Based on a true story as recounted by Zoë @SnitchesWitch
Justice for Melinda. Epilogue.
The Incident Report
There was a soft knock on my door, and when I looked up from the file I was reading I saw Yin and Nicholas standing there.
“It’s time, boss,” Nicholas said.
I closed the file and put it back in the drawer. I knew every word in it, but I still found myself reading over it time and again. It was the Task Force file from the night the Dementors attacked. There were hundreds of witness reports, all accompanied by bottled memories. I couldn’t bring myself to watch those memories, dealing with my own was hard enough. But I couldn’t stop myself when it came to reading the file.
There were also two lists of names in the folder. Those who had died in one. Those who had been Kissed in the other.
When I first read the report I’d expected the list of dead to be quite shorter. Dementors did, after all, use us for fuel. There was very little to be gained by killing when they could simply feed on you instead.
But the Four, as we now officially called them, the former Death Eaters, the not-quite-Dementors. The Four couldn’t feed on people. However, they seemed to have retained that same thirst for blood they’d had when alive. So they’d killed everyone who had crossed their path as they searched for the Sand of Time.
Every time I looked at one of the names on those lists I felt responsible for what had happened. It had been my choice to keep the Sand at the Ministry. I had asked my team to interfere when the Aurors tried to get the Sand to Gringotts. I never thought the Four would be bold enough to attack the Ministry.
But I’d been wrong, and now so many were dead. Or worse.
The Statute of Secrecy Task Force
“Ushan,” Yin said quietly, pulling my mind back to the present.
“Right.” I got up and put on my uniform robes.
There was a patch on the front of all our robes identifying us as members of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force. I used to be proud to wear them. Now I wasn’t sure I deserved such an honour.
I was surrounded by the best witches and wizards the wizarding world had to offer. Not only because of their skill and knowledge, but because of who they were. My team. Loyal to a fault. Ready to do whatever it took to protect our way of living. To protect us from the Calamity.
I walked out of my office to see the rest of the team standing there.
“We figured we should go up there as a team,” Adeel said.
They had all been so supportive, going through the Ministry Official Inquiry without complain, always protecting me and the rest of the team.
The investigation hadn’t been long. There were too many things to do, and throwing blame around didn’t seem to be what the Minister was interested in.
She had many questions, especially for me and Weasley. She hadn’t been happy to learn her own husband had been involved in the investigation and the incident and had kept her in the dark, but she had been professional through it all. And Weasley had covered for us, too. The parts he had been involved in and the parts he hadn’t.
The Ministry Memorial
And he was here now, too. Even though he wasn’t an official part of the team, even though he’d decided to limit his involvement to an advisory role, he was here with us today. Smiling while he offered the rest of the team some Bertie Boots.
“Let’s go, then. Let’s get this over with.”
I made my way up the door and towards the stairs. There was no point in trying to get the whole team into the lifts. And I needed a few extra seconds to prepare mentally.
There was already a large crowd by the atrium. The entire Ministry building had been restored within days of the attack. There was a new plaque now, though, with the names of those who had died that night. I read each name as I came into work every day, sometimes finding it had been updated, another witch or wizard who had died from injuries.
The Minister had told us that the Dementors attacked before the package was scheduled to be sent out. Even if we hadn’t interfered they would have attacked the Ministry anyway. And thanks to us, she said, they hadn’t taken the Sand of Time. But I wasn’t sure if I believed her. And I wasn’t sure it made any difference regardless. I should have figured out what was going on faster. I could have avoided all this.
A ray of hope, perhaps
We made our way towards the other Ministry workers, and I tried not to wonder if they, too, blamed me for what had happened. There had been chatter, and the team had ears in every department. But most Ministry workers didn’t know the details of what had happened. They did know, however, that the Task Force was somehow involved. And that was enough to set them talking.
Thankfully, it was only a few moments before the Minister stepped up to the podium in front of the Statue. The room went instantly silent.
The speech was short and to the point. She gave very little information on what had happened. Instead, she focused on the aftermath. She thanked everyone who had been involved in the incident for defending the Ministry against the attackers. She told us the Ministry would make sure nothing like that happened again. We would be safe in this building, and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and the Statute of Secrecy Task Force would make sure we were safe outside of it, too.
She mentioned those who had lost their lives, including Melinda. She praised the Aurors and the Task force for the work they had done, for fighting the Dementors, for not giving up when we felt that all-consuming hopelessness around the creatures.
Then she said something I had hoped for, something I had been thinking about myself. She said the members of the Department of Mysteries were working hard, attempting to revive those who had been Kissed that night.
She didn’t give any details of course, but there was only one thing that made sense. They were trying to use the Sand of Time in the same way the Four had.
Hermione Granger, Minister of Magic
Then the speech was over, and the crowd began to disperse. I started heading out with my team back to headquarters, but Weasley asked me to wait with him. Then Ms Granger approached us.
“Ms Bones,” she said. She seemed a little more relaxed than the last time we had spoken, the day after the attack.
“We have talked about this before, but I would like to thank you personally for the work you and your team have done.”
“Thank you,” I said, trying not to show how uncomfortable her words were making me feel. She was thanking me for something that never should’ve happened. For something I should have managed to avoid.
“I understand there will be a funeral tomorrow for your colleague. Melinda. I would like to be there, if you think her family wouldn’t mind.”
“Of course. I can talk to her wife if you want, but I think it would be nice. Melinda believed in the work we do here.”
“I met with her twice, although I’m sure you know that. I wanted to know more about her idea of using Muggle technology to track the Calamity. She was a very bright witch, and seemed to be a wonderful person, too.”
I was about to say more, but I noticed someone approaching us from the side. It was Adeel.
Another day, another Trace
“There’s another trace. A hippogriff was spotted by some Muggles. It was flying over some buildings and then crashed into some sort of panel Muggles use to advertise products. There were quite a few witnesses, and many of them recorded the incident. We are trying to track them all down, but we need to move fast.”
I turned to the Minister, but she was already nodding her head.
“Go,” she said. “We will talk again soon. There are a few questions I still have about he Four and their plans for the Sand of Time.”
“Of course,” I said. I gave Weasley a smile and turned to follow Adeel back to my office.
“That new recruit just arrived, by the way. He’s quite odd, to be honest. Black nails, a piercing on his nose, bright blue hair. Was flirting with everyone in sight when I left. I think he’s going to be trouble.”
“Great,” I muttered. “That’s what happens when Weasley asks for a favour.”