Harry is tracking Jason again. They each make a mistake. Jason's is very costly.
Covert work was not easy when you were one of the most famous and easily recognizable wizards in the world. His supply of Polyjuice potion was limited and had to be saved for emergences. He used some simple disguises – dyeing his hair, hiding his scar with makeup or wigs . He tried replacing his glasses with contact lenses but they irritated his eyes. Most of the time he spent in Muggle areas.
His one lead was the tracking charm Ron had placed on the shield shirts Jason had ordered from Weasely’s Wizard Wheezes. He placed a charm on the bus depot locker where Jason had stored the shirts. If anyone opened the locker, a key in Harry’s pocket would start to vibrate.
Finally, Harry felt the key rattling in his pocket. He Apparated to the bus depot and took out his tracking compass. The signal led him to a men’s rest room. Harry put on his invisibility cloak and waited. In a moment Jason came out wearing the man’s shirt and carrying the lady’s blouse in a shopping bag.
There was no point in trying to catch up to Jason in the crowded bus depot. If Jason had not contacted him, there must be a reason. Harry decided to follow and find out what it was. He stepped into the rest room and took out a bottle of Polyjuice potion. Harry had prepared a series of doses of Polyjuice potion using hairs from Muggles with the same height, weight and shoe size and no glasses. He sat down, took of his glasses and waited. When his vision cleared, the transformation would be complete. The sickly feeling of the transformation passed, but Harry’s eyesight was worse than ever. He put on his glasses again. They didn’t help. The unknown Muggle must have been wearing contact lenses and his eyes were worse than Harry’s. It was hopeless to track Jason through the streets of Washington with sight this bad. Harry would be lucky if he could find his was out of the bus depot. All he could do was find a chair and wait for the Polyjuice to wear off.
Jason had been worried when Septimus Brankovitch asked for a meeting. The system of coded messages and dead drops had been working well. If Septimus had anything to report, he should have gone to Pamela Landy. The meeting was a risk for him. The Prince brothers and Potter knew he was alive and the Department of Magic probably knew as well. Finally, he agreed to a meeting at the bus depot. There was less risk of a wizard attack in a crowd of Muggles and the Muggle authorities, so far as he knew, still believed he was dead.
Jason stopped by the locker to retrieve the shield shirts. He didn’t need them at the moment, but it was time to find a new hiding place. He had arranged to meet Septimus in the cafeteria at 1:30. It was still crowded but not so full that he couldn’t find a table. He found a booth near the back with a good view of the room. It was also beside an emergency exit that led to a back alley. When no one was looking, he took out his wand and cast a freezing charm on the alarm.
Septimus was late. He had been called in to an unexpected meeting at the Department of Magic and then had to go home to change into Muggle clothes. Jason listened impatiently to the young man’s excuses. Finally, Septimus got to the point.
“I’ve got a problem with Pamela,” Septimus said. “Ever since Hirsch was captured she’s started to act strange. She wants me to apply for a position as a field agent. She says that there are half a dozen security breach cases in her desk that I could crack in a week if I used magic.”
“So why don’t you?” Jason asked.
“It’s not that simple. You see, the other side can use magic too. If I started using magic to track someone who was giving CIA information to the Russians, I’d have the Russian wizards on my back before you knew it. And believe me, that’s not something you want. Those guys go to Durmstrang and they learn to do Dark Magic.”
“And what did Pamela say to that?” Jason asked.
“She said that if these Russian wizards are so nasty, that’s all the more reason why I should help her. She started hinting that I was scared of them.”
Jason bit his tongue and let Septimus continue.
“There’s more to it. She doesn’t see the bigger picture. The Russian wizards aren’t using their magic to spy on American Muggles. The only time they’d get involved is if they saw an American wizard using magic to interfere with their Muggle government. It’s been like that for over two hundred years. The different wizard governments all have non-interference treaties. We don’t get involved in Muggle wars or Muggle intelligence work. If even one wizard breaks the truce, there’s no telling where it would end.”
“But you got involved with Muggle affairs when you helped us catch Hirsch,” Jason said.
“That’s different. Hirsch and the Prince Brothers were breaking the Statute of Secrecy. Once they’ve been stopped, I want out.”
Jason thought for a minute and said, “I want out too, but not yet. First I want to make sure that Nicky Parsons is safe and then I want to get the other half of my horocrux. Help me do those two things and I’ll deal with Landy for you. Now, have you any news from your sources?”
Harry felt the Polyjuice potion wearing off and he ducked back into the men’s room while his appearance changed. He put on his glasses and headed for the bus depot entrance. He had lost what might be his only chance to find Jason. His wristwatch tracking device had a short range and Jason would be long gone. Harry looked at his watch check the time and saw the face glowing red. Jason was still in range. He put on his invisibility cloak and followed the tracking charm to the cafeteria. It was nearly empty and he was able to get close enough to Jason and Septimus to hear their conversation.
“Deep Throat wants to talk to me in person,” Septimus was saying. “He asked me to meet him at four o’clock at the usual place.”
“See what he has to say and get back to me,” Jason replied.
“Jason, I’ve been wanting to ask you one thing.”
“This code, Deep Throat and so on, where does it come from? When I told Pamela about Deep Throat and the usual place she knew right away where I should go.”
“You must have heard of Watergate,” Jason said.
“You mean the hotel? I don’t get it. This place is nowhere near the hotel.”
“No, I mean the scandal. I guess it was before your time. ” Jason laughed and suddenly become tense. He began scanning the room and said, “There’s no time for that now. I have a feeling someone is watching. You can look it up in the library sometime. Let’s get out of here.”
Jason stepped through the emergency door to the alley and Disapparated.
Harry found a public library and asked for a book on Watergate. The librarian brought him a dog-eared paperback copy of “All the President’s Men.” Harry sat down and began to read. It was hard going and he struggled to follow the thread of the story. There was no index so he would have to wade through page after page looking for references to “Deep Throat.”
Finally, it clicked. Deep Throat was an inside source and the usual place for meetings was a parking garage of an apartment on Willson Drive. Harry took out his map of Washington and saw that the Willson Drive was on the far side of the Potomac. He had marked out a number of safe Apparation points around Washington, but the nearest one was nearly an hour’s walk away. He checked his watch and saw that it was three thirty. He Apparated to an alley in downtown Washington and called a taxi. The streets were clogged with early rush hour traffic. They got to a bridge couldn’t move. Harry sat in the back nervously checking his watch.
“Nothing I can do, I can’t make this thing fly,” the cab driver said. Harry smiled to himself as he remembered Arthur Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia. Then he had an idea. Traffic was moving in the left lane but no one would left them in. He took out his wand and quietly cast an Impedimenta jinx on the car to their left. The driver slowed slightly and the Harry’s cab driver was able to change lanes. “Thank’s buddy,” Harry‘s driver said as the driver behind honked the horn and cursed.
Harry reached Wilson Drive with five minutes to spare. Deep Throat was also on foot. He was a middle aged man of medium height. He wore a charcoal grey suit, white shirt and dark blue tie. Only two small details gave him away – he was wearing black dragon hide boots and a bulge in the front of his coat showed where he was carrying his wand. Harry put on his invisibility cloak and followed him to the parking garage. Septimus was already there.
“They’re moving the Squib,” Deep Throat said. “She’ll be in a car with two Muggle guards but no magical security. Tell your friend to save her before it’s too late.”
“Do you mean the Prince brothers might grab her?” Septimus asked.
“No, not them. They’re happy to leave her where she is. They can get her if they need her. It’s Potter and Black you need to worry about. This may be their only chance.”
“What have you heard about Potter.”
“He’s not in London. My sources there say that he’s on assignment. The MBI thinks that he’s still in this country snooping around. They’re looking for him but so far he’s kept his head down. I think that he’s gone to join Sirius Black and they’re getting ready to strike.”
Harry stood under his cloak, clenching his fists and biting his tongue. He wanted to grab Septimus, shake him and tell him not to believe such rubbish. But he knew that would be a waste of time. He barely knew Septimus, and Deep Throat had obviously spent a lot of time laying his false trail. Instead, he listened and tried to remember as much as he could of the route Nicky would take.
Septimus reported back to Jason.
“I need you to make me a Portkey. I can’t do the charm myself,” Jason said, after thinking for several minutes.
“That’s illegal. Why not just Apparate away.”
“If this is a trap, the Prince brothers will have cast an Anti-Disapparation jinx in the area but they won’t be able to stop a Portkey.”
“That’s right, but the Department of Magic can trace a Portkey and the Prince brothers have an inside source in the transport office.”
“I thought of that I have a car waiting at the other end and I can be a hundred miles away by the time they contact their friend and do the trace.”
“Alright, I’ll need to know where you want to leave from and where you want to go to.”
“I’ll tell you when we get there.”
Jason had a slightly uneasy conscience as he waited beside the road with Septimus. He had not been entirely truthful about the reason he wanted the Portkey. There was little danger of a trap. The Prince brothers might know that Jason was planning to rescue Nicky but there were hundreds of places he could make his ambush and they had no idea which one he would choose. Jason’s real concern was that he had never done side-along Apparation before. He was worried that if he tried to take Nicky with him, they might be badly splinched.
His plan was very simple and he could almost have done it without magic. He would blow a tire on the car that was carrying Nicky, stun the driver and escorts and get her to the Portkey. The Portkey would take them to a waiting pickup truck. He had bought it and registered in another state. He would drive to West Virginia and leave Nicky with Demetra Studyvance. Then he would go looking for the Prince brothers.
Jason checked his watch and look at Septimus, who was crouching behind him in the bushes. “Almost time,” he said. “Is the Portkey ready?”
“Right here,” Septimus said, pointing to an old tin can. “It leaves on contact, good for one trip only.”
A black SUV was approaching. Jason stiffened. “Show time,” he said to Septimus. He fired a spell and the SUV screeched to a halt. The driver and a male agent were in the front. Nicky would be in the back with a female agent. Jason could see the male agent talking on his cellphone. Backup would be on its way. The driver got out to check the tire and Jason hit him with a stunning spell. The male agent got out, his gun drawn. Septimus Brankovtich fired a stunning spell but missed. Instinctively, Jason dived for cover. Septimus was standing in the open. The male agent fired and hit Septimus in the chest. Jason’s next stunner hit the male agent. He stunned the female agent as she stepped out of the SUV and released Nicky.
Septimus was dead. The bullet had gone straight to his heart. Jason realized that he had another death on his conscience. There had been no need for Septimus to come along. He could have made the Portkey in advance and given it to Jason. The problem was that Jason didn’t want to trust him with the co-ordinates for the Portkey until the last possible minute.
“Who was he?” Nicky asked.
“A wizard, someone who helped me. A friend,” Jason said. He heard a siren in the distance. “I’ll explain later. We’ve got to get going.”
They reached for the Portkey. Nothing happened. “Who made this?” Nicky asked.
“He did,” Jason said, pointing to Septimus.
“Then it’s no good. The spell stopped working when the person who cast it died.”
“We’d better get walking,” Nicky said. “ If we cut through the bush, there’s a side road about a mile back. We can grab a car there.”
“I’ve got a better idea,” Jason said. He pointed his wand at the SUV and said “Reparo.”
The damaged tire reinflated. “Get in, no, wait.” He waved his wand again and the SUV turned from black to green. “That should fool them for a while.”
Jason drove carefully, keeping just within the speed limit. The police siren got closer and then a patrol car sped past him. He relaxed and stepped on the gas. His pick-up truck was about a hundred miles away. It would take at least an hour before the police got to the scene and started setting up road blocks. He would stay on the main highway for about another forty minutes and then switch to side roads.
After half an hour, they heard the sound of a helicopter overhead.
“Can you hear that?” Nicky said.
“Yeah, it’s probably nothing,” Jason replied. “There’s always lots of choppers around Washington.”
The sound continued and got closer. The helicopter was definitely following the highway. Jason turned to a side road. “Is it still there,” he asked after a few minutes.
“Yes, it turned when we did.,” Nicky replied.
“How could it be tracking us?”
“This is a CIA car. There must be a tracking transmitter somewhere. Can you freeze it?”
“Not if I don’t know where it is. I might freeze the ignition and we’d be stuck.”
The helicopter was almost overhead. There was no hope of outrunning it. Sooner or later they would run into a police road block. Jason could fight his way out but he might not be able to save Nicky. Jason turned to Nicky and said, “Grab my arm and hold on tight.”
He made a hard left and Disapparated with Nicky just as the SUV crashed into a ravine and burst into flames.