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Chapter 9


Warnings and Threatening Demands


Draco continued to pull with every last ounce of strength he could muster at the poorly attached vent. He considered himself lucky to have found the vent; it looked to be the last hope he had of regaining his freedom. A large box set on top on an old muggle refrigerator had been hiding his gate to the outside world.

His fingers were wedged tightly between the grates causing them to cut deep into his knuckles. Blood soon trickled down his arm only to drip from his elbow. He was so close and he refused to give up. He was convinced that a finger could fall off and he still would not give up.

He stopped periodically to listen for talking or the unlocking of the door. He tugged as he visualized Winnie’s and Granger’s small faces just on the other side of the grate and he began to shake. He was seeing terror in their faces and tears falling from their eyes. The more time that passed the more real the image became. Finally, with a large heave, the grate gave nearly causing him to tumble to the floor below.

The room around him began to blur as he looked at the grate dangling from his blood soaked hand. The tears welled up as he took a quick moment to listen at the voices overhead.

“Everything must be ready to go tonight. They’re on to us, I just know it,” belted the voice of Daisy’s father.

Draco didn’t take the time to listen to the rest of what they were saying; he jumped to the opening, climbing in. He was home free. Once he was out of here, he thought, it wouldn’t be hard to spot another wizard. He crawled as quickly as possible without reservation and no sooner than he quickened his pace he hit head on with a wall, or was it. He held up his bloody fist and punched. That was no wall, or at least it wasn’t a wall of a physical nature. They had actually been clever enough to place a magical binding on the room.

Draco didn’t take the time to curse his luck. He needed to get back before they noticed him gone.

**********


Hermione sat at her desk in her office trying desperately to make a list of do’s and don’ts for the other employees in preparation of their trip. A very small but otherwise sprite witch burst through the door of her office followed closely by Dobby.

“I’m begging your pardon Ma’am but you must not disturb Mrs. Hermione Weasley. You must be announced,” Dobby shook his head violently as he waved a finger at her.
Hermione looked up from her work to see the witch, who wasn’t much taller than Dobby, hop on ignoring every warning the house-elf spat at her.

“Hermione Weasley, I take it.” The witch stuck her hand out offering it to Hermione. “I am Bryn Cornwell; I work for the Daily Prophet and I…”

“Wait a minute,” Hermione interrupted. “I am sorry, it’s Bryn, is it,” She asked with a caustic tone in her voice. “It is not customary for a professional lady, such as yourself to barge into another’s office unannounced.”

Once the boisterous young lady heard the tone of Hermione’s voice the straightness of her back fell causing her to look as though she may cower back out of the room. However, she only stopped and lowered her voice to address Hermione once again.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Weasley, but this is important and your house-elf wouldn’t listen to reason.”

Hermione raised her eyebrows at her before speaking once again. “First of all Bryn, Dobby is merely trying to do his job that he was hired to do and secondly Dobby does not belong to me or anyone else for that matter, he is a paid employee of the Ministry.”

Dobby tried standing a bit taller as he made it to the woman’s side, grabbing her arm.

“Please, Mrs. Weasley, I’m sorry but I’m only trying to help. Here, you are my last resort.” She thrust a piece of parchment at her as she leaned in digging her heels, trying to prevent Dobby from dragging her from the office.

“Just a moment Dobby, let me see what she has for me,” Hermione requested as she unrolled the parchment.


Dear Daily Prophet Staff,

I, as an honest member of the Wizarding Community,

thought it necessary to bring to your attention and the

attention of others like myself, that the Ministry is being

used for personal gain by its employees. These

employees must be under the impression that

because said employees had a hand in the demise of

He-who-must-not-be-named that they are entitled to

certain privileges. “The Chosen One”, “The Boy Who

Lived”, “Ministry Auror”, Mr. Harry Potter, whatever you

chose to call him, it doesn’t matter, by whatever you

chose he is still using the Ministry for his own

personal gain along with the Minister himself, Arthur

Weasley, and the entire Weasley family. I should say

the Ministry has done quite enough in employing

nearly all the Weasley family, including their spouses,

that there is absolutely no reason in employing those

stated above in a second Ministry job as a Quidditch

team member. There are more than enough talented

witches and wizards to share these jobs with if only

given the chance.

Sincerely,

A concerned and most talented citizen



Hermione looked up from the note, the blood clearly rushing to her face as her temper flared. “Where did you get this?”

“It is my job to open general mail, you know, suggestions, comments, things of that nature. I tried going to the Minister himself but they wouldn’t listen, and Auror Weasley and Auror Potter were out of the office so I thought you would be the next logical person to show it to.”

“Has anyone else seen this?” Hermione asked as she jumped from her seat, causing the small woman to jump back a bit.

“No ma’am, I thought…” but she had been unable to finish as Hermione had taken her by the arm, yanking her from the room as she yelled back to Dobby.

“Dobby, take my calls, I’ll be back.”

**********


Ginny sat at her parchment covered desk in the Magical games office trying to focus on the task at hand. She was reading over complaints submitted by officials of regulation violations. It was her job to determine if the violations were severe enough to go before the Gaming Committee. If not she would merely issue a statement of warning or fines.

She found her thoughts wondering from time to time. In a short amount of time she would be traveling with the rest of her family to watch the OCS flames play where ever the Ministry saw fit.

A sudden burst of a burly man with a crooked nose and furrowed brow through her door brought Ginny back to the reality which was her work.

“Hey, Potter, you got my complaints yet?’

“I beg your pardon,” She crossed her arms as she shot a look of disapproval to the man.

This man was Cameron Cullen. The entire staff of the Gaming Dept. had grown quite accustomed to his obnoxious presence. He currently held the record for being the most traded player in Quidditch history. He was a fair player however his attitude and temper was the cause of his frequent uniform trades.

“You heard me; I sent them in days ago.”

Ginny rose from her desk, placed the palms of her hands flat on her desk and leaned in closer to her loud, demanding visitor. “Cameron, when you enter my office you will speak to me with respect and should you choose not to I am afraid that I will be forced to convince you in a more influential manner.

He released a deep laugh before spitting back his retort. “It is your job to handle my complaints promptly; besides what are you going to do, set your big bad husband on me?”

Ginny was just about to turn into her mother when a voice from behind Cameron stopped her and made him spin on his hell to face the entrance. There, standing in the door, was Harry accompanied by Ron. “You must be new,” Harry chuckled. “Ginny doesn’t need me to take up for her.”

“I can vouch for that,” Ron added. “I have been on the receiving end of a many of her curses, but now that we’ve cleared that up, you shouldn’t worry about her husband, she has six brothers to worry about and I’m the youngest.” He stepped past Harry, straightening his frame as he came eye to eye with Cameron Cullen. “I would suggest you keep a civil tongue in your mouth when you addressing Mrs. Potter in the future.” He was sure to stress the Mrs.

“Well, if Mrs. Potter were doing her job I wouldn’t be here, now would I?”

Ron began pushing the sleeves of his robes up his arms as he pushed himself even closer, now chest to chest. “If you learned a few manners you wouldn’t be here at all, you filthy blast-ended skrewt.”

Harry quickly stepped in, not wanting to allow this to get to far out of hand. “Okay, Okay, Cameron, I think you should be going now.”

Cameron turned his glance on Harry. “Oh, you do, do you? Well who died and made you Minister?”

“No one, but I’ve a badge here saying I can have you thrown in Azkaban while we sort it all out.”

That was all it had taken, for Cameron turned reluctantly and walked out the door mumbling something about useless and power hungry.

“And you have a wonderful day,” Ron added sarcastically.

As soon as Harry turned back to Ginny he knew he had done something wrong, only he didn’t know what.

“Harry James Potter, I do not appreciate you tramping into my office and taking over, I could have handled him just fine.” Ginny now glared at her brother, arms still folded. “And you, throwing your size around, I should hex you right here.”

“What?” Ron squealed “We were just letting him know you were quite capable when he unleashed his sharp tongue on us. You know as well as I do that if he had spoken to any other Auror like that they would have had him detained in no time; I think he got off lucky.”

Ginny thought for a moment then set back into her seat. “Why are you two here now any how? It’s after lunch.”

“Oh,” Harry quickly remembered. : Mad-Eye in sending us out tonight to the next location.”

“What for,” Ginny asked quickly. “The game isn’t for two days.”

“He wants us to have a look around first. He’s thinking they may have moved on but we might be able to find some clues as to their next destination.”


"I can be home shortly to help you get things together. Just let me get a few more things done here, however Cameron can wait."

Thay all laughed at bit.

**********


Hermione threw open the door leading into the Auror Dept. of the Ministry, bypassing every desk, with her eyes focused on her destination, the door in the back marked, Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody: Head Auror

A young Auror in training jumped from his desk beside the door. “I’m sorry Mrs. Weasley, Ron and Harry are out of the office and Mr. Moody doesn’t wish to be disturbed.

Hermione shoved the small framed recruit aside, still tugging on Bryn Cornwell. “The hell he doesn’t; He’ll see me.”

She drew her wand, blasting the door open to see Mad-Eye scrambling to his feet and reaching for his wand that was somewhere beneath the piles of files he was going over.

“Hermione,” he bellowed. “Don’t you know better than to bust into an Aurors office like that, especially mine.”

“I’m sorry Mad-Eye, but that fellow outside wasn’t going to let me in and I thought you really needed to see this.” She thrust the crumpled parchment at him.

He began to read and the further he got down the page the higher his eyebrows rose. “Who in their right mind would write rubbish like this?” he asked, looking up at the two ladies standing before him.

Hermione explained who Bryn was and how she came across the letter. “And Mad-Eye, I’m not trying to tell you how to run your office but I really think you and Arthur should arrange a press release to prevent something like that making the paper.”

“I’m afraid you are right Hermione. Would you write me something up while I speak with Arthur about it, oh, and Bryn could you make the arrangements with the Prophet.”

“Sir, I don’t think they will listen to me,” Bryn managed to say as she stared at the roving eye atop his head.

“You tell them that if they want the story and the interview then they will get it through you and only you, by the way, thanks for the heads up. And Hermione, the Wizarding Wireless might like a copy for their evening newscast.”

“Right,” she said as she settled herself at Mad-Eye’s desk grabbing a clean roll of parchment and quill, dipping it into the ink well.

Before he stuck his head into the fire to talk to Arthur Weasley he looked at Hermione. “Are you sure you aren’t interested in the Aurorship?”

“Quite sure sir, besides, you think you have trouble with Ron and Harry, just think of the trouble the three of us would get into,” she smiled as he knew full well the things the three of them were capable of when given the chance.


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