Chapter Eight: The Image Concealing Spell
“Draco Malfoy! Come out from there, I’ve got something really important to tell you!” Hermione yelled, knocking furiously on the door for the eleventh time.
She had been knocking like that for ten minutes already but the door remained shut. Hermione was getting rather worried by now, he still refused to answer and she hadn’t heard any movement inside his bedroom. Did he die in there or something?
“I’ll count to three and if you don’t open the bloody door, I’ll blast it open! One… two… and-”
Before she fulfilled her promise, the door quickly opened revealing a very angry Draco Malfoy.
“Damn it, Granger! You can’t pick up a hint even if it’s dancing naked before you, can you? Then let me help you: I don’t want to speak to you at the moment. I’ve already listened to what you had to say!” he yelled quite flustered.
“Oh, get a grip. Not everything is about you, you know?” she scowled.
He raised an eyebrow, “Oh really?”
“Well coincidentally this is also about you, partly… anyway-”
“Yeah Granger, whatever… now if you leave me alone,” he said in a bored tone.
“This is important! I think I’ve found it!” Hermione pleaded, placing her hand onto the door in case he decided to shut himself in again.
“Found what?” he asked skeptically.
“The answer! I think I know how you locked that information in your head!” she squealed excited.
“WHAT!? Where? How?”
“The Edinburgh Report,” she answered showing him the book.
“What? That’s not possible; I’ve studied that manual a million times, there’s nothing in there,” he said unbelievingly.
“Yes there is, look,” Hermione located the page and started reading aloud: “Should the Auror find any document containing crucial information, he could use the Image Concealment Spell, Dissimulatio, nvbl
, which will allow the caster to record an image of the document in his subconscious mind. After the spell is done, he will only have a minute window to decide what to do with the document, as the Image Concealment Spell also works as an Obliviating charm.”
Draco looked at Hermione quite confused. “Give me that,” he muttered seizing the document from her hands, and reading the passage one more time. “Well, this spell was not on my copy of the Report. This is the first time in my life I’ve read this,” he finally stated.
“Maybe it isn’t. This particular spell is said to erase the memory of the wizard once cast. Maybe when you performed it, it wiped out all recollection you had concerning it. That’s why you don’t remember a thing!”
Draco read the passage once more and started pacing around. From time to time he paused, read the page in the manual once more and resumed his pacing. “Maybe you’re right,” he finally whispered, “I remember clearly all the other spells on this page except for this one. But-” he sighed, “Why don’t I remember anything of the training concerning this particular spell?” he asked more to himself than to Hermione.
“The training? What training?” Hermione inquired bewildered.
“You remember that Potter was who passed this information to the Order?” he asked her showing her the manual. “Well, he just didn’t do it for fun. He stole this manual from the Ministry because he thought it would be useful to certain members of the Order, like me… By the way, how is it, Granger, that you have a copy of this? It was supposed to be classified information, you should not have it.”
“Well, Malfoy, in spite of what you may think, my place in the Order is as important as yours - if not even more so. And there are things in that manual that could turn out to be quite useful for designing strategies and tactics. You should already know by now, anyway, that you are supposed to act while I’m the one who thinks,” she spat back.
“Yeah whatever,” he chuckled before continuing. “So, Potter trained us in all this stuff. But I don’t remember him ever explaining this spell, and I’m pretty sure we covered the whole thing. It was more exhausting than a twenty-four hour non-stop transfiguration N.E.W.T. level class with McGonagall.”
“Well then, I think it’s time to call Harry,” Hermione concluded.
Two hours later Harry Potter Apparated into the back yard of the house before a very exasperated Hermione.
“You said you would be here immediately,” she reproached him.
“I am!” he answered.
“Oh really? Is ‘immediately’ one hour and a half hours later?” she asked.
“I’m a busy person, Hermione. I couldn’t just leave like that. I had things to attend to before coming here.”
“Hey, how come you Apparated here just like that, while Ginny came in the Knight Bus?” Hermione asked curiously.
“Please don’t tell me your head popped into my office two hours ago telling me I had to come here because of an urgent matter, when what you really wanted was to discuss Ginny. I thought you said you and Malfoy needed my help in a life or death matter!” Harry was getting quite impatient by now. “And you know you are not to use the Floo Network unless you don’t have any other choice!”
“Calm down Harry. Merlin… it is a very important matter. Maybe crucial. I was just wondering…” she sighed. “You better get in here,” she said pointing at her house. “We should discuss it inside.”
Before entering the house, Harry stopped once he reached Hermione’s side and hugged her tightly. Hermione stayed rooted in her spot, she wasn’t expecting this.
“It’s been a long time Hermione, I’ve missed you,” his voice was barely audible.
“Me too. I’m glad you’re here,” she said hugging him back. “Now, let’s get in. We have a lot to talk about.”
Harry followed Hermione to her sitting room, where he found Malfoy sitting in a chair near the fire. He looked different but Harry couldn’t place his finger on what was different about him. Physically speaking, he looked quite the same; it was more like an attitude thing.
“Malfoy, glad to see you’re better,” greeted Harry, his tone monotone, even bored.
“Well if it is The Boy Who Lived Again!” answered Draco in a mocking voice.
They both might work for the Order, they might have gone in missions together, they might even trust each other; but they would never like each other, ever.
“Sit down, Harry,” rushed Hermione. The last thing she needed right now was a fight to erupt between Harry and Draco, they always ended up biting each other’s heads off when they were in the same room together.
“So, you said this was important, Hermione, let’s hear it,” said Harry.
It took an entire hour for Hermione and Draco to tell Harry what had happened in the past few weeks since the day Malfoy had been brought in. It would have been rather quicker, though, if they hadn’t argued for thirty minutes about whether Malfoy’s mother had been killed or not. A five minute silence welcomed their last conclusions, for Harry just sat in his chair staring at the dancing flames in the fireplace.
“So,” he finally said, “you are telling me that Malfoy used the Image Concealment Spell to lock some information in his mind? After I told you, Malfoy, like a thousand times to never use that spell unless you had no other choice?”
Oh Merlin, that was not the answer Hermione was hoping to get from Harry.
“How the hell am I supposed to remember what you said about the bloody spell if I don’t remember anything that has to do with it? Isn’t that the whole purpose of the fucking spell?” Malfoy retorted.
“Yes, but I’m sure that when you were looking at that parchment or whatever it was you saw, you remembered quite clearly what I said about this spell!” Harry yelled frustrated.
“Then, Mr. Intelligent, you should be able to guess that if I decided to cast the spell is because the information was too precious to be left there and that I had no other choice!” Draco yelled back.
“You better, because now we are in deep trouble!” Harry spat.
“Harry, please calm down. I don’t understand anything, just explain to us what’s going on here… please?” Hermione pleaded. She knew Harry very well and she didn’t want him to get angry. He was so scary when he did.
“Ok, ok. Since Mr. Great Spy here doesn’t remember a thing, then I’ll have to tell you the whole story,” Harry began. “When Rufus Scrimgeour was appointed Minister of Magic he knew he had to come up with different ways to fight Voldemort, he knew he was against the most powerful Dark Wizard ever known, a wizard who probably knew every spell in the book. So, he decided to create new weapons, new spells and potions that would be under the strict control of the Ministry and which would be far from Voldemort’s reach. That’s when the Edinburg Laboratory was born. It is a top secret facility were most of the research done in the Department of Mysteries becomes a way to fight Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and where new techniques are developed.
“The Edinburgh Report was the first manual issued by the laboratory and, as I told you, it’s classified information as only very few have access to it. As soon as the Ministry trained me in the use of the techniques described in the manual, I knew it would be very useful for some of the members of the Order of the Phoenix, especially those who were granted special missions, like The Amazing Bouncing Ferret here,” said Harry pointing at Malfoy.
“Just continue with your rather endearing story before I fall asleep,” retorted Malfoy feigning a yawn.
“So I nicked the manual and trained some of our members in the same way I had been trained by the Ministry,” said Harry rolling his eyes.
“Tell us something we don’t know…” groaned Malfoy.
“As I was saying,” Harry continued ignoring Malfoy, “during the training I told my pupils," Harry chose that word deliberately, knowing that Malfoy hated being called that, "that the Image Concealing Spell was a no-no unless strictly necessary. The reason for this restriction is that the Ministry, and specially Scrimgeour, doesn’t trust anyone, not even the highly trained Aurors, who are supposed to be the elite. So this particular spell, as you already know, is designed not only to record an image of a document but also to wipe the memory of the person who recorded the said image.
“You may be wondering why would the Ministry do such a thing, well the answer is easy. The Auror who would cast the spell will be supposed to return to the Ministry being quite confused and only remembering few moments concerning his mission. The symptoms would be quickly recognized by the Ministry’s staff and they would take the Auror in question to the Edinburg Facility. Only there can the information be retrieved. That way the Ministry ensures itself that precious information remains in the Ministry and that the Auror can’t share it with anyone else.”
“So what you are saying,” spoke Hermione, “is that the only way for us to get that information out of Malfoy’s head is to go to the Edinburg Laboratory?”
“Yes! That’s why there is no counter spell for it in the manual, because the information is supposed to be known by the Minister himself first, and those who are considered trustworthy second!” answered Harry, raising his voice.
“There is no other way?” asked Malfoy.
“Not that I know of. If there was another way, I wouldn’t be freaking out so much right now. Look, the only things I know about that spell are what I’ve already told you, and I don’t think we can get information elsewhere, since the spell itself was developed in that facility,” finally answered Harry.
“Then what do you propose we do?” asked Hermione.
“We don’t have much choice, do we? Either we retrieve the information Malfoy concealed in his head or we forget this ever happened.”
“The information must be something really important, or I wouldn’t have used the Image Concealment Spell. We must get that information back!” yelled Malfoy.
“I agree,” said Harry, “But I hope you understand what you are agreeing to here. The Ministry doesn’t know that you turned to our side. As far as they are concerned, you are either a Death Eater or dead. So even if I get the Minister to understand why I stole the manual from them, which I highly doubt, there is no way I’m going to convince him that you are an Order member without giving away too much information concerning all that you have done working for us. And if I do that, you and many things we have managed to hide from the Death Eaters will be in grave danger, since information leaks out of the Ministry all the time.”
“So, what you are saying is…” said Hermione, understanding coming upon her.
“Yes, Hermione, we have to steal the counterspell from the Ministry in order to get that information from Draco’s mind,” Harry finally stated.
“And you say that like it will be so easy…” Draco snorted.
“I never said it was easy. There is just no other way!” barked Harry back.
“Ok guys, just calm down! We have all agreed that we have no other choice, so let’s not argue about its difficulty. We already know it won’t be the easiest thing in the world. We should start to plan how we are going to achieve that instead,” Hermione pointed out.
“First we have to be sure of some facts…” Harry looked out the window and realized it was raining. “Do you have any floo powder around here?” Harry asked Hermione.
“Sure, in the little box over the fireplace,” she indicated.
Harry stood up and opened the box. He took a small amount of the powder and before throwing it into the flames, he turned back, “I’ll be back in an hour. Hermione, cover Malfoy’s ears please. Make sure he doesn’t listen.” Harry watched Hermione put her hands on Malfoy’s ears while he mumbled something about the stupid need for keeping the old headquarters secret and being sick of the same routine every time. Then Harry, making sure Malfoy could not listen, said to him “You are a worthless piece of crap, bloody wanker, Ferret Boy!” When Malfoy just sat there staring at him blankly, Harry turned back laughing and threw the powder in the flames saying “Number Twelve, Gimmauld Place!” and disappeared in the green flames.
“What did he say to me this time?” Draco asked when Hermione removed her hands from his ears.
“Oh… the same thing as always,” she answered looking away. Harry usually said other things, less rude, but Hermione thought it was best to hide the truth from Draco.
“It didn’t seem like the same thing as always. You are such a bad liar, and Potter being in the mood he is in, probably just sent me to hell!” he said in an amused tone. He stood up and began walking towards the stairs.
“Where are you going?” Hermione asked.
“Upstairs. Just call me when Pothead comes back,” he said without even looking at her.
“I was gonna make some tea, want some?”
“No,” he simply answered and began to climb the stairs.
Hermione hoped that in the middle of all the events that took place that night, Draco would have forgotten about their little fight. Obviously it hadn’t been so.
Sixty minutes later, just as Harry had promised, he rushed into the sitting room, through the green flames of the fireplace. He quickly stood aside and Hermione understood he wasn’t coming alone. Seconds later Tonks, Seamus and Lupin where throwing confused looks at Hermione. Obviously Harry hadn’t told them where they were going, or why.
“Where’s Malfoy?” asked Harry.
“He’s upstairs. I’ll go fetch him,” responded Hermione still looking at a very confused Seamus.
“Malfoy?” Hermione knocked on his door, “Harry’s here. You better come down,” and before he opened the door she went downstairs, she didn’t want to be alone with him.
Draco opened the door and stared blankly at the corridor watching how Hermione’s back disappeared while she climbed down the stairs. He couldn’t explain why, but this was one of the saddest sights he had ever seen. He sighed repressing the urge to run to her, but instead ran his left hand through his hair before following her.
“Ok, now that we are all here,” Harry said as Draco entered the room, “I can explain you why I asked you to come with me. As you will remember, Malfoy was injured two months ago during his last mission…”
Hermione heard Harry’s voice trail away. Somehow she didn’t want to retell the whole story and, with the excuse of bringing them drinks, she retired to the kitchen. She took more time than needed preparing the tea and serving Tonks a glass of a particular Muggle beer brand she loved. As she walked in again holding a tray with everybody’s drink (except for Draco, she hadn’t offered him anything) Harry was finishing the tale.
“… so now we have to steal the counterspell from the Ministry because this information is very important. We won’t know how important until we have it,” concluded Harry.
“I see…” was all Lupin could mutter.
“And why are we here Harry?” asked Seamus.
“Because Malfoy has to be the one to steal that information. He’s all right now and we don’t have any other members available for the job. But we all know that Malfoy is being hunted down by the remaining Death Eaters, so you two-” said Harry pointing at Tonks and Seamus, “are here to tell us what the Death Eaters know about Malfoy’s status. And Remus is here because I value his opinion.”
“Ok, now that we know all this, a lot of things start to make sense,” Seamus began.
“Oh yeah? How?” Malfoy asked before Harry could ask the same question.
“Because those Death Eaters are really
looking for you. At the beginning, Tonks and I thought they were just seeking revenge for what you did to their headquarters, but nearly a month went by and you kept being their top priority…”
“Yeah, we knew there was something fishy about this because they seemed to be looking for you no matter what, they even… they trashed your flat. They seemed to be looking for something-” Tonks added.
“WHAT?” Malfoy yelled.
“Yeah, but we restore it to how it was before,” Seamus assured quickly. “That didn’t work too well though, because they came in and trashed it again. They seemed to be under the impression that you had returned. So we cleaned it up again and we are keeping watch over it, maybe they’ll come back.”
“That’s just great!” interjected Draco.
“Yeah, well, it gets even better,” Tonks stated. “We figured out they were really after you when Malfoy, your-”
“Father,” Draco stated.
“Yeah, him. Well, he burnt down Malfoy manor…”
“This is some kind of joke?” Malfoy yelled once more.
“No, I wish it was,” Seamus began.
“All my mother’s stuff was in there! That was my house, those were my things! The bloody bastard!” Malfoy was pretty worked up at that point.
“Yeah, well, calm down, Draco, there’s nothing you can do about it now,” Lupin was the only one who called him Draco.
“I’m gonna kill the bastard even if it is the last-”
“You are not helping right now, Malfoy. I know this must be tough for you, but as Remus said, there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it now,” said Harry, interrupting Malfoy’s plan for revenge. “So Tonks, you were saying…”
“Yes, we knew about the Manor mere hours after it happened. After what happened to Malfoy’s flat in London we figured they would go to the Manor, thinking that maybe Malfoy was hiding there. As we arrived we found one of the house elves still alive. We had to use Veritaserum to make him tell us what happened because he continued to say his master had set the house on fire and that we were not to interfere in his master’s plans. Finally we succeeded in getting the information from him, and he told us Lucius Malfoy had searched the whole house looking for Draco and when he didn’t found him he threatened to smoke him out of his hiding place and so he started the fire. We think that he didn’t mean to really burn the house down because the house elf said he was trying to put the fire out and salvage some valuable things before running away.
“Apparently your father thought you had your private hiding place in the house because he nearly destroyed everything searching for it before starting the fire. Or so the house elf told us before dying…”
“He died?” interrupted Hermione, “and you didn’t anything to save him instead of questioning him?”
“There wasn’t anything we could do about it Hermione, he was already half-dead when we found him!” Seamus pointed out; he still remembered vividly the time in their fourth year when Hermione had chased him for two hours to convince him to join her spew
thing and did not want to go through that experience ever again.
“So, you know that the Death Eaters are after Draco,” Lupin started.
“Oh yeah, because of what the house elf told us and their interest in trashing Malfoy’s flat over and over again. And also, they want him alive, they don’t want to kill him, that’s why we figured out this wasn’t a mere vendetta,” Tonks continued. “Or maybe, they just want to torture him and then kill him. We were not sure,” she added as if talking about the weather.
“And how do you know this?” Harry inquired.
“Because the house elf said that Malfoy kept screaming ‘come out and I won’t harm you, just give us back what you stole from us and we’ll let you live’ or something like that,” Seamus explained.
“Well this proves that the information I stole from them is really valuable,” Draco observed.
“Yeah, you want a medal now?” asked Harry.
“What? I’m sorry, scarhead, but you have to admit this time-”
“That you fucked up? Sure. You could’ve just stolen that parchment or whatever it was, but no, you had to go and cast the Image Concealment Spell!”
“When we retrieve that information you will be making an apology to me, Potter!” Draco announced.
“Oh yeah, because you-” but Lupin had already extended an arm towards Harry who had risen from his seat, apparently to hit Draco.
“Harry, this attitude doesn’t help either. The information is in Draco’s mind and it might be crucial to ending this war, there’s no way around that fact. So let’s be grateful that we are the ones to have it instead of them. We have to design a plan to sneak into the Edinburgh facility and steal that counterspell,” said Lupin.
“Yes Harry, Remus is right. We have to think up a plan instead of fighting with each other,” Hermione repeated.
“Yes, yes, you’re probably right,” said Harry, giving Malfoy a pretty nasty look.
“One more thing,” Seamus said, “the Death Eaters seem to think Draco is hiding at Hogwarts. We actually found Bellatrix Lestrange hiding in a cave near the forest. She was probably trying to find out a way to sneak into the school. But before we could really question her she Apparated away. It was good duel though,” Seamus finished smiling to himself.
“Ok, we have to figure a way to fool those Death Eaters into thinking Draco is somewhere far from Edinburgh, but we also have to lure them as far as possible from the school. We also have to figure out a way for Draco to sneak into that laboratory. I’ll have to steal the blueprints of the place; it will take some time, at least two weeks. Until we have those blueprints we can’t really plan anything…” Harry spoke pacing around the room.
“So you expect me to sit around Granger’s house for two weeks until you secure those blueprints?” Draco scowled.
“I don’t think you have another choice. We also have to think up a way to trick those Death Eaters so they go chasing for you somewhere else. That has to be done as quickly as possible, we can’t afford them attacking the school.”
“Leave that to us Harry, I already have an idea...” Tonks suggested.
“Ok, please elaborate a plan and present it to the Order in our next meeting this Friday,” Remus spoke. “Whatever we decide to do must be done this weekend.”
“Yeah, you do that,” Harry mumbled.
“Is there anything else we should talk about, Harry?” asked Remus.
“No, we have to wait until we have more information. I guess this will be all for this meeting,” Harry stood up and walked towards Hermione. “I’ll see you on Friday, I hope you start coming back to meetings now, it has been a while. I miss you Hermione, we all do,” said Harry, kissing her cheek.
“Sure, I think it’s time for me to go back,” she whispered.
“I hope to hear your opinions in our next meeting though; you were awfully quiet tonight.”
“Sure,” she merely replied.
As Harry walked to the fireplace Draco stopped him and asked to have a word with him.
“I don’t have much time, be quick!” hissed Harry.
Draco directed them both towards the kitchen before he spoke.
“I want to go to the meeting,” Draco began.
“You know that’s not possible, meetings take place at Headquarters.”
“We had a meeting tonight here, we could have Friday’s meeting here as well.”
“I can’t change the place of the meetings just like that. The Order has its headquarters and we are not going to change that. Not even for you. Anyway, you’ve never attended meetings, why do you want to come to one now?”
“I think I’ve earned that right, I’ve done so much for the Order.”
“Yeah, very touching… but no. You don’t have a say in the Order’s decisions; you just do what we tell you to do, it’s what we agreed to when you joined.”
“We could change that,” Draco protested.
“No, we can’t. You know the conditions by which we let you join. You know your position within the Order, you don’t have the right to decide anything. Therefore we don’t need you at meetings. Once we resolve what to do, we’ll inform you, it has always been thus and it won’t change anytime soon,” Harry said cutting him off.
“How many times have I told you, Potter, the Dark Lord had threatened to kill-”
“You and your mother, yes I remember that part. I also remember that in the end you weren’t willing to kill Dumbledore. But that doesn’t take away what you did, don’t expect forgiveness from the Order, it won’t happen.”
“You ungrateful bastards! How many times have I saved your arses, how many missions have been successful only because of me?!”
“Oh, you are the ungrateful one here, Malfoy. If it weren’t for us, you would be dead!” Harry retorted icily, “I have to go now; I won’t have any more of this. This conversation is over.”
“I don’t think so, Potter,” Draco said grabbing Harry’s arm.
“Oh yes it is, and I would let me go if I were you,” Harry warned shaking Malfoy off and striding out of the kitchen.
Harry walked intently towards the fireplace and grabbed a handful of Floo powder. He stepped into the green flames feeling Malfoy's glare on the back of his head.