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Chapter 34 : Arrested
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Matt, who had been asleep when Albus left Gryffindor tower, never showed up to breakfast, and Albus debated running up to the dormitory to wake him up for Ancient Runes until Rose told him not to. Panic attacks, she informed him, often left a person utterly exhausted and still on edge, even hours later.
While Matt didn’t seem to want to discuss what had happened in the wee hours of Monday morning any further, Albus still watched him carefully in classes for the remainder of the week. He tried to do so conspicuously, remembering what Matt had told him and John about how he hated being the one everyone felt the need to take care of, but Albus couldn’t help it. If Matt’s panic attacks were so bad he had permission to leave class whenever he needed, Albus felt there was a need to pay attention in case it happened. However, by the end of the week, nothing had happened. Matt never left class, and Albus let his guard down a little.
“Amy thinks Burke will be back by Monday,” Matt said as they walked to dinner on Friday after an afternoon of studying.
“I thought she couldn’t tell anyone anything,” Albus said.
“I don’t count,” Matt replied, grinning. “Anyway, if he’s not back by Monday we’ll have a new substitute. Amy can’t miss anymore rounds at St. Mungo’s.”
“He better be back, then,” John said as they descended the stairs into the Entrance Hall. “I don’t think we’d be lucky enough to get two good subs.”
“Me either,” Matt agreed. “Hey, Al, isn’t that your dad?”
The oak front doors had just opened, revealing two men wearing traveling cloaks. Albus ran down the last few steps and recognized not only his father, but Head Auror Johnson as well. What were they doing here? Albus weaved through the crowd of students flowing into the Great Hall, Matt and John hurrying behind him, and stopped in front of his dad.
“What are you doing here?” Albus asked.
Harry gave him a grim smile. “Nice to see you, too, Albus. But I’m here on Auror business. Not pleasant business, either.”
Albus’s eyes grew large. He exchanged glances with Matt and John. “You don’t mean-“
“I can’t discuss it, Albus.”
“We need to get going, Potter,” Johnson muttered, eyeing the Great Hall. “I don’t want to linger.”
“Dad?” Albus asked.
“I have to go, Al,” he said quietly. “Tell James and Lily I said hi.”
“Potter,” Johnson repeated.
Albus watched as his dad hurried up the stairs with Johnson, neither of them paying any attention to the whispers they were generating amongst the students heading to dinner.
“That is so weird,” John said. “Your dad following orders instead of giving them.”
“Never mind that!” Albus said, seizing Matt’s and John’s robes in his hands and pulling them back to the stairs. “This must have something to do with Young! Why else would they be here?”
“You don’t think-“ Matt began, his eyes wide.
“They’ve come to arrest him!” Albus exclaimed. “That must be it. Come on. If we hurry, we can listen in.”
“They’ll see us,” John pointed out.
“Good thing I’ve got the Cloak, then,” Albus said, glancing around the Entrance Hall to see if anyone was watching. Only a few stragglers remained, most everyone having gone into the Great Hall, and no one was paying any attention to Albus, Matt, and John. He pulled the Invisibility Cloak out of his bag.
“You carry it around with you?” Matt asked, raising his eyebrows.
Albus shrugged. “It’s never any use in the dormitory, is it? I’ve also got a few Extendable Ears in here. I just don’t know if we’ll all fit.”
“If you two weren’t giraffes,” Matt said. “We won’t need to put it on until we’re close. It’s not a crime to walk around the castle during dinner.”
“Hang on,” Albus said as he pulled the Marauder’s Map out of his bag. He flipped to the Hogwarts page and searched for his dad’s dot. “They aren’t in Young’s study. They’re in Kendrick’s study.”
“Where’s Young?” John asked.
“His study,” Albus answered. “Let’s head up there.”
The boys hurried up the stairs, Albus glancing at the map every few seconds as he went. The corridors were virtually empty, save for a few ghosts who paid no attention to Albus, Matt, and John. If Albus’s dad and Johnson were there to arrest Young, it made sense to do it now, while all the students were eating dinner.
“They’re leaving Kendrick’s study,” Albus said as they reached the third floor corridor. “Hurry.”
Albus skidded to a halt in front of the door to Young’s study. It was open a crack, but the last thing Albus wanted to do was alert Young to the fact that they were there. Wordlessly, he gestured for Matt and John to move to the side of the corridor, as close as they could possibly get to the door without blocking it. He threw the Cloak over the three of them and once John crouched down, they were completely hidden. Albus then extracted three Extendable Ears from his bag and distributed them. Shoving the end of his own Extendable Ear into his ear, Albus watched the map and waited.
Just as he suspected, his dad, Johnson, and Kendrick soon arrived at Young’s study. Albus didn’t even breath as the three walked into the open doorway without knocking.
“Kendrick?” Albus heard Young ask. “And…Potter? Johnson? What’s going on?”
“Hold on,” Albus’s dad said. He shut the door. “I don’t want anyone to overhear this.”
“No one was out there,” Johnson said hurriedly. “Let’s get on with it.”
“You must be forgetting how…resourceful Hogwarts students are.” There was a pause. “This ought to do it.”
The voices turned into faint mumblings. Albus groaned and yanked the Extendable out of his ear.
“Damn!” John exclaimed, doing the same. “Muffliato?”
Albus shook his head. “I can still here them mumbling. It’s just an Imperturbabble charm, so the Extendables won’t work. My dad probably knows we’re here, just by guessing.”
“Is there any way around it?” John asked.
“No,” Albus muttered. “So much for-“
“Would the two of you shut up?!” Matt seethed. “And Albus, switch places with me.”
“Just do it!” Matt said.
Albus shuffled to the side and Matt slid into his spot, so that he was now closest to the door.
“You always forget,” Matt said quietly, “that just because you can’t hear anything, doesn’t mean I can’t. I can hear every word they’re saying.”
Albus had forgotten about that. As much as he wished Matt had never been bitten as a child, there were fringe benefits to his lycanthropy and this was one of them. Himself and John were completely useless at eavesdropping on a conversation behind a solid oak door, but Matt was not.
The three boys stood silent and frozen for nearly twenty minutes while Matt listened to what was going on. He said nothing while listening, but he was frowning, and his eyes grew wide every so often.
“They’re coming out,” Matt whispered, backing away from the door. “Don’t move.”
The door opened. Professor Kendrick led the group, followed by Professor Young, who was in handcuffs, and Johnson, who had one hand on Young’s cuffed hands and the other held his wand. Albus’s dad brought up the rear, brandishing his own wand.
“You can Floo through my study,” Kendrick said, his voice hard.
Albus waited a full ten minutes past the moment the sound of their footsteps disappeared before pulling the Invisibility Cloak off of himself, Matt, and John. They stared at each other for a minute before turning to walk toward the Marauder’s Den, all three of them knowing that now was not the time to go to the cheerful Great Hall for dinner.
“What did they say?” John demanded as soon as he shut the door behind them.
Matt ran a hand through his hair, his pale face anxious and vaguely upset. He sighed and collapsed into one of the armchairs.
“What is it?” Albus asked as he began to pace around the room.
“They’ve arrested him,” Matt whispered. “They actually arrested him.”
Albus had gleaned that part from the handcuffs and Young’s murderous expression as the group left for Kendrick’s study. What he didn’t understand was why and how. “What about his alibi? Cedric got questioned by Aurors.”
“They found more evidence,” Matt said, his eyes still wide. “DNA evidence.”
“So they think Cedric’s lying?” Albus exclaimed. “He wouldn’t do that!”
“Now it’s going to be up to the Wizengamot to figure out. They had enough evidence to arrest him,” Matt explained. “Young demanded that Kendrick stand up for him, but Kendrick couldn’t do anything, of course.”
The door burst open, revealing Kaden, followed by Rose and Amanda, all three looking very worried.
“Are you all right?” Rose said, rushing over to Matt.
“How did you find out?” Albus asked at the same time. If Young had been taken to the Ministry via Kendrick’s fireplace, how had Rose, Amanda, and Kaden found out?
“Well, when you didn’t show up at dinner, I just assumed,” Rose said, looking at Matt in confusion. “But you look awfully good for having a-“
“It wasn’t that,” Matt interrupted.
“Then why weren’t you at dinner?” Kaden asked. “When none of you showed up Rose ran all the way up here. We only caught up halfway. And then she told us.”
Rose grimaced. “I’m sorry, Matt. I thought they’d see it when we got up here, and figured since you told Albus and John-“
“It’s fine,” Matt said quickly. “I was going to tell them anyway. But I didn’t have a panic attack, I swear it.”
“You still look pale,” Rose said.
“Professor Young’s been arrested,” Matt explained. “And I overheard his conversation with Albus’s dad and the Head Auror and Professor Kendrick.”
Rose’s eyes widened and she lowered herself onto the couch. Kaden let out a low whistle and looked to Albus, who nodded, for verification. Amanda let out some sort of combination between a squeak and a whimper and sat next to Rose.
Matt told them the whole story, from the moment he saw Albus’s dad in the Entrance Hall to the moment Rose, Kaden, and Amanda came bursting into the Marauder’s Den. All three, even Rose, were speechless when he finished.
“But what will happen now?” Albus asked, anxious to get back to what they’d been discussing before Rose, Kaden, and Amanda arrived.
Rose squeezed her eyes shut and opened them again, looking at Albus. “He’ll be arraigned at the Ministry, and they’ll set bail. If someone posts his bail, he’ll go home and await trial. If not, he’ll await trial in Azkaban.”
“How long will that take?” Matt asked.
“Arraignment? They’ll probably do it Monday. And the trial? That could take weeks, although they’ll probably hurry it along since it’s such a high-profile case, and the Ministry will want to make it obvious that they solved it. Or rather, think they solved it.”
“You don’t think he did it?” Albus asked, relieved to know he wasn’t alone in firmly believing Young’s innocence. “Even with the DNA?”
“No,” Rose said adamantly. “I believe Cedric, and I’m nearly positive the two murders are connected. So if he didn’t do the second, he didn’t do the first. But mostly? Young is the laziest person I’ve ever met in my life. Why would he put forth effort into murdering people? I can’t think of anything he particularly enjoys or dislikes. He’s just…there.”
“He doesn’t seem like the murdering type, does he?” John agreed. “So what, you think someone’s framing him?”
“I think the Ministry is stumped and wants to show they’ve made progress, so they’ve done a sloppy investigation and Professor Young is caught up in it,” Rose said.
“So what do we do?” Albus asked. If Young didn’t do it, he needed to be released.
Rose sighed. “There’s nothing we can do, Albus. We don’t have any evidence. That Head Auror won’t listen to us. We just have to hope the Wizengamot comes to the same conclusion we have.”
Kaden let out a low whistle. “Down a Potions teacher and now a Defense teacher, all right before your O.W.L.s.”
“Young may be innocent, but he was an awful teacher,” Rose pointed out. “We’ll be better off with anyone they get to replace him.”
“So long as it’s not Balladanis,” Matt muttered.
Amanda gasped. “They couldn’t bring him back, could they?”
“No,” Rose said. “Kendrick wouldn’t allow it, and the only way the Ministry could appoint a teacher is if Kendrick can’t find anyone. He’d sooner let Albus teach Defense than Balladanis.”
John burst out laughing. “So we’ve got nothing to worry about. C’mon, let’s go to the kitchens. I bet the House Elves have extra from dinner.”
The following morning there was a very large article splayed on the front page of the Prophet, along with a picture of Professor Young in handcuffs, looking both stunned and murderous as he struggled against the Aurors on either side of him. The article itself didn’t give away any information Albus hadn’t known before reading it. It gave an overview of both murders, a brief biography of Professor Young, and how he would be kept at the Ministry until his arraignment on Monday, just as Rose predicted. A trial date would be set on Monday, at the arraignment.
Every single student in the Great Hall was discussing the arrest, copies of the Prophet trading hands faster than Puking Pastilles during a History of Magic class on a nice day. The professors looked shocked, talking amongst themselves in hushed whispers and paying no attention to the frantic conversations of the students. However, there were two students who were simply sitting at their house tables, not speaking, not eating, and not reading the Prophet.
The first was Elsie Willinson. Albus only managed to get a quick glance at her as he made his way to the Gryffindor table, but she looked upset. Her brother, who was sitting next to her, hadn’t seemed to notice. The second was Cedric, whom Albus sat across from once he reached the table.
“Cedric?” Albus asked, waving his hand in front of his cousin’s face.
Cedric blinked and shook his head. “Hi, Al. Have you seen the Prophet?”
Albus nodded. “Someone left their copy in the common room. But I already knew everything.” Albus quickly explained the previous evening, leaving out the part about the Interperbabble Charm and Matt’s ability to hear through solid oak doors.
“How could they do it?” Cedric asked. “I mean, I don’t exactly like Professor Young. He’s an awful teacher. But he didn’t murder that bloke in Hogsmeade. It’s just not possible!”
“They found his DNA at the scene,” Albus explained. “That’s what Johnson said.”
“Weird it took this long to figure that out,” Cedric muttered.
Albus had spent all night thinking about that, but he knew it often took weeks to get results of DNA tests back, especially if the samples were very small or contaminated by other things. “Maybe the Wizengamot won’t think there’s enough evidence to convict him.”
Cedric sighed and shook his head. “It’s too late for that. They already arrested him, so his life is ruined. He’ll never get his job here back.”
“Well, I think MacDougal would’ve had him removed at the end of term anyway,” Albus pointed out.
“But, Al, it’s so much bigger than that. Whether or not they convict him, while they’re spending their energy on the trial and whatever, the real murderer is still out there. We know he’s innocent, so that means there’s still a murderer out there.”
Albus felt his eyes widen. He hadn’t even thought of that. What if someone else was killed? “I wish there was something we could do.”
“Me, too,” Cedric agreed. “But you know what this whole thing has done?”
“I’ve decided to go into Magical Law Enforcement,” Cedric said with a wry smile. “Just a regular MLE, not an Auror. I don’t have the marks or nerves for that, but I think I could be a MLE officer.”
“That’s great,” Albus said. “Your dad will be proud.”
Cedric gave a short laugh. “He’s still trying to convince Bradley to do a Ministry internship after he graduates. That’s never going to happen.”
“What does Bradley want to do?” Albus asked. Bradley’s indecision about what he wanted to do after Hogwarts made Matt’s decision to ignore life beyond Hogwarts look reasonable. Bradley had a little over a month left in school and as far as Albus knew, no clear intentions on what he wanted to do.
Cedric shrugged. “Haven’t got a clue. I’m guessing he’ll work for Uncle George until he decides.”
“Uncle George is lucky so many of us can’t make decisions,” Albus pointed out. “He’s never had to hire anyone outside the family.”
Cedric laughed, the concern about Professor Young disappearing from his face. “First Teddy, now Heather, and next it’ll be Bradley.”
“And then James,” Albus said. “If he doesn’t get recruited.”
“Then there’s Gabriella,” Cedric continued. “What with her decision to flit around the world and paint. I think only Victoire and Stanley have had any real idea on what they wanted to do.”
“What about Fred?” Albus asked. Fred, not having been recruited by a Quidditch team, was now the assistant to the assistant manager of the Tutshill Tornados.
“He only took that job because he didn’t want to work in the shop,” Cedric said. “He wanted to play Quidditch.”
“Good point,” Albus said, spooning eggs onto his plate.
“What about you?” Cedric asked. “Going to follow the tradition of working in the shop for a year?”
“Nope. Going to train as an Auror and then try to get a job in the Department of Mysteries.”
Cedric’s jaw fell open. He shook his head and recovered. “Seriously? You’re going to be an Unspeakable?”
“I’m going to try,” Albus said, shrugging.
Cedric looked impressed. “You’re going to join Victoire and Stanley in the ‘Successful Cousins’ club.”
“You are, too. MLE, that’s good.”
“Eh, we’ll all be eclipsed by Rose,” Cedric said. “She’ll probably become St. Mungo’s most well-known psychiatrist. I’d bet ten galleons she’ll make some brilliant discovery before she’s thirty.”
Albus laughed. “Of course she will.”
Albus turned and saw Rose, Matt, and Kaden hurrying over to him. They reached the table, but didn’t sit down.
“What is it?” he asked.
“There you are,” Rose said. “You’re down here early.”
“Couldn’t sleep,” Albus said. “And none of you were up yet.”
“Never mind that now,” Rose said hurriedly, glancing at the door leading to the Entrance Hall. “We’ve got to go?”
“Why?” Albus asked, looking at his unfinished eggs as his stomach grumbled loudly. “What’s happened?”
“Burke’s back,” Kaden said. “We just saw him.”
“Oh,” Albus said, thinking that Burke’s return wasn’t a cause for skipping breakfast. “You want to go see him?”
“Well, yes,” Kaden said. “I’ve just spent three weeks brewing his potions for him, so he ought to tell me what’s been going on. And you and Rose, too. You’ve been working for him all year.”
Albus wasn’t too sure Burke would see it that way, considering how secretive he’d been ever since he arrived at Hogwarts. “And what about…” Albus began, glancing at Matt.
“I’ve been taking one of his potions all year,” Matt whispered. “I want to know what happened.”
Albus nodded, agreeing that Matt had a point. He still didn’t think Burke would actually tell them, but on the off-chance he did, Albus wanted to be there. Grabbing a piece of toast and saying goodbye to Cedric, Albus got up and followed Rose, Matt, and Kaden out of the room.
A/N: Had to throw in a cliffhanger eventually. Thanks for all the reviews!
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