Chapter 3 : More Than a Clue
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Beautiful CI by infinite.!
Cress looked nervously around the dimly lit room as she settled carefully on one of the fluffy coaches, a bit uncomfortable because of the exceptional darkness in the room. She was fond of sunlight and never closed the windows in her house or office during the day. She felt fresher than ever when those bright rays crept slowly in through the glass and drenched the room with golden light and was used to work in lighted places.
It was no wonder the house made her a bit uneasy. All the windows were covered neatly with velvety red curtains instead of a large one which let the least amount of light in. A gloomy sort of air filled the house, as if anyone hardly came there.
The furniture was neat and delicately polished and painted and it was made of some really expensive and beautiful kind of wood. It did look beautiful, but in a different, sad way; something she couldn’t quite define. The walls were mostly empty, but a huge painting of a handsome man she recognized as Sirius Black hung on one and another was covered with pictures of varying sizes from top to bottom. The fireplace, though elegant was silent and the floor exceptionally clean. The house strongly resembled the house of an old but rich man living alone.
She couldn’t believe Harry Potter; someone she had admired from her childhood lived in such a gloomy house. She had always imagined him as a bright and cheerful man, judging from the things she heard from Ministry seniors and some of their common friends.
Cress moved her eyes awkwardly towards the young boy who was closing the front door right now, wondering if she should ask him to open a window to let some light in. He seemed too nervous to even talk to her, judging from the way he took a long time in closing the door and was avoiding her gaze.
She thought the guy looked strangely like the house itself. He was surely very handsome, with those dark brown curls and the perfect height and deep, brown eyes, but something was missing from his face that would have added more to his charm. Even his smile has the slightest touch sadness. She could tell he was in grief or pain or something like that. The house wasn’t much different. Definitely beautiful, but lacked something that lowered the levels of its beauty. She wondered what that was. Was it Ginny’s absence? Was she the light of the house that was missing? She couldn’t answer the question, for she didn’t even know who he was, though it was almost obvious he was Teddy Lupin, Harry’s Godson.
She quickly made up her mind and cleared her throat loudly. The guy startled and looked at her quizzically.
“Excuse me, Mr. - um- Potter,” she breathed, “if you don’t mind, can I open a window to let some light in? If you’re comfortable with it, of course,” she hastily added.
The guy gave a shallow laugh and nodded.
“Yes, yes, of course you can,” he said, “but it’s Mr. Lupin not Potter, though you can call me Teddy.”
“Oh, yeah,” Cress said with a smile and got to her feet. “I wanted to talk to the person closest to Mr. Potter next to his wife and Mrs. Weasley told me he cares for you the most.”
Teddy forced himself to smile, but didn’t say anything. Cress slowly made her way towards one of the large windows and grabbing a handful of the thick curtains, she pushed it aside, letting enormous amount of light flood into it. The intensity of the light was so strong that the room was quickly bathed with its golden glow and Cress had to step back and adjust her eyes to the sudden change of lighting. Pushing some stray strands of hair aside, she tidied up the curtains a bit to make the light a little low and turned to go back to her seat.
As she turned, she was astonished to see Teddy Lupin covering his face with his hands, totally taken aback because of something. It was long before he removed his eyes, still he had to shake his head and blink about five times to get adjusted, much to her surprise.
“Are you alright?” she questioned nervously as she took her seat, wondering if she had caused him inconvenience. But he readily shook his head and relaxed on the coach he was sitting on. He ran his hand through his hair and said,
“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just that I’m- I’ve begun to forget that this place could look this beautiful. I supposed it was Aunt Ginny’s absence that made it looked gloomy, but I suddenly know it was just the absence of light. How weirdly unreasonable can a human mind be sometimes! It was just the matter of opening the curtains,”
Cress pressed her lips together and said nothing, but she felt great sympathy towards Teddy. She instantly realized how important Ginny was for everyone in the family, but she couldn’t still figure out why the family had waited for 5 years before handing the investigation to Detectives from Aurors. Nonetheless, she was now determined to solve the whole mystery as quickly as possible.
I will bring the light back to this house she thought, but she wasn’t sure if Ginny was alive. But at least she would do her best.
“Anyways, now I think we should begin the investigation,” she muttered, pulling the folder out of her bag and flipping through the pages. Teddy nodded and leaned against the back of the sofa.
“As the case is about a person missing for a long time, it is important to look for reasons the person might leave,” she cleared, “so let’s begin from Mrs. Potter’s life. How her life was going at the time she went missing? Any problems or tensions?”
“I’m almost sure she was really happy with her life,” Teddy said thoughtfully, “She was enjoying raising James, her son and she was happy because I had graduated Hogwarts with good grades. I don’t remember any kind of disturbance in her life, it was all going great.”
Cress took it without much disappointment. She had dealt with complicated cases before and knew that nothing much was known at the first step. If it was that easy, the Aurors wouldn’t have handed the case over to her department. With great patience, she drew her wand out and as soon as she flicked it, a quill emerged from her bag and began to note down the answer on a piece of parchment.
“I see. What was she doing at that time? I mean, was she doing job or something?” she asked.
“Yeah, she had just joined the Magical Law and Enforcement Department.”
“Why did she get a job after so many years?”
“She was a professional Quidditch player,” he said with great surprise, “I thought you knew! Didn’t she get her retirement when James was born? Then she thought she had got enough of Quidditch and wished to use her brains.”
Cress bit her lip. She had forgotten they were talking about Ginny Potter. Of course she knew Ginny played Quidditch.
“Oh right,” she said with a small smile, then quickly pulling a serious face, she queried, “May I know more about her private life, now that we’ve crossed out tensions related to work and profession? I would like to know about her marital and family life.”
Teddy frowned, thinking hard and then explained everything frankly.
“She and Uncle Harry had the most wonderful married life,” he informed, “They were madly in love with each other and never had any serious fight. I’m quite sure of it, as I’ve lived nearly all of my life with both of them. She, me and Uncle Harry; we were a perfect little family. And when James came, it was like icing on the cake.”
“What about her other family? Her brothers, their wives, her parents?” she asked with great patience, even though she felt a little disappointed. How can her life be so perfect?
“We were a nice joint family,” he replied, “Aunt Ginny was nice to everyone, but she didn’t really like just one person in the family.”
“Who?” she asked curiously.
“Aunt Fleur,” he said with a grin, “they never got acquainted, but that was just a mere family thing, I don’t think it meant anything serious or was related to her disappearance. Around the time Aunt Ginny went missing, their relation was beginning to develop because of Gabriel.”
Knowing the question raised in Cress’s eyes, he continued,
“Gabriel was Aunt Fleur’s sister. Unfortunately she had to come and live with her sister as her parents died in a hospital. Though she didn’t like Aunt Ginny at first, they got quite close, almost like sisters. Aunt Ginny believed Gabriel was her best friend next to Neville and Luna.”
“If so, I would be interested to talk to this Gabriel,” Cress said with a little hope in her mind, but Teddy gave a curt nod.
“She’s no more,” he said quietly.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she quickly replied, “What about her other friends? What did you say-“
“Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood,” he said, “They were her good friends from school and they may know more than I do, I cannot tell. After all she was like my mother and a mother would hardly tell her son about the problems in her life. And I was just seventeen or eighteen when she left.”
“Okay, so as we don’t know about any confirmed problems in Ginny’s life, I would like to know where and how have you tried to search her,” she muttered as she kept taking notes.
“I was a part of the search as I was training for being an Auror at that time,” he said, running his hand nervously through his dark brown curls. “We didn’t do really well then, as we didn’t have any clues. We questioned her friends, Uncle Harry, Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione along with Neville, Luna, her parents and many more people. No one really knew what had happened to her.”
“Did you ask Gabriel? You said she was her best friend.” Asked Cress quietly.
“We did, but she didn’t know anything. Gabriel was on a vacation with Aunt Fleur and her daughter Victoire in France; they had left a couple of weeks before Aunt Ginny went missing.”
Cress shook her head with nervous disappointment creeping her heart and stared at the parchment in her lap. The quill had taken a few notes, but she knew they were of no use. Well, maybe she had been wrong all the time. How can she expect she will begin to find clues the moment she took a case? It was so unlike Cress to lose patience over one of her mysteries, but this time, she agreed bitterly to herself, she had been too excited and had almost become impatient. Biting her lip, she tried to reconcile herself and looked up just to find Teddy staring at her.
“I know this is highly disappointing for you,” he said soothingly, “but none of us knows where she is or where she might be or we had got her back by now. Have you read the letter she had received when she left?”
The letter! Cress’s eyes suddenly lit up and she sat up straight. She had forgotten about the little piece of paper Hermione had clipped at the end of the folder. It was a handwritten letter and was small and old. But it was the only clue they had.
“Yes, yes, I know about it,” she said impatiently, “Do you know-“
“No, I don’t.” he shrugged and his face fell. “We’ve been trying to figure out whose handwriting it might be; me and Uncle Harry. But we had never seen it before. We don’t know. We tried to match everyone’s handwriting to it, but it’s different. It has resemblance with none’s but Dumbledore’s.”
“Albus Dumbledore!” she exclaimed, “Isn’t that impossible?”
“I know,” he agreed. “So, that’s all I know. I don’t know who had sent it to her. We couldn’t even trace the owl or anything. Believe me; Uncle Harry has tried his best to know the whereabouts of his wife. He loves her more than anyone in this world; she was the only relative he had besides his son.”
He paused for a while, and then he suddenly looked at her with urge and said in a voice full of emotion-
“Finding her is not that easy, Miss Jones. We have almost given up on her, but somewhere- somewhere deep in my heart- I believe she is still there, waiting for us to bring her back or something. We-we are helpless. We don’t know what we are supposed to do and where we have to find her. Uncle Harry hardly ever talks to his own son and Godson or actually anyone. You must try your best to bring her back, Miss Jones. She is my- she is my mother.”
Cress just stared at Teddy as he covered his face in his hands and sighed continuously. He wanted her back because she was like his mother. Mother Cress repeated the word in her mind.
A word considered beautiful but not for her. In fact she could do much better without her mother around. Her mother had made mistakes that could not be forgiven or forgotten and she wasn’t even sure she had any kind of love left for her after she learnt a certain horrible truth about her. And there was this guy sitting across her weeping for a woman who hadn’t even given birth to him. He was so lucky, wasn’t he?
Though her mind was raging with thoughts, she didn’t say anything and stayed calm and quiet. An awkward silence stretched between them after he recovered from his emotional state and was broken by a loud tapping noise. Cress turned herself to see a little owl hitting the glass window with its tiny beak.
“It’s Wish!” exclaimed Teddy as he made his way to the window, “He belongs to Victoire, doesn’t he?”
Much to Cress’s surprise, Teddy’s face suddenly became tense as he struggled to untie the letter from its legs. Once he managed doing that, he impatiently opened the letter.
His face changed dramatically as his eyes moved across the lines and when he finished reading, the letter fell to the ground from his hands and he had to grab a curtain for support as if he was in extreme shock. He stood steadily with such an intense expression on his face that Cress almost feared he was going to faint. She rushed to the letter and opened it like a reflex action without even asking his permission. No wonder the letter was quite a shocking one.
I know you are quite angry that I am writing to you, but this is very important thing and you are the first person who should be informed. I can’t write much in the letter, so come as soon as you can to St Mungo’s to the ward I’m training in. you might not believe me, but we just found a badly bruised witch on the roads of Hogsmeade and I am quite sure she is none other than Ginny.
Cress too was in a great shock, but keeping her mind alert, she shook Teddy by grabbing his arm.
“Come on, we must go right now.” She said in a warning voice.
I know this is a cruel cliffhanger, but I just couldn’t resist! I promise I will try to update as soon as possible, but do let me know what you thought about this one. Cress and Teddy met and Victoire has sent a letter saying Ginny’s back and is in St Mungo’s here. I’ve tried to make this descriptive and detailed for the first time and I hope you all enjoy it!
Thanks for reading another chapter of Through The Darkest! Just don’t forget to let me know you read this. :)
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