Based on a true story as recounted by Zoë @SnitchesWitch
Justice for Melinda. Part Seven.
A rainy figure
I know who they are. That had been Weasley’s message,
I know what they want had been my response.
I heard nothing back from Weasley until that night. It was almost 2am when the knocking started. It was loud enough to wake me from a deep sleep. As I jumped out of my bed and reached for my wand I noticed the knocking wasn’t coming from the door. It was coming from the window.
I carefully stepped closer, wand at the ready. The adrenaline rushing through my veins and clearing my head. I was suddenly completely awake.
“Bloody hell, open up, woman. I’m freezing my bollocks out here.”
With a flick of my wand, I parted the curtains to look outside. I could see a broom flying close to the window, swaying in the wind. On it I could just make out a figure, its shape only defined by the drops of rain as they hit it.
“Will you just open the bloody window already?” came Weasley’s voice.
I took a step back. The first thing they taught us in our Task Force training was to always be careful. And always be alert. Then, I used my wand to open the window. The next second the broom flew into my bedroom, along with gusts of wind and a shower of rain.
As the windows closed, the figure on the broom began shaking, droplets flying everywhere. Then the Disillusionment Charm faded and Weasley stood facing me. Wet and shivering and seemingly cross at me for some reason.
Hot tea is a cure for everything
“Took you long enough,” he muttered, as he used his wand to dry his clothes. He didn’t bother with his hair. Or any other piece of furniture that had got wet when he flew in.
“What in Merlin’s name are you doing knocking on my window at this hour?” I asked, putting everything the wind had knocked over back into place. Then I dried every surface. I was mostly trying to keep from hexing his ears off.
“Couldn’t just meet you at the Ministry, now could I? And you never know who’s watching your door. Or following you.”
Red sparks flew out of my wand as I came closer to losing my temper and he took a tentative step back.
“Calm down, will you? I’ve been working all day, trying to figure out what is going on. I figured you’d want to know what I found.”
“A long story. Mind if I make us some tea?
I nodded and watched him walk out of the bedroom. Then I grabbed my favourite warm robes and made my way to the kitchen. Weasley already had two steaming cups of tea on the table and was attacking my last box of biscuits.
“Sorry if I startled you,” he said. “Didn’t realise it was quite so late.”
I sat down and reached for my tea. “This better be good.”
Secrets and their keepers
“Alright. Before I say anything, there’s something you need to understand. This information is beyond confidential. You can’t tell your team, you can’t tell your family. You can’t even tell your kneazle.”
“I don’t have a kneazle.”
“You don’t? I figured…Right, so, confidential. If anyone finds out I told you about this I could end up in Azkaban. Or worse. Same goes for you. So are we clear on that?” he asked. I just nodded. I was head of the SoS Task Force, I could keep a damn secret.
“Okay, so I know you weren’t at Hogwarts back when I was, but I also know about your family. I’ll bet you know a thing or two about what happened during the war.”
“Right. So once the war was over, the Ministry started rounding up every Death Eater they could find. And every creature who sided with Voldemort, too.”
Even after all these years, a shiver still ran down my back at the mention of the name. I sipped some more tea and nodded for him to continue.
“That included Dementors, of course. They were roaming free, and when the war ended they flew back to Azkaban. The Ministry was too afraid to do anything about them, so they let them be. Then a few years after that, when Kingsley became Minister of Magic, he decided to kick them out. We all knew they couldn’t be trusted. Do you have any more biscuits? I think I skipped supper tonight.”
The Dementor mystery
“You ate every last one,” I said, and he had the decency to look ashamed. “I have some leftover cake from Yin’s birthday, if you want it.”
“Thanks, I’m famished. The wife’s always complaining I eat too much. I have to keep up my energy with so many kids in the family, not to mention work.”
I got some cake for Weasley and cut a slice for myself. Watching him eat had made me hungry.
“You were telling me about the Dementors?”
“Right. So, they were supposed to be working for the Ministry but they’d switched sides once already. And they were done taking orders, they were running the prison however they wanted. Of course, when Kingsley, along with every Auror the Ministry had, arrived to kick them out, they were not happy.”
Team work in Azkaban
“Were you there?” I asked. He shivered and nodded.
“A right nightmare it was. Some Dementors fled, but others started attacking the Aurors. They’d lived there for centuries, they had no intention of leaving. But we were prepared to fight back. We started casting Patronus Charms, driving them back. That’s when they decided they needed more power. So while some held the line, a few others retreated back to the cells. They started Kissing the prisoners, using their souls for fuel.”
“It was. But when we realised what was happening we split our ranks, some stayed there with the Dementors, others went to help the prisoners. Somehow they managed to drive those Dementors back. I’m not really clear on what happened, to be honest. All our memories ended up a little jumbled. So many Dementors together, you can’t think straight. You ever been near one?”
“During Task Force training. They found a group of Dementors hiding in some caves near Norway and took us there for field practice. They were terrifying, but according to our instructor they were the weakest pack they’d ever found.”
“Yeah, that might be on us, too. See, the ones we were fighting, they started sort of merging together. It was as if one Dementor was absorbing all the others they way they absorbed their victims’ souls. When the second group arrived, the same happened to them. Until there was only one left. But it wasn’t a normal Dementor anymore.”
“I didn’t know they could do that,” I said. I waved my wand and refilled our mugs.
Pieces falling into place
“No one did. This Dementor was…almost corporeal. It wasn’t even levitating anymore, its feet were touching the floor. Its hands seemed fuller. I could swear it grew at least three feet. And then it took a deep breath, and somehow he started absorbing all of our energy, our life-force, all at once. Then Harry somehow managed to produce a Patronus. It wasn’t even corporeal, we were all so weak. But it was enough to give us a chance. Next Kingsley cast another one. His is proper scary, let me tell you that. Almost as bad as a Dementor.”
He shivered again at the thought, then wrapped his hands around the steaming mug for warmth. He looked paler now than when he’d started speaking.
“One by one we all cast the spell. At first our Patronus were incorporeal, just a wisp of light surrounding the mega-Dementor. I came up with the name, by the way. But they grew stronger and stronger, and by then the Dementor was solid. It had a proper body. That’s when it happened. All our Patronus closed in, and we grew stronger, and so did our charms. And then the thing disintegrated. It was almost like a silent explosion. There were pieces of it all over the room. And on us, too. Flesh, fabric from its cloak, whatever slime passed for its blood. Then there was another explosion, but this one was pure light. As if all the energy, all the souls it had absorbed were set free.”
An amortal destroyed
“How is that possible?”
“Not a clue, but I’m telling you, that’s what happened. When we got over the shock we went to check on the prisoners. There was only a handful of them still intact. The rest had been Kissed, they were just a husk. We knew how bad it would look, so Kingsley decided to keep it under wraps. It was a secret operation, and no one would ever speak about it.”
“And what happened with the prisoners?”
“Well, that’s the complicated part. You see for years the Ministry used Dementors as a way to punish those they thought were irredeemable. But a Dementor’s Kiss doesn’t kill you. So they created a ward in the Department of Mysteries where they kept all the bodies. Alive but empty. Mind, I only found out about this part today”
“Who told you about it?”
“Well,” he said, looking away for a moment. “Technically nobody did. I might’ve stumbled and crashed into a filing cabinet that somehow popped open, and some files might’ve accidentally fallen out and I couldn’t help but notice what they said.”
“Technically,” he repeated with a grin. “And I might’ve also noticed that ever since the Calamity started, something has been happening to those bodies. There’s this sort of grey shimmer around some of them. And four of them disappeared from the Ministry the day of the explosion, back in October.”
The missing prisoners of Azkaban
I could hear what he was saying, but none of it made any sense. A Dementor absorbing others of its kind? Becoming corporeal? An amortal non-being exploding and seemingly dying? That was insane enough. But was he insinuating that the prisoners, who had been Kissed, had somehow been revived? That was simply impossible.
“There’s no cure for a Dementor’s Kiss. So what are you suggesting happened to the missing prisoners?”
“No clue, and I didn’t have a lot of time to delve into the reports. Which I found by accident, as you might recall. Apparently when their carer went back to the ward to check on them after the explosion he noticed the shimmer around some of them. And four were missing.”
“Any theories on how that happened?”
“Not yet. I But I think it was them who killed Portas and Melinda. Maybe if you tell me what you found, we can figure this out.”
I walked over to my bag and pulled Melinda’s file out. Then I handed it to Weasley.
“You know those creatures that killed Melinda took a piece of paper from her hand, yes?” He nodded. “I found the page that piece came from. There are some notes that caught my attention.”
Weasley opened the folder and looked at the sheet of paper I was talking about. He turned it from one side to the other, trying to make sense of Melinda’s scribbles. Then he got to the text surrounding the ripped part and his eyes widened in shock.
Professor Saul Croaker??? Dep
“Bloody hell,” he said, dropping the sheet of paper as if it were hot. “They are looking for the Sand of Time.”