Harry makes some interesting discoveries. Jason receives an unexpected letter.
He did what was expected of him. He passed on whatever bits of information he had obtained from Jason about his past. Magical Investigators visited his childhood home, the bases where he had trained and the homes of old army buddies. The found, as Harry had expected, absolutely nothing. Jason’s first rule of life on the run was to avoid old friends and familiar situations.
Harry also kept his eyes and ears open for any real clues. His first break came as a result of sheer luck. He was eating lunch in a crowded cafeteria when a young wizard sat down beside him.
“Any relation to Maximus Brankovitch, the Quidditch player?”
Maximus had been a seeker for the United States team in several Quidditch World Cups.
“He’s my older brother. I don’t see much of him though, we’re a very big family.”
“How many brothers and sisters?”
“Thirteen. My parents had six boys, then they had six girls and then I was born. They named me after my father.”
“Does that mean that you’re ...?”
“The seventh son of a seventh son. I know. I was supposed to have the inner eye and be a great seer. My bedroom was filled with crystal balls and astrological charts from the day I was born. I hated it. Divination was my worst subject. If even I see somebody drinking a cup of tea, it almost makes me sick.”
Harry was glad he had chosen coffee. He nodded sympathetically.
“I was no good at Divination either. What do you do now?”
“My best subject was Muggle studies. I was fascinated by computers and I persuaded my parents to let me go to Muggle school and take computer science. When I graduated, I got a job with the Department of Magic and they trained me as a special agent in CIA headquarters.”
“What are you doing here today?”
“I was called back from the field for further training. There was a security breach on my watch. A strange wizard got in the building and Apparated out before I could trigger the protective charms.”
“Who was this wizard? Was he ever caught?”
“I don’t know. He had taken Polyjuice potion so he looked like one of the Agents. He was using the Agent's pass card to get into high security areas.”
“What about the Agent? Did he see anything?”
“No. I questioned him before I wiped his memory. He was walking down the hall when someone knocked him cold. The next thing he knew he was tied up in a store room and his pass had been stolen. The strange thing is, whoever it was didn’t use magic.”
“Why is that strange.”
“This Muggle guy was trained in self-defence. He was good. I don’t know of a single wizard who could have taken him on without magic.”
Harry thought that he knew of one.
“When did this happen?” he asked.
Septimus suddenly became defensive. He realized that he might have said too much.
“I can’t really say. I shouldn’t even by talking about it.”
“Please, it’s important. There might be a connection to the case I’m working on.”
“Okay, it happened the same night as the Bones murder, at around one in the morning.”
The Hirsch killing had taken place around midnight. It was just possible for Jason to have killed Hirsch and been in CIA headquarters an hour later. But it did not make sense for Jason to kill Hirsch before had the horocrux. If the horocrux was not in the CIA file, then Jason would want Hirsch alive to question him.
Harry began to believe on Jason’s innocence but without any proof of the identity of the intruder, he had reached a dead end.
The next lead came from the Muggle newspapers. Something called DNA testing found that the charred remains were not the body of Hirsch. The police and FBI were now investigating the possibility that the fire had been staged to enable Hirsch to flee the country.
Harry’s superiors in the MBI were not impressed. None of their spells had been able to discover anything from the fragments of ash and bone left behind. They were as unwilling to trust Muggle science as their Muggle counterparts were to believe in magic.
In fact, even the Muggle authorities were sceptical of the test result. It was hard to square with the evidence of the housekeeper who had actually seen Hirsch tied to the burning bed. The police began the search for Hirsch only because there was a possibility that the housekeeper was lying. Even that seemed remote. The housekeeper was an American citizen and had only worked for Hirsch for only two months. She found a new job a few days after his death.
Harry began to refine his first theory. The Prince brothers might have wanted Hirsch alive. They were worried about the pending criminal charges so they faked the killing and spirited Hirsch out of the country.
Harry’s final clue came as a result of hard work. He approached the lead wizard on the investigation with a request.
"I'd like to see the Muggle police files on Hirsch."
Kendrick Coppernoll was a tough old warlock who was not keen on having Harry on the case.
"Hirsch is none of your business, you're here to help us with Bones," he growled.
"I was thinking that there might be something in Hirsch's papers that I could connect with something that Bones told me, something that might not have seemed very important at the time."
"Haven't you lot heard of the Statute of Secrecy. We can't just walk in to the local police and ask to see their files. A request has to go from the Secretary of Magic to the President of the United States. He has to think up a cover story and the request gets passed down the line and then back up to us. That could take weeks."
"We never bother with requests, sir."
"Don't get smart with me kid."
"Well, if there's nothing more for me to do I'll just go back to London and file my report."
"All right, meet me at one in the morning. But, I warn you, you're not going to find much."
The Apparated into the deserted police file room and cast a protective charm. As Coppernoll had said, there was not much to be seen. The fire had destroyed almost everything in the house. Only a few scraps of paper in the bottom of a fireproof safe had survived. Harry picked up a small business card.
"This is interesting," Harry said.
"What is it?" Coppernoll asked.
"It's a business card for Caractus Antiquities, in London. It's a Muggle branch of Borgin & Burkes from Knockturn Alley."
Coppernoll had heard of Borgin & Burkes, the notorious dealers in dark objects.
"What do those characters want with a Muggle store?"
"They claimed they used it as a front to buy magical objects that had fallen into Muggle hands and to get rid of surplus stock that wasn't magical. We think they used it for other things as well. I'd like to go back to London and follow this up."
Harry returned to London the next day and headed for Knockturn Alley. Borgin & Burkes was still open but it was now little more than a struggling second hand store. After the war, its stock of dangerous dark objects had been confiscated and many of its best customers were in Azkaban.
Mr. Borgin greeted him warily. “Mr. Potter, how very good to see you. Is there something I can show you? Or is this an official visit?”
“I’d like to see the records from your Muggle shop. Do you still have them?”
“Of course, always happy to oblige.”
Mr. Borgin led him to a back room filled with papers. Harry had a good idea of where to look. Hirsch had been a graduate student in England for two years in the early nineteen fifties. After two hours, Harry found a single duplicate receipt. Hirsch had purchased three books for a few shillings each. Two of the titles were in Latin and the third was in a script that Harry could not read. He showed the receipt to Mr. Borgin.
“Do you recognize this?”
Mr. Burke looked nervous. “I can’t say that I do. It’s so many years ago and my late partner handled most of that side of the business.”
“May I take this with me?” Harry said, picking up the receipt.
“By all means.”
Harry showed the receipt to Hermione.
"Two of the books are just Muggle alchemy texts. I don't know about the third. The title is in classical Greek letters. I can't read them and I don't know any one who can."
Harry let the receipt sit for a few days and then thought of Justin Finch-Fletchley, who was working in the Muggle liason office. All of the other males in his family had gone to Eton. One of them must know some Greek. Justin took the receipt and came to see Harry a week later.
“I found out one thing,” he said. “Mr. Borgin is lying when he says he doesn’t remember the sale.”
“How can you tell.”
“He would never forget a loss like this.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know about the third book, but the other two are really valuable. My grandfather is a rare book collector. He says that one is a first edition of Monas hieroglyphica by John Dee and the other is Hortulus Hermeticus of Daniel Stolcius. They would be worth a fortune today. Even back then they would have sold for at least a hundred pounds. Someone gave them away for almost nothing.”
"Any ideas on the third book."
"No luck. The letters are Greek , but they don't spell anything. It's probably some kind of code."
Harry had a theory. There had always been rumours that Borgin and Burkes had used Caractacus Antiquities to release dark objects into the Muggle world to cause further mischief. It was time for another talk with Mr. Borgin.
“That was your game, wasn’t it?" Harry said. "You have a book you think is cursed, so you sell it to some unsuspecting Muggle. To sweeten the deal, you play stupid and throw in a couple of rare first editions for a fraction of their value. When the Muggle drops dead from the curse, you buy the book back from the estate. Then you make a fat profit selling it to some sick minded wizard like Lucius Malfoy for his collection.”
“No, Mr. Potter, " Mr. Borgin said, nervously, "that’s not what happened all.”
“Don’t lie to me. I’ve been in your shop. You used to post signs bragging about how many Muggles your stuff had killed.”
“No, Mr. Potter, this was different. He Who Must .... I mean Mr. Riddle bought all three books very cheaply when he was working for me.”
Since the war, people had taken to referring to Voldemort by his Muggle name of Tom Riddle. His former supporters betrayed themselves by using the honorific ‘Mister.’
“He seemed to be more interested in reading them than selling them,” Mr. Borgin continued. “I got quite upset and told him either to sell them or pay me for them. He finally told me that they were just Muggle books of no real value and that he had sold them to some young American.”
“You should be more careful who you hire. I’ll be back if I have more questions.”
This was fascinating news. Hirsch had bought the book from Voldemort himself. It must have been some text on dark magic. Voldemort had finished with it and wanted to get rid of it . The book must have had a protective spells so it could not be burned or vanished. Instead, he sold it to an American tourist.
Harry knew this was all sheer speculation. All his leads were dead ends. He had no idea what the book was and was no closer to finding either Hirsch or Jason.
Justin had made one useful suggestion. Hirsch probably needed money and might be trying to sell the two alchemy books. Harry arranged to plant a false tip with the Muggle authorities that the books had been stolen. If they turned up an a reputable dealer or auction house, Harry would get word.
Jason’s first thought had been to get out of the country. He disguised himself with Polyjuice potion and went to the Washington port key office.
“I’d like a ticket to Jamaica.”
“Sorry, you’re too late.”
“What do you mean, the schedule says 2:00 pm and it’s a quarter ten after one.”
“You’ve missed the quarantine. All passengers have to be watched for an hour to make sure they’re not Bones under Polyjuice.”
Jason tried to appear unconcerned.
“When does the next key leave?”
“Same time tomorrow. Would you like to buy your ticket now.”
“No thank you.”
Jason walked away slowly. Then he found the railway yards and hopped a freight train out of town. He kept on the move for several weeks. He could travel safely on trucks or trains, using the invisibility cloak. He only trusted himself to Apparate short distances. He took Polyjuice potion when he needed to appear in public to rent a room or buy food. The Goblins of Gringotts were even more accommodating than the gnomes of Zurich. He was able to draw on his bank account via Owl Post.
He thought about writing to Harry but decided against it. Harry believed him to be guilty and Jason had no proof to the contrary. He also mistrusted to Owl Post. He had been told that post owls could not be followed, but they way they could find him, wherever he might be, still unnerved him.
Avoiding the Muggle authorities was easy. He avoided the magical authorities by moving about in the mid west where the wizard population was very thin. He was staying Kansas City when an owl rapped at his hotel window. He opened the window warily and saw that the owl was carrying a letter. It was from Nicky.