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Old August 8th, 2009, 7:07 pm
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Re: Butterfly Kisses (Sequel to Harry Potter and the Return to Hogwarts)

Chapter 6
Firewhiskey and Fudge


Author's Note: This chapter will be in Harry's Point of View.

(Right after Harry's conversation with Ron ended)

“See you mate,” Ron said to Harry.

Harry said nothing, but waved a hand to him, giving a non-verbal goodbye. He didn't want Ron thinking that he was mad at him. Which was the truth. He wasn't mad at Ron. Ron did nothing wrong. At the moment, he was mad at the Minister of Magic, and had a perfect reason to be.

If the rumors were right about Kingsley Shacklebolt's involvement in this so-called “purge”, then he was already treading down the path his predecessors traveled down. It was fear that drove Ministers of Magic Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeour into their crazy “Voldemort isn't back; the world, wizarding and Muggle alike, is perfectly fine” schemes, and the latter got himself killed for it. Of course, Voldemort was definitely not back. He was long gone, his body now rotting into nothingness at the bottom of the Hogwarts Lake. And his Death Eaters were either dead or locked away in Azkaban forever. Now, with this new purge that had been the cause of Thorpe's resignation, Shacklebolt seemed to be acting as if hell had broken loose once again and the Third War was about to start only months after the Second one ended.

Harry knew he had to do something about it. He had to find out what was going on in Kingsley's mind. Perhaps he could get Thorpe his job back in the process, as well. Thorpe might have been a rough individual that reminded Harry of the Slytherin House (and he wouldn't have been surprised if Thorpe was a Slytherin), but he definitely wasn't a future Death Eater (if the Death Eaters even had a future). Thorpe was a good man deep inside and he had all the makings of a fine Auror.

Harry walked out of the Auror Headquarters, nodding his head and giving silent greetings and goodbyes to every witch or wizard that passed him as he went. He walked into the crowded lifts, joining the witches and wizards who were leaving the Ministry for the day, though he wouldn't be leaving with them just yet. A couple minutes later, as the lifts gradually became more crowded, the doors opened at the first floor, where the Minister of Magic's office was located. Harry pushed his way past the witches and wizards, as more started coming on, and walked down the hall. At the end of the hall, a golden plaque on the large double-doors read:

KINGSLEY SHACKLEBOLT
MINISTER OF MAGIC

Harry forced his way through the doors, and walked past the secretary's desk. The secretary, an older man, who was a retired Auror that was put there for the Minister's protection, stared at him as he walked toward the door.

“Sir!” he said, “Sir! The Minister is very busy. He is in a very private meeting.”

Harry ignored him. The secretary moved with quick agility and arrived at the Minister's door before Harry could get there.

“The Minister is in a meeting with somebody, sir,” he said to Harry, “He is not seeing anyone else at the moment. If you come over to the desk with me, we can work out a special time that he can see you.”

“Oh yeah?” Harry asked, his rage building inside him at the man, “When? Two weeks from now? Two months from now?”

“The Minister is a very busy man, Mr. Potter,” the secretary said.

“So you do know who I am,” Harry said.

“Yes, sir,” the secretary said.

“You should also know that the Minister and I are friends,” Harry said, “We go back --”

“To the days of the Order of the Phoenix,” the secretary said, “Yeah, I heard it all, Mr. Potter. But I don't think that gets you a free pass to walk into the Minister's office, especially when he is in a very important meeting. Especially not for some teen punk, even if you did save the world.”

“You think so?” Harry asked, ignoring the last bit, fearing his rage would win over, “Maybe you should ask him.”

Harry stared at him, and crossed his arms. The man looked at him for a moment, then sighed and shook his head. Harry thought the man was still not going to let him through, but then the man turned his back on Harry, and looked at the door.

“Damn youngsters are going to be the death of me,” the secretary muttered, though Harry could hear him, “Think they know everything these days.”

He opened the door and peered his head through. Harry could hear Kingsley say something, though it was very indistinct.

“Yes, I know sir,” the secretary said, “You said no visitors. But Harry Potter is here. He says he needs to see you. It sounds very urgent, but I told him to –“

Harry heard Kingsley's voice again.

“Are you sure, sir?” the secretary said, “Yes. Yes, sir.”

He kept the door ajar, and turned to Harry.

“You may go in,” he said to him, “But you should count yourself lucky. Don't be too long.”

The secretary walked back to his desk, muttering what Harry thought sounded like, “little punks.” Harry walked into the room. Kingsley was sitting behind his large oak desk, his back against the large chair. But that was not who he was looking at. Former Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, was standing in between the two chairs in front of the desk. He was looking right at Harry.

“Harry!” Fudge exclaimed, “What a pleasant surprise!”

“You wanted to see me, Harry?” Kingsley asked, looking right at Harry, his hands together, as if in prayer, on the desk.

Harry noticed that he did not look as pleased as Fudge at the sudden intrusion. Kingsley motioned his still-clasped hands to the empty chair on the left. Harry walked over to the chair and sat down. Fudge smiled and sat back down in his chair. Harry looked at Fudge, and had a sudden funny feeling that Kingsley Shacklebolt wasn't the master-planner of the purge that had taken place.

“Harry?” Kingsley asked.

Harry wrenched his attention back to Kingsley.

“You wanted to see me?” Kingsley asked again.

“Er... yeah,” Harry said, though he suddenly felt as if it wasn't Kingsley he should be talking to, “One of my fellow Aurors-in-Training, Thorpe, resigned this morning, and I couldn't help but think that you had something to do with it.”

Kingsley looked at Fudge, then back at Harry.

“I take it,” Kingsley said, “that you have heard about the investigations going on?”

“Yes,” Harry said, “I heard about that. And, if you want my honest opinion, I think it is bonkers.”

“Bonkers?” Fudge asked, his voice changing from pleasant to one quite darker, “I thought, out of everyone, you'd be the first one to praise these investigations. I mean, if I remember right, it was you who discovered the first Ministry worker who turned out to be working for the other side. Lucius Malfoy, remember?”

“If I remember right, Fudge,” Harry said, “It was you who thought I was going mad when I accused Lucius Malfoy of that.”

“Oh, the past is the past, Harry!” Fudge said, chuckling, “It's time to focus on the future.”

“And the future is deciding who is fit to be an Auror, and who isn't?” Harry asked, “If you ask me, Samson Thorpe is just as fit to be an Auror as I am. He's leagues better, I bet, Minister, than that senile old secretary of yours was when he was an Auror.”

“You misunderstand the meaning of the whole investigation,” Kingsley said, “The Aurors just aren't under investigation, everyone in the Ministry is.”

“Precisely!” Fudge said, “We must learn from our past mistakes, Harry.”

“And you start the investigation off by searching through the histories of the witches and wizards who are training to be Aurors?” Harry asked, “Look, just because Thorpe's father made a bad choice, doesn't mean his son has to pay for it! Look, why don't you just order Thorpe's father to come in and you can ask him --”

“Even if we had any questions, Harry,” Kingsley said, “Thaddeus Thorpe was killed in the final battle which you and I were a part of.”

Harry stared at Kingsley.

“He was crushed under the same rubble that put your friend Ron in a coma for a few hours,” Kingsley said.

Harry's throat went dry.

“We believe,” Kingsley continued, “that he was in one of the top rooms of the house when Mr. Weasley and Fenrir Greyback were dueling. When their battle brought down part of the roof, we believe that it crushed Thaddeus Thorpe, as well as Fenrir Greyback.”

So in a sense, Ron had a part in Thorpe's father's death. The thought made Harry's stomach clench.

“We only found out a few days ago that Thaddeus was one of them,” Kingsley said, “That's how long it has taken to go through all of the details of that battle. Magic or no magic.”

“Good riddance to a bad soul, if you ask me,” Fudge said.

Harry stared at Fudge.

“Still doesn't mean Samson Thorpe is a possible threat,” Harry said.

“Oh, it doesn't, does it?” Kingsley asked, staring at Harry, “Let me give you a little scenario. Our victory at the final battle of the Second War was big for the public morale. Huge. Epic, even. So, of course the Daily Prophet was going to try to dig their heels into every detail of it. They've followed the clean-up to the point of annoyance. I get owls flying in and out of my secretary's office delivering letters from Aurors who had cleaned up the whole thing, and from people in the Daily Prophet. The clean-up crew beg me to pass a law saying that the Daily Prophet reporters can't dig too deep into the work of the Aurors. The Daily Prophet reporters, when they aren't asking me to give more details of the final battle, complain to me that the clean-up crew is pushing them away or using spells to hide the details from them. It's maddening.”

“Now you know how I felt, Kingsley,” Fudge said, chuckling.

Kingsley ignored the former Minister.

“Sooner or later, Harry,” he said, “the Daily Prophet is going to get a hold of names of the unmentioned Death Eaters. I ask you, Harry. How would it seem to the public if they found out that the relatives of those named Death Eaters work right here in the Ministry of Magic? I have promised the public, over and over, that the Ministry is doing everything to get past the horrible, dreadful days when Voldemort and the Death Eaters reigned free in the halls of this place. And now, there are relatives, family members, of the Death Eaters working here?”

“You can't blame them on the bad choices someone else made, Minister,” Harry said.

“Harry, you don't understand!” Kingsley exclaimed, smacking the desk with a fist, “If you did, you'd be supporting this whole thing instead of questioning me about it.”

“Explain it to me then,” Harry said, simply, “make me understand.”

Kingsley sighed and stood up. He walked over to the fire and stared into it. Harry remembered (and it seemed a lifetime ago) when he watched Ron pace back and forth in front of the fire, just minutes before the final battle of the Second War. At the time, he wondered if Ron was just going to jump in the fireplace and Floo out of there. Harry, himself, had almost wanted to do the same. Now he wondered if Kingsley was thinking of doing the same thing. As Kingsley walked back and forth, Harry noticed that Fudge wasn't saying a thing. A minute later, Kingsley stopped, mid-pace, and looked at Harry.

“Harry,” he said, “What I am about to tell you cannot leave this room. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir,” Harry said.

“If it does,” Kingsley said, “I will have no choice but to kick you out of the Aurors.”

Harry was about to complain. That seemed like a very extreme thing for the Minister to do. But Harry only nodded.

“Yes, sir,” he said.

Kingsley stared at him. Harry knew he was trying to see if he was telling the truth.

“Okay,” he said.

He walked back over to his desk and sat down. He stared at Harry.

“At this moment,” he said, “many of the more important details of the final battle have yet to be revealed to the public. Before the final battle, we didn't know the names of the prisoners in Azkaban who had escaped with the Death Eaters and had joined up with them. After the final battle, those prisoners were captured and sent back to Azkaban... at least those that hadn't perished in the battle.”

Harry nodded, silently wondering how many had perished along with Thaddeus Thorpe.

“Ever since that battle,” Kingsley continued, “The Ministry has been doing our best to discover the names of those who had been killed. At first, this was just to make sure that everyone in that battle had either been killed or captured. Originally, we wanted to know if any of the prisoners or Death Eaters had escaped. Then we realized that if the families of these prisoners found out that their...” he struggled to find the word, “loved ones were killed, then they just might want revenge.”

Harry nodded. It did seem like it could happen.

“Well,” Kingsley continued, “At first, the Aurors weren't having any luck discovering who those prisoners were. Then we started getting answers. A couple of the prisoners were wizards who had gone to Azkaban at a younger age and didn't have no family, as far as we could tell. Then just a few days ago, we discovered Thaddeus Thorpe. Well, when your instructor heard the name in one of the meetings, he immediately connected the man to your fellow Auror-in-Training Samson Thorpe.”

Harry remembered what Shippe had told him in the locker room.

“I tried to help Thorpe. I did everything I could try. I told them he was a wonderful part of this department, and that he could have a bright future as an Auror if he trained well. They didn't listen to me.”

“Shippe thought Thorpe was innocent,” Harry said, “You didn't listen to him, did you?”

“Shippe doesn't understand!” Kingsley exclaimed.

He sighed and paused for a moment.

“Please understand, Harry,” Kingsley said, “It is no secret that you and Ron Weasley were a part of that final battle. What if Thorpe found out that his father was a part of that battle? What if he discovered how his father died? Don't you think he would blame his death on you? Or Ron? I mean... Ron was only a few feet away from where Thaddeus would have been. Sooner or later, Thorpe would have found out that little detail.”

“Look, Minister,” Harry said, “If you're trying to protect me and Ron --”

Fudge laughed. Harry and Kingsley glanced at him.

“Protect you and Weasley?” Fudge asked, “We're not just trying to protect you and your little friend. Though now that you mention it, you should thank us for that. No, no, no. We are trying to protect the whole Ministry. The whole wizarding world!”

“Well, if you're trying to do this,” Harry said, “so it doesn't start another war, then I quite agree with it. But --”

“Of course we're trying to prevent another war,” Fudge said.

“Mr. Fudge,” Harry said, “I was starting to wonder. What is your involvement in this whole thing?”

“What are you getting at, Potter?” Fudge asked, “I may not be the Minister anymore, but I'm just as much a part of this Ministry as you are, if – if not more!”

“There are scores of witches and wizards who are part of the Ministry,” Harry said, “But they are not sitting in this office having a meeting with the Minister of Magic. But if you like, I could get them.”

Kingsley chuckled softly. Fudge, on the other hand, looked furious.

“I mean,” Harry said, “I would understand if you were just in here because you missed the old office. I can see how it would bring back some memories. But, to me, this doesn't look like a normal visit. Even the secretary outside said it was 'very important meeting' that the Minister was in.”

“I-I don't think that is none of your business,” Fudge said, flustered.

“Of course not,” Harry said.

Before Fudge could say something else, Harry looked back at Kingsley.

“Well, Minister,” he said, standing up from his seat, “I came up here to attempt to get Thorpe back his job, but it looks like that isn't going to happen.”

“Harry,” Kingsley said, “sit back down.”

Harry grinned. He sat back down in his seat and looked at the Minister again.

“You probably know Samson Thorpe better than I do,” Kingsley said, “Tell me about him.”

“Sir?” Harry asked, surprised at the turn of events.

“Well,” Kingsley said, “If you, as you say, came up here to get Thorpe his job back, then you must think highly of him. Now, forgive me, but I don't know much about Thorpe. Therefore, I want you to tell me about him.”

Harry opened his mouth, then paused. It was true, he didn't know much about Samson Thorpe.

“Well,” he said, “I know that he has the makings of a good Auror. He has his faults of course, but I'm sure you agree that everyone in the world has some of their own.”

Kingsley chuckled and nodded. He moved his hands in a “continue, please,” motion. Harry struggled to find more good things about Thorpe. It was true, he didn't see the man much outside Auror training.

“I take it that you don't know much about him,” Kingsley said, eyebrows raised.

Harry shook his head. Before Kingsley could say something else, he continued quickly.

“Still doesn't mean I think he shouldn't be allowed to return to Auror training, sir,” he said.

“Well, then,” Kingsley said.

Harry wondered at that moment what Kingsley was going to say next. Perhaps Harry should have tried to find more good things to say about Thorpe. Things that could have made Kingsley realize that the man wasn't like his father. Kingsley took a piece of parchment from a large stack and a quill. He dipped it in ink and started writing something down.

“Harry,” he said, as he wrote, “I believe you do know Thorpe better than you say.”

“You do, sir?” Harry asked.

“Oh, yes,” Kingsley said, “But if you doubt yourself, then this is what I think you should do. I think you should go visit Samson Thorpe.”

“Sir?” Harry said again.

“He lives on the outskirts of London,” Kingsley said, finishing up what he was writing. “I know this, because he told me after a long discussion. A moment later, his temper rose, and he stormed out of my office. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell him about his father.”

“You mean you want to tell him about his father?” Harry asked, surprised.

“No, Harry,” Kingsley said, handing Harry the piece of parchment, “I want you to tell him.”

“But,” Harry said, “I'm not sure --”

“You want Thorpe to get his job back, right?” Kingsley asked.

“Well, yeah,” Harry said, “But --”

“Go to his house,” Kingsley said, “Get to know him. Tell him about his father. It will be your choice to tell him exactly what happened to him. Then, and only then, ask him if he wants to get back into Auror training. If he does, I'll allow it, and I won't give another thought about it.”

“And if he doesn't?” Harry asked.

“Well, then,” Kingsley said, darkly, “For his sake, you just better hope we're wrong about his connections to the Dark Arts.”

----------------------------------

Harry walked out of the Minister's office, past the secretary who was giving him the nastiest of looks, and back toward the lifts. Once he was in the lifts, up toward the Atrium, it was only then that he looked at the piece of parchment. Written under Thorpe's address were the words:

“Watch your back. Good luck, Harry. You're going to need it.”

Harry stuffed the piece of parchment into his back pocket, as the cool voice overhead announced their arrival to the Atrium. Harry walked out of the lifts and over to one of the fireplaces, where he took the Floo Network to the Leaky Cauldron. On arrival, he declined a drink offer from Tom and walked out of the Leaky Cauldron. He raised up his wand arm. A second later, a rush of wind and the sound of creaking metal announced the arrival of the Knight Bus. Stan Shunpike walked out, followed by passengers headed for the Leaky Cauldron.

“Well, if it ain't Harry Potter!” Stan exclaimed, “'Choo looking for a ride?”

Harry only nodded and stepped onto the bus.

“Hey, Ern'!” Stan exclaimed, “Look 'oo it is. Harry Potter!”

Ernie just grunted. Harry sat down and Stan walked up to him. Harry paid Stan.

“Where 'bouts you headed?” Stan asked.

Harry said the address, and with a grunt from Ern and a creak of metal, the Knight Bus whooshed down the road.

“Ain't seen you in a while, have we Ern?” Stan said to Harry.

“How many times, Stan?” Ernie grunted, “How many times --”

“Yeah, yeah,” Stan sniffed, “Keep your hat on! So what'choo been up to, Harry? Heard you were an Auror, that's what I heard. Is that right?”

“Auror-in-training,” Harry said, simply.

“Oho!” Stan exclaimed, “'Ear that, Ern? Harry's going to make sure we don't have another Dark Lord on our hands.”

“Maybe he should take you to Azkaban then!” Ernie grunted, “Get you out of my hair, at the very least.”

Stan rolled his eyes.

“Dark Lord? Ha!” Stan laughed, then looked at Harry seriously, “Between you and me, I ain't got no evil blood in my body.”

Stan grinned, and Harry only nodded as he stared out the window at the scenery rushing by. Stan grabbed the Daily Prophet from his seat and opened it. Harry remembered the first time he had been on the Knight Bus. Sirius Black's face had been on the front page of the Daily Prophet Stan had been reading. It was almost as if Sirius was staring right at Harry. Somehow, thinking about it, it made Harry feel warmer inside.

“Looks like Rita Skeeter's new book is coming out soon,” Stan said, “Bet Ern' can't wait for that one. Prophet says it could have been out sooner, but it looks like Rita was waiting for the war to be officially over. Says she wanted more information.”

Stan put the Prophet down for a moment and looked at Harry.

“You ask me, I'd actually like to read that book,” Stan said, “Maybe she'll talk 'bout that final battle the Ministry's tryin' to hush up. You 'ear about that, Potter? Yeah, seems the Minister 'imself is trying to hush up that battle. Or that is what the Prophet thinks, anyway. Dunno if it is true or not. What'choo think 'bout that?”

Harry shrugged, thinking of the promise he made to the Minister less than thirty minutes prior.

“Yeah,” Stan sniffed, “Dunno either. I like the Minister. He's a good man. Hate to think any bad thoughts 'bout that one.”

Stan shrugged and went back to reading the Daily Prophet.

-------------------------------------------

Ten minutes later, the Knight Bus arrived at its destination.

“'Ere's your stop, Harry,” Stan announced, “Don't be a stranger, now.”

Harry nodded and hurried off the bus. Once he was clear of it, the bus roared down the street and disappeared into thin air. Harry saw the number seven, which was the number on the piece of parchment. The house was identical to the houses on each side of it. The only thing that was different was the lawn. It was high enough that Aunt Petunia herself probably would have called the police and demanded that the owner of the lawn be sentenced to life in prison for it.

Harry walked up the grey sidewalk toward the house. He knocked on the door. A minute later, there was still no answer. Harry knocked on the door again, louder this time. Five seconds later, the door opened. Samson Thorpe stood there. Harry immediately noticed the strong odor of what seemed to be firewhiskey.

“What is it?” Thorpe said, slurring his words a bit.

“Sam,” Harry said, saying the name Thorpe liked to be called, “It's me. Harry.”

“I know who you are, Potter,” Sam said, “Come on in.”

Harry walked into the house. Sam shut the door behind him and led Harry into the small living room. Harry spotted at least three empty bottles of firewhiskey on the floor near an old chair.

“Was having a one-man party,” Sam said, sitting down in the chair with force. “Not every day a wizard gets kicked out of Auror training without a warning.”

“Kicked out?” Harry asked, sitting on a couch, “Thought you resigned.”

“I did nothing of the bloody sort!” Sam yelled.

“Okay, okay,” Harry said, in a calming voice.

“Is that what they're saying?” Sam asked.

“They didn't tell you anything more?” Harry asked.

“No,” Sam said, “Shippe marches me up to the Minister's office. First I thought I was getting a one-way ticket right into being an official Auror. You see, he brought up Jasper too. So I thought we both had our names on that list.”

Harry knew that “Jasper” referred to Billingsly.

“Billingsly didn't get kicked out, though,” Harry said.

“No,” Sam said, “Apparently Jasper was just brought along to escort me out after the message was sent. They thought I might do something serious.”

Sam scoffed. He took his wand from the table next to his chair. Suddenly, two bottles full of firewhiskey came floating into the room and into his hands.

“You want one?” Sam asked.

“Er... sure,” Harry said.

Sam grinned and threw him a bottle. Harry caught it.

“Be a real party now,” Sam said, grinning and opening his bottle with his wand, “So... they get you too? Force you to resign?”

“No,” Harry said.

“Oh, they will,” Sam said, nodding seriously, “You can bet your wand on that. It's a purge, I tell you. A bloody purge. The Aurors don't matter no more, Potter. Yesterday's news now that Voldemort is gone.”

Sam scoffed.

“You know,” he said, “It's all my father wanted me to do.”

Harry listened intently. Now they were on the right subject.

“He wanted me to be an Auror, see,” Sam said, “I wanted to be a Quidditch Player.”

He put his hands up in quotes.

“Next big thing, Sam 'The Wham' Thorpe,” he said, “The best bloody beater in the whole world. My father took that out from under me. Then he was carted off to Azkaban.”

“Really?” Harry asked, trying to act surprised, “Why?”

“My mother was a Muggle,” Sam said, “She got in what the Muggles call a car accident. Apparently the Ministry took the investigation into their own hands. The head of the division that worked with Muggle stuff at the time. What was his name? Wait --”

Harry's throat went tight. It probably would have been Ron's father. That would have given the Ministry another reason Sam could have wanted revenge.

“Nope,” Sam said, “It was on the tip of my tongue. Forgot it. Anyway, my mother was killed in the car accident. They took her car into the Ministry, and whoever the guy was that worked on it must have messed up. Because apparently it seems that the car was tampered with. The Ministry went on believing that my father was the one who tampered with it. So they plugged him with my Mum's murder and carted him off to Azkaban. All because of some bloody mistake one of the Ministry workers must have made.”

Harry stared at Sam. Was what he said just the ramblings of someone drunk on firewhiskey? Or could it really be true that Mr. Weasley might have made a mistake and have been the reason Sam's father was sent to Azkaban?

“Sam,” Harry said, “Did you ever find out what happened to your father?”

Sam stared right at Harry.

“What do you mean?” Sam asked, “My father is still at Azkaban, of course. Though he should be right here with me.”

“Sam,” Harry said, “I don't think he is in Azkaban.”

“What do you mean?” Sam asked.

“You remember when the Death Eaters invaded Azkaban late last year?” Harry asked, “They took a few prisoners with them. I talked to the Minister earlier, Sam. They believe your father went with them.”

“Don't say that, Potter,” Sam said.

“Sam,” Harry said, “As far as I know, it's true. From what I heard, your father was there at the final battle of the Second War. The house caved in during the battle. Sam, I'm sorry to tell you this. Your father was killed during it. The Aurors only found out he was one of the dead a few days ago. And if he wasn't an Auror, then he was part of the Death Eaters.”

“No!” Sam bellowed, “You're wrong!”

Sam stood up, and Harry whipped out his wand.

“Protego!” he yelled, creating a shield around him.

Sam bounded off the shield and slammed back into his chair. Harry thought he would attack again, but Sam only shrank back in his chair. Harry heard sobs.

“I don't believe you,” Sam said, between sobs.

“I'm sorry, Sam,” Harry said.

“Leave me alone,” Sam said.

“Sam,” Harry said, “I --”

“I said leave me alone!” Sam shouted, “Get out of my house!”

Harry knew it was time to leave. He stood up and set down the unopened bottle of firewhiskey next to Sam. He left the house, shutting the door behind him.

“Goodbye, Sam,” he whispered, looking back at the house.

Harry apparated back to Leaky Cauldron. After a quick butterbeer at the bar to calm his nerves, he headed back to his home via Floo Powder. When he arrived, Frederique the owl was perched on the kitchen window. Ares, Harry's new owl, was hooting at him. Harry opened the window and let the owl in. He had two rolled up pieces of parchment in his talons. He dropped them in Harry's hands and perched himself on a chair. Harry filled up a bowl with bird food and another with water, and set them on the table. As Frederique started to eat, Harry looked at the two pieces of parchment. Clearly written on one was Ginny's handwriting reading: “Read mine first!”. Harry opened it up and read:

Harry,

I was going to write to you as soon as it happened, but Bill, Fleur and Victoire had visited on Saturday, so everything was a mess. Then I hadn't gotten around to writing this until just now. Anyway, I told Mum and Dad that I was planning on moving in with you. Dad was okay with it right away, but of course Mum had her usual “I don't know about this” comments. I tell you, if it wasn't for Dad and Bill backing me up, the whole thing would have gone south. But it looks like everyone is okay with it now. So I guess I can move in with you on your birthday. I mean, if that is all right with you of course. I know it might be a little quick, and let's be honest... moving up there just so I can be closer to the Quidditch camp isn't the main reason, right?

I really miss you, Harry. I wish you'd visit more often. I quit asking Ron how you are days ago, fearing he'd go off his rocker if I asked one more time. Course there wouldn't be many chances to talk to him anyway. He's always with Hermione every chance he gets. Surprised Mum hasn't said anything about it. I think, out of everything, that is the reason they want to find a new house. To get away from Mum, you know. I can't blame them. Speaking of, I think that is what they are doing right now, as I write this letter. Checking out the new house, I mean. They aren't back yet, anyway. You should have been here on Saturday. Apparently Ron had talked to the guy about the house sometime last week, and he called the guy on Saturday. Well, before then, Hermione was probably more jumpy about it then Ron was. She kept going on and on to Ron about how he needed to use the telephone. It was completely mental.

Anyway, I hope I was the first to tell you about the results of my conversation with my parents. I told Ron not to tell you, and that I would write to you sometime today. Oh, Hermione went in for her interview today. Ron might have told you about that. Hope it went well.

Well, if I don't see you before your birthday, then I just want to say I really miss you. This house isn't the same without you around. It's almost strange to think of the Burrow before you visited it the first time all those years ago. I love you so much. Can't wait for the end of the month.

Love always,
Ginny

P.S. Well, as soon as I finished the letter, I heard the fireplace go all bonkers, which could only mean that Ron and Hermione returned. I was right. They were pretty excited, but I think Hermione wanted to tell you herself. She hasn't been able to talk to you much either, apparently. That should tell you how much everyone misses you down here. I'll wait to send this until Hermione finishes her letter.


Harry guessed that the other letter was from Hermione. As he opened it, he found he was right. He read it:

Harry,

Guess what? Ron and I just came back from seeing the house. We love it! We're going to move in a couple days after your birthday. Of course Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were happy, but you could tell they were shocked too. First they find out Ginny's going to move, and now Ron is moving out. It will only be them in the house. I want to say so much about the house, but I'll let Ron tell you when he sees you at work. He's so excited.

Oh, also, I went in for my interview today. You won't believe what happened. Rita Skeeter was there. Yeah. She was the subject of my very first trial. I had to write notes down. It was definitely a hands-on interview. Oh, you remember Susan Bones? Yeah, she is the judge's assistant now. Anyway, Rita was on trial for her book and the way she got some of the information from her sources. Well, apparently she doesn't have many sources. She is the perfect source. You know when I told you that there was someone at Hogwarts who told Rita about the battle. Apparently she lied about that. Yeah, she turned into her beetle Animagus and got all the hands-on information herself. Well, she is still unregistered, and the Ministry found out. Well, long story short, she got sentenced to 3-5 years for being an unregistered Animagus. Serves her right.

Well, as for me, I went in thinking I would be a Court Scribe. Just copy down notes for trials all day. Well, I sorta do that, but I am the Court Respondent for... get this... the Wizengamot! Yep. Couldn't believe it. I work whenever there is a trial, and I take notes and give them to the Daily Prophet. I gave the notes on the Rita Skeeter case to the Daily Prophet and got 10 galleons for it. I was surprised.

Well, I should finish up. Sounds like Ginny wants to send a letter to you too. You know, Harry, you could come down more than once in a while and visit. Not just Ginny of course. All of us. We miss you. Not very fair that Ron is the only one who gets to see you almost every day, you know. And according to him, you aren't as busy as you say you are. Well at least now that me and Ron are moving up to London, we'll be able to see you more often. So excited... we'll have to invite you over. You'll love it!

With love,
Hermione


Harry wanted to write back to Ginny, Hermione and the others, but he thought it should wait. He didn't know how he was going to tell them about what he found out. How could he tell Ron that he might be the reason Thorpe's father is dead, and tell Mr. Weasley that he might have been the reason Thorpe's father was in jail in the first place? He didn't know how he was going to tell them that, if he even could.

He let Frederique out the window, then closed it and dumped the rest of the owl food into Ares' cage. Knowing he needed to get all of the stuff out of his mind, he made himself a quick dinner, then settled down to bed early. His dreams were clouded with thoughts of the final battle of the Second War. In his dreams, though, the faces of everyone of his enemies were replaced with those of Samson Thorpe.

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End of another chapter! Whew, when I started this chapter, I thought I wasn't going to get this one half as long as it went! Call me surprised!

Oh, and for those of you who might have caught Stan's comments about Rita Skeeter's book, remember, the Daily Prophet edition was from that day, not the next day which would have been talking about the big news about her trial. So the hype about her book would still be going on. Who knows? I might get into that article a little bit.

Anyway, I really like where this is going. When I started the story, I had no idea it would get to this. Now I may actually have some storylines! Yay!

Well, as always, feedback would be great! More to come!


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Last edited by Fury; August 8th, 2009 at 7:10 pm.
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