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Disclaimer: I am definitely not JK Rowling, and I do not own the Harry Potter universe. I only own the plot and my own individual characterisations.



I decided that I didn't like the Ministry of Magic at all. It was just so big, so crowded. People bustled past me on their way, crowding the magical lifts to breaking point. I sucked in my stomach as another man squashed into the golden grate, but I knew it wouldn't make much difference. Dad gave me an apologetic smile as the doors clanged shut and we began to rise. I couldn't believe he did this every day. I suddenly had a new-found respect to the half of the wizarding population who worked at the Ministry. We stepped out of the lift at level two, dad showing me down the hall.   


            "What did they want me for, anyway?" I asked him as we walked. 


            "Well... seeing as though nobody has seen Patrick in three days and he hasn't turned up for work, I decided to report him missing," he shrugged. "He was due to a very important meeting on Wednesday and I was asked where he was, being his father-in-law and all, so I began to get curious, then worried."

 

I knew my father was very fond of Patrick, even if he hadn't shown it at the best of times, especially the other night when I told him that he had left me, so I wasn't surprised that he was worried for Patrick.

 

Since I had turned up at my parents' house three days earlier on my mother's birthday, I had not gone to work, calling in sick. Mum convinced me to stay at my childhood home with her and dad overnight, before letting me go to my own home a day later. I had immediately cracked open the store of firewhiskey Patrick had been saving for a special occasion. Stuff him and his special occasions, I needed a drink. I had never been an open or heavy drinker, but that night I determinedly drunk the entire bottle, drowning out every feeling except the numb drunken bliss. It had felt so good, until I realised what I was doing to myself and the baby and hurriedly went to sleep the drink off. In the morning I had woke up with a pounding headache and another brown barn owl tapping on my bedroom window, summoning me to the ministry. Taking a headache potion because I didn't have any hangover potions on hand, I had left home and went straight to the Ministry, hoping the potion would work its magic long enough for me to get home again. I was still very exhausted.

 

Turning the corner into the Auror department, dad wished me good luck, waving goodbye and heading into his office. I was met by a secretary, who showed me to a door further down the hall. I was still confused, however, as to why the Aurors wanted to speak to me, if it was my father who had reported Patrick missing. Dad hadn't been able to tell me what it was all about, even if he was the head of the Auror department, though I did sometimes find him looking at me with an odd expression on his face. I knew he knew what was going on, because nobody kept secrets from Mr Harry Potter, but I wasn't sure if I should be worried or not. I knocked on the door, and a male voice told me to enter. I pushed the door open to reveal a young man who had his feet up on his desk, holding a file which obscured his face from my vision.

 

            "Mrs. Williamson," he muttered a greeting, glancing up from his files momentarily and removing his feet from the table. "I am pleased you could make it here this morning. I apologise for the short notice."

 

I froze with shock when I saw his face. I recognised that light brown mop of hair, and those warm brown eyes, even if I hadn't seen him in over five years. As he leant forward and extended his hand for me to shake it, I simply stared at it, not registering anything at all except for the smoothness of it. I was about to ask him how he got his skin looking so smooth when he cleared his throat uncomfortably, withdrawing his hand.


            "Bailey?" I finally managed to squeak.

 

            "Yeah, that's me," he laughed, his voice deeper than what I had remembered it when he was a boy. "And you're Lily. Lily Potter."

 

            "It's Williamson, Bailey," I sighed. "I married Patrick, which I'm sure you already know, for it is you who called me here to discuss his whereabouts."


            "Yes I did call you here, to speak to you about an extremely serious matter. Ok, Mrs. Williamson. For the purposes of this conversation, you may call me Auror Finnigan."

 

            "Why not Mr. Finnigan? It rolls better off the tongue."


            "Mr. Finnigan is my father," he told me, picking up his file again and offering me a seat across from his desk. "I may be Mr. Finnigan when I am old and grey, but for now I am Auror Finnigan."

 

            "How did you become an auror so quickly?" I asked him as I sat down.

 

            "It wasn't so quick. I've only just been promoted. But I didn't call you here just to catch up. As you may recall, I wish to discuss the subject of Mr. Patrick Williamson, your husband."

 

He spat out the word 'husband' and I cringed slightly. Noticing this, he rearranged his features and smiled slightly.

 

            "Now," he continued, rearranging the files sitting on his desk into a neat pile. "Did you bring the letter as you were instructed?"

 

I fumbled in my bag, searching for the small piece of paper that had tore me apart. I had read it over and over again, trying to see any clue as to where I had gone wrong, and each time I ended up bawling my eyes out. I brought the letter out and silently handed it to him.


            "Is it alright if I have a copy of this?" he asked, pulling a piece of parchment out of his desk draw and picking up a quill. "Just to have a record of it for the file."


            "As long as I can have the original back," I told him, watching apprehensively as he balanced the tip of the quill on the fresh piece of parchment.

 

Despite the letter causing me so much heartbreak, I couldn't bare to lose it. Bailey let go of the quill, which stayed standing up against the paper, poised to write. He picked up the letter and read it aloud to a floating quill, which copied down every word. I closed my eyes and listened to the words. Hearing it out loud made it seem so much worse than before and I fought with myself to hold back the tears that had instantly sprung to my exhausted eyes.

 

Dearest Lily,

I am afraid to say that I cannot possibly continue this relationship any further. The closeness of anyone is not tolerable for a man of my status within the wizarding community in which I hold dearer than you, my love. So, I must say goodbye, but I know I will not regret it. Neither should you. Don't miss me, because I won't be coming back. I hope this letter finds you well, and I'm sorry for the inconvenience I have caused you the past eight years of your life. Please find another.

Love Patrick.


The quill fell gracefully back into Bailey's palm and the parchment with a copy of the letter arranged itself neatly into his file. There was a silence while Bailey rummaged in his draws, looking for something. As if suddenly remembering I was there, he jumped slightly and pulled a sheet of paper from the drawer, quickly lobbing it into the garbage bin sitting in the corner, which ate the paper eagerly. I watched it digest the fragments, burping out a slither. He chuckled.


            "I really do need a new bin. It doesn't even digest the paper properly. I have to empty it every so often because it gets clogged so easily," he smiled, getting out of his seat to pick up the scraps on the floor.

 

He came back to the desk and sat down slowly, as if mentally preparing for something daunting. Closing the yellow case carefully, Bailey leaned across the desk towards me, resting his hands in front of him.


            "I am sorry to ask, but did you have any suspicions your husband was... involved in any illicit activities? Any unusual behaviour that should be taken into account during this investigation? Any other... women?"


I shook my head slowly, racking my memory for anything serious enough to report.

 

            "I don't know where he works," I shrugged. "That's all I can say."

 

            "Well, I can tell you now that he works here at the Ministry of Magic, the Department of Mysteries on the ninth level. I'm sure you've heard of it before," he said, patting the yellow folder. "I have his work file here."

 

I nodded slightly. I had definitely heard of that department. Both mum and dad fought in what was now known as the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in 1996. Apparently, they did a hell of a lot of damage. Damage I had heard had never been able to be repaired. So that was why Patrick had been so secretive about where he worked. He was forbidden to talk about it by law, just like mum and dad had had to swear secrecy all those years ago, though they hadn't exactly kept to their word.

 

            "Is there anything else you would like to tell me about before we continue?" Bailey asked.

 
            "No. That was the only thing I wasn't sure about him. He worked long hours and I wasn't sure where he worked, and he dodged the question when I asked."

 

            "With that information taken into account, I must inform you of some unfortunate news," he said.

 

I shuffled uncomfortably in my chair. I really don't need anymore bad news, I thought, groaning inwardly.

 

            "We have evidence the prove that your husband has been conversing with known Death Eaters, supporters of the late Lord Voldemort, and we have reason to believe that he has joined the outlawed cult," he told me, averting my eye.

 

I stared at him in shock. Never had I suspected this. The next thing I knew, all around me went black, and then I was being fanned by one of the secretaries. She handed me glass of water and I silently accepted it. Dad was speaking worriedly to Bailey down the hall. A woman was speaking soothingly to me, a hand resting on my knee as she crouched in front of me, but I didn't hear a word she was saying. How could he do that? I would've never thought he would associate with Death Eaters. I knew him. As much as he claimed otherwise, I knew him better than anyone else. Or so I had thought.

 

Seeing me awake and being tended to by the secretaries, Bailey headed towards me, dad following close behind.

 

            "Are you ok Lily?" dad asked and I nodded.

 

            "You can go home now if you like," Bailey said, glancing nervously at dad as he said this. "We have some more to discuss, but if you don't feel up to it by all means go home."


            "I'm fine. It's just... a bit of a shock. I would've never thought it of him..." I said, staring out one of the magical windows, reflecting a snow storm outside, even though it was still summer.


            "Nobody saw this coming. I didn't believe it at first when I heard," dad said, frowning.

 

            "I'll be in my office," Bailey said. "Come in and see me when you're ready."


He disappeared behind the door with a click and the secretaries returned to their separate desks to continue with their work. I looked desperately towards my father.

 

            "Look," he whispered leaning down so nobody but me could hear him. "The evidence is patchy, so please try to keep an open mind. I just have to go along with the investigation, but I won't get too involved. It's too personal. It's being led by a boy who has just graduated, Lily, so don't despair."


            "How can I not?" I asked hopelessly. "I knew Patrick, but for most of the daylight hours I didn't know where he went, and who knows what they do down in the Department of Mysteries. It's definitely possible, isn't it?"

 

            "Yes. Yes it is. Highly plausible," he sighed, running a hand through his messy black hair, a few grey streaks being reflected in the light. "Some of the evidence is there, I must admit, but I thought I knew the boy too. Patrick would never do this to us. To you."


            "Just like we thought he would never leave," I whispered, my eyes stinging as I blinked back the tears. "But he did."

 

Dad sighed again, patting me on the shoulder and giving me a sad smile. He turned around and headed back to his office, leaving me alone. Getting unsteadily to my feet, I knocked and entered Bailey's office, resuming the seat across from his desk.

 

            "Are you ready?" he asked and I nodded. "Good. Now that you know our suspicions, I would like to inform you of the danger you are facing. We don't know yet whether Mr. Williamson will try to harm you in any way, but being associated with such a violent group, we cannot be sure of anything. I am strongly suggesting you apply to enter a safe house. I can even organise it for you. It is completely optional, but it is the greatest protection we can offer you."


I didn't like the idea of staying in a house that wasn't my own. I had been told enough about them from my Uncle Ron, who had been complaining about the amount of people applying for them for years. He just couldn't process them all.


            "Thanks, but no thanks. If at any point I fear for my safety, I think my parents' place would be the best place for me, don't you agree?"

 

His smiled faded a little, but it immediately returned with further professionalism.

 

            "Of course, of course. It didn't occur to me that your father would be more than appropriate," he said quickly. "I think that shall be all."

 

I wasn't thoroughly convinced by his smile, having been fooled by his acting skills many times before, but I didn't let it faze me. I stood up and shook his extended hand, leaving his office as quickly as I could. On my way out, I popped in to say goodbye to dad, who was so busy he barely registered I was there at all. Heading back towards the lifts I had arrived in hours ago, I was beginning to feel light-headed again. It was a lot quieter now, only two other people being in the lift with me as the golden grates clanged shut behind me and we began to sink. My headache was beginning to return with speed, and I was thankful the potion had lasted that long. I raised my hands to my head and massaged my throbbing temples, unnoticed by either of my companions.



A/N Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed that chapter. Please, please leave a review, I would greatly appreciate it.


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