskin pouch where his Two-Way-Mirror resided.
“Hermione said something had been troubling him before he left and she’s afraid he’s acting rash because of Emily. I was wandering whether he’d said anything to you.” Harry thought back and remembered the conversation he’d had with Ron the night Enfer Vann Prison had its break out and realised that the events that followed had removed the discussion from mind.
“He asked me if I’d ever felt like I’d had enough of fighting.” Both he and Molly fell silent as Ron question rattled through his mind.
“And have you?” Molly asked tentatively but Harry’s reply was interrupted by Sirius.
“Thought you should know, Harry, there’s a Witch Weekly model in your office who thinks he’s Head of Magical Law.” Harry smiled at Sirius’ remark, though Molly’s last question stopped him from laughing.
“I’ll see you tonight.” Harry said and, with a kiss on his son’s and Molly’s foreheads, he walked into the fireplace and vanished into the flames.
Kory was pacing up and down Harry’s office as Harry stepped out of the flames. “You wanted to see me.” Harry said as he sat down at his desk.
“Lance Ryder will be joining us in meeting with Minister Mulvenna.” Harry nodded as he pulled sheet of parchment from the pile that had defeated him the other day, though Kory was still staring at him. “I spoke with some of the Night Guard before they ended their shift this morning. They said that Marietta is becoming more nervous with each passing night.”
Harry lowered the parchment. “She’s been held prisoner for nearly a week now while awaiting orders from Selwyn that are her only hope of getting released. Of course her nerves are beginning to-”
“I’ve sent her to Azkaban.” Kory stated. “Along with the other Death Eaters.”
Harry stood up from his chair, the parchment he had been reading left to fall to the floor. “You-You did what? You had no right! No authorisation!”
“I had every right, Potter and you forget yourself when you mention authorisation to me! You have been harbouring these murderers within the Ministry for three days and Marietta for a week with no sign of further use of them.” Harry stared at Kory, unable to believe what he was hearing and a rage that he had not anticipated overflowed his mind giving him the sensation of pins and needles in his brain.
“HOW DARE YOU UNDERMINE ME!” Harry shouted and it was obvious Kory had not been expecting this amount of anger. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t report you to Kingsley and do everything in my power make sure your reign as Head doesn’t even see its second week unless you order their return immediately.” Harry unwillingly threatened. He forced himself not go further for fear of how far this alien rage would go giving Kory time to go on the offensive.
“The Minister might have you in his good books, Potter, but even Kingsley understands basic Ministry security and, last time I checked, holding murderers and Death Eaters in a place full of Ministry workers wasn’t mentioned as a protocol! We’ve already had one Ministry break in, we don’t need a second.” He finished, trying to calm himself but Harry was too busy trying not to act on the anger that was swelling in his brain. Mercifully he was spared another assault from or on Kory by the entrance of Hermione, who looked as though she had walked in on a murder scene which, if the unwanted anger Harry was repressing had its way, it probably would have been.
“What is going on?” She asked.
“Did you know your boss had sent the Death Eaters back to Azkaban?” Harry replied, still trying to ignore the pounding in his head.
Hermione turned to Kory. “Is this true?”
“Of course it’s true, Hermione. And don’t act like you didn’t have your own doubts towards Potter’s choice of Ministry residents.”
Hermione sighed deeply. “Kingsley said that Minister Mulvenna and Lance Ryder will be arriving early.” Both Harry and Kory glared at Hermione, as though they were offended for her changing the subject. “Might I suggest that we discuss the matter later? Preferably after a war changing meeting.”
Harry and Kory both breathed deeply before Kory made for the door. “I’ll see you in my office for the meeting.”
When Kory had left, Harry slumped onto his desk, massaging his forehead.
“What has gotten into him?” Harry asked.
“He’s become paranoid about the safety of Ministry workers. From what some of the others from the Department have told me, he was very close to Kitty. Natasha’s assistant, the one who-”
“I know who Kitty was.” Harry said, a bit more harshly than he had intended.
“Yes, well, ever since her death and deaths of so many other higher ranking Ministry workers lately, he appears to have lost his trust in our defences. Are you okay?” She added and Harry knew she had noticed the amount of attention he was giving to his pounding head. “It’s the Debt, isn’t it?” Harry nodded.
“I’ll be fine, it’s just a bad headache that’s all.”
“He looked as though he was about to rip Kory a new place to stick his sunglasses.” Sirius interrupted. Hermione looked from the portrait and back to Harry.
“I could tell Kingsley you’re ill or-”
“I’m not taking time off at a time like this, Hermione.” Harry interrupted.
“You’re not in your right mind Harry. Who knows what you might end up doing. Maybe Kingsley would understand-”
“I’m fine, Hermione.” Harry repeated. “If Kingsley found out he’d take me out of the department himself. I just need a moment to relax and I’ll be good to go.” Hermione still did not look satisfied.
“Just try not to kill Kory in front of the Italian Minister, it’ll just make us look bad.” Harry smiled weakly as Hermione made for the door. “I’ll go check on Kory. Just remember to be at his office for ten with security.” And she left without another word.
Harry spent the best part of the next hour trying to relax and calm himself so as to avoid another shouting outburst. Mercifully, both Tyrus and Savage had both come in early and Harry assigned Lawrence and Naomi as office security.
The five of them walked up to the office without Harry saying a word and, leaving Tyrus and Savage on either side of the door, they entered the office. Harry found Kingsley and Kory waiting in the spacious office that appeared to be glowing emerald green in the light pouring in from the large enchanted window. Kory appeared to be refusing to meet Harry’s gaze.
“They should be here soon.” Kingsley said in a dissatisfied manner and Harry had the suspicion that he knew of his and Kory’s argument. Seconds later, the room was filled with the sound of Portkeys as the young, attractive Italian Minister, Alice Mulvenna and the muscular, scruffy-haired Head of the American Aurors Lance Ryder appeared in the office. Accompanying Alice were two Wizards wearing silver hemmed robes who eyed Naomi and Lawrence that Harry guessed to be Aurors.
“Minister Mulvenna, thank you for meeting with us.” Kingsley said as he shook the young woman’s hand.
“Well I thought it rude to ignore your request.” She replied tartly as Kingsley offered her a seat. “But I cannot promise this meeting will go as you intend, Minister Shacklebolt.”
“I only wish to discuss the matter and try to come to an agreement.” Kingsley reasoned and Harry noticed Alice eye Lance momentarily before beginning.
“Well, if you are hoping that I spare what few Aurors the Italian Ministry has to offer and send them into a war that has nothing to do with us-”
“I’m sorry.” Alice said to Lance, who reclined in his chair as he glared at the Minister.
“Has nothing to do with you yet. If you think that after taking out the rest of their enemies, they will leave you alone indefinitely, I fear you are mistaken.”
“Minister Mulvenna,” Harry started before the she could retort. “With all due respect, we know Selwyn is targeting any Ministry that has been repressing any kind of Dark Wizarding movement and, for all we know, any Dark Wizard or Witch anywhere that has even heard of Selwyn’s plan has probably gotten in touch and is aboard the Mekti-Dommen as we speak.”
Alice hesitated a little before saying “You think I don’t know what we’re up against?” And she turned to the younger of the two Aurors. “Give it to them.” At once, the man drew out a silver file from within his robes and handed it over to Harry. “My Aurors recently confirmed that Naldo Rosario and his Gold Hounds have joined Selwyn.”
Harry quickly opened the file to find several pages full of names. “That is just the list of who we know is a member of the Gold Hounds.” Alice explained. “A list of added suspects is being comprised as we speak.”
“You know who else is joining and you still won’t fight?” Harry said breathlessly as he stared at the large list of names.
“I don’t want us to fight because I know who else is joining.” The Minister responded. “Naldo is a powerful man Potter, a man with contacts. If he is helping recruiting in any way under the guidance of Selwyn the best thing for my Ministry and my people is to be as far away as possible for when all hell breaks loose.”
“If you think the best thing for your people is to stand aside and watch as your allies are torn apart, you are deluded!” Lance retorted.
“If the Italian Ministry comes under threat, we all know we wouldn’t last long enough for the Confederation to recall their numbers from America and send reinforcements. Hell, Minister Boyson was in charge of the largest number of Aurors and Enforcers in the Confederation and he was overpowered and Selwyn’s forces have grown unpredictably stronger.”
“Which is why we need to stop them, Alice.” Kingsley said.
“I am sorry, Kingsley.” Alice said with finality to hear tone.
“Minister Mulvenna, we cannot allow the American Ministry to fall into Selwyn’s hands. Even with the additional forces we’ve sent, we estimate that we are just about even in numbers and that’s if our estimates are correct.” Kory retorted and Alice stared at him.
“I’m sorry, I don’t believe we have been introduced.” Alice said and Harry noticed the bitter intent it was said with. “Who are you?”
Harry could almost feel Kory deflate as he replied “I am Kory Caseman, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement here.”
“Well Mr Caseman, I’m sorry but I am afraid I cannot leave my Ministry open to attack.”
“We’re not asking you to send your entire Auror Office.” Harry intervened. “Just enough for you to help convince other Ministries to do the same. Yes, we need the numbers to fight Marius and Ambrose in America but we also need to show them that the Confederation isn’t afraid to fight.” The dark haired Minister looked down at the floor. “It doesn’t matter whether you join the fight now or allow Selwyn to make the first move, you will be affected just like the rest of us have been, one way or another.” The Minister’s face hardened as though the argument they were having was being amplified in her mind. Her chocolate brown eyes looked up at Harry in a way he could not interpret but, before she could say a word, a muffled sound erupted from the pouch around Harry’s neck.
Harry rushed in pulling out the source of the commotion, holding up the Two-Way Mirror.
“Harry Potter! Harry-Agh-Potter!” Harry heard in a struggling Ron’s voice.
“Ron?” Harry said into the mirror though Ron’s head kept moving from side to side, out of sight as though Ron was waving his own mirror around. “Ron, what’s going on?”
“Stupify! Harry, it’s Ambrose’s forces, they’ve just attempted to assassinate the American Minister and now all hell has broken loose. We’re holding them off for now but they’ve got vantage points every- Protego!” Everyone in the room was standing, trying to get a good look at the mirror as Ron fought off his attacker.
“Ron! Can you hear me?” Harry bellowed into the mirror. “Are you okay? Have Selwyn’s forces joined Ambrose?” But there was no response.
“If you excuse me.” Lance said, drawing out his Portkey. “I believe that’s my cue to leave.”
“We’re coming too.” Harry said, facing Naomi and Lawrence, who both nodded when they heard what sounded like a scuffle from outside.
“There is a meeting between Ministers in there!” They heard Tyrus yell.
“Out of my way, it’s urgent! They’re coming! They’re on their way!” The door burst open and a hysteric skinny man tumbled through trying to wrestle both Tyrus and Savage off of him, a Department of International Cooperation I.D card dangling off his robes. “Minister, we’ve just received word from the Egyptian Ministry. They’ve heard from their insider. They’re in the North Sea. The Mekti-Dommen is in the North Sea!”
The skinny man panted heavily as Harry, Kory and Kingsley all looked at one another and, as the realisation of their destination sank into their minds, Harry said aloud “Azkaban.”
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