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Chapter 12 : Breakthrough: Scorpius POV
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All six of us - Albus, Dominique, myself and our mentees were convened for our weekly meeting.
“What don’t you get?” Colleen Creevey asked Kali without looking up. She and Dominique were comparing notes they had taken on one of the interview files. The pair had set to scrutinizing the records from two and a half years ago, one by one. Anyone who had ever seen Rose Weasley sneeze had been interviewed after Rose’s abduction and there were quite a few files. It was rather tedious work, yet both Dom and Colleen had a great eye for detail, so they took over that aspect of the case, thankfully. The table had file after file sprawled across it.
“Well, two things, actually,” Kali contemplated. She flicked her wand at the wall and the words July the sixth - Rose Weasley is found in Hogsmeade – six days after her abduction, glowed in bright purple.
Kali and Albus had taken on the task of marking out the timeline leading up to Rose’s abduction, and then her return and added any other happenings that we thought were significant. They charmed the wall with a giant map of the events. It looked eerie, seeing it all laid out before us, almost as if I could touch time and change it.
Caesar Corner and I busied ourselves with looking into Stannous’s past. We were given access to the resume that he submitted to Hogwarts when he got the Transfiguration job. However, almost everything on it had been falsified. Even after hours of research, the investigation led to a series of dead ends. We din’t know where he was from, where he attended school, or who his accomplices were. All we knew for certain was that he had at least two other wizards working with him.
Not about to be deterred by that setback, Caesar took initiative to see if he could find out if Stannous had given any indications as to his real identity to the other Hogwarts professors. He'd written letters to each of them and we planned a visit to the school to interview anyone that had been teaching at the same time Stannous was there. I was really proud of him. I was really proud of all the mentees, they were a clever bunch.
In addition, Harry had asked Teddy to do some digging with the Department of Mysteries. So that made a total of eight aurors working the case, if you counted Harry, who was doing as much work as the rest of us combined. At one of his impromptu briefings, he let the six of us in on his own research investigations. He was working to find out if Stannous had been sighted in any other known wizarding areas of the world. He had written to the ministries throughout Europe and Asia, as well as Australia and North and South America.
I know that Harry could've easily put other aurors on the case; they would've gladly accepted it, but he was trying to keep it small, given that too many people with the same undercover assignment might get back to Ron.
So, the six of us auror trainees had basically just been gathering information. However, we were about to have a small breakthrough…
We all stopped what we were doing to look with Kali while she scrutinized the wall. My eyes were caught again on the words June the thirtieth - Rose Weasley is abducted from Hogwarts shortly after commencement ceremony. Every time I looked at that part, it made my heart pulse with anxiety. If I had just gone with her to Stannous’s office - or refused to let her go with him, or even just distracted her long enough so he decided not to go through with it, we might’ve had a different outcome.
Who was I kidding? If one thing was certain, L’erge Stannous was going to get to Rose Weasely one way or another.
Kali’s voice tore my mind back to the task at hand. “Firstly,” she stated confidently, “I don’t get why this bloke brought her back. I mean, here, he'd successfully kidnapped one of the most famous kids in the wizarding world, held her captive for six days, and then he just drops her off Hogsmeade like the Knight Bus? Why not ask for a ransom? Why not kill her or whatever?”
“I just figured he was some sicko that had become obsessed with her,” Colleen offered. “…but you're right – if that were the case, he probably would’ve killed her. That’s textbook for a fanatical fan.”
“Oi! Take it easy,” Albus stood up and growled at the pair. He did not like Kali and Colleen speaking so flippantly about Rose.
“They have a point, Al,” Dom rose from her chair while she spoke, mostly to calm him down.
“Dom, they know what happened to Rose at the cabin. They shouldn’t be talking about her this way. She’s not a case file.” He turned and jabbed an accusing finger toward Kali.
Harry had insisted that the mentees knew everything that we knew about the case. He was right. It wouldn’t do any good for them to work on it without having full access to all information.
“Wait a second,” Caesar piped in, sounding like he was on to something. “I see what Kali is trying to say. Don’t you think it's weird that he didn’t even ask for any money? I mean, he would’ve gotten it. Hell, Harry and Ron would’ve probably given all their gold in Gringotts to get Rose back.”
“What the hell is wrong with all of you?” Al’s temper flared as he rounded on Caesar. “This is my cousin we are talking about!”
“Al!” Dom stormed toward him. “Keep your hair on, will you? She’s my cousin too and Scorpius’s girlfriend, but you don’t see us losing it! This is exactly why Harry assigned all six of us this job! We need their outside perspective.”
She took a breath before continuing in a much lower voice. “Don’t you remember what it was like when Rose was gone? Or when she came back? They were the longest six days of my life.” Dom’s lower lip quivered uncharacteristically, and there was clear distress in her voice, as she stood her ground in front of Albus. “We lived in a state of complete panic and then were so relieved that she seemed unharmed that we didn’t ask these questions when we should have!” She sat down abruptly in the nearest chair and leaned over the table, pretending to be flipping through one of the files, although she clearly wasn’t reading. We all knew better than to try to touch or console her. Dominque Weasley didn’t show weakness to anyone.
Dom’s atypical outburst made Al take a step back and flop down next to me.
“You’re right, Dom,” he conceded kicking the chair next to him. “I just want this sick fuck found so Rose doesn’t have to be afraid all the time,” he fisted his hands through his already messy black hair. “Damn it, I think I need a break.” He stood up and walked across the room, pausing by Kali, who was still staring at the charmed wall.
While she didn’t dare bite back at Albus for his angry tirade, she definitely wasn’t afraid of him. That fact alone made her a great partner for him. Al wouldn’t do too well with someone who was fawning all over the son of ‘the chosen one’ or with someone who challenged his every move.
“I’m sorry Kali. I shouldn’t have snapped at you,” he put a hand on her shoulder.
“Naw,” she looked up at him. “I get it. If it were one of my relatives, I would be the same way.”
Shortly after Al left, Caesar spoke quietly to me. “How are you doing with all this? You’ve been really quiet.”
“I just want this arsehole found so he can rot in Azkaban until he dies.”
Rose deserved better than to live with the threat hanging over her. I did’t think she would feel truly free until Stannous was captured. Since we’d finally talked everything over, we had been one hundred percent better. Maybe even more than one hundred percent. Aside from the whole Stannous thing, it'd been amazing. We were officially together. Although she had’t yet told her parents, everyone else knew, including Harry and Ginny.
Guilt crept over me knowing I had just lied to Caesar. Discussing the case and seeing everything written across the wall in glowing purple letters was taking its toll on me. I felt a stab in my heart every time we discussed it, but I needed to push through it, if we were actually going to figure out what this dark wizard wanted with Rose.
Our weekly meetings always took place on Friday afternoons, because that was the day Ron went home early. It also was the only day Rose didn’t visit the ministry after her training because the aurors didn’t have any ‘curse and countercurse’ sessions. So instead, every Friday, Al and I apparated to St. Mungo’s to pick up Rose and Selenia. The other couple usually headed out from there for a night on the town, but Rose preferred the quiet of Number Twelve. She was doing so much better, but still seemed reluctant to venture out with the others. I didn’t mind. In fact, I relished our time together. Most Fridays, we would cook dinner together. I was showing her all the Malfoy family recipes that my Mum and I used to prepare.
“We’ll get him, mate,” Caesar clapped his hand on my back and smiled. He was a good bloke – knowing enough not to push any further.
“Kali!” Al burst back through the door, interrupting my train of thought. “What was the other thing you were talking about?”
We all stared at him as he stood there bouncing on his toes.
“You said there were two things you didn’t get. What was the other one?”
“Oh,” Kali said slowly. “Erm… I just don’t understand how he could breach her flat last summer. Or how that strange wizard got into the Quidditch party at your flat. I mean, it’s not like you lot are amateurs at putting up wards.”
Al, Dom and I exchanged looks. Wow. She was right. The thought had crossed my mind at the time, but, in both instances, the happenings with Rose had taken precedence and we were all distracted from that simple, obvious fact. “You make an excellent point,” I said to her. “We did have wards up – lots of them.”
“Maybe Stannous and his mates have come up with counter wards,” offered Colleen.
“I doubt it,” Dom said. “Uncle Harry and Uncle Ron take security incredibly seriously – especially in our homes. If there were counter wards out there, we would’ve known about it first.”
“Hmm.” Colleen’s face was screwed up in thought. “It is something to think about. I mean, would there have been any reason why James or someone else would have lifted the wards at the party? To accommodate guests?”
“No,” I replied. “All the guests apparated in an out from the alleyway next to the flat. That is one thing we have always been really careful about.”
“The same for our flat.” Dom added. “We never let anyone apparate either in or out from the inside. The wards were always up.”
It suddenly seemed like we were at an impasse. “All right,” Caesar stood up and flicked his wand at another wall that currently had nothing written on it. Bright, purple words were instantly emblazoned upon it:
How did they get through the wards?
Where did L’erge Stannous come from?
Why is Stannous after Rose Weasley?
“Good questions,” Al approved. “It gives us some things to consider.”
“I think that is good for today,” I said, realizing that the silence that had fallen over the room pretty much meant we were all thinking the same thing. “Why don’t we all just take the week to think everything through? We will reconvene next Friday.”
“Great job, Kali,” I said to her. “I know it seems like we aren’t getting anywhere, but you just opened up a lot for us to contemplate.”
“Thanks,” she said with no cheer in her voice. “But I feel like I just gave us more questions instead of answers.”
“No, you didn’t. We had a breakthrough today, any way you look at it.” Albus nodded at her. “I want to apologize again. We… need you to solve this case.”
I could tell by the look on her face that she had needed that confirmation from him. As we filed out of the room, I turned and cast the charm that would hide our enchantments on the walls. I was going to head to St. Mungo’s early today. I needed to see Rose as soon as possible – just to be near her. We all left the room with mixed emotions and I still had those words emblazoned on the back of my brain:
A/N: I need to send a huge thank you to Sarah (LightLeviosa5443) for looking at the outline of this story and telling me it didn't suck. Actually, she was rather cute and said that she really, really liked it and can't wait to read it- so, thanks Sarah! I really needed the vote of confidence.
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