Jason goes looking for Harry but runs into difficulties. Ron and Hermione find Nicky. Harry makes a plan.
After a few hours of searching, he saw Harry walking down a crowded street. Jason followed at a distance. After their last encounter, he did not want to take Harry by surprise. Then Jason noticed that there were two men in the street he had seen three times that day on other streets. Twice could be coincidence. Three times meant that he was being followed.
He scanned the street. The traffic looked normal. Cars were moving along normally and none of the drivers seemed to be watching him. There was a van parked on the street, but its doors were open and Jason could see that it was not hiding a surveillance team.
Jason took a quick look behind him. The two men were still following. Something about their clothes was not quite right. They were probably wizards dressed as Muggles. The question now was, were they after Harry or him? He turned and walked quickly in the other direction. The men followed him.
They were probably MBI agents rather than friends of the Prince brothers, Jason decided. The brothers must have tipped of the MBI that Jason was still alive but said nothing about Harry. The brothers would not want to admit that they had been holding Harry Potter prisoner. On the other hand, it might suit their plans to let the MBI do the work of tracking down Jason.
Jason started walking quickly. He wanted to draw the men away from Harry. After he had gone four blocks, they were still following him. He found a deserted alley where he could Apparate. He would have to start looking for Harry again tomorrow. Jason tried to Apparate but nothing happened. He tried again. There was the familiar crushing sensation but, when the pressure eased, he was still in the alley. Someone had cast an Anti-Disapparation jinx.
The alley was a dead end. There was a fire escape running down the side of a building but the ladder stopped 10 feet above the ground. Jason ran at the wall and jumped. He grabbed the bottom rung of the ladder and pulled himself onto the first floor landing. The two men were entering the alley. Jason lay flat on the landing and waited. He heard the two men talking.
“Where could he go? It’s a dead end alley and he can’t Apparate out.”
“Take a look for yourself.”
“What about the fire escape?”
Jason tensed and readied his wand.
“He couldn’t get up there, it’s too high.”
Jason heard the sound of a man jumping and hitting the ground. He suppressed a laugh. It was really pathetic how out of shape most wizards were.
“You’re right. Let’s go.”
After waiting ten minutes, Jason returned to Demetra’s cabin. The next day and the day that followed were no better. Jason located Harry easily, but before he could close in he had to dodge the wizards who were tracking him. It was slightly humiliating. The MBI seemed to have no problem locating Jason but Harry, who was less well trained, kept eluding them.
Nicky finally solved the problem for him. “Don’t you see?” she said. “The problem is that you’re using magic and Harry isn’t.”
“What do you mean he isn’t using magic?”
“Why else would be still be in Boston? If he had a wand he would have been gone long ago.”
“It still doesn’t make sense. How does not having a wand help him?”
“It’s the way hit wizards are trained. They have spells to track someone who uses magic in a Muggle area. As soon as you use your wand, they can get a fix on you. Harry doesn’t have a wand so he’s relying on his wits. They can’t handle that.”
“So what do I do?”
“Easy, just don’t use magic yourself. ”
Jason looked worried.
“What’s the problem? A year ago you didn’t even know that magic existed, now you can’t do without it?”
“It’s not that easy now. There are people looking for me who can use magic. True, most of them aren’t very good. I could have jumped the two guys who were looking for me today half a dozen times. The problem is that if I start leaving unconscious bodies lying around Boston, I’m going to have the local police, the FBI and the CIA after me.”
“You can use Polyjuice,” Demetra suggested. “Tracking spells don’t pick up potions. I’ve got enough on hand to give you a couple of hours of searching.”
Jason returned to Boston and prepared the Polyjuice potion using hairs from a man of his exact build. He did not want to have to worry about changing clothes. As he began to walk, his feet started to ache. The unknown man’s feet must have been at half a size larger than his. He had to do something. He couldn’t keep walking for long like this. An engorgement charm would fix them but it would also alert the Department of Magic. If he sat down and waited to change shape, he would have wasted one dose of potion. After half a block the pain was too much. He took off his shoes and stashed them in his backpack. Fortunately, there was a small shoe store nearby.
“A couple of punks pulled a gun on me and said they liked my shoes,” Jason muttered to the store clerk.
“Happens a lot around here,” the clerk said as he measured Jason’s foot. “I’ll see what I’ve got in back.”
A few minutes later the clerk returned with a pair of lime green tennis shoes.
“This all we’ve got in your size. At least you won’t have to worry about these getting stolen.”
Jason looked at them with disgust.
“Do you want them or not?” the clerk asked.
Jason paid for the shoes and left, he would look for a better pair later. He had just seen a shelter worker who had given him a lead on Harry the day before.
Harry counted his money. He had been living rough – sleeping in homeless shelters and eating in soup kitchens. Even so, he had less than fifty dollars left. He tried to summon Kreacher, but it was no good. Kreacher was too old to Apparate across the Atlantic. He had only been able to visit Harry in the Prince mansion because Pookie had helped him.
Time was running out. He was on the run from U.S. Immigration, the Department of Magic and the Prince brothers. He would have to try his desperation bailout plan. He would go to the British consulate and claim that he was a student traveling abroad and that he had been robbed. The consul could arrange for a temporary passport and help Harry contact his next of kin, Petunia Dursley. If all went well, he would return home safe but humiliated.
But all might not go well, Harry realized as he approached the consulate. Someone was watching him. Harry smiled to himself as he studied the man at the end of the street. American wizards were generally better at Muggle dressing than their British counterparts, but there were always something that didn’t fit. This one was dressed like Jason in black jeans and a black pullover. They were good clothes for blending into the background, or would have been if he hadn’t also been wearing lime green trainers. Harry turned and walked away. He decided to head for New York. Surely the Department of Magic couldn’t watch every consulate on the east coast.
Jason silently cursed his shoes when he saw d Harry turn around. As he began to follow, the potion started to wear off. Jason decided to stop and change his shoes. It meant giving Harry a head start but Jason had a pretty good idea of where Harry was headed. Jason reached the bus depot just as the New York express was pulling out. He could see Harry looking out the window.
Ron and Hermione were perched in a tree near Demetra’s cabin. Typhon, Demetra’s three headed dog, was pacing around it and snarling.
“Remember Fluffy, all you have to do is play him a little bit of music and he went to sleep,” Ron said.
“Yes, but Hagrid had given Harry a wooden flute for Christmas. We don’t have anything,” Hermione answered.
“Hermione, didn’t you get an Outstanding in your Transfiguration N.E.W.T.?”
“Of course, what does that have to do with anything?”
“Here’s a stick, just turn it into a flute and we’ll be out of here.”
Hermione eyed the stick nervously.
“I’m not sure, I’ve just been doing office work for the last few years and my Transfiguration is pretty rusty.”
“Give it a try.”
“Okay, here goes.”
Hermione waved her wand and the stick in Ron’s hand turned into a silver-plated concert flute.
“Beautiful, really great,” Ron said. He put the end of the flute into his mouth and blew.
“Not like that,” Hermione laughed. “Haven’t you ever seen anyone play a flute?”
She took the flute from him, placed her lips against the mouthpiece and blew across the air hole. Nothing happened. She puckered her lips and tried again. Still nothing. After several minutes of puckering and grimacing, she was unable to get anything more than a low moan.
Ron tried, unsuccessfully, to stifle a laugh.
“Here, see if you can do any better,” Hermione said sharply and handed the flute to Ron.
Ron raised his wand and turned the flute into a penny whistle. He put it to his lips and played a simple tune. Typhon fell asleep.
As Ron played the last notes a howling sound began. Typhon awoke and started barking loudly.
“That’s brilliant,” Hermione says. “She has a cerebus as a guard dog and then sets up a Caterwauling charm that’s triggered by music. If you try to put the dog to sleep, the charm wakes him up.”
“I wonder why Dumbledore didn’t think of that?” Ron asked. “If he had set up one of those, we’d never have been able to get past Fluffy and reach the Stone.”
“Maybe Dumbledore really wanted Harry to get to the Stone,” Hermione said.
“That’s mental,” Ron replied. “Why would he want that?”
“Never mind, someone’s coming,” Hermione said.
It was Demetra, led by an invisible hand. She questioned Ron and Hermione for several minutes before she called off Typhon and let them out of the tree. Then she released the Fidelius charm on Nicky and told them what had happened to Harry.
“So where is Harry now?” Ron asked.
“Jason said that he’s on the bus to New York. He’s going there to look for him,” Nicky answered
“Why don’t you just send him an Owl?” Hermione said.
“It’s not that easy. Demetra doesn’t keep and Owl and Jason’s face is on a wanted poster in every Owl Post office in the country. Besides, if Harry did get an Owl from Jason, he probably wouldn’t respond.”
“But he would answer an Owl from us,” Hermione said. “Where’s the nearest Owl Post office?”
“You should get Harry’s wand first,” Nicky said. “I’ll show you where it is.”
Nicky got out the map and photograph of the clearing where they had left Harry’s wand. Hermione took Nicky and Ron by the hand and Apparated away.
Harry sat on the bus and pondered his situation. He knew that sooner or later he would have to confront Jason and take his wand but at the moment the odds of doing that did not look good. Jason kept himself in top shape and had studied every martial art known to man. Time and again, he had defeated agents as highly trained as himself in unarmed combat. Harry’s experience of unarmed combat was limited to a couple of school boy brawls with Draco Malfoy.
Harry regretted not having become an Animagus. Once you had mastered the spell, you did not need a wand to transform. He wondered what sort of animal he might become. Turning into a stag would be rather awkward in the middle of a crowded city. The ideal animal would be one that was small but still intimidating. Then Harry remembered that he had one magical ability that did not require a wand.