Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Aftermath


by RyanJenkins 0 reviews

Harry's new job is hailed by everyone (except Harry) and gets off to a wild start.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Humor - Characters: Bill Weasley,Harry,Hermione,Neville,Ron - Published: 2016-07-19 - 5406 words - Complete



Harry looked like my lab partner when I did my first successful Stunning Spell. But I saw at once how this would appear in the US, and realized the British Wizarding community was going to have the same reaction. “Kingsley, officially and for the record, the United States Department of Magic thinks you made a brilliant choice.”

“Thank you. So do I. The one we have to convince is Harry.”

That took a little doing. Harry tried pointing out that he'd never finished Hogwarts, and Arthur snorted, and said, “Maybe not, but you finished Voldemort, and that counts for something.” Harry protested that he hadn't had any of the specialized Auror training, but Kingsley brushed that aside.

“There is no training available right now. We're going to have to rebuild that organization as well. Look here, Harry, I don't see this as a permanent appointment. You will serve for a time, and do what you can. Believe me, it will help. You already have many of the skills, and you will have a chance to complete your training eventually. When we find someone we can trust, someone with greater experience, you can hand over the responsibilities. That person – even if their name is not well known – will take office with your backing, and that will help.”

“Kingsley, I--” Harry stopped, struggling with something. “This is just – did you know that both Fudge and Scrimgeour used the same argument on me? Tried to get me to join the Ministry so they could use my name to make people think they were doing the right thing?”

“No,” Kingsley shook his head, “but I'm not surprised to hear it. Tell me, Harry, do you really think that I'm another Cornelius Fudge?” Harry looked stubborn, and Kingsley went on, “Cornelius was a reasonably capable administrator, but utterly unfitted for the crisis that came upon us. He thought appearances were everything, and many on the staff had come to think so too. Rufus was much tougher, but by the time he took over, there wasn't much he could do in the time he had; the rot had well and truly set in, between the inertia of Fudge's years in office and the effects of Voldemort's – well, not simply his return, but his increasing assault on the Ministry. I think Rufus was grasping at straws when he asked you to join.”

“I told him off, you know.” Harry looked Kingsley straight in the eye, and there was a defiant note in his voice. “He took me aside at the Weasleys', at Christmas no less. I told him what I thought of the Ministry and it's damned hypocrisy. Do you think I did the right thing?”

“Oh, yes! If you'd agreed – then – it wouldn't have changed anything, and it might have given Voldemort the opportunity to kill you. But now, Harry, now things are different.”

“Different – how, exactly?” Harry started that with an almost truculent tone, but then it became just a question.

“Voldemort is gone. The Ministry has been wrenched off its tracks, rather, and we have a real chance to lead it in a fresh direction. And it's not the same request at all, you know. You're not being asked to lend your name for others to use, you're being asked to take on a massive responsibility and do a crucially important job of work, partly because your name will help you do the job, it's true, but mainly because I think you can bloody well get it done!”

“I'm not so sure.”

“If I thought you were, we wouldn't be having this conversation.” Harry opened his mouth to say something and stopped, looking uncertain. Kingsley smiled at him. “Harry, this is the sort of work you wanted, now isn't it? And I'm not expecting you to take on the entire task of rebuilding and administering the whole organization – that will take years. I just want you to get the process started properly, headed in the right direction. I think you know what an Auror ought to be, you see that clearly enough – and you won't have to un-learn patterns and habits of thought that silted up in your mind during years of being a cog in the Ministry machine. I don't want someone who's sure of what to do. I want someone who will question everything as he goes along, and figure it out afresh.”

“How...” Harry took in about a bushel of air. “How long d'you reckon?”

“I'm not sure. A few months, at the very least. Perhaps as long as a couple of years. It will depend partly on our progress – and you will help! – in finding a successor, but mostly how long you stay Head Auror will depend on how well you do!” Harry's eyes widened, and Kingsley snorted. “I'm not going to keep you there if you screw it up, Harry! Let you damage the Ministry...and yourself? Don't be silly. Again, if I thought that was likely, we would not be having this conversation. So you see, I'm not so sure, either. I just need to make a decision right now, and this is the best one I can make.”

Harry turned to Hermione and me, but I don't think he saw us, he was looking inward. He went over to the window and looked out at the river, where a small boat was going under the bridge, but I don't think he saw that either.

“Harry.” It was Ben Franklin's portrait; Harry's head turned abruptly toward it. “What's a sundial in the shade? If you've got a talent, use it.”

“Maybe I've got a talent, but I don't know enough.”

The 18th-Century figure laughed. “Who ever does? Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I learn.”

Harry tilted his head at that. Then he turned to the Minister, grimaced, and said “Well...I guess I could try, but...”

“No buts.” Kingsley gave Harry his full support: complete carte blanche to make any changes he wanted, and direct access to the Minister at any time. “And before you ask, no, I'm not going to give you more time to think it over. I'm releasing the news this afternoon. We need you.” He stood up and stuck out his hand, and Harry stood up and blinked at him, then slowly extended his hand and they shook. We all stood up and applauded. Bill and I cheered and Percy joined in, then tried to be the first one to clap him on the back, but Hermione flew past him.

She hugged him, and he hugged back. “Oh, Harry! This is wonderful!”

Things eventually subsided, and Kingsley motioned us all back to our seats. “We will have to celebrate later. We still have work to do.”

It seemed like a good moment to change the subject, while Harry sorted himself out, as they say over there. “I've been thinking about this whole process, and it seems to me we've got to look at both the short term and the long term. In the short term, getting you going with the Muggle internet, and the Winternet, and dealing with immediate needs like the programmed spell we've just seen, means training some people. In the long term, though, it should probably mean changes in the way you educate – some new classes at Hogwarts, or at least some additions to the curriculum.”

“I think that's a very good point,” said Hermione at once. “Except that electrical and electronic things don't work at Hogwarts.”

“Oh.” That was a problem. “Well, there may be ways around that. But you can still teach theory, and at least give students the information they need to deal with things.”

Hermione nodded. “What sort of classes where you thinking of?”

“Some introduction to basic principles of science – Muggle science – so that everyone would learn about things that interface with Magic, such as electricity, and chemistry, and so forth. Once you can find a way – or create a place, maybe – to do lab work, and magically powered computers become available, training with those would be useful. Maybe other things. It's a little hard to be sure what's needed, because I don't really know much about your educational system.”

“Then you should talk to someone who does,” said Kingsley, “and I know just the person.”

“Professor McGonagall!” Hermione said instantly.

“Exactly. The Department of Magical Education here is still trying to recover from a bad case of Umbridge” – he made a face, along with Hermione and Harry – “and Minerva needs to be informed in any case. But she has her hands full at Hogwarts just now, and I don't want to pull her away. Do you think you could go up there and meet with her?”

I was delighted. “Certainly! I would very much like to see Hogwarts in any case.” I put more notes in my file. My To-Do list was assuming record proportions. “There's someone coming in on Thursday – that's tomorrow! – to assist me. I'd like to introduce him around as soon as possible. Hmmmm....once he's up to speed – whoever he is! – I could go up to Hogwarts. I'll have to go out and meet him at Heathrow – hopefully, he'll bring some fresh TAPKeys, we've really got to get them up and running.” I looked up at Kingsley. “When do you think you might have someone, or some people, ready to go to Washington?”

“I'm not sure. Perhaps by the time you get back from Hogwarts.”

“That would be fine. At first, I guess your people who want to learn about Wemail and such will have to come to America. Hopefully we'll soon get some of them back here, teaching others, but the sooner we start...”

“Yes indeed. But speaking of time, I am almost out of it. There is a meeting of the Wizengamot tomorrow, and I must prepare.” I shut down the computer and shrunk it away. We all stood up, and Kingsley shook all our hands. “Thank you all, very much – I am tremendously encouraged by all this!” Kingsley asked Arthur to stay, and ushered the rest of us out. Esmerelda waved as we went by, and Chuckie hiccuped – about enough to light a cigarette. When we got in the elevator – sorry, the lift – Harry turned to Percy.

“Look, Percy, I owe you an apology. That clip from 'Spaced' was my suggestion entirely, I heard about it from Dean Thomas, and it – it was really quite uncalled for. I am sorry about that.”

I wasn't going to let him take the rap. “Me too, Percy. I was the one that found it on the Muggle internet. And I did help, uh, select the, uh – excerpt. I'm sorry.”

“She did look amazingly like Penelope, didn't she? That's all right, fellows, I forgive you.” Percy was being noble. Then he smiled. “I'm a Weasley, after all, and don't forget I spent my formative years living directly underneath Fred and George.”

Harry's eyes got bigger. Bill observed thoughtfully, “Who pulled every trick in the book on you, and then started writing new books.”

“Precisely.” My smile probably looked as sickly as Harry's, but Percy's smile could have settled down and made itself at home on a shark. He became positively genial. “Cheer up! You're Head Auror now, and you live in America, and you'll both be traveling about quite a bit. It may be years before a suitable opportunity presents itself.” The lift stopped at his floor, and the doors opened. “Well, back to the books. Ta!” He walked away humming to himself.

The lift doors closed and both Bill and Hermione roared with laughter.

When we got down to the Atrium, they were still wiping their eyes. I shook my head. “Harry, there's an old tradition in America – and I'll bet it's even older, over here – that when a man gets a promotion, it needs to be properly irrigated. Know a good pub? I'm buying.”

We ended up at the Leaky Cauldron, where I was introduced to Tom, the bartender, who they called the “landlord.” I made a mental note to organize a book of handy phrases or something. He greeted us with pleasure, and when he heard the news, he was delighted. “Harry Potter – Head Auror! That's just brilliant, that's what it is!”

His loud exclamation raised startled cheers and applause from half a dozen Witches and Wizards in the place, and a pair of dwarves who had just come in pounded on the underside of a table. Tom stood the house to a drink, which made some of them gasp, and poured us a shot of Firewhiskey, which made me gasp. After enduring handshakes, backslappings, and “Go get 'em, Harry” from those present, Harry looked relieved when we were settled around a table in a small upstairs room with mugs of butterbeer.

“That's the worst of it, frankly. I've had enough publicity to last a lifetime. I just want to get on with the job.”

“You'd better think up a statement for the Daily Prophet,” advised Hermione, “because they'll probably...” she was interrupted by a knock at the door.

It was Tom, who stuck his head in and said, “Sorry to bother you, but there's a couple of reporters here from---”

“--the Daily Prophet!” we all said together, except Harry, who put his head down on the table and buried it in his arms.

Hermione got to her feet. “I'll take care of this. Tell them you're meeting with Ministry officials and can't be disturbed.” She turned to me. “Do you think it would be all right if I mentioned your presence?”

I shook my head. “Better not. Kingsley can do a press thing after we've firmed up our immediate plans and arrangements.”

“Yes of course,” agreed Hermione, “that way you'll have some definite announcements. Besides,” she added, a dangerous glint in her eye, “Tom didn't say, but one of those people might be Rita Skeeter.”

She left, and Bill patted Harry on the shoulder. “There you go, Harry! Now you've quite obviously got every reason, and the authority, to let somebody else face the press.” Harry lifted his head and opened his eyes.

“You know, you're right.” He sat up, and reached for his butterbeer. “Good job Percy wasn't here, though! Bless Hermione.” He drank.

I looked at Bill. “You know, Bill, I like Percy. He's basically a good guy. But he really needs to loosen up – broaden his horizons, or something.”

Bill looked back at me and nodded. “That's about the way I feel. 'Course he's my brother, and I love him, but he's so narrow sometimes. Not a bit stupid, really, at all, but he can be rather like a racehorse with blinders on. Can't see things until they're right in front of him.”

“Old Doc Jenkins prescribes travel! Travel is broadening. You have no idea how this trip is broadening me all to hell!” They chuckled, and I groused, “It happened so fast I didn't even have time for a language course! Rashers. Petrol. Lifts. Knuts and Sickles. Landlords. Landlord? He's the bartender, for cryin' out loud!”

Hoping to distract Harry, I continued in that vein, and after a little while, even he was laughing when the door opened and Hermione returned and sat down. “No problems! All I did was confirm your appointment and say that you were in a meeting and could not be disturbed. And I did say that you were deeply honored, and determined to do your best.”

“That's fine,” said Harry. “Thanks – and tell me, was it Rita Skeeter?”

“Well, one of them was a man named Winkleburr or something like that, and he took down my statements. And what do you know, the other was dear Rita, and she showed me her best side. She was running out the door, just as I was just coming down the stairs. Pity.” Hermione looked like a cat who had just finished a particularly succulent mouse.

When I asked, Bill's job at Gringott's turned out to be curse-breaking, not finance. He'd been badly needed and extremely busy when Kingsley and others were reclaiming the Ministry from Voldemort's regime, but now was simply “on call” and not having nearly as much to do. When he mentioned the possibility of being recalled by the goblins if his job was done, Harry was glum.

“That's too bad, because I've a feeling we're going to need some serious curse-breaking when we start exploring places with Ryan's dark magic Sniffer.” He brightened. “Tell you what. Let's go back to the Ministry and set it up. If we can make some good scans of the London area, I'll bet we can find enough work to keep you with us for awhile yet.”

Hermione excused herself, saying she wanted to go down Diagon Alley to the shop and see how Ron and George were getting along, and Harry said, “I'd really like to have you with us, Hermione, and Ron too. I'm just realizing how much there is to do. With Dawlish under arrest, it's just Witherspoon, Proudfoot and me.” Hermione promised to bring Ron, and asked if she should send an owl to Neville. “Brilliant! Come round as soon as you can, I'll leave word at the gate. Hopefully, we'll have some of the area mapped out when you arrive.”

But that wasn't the way it worked out. When Harry, Bill and I arrived at the door of the Auror Office on level two, we were met by a small crowd of a dozen or so Witches and Wizards from that floor. Harry had to endure more congratulations, and this time couldn't duck out of saying something. “Thanks, all of you. I'm glad you feel that way, because I'm certainly going to need all the help I can get.” He cocked an eye at me, and I nodded. “But some has started to arrive. You all know Bill, and if you're wondering who this other fellow is, this is Ryan Jenkins, who's a trained Auror just come over from the United States Department of Magic.” That caused a bit of a stir, but I just smiled and nodded and didn't speak. “For the moment, though, his arrival isn't public knowledge. Please keep it under your hats, won't you, until the Minister makes an announcement. As for me, I suppose I'm still in shock a bit over the whole thing, but I imagine the best remedy for that is to get to work!”

The Auror Office looked a lot like a precinct station; it was a fairly large room. There were cubicles, mostly bare now, some with cardboard boxes of stuff sitting in them. Things were pinned up on walls and dividers, and filing cabinets lined one side of the room. I was introduced to two Witches who served as secretaries, Jenny Fowler, who was youngish, thin, and intense, and Mrs. Lobelia Murdle, who was not youngish, not thin, and seemed formidably competent. They went quietly back to work clearing out cubicles.

Abner Proudfoot was a middle-aged Wizard, burly and tough-looking, with a serious case of five-o'clock shadow. He looked Harry straight in the eye, and said in a relieved tone of voice, “Harry, this is a bit of all right, is what it is. I was terrified they were going to dump the load on me, when you're obviously the man for the job. It's always a bit of a surprise when you see a round peg fit neatly into a round hole, ain't it?”

“Same here, Harry!” Elliott Witherspoon was 28, Harry had mentioned, but he looked older, thanks to the lines in his face. He walked with a limp, and seemed to move kind of gingerly, but his eyes were merry. He had red robes and a long brown pony tail. “And if you will come this way, sir, we have something to show you!”

“Go lightly on that 'sir' business, Elliott, I'm still Harry, OK?” Witherspoon led us to a door on the other side of the room, and pointed it out with a flourish. The Auror emblem (a large M with a wand sitting upright in front of it) was carved into the polished wood, lined with silver, and above it was inlaid shining gold letters:



Harry looked like he didn't know what to say, and Witherspoon went on, “Kingsley sent Middleton from maintenance to put that up, and he just finished about half an hour ago. He was the one told us!”

I laughed. “Reminds me of home! The grapevine always has the news first.”

The room wasn't huge, but it would comfortably hold maybe twenty people. It was clean, and furnished with a desk and chair, a filing cabinet, and an intricately patterned oriental rug; there was a bay window at the far end, which looked out into the Atrium; and that was all. “Right then,” said Harry, “I'm expecting Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and Neville Longbottom I hope, and we have something to show you two fellows.” He looked around the room critically. “Let's just turn that desk so it faces the window, and move it up so there's plenty of room for all of us to sit behind. We'll need chairs for everyone – Abner, Elliott, just bring seven or eight in from the cubicles, would you? Thanks Bill – a little farther forward, I think – that's fine. Ryan, could you set up your computer on the desk, please? Now we ought to block the window but there don't seem to be any curtains...”

Abner Proudfoot, steering a chair through the door with his wand, came in just in time to hear the last sentence. “We've got better than curtains, Harry. Scrimgeour put in a security shield. It's still there – take it out if you'd rather, but – here, let me show you then.” He pointed his wand at the top of the window and said “Securitatas!” In a flash, part of the walls on either side turned to metal, folded themselves out in sections like a dressing-room screen, and met in the middle to lock into a shield that blocked the window completely. “Muggle army's best armor plate, he said it was.”

“Don't know if I'll be using it much,” said Harry, “but I'll grant it's handy enough right now. Thanks, Abner.” As Elliott Witherspoon brought the last chair through the office door and steered it to a perfect four-point landing at the end of a semicircle, a voice in the outer office said “Hullo! Anyone here?”

“Neville!” Harry's face lit up and he started for the door as a big Wizard suddenly filled it up, dressed in rather rumpled grey robes with splashes of dried mud on them. He had curly black hair, and his face broke into a huge grin as he spotted Harry. He stuck out his hand and grabbed Harry's. “Congratulations Harry! This is absolutely terrific! Dunno what you want me for, but I'm all yours if I can help. Sorry about the mud. When I got Hermione's owl I was just finishing up some repotting in Gran's greenhouse. Reckoned it was quicker to just show up than write back.”

Neville Longbottom was quickly introduced, and when we shook hands he said, “An American! Say, that's a coincidence for you. I've just been reading about the Red Indians and some of the magical properties of cactus plants, and some really strange ones called 'Joshua Trees' for some reason. You wouldn't happen to know any Red Indians, would you?”

“Well, I had one for a roommate in school, but I haven't seen him since graduation.”

“Really! I hope we'll have a chance to talk, later. Right now, though, this is Harry's show. What's the word, Harry?”

All that is why I had only just finished setting up the display (this time I made it floor to ceiling and wall to wall), grabbing a quick charge in case we needed the Muggle internet (easily done in a city teeming with electric wires), introducing Neville, Elliott and Abner to the computer with an even quicker demonstration of its features, and was getting ready to set up the Sniffer – instead of having actually made some progress – when Ron and Hermione arrived.

“Hi everybody!” Ron was a little breathless. “Sorry we're a bit late. The shop's a madhouse. Wouldn't have gotten away if Hermione hadn't gone and found Verity and brought her in. Poor George!”

We must have looked concerned, because Hermione said “Oh, it's all right really, he'll be fine. It's just that there's been customers all day, lots of them people who've never been in before, and everyone's been buying something, sometimes just a trick wand or a single dung bomb, and when they pay they'll say 'for Fred.'” She sniffed. “It's doing wonders for George, but he's constantly on the verge of tears.”

“Yeah. One really old Witch came in and bought a Nose-biting Teacup, and when she paid George she said 'for Fred, young man, and for you too. He's not gone, you know. He's just not here, that's all. You stick it out, now.' I thought I was going to go then. Dunno how George kept it together.” Ron shook his head, then looked up. “But let's get on with it. Have you found more stuff at Borgin and Burke's?”

We did demonstrate the program-spell on Knockturn Alley. Abner, Elliott and Neville were still busy being amazed, but they saw the implications instantly. When we scanned Borgin and Burke's, however, the black objects were no longer to be found. We started “looking under” yellow icons by hiding them, and turned up another all-black item, and that's when Harry called a halt.

“Borgin and Burkes is an entire project, all by itself. And there's clearly not much point in doing a scan of a place like this until just before a raid goes in. Instead, let's have a look at London in general, or as much of it as we can cover here tonight. What do you think, Ryan?”

“Do you want to take it by sections, or work out from the center?”

“You could take a wide view first,” said Hermione thoughtfully, “and try to identify particular areas – like Diagon Alley – that'll probably be the biggest area, won't it? – that we want to look at in detail later.”

“Makes sense,” said Ron. Abner and Elliott nodded.

“Yes it does,” agreed Harry. “But before we do that, there's one thing we need to do first.” He looked at me with a wry face. “Ryan, I've been deliberately putting off suggesting this, and I think you have too. Am I right?”

“Bull's eye – if you're talking about scanning the Ministry.” Everyone but the two of us sat up straight and looked at each other. “Wouldn't have been friendly for me to suggest it, and anyway I knew damn well I didn't have to.”

“Right. Now's a good time, I think.”

I had to expand the radius three times. The Ministry of Magic is huge. I made another quick note – the British were going to need what our Research people had come up with to fool ground-penetrating radar, and I had a strong feeling that eventually the Muggles were going to catch up with the program-spell I'd seen which turned seismic waves into pictures. But when I hit DETECT what we saw was a solid mass of color.

“Well, one thing, we've definitely proved there's a lot of magic going on here,” said Ron.

“Hey, that's what they mean by a beta-test. But we're not dead yet, let me see if I can work around this...” The problem, of course, was our location. Being a bit off-center was all right, but there was magic above us and below us. “The Research department showed me a three-d display – called it a 'holomagic' display – that would give us this picture beautifully. But for now, I think I can adjust the range to sort of take slices. Top to bottom or bottom to top?”

“Bottom up, I think. Level Ten's the courtrooms.”

I entered an estimated fourteen-foot thickness and hit Bottom – and suddenly the screen showed a pattern of icons and lines that did not at all suggest a courtroom. “What are we looking at here?”

“Ah! Detention cells below the courtrooms.” Abner Proudfoot was in no doubt. “See, those'll be the locks, there...” I tapped an icon with my wand and the dialog box said Cell Lock, Unbreakable Clamping Hex - Open. We identified various magical items on this level, all perfectly reasonable things to find in a jail. The only unusual thing was a large circle, just a thin yellow line about ten feet in diameter, in the entrance corridor. I tapped that and the box read Ministry Seal – Locked..

“Right,” said Abner, his face clearing. “It's wrought iron, inlaid in the floor. Been there so long it's hard to see now, I'd nearly forgotten about it.”

“Didn't know there was anything below Level Ten,” confessed Harry. “That's the bottom, then?”

“Nothin' below those cells but rock,” said Abner.

“I can show that. If I just move things down one level the screen will go blank...” I was doing it as I spoke, but the screen did not go blank. “Whoa! What the hell is that?”

Everyone was silent for a moment. The screen showed a circular area, dead black, outlined in red, and the red was flashing. “That's an extremely dangerous black magic something – and it's active.”

“There shouldn't be nothing under those cells,” said Abner, drawing his wand as if by reflex. “I don't like this.”

I started to tap the image with my wand, but Bill stopped me. “Wait a minute. Ryan – is there any chance that this spell of yours might somehow be detectable by – whatever that is? Could affect it somehow?”

I answered slowly. “The people who made this said absolutely not. They were quite confident about it. But...”

“But what?”

“That's one of the things they hoped I'd have a chance to test.”

“Ah. Yes. Right.”

“What's bothering me,” said Hermione, “is that this object seems to be right below the Ministry Seal. And why would a seal, inlaid into the floor, be 'locked'?”

“It could simply mean the inlay was put into the floor with some kind of locking spell to keep it in place...” Neville didn't sound very sure about it.

“Or it could be that's a door or a gate to let whatever that is – out.” Elliott said what I was thinking.

I was also thinking of an old film I'd seen, when I was studying the Muggle side of the War. It was about some Muggles, here in London, who worked at defusing unexploded bombs. Without magic. Terrifying! “Uhhh...Harry – should we think about evacuating the Ministry?”

“Hate to do that. Enormous disruption, and all that – but the risk...” Harry was feeling the burden of office settle fully on his shoulders. He could pass the buck to Kingsley, but that would be a lousy way to start off his new job. He took in another bushel of air and let it out again. “Right then. Here's how we'll do it. Ryan, I'm going to trust those research people of yours; they haven't let us down yet. But before you try to find out what that thing is, we're going to take some precautions. Just a bit of pre-planning. We'll all have our wands out and ready, if you would please – thank you – now. If there's any indications of change in that thing, I, and Abner, and Bill will Apparate directly to the detention cells area. Neville, Ron and Hermione will Apparate to the courtroom level, at the head of the stairs leading down, and listen. Elliott, I will require someone up here to hold the fort, as it were, and that's you, and – if anything should happen to me, you're acting. As for you, Ryan, I will not risk our most valuable foreign contact. You will be needed here in any case to monitor the display.”

Nobody even thought of arguing. Harry was in charge. We stood, wands in hand.

“Everyone ready? All right then, Ryan, let's see if you can tell us what it is.”

I reached out to the screen and touched the black icon ever so lightly.

A dialog box opened, and it read Basilisk – Extreme Danger. .
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