Chapter 2 : A Family's Grief
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"We've spent three years rebuilding...three years outing all servants of the Dark Lord...three, THREE YEARS establishing a good reputation with the Muggle world and now this?!" the Minister of Magic flipped a chair in the assembly room. "When you are reckless in your duties, the consequences will be heard for miles."
The large assembly room was filled with Aurors, & other Wizards who remained quiet as Minister Shackleboly walked back in forth in anger. He kept his eyes fixed to the floor as he paced; he then tried to composed himself. Kingsley turned to the others and continued to slowly pace. "The surviving Auror, Olivia, has told us that there was an entire village of Muggles who saw Darnold disarm a Muggle law enforcer...and scores of them saw this werewolf rip apart Muggles. We need to fix this and quickly. The Prime Minister of England is most displeased with us over this & will be severing connections to us." Minister Shacklebolt adjusted his body language as he tried to decompress everything racing through his mind. His assistant, a man tall with a well in shape appearance sat down to the side of Shacklebolt, pondering to himself.
"Minister," a Wizard interjected. Minister Shacklebolt stopped and acknowledged the Wizard, "Why were two Aurors in a Muggle village to begin with? What happened to the werewolf and who was the werewolf?"
Minister Shacklebolt returned a gaping look to the Wizard. The Minister's assistant arose from his seat, "This situation as of right now is a need to know basis. Do you feel like you're a person who needs to know right now?" The assistant's dominating features intimidated the Wizard who asked the many questions. "Just a heads up, if you've heard something then you were meant to hear it. And if you didn't hear something then...why gosh I guess you weren't supposed to hear something."
The Wizard returned a submissive look and bowed his head. Shacklebolt continued, "That's enough, Riker." Assistant Riker took his gaze off the Wizard and returned to his seat, "We are going to need to make drastic changes. That begins with a cease in travel between the Muggle World and our world. Only travel permitted will be for the students of Hogwarts this coming September."
Whispers began amongst the crowd. "We need to stay low for as long as possible to fix this issue. Long has the Minister of Magic been the bridge between the Muggle & Wizarding World; therefore I will be leaving to speak with the Prime Minister of England on this matter. I've asked representatives of the Ministry to speak with their Muggle contacts on the issue, to assure that this will not happen again.
"The Muggles have too many questions--they're beginning to learn too much. I need the department of Transportation on this cease immediately. Give everyone the news tomorrow at a press conference & one to make the necessary preparations. Make sure our young Wizards and Witches can make it to Hogwarts by the second day of September," Minister Shacklebolt took a breath, "We are on Transportation Lockdown in two days. Any questions, please refer to Assistant Riker?"
"Mr. Potter, a word if I may. Everyone else is Dismissed," he announced. Everyone in the room got up, conversations began. Shacklebolt whispered something to Riker.
Harry Potter arose from his seat and walked towards Minister Shacklebolt. Riker walked by Harry and nudged him out of his way as he headed outside. "Sir," Harry Potter said, after looking back from Riker to Shacklebolt.
"Harry," Shacklebolt said, seeming to cool off, "How've you been my boy? Is your training coming along well?" Kingsley placed his hand on Harry's shoulder and then he sat in a chair. Harry sat across from him, trying to figure out if he should tell Kingsley his training is inept or that it's going well...
"Er--yes sir, very much so," Harry answered dishonestly. Harry's tone changed, "This transportation issue, I would like to help. I--mean I really think I could be of use here."
Kingsley looked at Harry curiously, "I don't doubt that, Harry. But you'll forgive me if you understand that you are too early in your career to be apart of something like this."
"Sir---" Harry began to speak.
"Kingsley," Harry corrected himself, "I wouldn't let you down. I have a real connection with Hogwarts & I'd like to do right by the school that was my home for so long." Harry's message really hit Kingsley, showing his deep passion for helping the school that to him was home. "I realize I had to be in training longer than most for not returning to Hogwarts for my last year, but I know what I'm capable of sir and I know you know what I'm capable of." Harry's confidence was contagious to Kingsley.
"Alright Harry," Kingsley agreed, "Speak with Miss Myra in transportation. Let her know I've sent you to her for this assignment. Perhaps Miss Granger will join you as well in this."
"Thank you sir," Harry smiled, "I'm sure Hermione would love to help." Harry then remembered, Shacklebolt was the one who requested a word with him..."Was there something I could do for you sir?"
"Yes Harry. I need your help in regards to something about the attack," Kingsley said. Harry was confused, but looked willing. "The Werewolf...was Bill Weasley."
"No..." Harry said under his breath, "but-he never turned he just had a diet change. How could it have been him? He never transformed before!"
"Bill Weasley was helping the Ministry, privately with special enchantment securities. His services took him to Italy, where Olivia and Darnold escorted him. We had believed Dementors & former Death Eaters were hiding out there. He followed a link to Italy and all I heard from Olivia was that a curse he performed backfired. And suddenly, he took on the shape of a werewolf," Shacklebolt explained thoroughly. "After they told me he transformed, I told them to--go alone and bring him back. I couldn't let people know what I was doing with them---there's too much risk. This Ministry is still not cleansed of enemies...of those who served the Dark Lord." These words had Harry for a loss.
Bill Weasley died in Italy on a secret mission, and two Aurors were forced to save him based on discrepancy of a mission.
"I've sworn Olivia to secrecy for now & you are the only other person who knows."
Harry was lost in thought, thinking about the Weasley family and how this must tear them apart to learn the truth. "You and Miss Weasley are still close, yes?" Asked Shacklebolt. "that family needs you. They need you to break this news."
"Not really," Harry said quietly, "but the Weasleys are family to me. I will tell them what happened."
"Thank you, Harry. I would do this myself, but I'm afraid Arthur and I haven't been close for some time...since the investigations. And please, let them know about the transport cease...give them an extra day."
"I understand sir."
"Please go to the Weasleys tonight," Kingsley requested. He put his hand back on Harry's shoulder and said, "I will never know the burdens you've carried." Kingsley smiled and moved out of the room, leaving Harry alone to his thoughts.
Harry got up and readied to head out of the Ministry for the night and Riker came back to the assembly room. Harry and Riker exchanged unpleasant looks. "Have something on your mind do you?" Harry asked in a confrontational tone.
"Ya I do," Riker walked closer to Harry, "I couldn't give two-shits about you being 'the boy-who-lived' or the fact that you beat an old wizard off his rocker. I've seen privileged pieces of shit like you before rise up here only to let everyone down. So if the Minister is gonna trust you with this kind of shit I just want you to clearly understand that I don't like you." Riker stopped a few feet from Harry. Harry and Riker continued staring at one another.
"I'm sorry you feel that way," Harry said coolly, "Glad you're not as shy as you look." Harry nudged past Riker and walked out of the assembly room, Riker looking over his shoulder.
Harry stood outside the Weasley's new abode. It was back in another field of emptiness, only surrounded by nature in its truest form. A family of good people, living in a home as pure as their bloodline. There was always a tragic element to the Weasleys...they were all lovers not much of fighters and the world slowly takes their toll on them. Harry couldn't bare what he was going to say. He rehearsed it over and over again in his head, but nothing seemed right. He then started to think if Ginny would even want to see him---he stopped thinking; he realized he was only sinking his mind.
Harry took a deep breath and started to walk towards the house. In the window, Molly noticed him and smiled. She turned to speak to everyone at the dinner table, "Harry Potter is here!" she excitingly announced. Ron, Hermione, George, Angelina, Fleur, and Arthur got up quickly to greet Harry. When Harry saw Fleur, his stomach sunk.
He was at the front door now and Arthur opened it to him, "Welcome Harry! Come in won't you?"
Harry found himself froze for a second, poking at everyone's faces. The people who did so much for him, and were so happy to see him as he carried the weight of a brutal message. Harry awkwardly walked inside. Hermione could tell something was wrong and she returned a worried look. Ron noticed Hermione's look and looked at Harry puzzled.
"I--uh," Harry swallowed.
"Would you like some food?" Molly asked.
"No, no I'm fine," Harry said, "I have to tell you something--about what happened two days ago in Italy." Everyone seemed confused. Fleur's face dropped and she slowly became pale.
"What about it?" Ron asked.
Harry looked at them all one more time and then he spoke:
"The werewolf...it...he was Bill."
There was a pause. Harry let his head drop a bit as he knew the news needed time to sink in. Arthur grabbed Molly slowly, attempting to comfort her, as George and Angelina embraced Fleur who started to fall to her knees.
Hermione made an attempt to comfort Ron but Ron looked at Harry. "What the blood hell happened, Harry," Ron allowed a few tears to show.
"My boy," Molly quivered.
Harry took a breath and looked at Ron and Arthur, "I'm so sorry."
"Come darling," Arthur took Molly to the next room and gestured George to do the same for Fleur.
As they headed into the next room, Ron kept looking at Harry and then to Hermione. Hermione asked Ron softly, "are you ok?"
"Gee I don't know 'Ermione, my oldest brother is dead," Ron shrugged her off, "And Harry Potter brought me the news but he won't tell us what happened now will he?" Ron stated looked
deeper into Harry, "Mr. Auror in training."
"Ron, stop it. I work for the Ministry as well, you know that it's not their fault," Hermione said.
"Then why was Bill in Italy with two Aurors and not in Egypt?! Explain that! Tell me what happened Harry!" Exclaimed Ron. His voiced carried into the dining area where Arthur was. Ron moved closer to Harry, each step he became more and more distraught, "You tell me, right NOW!" Ron grabbed Harry by the shirt and threw him against the wall.
"Stop it!" Ginny shouted from the stairwell. Hermione and Ginny ran over to Ron and Harry to separate them.
"Enough!" Bellowed Arthur, as he grabbed Ron by his shirt collar and yanked him off Harry.
Ron's breathing was fast...he felt something was wrong in all of this and Harry knows what it is. Ron looked away and walked off to join his family in the dining room. Harry could tell that despite acting rationally, Arthur was very upset. "Mr. Weasley---" Harry began, but Arthur held up a finger to Harry.
"We need to live with this a little, Harry," Arthur explained, "I know Kingsley sent you here. And this shouldn't be your burden. We will discuss this but please...we just need a while. I'm sure you're not working tomorrow, and it's a long ride back, stay the night in our guest bedroom."
Harry nodded. Arthur turned from Harry and went to the dining room to be with his family. Hermione stayed with Harry in the living room as Ginny remained by herself in the stairwell, silently grieving alone for Bill.
The night would go on, with no more words. No thought of what was next, no more thoughts, no more expressions, just purely...silence.
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