Ushan Bones: The Life of an SoS Task Force member
Based on a true story as recounted by Zoë @SnitchesWitch
Justice for Melinda. Part Three.
A long night
The rest of that day, and much of the night, was spent going over the case.
Anne, Melinda’s wife, was my first death notification. No matter how many times you review the courses and the manual, I don’t think anyone is ever ready for something like that.
Anne had been calm and collected. She asked only the most basic questions, probably afraid of knowing too much of what had happened. Her hands were shaking, but her voice was steady as we talked about Melinda. There was nothing special or new she’d been working on. There were no new people in their lives, no strangers following them. No one who would want to hurt her. Nothing out of the ordinary. The place where the incident had occurred was part of her normal route home. The time of death fit into her routine as well. As much as she wanted to help, there was very little information Anne could offer right now.
Melinda’s parents were Muggles, both retired and living in Portree. Anne decided it would be best if it was her that told them what had happened to Melinda. So after a few hours she left to see them, and I headed over to our department area to give the team an update. They were all hard at work, going over Melinda’s most recent cases, trying to find anything that would make a witch or wizard want to kill such a kind woman. They hadn’t found anything so far.
Then I headed for the Mediwitch’s office. Yin’s desk was covered in thick, ancient-looking books. She was so engrossed in the reading she didn’t notice me come in until I called her name.
I moved a few of the books out of the way and sat in front of Yin.
The censored report
“Have you found anything new?” I asked her. She kept reading one of the tomes as she answered.
“Not yet,” she said. Then reached for a quill, made a note and moved on to another book. “I’m researching the bruises on her arm. Trying to figure out exactly what combination of spells would cause it.”
“This might help you,” I said, offering the rolled up parchment from Head Auror Potter.
She instantly perked up. “What’s that?”
“Apparently Melinda’s case wasn’t the first one. Some Aurors got attacked before, but they kept it under wraps.”
“Of course they did.” Yin rolled her eyes, then reached for the report. She started reading it. “Who gave you this?”
“Over half of the text is vanished. Why can’t they just tell us what they know?”
“Apparently it’s confidential. But they decided we need a new liaison between departments. He’s starting tomorrow.”
“Right, liaison. More like a spy, probably. Trying to find out what we know so they can pass it as their own work.”
“In all honesty, I don’t think I care why they do it as long as it helps us find out who killed Melinda.”
Yin put down the parchment, took off her reading glasses and sat up straight.
“I know you two were friends. How are you handling it?”
“I don’t think it hit me yet.”
“We are going to find out what happened,” she said. “You have the best team the Ministry has ever known working for you. We’ll figure it out.”
“I hope so.”
The truth was I’d never dealt with anything like this in my career. I had a whole team depending on me, waiting for instructions, for ideas. And I had none to offer.
It was barely half past seven when I heard the knock on my apartment door.
I reached for my wand and carefully walked down the hallway.
“It’s just me,” a voice said from the other side of the door. “Ron Weasley.”
Wondering what could have possibly happened, I opened the door to find him smiling at me, hair dishevelled, a smudge of something on his cheek, almost hopping from foot to foot.
“What are you doing here?”
“Sorry, might’ve got a little over excited about the new job. Even got meself some new robes. The old Auror ones didn’t quite fit right around the middle,” he said with a wide smile, patting his stomach.
“Alright, but what are you…”
“Are those biscuits?” he said, walking past me. He sniffed the air as he walked, as if he was following the scent all the way to the kitchen. “Blimey, I’m famished”
I was trying to be patient, but I didn’t have any caffeine in my body yet. “Why are you in my apartment?” I finally asked.
“Right,” he said, as he chewed his third biscuit. “Sorry. It was my turn to go shopping and with all the excitement I might’ve forgotten. The wife wasn’t thrilled, I can tell you that.”
“Would you like some tea?” I asked, my manners overriding my confusion -and slight annoyance. Whatever Weasley wanted, it clearly wasn’t urgent.
“Cheers,” he said, as he reached for another biscuit.
I walked over to the kettle and gave it a quick tap, then set about making some tea for two.
“Right,” he somehow managed to say around a mouthful of biscuits. “You’re probably wondering why I’m here.”
I took a deep breath and gave him my best smile. “Just a tad.”
“I went over the Auror files yesterday, the ones Harry mentioned to you. And also read your team’s report on Melinda’s death.”
“Anything I should know?”
The Law Enforcement Liaison
“That’s the thing,” he said. “I’m not really allowed to tell you everything, technically. But all this interdepartmental secrecy just drives me bonkers. It’s part of why I left Law Enforcement in the first place. How are you supposed to do your job when you don’t have all the information, right?”
“What are you saying?”
“Well, if I saw something important, or interesting, I do tend to talk a lot. You’ll see that once you get to know me better. So I talk to myself sometimes. Like to hear the information, it’s how I process things. And if you happened to be in the vicinity when it happens…well, it’d hardly be any of our faults, right?”
“Right,” I said, wondering just how much information he was willing to share.
“So I figured, since I’m new to the case, I should at least interview the people involved in previous incidents. Maybe even go over the first victim’s reports again. And like I said, I’m new, and maybe a little rusty. So it would only make sense for the head of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force to come with me. Just to make sure I don’t overstep.”
“It does make sense,” I said, reaching for the last biscuit. As strange as he seemed, I was beginning to like him.
“Right, so best get going, then. Witnesses are always more likely to give out information when they’re still half-asleep.”
With a wave of his wand, he cleared the table of any crumbles and set the now clean mugs on the counter.
“Oh, and you might not want to mention this conversation to Harry. He’s not as prone to rule-bending as he used to be.