A.I. Dora Tonks walked into main office of the Auror Department, over 35 minutes late for her shift, or so it appeared. There was the usual hum of background noise; Aurors talking in low tones, the scratching of quills on parchment, the squeak of a chair turning or the scrape of a chair's legs being moved across the floor. The smell of various concoctions being brewed or analysed came from the potions lab off to the right, flying notes flew across the room or, in some cases, out the door on route to another office or department. All normal, or so it appeared with the vast majority of the staff and their investigations. However, one Auror was not paying the same amount of attention to the parchment work on his desk. In fact, he was paying no attention to his desk at all and he had only been back there ten minutes. Austin Pagmore, like many in the Ministry, had heard the rumours of 'an incident' at a muggle house in a small town in Surrey and somehow, Harry Potter was involved. He had noticed the comings and goings of Dora Tonks, her lack of interaction with everyone except the Auror office's highest ranker, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and that other stupid witch, 'Tina Johnson who was just as tight lipped as bloody Tonks!
'The Undersecretary could be right. Something is going on with those two youngsters and Shacklebolt. Thick as thieves, the three of them', Pagmore thought to himself.
Even the distant sight of Shacklebolt was enough to raise the hackles on Pagmore's temper, but so see the two most junior Investigators in the department seeming to be in the Auror Captain's confidence made him seethe with anger. He was being sidelined…again! He was now the senior Auror in service in the whole investigating department, 27 years, more than even Shacklebolt, but time and again he had been overlooked to lead major enquiries, overlooked to even be a squad chief, having been stuck now with no more than a team leader role for fifteen years. In charge of only three past-their-prime and going to seed AI's on the minor enquiries team that came into the department; the Friday and Saturday night pub assaults, the Sunday domestics, the minor use of magic in the presence of muggles, the selling of false charmed amulets, bracelets and necklaces that actually did no harm to anyone except lose them of a few gallions because the buyers were stupid enough and drunk enough to believe they were wondrous, magical artefacts.' Hell, the minor charms placed on them wore off after about 24hrs to make them nothing more than a few bits of pressed metal held together with a sticking charm!' What had he done to Bones and Shacklebolt to deserve their distrust and disdain?
Well he knew! His complete lack of being discreet in who he spoke with and who he told about ongoing cases, laziness in clearing up cases that didn't go as he had planned, his misjudgement of the value of evidence in major cases and his inability to stay off the firewhiskey during his off-duty hours were only a few of the many blemishes on his Auror record that prevented him being trusted with anything more major than a middling assault case. The other matters of being surly to colleagues, downright rude in some cases, when he was hungover; his innate ability to be seen fawning after senior officials from other departments, offering to assist them out if investigations turned 'awkward' against them or their families, the very obvious favouring of 'pureblood' families to the extent of overlooking clear evidence that would implicate them or their 'connections' in prosecutions. Nothing that could be precisely proven against him, but plenty of indirect rumour and circumstantial evidence that gave rise to the mistrust of him by his senior managers. He could not be trusted. So, he watched jealously as Tonks walked direct to Shacklebolt's office.
Tonks had given a quick glance at Pagmore's desk, to confirm he was there, then quickly looked away so as not to catch his attention. She knocked on her Captain's door. Shacklebolt, standing at his private filing cabinet, looked around and seeing her, waved her in. She shut the door behind her. "Morning Boss. Got five minutes? Something I need to run by you, just to make sure I have the nod from you to go undercover, in my morph form."
Shackles gave her a wave of the hand and a nod, saying, "Madame Bones gave you the ok already, you know that, so why come to me now?" "Yeah, I know boss, but …. Well, this one just might be a bit delicate, so I thought I would make sure to clear it with you first. It involves a high up Ministry official in another department, not DMLE."
Shacklebolt turned away from his cabinet to his desk, indicating Tonks to sit down.
"Hmmm. How high up are you talking about, Tonks?"
"Minister's personal office, Undersecretary level."
The Auror Captain's eyes opened wide and an expletive was said. "Bollocks! The Pink Toad?" "Yup. Got it in one, boss. Umbridge. She's concerning herself with the Little Winging enquiry in some way but don't know how much yet. That's why I need the ok for the undercover stuff. I need to get into her office to search through her files, her desk and such, so, to keep it legal, I will need a search warrant from Madame Bones. Can she get one without going through Minister Fudge?"
"Hmmm. Where did your information about our illustrious Undersecretary come from? If it's just rumour, then no chance. Something a bit more substantial is going to be needed. So, what you got?"
"From 'Tina first, boss, and then me. In fact, Tina is back following up that lead now. Gave me the information in a hurry on the back stairs about an hour ago so as not to be overheard. And, well ….. my info comes from Umbridge herself and hits a bit closer to home …. Pagmore."
"Pagmore! What the fuck is that liability doing interfering on this enquiry? … In fact, how does he even know about it?"
"Well, boss, that's the thing, I'm not sure he does, apart from the rumours that are being whispered about, but he has been told to find out what he can and report back direct to Umbridge. Let me explain. 'Tina was coming into work this morning to make an early start on setting up the initial lines of enquiry. She was in the lift just ready for the doors closing when Umbridge entered with one of her lackies. Neither of them know 'Tina by sight, and looking as young as she does, 'Tina gets taken for a newbie apprentice straight out of Hogwarts and gets pretty much ignored as a result. Anyway, Tina overheard Umbridge ask her member of staff to 'alert a contact' in the Auror office that she needed to have a word with him about a 'delicate new enquiry' that has reached her ears and that he should meet her away from the Minister's department down in the small courtroom in the upper basement. That was all 'Tina had. 'Tina knew that she couldn't do a follow on her own as whoever it was from our office knows her from the Malfoy cock-up, so she got hold of me as I came into the atrium, gave me the info, so I did a quick shufti down into the basement to see if anything happened. I morphed into a cleaner that works down there and just waited tucked away at the back. Sure enough, fifteen minutes later, Pagmore appears then a couple later, Umbridge, from the Minister of Magic's private lift, no less. ….. Boss, if you remember, we got a report about magic being used in Little Winging a bit before the house exploded? We got it from that Ministry bloke, Spiker, that took us to the scene?"… Shacklebolt nodded ….. "Right. Well, I overheard Umbridge say 'Auror Pagmore, you will find out how much they know about the dementor's in Little Winging, understand me? Under no circumstances can it be connected back to the Minister's office.' Well, I don't know about you boss, but this is the first I have heard about dementors anywhere except Azkhaban and Hogwarts last year! This is news! But, could this be somethin' to do with the earlier report of the magic being used?"
Shacklebolt's eyebrows raised and he appeared a bit wide eyed at the news. "Yes, that indeed is news! First I have heard of it as well. OK, leave this with me. I'll have a word with Madame Bones, see what she thinks. Chances are I will need an information report from you and formal warrant request, probably 'Tina as well. And a good bit of work from the pair of you about Pagmore. I think you have found out who our department 'leak' is! I have never trusted that bastard in all the twenty-five years I have known him. He has licked enough bigoted pureblood arses to have a brown tongue, that one. Luckily, we have had Amelia Bones always senior to him. She saw what he was like and always managed to block his promotions. OK!… Don't do anything about this as yet, just get on with finding out what you can about any rogue dementors running amok in muggle country. Go a bit wider afield around Little Winging, cast some detection spells for dark magic use. Not always easy to detect the presence of dementors, but, if a magical was powerful and knowledgeable enough, then a Patronus charm may have been cast. Now that is detectable, and big time too. That leaves a way big magical residue. There has been no reports of any victims of their kiss being found so if dementors have been about, where are the victims? Go see what you can find out. I'll go see the big boss lady. See you later."
- - HJP HJG -
"Dementors! When was this supposed to have happened?" asked the DMLE head.
"No idea Ami, but definitely sometime around the Little Winging incident. I can only think it was before because the place has been jumping with the muggle services since then. Your contact got anything on this?"
Amelia Bones frowned. "Hmm! Maybe. Something was mentioned but I didn't take it as dementors. I will have to confirm that, but as this information has actually come from Umbridge and implicates her office, this is a biggie! And that fuck, Pagmore! We have got to reel him in, Shackles. This is our chance! Any ideas?" "We could set him up, Ami; somehow or other get him to feed information to the Toad that only we know about. Let slip a couple of things here and there that he can overhear, info that he may think is vital to our enquiry and has to be kept from the Ministers office. Pagmore is sure to think he has something worth passing on and let Umbridge know about it. We could catch him out." Bones nodded. "Good idea, Shackles. That is probably the route to go but we need to keep this very much between us. No one must know, even Tonks and 'Tina. I don't like doing this, but we maybe will have to let the girls believe that some information is genuine and they can set Pagmore up without realising it. In the same way, that could implicate The Toad and maybe someone even higher up, depending on what he knows!"
"You think Fudge is involved in something?"
"Huh! That bloody idiot is always 'involved' in something but most of it is nonsense. However, you never know, we just may pull some serious corruption out of the bag. 'Minister's Office hiding evidence, Dementors in muggle land involved': Fudge implicated in cover-up!' I can see the headlines now. But Fudge is and idiot! Umbridge is not! She is not much of a witch, but she is devious and clever and a true Slytherin even up to the point of believing in the 'pureblood' garbage that house spouts. And, she has the Minister's ear and that prick believes every word she tells him. That is also what I am hoping with Pagmore. He is so wanting to get one over on me and you, he will drop himself up to his neck in dragon shite if we can get him to pass on the information that we have planted. This will need some thinking about. Leave that with with me."
And so the planning to catch a corrupt Auror and a nasty, twisted, conniving Ministry official began.