Hermione believes Voldemort has a spy in the Ministry. Harry gets introduced to a Weasley family tradition.
Harry groaned and got dressed for the day.
“Good morning Harry. How was your date last night?” asked Mr. Weasley.
“Good morning. It was good, except that we had a little welcoming party for us when our Portkey arrived,” informed Harry.
“Ten Death Eaters were waiting at our landing point. We dealt with them, but we had no way to take them into custody. So we just left them knocked out and proceeded on our date,” continued Ginny. “By the way, how are you feeling Harry?”
“I’m fine,” assured Harry.
“You were hurt? What happened?” asked Mrs. Weasley.
“Harry jumped in front of a Cruciatus Curse meant for me. I had my back turned and there was no time to produce a shield,” answered Ginny.
“What? Harry you really should go get yourself check out,” said Mrs. Weasley.
“I’m fine. You have to be under the curse for a long time for it to have any lasting effects,” said Harry.
The Weasleys wisely decided not ask how Harry knew this.
“What I want to is how they knew where Harry was going to be in the first place,” said Hermione. “Mr. Weasley, wasn’t the Portkey supposed to be to secret?”
“Yes, only people very high up in the Ministry should have known. I’m not sure exactly how high, though. Someone must have let it slip,” answered Mr. Weasley.
“Or there’s a mole inside the Ministry,” said Harry.
The teens spent the rest of the day training both magically and physically until it was time to go to the Order meeting that night. Moody called the meeting to order.
“Potter, word is you had a run in with some Death Eaters in Paris last night. What can you tell us?” asked Mad Eye.
“As you know, Ginny and I had arranged a Portkey to take us to Paris last night. As soon as we landed, we were greeted by ten Death Eaters, led by Amycus Carrow. I have always stumbled when traveling by Portkey; this time I fell flat on my face. By the time I had stood up, they had grabbed Ginny in an attempt to get me to come quietly. I summoned Ginny from their grasp and after a short battle managed to incapacitate the Death Eaters,” recounted Harry.
“Why didn’t you take them into custody?” asked Harold Smith. “You had ten knocked out Death Eaters and you just left them there?”
“As I believe I mentioned, we were in Paris with no way to contact the proper authorities and we were out numbered 10-2. We couldn’t have guarded them while we waited for help to arrive. If I’m not mistaken, that is why they chose to attack in Paris, because I would be out of reach, unable to get help,” answered Harry. “I believe the most important matter to discuss is the fact that this Portkey was supposed to be top secret, which means there is a mole in the Ministry, extremely high up.”
“Impossible!” insisted Smith. “How could You-Know-Who possibly get a spy in the Ministry?”
“He did it last time, sir. Remember Rookwood? In case you haven’t noticed, the Ministry isn’t exactly the best run organization,” responded Hermione, annoyed.
“And the Order managed to get a spy in with Fudge right after Voldemort returned,” pointed out Harry, nodding at Tonks and Kingsley.
“I agree that a spy within the Ministry does seem to be the most likely answer. Kingsley, can you get me a list of all who could have known about the Portkey?” said Professor McGonagall.
“Should we warn the Minister?” asked Charlie.
“We should try, but I don’t think it will do much good. A mole high up in the Ministry would destroy his reputation,” answered Mr. Weasley.
The next month, which had again been spent training and playing Quidditch, had a relaxed, carefree feel to it. For the first time, Harry felt confident that he could defeat Voldemort. His powers had increased because of the bond. He and Ginny continued to take on large numbers of volunteers at a time, almost always winning.
Eventually, they were at the point where they had little to gain from dueling the others and found that the only way to get a real challenge was to duel each other. Harry won most of the time, but Ginny always held her own and even when she lost was able to give Harry more of a challenge than anyone else.
Also promising was the fact that Hermione’s new shield spell, Amourus Protego, had yet to be broken and was absorbing any and all spells it came into contact with. It was, however, yet to be tested against an Unforgivable Curse. That, they knew, would be the ultimate test.
Harry was doing his best to keep occupied to distract himself. He was scheduled to meet with the Minister in a few days, which was never a pleasant experience no matter who held the position. The Order had agreed, however, that Scrimgeour would be more likely to believe the idea of a traitor in the Ministry if the information came from Harry.
“Harry, it’s nice to speak with you again. I must say I was a bit surprised when Arthur told me you wanted to talk. I’m glad to hear you have reconsidered our discussion awhile back,” said Scrimgeour when the meeting came.
“Hello, Minister. Thank you for agreeing to speak with me. I’m afraid, however, that I have not come to discuss my support, or rather lack thereof, for the Ministry. I still believe you are going about this war all wrong, and until you make some significant reforms my stance on that will not change,” said Harry.
“Oh, I suppose you came here to tell me to release Stan Shunpike then? I sent two Ministry officials there to investigate your claims and they found no evidence of his or any other prisoners innocence,” said the Minister, his false jovial manner lost now.
“You and I both know those investigators were nothing but pets who were sent there to tell you what you wanted to hear. No, I still believe he should be released, but I am afraid Stan is a lost cause. I came here today because there is a mole inside the ministry,” informed Harry.
“That is impossible! What could lead you to that conclusion?” said Scrimgeour.
“Sir, we both know that it is not impossible, as it happened during the first war. Does the name Augustus Rookwood mean anything to you?” said Harry.
“Augustus Rookwood is a Death Eater from the first war. If memory serves me correct, he escaped from Azkaban about two years ago but was recaptured by the Ministry a few months later,” answered Scrimgeour.
“Augustus Rookwood was an Unspeakable in the Department of Mysteries, who used a network of people within the Ministry, both knowingly and unknowingly, to get Ministry information to Voldemort. He was ratted out by Igor Karkaroff at the end of the war in exchange for his freedom. He was then sent to Azkaban where he escaped when the Dementors joined Voldemort about 14 years later. He was, as you said, recaptured several months later, not by Ministry officials but by Albus Dumbledore,” said Harry.
“Yes, I seem to remember someone being caught spying last time. Where are you going with this?” said Scrimgeour.
“As this case proves, it would not be impossible for Voldemort to get a spy in the Ministry. You will also remember Lucius Malfoy worked in the Ministry for a long time after the first war. Before Voldemort’s revival, he was responsible for the reopening of the Chamber of Secrets, which nearly led to the deaths of myself and several other students. He then continued to work for the Ministry for a full year after Voldemort returned, manipulating the Minister and providing his master with valuable intelligence.”
“That was then. Rookwood and Malfoy have been dealt with. What evidence do you have to indicate that there is a spy now?” asked the Minister.
“Sir, a few days ago I had arranged for a top secret Portkey to take myself and my girlfriend to Paris for the day. I was told that only people extremely high up in the Ministry would ever find out about the Portkey. However, when I arrived, there were ten Death Eaters waiting for us at our destination. Luckily, we were able to escape, though not before I was hit with the Cruciatus Curse. Someone had told Voldemort that I would be arriving there and he set up an ambush,” answered Harry.
“Don’t you think that it’s more likely he got the information from some other source? Couldn’t someone have overheard you talking about it?” asked the Minister.
“No, sir. The only person outside of the Ministry who knew the exact location of the Portkey was myself,” insisted Harry.
“Well it surely had to have come form another source. I assure you that there is no one in the Ministry who is aiding He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” said ex-Auror.
“Surely you will at least look into it,” said Harry.
“Can you imagine what would happen if the Press found out I suspected I had a spy in my ranks? They’d be calling for my resignation for failing to control my government. The people’s morale would be crushed,” said Scrimgeour.
“Ah, so now we get to the heart of the problem. You don’t want to admit there is a spy because it wouldn’t look good. If you’re willing to let a Voldemort have a spy in the Ministry just to save face, then I can assure you that this will be our final conversation. Good day, sir,” said Harry, who got up and left without waiting for a response.
On his way to the Apparation Point, he ran into one of the last people he wanted to see, former Minister Fudge.
“Ah, Harry, I heard you would be here today. How did your meeting with the Minister go?”
“He is every bit as corrupt and power-hungry as you were. And now is a much more dangerous time,” responded Harry.
Fudge paled under the cold stare he was receiving from the young man before him and continued his business without another word. Harry returned to Potter Manor in a sour mood.
“Hello, son. I guess from your angry expression that your meeting with the Minister did not go as well as we had hoped,” said James from his portrait.
“No. He refuses to believe he has a spy,” said Harry.
“I’m not surprised. That man was always much too arrogant for his own good. Remember that time we put that Gender-Shifting potion in his drink?” said Sirius. “He was a few years ahead of us at Hogwarts, a by-the-book goody two-shoes Prefect much like Ron’s brother Percy, or so I’ve heard. We pranked him when we weren’t pranking Snape.”
“Any ideas who the leak could be?” asked Lily.
“No. It could be any number of people,” sighed Harry.
Harry decided he needed to take his mind of the day. He found Buckbeak, who flew him around the grounds until he was called for dinner. There he noticed Charlie and Bill leaving the library with grins on their faces that looked more at home on Fred and George. Before he had time to ponder this, his plate was filled with all kinds of delicious food. Harry ate to his heart content and soon found himself unusually drowsy.
“I’m tired. I think I’m going to turn in early, good night,” said Harry, fell to sleep almost instantly after lying down.
When Harry woke up the next morning he noticed three things immediately. The first thing he noticed was that he was not in the same bed he had fallen asleep in. The room had a much more feminine air to it and he realized that he must have somehow made his way to Ginny’s room. He then noticed that he was not alone in his bed. Ginny’s head was rested comfortably on his chest. Finally, he noticed, to his horror that Bill and Charlie were also in the room. When he noticed this he jolted up, waking Ginny.
“Good morning,” greeted Charlie in a dangerously friendly voice.
“Charlie, Bill, what-how did I get here, why don’t I remember coming here-” stammered Harry.
“You mean you don’t remember?” said Ginny, looking hurt. “You don’t remember what I thought would be one of the most magnificent nights of our lives?”
Bill and Charlie glowered.
“Shall we kill him now?” asked Bill.
“No. Let’s get Mum and Dad,” suggested Charlie.
“Better yet, let’s let Ginny deal with him. After all, isn’t she supposed to be the most powerful witch in the world?” said Bill.
“Please, I swear, we didn’t, or I don’t think- we didn’t, I’d never-” Harry said. He now realized that he was wandless.
“So, Harry, what do you have to say for yourself?” asked Ginny, her own wand held casually at her side, a fact which did not go unnoticed by Harry.
“I agree, Bill. I can think of no better punishment for taking advantage of our baby sister,” said Charlie.
Harry was just about to beg for mercy when the three Weasleys burst into fits of laughter.
“That worked brilliantly,” said Charlie.
“Didn’t it? The great and brave Harry Potter, defeater of Dark Lords and Dragons cowering and pleading for mercy at the hands of the Weasleys,” laughed Bill.
“Ok guys, Harry looks like he’s seen a Dementor. I think we’d better explain,” said Ginny.
“Harry, this was all a set up. We put a light sleeping draught in your dinner last night so you wouldn’t wake up when we moved you into here,” said Charlie.
Harry let out a sigh of relief and the four got ready for Breakfast. Ginny heard some muttering coming from Harry that sounded a lot like "Six Brothers."
“Harry looks like he’s seen a ghost. What happened?” asked Mrs. Weasley.
“Good morning Bill, Charlie. How’d it go?” asked James entering the portraits in the Dinning Room along with Sirius.
“Brilliantly,” answered Bill.
“Wait, they knew about this?” said Harry.
“They came up with the idea,” said Ginny.
“Honestly, I never should have let your father tell you about that silly tradition,” said Mrs. Weasley.
“Women are so rare in the Weasley family that a while back it was decided that we needed a way to make sure that none of the Weasley daughters ended up with someone unsuitable,” explained Mr. Weasley, seeing Harry’s confused look. “So they decided that when the Weasley women had a serious boyfriend, her brothers would put the fear of god in him at least once, to det him straight.”
“So, what did they do?” asked Ron.
Everyone in the home, with the exception on Hermione and Mrs. Weasley, nearly fell over laughing when Ginny told the story of their prank.
“And to think you two were afraid to prank him,” Sirius admonished Fred and George.
“Hey, you two never pranked Dumbledore did you?” asked Fred.
“Good point,” conceded James.
“Yeah, Harry’s even more powerful than he was, and the son of a Marauder,” said George.
Later that day when the kids had finished their training, Harry pulled Lupin aside.
“Hey, Moony, I need some help,” said Harry. He then told him what Bill, Charlie and Ginny had done.
“I see. That was brilliant. Now what can I help you with?” asked Lupin.
“Well, I can’t let that go unpunished, can I? And who better to help me come up with a prank than the last Marauder?” said Harry.
That night, Harry noticed Bill and Charlie wondering off into the forest. They did this often, looking for interesting animals and tending to any wounded beasts they found. Harry saw this as the perfect opportunity. He placed several pools of fake blood and raw steak meat ahead of the two brothers. Harry hid under his Invisibility Cloak as Bill and Charlie approached.
“Damn, Charlie look at this,” said Bill, gesturing to the blood. “There’s a wounded animal around here somewhere.”
“We’d better find it and whatever hurt it,” said Charlie as they drew their wands.
Soundlessly, Harry used his wand to make Bill and Charlie hear footsteps directly in front of them.
“Did you hear that?” asked Bill as they heard more footsteps all around them.
“Yeah, but I don’t see anything,” said Charlie.
“Shit. Lupin said there were Thestrals on these grounds,” exclaimed Bill.
“I bet they were drawn here by the blood,” said Charlie.
“I think we’re surrounded and Thestrals can be viscous feeders,” said a now worried Bill.
Harry decided now was the time for the finishing touch. Positioning himself behind Bill and Charlie, Harry removed his cloak and transformed into his lion form. He snuck as close to them as he could and let out an angry roar.
The brothers, who were not familiar with Harry’s Animagus form, were startled and fell on their backsides, dropping their wands. Unfortunately, they fell into a pocket of Devil’s Snare, which wrapped itself around their legs. Harry lowered himself and pounced, looking ready to devourer Bill and Charlie. In mid-air, he transformed into his human form and fell over laughing.
“You set this whole thing up?” asked Bill after Harry released them from the Devil’s Snare.
“You didn’t think I was going to let you get away with what you did this morning, did you?” asked Harry.
“Why didn’t you prank Ginny too?” asked Charlie.
Bill and Harry looked at him like he had just suggested they invite Voldemort to dinner.
“Are you insane? Never prank your girlfriend,” said Bill.
Harry nodded in agreement.
“Nice Animagus form, by the way,” complimented Charlie.
“Thanks, the lion’s my natural form, but I can also turn into a dog because of the bond,” Harry then transformed. Like Ginny he was a Retriever, but a black one as opposed to Ginny’s reddish-gold form.
“What are the other’s forms?” asked Bill.
“Ron’s also a lion, Hermione’s a fox. Ginny’s natural form is a lab, but because of the bond she can also turned into a lioness,” said Harry.
“Well Fred, you were right,” said Charlie when they made it back to the house.
“I’m sure I was, but what was I right about?” asked Fred.
“You were right when you advised against pranking Harry. He can be brutal,” answered Bill.
“What did you do?” asked Ron. When Harry told the story Ron responded, “Bloody hell. That’s brilliant. Terrifying, but brilliant.”
“And why, may I ask, did you not include Ginny in this prank?” said Sirius. The room burst into laughter.
“Come on Padfoot, isn’t it obvious? He’s not about to prank his girlfriend. That’s suicide. If I had pranked Lily, I would have been in the Hospital Wing for a week,” said James.
“And Ginny’s temper is at least ten times worse than Lily’s ever was,” said Lupin.
“Ouch,” said James.
“Yeah, it’s bad enough dating someone who had six brothers who could all easily pound you unconscious and feed you to the Giant Squid. But when she could do it herself, it is downright petrifying,” said Harry.
“Well, someone has to keep you in line,” said Ginny.
“If he’s anything like his father, it’ll take a whole army to do that,” said Lily.
“I was not that bad,” said James
Harry sighed sadly, wishing he had had this growing up.
The next morning breakfast went back to its usual quiet, prankless manner, until the paper arrived.
“What? Someone we know?” asked Ron, seeing Hermione’s shocked face. She handed him the paper.
Mass Breakout in Azkaban
Dozens of Death Eaters Mysteriously
The Ministry of Magic announced that approximately 40 Death Eaters had vanished from their cells in Azkaban.
“At this time we do not know how or even when these Death Eaters escaped,” said the Minister.
Among the confirmed escapees are top Lieutenants Lucius Malfoy, Walden Macnair, Antonin Dolohov as well as Rabastan and Rodolphus Lestrange. One noted prisoner who did not escape is Stan Shunpike, whose incarceration has been challenged by many…
“How do 40 Death Eaters simply leave Azkaban without anyone noticing?” asked Fred.
“Sirius managed it,” pointed out Hermione.
“Yeah, but I find it hard to believe they were all Animagi,” said Harry.
“They could have temporarily dropped the Anti-Apparation wards without anyone noticing,” theorized Ginny.
“It takes hours to raise and drop those wards,” said Bill.
“They could Portkey out, couldn’t they?” asked Ron.
“Yes, but how would they get them? They don’t usually allow visitors,” said Mr. Weasley.
“But they did have visitors, remember?” said Hermione, her eyes going wide. “Those investigators went to Azkaban and interviewed a lot of Death Eaters.”
“Well, we know that the Ministry has a mole. Umbridge could have made the Portkeys and snuck them in when she interviewed the Death Eaters,” said Harry.
“And she had would have known about our Portkey; the one that was leaked to Voldemort,” said Ginny.
“The idea has merit,” said Mr. Weasley. “There’s an Order meeting tonight. We’ll discuss it then.”
“Ms. Granger, that is a strong accusation. Do you have any evidence that points to Umbridge being the mole?” asked Professor McGonagall when Hermione presented her theory at the Order meeting. “Granted I’m more than a little biased against her, but while I don’t have any evidence other than conjecture, you have to admit it adds up,” said Hermione.
“Also, Umbridge has shown many characteristics seen in a Death Eater. She attempted to use an Unforgivable Curse on me once. She is clearly power hungry. With her prejudice against half-breeds, it wouldn’t shocked me if she hated all none-pure bloods as well,” commented Harry, ignoring Harold Smiths disbelieving scoff.
“Unfortunately, with the Minister refusing to believe that he has a spy, it will be very difficult to gather any proof one way or the other,” said Lupin.
Harry began to wonder if the Ministry would ever do anything right.
By mid October, Harry was becoming restless. It had been almost 2 months since they had destroyed their last Horcrux. They had two left and knew that Nagini would have to be left for right before the final battle. However, they were still no closer to finding the other piece of Tom Riddle’s soul. Hermione had been researching Rowena Ravenclaw, trying to find any reference to survival relics that might have attracted Voldemort, but was coming up empty so far.
“I think, we’re going about this all wrong,” said Ginny. “We’ve been trying to find what the Horcrux is, when what we should be looking for is where it is. Voldemort would have placed them in places significant to him. As long as we find where, we needn’t know what it is.”
“That’s true, but where would be significant enough? He placed one in Hogwarts, one in the cave, one at the Gaunt’s house and another he designed to be a weapon. The common theme here is power; Voldemort put the Horcruxes in places he associated with power,” said Harry.
“The graveyard, perhaps? It is where he returned,” suggested Hermione.
“I doubt it. For one, he already had all of his Horcruxes made before then. Second, he hated his father. He wouldn’t let him guard a piece of his soul,” said Harry. “That’s also why I would eliminate Albania, even though we know that is where he spent his time in between wars, excepting one year. Not only would he have likely been unable to create a Horcrux, he was weak, powerless there. He wouldn’t place a Horcrux there.”
Harry sighed. As much as he knew about Voldemort and his past, he didn’t have any idea where else Voldemort might feel powerful enough to place a Horcrux.