The Italian Escapade
Jacob and Queenie stood on the rim of Vesuvius looking through the omnioculars over the red roofs of the city of Naples as they were slowly illuminated by the rising sun.
Still bound to Jacob, Queenie oriented her vision of Enrico’s street so she could apparate to a side alley where they would wait for Enrico to leave his home for his shop.
As Jacob untied the ropes that bound Queenie to his back, he said, “I truly enjoy that apparating squeeze. We should do this more often, although as a practical matter I suppose I should really have a portkey dial to lessen the burden on you.”
“You are no burden,” said Queenie, as she set up the omnioculars to record their movements on the streets of Naples below them. “What do you mean by portkey dial?”
“You remember; you told me all about portkeys when we were apparating over and into Lake George for our practice trials. I thought you might combine multiple portkeys in one small device with a dial access to each. It could be like the dial of the telephone I saw on the desk of the banker who granted me my loan. Then I could dial up a place and pop over on my own.” said Jacob.
“What’s a telephone?”
And so it went even after she had apparated them to the alley, until Queenie saw Enrico coming out of his front door. Quickly they both approached Enrico from behind.
“Enrico Gagliastro?” queried Jacob.
Enrico stopped and turned to the voice. “Sì.”
“Please excuse my forwardness,” said Jacob, offering the letter Ciro had written. “It is important that we speak. We are sent by the husband of your niece, Angela. Take this letter; it will explain who we are and why we are here.”
Enrico read Ciro’s letter. “You will do this for us?”
“It was requested as a personal favor for one Jacob Kowalski. I believe that Ciro’s letter explains why.”
Queenie smiled and said somewhat cryptically, “And this is what we do, my Georgie and I. We travel and make arrangements for others to travel.”
Enrico cast a puzzled look at this elderly well dressed couple.
“You have many questions,” said Queenie. “It is best that you do not know who we are or how we operate. In fact, it would be best if you did not tell your wife and family about us. If we are successful, you will simply apply for your emigration papers, book passage, and leave. But do nothing until we return and say that you can proceed.”
“For now, we need a place where we can speak privately,” interjected Jacob. “We need to know what you know about this troubling official, Mr. Boveri.”
“Sì, my shop,” said Enrico. “My English not good.”
“It will be good enough,” said Queenie.
As they were about to leave Enrico’s shop, Jacob asked, “Will the clerk who informed you about Mr. Boveri wanting your daughter be the one to approve your application for emigration?”
Enrico replied that he would.
“We will need to see these two, Mr. Boveri and the clerk,” said Jacob. “We do not need to meet them. It will be enough for you to point them out for us.”
“We will go now,” said Enrico.
Enjoying a cup of coffee across the street from the police station in which this Mr. Boveri had his office, they waited. After a time Enrico pointed out a man walking toward the station, as Mr. Boveri.
Queenie immediately entered his mind, only to realize that he was headed to where they were seated to get his own coffee.
“Enrico, Mr. Boveri appears to be coming here,” she said. “It would be best if he did not see you. There is a back door. Leave that way and we will see you back at your shop.”
Enrico agreed and walked over to the proprietor and then into the back room. When Enrico had left, Queenie sipped her coffee and tasted a pastry, she said, “This is not as good as yours.”
He only smiled, not wanting to distract her as she worked.
By the time Mr. Boveri had left the restaurant, Queenie had isolated his thoughts about Enrico and Mia and oblivated them. He would have no memory of the Gagliastros nor of his orders to prevent them from emigrating.
Walking out of the restaurant Jacob took a small package out of his pocket, unwrapped it and handed one of his own pastries to Queenie, asking, “Did you know?”
Queenie nodded, “But keep trying, I like it.”
“And your target?”
“He has no memory whatsoever of Enrico or his family,” said Queenie. “I did discover while I was rummaging about, that he has a hidden safe with a large amount cash taken through bribes and extortion.”
“If you can take it with no danger to yourself, you should,” said Jacob quickly. “You can obliviate his memory of the money and the safe.”
Jacob saw that Queenie was stunned by his suggestion. “Look inside as to what I intend.”
Queenie did and knew that Jacob sought only to relieve Boveri of his ill gotten gains. He was adamant as to the morality of removing from Mr. Boveri all of the money he had stolen.
“All right, Jacob,” she said. “We will give Enrico enough for a first class passage and scatter the rest in the marketplace. However, I think that we should wait until Enrico has sailed before scattering the money.”
“Granted!—Say, do you know where his safe is?”
Taking Jacob’s hand, Queenie said, “Let’s linger a bit; I will follow him inside and try to pick up a picture from his mind.”
Strolling hand in hand, Jacob asked, “Can you see what he sees?”
“Not really, but I can see what he is thinking when he sees something. It’s as if I see what he is focused on. I don’t see other things that might be in his field of vision. I can also see in his mind what he hears—the things that draw his attention.”
“Hmm,” mused Jacob. “I don’t see the difference, but as long as you know where the safe is and how we can get to it, OK.—Say, if you don’t understand Italian, how can you know what he is thinking?”
Queenie remained silent; Jacob knowing, did not pursue his question.
“I have what we need,” said Queenie. “Now, we should see Enrico and have him point out this clerk.”
Before leaving to meet with Enrico, she answered Jacob’s question, “A Legilimens does not see words in someone’s mind, he sees emotions and concepts, not the specific labels for the concepts. When I was a girl at Ilvermorny I helped a witch from Greece with her English. Athene Metaxas came in my forth year. By using Legilimency I was able to see what she meant and guide her to the proper English phrasing. We became good friends; together we worked to create a portkey, but her father took her out in the middle of our fifth year before we could figure out how to do it. I sent her an owl, but it came back undelivered. I haven’t heard anything of her since she left school.”
Queenie, having oblivated all memories the clerk had of putting a hold on Enrico’s emigration as well as the orders from Mr. Boveri, apparated herself and Jacob to the rim of Vesuvius for a late picnic lunch and to wait for evening when Mr. Boveri would be leaving work.
Jacob and Queenie walked along the street, which was crowded with people heading home from work and various officials leaving the government building. They stopped by an alley and Queenie took off her shoes which Jacob put in a briefcase he now carried. Queenie then disillusioned herself. For all intents and purposes it appeared to anyone watching that she had left to go down the alley. Neither said anything but Queenie could read the appreciation Jacob felt as they walked hand in hand.
He left her and crossed the street to wait. She slipped into the government building as others were leaving and walked unnoticed to Mr Boveri’s office to wait for him to leave. When he opened the door to tell his secretary that he would need some report on his desk first thing in the morning, she slipped in through the open door. She entered his mind, took a seat in his office, and waited for him to finish.
She saw his plans for that evening. He would meet a young woman from whom he was extorting certain favors and then join some other party members for a few drinks and talk about party business. When he finally left, she followed him in his mind down the stairs, she oblivated his memory of the safe combination, the safe, and the money. She remained in his mind even as he left the building in case she would have to touch him again. Then as an afterthought, she removed all memories of this young woman he was planning to meet. She smiled as she saw in his mind only thoughts of spending the evening with other fascist party members.
“Alohomora,” Queenie easily opened the safe and floated the contents to Boveri’s desk where she examined them. In addition to the money she found a gun, which she floated back into the safe, and a book which appeared to be a journal of some sort. She shrunk the money and the book, putting all in her small purse.
She apparated to the alley and from the shadows checked to see that no one was looking. She removed the disillusionment spell and walked out to meet with Jacob.
“It’s done,” said Queenie.
“Done?” repeated Jacob.
Queenie could see in Jacob’s mind, the stirrings of a long forgotten memory brought about by this one word. Later she thought as she considered now for the first time that there might be a hope for restoring Jacob’s memory.
“Yes, but now we have something else to consider. I found a ledger of sorts in the safe. I would like to ask Enrico about it.”
“That’s the problem with spending so much time in someone else's mind. There is always something else to set right. Oh well, let’s get to it,” he said with a sigh.
Queenie laughed out loud at his lighthearted humor. She was truly happy. He was the only one who felt at ease with her being able to read his thoughts.
Back with Enrico, Jacob showed him the ledger and asked what he thought it was.
After leafing through the ledger, Enrico asked, “Where did you get this?”
“We got it from Mr. Boveri,” said Jacob. “But that is not important. Can you guess what this is?”
“I do not guess,” replied Enrico. “See, my name. This is list of payments demanded.”
“Before we go, we would like you to read each name while pointing to it,” said Jacob.
When he had done so, Queenie obliviated his memory of the ledger.
“Enrico, everything is ready for you,” said Jacob. “You should arrange to emigrate as soon as possible.”
“Also, Enrico, you should arrange to ship all you need to start up in America,” said Queenie.
“And book first class passage,” said Jacob.
“I cannot afford first class,” said Enrico.
“Do not concern yourself,” said Queenie smiling broadly. “We will see you tomorrow evening and provide you with the money you will need.—It is what we do.”
After taking their leave from Enrico, Queenie apparated them to outside the bar where she knew Boveri would be drinking. Once again disillusioned with the ledger in hand she entered and stood off to the side against a wall. When she had located Boveri and entered his mind she silently read down the ledger and name by name she oblivated all of his memories of that specific person. When she had finished, she removed the memory of the ledger and the gun she had returned to the safe before she apparated to where Jacob waited in the shadows.
Alone on the rim of Vesuvius, they packed up the omnioculars and Jacob synched tight the ropes that bound Queenie to his back and just before she began their apparating jumps back to Jacobs shop, he said, “I am amazed at the power you wield.”
It was still the middle of the afternoon when they arrived back in his apartment, above his shop. Jacob looked in to see how his assistant, Andrew, was doing. Satisfied he left Andrew to finish the day and close up. He and Queenie ascended up to his apartment where they both lay down for a nap. Magic could not undo the effects of a lack of sleep. They later descended to prepare for the next day as they had that evening after dinner with Ciro when they first conceived of this escapade.
The next afternoon, leaving Andrew in charge of the shop, they returned to give Enrico the money, and learn when he would disembark for America and when they would arrive.
“Keep this money secret,” said Jacob. “You will receive much better treatment if it is thought that you are wealthy, but don’t let anyone know you have so much cash.”
Before they left, Queenie said, “We will be back for your departure. Good bye for now.”
Back in his apartment, he went down to his shop and Queenie apparated to the Entering Chamber and walked to her office. She had worked through lunch and took a late lunch in the afternoon. She had been gone only an hour. No one noticed.
It was less than a week after Jacob and Queenie saw Enrico off to begin his transatlantic passage to America, that they, as themselves, waited for him to disembark.
As they were leaving for the taxis Jacob had hired to take them to Ciro’s apartment where they would stay for the first few days, Enrico commented that Jacob’s agent, whose name he still did not know, was right about how just looking wealthy eased their way through customs. Of course Queenie standing off to the side with her fingers grasping her wand hidden in the pocket in the folds of her skirt, making use of the imperious spell, and saying casually to no one in particular, “I am sure there will be no problems,” might have helped the customs officer to speed things along. But only Jacob would know this and he only later after they were alone.
When Jacob, Ciro, and Enrico had moved all baggage into Ciro’s parlor, they all sat down to a buffet that Angela had prepared which included pastries from Jacob.
“Jacob, I must thank you properly,” said Enrico. “I have thought about this much during our passage. I will make you a watch.”
“That is very gracious of you,” said Queenie. “But please; this is what we do.”
Enrico was startled by what she had said. “The old woman said just that, ‘this is what we do.’ ”
Both Queenie and Jacob realized her mistake. It was Jacob who spoke. “I guess we are not very good at this secret agent stuff. Queenie is very close to these British agents. They are very old acquaintances of hers and her parents before, and they were acting at her request, without permission. Since Queenie is known to their supervisors, we thought it best that her name not be mentioned. From what little Queenie has told me, they will occasionally use unapproved methods.”
“Then I will make a watch for each of you,” Enrico said.
“Now, about that watch,” said Jacob lightly smiling at Queenie. “Could you make a watch with an extra hand and buttons around the edge so that when a button was depressed and the hand set in motion, the hand would move to the button and stop?”
Enrico thought a moment and nodded, “Sì. It would be like a stopwatch.”
“Good, but not now. We can talk about this later,” said Queenie, knowing what Jacob had in mind—seeing that he had modified his original idea of a portkey dial. “For now you must get yourself firmly planted here with your business well established. And we need to be getting back so Jacob can prepare for tomorrow.”
As Queenie and Jacob walked down the street, she took her wand and disillusioned them both. Turning and pulling him to her, she said, “I will take us back quickly,” before apparating them both to Jacob’s apartment above his shop.
“You can’t get your mind off that portkey, can you?” chided Queenie after she verified they were alone in his apartment and removed the disillusionment charm.
“No, I keep thinking about all of the things I could do, even with a watch that could transport me to only 12 different places,” said Jacob. “Of course if the portkey could make use of two hands and a combining of two buttons then I could jump to 144 different places, and if one of those buttons would bring me back to my jumping off place…”
“Whoa, your imagination is running away with you,” said Queenie. “I don’t know if what you are thinking is even possible. Multiple portkeys within one physical object is difficult enough, but working off multiple buttons as in a combination lock is a different problem. One is a matter of setting up each of 12 separate pieces within the watch as its own portkey. The other is a matter of bringing two or more separate pieces together to be a unique portkey. And…”
“OK, I get it,” said Jacob. “It will take some study.”
“…to jump back—I don’t know.”
“OK, maybe just two portkeys to begin with,” he said. “One to come here and one to come to your apartment. We can work on a…”
“Oh, I didn’t see that one coming,” she said.
“Ah, spontaneity works for a surprise,” he replied, squeezing her hand gently.
“Yes, it was nice, but I think it would be a mistake for you to surprise me by coming to my apartment. Let me bring you after I check as I did before. I think that you should remain away from any place known to the magical world.”
“I haven’t told you about Panty,” she said. “Ruggero Pantano is a wizard working at MACUSA. Before I told you that I was a witch, he had secretly attempted to pry into my activities when he saw that I was bringing pastries to the office. He tried to use a particular curse to force me to obey—to not be evasive in answering his questions. I was able to resist without him knowing I was. When I entered his mind, I saw that he had no purpose other than curiosity. While he used very slight force, he used a dangerous curse in a most casual way. I removed his memory of being curious.”
“Have you reported him?” asked Jacob.
“It is not something I could prove, although an official Legilimens or an authorized use of veritas serum would certainly reveal the truth; I also had things to hide. And, while he is not very powerful himself, he is well connected to some very powerful people. I do not want anyone investigating what I am doing—for any reason.”
“He will be back,” he said. “He will see you bringing the pastries and again be curious. After all, I came back.”
Both pleased and frightened by his words, she said, “I can deflect his efforts and still look into his mind to see what he knows—what he wants. He apparently does not employ Occlumency to divert me.”
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