Harry returns to Washington and learns that there is more than one kind of magic.
The capture of Bowerman brought more adult problems. The Americans still wanted the half-horocrux for independent testing. Their reasons were not entirely clear. Bowerman had admitted to slipping the single dog-tag around Jason’s neck while he was a prisoner in the Department of Magic. It was clear that the dog-tag carried some sort of Dark Magic. However, the Americans insisted on the test and, with the traitor exposed, the British no longer had any reason to refuse.
Neither side fully trusted the other so special precautions were taken. Harry would personally deliver the horocrux to the Department of Magic. He would hand the horocrux to a Squib who would place it in the testing chamber and remove it once the test was done. No witch or wizard other than Harry would actually touch the horocrux.
Max Gwyn was a sad looking little man in a shabby grey suit. He seemed to be some sort of caretaker in the Department of Magic, rather like Filch at Hogwarts. Harry him the horocrux and watched through a window as he placed it on the testing table. Harry waited nervously for the test to begin. The British had never tested the half-horocrux for good reason. A horocrux was one of the most dangerous dark objects in existence. There was no telling what curses the test might unleash.
A witch from the American Department of Mysteries raised her wand and cast the testing spell. Nothing happened. She tried twice more and got no response. The Americans looked at Harry coldly and left the room without a word. Gwyn took the dog-tag from the table and handed it back to Harry.
Harry looked at the single dog-tag. It appeared to be genuine. If it was not, there was no way of proving it. He realized that he should have taken detailed photographs of the original before turning it over so he could compare it for minor differences. There was no doubt in his mind that the dog-tag he had handed to Max Gywn had been a horocrux. It had carried an aura of evil that Harry could not mistake. Yet he knew it was impossible for Gwyn to have switched the horocrux for a fake. Gwyn was a Squib and Harry had been watching him the whole time.
As Harry stood, his mind wandered back to his childhood on Privet Drive. He remembered one of the few occasions when he had been invited to a birthday party along with Dudley. There had been entertainment, a magician, who had performed a trick where he had taken the father’s expensive watch, smashed it to bits, showed everyone the pieces and then restored it good as new. Dudley had been unimpressed. “If you watch close, you’d see him slipping it up his sleeve,” he had snorted.
Harry realized that he had not been watching Gwyn closely. He looked around but Gwyn was gone. Grabbing his wand, Harry sprinted for the entrance. Gwyn was already on the street, walking quickly away. Harry followed cautiously. It would be easy to stun Gwyn and search him but, if he found nothing, he would be in serious trouble.
From a rooftop, Jason was watching the street. The entrance to the Department of Magic could not be more unremarkable. It was simply an old apartment block in a run down area east of Capitol Hill. Suite 3A contained a stairway and elevator leading to the underground complex. Witches and wizards seldom used this entrance. The few Squibs who worked for the Department could simply blend into the crowd on the street.
Jason saw Max Gwyn come out the door and walk away. So far the tip passed on by Septimus had been good. Septimus had found an informer, a spy for the Prince brothers who offered to be a double agent. The agent had passed on the details of a plan to steal the horocrux, including the time and a description of Max Gwyn.
Jason continued scanning the street. There were three ways for an agent to deliver something to his handlers. A dead drop, leaving an object in a pre-arranged hiding place, was too risky for something as valuable as the horocrux. A brush past, quickly passing the object to another agent on the street, was safer but took steady nerves. Gwyn would be jumpy after pulling off a theft from under Potter’s nose. That left the safe-house. Gwyn would have to walk several blocks, to get away from the security zone around the Department of Magic, and meet his handler in a secure location. But he was unlikely to walk alone. Another agent would be assigned to follow him to ensure he reached his destination safely.
Jason finally found what he was looking for. There was a man in the street wearing two-toned shoes, tight jeans and a green corduroy jacket. He looked like someone who had dressed himself from the bottom of the bin at the thrift store except that all his clothes were clean and new. He was a wizard trying to pass as a Muggle. If Jason wanted to attack Gwyn, he would need to take out this man first.
However, Jason was not sure that he wanted to do anything. The scheme for stealing the horocrux had seemed a little too outlandish to be true. The Squib who was to handle the horocrux during the test had been placed under the Imperius curse and taught a Muggle conjuring trick which would enable him to switch the horocrux for a fake right under Potter’s nose. The whole thing was more likely to be a ruse to lead Jason into an ambush.
Jason prepared to leave. He had seen what he came to see. The appearance of Gwyn and his handler was a sign that Septimus’s informer was indeed a double agent with a connection to Hirsch and the Prince brothers. Now Jason and Pamela would try to turn the tables by feeding false information to the informer. Jason was growing impatient with the endless cat and mouse game of classic espionage, but he saw no other options.
Then Jason saw Harry come out of the building and follow Gwyn. Something was definitely going on. Jason decided to follow.
Gwyn was easy for Harry to track. He was walking straight and seemed unaware that he was being followed. Harry had followed him two blocks when a drunk on the pavement called out to him.
"Father, father! Help me, I've got a confession to make,” an old drunk called to Harry.
Harry realized that the man must have taken him for a priest. Anxious to make a good impression, he had worn his robes to the Department of Magic. In London, he wore trousers under his robe so he could change quickly but, in the sticky heat of the Washington summer, he had opted for more traditional dress.
“Er, sorry, don’t have time, I’m late for Mass,” Harry muttered.
As Harry turned, he saw the man with the two-toned shoes. He recognized instantly that he was another wizard. The question was, who did he work for? Harry guessed that he was with the Prince brothers. Most of the MBI agents knew how to dress as Muggles but there were still some twits like Jackson Bowerman who couldn't get it right. If Harry attacked an American agent on American soil, his career as an Auror would be over. Gwyn reached the end of the block and turned into a less crowded street. Harry breathed a sigh of relief and pulled out his invisibility cloak.
Jason had been tracking the wizard in the two-toned shoes. It was not hard to slip ahead of him and wait in ambush in an alley. In a few second, two-tone was stunned and Jason had a spare wand.
Jason turned the corner and saw that Harry had disappeared. He was probably under his invisibility cloak and, Jason realized, there might be another agent hidden under a cloak as well. At least he was out of the magical security zone. He Apparated to a rooftop so he could follow Gwyn without being seen.
For a fraction of a second Jason saw a disembodied boot moving down the street. For a moment, he thought that it was Harry in his invisibility cloak but the boot was the wrong colour. He realized that Gwyn had a second guard hidden under a cloak. That made sense. If Gwyn was really carrying the horocrux, an agent as skilled as Hirsch would not leave him to be protected by only one man.
Jason watched Gwyn in growing frustration. It would take him about fifteen seconds to attack Gwyn, get the horocrux and leave. But, Jason calculated, it would take at least five seconds to search for the horocrux and, in those seconds, he would be vulnerable to attack. What Jason needed was a deserted street where he could get Gwyn under cover while he searched him. The opportunity never came. Gwyn’s route seemed to be purposely planned to frustrate a possible attack. The streets were Jason might have found some cover were crowded with people and where there were no people there was no cover.
Gwyn finally reached a vacant lot where a building had been demolished and started to cross it. Harry saw a problem. The lot was overgrown with scrub and littered with junk. It would be hard for Harry to get across without getting his cloak or robes tangled in some debris. There was a shed at the far end of the lot which appeared to be Gwyn’s destination. Harry Apparated behind it. There were voices coming from the shed. He crept closer to listen. The Prince brothers were talking to a third man, Harry did not recognize.
“It worked, he’s almost here. Potter was completely taken.”
“Our friend Hirsch is brilliant, who else would have thought that a wizard could be fooled by a simple Muggle conjuring trick.”
“What about Bones?”
“He followed but he didn’t take the bait.”
“I supposed it was too much to hope that we’d get both him and the horocrux. We’ll have to try something else.”
“Remember to take care of Brankovitch as soon as this is over.”
Harry blasted the door down and stunned Gaius Prince. Tiberius and Tim Dobbs drew their wands before he could get them.
Jason hung back as Gwyn started across the vacant lot. There was no hope of attacking him now. The Prince brothers would be waiting in the shed. Little bits of bent grass and twigs on the lot told him that the guard in the invisibility cloak was picking his was across the vacant lot a few paces behind Gwyn.
Then Jason saw the flash of a wands as Harry duelled Tiberius Prince and Tim Dobbs. Dale Dobbs threw off a shabby invisibility cloak and ran to join the fight. Gwyn was exposed. Jason sprinted and tackled Gwyn. He got the half-horocrux and Disapparated.
Tiberius Prince saw Jason and ran towards Gwyn. He was too late to stop Jason but he Disapparated, taking Gwyn with him.
Dale Dobbs reached the shed and revived Gaius. They walked slowly to the patch of ground where Harry was duelling with Tim Dobbs.
"The fight's over for today, Potter," Gaius said. "You're good, but you can't fight three to one."
"Four to one," Fred Dobbs said, as he transformed from his rattlesnake animagus form.
"Besides, if you take us, you have no evidence against us," Gaius added.
They were right. Harry broke off the fight and Disapparated.