Based on a true story as recounted by Zoë @SnitchesWitch
Justice for Melinda. Part Four.
The Slumbering Spy
I grabbed my jacket, my wand and my Ministry ID. Then the new interdepartmental liaison, Ron Weasley, offered me his arm. As soon as I wrapped my hand around his elbow he Apparated us both to some little cottage in the middle of nowhere.
“So this is Thompson’s place. He was Portas’ partner. Portas is the Auror that was killed.”
Weasley stepped closer to the door and all but banged on it.
“You may want to step back a bit,” he said with a strange smile.
A second later, the door opened and a very angry wizard in hippogriff pyjamas opened the door. He stared at Weasley for a second, anger turning into confusion.
“Ron?” he said. “What are you…” Then he yawned and seemed to loose balance, leaning back against the door. “Best come in, then.” His voice was softer, his speech slower.
Weasley gave me a wink and motioned for me to go in first.
The room as small and dark, with strange artefacts covering every surface.
“Are you back with the Ministry?” Thompson said, all but falling into an armchair.
“Yeah, just helping out for a bit. Wanted to ask you about Portas, in fact,” Weasley said. He motioned for me to take a seat across from Thompson, then walked over to a bookshelf, moving things around as he spoke. “There was a similar incident, so we’re trying to figure out what happened.”
“That’s classified, mate.” Thompson leaned back, trying to find a more comfortable position, already half asleep.
“Don’t worry, we’ve got clearance. Remember I showed you earlier?”
“Wanna tell us what happened then?”
The first incident
I wasn’t really comfortable just sitting back quietly, but Weasley had clearly done something to the man, and I wasn’t about to waste a chance to get some useful information.
“They wanted the box. I barely got away.”
I instantly sat up, ready to ask for more, but Weasley quickly shook his head, pressed his finger to his mouth.
“Who had the box?”
“We both had one, didn’t know which one was the real one. It was pure luck that they took the fake one. It could’ve just as easily been me.” There was something in his tone, as if a part of him wished it had been. “They came out of nowhere, four of them. And they were good, two attacking, two defending. They knew what they were doing.”
“Did you see their faces?”
“It was dark, and they’d used some kind of spell, it looked as if their faces were part of the darkness. And they moved so fast. It was almost impossible to get any magic to hit them. I can still see them, when I sleep.”
The Mystery Box
“What was in the box?”
“They didn’t tell us, you know how it is. But it was something secret, that’s for sure. We had to take it from the Ministry to Gringotts. They called us in at the last moment, had the route all mapped out. They attacked us just as we got to the point where we were supposed to split up. It’s like they knew just where we were going. They attacked us, and even after all these years on the job I tell you, it was bad. And I wanted to help Portas, fight them together, but our instructions were clear. The box was what mattered. Keep it safe at any cost.”
“How did you get away?”
He gave a humourless laugh. “I couldn’t Apparate back to headquarters, there was some kind of shield around the area, so I started Apparating everywhere, one second here, one second there, just buying time. Not even stopping long enough to attack.” His voice was getting softer, his eyelids closing. “Used to play with my brothers like that, one would have to catch the others as we Apparated around. Got Splinched a time or two, that wasn’t fun. Then suddenly I Apparated and they were gone, just like that. And Portas was dead.”
“I’m sorry, mate. We’ll let you get some sleep now,” said Weasley. His only answer was a loud snore.
I was careful not to trip over anything as we left the cottage.
Some Auror tricks
“What in Merlin’s name was that?” I asked as soon as the door closed behind us. I wasn’t sure whether to be angry or impressed. Maybe both.
“Awesome, right?” he said, a huge grin on his face. Then he reached into his pocket for some kind of purple sweets, popped one into his mouth and offered the other to me.
“No, thank you.” He shrugged and ate the second sweet. “What did you do to Thompson?”
“It’s a trick Moody taught us, back in the day. But you have to time it just right. Need to catch the person unawares, just as they wake up.”
“So you just illegally interrogated an Auror? On your first day?”
“Don’t sweat it, he won’t remember a thing. And now we know more about what happened. That information wasn’t even in the un-redacted reports. Whatever they were carrying must’ve been important. And a potential embarrassment to some high-ups if someone found out. What do you reckon was on the box?”
“I don’t know, but I can’t imagine Melinda being involved with the same thing without me knowing. Everything that happens in the Task Force goes through me.”
“Could she had been working on something new? Maybe she wanted to figure it out before she told you.”
“It’s possible, I suppose, but the team’s been going through her files since yesterday, and they haven’t found anything.”
The Calamity Strikes
“Why don’t you head back to your office, have a look yourself. They might’ve missed something, and now that we have this new information something might pop up that didn’t catch their eye before.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to have a chat with Harry. Figure out if he knew about the boxes. And if he did, we might have a different kind of chat entirely. I’ll come see you when I know something.”
Then he Apparated away, and I headed back to the Ministry.
But as soon as I stepped into the office, Nicholas, one of the Task Force members, came running towards me.
“New Calamity trace, boss. We just heard.”
“What is it this time?”
“It looks like we have another Displaced Memory. Where Melinda was attacked.”