Chapter 17 : Salvaging the Weekend
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Salvaging the Weekend
From the magical portal they walked through the kitchen and dinning rooms of their flat to the sitting room where Harry kept his computer and its various periferal attachments. This was his workstation where he was linked to the internet, ACS, and to a local network with his printers and various storage devices. His machine was always on so he could come and go. At any time, even night, he could pick up where he left off. Now, it was displaying a colored graph.
Ginny pushed a second chair just to the left of Harry's so she could easily view the screen. He began to explain as soon as she focused on the graph. “I analyzed his trades based on the criteria in his orders, I found two classes. The technical trades are in blue; the suspicious ones in red.” He paused to look to Ginny; she was following. “Each of the trades I've labeled 'technical' was composed of three instructions: a price to buy, a price to sell at a profit, and a price to sell to prevent further loss.”
Ginny caught Harry's eye, “Is that where Muggles get that expression about hedging bets?
Harry smiled, “I don't know, could be. We'll ask Mullens.” He spared it no further thought and turned back to his display. “The other trades are unconditional buys at particular price.” He changed the image on the screen. “None of the trades Farnsworth suspects, none of the ones that make the remarkable profits, are technical. All of 'em – every one – is a single buy order, no loss protection, no profit goal. He's using different criteria; these are not the same thing.”
Ginny was squinting as she studied the second graph. “I can think of one thing.”
Ginny pointed to the early part of the time line, “Look, these first suspicious trades, here.”
Harry saw the pattern right away, “one by one.” Then, he caught on to her train of thought, “. . . you think he's trying out different strategies, learning if they work, and how?”
Ginny quickly confirmed, “Right. Then a pause and this next series. This group is very regularly spaced.”
“And in increasing intervals and amounts,” Harry changed the image. “Look at what I teased out of the data. Here's the columns: Trade date compared to sale date, the parentage rate that the amounts are growing, and the selling price relative to its range over the last consecutive 52 weeks.”
“Blimey,” Ginny shrugged her shoulders, held her elbows to her side and raised her forearm, palms open and up. “Farnsworth's right. Our suspect knows how they operate. He knows the SFO criteria, he knows the details. He's got his formula and now he's just repeating it.” Ginny paused, thinking something through, “ . . . It's like his technical trades, he's working a system. I think this one's smart Harry. He's calculating and disciplined.”
“Calculating, disciplined and using a powerful magical object?” They both answered the rhetorical question with shrugs. Harry looked glum. “What if we're watching our suspect learn how to use the Grand Trine?” He turned back to the screen and pointed. “Here, these first trades, the longest one's only couple of days. He's trying it out. Maybe he just got it. Maybe be he was absent-mindedly turning it over and found himself behind a week. Then, here, after the duration increases, he knows what it does and is figuring how to use it to get rich.”
Ginny refined the story they were weaving from the threads in the numbers. “He's getting advice, he's refining technique. Go back to your time line.” She pointed left, backwards in the succession of displays until she saw what she was looking for, “yes, that one.” She pointed toward the screen, “Look, he's doing everything one-by-one, he doesn't start another until he finishes the one he's got going. So, I'll bet he's working out something else here. What if it's time travel itself? No one really knows if running into your earlier self creates mayhem. But, who wants to test it? Maybe he's arranging how to stay out of his own way.”
She reached over Harry's arm and scrolled the screen. “But, by late 2002, 2003, he's got his answer, doesn't he? He's confident, look at those trades, several at once, clusters.” She examined the graph again, before concluding, “Actually, it's only clusters after that and hundreds of thousands on some of them.”
“Yea, you're right, I wish we knew who this was.”
Ginny agreed with a nod, “I wonder if Hermione can find who this is”
Harry shook his head slowly, “We should ask. For now, the Grand Trine fits the picture. I don't know what else does. If so, we've got a wizard we don't know loose in the Muggle world playing with their money, a lot of it. We're in trouble if he runs into himself in front of a couple dozen Muggles. We've got a bloody awful mess if Muggles see him use it, or get their hands on it. And, having caught Farnsworth's attention isn't very encouraging. They may already be bugging his desk, telephone, his car, his WC.” He stared at his charts, then wondered aloud. “I wonder if SFO found anything that explains these patterns.” He started typing an email.
We see his first series of trades as his work from tentative to full confidence in whatever the system is. It's like he's learning something, forming a system. Also,if you look at the pattern of the trade time line, the date and the amounts, it's as if he tailoring his trades to the SFO algorithms.
Does this mean something at your end?
Ginny sat back while Harry wrote his email, she noticed that by turning just slightly to her left, the sunlight coming through the adjacent bedroom door produced her reflection on the glass of Harry's computer display. Now she knew how to improve the weekend! She quietly undid the tie of her dressing gown and let it fall from her shoulders. She turned, watching her reflection so that it quickly slid over Harry's email and vanished as she lost the light. She did it twice. His head turned. A third time, he started to watch the side of the screen. She turned slowly until he caught her refection and turned to her grinning.
“Oh! Mrs. Potter, do you have something beside my email in mind?”
She nodded toward the bedroom door, “Sunshine!”
Harry stood to kiss her and while they did she untied his dressing gown. When they finished this long and happy kiss, she slowly pushed it down his arms, taking every chance to touch him as she did. She hung it over hers on the arm of her chair, turned to him with a smile that was clearly an invitation, “Bedroom?”
“Lead on my dear.”
“Are you afraid of getting lost on the way to your bedroom Mr. Potter?”
“No, I just like the view.”
Ginny's natural gait was more a stride or glide than the hip-rolling saunter affected by models on a runway or movie stars on the red carpet. That didn't mean she didn't know how. She liked that Harry enjoyed the view, that he found her beautiful and desired her. Back when they lived together at The Burrow, when making love and living together were so wonderfully new, Ginny and Hermione often talked about what they were learning about sex. Each couple was a bit different, but both women agreed that with lovers who liked looking at them nude, they'd be quick to get their kit off.
When they arrived at their bed, Ginny drew the covers to the foot while Harry put down a knee and rolled onto the sheet. Ginny joined him; they embraced, at first just looking at one another, making love with their eyes, while their hands found their favored places. Then they kissed, a kiss that began what ended in bliss.
This was the best of being married, not that they were allowed to make love, they gave each other that permission. It was more that it was so wonderfully convenient. It was expected, assumed. If Molly popped out of the kitchen fire and found them with Ginny's knickers down, it would be Molly who was embarrassed. Getting started in your own kitchen was no offense to propriety. There were lots of perfectly suitable places and rarely a reason to let the mood pass unfulfilled. It wasn't hard to guess what Molly and Arthur did to fill the house with redheaded kids. Nessie seemed to take it as just another thing master and mistress did naked, like shower, soak in hot water or lay in the sun. She didn't pay attention but neither did she let their unclothed behaviors interfere with her chores.
Becoming ever more skilled at pleasing one another, they took their time, letting their passion build until they lay side-by-side, their hearts still racing, their breathing deep, holding hands as the sunset warmed them in its nearly-scarlet light. It was bliss; it was a privilege of love; it was a reason to be.
When the light through the windows dimmed, Ginny reminisced, “We haven't laid out starkers since Wizards Cove. Hard to believe it's been more than a year.”
“Molly says it'll move even faster when we have kids.”
Ginny turned toward Harry, lay her head on his shoulder, one arm reaching behind his head to nearly touch the other hand that lay across his chest. “Well, that did improve the weekend.”
Harry laughed, then kissed her forehead, “Indeed it did.” After a pause, “You thinking again?”
“Yea, I'm back in my body, what's on your mind?”
“Is tomorrow when we meet that fellow who called last week?”
Ginny remembered the call, “Yes, he's coming by the office at 10:00, Arnold Whiteside, law firm, Whiteside and Hobart. Wants to see if we'd be interested in going to a ball; he knows someone at Y.I.P.I. I forget who, maybe Emelda. . .” She paused, closed her eyes and found what she was looking for. “. . . yes, that's it, he knows Emelda.” She rose on her elbows to catch Harry's eye, “But, you're still worried about the Grand Trine aren't you? I know you're thinking. It's the Grand Trine scenario, right?”
“It's the only theory we've got. When I think about the odds that there's a wizard gaming the Muggle markets, much-less a wizard gaming the markets with a stolen, magical object, it seems preposterous. But, that's not what worries me the most.”
“The fact that we're seeing it. A smart, experienced prosecutor with the resources to investigate anything he can imagine, got us involved because his protege mentions my name? Does that really make sense, even given he's probably teaching Hermione something.”
Ginny lay back, “Right, they know who this bloke is, they can watch him at will, but they're flummoxed, which makes the magical scenario all the more believable. If the government doesn’t know what it is, maybe it is magic!”
“Right in one Mrs. Potter!”
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