"Ah, Mr. Regis!" Proudfoot blustered into the room; his entire countenance screamed annoyance to the extreme. "I apologise, I asked that you be questioned, not arrested…unfortunately, my superior is in agreement with Auror Dawlish." His irritation profoundly exasperating.
"It won't be the case for long," Septimus stated sharply, "Has he been found yet?" dead or alive, he didn't care, he just wanted to know that Dumbledore was nowhere near his son.
Merlin, hopefully Talin would be cautious and make sure his son was safe. That was all he was worried about right now, keeping his son's identity contained and safe. He wasn't sure what Dumbledore could be playing at and frankly? He didn't want to know if he was entirely honest. He just wanted to have this tournament over with and back home in St. Lucia as soon as possible.
"I'm afraid not, we cannot find any trace of him, from the moment he was placed in the cell." Proudfoot explained, "Now where were you at 8:15 am this morning?"
Septimus wanted to sigh in irritation, instead he remained blank faced, "With my son, whom I hadn't been parted with, even for a moment since the task began and I was arrested."
"And if we questioned your son, he'd swear that under oath?" Dawlish questioned, bursting into the room.
"He'd have no reason not to, considering it's the truth," Severus said dryly, "Are we done here?" he wanted to get back to the cabin, back to Harry, to Talin and the others. Just imagining what Dumbledore could possibly be up to made him bloody terrified beyond reason.
He saw a side to Dumbledore most people didn't. When he had come begging for aid, not for himself, no, someone else. Lily, and yes, he hadn't cared for her son and husband then, much to his shame, he'd just been an idiot of a boy, he hadn't grown up until he became a father and responsible for more than just his own life.
Dumbledore was dangerous, a lot of people just didn't realize that piece of information. Then again, why on earth would Dumbledore go after his son? No, there was one thing trying to 'sterilise' him in order to prevent more snake speakers…unless…this was just the beginning of the obsession? And Dumbledore did obsess over students in a very, very disturbing way.
This was not helping him calm down at all, if anything it was sending his anxieties sky rocketing. He needed to get out of here, he had to protect his son.
"Are there any witnesses?" Dawlish questioned, leaning his hands on the table, in an attempt to intimidate Septimus Regis.
Naturally, it didn't work, Septimus just smirked a little, amused by his attempt. "Other than a whole stadium of people? We were out of sight from everyone while I gave my son a few potions for perhaps ten minutes. Then Minerva and yourself caught up." Gesturing towards Proudfoot.
"It takes only five minutes to get to the tower cell, we tried," Dawlish argued, "Where is Dumbledore?"
Septimus' eyes glinted malevolently, "Five minutes if you know the place," he refuted, "I would have had to know where the cell was to begin with, the only place I've been in at Hogwarts is the Great Hall and the entrance hall."
"You've been here all year; we'd have to take your word for it, now wouldn't we?" Dawlish grumbled, rather annoyed by the sense the wizard was making and the fact he didn't seem apprehensive.
What he failed to realize was that Severus would endure Azkaban to keep his son's identity a secret. So, that he could continue to live an unencumbered life. He refused to allow the magical world to get its prejudice filthy claws into Harry and turn him into a bitter man like it had done him.
It would be worse, Severus knew, the back and forth between love and hate…it would destroy him regardless of how strong he'd raised Harry to be.
"That may be true, but everyone has been avoiding the students of Hogwarts. Everyone has been eating down at the cabin all year." Severus informed him blankly, giving him a look that suggested he was questioning his intelligence. "We've been in Hogwarts all of a dozen times." Which was an exaggeration he knew, but he was hardly going to sit and count the sparce amount of times they'd actually gone and sat down there now was he? Not when he had more to worry about.
"And as I've said before, I had nothing to do with whatever happened to Dumbledore. Considering how much your questioning me, I'm going to deduce you don't have enough evidence to hold me…I'd very much like to return and reassure my son whom you arrested me in front of." His voice icy as he admitted this. Luckily Harry hadn't become hysterical, oh, he'd been worried, pale and scared but he'd remained somewhat calm, Talin helped naturally.
"They're testing your wand as we speak," Dawlish pointed out calmly, watching Septimus' reaction.
"Lovely, I hadn't cast any spells since the night before, should be simply and easy to have me released." Severus said dryly, honestly, Dawlish was a pathetic Auror, trying to look intimidating and everything…he just looked like a child playing dress up in his father's Auror robes.
"We'll find the second wand…" Dawlish begun but a sharp succession of knocks at the door had them pausing.
Proudfoot opened the door, blinking at the sight of Lord Selwyn, a very, very prominent lawyer. "Lord Selwyn," he nodded.
"I do hope you've not been questioning my client without legal representation offered to him?" Lord Selwyn declared, oozing smug satisfaction, he was good at what he did and he knew it. He'd been offered an obscene amount of money to represent Septimus Regis. "I'd like to talk to my client…alone."
"Of course," Proudfoot agreed, grasping a hold of Dawlish stopping him from saying anything more. He was a good Auror, a little too cocky and stuck in his belief's but any good Auror was hard to come by these days.
Proudfoot closed the door behind him, enclosing the lawyer with his client. This allowed them to speak quietly to one another.
"Is everyone alright?" Severus asked the lawyer, his immediate concern being his son.
"Yes, everyone is fine, your son's naturally a little worried about you but has a good head on his shoulders. The Headmaster wishes to convey that he'll make sure your son is cared for until you're release." The lawyer insisted, smoothly sitting down beside his client. "Now, it might look damning, but the evidence they have is speculation that's bordering on harassment."
"Of course, it is," Severus said wryly, "Nobody could have possibly got to Dumbledore, either got him out or dealt with him, and got him away in ten minutes that I'm unaccounted for. I've been too much in the public eye for it to stand up."
"Have you ever met Dawlish, Mr. Regis?" the lawyer questioned.
"Before today? No," Severus shrugged, "He does seem to think very highly of Albus Dumbledore. The fact I'm accusing him of something…it making him rather defensive."
"Really? Interesting," Selwyn said with a vindictive gleam in his eye. He was being paid an obscene amount of money, might as well let him get his money worth. "I'll add it to my own grievances."
"Has there been any sign of Dumbledore or of his magic?" Severus asked perplexed, it wasn't like he could just disappear of the face of the planet now was it? "Was the Cell checked for any sign that a Phoenix had aided him?" realization dawning it might have been Fawkes.
"I'm sure the cell was thoroughly inspected," Selwyn stated, "But I'll put it down to make sure." Anything he could use against the Aurors for a wrongful arrest the better. Didn't they realize who they were dealing with? idiots, the lot of them, idiots.
"I want out of here as quickly as possible," Severus told the lawyer, tense. It was as if the Aurors weren't even attempting to do their job. Just trying to string him up as a guilty party without proof.
"Oh, you will be…" the lawyer declared, "Shall we get this cleared up?"
Severus nodded curtly, the quicker the better in his opinion.
Before too long the Aurors were back in the room, and Selwyn was quick to get to work. "What proof do you have of my client's culpability?" getting down to business immediately. His client wished to go home; he would help him with that.
"He's the only one who has a problem with Dumbledore," Dawlish said gruffly. "He claims Dumbledore tried to sterilize his son…anyone would be mad enough to act."
"Which I did…" Severus stated wryly.
"Be careful what you say…" the lawyer cautioned him against saying anything.
"I did immediately request that he be held until the Aurors got here. I was going to have him arrested, sentenced to Azkaban where he should be." Severus finished with a small sneer. "I do not settle disputes with violence, I have always been told I have a silver tongue."
"Unless, you have a scrap of evidence I'm going to request my clients immediate release." Lord Selwyn declared, "And I rather hope I don't have to sue the Ministry yet again, for breaking their own laws." Which happened all too frequently actually.
He rather detested it, but it helped his clients get money out of it, then he'd continue on.
"We have evidence!"
"So far all I've seen or heard is speculation…" Selwyn argued, staring at the information on the paperwork disgusted. "There isn't a scrap of evidence against him. You cannot arrest someone on mere speculation!"
"I informed Captain Shacklebolt of this, but he agreed there was enough evidence to question him." Proudfoot admitted, he didn't like the thought of them thinking he was as bad as those two. Plus, if the lawyer had his way, he knew the two Aurors would be suspected at least…sacked at most.
Selwyn's eyes narrowed, nodding his head, already scribbling names down. Oh, he would be dealing with all of this before it was done, how dare they bring in someone on this transparent flimsiness.
"I want my client released immediately," Selwyn declared, "I want to talk to your Captain, then I'm going to speak to Madam Bones."
"Not happening," Dawlish declared, mulishly, "They'll agree there's enough evidence to charge him."
Selwyn snorted derisively, making it clear he thought they were talking out of their arses. He didn't state as such, it would have been uncouth. Still, he was going to be having words with Bones over this, it was just nidicolous.
The reason Septimus Regis was being charged was because apparently accusing someone of a crime is the only reason needed these days.
"I want to talk to your Captain and Madam Bones immediately," Selwyn declared, standing up, he wasn't standing for this, they were definitely releasing his client as soon as he could possibly secure his release.
"Very well," Dawlish agreed, thinking he'd get his way, his captain already agreed with him, Bones would too. "I'll escort the prisoner down to his cell."
"I'll do it," Proudfoot declared, he wasn't having Dawlish getting charged with assault, there were too many marks on his name as it was for the way he treated prisoners. He unlike Dawlish had already investigated Septimus Regis, who by the way had never been in trouble a day in his life.
He honestly didn't think the wizard was guilty, something else was going on. He just couldn't figure out what it was, it was all rather perplexing, a puzzle waiting to be solved. If it ever was.
"I'll have you out soon." The lawyer reassured Septimus as he was escorted from the room.
"When will Dad be home?" Harry asked Talin, a mask of worry and frustration on his face. "It's been hours…shouldn't they have proof now that he hasn't done anything?"
"Come eat, Harry, pacing isn't going to help matters any," Talin said reassuring the youngster. "Your father is innocent; he will be home soon."
"But it's been hours…" Harry protested, "The lawyer said he'd have him home due to insufficient evidence…" which there wasn't any. They hadn't even questioned him; he could tell them that his father was innocent for Merlin's sake.
"I know, but it takes time," Talin reassured him, he was pissed himself that Severus had been arrested on such flimsy evidence…if it could be called that. "Go eat, your dad will be annoyed if he finds out you haven't eaten."
Harry sighed, "Alright," knowing Talin was right, Remus and Sirius had been in touch and had pretty much said the same thing. That Severus will be released soon. When he'd pointed out what happened to Sirius…they'd gone right quiet.
Talin sighed in relief when the teen went to sit and eat, the rest of the students had already eaten and gone to their classes. He hadn't forced Harry to attend. He was clearly in no mind to focus on his classes.
He knew that feeling, he was currently experiencing it.
It was an anxious time.
"It's all my fault," Harry said morosely, unable to stomach eating anything.
Talin was about to sternly reprimand Harry for thinking that, when the door was knocked. Sighing softly, assuming it was Minerva who had been by earlier. Maybe it was good news? Perhaps Filius was awake?
Yanking open the door, he straightened firmly, "Yes?" he asked cautiously, staring at the Aurors with clear disapproval. He wasn't going to make any secret of his anger at them for such a farce of an arrest.
"Good evening Headmaster Addison, I'm Auror Proudfoot, this is Auror Stein. We're here to talk to Harrison Regis," Proudfoot explained, "You'll be standing in as his guardian?"
"Yes, I'm hardly going to allow you to question him alone." Talin said sharply, "Otherwise I'd be liable to see him being arrested on worse faux charges…nearly missing your quota for the month?"
"We just need to ask him questions about this morning," Proudfoot explained, ignoring the dig, while two Aurors were currently going to the tower where Dumbledore had gone missing. Madam Bones was raging over what had happened. Dawlish had been suspended pending an investigation into his conduct. It had happened barely five minutes after the Regis Lawyer and Bones started talking.
He wasn't really surprised by it, Dawlish was impulsive, liked to think he knew better. His defensiveness of Dumbledore was well known in the department, if anyone dared mention him, they didn't hear about the end of it all day. They'd learned very quickly not to say anything in his earshot, it wasn't worth the blasting headache.
"You better come in then," Talin replied, "Can I get you gentlemen anything while you wait?"
"Wait?" Auror Stein asked.
"I've finally gotten Harry to eat, I'd rather he finish his meal before we talk," Talin explained, "You aren't allergic to wolf fur perchance?"
"Um…wolf fur?" Stein asked, looking around warily, as if he expected to be pounded upon.
"Harrison's familiar," was all Talin said in explanation. "Please excuse me,"
"Are you going to eat that?" Talin asked the young boy, the Aurors could hear.
"I can't," he said softly, "I want dad back home."
Sighing softly, "The Aurors are here, they want to talk to you, if you aren't going to eat…I suppose we should get this conversation over with?"
"They're finally here?" Harry said, relieved, "They'll have to let him go, then won't they?" once they hear his side, his dad hadn't left him even for a moment.
"They will eventually," Talin murmured, "You can come in now."
The Aurors did indeed step into the kitchen, to find that the boy hadn't eaten anything off his plate. He had a wolf at his feet, munching on food from a bowl, it was beautiful they must admit, such a stunning creature but one best observed at a distance.
"Hello, Mr. Regis, I apologise for interrupting your dinner," Proudfoot explained softly, sitting down, sympathetic, treating him as he would most underage children.
"I wasn't going to eat it anyway," Harry said sombrely, "My dad didn't do it."
"That's why we're here, to talk about it," Stein explained, "Do you understand how wrong it would be to lie to the Aurors?"
Harry gave him a flat look, one that his father had been giving the Aurors since he was arrested. So, they were becoming increasingly familiar with it. "I am not five-years-old, of course I know it's wrong to lie."
"Good, now you and your father were away from the crowd for over ten minutes from what we can gather of your movements. Does that sound about right?" Proudfoot put to Harry, watching the teen closely.
"Something like that, I'd used too much magic in the task, the potion my dad had given to my friend to give to me when he confronted Dumbledore and Karkaroff wasn't enough. I was getting dizzy and disorientated again." Harry explained, "We'd been trying to catch up with Headmistress McGonagall, but ended up way behind. Dad gave me another dose, just trying to figure out if he should take me to the Hospital wing. He knows basic first aid, but he's not a healer."
"I see, go on," Proudfoot nodded, he could see that the boy was being truthful. He'd been at this for a long time now.
"Um, so we stopped, he gave me a magical replenisher draught and an energy booster." Harry explained, "We waited on it working, and dad eventually agreed I would be fine, when I said it was working. He said if I felt dizzy again, we'd be going to the Matron, the healer from Hogwarts."
Talin listened to Harry giving his statement, he felt no need to interfere.
"He never left your side at all?" Proudfoot asked.
Harry shook his head, "No, we'd just started walking again when Headmistress McGonagall and you caught up to us." he said in earnest.
"And you'd swear an oath to that effect?" Stein asked, "I have to ask, it's not that I doubt his word." He added to Talin who was about to vehemently begin arguing with them.
"Yes," Harry said adamantly.
"Alright, thank you for your time, if we have any more questions, we'll come back," Auror Proudfoot told them.
"When will my dad be allowed out?" Harry asked, staring at both of them, silently demanding an answer and the truth.
"As soon as we clear this case up," Stein was the one to answer, not giving him any promises but making sure that the teen received some sort of assurance. It was clear he wasn't taking it well, especially if a teenage boy couldn't bring himself to eat.
"Your dad is fine, we'll get all this sorted," Proudfoot declared, refraining from patting the kid on the shoulder. He was glad the Headmaster seemed a close family friend though.
Just then both Stein and Proudfoot winced as a siren sounded in their minds. An emergency, it meant they had to return or go to the Ministry of magic ASAP. "Excuse me, there's an emergency…"
With that both Aurors quickly jumped up, and made a beeline for the door, and out of it before Talin could stand.
By the time the Headmaster peered out of the window the Aurors were half way to the gate as if Cerberus himself was on their heels.
"Well, that was…odd," Talin murmured, and concerning, what could be happening that constituted an emergency? He himself couldn't wait until Severus returned.
"Do you think it has something to do with Dad?" Harry asked joining him, stomach churning.
"I do not know," Talin replied, placing a comforting arm around his shoulders. "I doubt it, you'd think emergencies have something to do with new cases."
"Dumbledore?" Harry asked, his own voice doubtful.
"He has definitely become rather troublesome, the quicker he's caught the better." Talin pursed his lips, assuming that he had help in getting away, with someone thought gone perhaps? "Filius may well be able to enlighten us."
"If he ever wakes," Harry said, swallowing thickly, "Do they know what spell it was?"
"No, Madam Poppy has consulted someone from St. Mungo's for aid," Talin sighed, "Minerva is keeping me updated." Despite not coming down, she was much too busy at the moment and constantly asking for updates on Septimus.
"I wish I hadn't come here," Harry said sadly, staring out at the grounds of Hogwarts.
Talin said nothing, a small grimace spreading across his face, "It's not all bad, you've met some wonderful people. Including Luna, and of course Viktor and Fleur and all their friends." Who had all came around and asked after him, all worried about him and the situation they were facing. He'd reassured them that he was doing okay, and thanked them for their concern but Harry wished to be alone.
"Yeah," Harry murmured, leaning against Talin, who was more than just a Headmaster, but more like another family member. More so than Sirius and Remus even.
Aurors Stein and Proudfoot returned to the Ministry of magic. Making their way straight to the Auror department, eager to find out what on earth was going on.
"What's going on?" Proudfoot asked their Captain, Shacklebolt.
"I don't know," he admitted, just as in the dark as the rest of them, his voice low and rumbling.
"What do you think it's all about?"
"Think he's been found?"
"I doubt it, we wouldn't have been called for that…surely? Unless he's barricaded himself somewhere…" but that wouldn't require nearly the entire Auror force…at least they didn't think so.
"Well, he's powerful, it might be what's happened," chimed in another.
"Merlin, I hope not!"
"I agree," Proudfoot grumbled, this was going to take them away from their cases.
"Gentlemen! Gentlemen! Can I get your attention please?" Madam Bones called out as she entered the Aurors squad room, her face pinched, clearly stressed.
Everyone automatically went quiet.
"I need…" before Amelia could continue someone called out to her.
"Yes?" she asked, impatiently, glancing at the clerk.
"Professor Filius Flitwick has woken up…they took his statement…you're not going to believe who he thought he saw…" she informed her, eyes alight with delight at the gossip.
Amelia Bones frowned, and approached the girl, "Who?"
"Filius said it was Bartemius Crouch Junior, ma'am," she revealed, "He was adamant, and has actually said to have sworn an oath and still able to use magic." Then again, he was only swearing he thought it was, and that wouldn't allow him to lose his magic over it.
"Impossible, he's dead," she declared immediately, but doubt began to drown her. "Does anyone else know?" she asked sternly.
"Um…I maybe have told two other Aurors…" she said blanching at the look she was getting.
"Aurors Shacklebolt, Auror Tonks, bring Bartemius Crouch Senior in for questioning, take him down to the interrogation room immediately." Amelia declared, gesturing for them to move now.
"Yes, ma'am," they murmured, before leaving, clearly confused at what was going on but knowing better than to argue with their superior officer. Especially Shacklebolt who was on thin waters due to his earlier actions, but he'd been told by his Aurors they really thought he was guilty. He listened to his men when they had feelings as well as evidence since for the most part, they were right.
"Who took Professor Flitwick's statement?"
"We did, ma'am," two Aurors declared as they entered the room, "He's adamant that he saw Bartemius Crouch Junior…he was a little older than the last time he saw him. He's given us his memory of the incident…it would seem Septimus Regis was accused prematurely. Flitwick was rather furious when he found out we'd arrested him." And it wasn't nice being reprimanded as an adult by your old Head of house.
"Has it been put in as evidence yet?" Madam Bones asked, making a mental note to view the memory as soon as possible.
"It's in your office, ma'am," the Auror declared.
Amelia nodded, "We need to go to the Graveyard in Little Hangleton, there's been talk of someone matching Dumbledore's description found dead the Muggle police force are already out there…the situation needs contained. I will be heading the investigation, so Muggle attires are a must…" she warned them.
"Auror Brown, Patil, Smith, Proudfoot and Stein will all be coming with me," Madam Bones declared, "Auror Craig release Septimus Regis and give him our apologies."
"Yes, Ma'am," Auror Craig agreed immediately, as the Aurors chosen to go with Amelia bones flicked their wands and they were dressed in suits. Their badges would reflect their positions in the Muggle counterparts.
"Then let's go," Madam Bones declared, and with that the five Aurors followed Amelia Bones, once in the Atrium, they were given the exact coordinates before they all Apparated out of the building.
"Ma'am! Ma'am you can't…"
"Chief constable Amelia Bones," Amelia showed the badge, "Who is in charge here?" her tone booking no argument.
"Um…Sergeant Wright, ma'am, he's over there," the young officer pointed towards the suited man clearly in charge.
"Stay there," she ordered her men, before stepping towards the crime scene. Showing her badge to the Sergeant who nodded in respect, "He one of yours?"
"Let me see," Amelia nodded to the pathologist to uncover the blooded sheets.
"It's not pretty, prepare yourself," he told her.
The white cover was removed, and she was met with the face of Albus Dumbledore. Her eyes took in her surroundings, a cauldron off to the side, she had to take over this crime scene immediately.
"He's been dead for four hours, somewhere between 11am and 12pm," the pathologist continued to explain what they'd found so far, despite Bones taking in the crime scene.
"Thank you very much gentlemen, we'll take it from here," Madam Bones declared.
There was no fighting, if anything they seemed relieved that a murder was being taken off their hands. He had too many rights now…without adding more, "I think two cases might be related…old man Frank was found dead in the abandoned Riddle property, or his bones were…" he had been in the war and his DNA had been in the database. "The bones were regurgitated…the science says, by a snake…couldn't determine cause of death." which was all rather mysterious.
"A snake?" she asked, incredulously, yes there were snakes that could…but this far over here? It beggared belief it truly did. Had someone been smuggling dangerous snakes over to Britain again? "I'll be by for the case file, just to be on the safe side…it is too coincidental that two deaths were so close together in proximity…"
"Yes ma'am," the sergeant agreed, hollering for the team to stop.
"Thank you," Madam Bones nodded, grateful that she wasn't going to have to resort to magic, because oftentimes she did.
Madam Bones was quick to give out orders, the potion, the cauldron, Dumbledore's body, magical detection, wands, footprints, finger prints and everything they could get from the scene.
For the guest review - Of course this is full of 'cheap and unnecessary PLOT TRICKS!' Otherwise the story would be boring and predicable! 😊 Although I'm actually really predictable LOL since at least one person has figured out where I'm going with the story already! This keeps you interested, invested! Keeps your mind going back to it wondering what's going to happen next! :D At least I don't make you wait months when I put cliff-hangers into my stories you wait maybe a week at most, I hope that offers you some sort of comfort with having to put up with cliff-hangers which I know can be rather annoying for some but if you really don't like them then perhaps you should wait until the stories are finished xx take care and stay safe
There we go! The next chapter for you all to enjoy! I hope most of you are all still enjoying it I just wanted to do something different than the predictable tournament that you're all used to. I honestly think if anyone wants to see the tournament, they can just read the book again!