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Free Life Posted on 8/16/2014 1:03:46 AM
Chapter 7: 4000 words and counting
Hero Posted on 3/25/2012 7:32:33 PM
Chapter 6 Chance and Choice: 3,600 words and counting
Long Lost Brother Posted on 4/21/2010 2:57:30 PM
Chapter 5: 0 words and counting.

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Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling and Warner Bros. I in no way claim ownership of any rights to the Harry Potter Universe.

Author's Note: Hello all. Seems like it's been quite some time. To those who don't recognize it or can't place it, the chapter title comes from lyrics in the song Champagne Supernova by Oasis. I thought it very fitting to the subject matter and named it even before I began working on the chapter. Subsequently, I've had the song in my head the entire time I've been working on it, though there are much worse songs I could have in my head for such a long while. But I digress. Thank you to all those who have left reviews for this little story. I've enjoyed reading your thoughts and insights. And a big thank you to Maggie for her constant help and encouragement. I hope you enjoy...

Chapter 4: A Dreamer Dreams He Never Dies (Slowly Walking Down the Hall)
Harry awoke with a start, his hand reaching out to grab an illusory door handle. His hand closed on air, and Harry cursed quietly. Judging by the lack of light shining through his curtains, he guessed he had woken before sunrise yet again. Though he knew these dreams were not his own, he was nearly as driven as Voldemort to learn the contents of the prophecy.

They had started a few weeks ago. Harry figured Voldemort must have finally recognized their connection and put the pieces together. While he had been afforded a few months of safety on top of the years of anonymity, Harry once again questioned how Dumbledore could have ever felt sacrificing Thomas to be worthwhile. Less than six months after his resurrection, and already Voldemort had seen through the old man’s ploy.

Sighing quietly, Harry slowly slid open the curtains surrounding his bed and ambled silently to the loo. After taking care of his morning ablutions, Harry enjoyed a lengthy, steamy shower before retiring to the common room with his latest literary conquest: The Enchanted Book of Enchantments. The book itself was enchanted to always open up to the last page you left off. Handy, that.

By the time other residents of his house began to trickle into the common room, Harry had already made quite a bit of headway into the text. The author had an interesting, almost whimsical style that he could not quite decide if he liked or not. On the one hand, it made it easier to continue reading over a dry, factual delivery, but he could not help but feel that some of the message was lost due to the nature of his style of writing. Regardless, it was a decent primer on the subject. Should he decide to study Enchantments in depth, he would likely choose a more traditional text.

Harry returned to his dorm to find his roommates only just stirring. He made no move to engage any of them as he packed his books for the morning’s round of classes and departed without uttering a word. The Great Hall was still mostly empty when he arrived and perched himself on the near end of the Slytherin table.

Ginny entered the room not long after and joined him, claiming the seat at his side. Harry smiled and gave her a peck in greeting. They were both early risers. Harry was accustomed to it after being expected to cook breakfast for his relatives every morning for as long as he could remember. Ginny claimed to have been a late riser prior to her first year. Tom’s influence that year in addition to the frequent nightmares she suffered after the ordeal shifted her sleeping habits, and she had found herself unable to revert back to what she deemed a more normal sleeping schedule.

As Ginny began to tuck into her meal, Harry studied her while absently picking at the food on his own plate. After a few minutes, she set down her fork and turned to him. “What is it, Harry?”

“I had the dream again.”

She nodded, presumably having expected as much. She claimed he had a tendency to brood at times like this. He preferred to think of it as being introspective.

“Do you think he knows?”

Harry looked at her with an arched eyebrow. She had very specifically avoided that question up until this point, and he was surprised she would raise it now of all times. “I’ve never experienced the dreams with this frequency before,” he said by way of explanation. “Plus, it’s the only reason he’d still be interested in it.”

She nodded, her eyes fixed on her plate as she mechanically resumed eating.

“If it isn’t the last Potter and his little blood traitor,” Malfoy taunted as he passed their position to sit further up the table, his ever-present goons trailing behind. Harry rolled his eyes and let the comment slide; it was rather standard fare from the blonde.

Ginny, it seemed, was also becoming immune to his pomposity as she did not deter from the staring match she was engaged in with the remains of her eggs. Most Gryffindors and many others from the other two houses reacted to such goading with righteous anger which is exactly what Malfoy sought to elicit. He never understood why others never figured out Malfoy’s game. Harry had figured out people like Malfoy long before Hogwarts. Then again, most kids didn’t have to live with people like the Dursleys, so perhaps Harry just possessed a unique perspective.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Ginny finally proclaimed after losing the contest to her food.

Harry nodded. It made no sense to him either. To have the dreams with this regularity, he assumed Voldemort must be forcing the issue, but to what end? Did he intend for Harry to go to the Department of Mysteries to learn the prophecy? Why would he want Harry to discover its contents? Something did not add up.

“Do you think he has someone inside the Department of Mysteries?” she queried after a long moment of silence.

“It’s possible,” Harry admitted. “He had at least one Death Eater in their ranks prior to his fall, but that one’s in Azkaban now. For all we know he could have had more. Even a lot of the known ones escaped persecution, let alone the ones nobody even suspected.”

He caught her eyes flicking towards Malfoy at his statement. It was a sad state of affairs when the exchange of gold and the right connections were all it took to escape a lifetime sentence in Azkaban without so much as a slap on the wrist. The fact that Lucius’ son was so open about his father’s allegiances within the Slytherin common room only served to further showcase the corruption and complacency that defined the Wizarding World. No matter that everyone knew the truth, nobody was willing to actually do anything to correct the injustices rampant throughout their society.

“Regardless, it’s more important than ever now that I hear it in its entirety,” he declared.

“Even if that’s exactly what he wants you to do?”

Harry met her worried stare and nodded slowly. “I need to know it and sooner rather than later.”

“I had a feeling you were going to say that,” she responded matter-of-factly. “So do you still want to…?”

“Yes,” Harry inserted. “Can you write a letter to your father to give him a heads up and let him know he’ll be hearing from me?”

“Of course,” she agreed.

He leaned in and pressed his lips to her cheek. “Thanks, Gin.”


“Potter,” the acidic voice of his head of house called. “Remain after class.”

Harry finished packing up his bag and seated himself as his classmates all filed out. Most ignored his presence, save for Malfoy who gave him a malicious smirk. When the door shut behind the last student, Harry looked up at the professor expectantly.

“You did not sign up to remain at the school over the holidays,” Snape stated.

“No, sir,” Harry dutifully replied.

“I was under the impression you did not get along with your Muggle relatives,” the man further prodded.

“I don’t, sir,” Harry conceded. “The Weasleys invited me to spend the holidays with them.”

The Potions Master nodded as if he expected the news but gave no verbal response. As silence settled over the pair, Harry began to suspect something else at work. It was fairly well known that Snape had a dark past with ties to the Death Eaters, but it was equally well known that Dumbledore defended the man in court and claimed him to be his spy in Voldemort’s forces. Harry suspected both leaders in the war felt that Snape was their spy. He also suspected that both wanted confirmation of his plans for the holidays – for what purposes, he could only guess at.

“Will that be all, sir?” he finally asked.

Snape stared at him for a long second before answering. “You may go. Do try to avoid doing anything foolish.”

Harry smirked as he exited the room, careful not to let his head of house see the expression. The man never could seem to decide how to act around him, and Harry derived a certain perverse pleasure from that fact.

The train left the next day. He and Ginny shared a compartment with a couple of her friends, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood. Ginny certainly had an odd choice in companions, himself included. But he got along well enough with the pair. On the occasion that he sat with Ginny at the Gryffindor table at mealtime, Neville frequently joined them. The boy did not appear to have any friends in his own year, and Harry could relate with the Gryffindor boys’ tendency to reject any would be tag-alongs. It was the group his brother had led, after all, and he had been rebuffed by them enough times to understand.

He had very little interaction with Luna, but he could certainly understand her difficulty making friends, not that she seemed to care. The girl kept herself occupied in her magazine for most of the trip, however, and Harry learned quickly not to try to make sense of anything she said. Best to just go along with it.

The train eventually arrived at King’s Cross, and the students disembarked. Both of Ginny’s parents were awaiting them on the platform, and Harry awkwardly returned the crushing embrace of Mrs. Weasley followed by a firm handshake from Mr. Weasley. Ron and the twins joined their group shortly thereafter, and, after receiving similar greetings from their parents, they all gathered trolleys for their trunks and waded through the crowds in the Muggle side of the station to Mr. Weasley’s car. Harry still marveled at the blue Anglia. For all Mr. Weasley seemed to be a rather simple, eccentric man, he did know his way around charms and enchantments, as evidenced by the roomy comfort of the backseat, even as it was shared by five people. Of course, the youngest male Weasley glaring balefully at him made Harry wish for even more space or perhaps separate compartments.

“So, Harry,” Mr. Weasley prompted once they had set off, “what departments do you think you’d be most interested in at the Ministry?”

“What’s this I hear?” Fred suddenly perked up, staring at Harry in mock-horror.

“Was that Ministry you said, Dad?” George inquired to his father.

Mr. Weasley chuckled and explained, “Harry here asked if I’d take him to the Ministry one day over the break to give him an inside tour so that he could see what might interest him after Hogwarts.”

Both twins clutched at their hearts as if they’d been viciously broken and trampled on. “Say it isn’t so!”

“Not our Harry!”

“The Ministry!”

They turned as one to face Ginny. “We thought you had better taste than this!”

“Instead you bring home another Percy!”

“Stop it right now!” Mrs. Weasley demanded, turning back in her seat to reprimand her boys. “I will not have you badmouthing your brother or teasing Harry for being responsible. And need I remind you where your father toils away to provide you the clothes on your backs and food on your table? The Ministry has many respectable jobs for a young man looking to start a family.” She gave him a warm look, and Harry felt himself actually blush at the implications in her statement. It still surprised him how much Mrs. Weasley seemed to care for him. She’d all but just given him her blessing to marry her daughter – after Hogwarts, of course. He turned his head and noticed a similar blush creeping onto Ginny’s cheeks.

“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley,” he replied, giving Ginny’s hand a squeeze. He shot the twins a quick wink and turned his attention back to Mr. Weasley’s original question. “Having grown up in the Muggle world, I think I might be well-suited to your department, Mr. Weasley, but I don’t think I’d be able to enjoy it as you do, since everything Muggle is normal to me. I think I’d like to get into something more firmly rooted in the magical world. I’m not sure what, though. I love to fly, but I’m not that big into Quidditch,” - a snort sounded from Ron – “so I don’t think Magical Games and Sports would be for me. I’d be interested to see the DMLE. And, of course I’m intrigued by the Department of Mysteries, but who isn’t? Beyond that, I don’t really know. I was hoping you might have some suggestions, or that maybe just walking around I’d catch something that might interest me.”

They arrived at the Burrow shortly, and Harry stored his bag in Ron’s room at the top of the stairs where a camp bed was already setup for him. He was not looking forward to once again sharing a room with the one Weasley who seemed intent on hating Harry, but he would take what he could get. This would be only the second Christmas he had actually shared with someone, the first being last year when he took Ginny to the Yule Ball. After Harry had bought Thomas a gift first year without getting anything in return, his brother had actually bought him gifts the past three years, but he had always spent the holidays with his adopted family, not that Harry expected he would have spent the day with him even if he was at the castle, as was evidenced last year.

Ginny joined him just as he was walking to her door, and they descended the rest of the stairs together. Her mum was in the kitchen preparing for dinner, so they settled on the sofa in front of the fire in the lounge. She began telling him stories about her oldest brothers, Bill and Charlie, whom he would be meeting for the first time that evening. They sounded like decent blokes, and really it was hard not to respect a Curse Breaker and a Dragon Handler.

It was after an hour or two and a couple games of exploding snap that the two finally arrived, and Harry quickly found himself lost in the maelstrom of hearty greetings being exchanged between family members who had not seen each other in quite some time. Ginny shot off the sofa as soon as the sound of the door opened and launched herself into the arms of whom he presumed was her eldest brother, Bill, going by the pony-tail and fang earring he spied. Mrs. Weasley got to Charley first, and after a moment, the two ladies switched men.

Only after the two female Weasleys had their chance did the males really partake in the greetings. Back-slapping hugs and handshakes were exchanged around. Even Percy, whom Harry had not seen at all since arriving, gave a very warm if formal greeting to his two brothers. After all the chaos began to settle, Ginny grabbed both Bill and Charlie by the hands and led them over towards him. He rose as they approached.

“Bill, Charlie, this is Harry,” she introduced. “Harry, these are my eldest brothers Bill and Charlie.”

“It’s nice to meet you two,” Harry stated, firmly shaking each of their hands. Charlie, in particular, had a very strong handshake, and Harry could not tell if it was meant to be intimidating or if it was a result of working with dragons regularly. “Ginny talks about you all the time.”

“We can claim the same,” Bill responded, wrapping his arms back around his sister from behind. “Ever since the summer after first year you’re practically all she ever talks about.”

Ginny scowled up at her brother, but the effect was ruined when he placed a kiss to the crown of her head, eliciting a begrudging smile. “Not the Potter we were used to hearing about,” Charlie added, and Harry could pinpoint precisely when he realized his poor choice of words as he winced even as he finished speaking and ducked his head in embarrassment. “Er – I’m uh, sorry. That was in poor taste.”

“It’s all right,” Harry assured him, pausing until Charlie met his eyes. “Really.”

Ginny wriggled free from Bill’s arm and punched Charlie in the shoulder. Harry could see him wince yet again, though he quickly schooled his features, presumably to ward off any teasing that might be heaped on him if he admitted that his sister’s punches hurt. “That’s for trying to tease me about that. Honestly, every girl my age had a crush on him at some point.”

“Yes, but only you were smart enough to realize the true catch,” Harry inserted in an attempt to bring back some of the lost levity.

Ginny smirked and gently patted his cheek, “Of course, dear.”

Harry swatted at her hand. “Witch!”

“And proud of it,” she impishly returned.


“Thank you, again, for agreeing to this, Mr. Weasley,” Harry stated as he strode through the Ministry atrium.

“Not at all, not at all,” he responded affably. “I’m happy to help.” He smiled warmly and ushered Harry to the wand-checking station.

Harry handed over his wand, which was scanned, confirmed, and handed back to him in short order. “I hope you don’t mind,” Mr. Weasley stated as they approached the lifts, “if we visit my own department first. I need to make sure all my affairs are in order and that Perkins is all right on his own for a while.”

“Of course,” Harry replied. “I know that your job has to come first, so if there’s anything you need to do, don’t worry about me. I can keep myself occupied if need be.”

“You’re a good lad, Harry,” Mr. Weasley said. “I hope what Molly said in the car ride home from the station didn’t scare you at all. She just sees you already as one of the family. We both do, in fact. Regardless of whether your relationship with Ginny should go that route or if you decide you were better off as friends.”

“I appreciate that, sir,” Harry replied. And he did, more than he could say. In Ginny and her parents, he had found everything he had ever hoped for during those long years spent with the Dursleys and everything he thought you would finally have when he learned about his brother. They felt like family. While he may be on the fringes of that family, he was a part of it. And Ginny, well, she was becoming much more than he had wished for at such a young age.

“Here we are,” he said finally, leading him to a rather ordinary looking door. Inside was a small, cramped office with a window that was clearly bewitched given that the Ministry was located underground. Two desks dominated the office, and lining the walls were what appeared to be cubby holes stuffed to bursting with scrolls. “Sorry for all the clutter. You can have a seat,” he said, indicating a pair of chairs crammed between the two desks, “and hopefully we won’t be long, although with Perkins you never can tell. A dragon could be tearing apart his home, and he’d sleep right through it.”

Harry smiled in reply and settled into one of the offered chairs. It should not be long now. Ginny had told him of her father’s partner whose perpetual tardiness he constantly commented upon, and he was counting on that fact. Somewhere out in the Muggle world, Sirius should be living up to his name as prankster supreme, and if all went well, Mr. Weasley would be called away. After a couple minutes, a paper airplane zoomed in through the open door. Harry ducked his head as it whizzed past and began circling Mr. Weasley’s head. He snatched the note out of the air and read it quickly, his face draining of color. He stared at the note for a moment longer before shifting his gaze to Harry. “I’m sorry, Harry, but an emergency has just come up that I have to attend to. I’m not sure how long I’ll be…”

“Don’t worry about it,” Harry said plainly, smothering a grin. “I’ll be fine on my own for a bit.”

“I’ll be back as soon as I can,” he promised, already making his way for the door.

Harry remained seated for a minute before rising and poking his head out the door. He saw no trace of Mr. Weasley. Backing up, he reached under his robes and extracted the silky, silvery cloak he had inherited from his father. Donning the Invisibility Cloak, he disappeared from view and carefully, quietly exited the room.

He slipped into a lift behind a harried looking man and settled into the back corner. As luck would have it, no one else got on as the man departed the lift, so Harry was able to select level nine. As he exited the lift, he spotted the door to the Department of Mysteries. It was wholly unremarkable and could easily have been mistaken for a simple broom cupboard as opposed to the infamously mysterious department it housed.

Harry walked up to the door and reached out to grip the handle through the cloth of his Invisibility Cloak. His heart pounded in his chest as the knob slowly turned, and the door slid open. Harry could hardly believe it could be that simple as he walked in and quietly shut the door behind him. He found himself in a sparsely lit, short hallway that led into a circular room with a number of doors.

As he walked into the round room, the door shut loudly behind him, and the room began to spin. Harry cursed silently and spun around on his guard. The room eventually ground to a halt, but Harry remained where he was, hardly daring even to breathe. A long moment later, a door on the opposite side of the room burst open, and a man rushed in, looking about searchingly.

“Damn bloody-minded pillocks,” he muttered angrily. The long scar stretching down his face in addition to his surly demeanor made him an intimidating sight. After casting one last glance through the room, he turned around, and Harry quickly broke into motion, trying to remain silent even as he hurried to duck into the next room before the door shut behind the Unspeakable.

“False alarm,” he declared as he walked down the corridor and poked his head in an open door. “Probably another one of those gormless Auror recruits. We really ought to ward that damn door.”

“We’ve been over this a hundred times before,” an exasperated voice cut in. As they continued what appeared to be their hundredth iteration of this conversation, Harry quietly crept past the pair and further down the hall. He caught a brief peek into the open room which appeared to be an office, but with the figure in the door, he could not make out much. Doors dotted the two walls, but all others were closed. At the end of the hall was another door, also closed, but Harry decided to try it out while the two Unspeakables were still distracted.

As he reached the door, he turned back to ensure the two wizards were still preoccupied before sucking in a deep, hopeful breath that no one was on the other side of the door as it slowly slipped open. He gave a quick, cursory glance to confirm the room was empty and held the doorknob twisted as he shut the door to keep from making any noise. As he turned to fully survey the room, he was inundated by both the sight and sound of hundreds of clocks and other time pieces. Grandfather clocks, wall clocks, pocket watches, wrist watches, and hour glasses of all shapes and sizes filled the room. A sparkling light caught his eye, and he turned to its source.

He was captivated as he spied a bell jar that housed a hummingbird, only the bird appeared to be shrinking before his eyes. His eyes widened as an egg began to assemble around the now infantile bird. There was a brief pause once the egg was whole before the hummingbird began to break its way back out. His feet carried him towards the scene of their own avail as his attention was captivated by the scene of the rapidly aging hummingbird.

When the bird had once again reached its full growth, wings beating frenetically to keep it aloft, the process repeated. Harry watched the scene for one more cycle before finally shaking himself and turning his attention past the bell jar where he spotted a door. He glanced back at the door he had arrived in, and, unsure which direction to head in, decided to give the door in front of him a try.

He stepped lightly up to it and lifted up his cloak to press his ear against the wooden surface. He strained his hearing but could not pick up a sound. Unsure whether that may be due to silencing wards or if the room was actually empty, Harry fixed his Invisibility Cloak back in place and slowly turned the handle. The door opened into a dimly lit room lined with shelves as far as his eyes could see.

Blue flamed candles were held in brackets affixed to the end of each row. Harry peered down the length of a row only to find that it extended out into darkness. Various orbs lined the shelves, some giving off their own faint, ethereal glow, while others appeared dull.

As he began walking down the rows, he, for the first time, counted himself lucky for his frequent dreams about this place. Without them he would have no idea where to begin looking and could have spent all day searching for the right prophecy with little hope of success. Thanks to said dreams, however, he knew the prophecy about him lay in row ninety-seven. As he reached the correct row, he walked several paces in. This was as far as he ever reached in the dream, so he scanned the shelves carefully. Beneath each orb a yellowed parchment was affixed, detailing the giver and subjects of each prophecy. It took him about ten minutes before he found the orb in question. Of course, it was marked with his brother’s name rather than his own, but that was to be expected. Dumbledore was nothing if not thorough. Not even the Unspeakables would have been aware of the true subject of this prophecy.

He reached out from under his cloak to lift the orb from its brace. As he held it out in front of himself, he fished out his wand with his other hand and pressed it to the glass sphere. A smoky apparition of Hogwarts’ own Divination professor rose out of the orb and, in an unnatural, guttural voice prophecized:

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ... The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...

As her last words reverberated in the air, the figure faded into mist which descended back into the orb. Harry stared blankly at the sphere for a long moment as he took in the words. While he had known the basics of the prophecy for some time, it suddenly felt a lot more real now that he had actually heard it himself. He touched his wand to the sphere one more time and committed the prophecy to memory before smashing the glass orb on the ground. Trelawney’s hazy image rose once again, but she spoke only intermittent words of the prophecy before she faded into nothingness. The prophecy was destroyed. Now only he and Dumbledore were aware of its contents. He wondered why the headmaster hadn’t just destroyed the thing himself rather than wasting Order resources by having the door to the department guarded every night.

With his mission completed, Harry began to retrace his steps. His mind replayed over the words of the prophecy before he squashed that train of thought. There would be plenty of time to dwell on the prophecy after he escaped the Department of Mysteries. He easily found the door back into the time room, and from there carefully re-entered the office-filled hallway. He did not encounter anyone as he quickly moved down the hall and opened the door back into the circular room. Once again, when the door shut, the room began to spin. As the spinning stopped, he stepped further into the room and surveyed the circle of doors.

“Which one is the exit?” he murmured to himself.

A door to his left popped open, and Harry quietly moved to the edge of the room, wary of running into another Unspeakable, but none came. Cautiously, he walked towards the open door. Was that how the room worked? You had to ask it for which door you wanted? He wondered what you would get if you just opened doors randomly. Would they open up to the different rooms in the department, or did you need to know what you were looking for in order for the room to take you anywhere?

Now was not the time for such intellectual pursuits, but he was decidedly curious. Opening the door out of the department, he confirmed the hallway was empty before stepping fully out. Not wanting to be seen on this level, he kept his cloak on as he waited for a lift to arrive. Luckily, it was empty. He pressed the button for level two and waited for the grate to close before taking off his Invisibility Cloak.

He passed a few people in the hall, but they did not appear to pay him any mind. Mr. Weasley’s office was still empty when he arrived, and he settled back into his seat and allowed his mind to drift over the words of the prophecy now ingrained in his mind. The first part was obvious given his birthday on the last day of the seventh month, and the mark, of course, would refer to the lightning-bolt scar on his forehead. There was little doubt he was the one being referenced.

He pondered over what the power the Dark Lord knows not could be, and deliberately avoided thinking too much about the next line. And either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives. Given their comparative skill levels, Harry held no illusions as to his chances in a duel against Voldemort. Obviously, he would have to rely on the power the prophecy spoke of, but discovering the nature of that power was not likely to be a simple task.

His musings were interrupted by the sound of two voices approaching. “That’s for the Aurors to figure out. Ah, hello, Harry,” Arthur greeted as he entered the office followed by a shabby looking man with graying hair and an obvious potbelly showing even through his bulky robes. “This here is Perkins, who works with me here. Perkins, this is Harry Potter.”

“A pleasure, Mr. Potter,” the man greeted, offering a hand which Harry shook. “A terrible shame about your brother. What a great loss.”

Harry nodded his head, dismissing the disingenuous platitudes. It was clear by his tone that he was thinking more of the loss of the Wizarding World’s precious Boy-Who-Lived than the actual person Thomas had been.

“Sorry for the wait,” Arthur continued after a moment. “Someone had the brilliant idea to charm a pair of Muggle automobiles to talk. Pretty sophisticated piece of magic when it comes down to it. They were bespelled to make lewd comments to women as they passed and eventually began arguing against each other to a growing crowd. The two cars were speeding at each other when we arrived and were able to subdue them. Big mess. Lots of obliviations. We were lucky it was right outside the Leaky Cauldron; otherwise, we may not have learned about it as quickly as we did.”

Lucky indeed, Harry thought to himself and aloud, without having to fake the awe in his voice, said, “Sounds pretty outrageous.” He had never asked Sirius what his plans were, figuring he was better off not knowing. The man really went all out. “Does this sort of thing happen often?”

“Nothing quite so grandiose as that,” Arthur answered as he rifled through some scrolls on his desk. “It’s usually much smaller - a biting teacup or doorknob or an exploding toilet are the more innocuous examples, but we’ve also dealt with some heavily cursed objects in Muggle hands in the past. Nasty business, I’m afraid. Completely reprehensible what some depraved wizards and witches do to defenseless Muggles. But I digress. This one, on the other hand, was of a much different nature than we’re used to. The Aurors will search for the culprit. The cars, on the other hand,” he continued, perking up, “we’ll have to study them and the charms implemented. Have to be prepared should something like this happen again.”

He stared off wistfully for a second, and Harry saw how much the man truly enjoyed his job. He visibly shook himself and continued, “But that will be for another day. For now, I do believe I promised you a tour. Shall we?”

“If you’re sure you’re not too busy,” Harry stated, not wanting to eat up too much of his time should he be truly busy but also not wanting to pass up an opportunity to learn what he could about the Ministry first-hand.

“Nonsense, my boy,” Mr. Weasley said, waving away Harry’s concerns and standing from his desk. “Now, come along,” he said, gesturing Harry up out of his seat and out the door. “Now, I thought we might start with the Auror offices seeing as they’re right down the hall. I had a nice conversation with a young Auror earlier and mentioned your interest in learning about the position. Tonks was her name. She agreed to give you the two-knut tour and answer any questions you might have.”

“That sounds brilliant, Mr. Weasley,” Harry interjected as he mulled over the name Tonks. He knew he had heard it before but could not remember where. Then it hit him. She was Sirius’ cousin. What a small world.


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