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Old November 15th, 2010, 3:57 pm
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The Godfather
Join Date: 02nd August 2007
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Age: 50
Posts: 1,127
Re: A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era PART II

Chapter 3: Mystery and Dread

Ron reached the smoldering ruins of his car in time to see two of his assailants apparate away into the night. One shattered and burnt body lay on the ground and he caught the faintest wisp of the fourth stumbling inside a nearby barn. Ron knelt near where the man had been. He spotted a pool of blood on the ground, slowly dissipating in the torrent of rain still falling. He looked skyward and saw the Dementors beating a hasty retreat to the north and then rose. Cautiously, he reached the barn door and pointed his wand inside. After a moment, he braced himself and walked into the dark room.

The barn was about three stories high. Rotted holes in the roof allowed the rain to seep in, giving the area a wet, moldy smell. One side was lined with stables while the other seemed to be where most of the day to day work had been done. A large, open loft protruded from the rafters, and dried and shredded strands of rope hung from rusty pulleys, which creaked in the night wind. In the far corner there was a forge and anvil, probably where the horses were shod. The wind howled mercilessly in the chimney, like a ghoul laughing at this predicament. Ron swallowed and walked farther into the room, his wand at the ready.

He reached the forge area and the uneasiness grew more palpable. Where was he? His prey couldn’t have gone far. There were no exits and Ron saw him run inside. Had he apparated? If that were the case, he’d have done it with his companions. No, something told Ron that the man was injured and couldn’t apparate. That’s why he ran inside here. Ron was exposed. He had to find this person quickly. The longer it took, the more of a chance he’d either get a lucky shot into Ron’s back or he’d apparate away. There was the snap and tinkle of breaking glass. Ron whirled and aimed his wand towards the source of the sounds. Just as he started walking forward he stopped and looked down.

On the toe of his boots, he saw tiny drops of blood. Then there was another one, then another one, and yet another one. Ron dove to his right, just as a blasting charm struck the spot he’d been standing in. He rolled onto his shoulder and raised his arm to the rafters just above him. He didn’t aim and simply sent out a stunner charm. There was a loud gasp and then a thud as his assailant fell to the floor near Ron in a heap. Ron rose and that’s when he heard the clapping. He turned to stare at a nearby window, and then made a bad face at the men he saw staring inside the barn.

“Bravo, Uncle Ron, that was one awesome somersault!”

Ron grimaced. “Were you two standing there the whole time?”

The pair looked at each other and grinned. The taller one smiled devilishly. “The whole time…”

“Why didn’t you zap him?” Ron asked, his irritation growing.

“And miss seeing the moves of the great Ron Weasley? Perish the thought, Uncle Ron.”

“I’m not your uncle. Get in here and help me bind this one.” Ron ordered. The two faces left the window and in a few moments entered the barn. They were two men in their twenties, both tall. One was thinner, wearing a crisp, new suit and tie with an impeccable London Fog overcoat tied neatly with a belt. He seemed to choose his steps carefully, trying to avoid the mustier and wet areas on the floor. The other had broad shoulders and muscular physique, but not overly so. He wore dark jeans and steel toed boots and a windbreaker over a tee shirt adorned with the logo of some professional quidditch team. He had dancing eyes and a bright, broad grin that almost hid his most distinguishing feature, his hair. It was long, and rich and a muted shade of purple and pink, and seemed to shift colors with the man’s smile. Bright silver aurors’ shield were affixed to both men’s chests.

“You’re all muddy, Uncle Ron.” Teddy Lupin snorted and pointed to the places on Ron’s chest and legs where his roll on the damp floor had left its mark.

Ron glared at the pair. “I’m not your uncle. Do you think you two can handle binding this one up?”

Richard Leveille, Teddy’s longtime friend from Hogwarts, sniffed the air and held is nose up. “Must I, Ron? This place is a treasure trove of germs and bacteria. I can feel my lymph nodes tightening up as we speak.”

“All right, Richard. You ready the one outside for transport.” Ron pointed at Teddy. “The wet dog and I will get this one.”

Richard turned and exited the barn while Ron and Teddy turned to their quarry. Ron froze the Deatheater and then reached down and pulled off his skeleton mask. Staring at the man’s face, Ron almost fell backward.

“What is it?” Teddy asked, his mood turning his hair darker.

“This is impossible.” Ron stared at the man’s sneering, bearded face. “It’s Gibbon. He’s supposed to be dead.”

“What do you mean?” Teddy asked.

“I mean he was killed at the Battle of Hogwarts. A killing curse aimed at your dad,” Ron hesitated, suddenly realizing he was bringing something up that was potentially painful to Teddy, “struck Gibbon instead. He died at Hogwarts almost thirty years ago. He shouldn’t be here.”

Richard’s voice echoed in the night. “Ron, Teddy, I think you better come and see this.”

Ron and Teddy shared a look and then ran out into the courtyard. The dead Deatheater’s remains had already been transported back to the Ministry. Richard was staring up into the night sky. Ron followed his gaze. High up in the cloudy night, just above the asylum, there was an eerie, greenish white figure of a skull. It was a dark mark, sign of the vanquished dark lord. It’s gaze seemed to bore through them. Ron sighed.

“I guess he could be back.”

“What was that, Uncle Ron?” Teddy asked.

Ron cleared his throat and spoke louder. “I’m not your uncle. Let’s get our mystery guest back to the Ministry. I suppose there’ll be a lot of questions for him there.” The trio started making for the barn, when Ron stopped short.

“One more thing,” He held up his finger to them. “That car was blown up by the Deatheaters, got it? I did not blast my wife’s car.”

Teddy and Richard glanced at each other then Teddy snickered. “Whatever you say,” he smiled, “UNCLE Ron.”


Things had changed at the Ministry. As Harry, James and Mortimer appeared in the entry floos at the main entrance, Harry tried to put his finger what exactly was different and when this had all happened. The Atrium was physically the same. The dark wood floors and the peacock blue ceiling greeted visitors, just as they had the first time Harry had visited as a boy. Yet something was different. Harry nodded to Eric Munch as they passed the guard desk. Fear. There was a feeling of fear, bred by doubt, uncertainty, all revolving around the discoveries of the past few weeks. The Deatheaters would certainly add to that uncertainty.

Harry glanced up at the large banner hanging from the rafters. The Minister of Magic’s youthful, yet glowering face stared back at him. Patrick James Scuttleburn had been elected a few years back, replacing John Dawlish in a strongly contested election. The economy, mirroring that of the muggle world had taken a turn for the worst. Dissatisfaction and a general weariness had led to Scuttleburn’s ascension to the post.

Scuttleburn had been an academic, an Irish wizard who’d taught Magical Ethics at the Irish Academy of Sorcery and Magic. (Yes, the domestic staff were leprechauns, not house elves and yes, you found the school at the end of the rainbow.) Harry chuckled to himself. Scuttleburn came off as an idealist, someone who could bring everyone together to a common purpose. He was a rousing orator, gifted with an impeccable way of telling a story and making everyone feel like they were going to be part of something greater than themselves. His candidacy had even managed to divide the Potter/Weasley clan, with many of the women siding with Scuttleburn. From Harry’s perspective, Scuttleburn seemed overly idealistic and lacked any appreciable grounding in real world.

Teaching ethical magic was not the same as dealing with dark wizards and their lack of ethical boundaries. Scuttleburn did little to endear himself at the Ministry. With the exception of the Office of Aurors, he completely cleaned house, bringing in even more inexperienced acolytes into positions where running a functioning bureaucracy had no correlation with the soaring rhetoric that he’d been elected with. His “disciples of change” ran the Ministry like a laboratory. It had only been Harry’s public status as a living icon which prevented the changes in the Ministry to touch the Office of Aurors. That didn’t stop the new Minister of Magical Law Enforcement from trying to use the Aurors as instruments of fairness.

At first, they’d been sent out to enforce the mandatory price controls with the merchants. The net effect of “fair pricing” had been a worsening of the economic climate as more and more shop keepers went out of business. Diagon Alley lost half of its merchants. The Minister refused to acknowledge that his policies were to blame. Instead, he blamed it on the public’s inability to understand the ideal world he was trying to create. Harry felt that it was a contrast in philosophies. To Harry, there was no such thing as “fairness”. He’d learned at a very young age that life wasn’t fair, and neither was society. Still, things were what they were, and while Harry might not have agreed with Scuttleburn’s policies, they were relatively harmless unless there was a crisis. That was when the disappearances began.

They hadn’t noticed at first. It was a person here and a person there, but soon enough, Harry and his teams began to see a pattern. Almost twenty people had simply vanished. It was Mortimer, digging into the archives who noticed what each had in common with the other. At some point during the Voldemort wars, the people who’d disappeared had either directly opposed the Deatheaters or were related to someone who had. Cameron Bones had been the key. The disappearance of a key member of the Wizengamut had launched the Aurors into looking into the relationship of the Deatheaters of old and the happenings today. Scuttleburn wasn’t ready for the news. He ignored the implications, almost ordering Harry to stop looking into the disappearances, lest he cause a panic.

The foul weather and the rumors of Dementors took the matter out of the Minister’s hands. So the Aurors kept digging. That’s what launched Harry and Ron’s adventures and now, the mystery was deeper, more sinister. The notion that the followers of Lord Voldemort were back in operation was bad enough, but Harry felt there was more. There had to be more.

The Atrium was less crowded than normal. Harry and his companions wound their way past the Fountain of Magical Brethren and to the bank of lifts against the far wall. Soon they were exiting at the Office of Aurors. They walked down the corridor, past the offices and into the main team area of cubicles. Ron was waiting for them with Teddy and Richard.

“I hear you ran into some old friends.” Harry asked, glad to see that his best friend and his godson were none the worst for the wear.

“It’s damn peculiar, Harry.” Ron responded, also visibly relieved to see Harry and James still in one piece. “Gibson was killed, yet he’s sitting in our holding room, right as rain.”

“I know what you mean. Dolohov was supposed to be dead too.” The impaled Deatheater at Harry’s ambush was Antonin Dolohov. A sense of dread pervaded the room. Finally Richard spoke up.

“I don’t know why we just don’t ask what we all are thinking.” He said sharply. “If these are alive, is the Dark Lord back?”

“I wasn’t thinking that.” James responded. “I was wondering when lunch was.”

A sharp look from his father shortened his tendency to wise off. Richard was right. The notes all said that “HE” was back. Given the evidence, that could only mean one thing. Voldemort. Was he back? If he was, how? Had they missed a horcrux? Was it something else? As he pondered, a small owl flapped its way into the room and landed on a cubicle wall next to Ron. He reached up and pulled the scrolled parchment from its leg and read the note, his face drawing tighter as read.

“What is it, Ron?” Harry asked.

Ron handed the parchment over to Harry. “It’s another disappearance, Vicky Frobisher.” Harry frowned. Vicky was a charms expert in the Office of Magical Law Enforcement. He remembered her trying out for keeper, but losing the job because the Charms Club was more important than Quidditch to her. She was the first Ministry employee to disappear.

“That means the Minister has to listen to you, Harry.” Mortimer said. “That’s one of his employees. It’s hitting close to home.”

Harry shook his head. “I’ll try, but something tells me he doesn’t want to hear our wild theories about the Dark Lord. We need more.”

“Where do we find more?” Teddy asked.

Harry shrugged. “Ron will start interrogating Gibson.” Ron nodded as Harry continued. “While I talk to the Minister, I want all teams brought in so that we can apply more manpower to the task.”

“What task?” James asked. “Where do we start?”

Harry looked at Mortimer who nodded in understanding. “We start by ignoring things we know. We start at the premise that Lord Voldemort is alive.”

A/N: Okay, so things may not be as they seem. You know I can't just have the old LV is back type of story...There's always something else going on...or is there?



Thanks to cybobbie for the awesome sig pic!
Thanks to the best fanclub in the world!

My Fanfics:
A History of Magic: Part II - Beyond the Epilogue
Teddy Lupin and the Legacy of the Marauders ; A History of Magic: The Harry Potter Era (on hiatus); You Are Cordially Invited... (First Attempt)
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