Based on a true story as recounted by Zoë @SnitchesWitch
Justice for Melinda. Part Twelve.
The fastest Owl
Leaving Newt Scamander’s house was about as difficult as getting in. Or perhaps more so, since his many, many, many pets were a little past their feeding time. His protective shield actually began to fail just as we pulled the door open. And it was sheer luck that Weasley reached for some snacks in his robes pocket and found the three baby Nifflers that had made their way in there.
But somehow we managed to step out, and the door closed on our heels with a loud bang.
I tried to make sense of what we’d learnt. I think we had both suspected what the creatures that attacked Melinda were, but now with all this new information…it somehow made sense.
“Thery’re trying to go back, aren’t they? To being human?” said Weasley. He looked paler than usual. Even his freckles seemed lighter.
“Makes sense. And from what your brother told us, I think that’s probably why they want the Sand of Time.”
“The want it enough to kill anyone in their way. We need to stop them or we co-”
Just then an owl came flying towards us. It was a Ministry Owl, and it was flying faster than any owl I’d ever seen. It was coming straight at us and it wasn’t slowing down. Just as I reached for my wand the owl screeched, turned sideways and dropped a small object in front of me before turning back the way it had come.
A hidden message
“What the bloody hell was that?” asked Weasley, who had dropped to the floor for cover. He stood and brushed some dust off his robes.
“Emergency Ministry Owl. I’d heard they were ten times faster than any regular owl, but I’d never seen one before.”
“They’re breeding magical owls? How long has this been going on? We could’ve used those back when I was in the Auror Department.”
I kneeled down to inspect the object the owl had dropped. It was a small medallion with a family crest. Mine. In fact, it had been on my desk just hours earlier. I took my wand and used a few spells to make sure it was what I thought it was. A Portmanteau.
Something had happened. Something urgent enough to send an Emergency Owl. And something secret enough that they couldn’t attach a single message.
“What’s that?” asked Weasley, reaching for the Medallion.
“Don’t touch it!” I pushed his hand away just in time. “It’s a Portmanteau, but not a regular one. The team wouldn’t send a time-set transport. Something has happened and they need us to go back, but they wouldn’t risk just anybody using it, so it has to be keyed to me. We don’t know what could happen if you touched it.”
“So what am I supposed to do?”
“Grab my arm,” I said. When he did, I used my wand to bind us together, so the Portkey would transport us both. Then I made a small cut on my finger, just enough to draw some blood. “Hold on tight,” I said. Then I reached down and touched the Portkey, using my blood to activate it.
The secret meeting
I never enjoyed travelling by Portkey, that feeling of being pulled by the stomach, the world spinning around me. But carrying someone with me was so much worse. It felt as if my body was being pulled apart, as if the Portkey was rejecting Weasley and trying to throw him off me.
Finally we stopped spinning, and once I caught my breath and looked around I noticed we were in some small room I’d never seen before. It looked almost like a storage room. There were four members of my team standing around me, looking nervous.
“You got here just in time,” Adeel said, as he helped me to my feet. My arm was still bound to Weasley’s, so I sort of dragged him up as I moved. His face had turned a strange shade of green and he looked like he was trying very hard not to vomit. The trip had clearly been even rougher on him.
I was still feeling dizzy and everything seemed a little blurry. I was very careful to focus and aim correctly as I unbound my arm from Weasley’s. And not a moment too soon. The second the link was severed he rushed across the room and buried his head in an empty bin. I could hear him heave and it started to turn my stomach, so I focused on my team instead.
“What’s going on?”
“They’re rounding us up. We’re the only ones left. I wasn’t expecting you to bring Weasley along or I would’ve sent a second Portmanteau, sorry about that, boss.”t
“Where are we now?”
“In the Ministry. Department of Mysteries. Michelle managed to sneak us past the Aurors. But they’ll find us soon enough. And they’ve disabled the Floo Network and set up Anti-Apparition wards.”
“What the hell happened?” asked Weasley, looking somewhat better.
“We found out they were getting ready for a new transport, like you said, boss. I tried to interfere but they went above my head. So we stole the package. Once they found out it was missing, they began checking anyone with access. And it wasn’t long before they realised their memos and summoning notes were never reaching their destination.”
“I need to talk to Harry, clear this up,” said Weasley.
“He’s the one behind it. He sent his Aurors to interrogate everyone, they were in a frenzy. Once they realised it was our department…”
“It didn’t take them long to round us up. Most of us were still trying to run interference, so we were easy to find. Adeel sent me a Portmanteau just in time. We tried to get to the others but the whole Ministry was after us,” said Michelle.
“Naman, Nicholas and I were on our way back to headquarters when we found out. We grabbed some Polyjuice and joined the Aurors, hiding in plain sight. Then Michelle got us here,” added Mía. “We couldn’t do much to help the others, but Nicholas stayed with the Aurors. We’ve been trying to contact him but everyone’s on high alert looking for whatever is in that box.”
A new plan of action
“How long ago was this?”
“About an hour,” said Mía.
“They’ll find us eventually. We need to stash that box somewhere safe. Weasley, do you think you can talk Potter down? Make him see reason?”
“Oh, I’ll make him see reason, alright. Bloody git he’s turned into.”
“Okay, this is what we’ll do,” I said, hoping I could find a way to keep my team safe. “Nicholas will make sure the rest of the team is alright. No rescue missions for now. Weasley, you talk to Potter. Adeel, take anything from this room you can use and start making Portkeys. To any safe location you can think of. Make enough for the whole team, we might need to run. Michelle, you know your way around the Department of Mysteries. You’ll come with me. We need to find a safe place for the box. Mía and Naman, do you have any Polyjuice left?” They both nodded. “Use it to infiltrate the Aurors if you can. If not just get out of the Ministry. Any questions?” They shook their heads. “Let’s do this, then.”
I reached for the door, cast a quick spell to make sure there wasn’t anyone on the other side, and pulled it open. We were at the very end of a long hallway with rooms on either side. We made it to the first room before we stopped dead on our tracks.
There were five figures lying on the ground, eyes open, pale as death but still breathing. Before I could go inside Michelle called from the next room down the hall. More figures there. In the same condition. As we made our way down the hallway we counted 47 in total. Living, but not alive.
“What’s happened to them?”Naman asked from somewhere behind me.
“Dementors,” Weasley said. They’re in the Ministry.