"Auror Bo... Apologies, Madam Bones? Are you ready, Ma'am?"
Amelia shrugged. She preferred being addressed as 'Auror Bones', feeling that the title reflected the respect she had earned through hard work in her previous job. However, now that she had been made Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, she'd need to adjust and re-earn that respect... in a new setting. With an international Quidditch star or the Minister of Magic as her talking partners, 'Auror' no longer worked as a title, so Madam she would be. Not for the first time this week she regretted accepting the promotion, but then again, knowing that the alternative was letting the DMLE fall into incompetent hands she knew she never really had much choice.
She turned to her assistant and forced a smile onto her face. "Ready as I'll ever be, lets go,"
Last night, this trip sounded like a good idea. It was the hottest day of July, and an old scribe from the Muggle Artefacts had mentioned, in the heat of an argument, that the DMLE had no grounds to complain as the iciest plot in Wizarding Britain was under their supervision. To that, Shacklebolt (who was still Auror Shacklebolt, not Mister Shacklebolt, Amelia reminded herself) had started to reply with a "Yes, but…" and was interrupted by the scribe's 'See?' and from that point, everybody in the room had given her fake-envious looks, until, well, she gave in. Really, visiting Azkaban was the duty of the Head of DMLE, so why not get through it as an escape from the unbearable summer heat? Besides, if they went now there was good chance the Minister of Magic won't tag along. She wasn't sure if they would get the honor of his absence on another occasion. She really didn't like Fudge. So, in hindsight, she understood why she had made such a foolish decision the day before. That didn't mean she'd be enthusiastic about it. 'How impossible would it be to get out of the compulsory yearly checkup?' she mused, as she was interrupted by a curt 'Ma'am Bones…'
"Yes, yes, I'm coming."
The oppressive summer heat didn't reach the island, but Azkaban's advantages ended there. It was dark and full of criminals and madmen, each occupied cell they passed reminding her of all the innocent people the ministry had failed to protect. She carried herself with an aura of reassurance as they passed the low security cells, but her composure crumbled, and she found herself breaking down as she reached the cells containing the Lestrange brothers. The Longbottoms had both been good friends in her youth, and incarcerating their torturers could never bring their sanity back.
"Bones..? Amelia Bones, is that you?" a hoarse, yet familiar voice called out to her, snapping her attention back to her duties. 'Great' she thought, 'just what I need to make this already horrendous duty even worse.'
"Black." she responded shortly, the icy tone of her voice audible. He couldn't be just whimpering in the corner, could he?
Most went mad within a few short months, but Black had already been considered insane when he had been brought in, so the dementors really hadn't been able to do their trademark damage to him. Being this close to the traitor gave her extra shivers in addition to those caused by the atmosphere, but she consoled herself with the thought that it impossible for him to do even more harm than he already had done as long as he was safely contained behind those bars.
"Amelia, please, Harry, is Harry alright?" Sirius was now standing at the door of his cell, staring at her from behind a mess of dark hair.
Those grey eyes… even after these many years, she found herself unable to resist them.
"He's safe from your kind, Black," she managed after a while. She made to move on, needing a moment to gather her thoughts. Albus had hidden the young boy to protect him from any of Voldemort's remaining, undetected followers. It had been a rather controversial issue around the ministry when Dumbledore had taken it upon himself to place the child, but most had since consoled themselves with the knowledge that wherever he was, at least he wouldn't find himself at the wandpoint of Death Eaters again.
"Safe from wizards?" Black screamed. "He's with the Muggles?! You can't possibly mean he is with... with Lily's sister? That woman hates magic, she's literally the worst option to raise him! Lily would never have left him with her sister. Would never have allowed it. Don't you get it? Have you met her at all?" Black stopped screaming for a moment and wiped frustratedly at the tears that had started to trickle down his cheeks. "Harry deserves a loving family, and even if I failed him as godfather and protector, you can't let the entire wizarding world to fail him like that!" the formerly almost-sane man was now babbling just like any other inmate, becoming more agitated and incoherent with each word. "That cannot happen, do something, anything, but don't leave him with Petunia! You can't let tha…"
"Silencio!" came the yell of an Auror standing behind her, cutting off Black's yelling as the silencing spell shot through his messy, unkempt beard and hit him straight in the throat.
Amelia turned on her heel and hurried off to the next stop of her inspection. She was now even more determined to get out of here as soon as possible.
If there was one place Amelia hated visiting almost as much as the wizarding prison, it was the wizarding hospital. She made her way up the stairs towards one of her least favourite parts of the building - the ward reserved for the Aurors, which she herself, like most of the team, had occupied on more than one occasion during her days in the field.
Today she was here to pay a visit to her good friend and dependable former partner, wanting to run some things by him that had been niggling in the back of her mind for several hours by now. Knocking on the door, she found the auror sitting on his bed, with his wand pointed at the other end of it, although what exactly he was attempting to do was anyone's guess. Knowing him, she mused, he was working some sort of alarm charm into the pillow. As she took a further step into the room, it indeed gave a loud honk, the noise not unlike that of a bad tempered territorial goose.
"Not bad for a first line of defense," she greeted the wounded man with a chuckle. At least, him being here meant he was alive and recovering.
"Needs more work, though," the grumpy patient replied. "I hate lying here in this comfy target-mark."
"You'd much rather be sipping your blood-replenishing potion somewhere else, I know."
"You told me enough times," Amelia shrugged.
"What brings you to my bedside, anyway? I would have thought you'd be too busy these days to visit former partners who are wasting away in Mungo's."
"I happen to have an assignment that is right up your alley Alastor, and I would trust it to noone else."
"You're flattering, Auror… Madam." The disbelief was clearly audible in his voice. "What would you need with an old Auror who is recovering from having just lost a leg? And I'm warning you, If you tell me to jump in for somebody, I will hex you, Head of Department or not."
Without waiting for an invitation, Amelia sat on the edge of the bed and looked into that breathtaking blue magical eye.
"I need you to check if Lily Potter née Evans has a muggle sister. Knowing she was muggleborn, she might have had one."
"That's not why you would need me," Moody threw back, disappointment clear in his tone. "That's what the Muggle Liaison Office is good for."
"I know, but I need you to check up on her, see if she's safe and there's no danger around from any source," Amelia explained. "You are the best Auror we have, and this needs to be done without drawing anyone's attention. Officially, you'll be still in this room while you visit her."
Moody looked at Amelia thoughtfully. He was perfect for this job, he had unquestionable experience with security spells, and his magical eye would mean he wouldn't even have to get inside the house. A look through the closed door would do. He quickly agreed, and Amelia spent the next few minutes relaying all the information she had on the case, before leaving Saint Mungo's with a relieved sigh. She had survived her first week on the job without anything going bad. Now all she needed to round out her week was a nice hot bath when she got home.
"Alastor!" Amelia shouted, not even attempting to keep the frustration from her voice. "Couldn't you have just…. I don't know, take the boy without hexing an entire muggle family?!"
"I had my priorities, Madam!" Moody replied, defiantly. His new replacement leg, which was still a simple piece of wood without any magical customisations, hit the floor of the Auror Office with a loud bang.
"I'm with Mad-Eye on this one," Moody's new partner interjected, dropping a scroll of parchment on the Department Head's table, next to an old case file she had been studying earlier that day. "Here's the complete report of Harry's muggle-inflicted wounds. Healers have advised he was quite probably mere days from developing an Obscurus."
"A what!?" Amelia exclaimed in shock.
"An Obscurus, here, look it up," Alastor said as he summoned a nearby book on magical catastrophes throughout history and opened it to the relevant pages.
"I know what an Obscurus is…" Amelia began, but before she could finish her thought, the floo in her office flashed green, and the head of an old, long-bearded man appeared in the flames and addressed her.
"Amelia, if I may come through?"
She nodded her approval, then turned to face the one-legged auror who was, at least officially, still residing in Saint Mungo's. The man only averted his gaze with his own eye, but the bright blue magical one kept staring at her. "Don't go anywhere," she commanded, "I'm not yet finished with you, Auror Moody".
The Hogwarts' headmaster emerged from the fireplace and cast a very disapproving glance at both her and Moody. The one-legged auror took the opportunity, said a hasty "I'll be in Shack's office," and stumbled out.
"Coward!" she hissed at his retreating back. She was sure Alastor would keep his magical eye on them though. She turned to Albus once more, and gestured for him to take a seat. He refused.
"Now Amelia, allow me to cut to the chase. When I left Harry with his Aunt, I promised Petunia and her husband that we would not interfere with their lives, and now my given word…"
A very cold look hushed him.
"As it stands, Albus, " Amelia began, trying very hard to remain calm as she spoke, "it appears that Sirius Black, the man convicted of aiding in the murder of Harry's parents, and attempted murder of Harry himself, was more concerned with the well being of the child than you are. I will give you all the time you need to memorize that scroll, while I deal with my rogue auror, but this is not over."
She picked up another report, and considered her options. On one hand she couldn't let hexing three muggles go unpunished, even if it was well deserved from the wizarding world's point of view. According to the law, Muggles should be dealt with in muggle ways, just like the wizard boy was ought to be taken care of by magicals. The auror who had hexed them, while enjoying the alibi she had provided in advance, was definitely going to face magical punishment. On the other hand, Harry Potter's medical record was not something anyone with a heart could read with their face remaining calm – and so far, she had only read the preliminary report in the morning.
"Did you compare me to a traitor?" Dumbledore asked coolly.
The Head of DMLE was about to shoot back a sharp "Yes, I did!" but then she remembered her manners. Instead, she touched the old case file on her table, and shot back her own question in return.
"I am lead to believe you were the one who cast the Fidelius charm on the Potters' house, is this correct?"
The old wizard blinked. "No, I believe Lily Evans did it herself, she was always excellent with spellwork."
"You gave evidence to the Wizengamot that Black was the secret-keeper, did you not? How did you come to know that if you were not even there for the charm casting? Did Black tell you the location afterwards?"
Albus did not answer her question, just shook his head and went back to reading the scroll outlining Harry's numerous injuries. He sat down into the offered armchair after the first paragraphs.
Amelia conjured a cup of tea for herself, and contemplated the matter for a few moments.
"Alastor?" she called, having finally made up her mind.
"Auror Bones?" The one-legged man said out of habit, before quickly correcting himself. "I mean Madam Bones." He stood in the doorway, somewhat lopsided as his new leg wasn't quite the same length as his old one. Amelia waved him inside, locking the door with a swift spell behind him as Alastor took the seat beside Dumbledore.
"Considering you were well enough for hexing muggles yesterday, I believe you are also well enough for overseeing an Azkaban visit now."
Both men huffed, but were sensible enough to know this was not the time to argue.
"Yet another Malfoy – Lestrange family reunion?" Mad-Eye grumbled. He wouldn't oppose his superior, not now, not about this. That didn't mean he had to like the idea.
"No," Amelia replied, her voice colder than usual. "Albus here will walk into Sirius Black's cell, and he will tell Black, in detail, what Harry has endured at the hands of his choice of muggle guardians." Looking sternly at the headmaster, Amelia continued. "I will arrange for you to have an hour with Black".
"An hour?!" both wizards moaned in unison.
It wasn't five minutes into that hour when Mad-Eye's patronus stormed into Amelia's office. She hadn't even finished her tea yet.
"Bones, I need reinforcements. NOW!"
What happened in the cell, is left to your imagination. Accusations, punches and wands of elder wood flying might very well have been involved. Moody found he wasn't feeling well enough to interfere, or perhaps he didn't want to draw Madam Bones' ire on himself again.