Chapter 4 : 4- The Auror’s Office
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Harry looked down the London street from within his Invisibility cloak. It was obvious the Dark Wizards had done a clear up of the bodies that would have been left from the battle and the thought of what they had done with them made Harry feel sick. The damage to the roads and surrounding buildings, however, was still clearly visible. Cracks, craters, shards of glass from broken windows and blood stains decorated the street and even the giant hole the Trolls had made at the beginning of the battle still revealed the destroyed interior of the building beside him.
The street now confided a long queue of people leading to the Ministry. Harry walked alongside the line and noticed a number of people who were already Ministry workers looking completely terrified as they stood in line. Harry assumed that they were workers who did not stay to fight. As the Ministry came into view, Harry could imagine a busy Ministry receiving warning of the oncoming attack from the Ministry’s defensive enchantments and a battle ready Kingsley announcing for all those not willing to fight to leave via fireplace as he contacted the Order and the D.A.
At the front of the queue, Harry saw Terry Hetlim, the Head of Magical Games and Sports, his large forehead gleaming with sweat as the two large guards standing directly in front of the doors, each holding a golden Probity Probe, glared at him. From what Harry could see, it appeared that they were registering their new workers in small groups at a time.
After a short moment surveying the scene, Harry then saw another shorter guard peer through the entrance.
“Next!” He shouted in a deep, gruff voice. Harry took his chance and took a deep breath.
“Imperio” Harry muttered as Hetlim and one other gained permission to go through and the bigger of the two guards momentarily left his post to advance the next in line giving Harry the chance to slip through unnoticed.
The Atrium was no cleaner from the battle then the street outside and was full of guards who all stood against the wall as they watched the proceedings. As Harry walked on, he noticed that many of the Atrium guards were Azkaban prisoners, their gaunt and bony faces giving them the unfortunate image of an ancient patrol that had died on watch some time ago. In front of the Fountain of Magical Brethren, which still had a large number of chunks missing, was a long wooden table which sat two people.
Harry recognised the squat, toad like woman instantly as Umbridge. Although her usual attire of pink was currently jet black, she had still somehow managed to find a bright pink bow to place amongst her greying hair. The man to her right however, whose round face drooped and wobbled as he looked at the two men approaching, was unfamiliar.
As Harry drew closer, he noticed someone else that he recognised. Pansy Parkinson was standing behind the two interrogators. Azkaban had obviously had a strong effect on her, if only physically. Her shinning black hair was now dry and messy and her once pug like face had hollowed and had grown paler and, if possible, meaner.
“Well, well, Mr Hetlim.” Umbridge greeted in her sinisterly sweet girly voice that to this day still chilled Harry to the core. “You were once the Head of your Department, weren’t you? Magical Games and Sports, I believe.”
“Y-Yes,” Hetlim replied, looking around at the Atrium guards as Umbridge scribbled something down on a small piece of parchment.
“Well, I think you’ll be sorry to hear that that particular department has had its budgets and resources cut by quite a bit. Although, I know Mosby is keen to hire a Head. I’ll notify him of your presence but until then I suppose we could find you something to do with what is left of the department once, of course, you’ve assisted with the clean-up.”
“Oh, well, I-”
Hetlim started but Umbridge interrupted and positioning a large role of parchment in front of him said “Please sign here and report to level seven and ask for Timera Lykes. Give her this and she’ll give you further instructions.” Hetlim looked down at the large unrolled parchment and Harry could see that it was a list full of names.
“Uh, what exactly am I signing?” He asked and Umbridge’s eyes narrowed.
“The Minister would like to have a list of those now working for him. Now, I asked you to please sign it and report to level seven. And be sure to take the stairs as we seem to be having technical difficulty with the lifts.” Hetlim picked up the quill next to the list with a shaking hand and signed his name.
Harry found the hiring procedures too suspicious to ignore. It seemed an incredibly lackadaisical way of hiring staff. Making a mental note of the strange hiring process, he followed Hetlim towards the staircase.
After a single flight of stairs, Hetlim walked down the deserted corridor that lead to what remained of the Department of Magical Games and Sports. Harry continued to descend to the lower levels of the Ministry and noticed it getting more crowded the further down he went.
“Did’ya hear they’ve still yet to open Potter’s office?” Said a tall, flat faced man in a thick Scottish accent as Harry passed the Department of Magical Transportation. Harry froze at the sound of his name and listened.
“I know,” Replied a second man in a wheezy laugh. “The Bowton brother tried usin’ a Ruductor Curse on the door. Ended up sending ‘imself flying across the department.” The two men howled with laughter at the story while Harry merely smiled beneath the cloak before carrying on down.
Eventually, Harry made it to the most crowded floor, the third floor, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Harry turned onto the corridor leading to the department, being careful not to bump into anyone. Taking another right, he began making his way to the first place he could think of that would be suitable for holding prisoners, the Interrogation corridor of the Auror Office.
Harry took one step into the office that he had spent the majority of the past nine years and anger flooded his mind. It was as though the Dark Wizards had made it their sole purpose to change as much of this particular office as possible. All of the personal possessions that his Aurors had decorated their desks with had been unceremoniously strewn across the floor of the department. Posters of known criminals had been replaced with the profile pictures of some of his Aurors amongst which Harry saw Naomi grinning at him from the wall of a cubical.
If they had their pictures up, that only meant they were looking for them, Harry thought and he continued to scan the pictures he could see. Phillipa, Susan, Anthony, Terry and a large number of the others caught his eye. Even Ron was visible amongst the mess the Dark Wizards had made but he couldn’t help but feel a pang of grief for those he could not see. Harry stared at Ron’s and Susan’s picture for a moment. If they were alive, why weren’t they replying?
“Cade, we’ve got a problem!” A deep booming voice said from the other side of the cubical Harry was behind.
“What is it now, Chase?” Said a nasally voice Harry assumed to be Cade Bowton; his usurper as Head of the Auror Office.
“Merison’s just rushed back here and he said the others had been caught in a trap when they entered the Weasley shop.”
“What sort of trap?” Cade asked quickly, a hint of panic in his voice.
“Um, well, I’m not sure exactly but Merison said something about sinking in a carpet made of quick sand.”
“What!” Cade exclaimed. “Damn it. Phelps, Himline, with me now. There’s no way I’m telling Mosby we can’t get in there without at least a corpse as proof.” As the Dark Wizards followed Cade, Harry continued on through the busy office and nearly reached the corridor when he saw a scarily familiar poster that wiped the snigger off his face.
On the wall just outside the Interrogation Corridor, was a seventeen year old version of himself staring back at him, the words ‘Undesirable Number One’ in thick black letters beneath it. Ignoring the sinister flashbacks that forced their way into mind, he peered around the corner of the corridor. At least a two dozen wizards and witches were standing guard.
All of a sudden, a loud but muffled scream came from the door nearest him. A few of the guards turned in the direction of the sound and Harry quickly took his chance and muttered for the second time “Imperio”. The guard closest stumbled slightly but Harry knew he was now in full control. The Imperiused guard turned to face the door and, with curiosity on his face, opened the door to peer through.
“What’s the matter with you Dugson! Can’t you see I’m working!” Cried a booming voice as Harry slipped through the opening. As Dugson closed the door behind him, Harry’s heart skipped as he saw the large, muscular figure of Runcorn; the man Harry had impersonated when he had broken into the Ministry nine years ago.
“Now, once again,” Runcorn said threateningly as he advanced on a cowering Cho Chang. “Where would your friends go if they were forced to retreat?” Cho shook her head, her eyes tight shut.
“I don’t know.” She said in a voice that was barely a whisper as Harry began to silently place a Muffliato Charm around them.
“Wrong answer. Crucio!” Cho gave another howl of pain that nearly distracted Harry from his charm. “Where are they?” Runcorn shouted. “Where are the remaining resistance? Where is Harry Potter?” Harry removed his cloak, his wand aimed directly at the back of Runcorn’s head.
“Right here.” Harry said and Runcorn turned just in time for the jet of red light to hit him squarely in the face and send him to the ground.
“Cho.” Harry said as he rushed to her aid.
“Harry?” Cho sobbed as her wide, tearful eyes met his.
“Stay still.” Harry said as he aimed his wand at her injuries. It was apparent that Runcorn had subjected her to more than the Cruciatus Curse. After Harry had cleared her black eye, bloodied lip, broken nose and several other large bruises and cuts, he helped her to her feet.
“You shouldn’t have come.” She said weakly as she sat on the table in the middle of the room.
“Who else is here?” Harry asked gently, ignoring her warning and searching Runcorn’s pockets.
“Lee, Dennis and I saw a few Order members.” Cho listed quietly. “Oh, and I’m sure I saw one of your Aurors.” Harry stood up at once, Runcorn’s wand in hand.
“Who?” Harry asked eagerly. Cho shut her eyes tight. “I can’t remember his name but he had scruffy blond hair and a big scar across his face.” And Cho drew a big line with her finger across her own face to show the location of the scar.
“Lawrence.” Harry said in relief.
Cho nodded and said “But I don’t know which room they’re keeping him in.”
“I’ll find him.” Harry replied. “I’ll find them all.” And Harry aimed his own wand at Runcorn.
“Harry,” Cho interrupted and Harry turned to show she had his attention. “It’s… It’s Terrence. Marietta told them what he did for a living and I think they plan on using him.”
Harry nodded. “Well he does work for the Muggle government. Don’t worry, I’ll think of something.” And turning his attention back to Runcorn, he enchanted another Imperious Curse and Runcorn stood up, though his now broken nose was bleeding heavily. “Ligillimens,” Harry said and as he delved into Runcorn’s mind, he saw a man with a large scar across his face being dragged into an Interrogation Room with a large seven inscribed on the door. “Okay.” Harry murmured to himself as he lifted the charm. “Cho, get back on the floor and act like you’re still being tortured.” He ordered as he handed Runcorn back his wand and repaired his nose.
“Just do it.”
An uncertain look on her face, Cho got off the table and lowered herself back onto the floor. Once she was back in her huddled position, Harry removed the Mufliato Charm that surrounded them, threw his cloak back over himself and flicked his wand at Runcorn.
“Cheryl, Poorander, get in here!” At once a tall, skinny woman with white, wiry hair and a short tanned man with a long pointed nose burst through the door. “Bring me the other two D.A. followers. This one knows something and I think I know just how to get it out of her.” The two grinned at one another and left obediently. Seconds later, they were back and, as Harry had hoped, many of the other guards were helping them drag in the Dennis and Lee, laughing as they jeered and taunted them. Harry slipped past the crowd just in time and walked quickly and silently towards room seven while hearing Runcorn’s loud booming voice yell out “Now leave! They’re mine to deal with!” Harry pushed open the door and entered the room.
It appeared that the interrogator in this room did not hear the door open and close as he continued to glare at Lawrence, who seemed to have his hands bound behind him. As he leaned over the table, Harry noticed that he did not even have his wand drawn. Harry quickly placed another Muffliato Charm around them before removing his cloak and stunning the man before he could even turn around.
“Harry?” Lawrence said startled and to Harry’s surprise, Lawrence stood up, unbound and wand in hand. Harry looked from Lawrence to the man now unconscious between them.
“Imperious Curse?” Harry asked a grin on his face.
“If you can’t beat them, control their minds.” Lawrence replied with a smile and opening his arms in a show-off-ish manner. “Of course I had to take the wand from him first.” Lawrence explained as he admired the short brown wand he was holding. “Just have to remember to scream in pain every now and again to make sure they don’t come investigating.”
“Oh, good idea.” Harry said and with a flick of his wand, he knew Runcorn was now explaining to the others to make it seem like they were still being tortured.
“Runcorn?” Lawrence asked and Harry nodded.
“And Dugson. I managed to get Cho, Dennis and Lee together but none of them have wands and they all seem exhausted.”
“I’m not surprised.” Lawrence said as he began massaging the shoulder of his wand arm.
“Do you know who else is here?” Harry asked.
“I saw them wrestle that Hestia Jones woman into the room opposite earlier. Sturgis Podmore, no idea where he is though, and one of the Italian Aurors that came to Azkaban with us. I think his name’s Enzo. They’re trying to get information about the Italian Ministry out of him but none of them are exactly battle ready so fighting our way out is going to be a bit of a problem.”
“You won’t need to fight.” Harry said as he drew out the small vial that contained the potion he had made at Andromeda’s. “Or at least if everything goes to plan you shouldn’t anyway.”
Lawrence eyed him suspiciously as Harry handed him the potion.
“Is this what I think it is?” Lawrence asked as he examined it.
“Yep, I need you to drop it in the Department when you get the chance.” Lawrence’s eyes flicked back to Harry.
“You sure?” Lawrence asked seriously and Harry nodded.
“We need to.”
And Lawrence nodded back slowly before hiding the vial up his sleeve. “And where are you going in the mean time?”
“There’s someone I need to talk to before we leave.” Harry answered.
“An insider?” Lawrence asked in surprise.
“Something like that.” Harry said as he turned but as he placed his hand on the door, he froze.
“Harry?” Lawrence asked as he sat back down and the question that had been hovering in Harry’s mind burst out of him.
“Ginny. Did you see her?” There was a moments silence before Lawrence answered.
“When the top and ground floors became overrun, they blocked off the entrances and exits so Kory ordered a retreat to the lower levels. I didn’t get there in time but I’m almost certain I saw her make it. She was pretty easy to spot. There aren’t that many ginger Dark Wizards.” Harry gave a small laugh of relief before throwing on his cloak and leaving the room.
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