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Mystery Mayhem

If looks could kill, Ron and Harry would have murdered each other a hundred times over during their wait at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

They were seated in one of the many waiting rooms that the hospital provided. The room was fairly large, packed with two couches, three armchairs and a line of individual folding chairs. Two long coffee tables were pushed against the far wall, side-by-side and filled with magazines of every kind: from a variety of Quidditch magazines, Witch Weekly and Which Broomstick to outdated copies of Transfiguration Today, Challenges in Charming and The Practical Potioneer.

Ron was seated in one of the couches with Harry across from him in a rather squishy armchair. They just sat there, staring at one another while they waited to hear of Ginny’s status. They had somehow managed to bring her to the hospital without causing further harm after accidentally injuring her in their little duel. Then, once Harry had sent an owl to Hermione letting her know where they were, they had resigned to the waiting room.

Harry seemed quite calm considering his frantic outburst back at the condo. He was bent forward, his elbows resting on his knees and his wand stored in his pocket, the edge of it poking out. Ron’s demeanor, however, was more cantankerous. He had been stubbornly quiet ever since they had arrived and refused to utter one word to anyone except Healer Caulfield, the Mediwizard place in charge Ginny’s case. He sat stock straight and, unlike Harry, held his wand tightly in his hand. His gaze was also harsher than Harry’s. His brows were furrowed and his lips were curled into a slight snarl. It was not a very pretty sight.

“You can put that thing away you know,” Harry said nonchalantly, nodding towards Ron’s wand. It was the first time either one of them had uttered a single word. Harry was just getting tired of the tense silence.

“So you can curse me behind my back?” Ron replied, arching an eyebrow. “I don’t think so.”

Harry rolled his eyes, shrugged and said, “Suit yourself.” He readjusted his position, slumping in his seat a little and leaning his head against the back of the chair. “I really don’t see why you’re so concerned about that.”

“And why shouldn’t I be?”

“Maybe because you have bigger worries,” Harry answered. He closed his eyes. “My only concern right now is Ginny. I could care less that one of my worst enemies is sitting across the room from me.”

Ron clenched his jaw and exhaled heavily, his grip on his wand lessening. He hated to admit it but Harry had a point. His sister was currently lying in a hospital bed, her status unknown, and all he was troubled about was keeping an eye on Harry. Ginny could be in fatal danger and his worry was focused on slim possibility that Harry would do something to harm him, when he obviously had no interest in continuing their battle. It made him feel ruthless and heartless, almost like…

He shook his head, dispelling the notion before it could even be finished. He didn’t want to even contemplate that idea; it scared him far too much for his liking. Instead, he folded his arms across his chest and tried to focus his thoughts on other things.

“Harry!”

A voice drew Ron’s attention and he looked up instinctively. Bursting through the entrance to the waiting room was Ginny’s friend, Hermione and Ron could not help but give her a quick once-over, like he had when he had first seen her. There was just something about the girl that made him want to look. She currently dressed in a well-fitted black dress that did well to compliment her body, quite risqué high-heels and a light black sweater. She looked stunning, even with the worried expression on her face. Ron felt himself sit up a bit, almost as if he expected her to greet him, and felt a slight pang of annoyance when she turned to hug Harry, who had stood up as soon as she walked in, instead.

“What the hell happened?” she asked, pulling away from the hug.

“Well,” Harry started but the entrance of someone else pulled his attention.

A Healer in green robes walked into the room. The badge attached to the breast pocket identified him as Healer Caulfield. He was a short, slightly muscular man with a shaved head and thin, square shaped glass perched on his nose. The only visible hair on his head was his dark bushy eyebrows, which were furrowed in concentration, and a well-trimmed goatee.

Momentarily forgetting his annoyance, Ron stood up and walked over to the man. “How is she?”

Healer Caulfield and looked at them before saying in a clipped, deep voice, “Follow me please.”

The three of them quickly fell into step behind him, Ron taking the lead. He stowed his wand into his pocket and turned his head to the side, catching a glimpse of the only female with them. Hermione’s gaze was unfocused as she kept her walk in stride with Harry’s, holding on to his arm. Her head was bowed and she was chewing on her bottom lip, oblivious to the scrutiny she was being given. She only looked up when they reached a door located at the far end of the hall. She seemed to be fretting over Ginny more than Harry or Ron and was therefore not fully paying attention to the conversation at hand.

“She’s in there,” the Healer said, pointing at the door.

“Is she going to be alright?” Harry asked.

“She’ll be fine. It appears as if the rebounding caused the spells to lose quite a bit of their power,” he explained, petting his beard. “She was only rendered unconscious. We revived her and were keeping under observation, ensuring that there were no delayed affects. She’s perfectly fine now and should be ready to leave in an hour.”

Harry exhaled gratefully and said, “Thank you.”

Nodding, Caulfield opened the door for them and ushered them inside the room before leaving. The trio entered and, much to their relief, found Ginny sitting up in bed. She was dressed in a white hospital gown, her hair brushed into a messy ponytail. In her hand was a small silver goblet from which she took a sip.

“Ginny,” Hermione said, jogging towards the bed and hugging her. “I was so worried.”

“I’m fine,” Ginny replied, as Hermione pulled away from the hug. “A little soar but still living, thankfully.” She smiled and took another sip from the cup.

“What is that you’re drinking?” Ron asked, walking to the other side of the bed.

“A restorative draught,” Ginny replied after taking a third drink. “It’s to refurbish some energy and alleviate a few of the aches.” She rubbed her shoulder as she said this, grimacing from the tenderness. “Did Caulfield say when I could leave?”

Hermione nodded. “He told us in an hour you should be set to go.”

The red-head sighed. “Thank goodness. I hate hospitals. I can’t wait to get out of here.”

“You wouldn’t even be here if someone hadn’t been so bloody adamant to kill me,” Harry said gravely, looking especially at Ron. The sight of Ginny hurt and the knowledge of what caused it irritated him.

“Harry…” Ginny said warningly, shaking her head at the same time that Hermione blurted, “What are you talking about?” while looking at Harry.

“That’s the reason Ginny ended up in here in the first place,” he replied, still glaring at Ron and ignoring Ginny’s warning tone. “He burst in and started flinging curses everywhere.”

“If I recall correctly,” Ron shouted, narrowing his eyes, “I was not the only one shooting spells.”

“What else was I supposed to do? Sit there and let you kill me?” Harry flung his hands into the air. “I had to protect myself.”

“And it was because of you’re retaliation that the spells collided and ricocheted into Ginny.”

Hermione gasped and placed her hands on her hips, glaring at the two men. “What kind of foolishness…?”

Harry moved to stand next to Hermione. “It was stupid, that’s what it was; completely uncalled for.”

“I think I was pretty justified in stopping my sister from snogging a Potter!” Ron emphasized the last word with such disgust that Harry lunged forward on impulse. Ron, however, was quick enough to take out his wand in time, aiming it at Harry’s face. “On more move and I’ll finish what I started.”

“Stop fighting!” Ginny yelled suddenly, slamming her goblet down on a small table. “This is exactly why I’m in the hospital in the first place and now you’re going to repeat the same mistake? Just give it a rest!”

She shifted her eyes between her brother and Harry, her fiery temper shining through. Ron looked at her remorsefully and lowered his wand before apologizing. Harry let out a deep breath and apologized as well, taking a few retreating steps away from Ron.

Hermione, who had watched the scene with slight amusement, rubbed at her forehead and asked, “So, you two were fighting because Ron walked in on you and Ginny kissing?” Harry nodded sheepishly and Hermione smiled mischievously at Ginny before whispering, “Talk about your twisted Romeo and Juliet.”

Ginny blushed and giggled at her but Ron didn’t look too happy about that. The idea of his sister with Harry was not one he was too happy about and here they were treating it like it was nothing.

“Look,” he started up again, “I was not about to just stand there and allow my sister to be led astray by this filth.”

“Your sister is a grown woman who can make decisions for herself!” Harry shot back.

“What were you doing with her anyway?” Ron asked, his eyes furrowing because of his growing anger.

“Because he’s helping me,” Ginny replied impatiently. “I’m trying to find out the truth about this ridiculous war dad seems so resolute on continuing.”

“We already know the truth,” Ron said, turning to look at her. “They killed mom and think that we killed that boy. We’re only keeping this war up to protect our family.”

“No,” Ginny shot back at him. “This war is still raging because dad’s a stubborn, selfish, raving lunatic who wouldn’t see the truth if it bit him on the arse. Harry’s parents did not kill mom.”

“Yes, they did!”

“No, they didn’t!”

Harry, in an attempt to stop the fight that was threatening to happen, placed a hand on Ginny’s shoulder, silencing her. Looking at Ron, he began to explain everything. He told him about their theory that someone else was involved. He explained how he had run into Ginny that night Greyback attacked him and then how Ginny and Hermione had been attacked by the ruthless werewolf the day after. Once he told him that, Harry explained how it was impossible that Greyback’s attacks on them were coincidental considering the fact that he also attacked and killed Bill. Once everything was explained, Ron’s anger subsided.

“So, you think that someone else is behind it and that this person is sending a notorious werewolf after both parties?”

Harry nodded. “Basically, yes. I think, too, that whoever is behind this whole thing also set up the murder of your mother and the disappearance of my brother to start this war as some sort of distraction, which could then keep both parties from finding out the truth.”

“And we’re trying to figure out who’s behind it all,” Ginny added. “That’s why I’m working with Harry.”

“Still doesn’t explain why you were kissing him,” Ron said as an undertone.

Ginny felt her cheeks flush and looked down, picking absentmindedly at the white sheets that covered her legs. Harry, too, looked uncomfortable and put his hands in his pockets, staring at the far wall. Hermione was still smiling mischievously. As she tired to process Harry’s announcement, however, there was something else besides Ginny’s succumbing to feelings for Harry that she found strange.

“Hang on a second,” she voiced suddenly, raising one of her fingers. “You said disappearance of your brother. I thought your brother was killed, too?”

Harry looked at her. “I don’t think he was. That’s what I had come to tell you,” he added, looking back at Ginny. “Neville and I found this file that has a record of all the deaths of the year your mom died but David’s name isn’t there. I think he’s still alive.”

“Seriously?” Ginny asked, flabbergasted.

Harry nodded as confirmation. “I really think so. What else could explain his name being missing from the records? I’m hoping that if we find out who the culprit behind these attacks then we could find out where my brother is as well.”

“Wow,” Hermione said, her hand slightly covering her mouth. “That’s a twist.”

“This is just peculiar,” Ron finally spoke. “A third party? The idea is just insane.”

“Well, if we have your help then we could find out if it is insane or not.”

Ron looked at down at his sister. The look on her face was a pleading one and he could not misinterpret that. He could tell she truly believed in this theory they had about a third party. He considered it for a moment, realizing that, for quite some time he had been wondering if their father was out of his mind for maintaining a war that was bringing nothing but destruction and pain upon their family. Even just today he felt regret for the fact that he was becoming ruthless and impulsive like his father. He didn’t want that to happen. He didn’t want his father to continue to destroy their lives out of greed and blindness. Taking a stance like Ginny could be just the kind of thing required to bring about the change in Arthur Weasley he so desperately needed.

“Ok, I’ll help,” Ron finally said with a resigned sigh.

Ginny smiled and thanked him, squeezing his arm lightly. She felt a new sense of gratitude towards Ron. She had spent most of her life hating her father for his wrongs and her brothers for following him but now that Ron had been converted, she realized that her family still meant a lot to her. She just hoped that Ron and Harry could put aside their differences when it came to her as well.




It was nearing midnight and the Ministry finally looked deserted. The main atrium was entry and the lifts were stationary, indicating that there was no one on the top floors. Neville rushed forward and stepped into one, pressing the button for one of the lower floors. The elevator descended quickly, the sound of its motions seeming louder in the lifeless place. Once it reached its destination, the doors clattered open and Neville stepped out, not bothering to listen to the female voice announce where he was.

Taking a quick gander of his surroundings, Neville trotted down the corridor, coming to the last room. It was basically storage space and not many people came down, especially considering the hour of day. Still, he kept quiet; he didn’t want any of the janitorial people catching him down here after hours.

Removing his wand from his pocket, he aimed it at the door and mumbled, “Alohomora!”

The lock clicked and the door creaked open. Neville peered through the tiny crack first before entering the room fully and closing the door behind him. The room where all Ministry files were kept was massive and eerie. There were no lights and the darkness set such an unusual coolness that it sent a chill down his spine and his hair stood on end. He let out a shuttering breath and shook his shoulders to relieve the feeling.

“Lumos!”

The wand tip lit instantly and cast a brilliant light over all the cabinets and walls closest to him. Despite the torch, it was difficult to see more than ten feet ahead; because of this, Neville proceeded slowly and very cautiously. The last thing he needed to happen was for him to be caught. He was not even supposed to be in this part of the Ministry; if he was spotted in this room without authorization, it could mean the end of his job and quite possibly his freedom.

Checking that he had the beaded bag lent to him by Hermione (it was charmed to expand when opened), he turned right, heading in the direction of the cabinets located further down. He was looking first for the one marked P–T and then the one marked U-Z; he had to return the files he had taken before anyone noticed they were missing. He was also intending on running a search for the file of missing persons during the years 1986-1987. Harry’s godfather had informed him that if David wasn’t actually dead, then it could have been someone else who had been killed. Because of this possibility, it was necessary to find out whom - if anyone - had gone missing during the year 1987 (and prior to). It may have been a small step in the plan, but it was a crucial one.

Neville finally found himself near the cabinet marked P-T and pulled at the handle. Surprisingly, it was unlocked; he pulled it out slowly to avoid making any noise and removed the files from the bag, slipping them in as neatly as he had met them. Next, he moved to the cabinet directly next to it marked U-Z. Unfortunately, this one was not open. He pulled at the handle but it would not budge.

“Bloody hell!”

“It is isn’t it?”

A cool voice sounded behind Neville and he found that the prickly sensation on his neck returned. He turned slowly, praying that it had been a hallucination. For a second, it seemed that it had been for when he spun around, there was nothing to see but the blue light of his wand. However, a figure stepped out of the shadows dressed in nothing but a dark cloak with the hood pulled over his head. Neville took in a breath and mentally cursed. He had been caught.

“Meddling is very dangerous,” the man said, stepping closer to Neville. “I thought you would understand that, Mr. Longbottom.”

Meddling? He had been caught in the Ministry’s filing room and the first thing that he was suspected of was meddling? Not stealing or trespassing, but meddling?

“Excuse my ignorance,” Neville started, “but I have no idea what you mean.”

“Well you may be ignorant but I am no fool.” The man’s voice went harsh. “Meddling in affairs that do not concern you is a dangerous mission. Why is it that you feel you must interfere in wars that are not of your concern?”

“But I -”

“Silencio!”

The spell hit Neville’s throat and he fell quiet, unable to talk. The man stepped closer and yanked the wand from his hand before Neville could even react.

“Nox!”


The room was plunged into darkness and instinctively, Neville pushed at the man fiercely, sending him flying into the cabinets. The crashing sound of bone against metal gave Neville the cue to run and he belted for the exit.

“Stupefy!”

The jet of red light went soaring past Neville’s head, narrowly missing him. The darkness threw the man’s aim off terribly and Neville was, for once, grateful that the Ministry kept things in such bleakness. The spell flung at him sent him into warp speed and he turned the corner swiftly. The exit loomed up ahead and he kept his hand running along the wall in order to feel for when he was by the door.

Another spell shot towards him and he ducked, causing it to rebound on the wall. However, a part of it still managed to hit him. Neville felt his entire body go rigid for a few moments and he began to panic. But the feeling disappeared just as quickly as it had started. His mind raced as he scrambled back onto his feet and continued to run. He had no idea what was happening; all he knew was that it was not a regular Ministry official who had caught him. It was someone who had affiliations in the Potter/Weasley war; it was the only explanation for the mystery man knowing he was in there and why he was in there. He had to get out. Being captured could result in nothing but being added to the list of casualties. It was not his job that was at stake anymore, it was his life.

Finally, Neville’s hand touched the knob of the exit and he yanked at it. It was locked. Cursing, Neville quickly retreated, heading deeper into the maze of cabinets and darkness, praying that the two factors kept him hidden and well out of harm’s way.

“You can’t run forever, Longbottom,” the voice rang through the darkness. “I will find you.”

Neville’s breathing picked up and his steps lightened. His head started to swing but he shook it, trying to stay focus. He knew he was getting tired. But he couldn’t stop running. He had to keep moving.

“It’s not fair that you should have to endure harm on account of others but that’s the way life goes. The innocent must suffer for the guilty. You must pay for the mistakes of your friends.”

Neville wanted to call out; he wanted to ask “what mistakes?” but speaking was impossible at the moment. His throat was scratchy and his breath was short and shallow. Besides, even if he could talk, it would only pinpoint his location. He had to remain hidden.

“Your friends are fighting a losing battle. There’s no way they can end this war. It’s only just beginning.”

Neville closed his eyes and kept pushing forward. He was losing momentum and endurance. Running in the darkness required more energy than running in light. You didn’t know where you were going so you concentrated more; what made it worse is that he was running from someone and at the same time trying to avoid running to that same person.

His heart hammered heavily in his chest and his ears rang in pain. He was slowing down and he couldn’t make his legs move any faster, no matter how much he pleaded. He had no control over his body anymore. His muscles tightened and his legs gave away. He fell to the ground and, finally, felt his heart-beat slow down. His body continued to shut down and his eyes closed, succumbing to whatever pain had been inflicted upon him.




A few hours later met the sky in a topsy-turvy frenzy. The heavens roared loudly, thundering with deep grumbles. Lightning flashed dangerously across the sky, blinding anyone who may have looked at it. The rain pelted against the earth, almost with a vengeance, and people scattered about, seeking salvation from the storm.

But there was one person who braved the weather. One man kept walking through the streets, his body and face covered in a black coat. His movements were slow, calculated and deliberate despite the heavy rain pattering against his body. He was on a mission, on a hunt for truth and clarity. He needed this absolution. He needed to find him.

The man stepped into a flooded alleyway but proceeded despite the water gushing up his ankles and soaking his boots. The path up ahead appeared to be blocked by a large brick wall. However, with a lazy wave of his wand, the center of the wall rippled and he walked through it easily, closing the passage as soon as he was on the other side.

There was no longer any rain. Above the man, there was still an empty darkness but there was no rain, no thundering sky, and no bolts of light illuminating the darkness. It was complete obscurity where he was.

The man continued to walk on despite the severe lack of light. He had been here enough times to know the path by heart and, therefore, walked silently and quickly through. In a matter of seconds, he emerged in front of the door he was looking for.

“State the nature of your business.”

The usual guard stood tense and towering in front of the door. His bulky arms were crossed over an even thicker chest and his face was permanently contorted into a scowl. To any normal human being, he would have been intimidating, but to this man, he was just another obstacle in his way.

The silent-walker pulled the hood of his coat back slightly, enough to show his face, and the guard moved aside instantaneously, needing no further explanation. The cloaked-man stepped across the threshold and entered the room. It was virtually empty except for two men who were seated at a table and the masked-man who stood at the head.

“I see you’ve finally made it.”

“Yes,” replied the cloaked-man. “There are some matters that deeply concern me.”

“And what matters are those?”

“It seems that a certain mishap on your party’s account has caused a problem.”

“A problem?”

“Don’t interrupt me!”

The authority with which the cloaked-man spoke surprised the other people who were seated in the room. Never once had anyone spoken to the masked-man in such a way and the fact that he obeyed was also a shock.

“Everything was in place. Plans were made. Why are things not going according to our arrangement? You were supposed to get rid of the Potter kid and then end the battle that would have been enraged by destroying both teams. Now it appears that there are more lose ends than expected.”

“Yes, there are but we are currently working to eradicate the problem.” The masked-man moved from behind the table. “It appears that there are more factors than we thought.”

“Like what?”

“Like your sister, Ginevra.”

The cloaked-man froze suddenly and forcefully pulled his hood down, revealing his face. His neat red-hair flamed bright in the dim lighting and his brown eyes, normally hidden behind wire-rimmed glasses, flickered with anger. His jaw clenched and his body went rigid and he stared.

Surprisingly, his voice did not lose the commanding tone when he uttered the words, “My sister?”

“It appears, Percy, that Ginevra feels that she must put an end to this war as well, but for different reasons. We’re currently trying to put down her team in order to reinstate our aims.”

Percy looked lost in thought for a moment. So, his sister had decided to take part after all; unfortunately for her, she had picked the wrong side. Percy chuckled to himself as he considered that statement. Both sides were now the wrong side. He was now the one everyone should watch out for. Luckily for him, neither party knew that and they would never find out.

Coming out of his reverie, Percy stared intensely at the man and said plainly, “I don’t care who is involved. Get rid of them - all of them - and get things back on track!”

Without so much as another word, Percy replaced the hood over his head and exited the room.

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