Pamela and Jason can't decide whether they can trust Harry.
In his hotel, Harry changed out of his robes and reviewed the situation. He was not sure what had happened to Jason. He had seen Jason jump Gwyn and Tiberius run towards them. Then he had to dodge a jinx from Gaius Prince. The next time he looked, Tiberius, Jason and Gwyn had gone. He had no way of knowing whether Jason had escaped with the horocrux or Tiberius had captured Jason again.
Harry considered his options. The first was to return to England and submit his report. The loss of the half-horocrux would be a black mark on his record, but he could live it down. The security precautions had been negotiated by others. He had simply followed his instructions. His second option was to go to the Department of Magic and ask them for help in locating Jason. He dismissed that out of hand. The failure of the horocrux test meant that his reputation on this side of the Atlantic had sunk even lower. Besides, the Americans had been looking for Jason for months, without success. The third option was to stay and look for Jason himself. That would mean operating without official backing and, Harry admitted, he had not been having any more success than the Department of Magic in finding Jason.
Then Harry realized that he had a more urgent problem. Septimus Brankovitch was in danger and Harry had to warn him. He ran out of the hotel and looked for a working pay phone. He had just enough American Muggle change to place a call to the CIA public switchboard.
"I'd like to speak to Septimus Brankovitch. Is he at work now?" Harry said.
"I'm sorry sir, we neither confirm nor deny that a particular individual is working for us," the voice at the other end of the line replied.
"But it's a family emergency."
"If you are a family member, you will have been given an unlisted phone number and access code for emergencies."
"Isn't there anything you can do?"
"If you leave us your name and telephone number we can investigate and if there is a Mr. Brankovitch working for us he may call you back."
Harry hung up the phone. His wizarding hotel did not have telephone service. He thought of getting a cellphone but that would require a Muggle credit card and identification. He had not been issued any for what was supposed to be a quick trip. A Post Owl would eventually find Septimus but it would not be able to get into CIA headquarters. A Patronus would work but it could be seen by Muggles and would probably short circuit all the electronics in the CIA security center.
When Harry returned to his hotel, a Post Owl arrived bearing a red envelope with the MBI seal. He dropped it on his night table and was startled when it burst into flames and he heard the voice of Kendrick Coppernoll booming at him. “YOU’VE GOT A LOT OF NERVE POTTER. YOU WASTED OUR TIME WITH YOUR NONSENSICAL STORY AND THEN WALKED OUT WITHOUT A WORD. YOUR BOSS IS GOING TO HEAR ABOUT THIS. BUT FIRST I WANT TO TALK TO YOU. A WIZARD WAS FOUND UNCONSCIOUS NOT FAR FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF MAGIC ENTRANCE. SOMEONE STUNNED HIM AND WIPED HIS MEMORY. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT, AND IT HAD BETTER BE GOOD.”
Jason Apparated to a deserted park, placed a call to Pamela Landy and waited. The half-horocrux was in a small metal box in his pocket. He could hear it rattling around as though it were alive. The presence of the thing made him edgy. It seemed to be willing him to take it out of its box and put it on. Pamela arrived an hour later.
"What happened?" she asked.
Jason described the events of the day.
"Why did you do it, Jason?" Pamela said angrily. “You’re supposed to be trained in intelligence work. How could you take a risk like that?”
“What risk? It was me against a fat little man who can’t do magic. It took me all of five seconds to get what I wanted and get out. Believe me, I wouldn’t have tried it if it wasn’t perfectly safe.”
"Jason, you don’t get it. You've compromised the whole operation. The Prince brothers saw you. You've exposed Septimus and the source who gave him the tip."
"No Pamela, you’re the one who doesn’t get it. This is a quarter to my soul. Hirsch and his friends stole it from me when I became a killer. They've locked it up and split it again. Unless I can get both parts and reunite them, I'll never be free."
Jason took out the dog-tag and held it up.
"Jason, this isn't just about you. This is about an operation that affects the security of the entire country."
"You really don't get it," Jason shouted. "When I joined the army, I swore that I'd give my life for my country. But that wasn't enough for Hirsch and his boys. They wanted my immortal soul as well. "
Harry tried to think through his problem logically. He knew that the Prince brothers wanted to ‘take care’ of Septimus but he didn’t know why. Then there was the question of why Jason had been following Max Gwyn. Someone must have told him about the horocrux test and that someone was probably Septimus. Harry had his answer. He could send a message to Jason. Jason was hiding from both Muggles and wizards, so the he could safely send him a Patronus. The only risk was that the Prince brothers had captured Jason but in that case he would not be telling them anything they did not already know. He took out his wand and began to cast the Patronus Messenger spell.
Jason and Pamela were having a full scale shouting match.
“I can’t believe that you risked everything we’ve been working for to get that!” Pamela said. “We don’t even know if it’s the real thing.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what Septimus said. His source thinks that Potter brought a fake horocrux with charms on it to fool the American wizards so that they would help them get the other half horocrux and you.”
“Then why steal a fake?”
“I don’t know. Maybe the Prince brothers thought it was real. Maybe they staged they theft to bait a trap for you.”
“But I didn’t fall for it. I got away safefly and go what I wanted.”
“That was sheer luck. If Potter hadn’t been there to distract them you would have been fighting five to one.”
“Stop treating me like I’m stupid. If Potter hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have attacked.”
Jason and Pamela saw some points of light in the trees. At first, they looked like fireflies but they took the shape of a silver stag that walked slowly towards them. They stopped arguing and stared at it.
The stag spoke to them in Harry's voice, "Jason, please listen to me. The Prince brothers are threatening Septimus Brankovitch. Please warn him if you can. This is urgent."
The stag dissolved. Pamela stared for a minute and asked, "What was that thing?"
"It's a Patronus, with a message from Harry Potter."
"It's a sort of spell wizards can cast. You use it to fight off some dark creatures and send messages."
"Can you make one?"
"No. It's very advanced magic. You have to study for years to learn to make one and ..."
"And what Jason?"
"To make one, you need to think about a joyful memory. I don't have a lot of those."
"I'm sorry Jason, let's just leave it. We have to warn Septimus."
"I've already sent him a message. He knows how to protect himself. What else do we do?" Jason asked.
“If Potter is trying to get in touch with you, we have to decide how to respond. Can we trust him? You’ve met him, Jason, what do you think?” Pamela replied.
“He seems harmless enough. He struck me as straightforward, sincere, capable but, frankly, not quite bright enough to be the mastermind of an evil scheme.”
“But he could be manipulated by someone else, someone he trusted?”
“Who do you mean?”
“His godfather, Sirius Black. Septimus got more information on him from this new deep throat source he’s found.”
“Pamela, I’ve told you before. Sirius Black is dead,” Jason protested.
“We don’t know that. Look at the facts. The body was never found and the only people who saw him ‘die’ other than Harry are dead themselves., ” Pamela said.
“Where are we getting all this information?” Jason asked.
“From the new source that Septimus found. The one who calls himself Deep Throat.”
“Deep Throat – that’s what I find suspicious,” Jason said.
“It’s just a reference to the Watergate scandal. It’s a fairly obvious code name for an inside source. Why would it be suspicious?”
“It wouldn’t be an obvious code name to a wizard. Most wizards don’t pay any attention to Muggle affairs and they would barely remember Watergate. The source must be someone with links to the Muggle world. He could be a double agent feeding us information from Hirsch.”
“That’s a lot of speculation, Jason. Deep Throat has given us some good information. I don’t entirely trust him but I don’t think we can take the risk of trusting Harry Potter either.”
Dr. Hirsch and the Prince brothers were also having an argument.
"Another of your plans comes to nothing. We sacrificed a valuable agent and we have nothing to show for it," Gaius said.
"My plan worked even better than I had hoped," Hirsch snapped back. "If that oaf Dale Dobbs had followed orders, we could have had both Bourne and the Horocrux."
"But you said that Bourne wouldn't attack."
"I didn't think he would. Landy is too careful. She must have seen a possible trap and warned him. But you gave him an opening and he took it."
"I don't understand why you wanted to warn Bourne in the first place," Tiberius said. "We could have had both pieces of the horocrux if you hadn't been trying to be too clever."
"We've already been through that. We need to get Bourne and Landy to trust our double agent, our Deep Throat, to do that we have to give out some information which have real value."
"Surely they trust him now, he gave them the horocrux," Gaius said.
"Not necessarily, Hirsch replied, "remember, if things had been slightly different, Bourne would have been ambushed. He must have seen that. He'll still be on his guard. We have to give him something more."
"What more can we give him?" Gaius asked, indignantly. "We only have a few friends left in the Department of Magic and some of them stopped talking to us after Jackson Bowerman was caught."
"We need to give up something of value, something so valuable that Bourne and Landy will think that no double-agent would give it to them unless he were really on their side," Hirsch said calmly.
"And exactly what will that be?" Gaius asked.
"Me," Hirsch replied calmly.
“That’s insane, you’ll get killed.”
“Highly unlikely, I’m too valuable alive and Muggle justice moves slowly. Just have your friend pass on some information to Mr. Brankovitch. You can rescue me at your convenience.”
Gaius and Tiberius looked worried.
“What is the problem?” Hirsch asked.
“We sent the Dobbs brothers to get rid of Brankovitch.”
“Then stop them now, we still need him.”
The capture of Albert Hirsch could not have come at a better time for Pamela Landy. For weeks, she had been pursuing a mysterious “Deep Throat” with nothing to show for it but some cryptic notes. Her superiors had been pressing her for a full report. Then Septimus passed on a tip that led to a retirement community in Florida where Hirsch had been living under an assumed name. Under questioning, he explained how he had prepared a false identity for himself and hired an arsonist to stage the house fire.
“And his story checks out?” Jason asked Pamela when they next met.
“There are no obvious holes. Septimus says that the MBI scrubbed the police files when they learned that Hirsch was still alive.”
“What about the housekeeper.”
“She must have been memory charmed. She can’t recall seeing Hirsch in the house on the night to the fire.”
“So when do we get the truth from him?”
“Not yet I can’t just go into his cell and start asking him questions about Dark Wizards and horocruxes.”
Harry was also relieved at the capture of Hirsch. It gave him an excuse to stay in the United States. He had ignored the summons from the Department of Magic and gone undercover. Since then he had nervously awaited an Owl from London ordering him home. Hirsch’s reappearance was enough to convince his superiors that something was afoot. He was order to stay in Washington, watch and stay out of trouble.
Staying out of trouble had never been Harry’s strong point, but he had little choice. Jason was still avoiding him. Harry sent a follow up Patronus and several owls suggesting a meeting but Jason never came. The shield shirts in the bus depot locker were Harry’s only hope. He checked them daily but they never moved.
Jason was also frustrated. Septimus was not making any progress on locating the Prince brothers. He thought they had gone into hiding in one of their estates, heavily protected by charms. The Department of Magic could break the charms, but they would not act without proof. The only way to get that proof was to talk to Hirsch.
“So why can’t you talk to him?” Jason asked Pamela.
“He’s being watched twenty-four hours a day. If I want to talk to him, I need to have his lawyer and another agent in the room. After his trial, the rules won’t be as tight. I can set up a private interview.”
“That could take months. I guess I’ll just have to wait. Speaking of trials, what’s happening with Nicky? When can I see her?”
Pamela grew suddenly nervous. “Jason, I’ don’t know if I should be telling you this,” she began.
“Tell me what?”
“There is new evidence. A Cuban defector says that Nicky sold information to them in exchange for passage out of Tangiers. That’s treason. She could face the death penalty. ”
“That’s nonsense. What have they got on her?”
“There’s hard evidence. Photographs and fingerprints.”
“Photographs can be faked,” Jason objected.
“Our tech people can spot the fakes. Besides, you can’t fake fingerprints. Then there’s the question of what she was doing all those months,” Pamela replied.
“The Prince brothers are behind it. They could fake prints with magic. She wasn’t in Havana, she was in Las Vegas,” Jason protested.
“So what are you going to do? Walk into court and be her alibi?”
“What are you going to do? Sit back and let her be executed when you know she’s innocent?”