A/N: I tore down a previous story called Changes and am replacing it with a new/updated/revamped story. If you have read the previous version, you will recognize the portions that worked. The scenes, plotline and terminology was not anywhere near correct and so I needed to make too many corrections. This story has been taken down, beaten up, torn apart and smashed into submission. As such, it is a better behaved and happier creation.
Erik stepped into the quiet house, relieved his wife would sleep for another hour. He headed over to the vase on the mantle and fished around before he found the one item that he hadn't touched in over ten years. The ten-and-a-quarter-inch maple wand felt good, warm, welcoming, like an old friend. With a shaky hand, he scribbled out a note and sealed it in a regular envelope. He hoped it worked with regular paper, he'd been out of the game for too long to remember.
He had thought about this for the past hour. Who to send this to? How to send it? Would it be safe? Well, it had to be done. On the front of the envelope, he wrote the only names he remembered and could trust.
It would get there, or it wouldn't. They would pass it on, or they wouldn't. He could only do what he could. With a pounding heart, he opened his kitchen window and placed the note on the sill. He touched it with his wand and said clearly, "I need an owl, a letter to post." He could only wait.
He put the kettle on, hoping to fill up the time. He tried not to worry, but it was hard. What if things hadn't changed since he left? It's not like he read The Daily Prophet.
He poured himself a cup and waited. It took effort to keep his hand from shaking.
By his third sip, he heard a tapping on the glass. Sure enough, there was a large brown owl. He opened the window and it flew in. "Right then. I don't have an address, but if one of these men is in England, I need this delivered as soon as possible. Bill Weasley or Charlie Weasley. Can you do this?" The owl looked him over and hooted, took it in his beak, turned, and flew out into the early dawn. It was done.
With nothing left to do, Erik turned to the fridge and took out a packet of bacon. Get Linda breakfast. That could calm his nerves.
Linda came in just as he was setting the table. She was as tired as he was. Springtime on a farm was already hectic but it seemed half the stock has been coming ill with something. Not only that, but she had class to teach at the local school.
After eating, she was filling the dishwasher when she looked up at the window and screamed.
Erik rushed back into the room. "What? What?" He looked around in alarm.
"Oh, nothing, dear. I just saw a bird in the window. I think it was an owl. It startled me." She smiled, kissed him and moved around him. "I'm late. Time to get dressed." She kissed him again and left the kitchen.
As soon as she was out of sight, he rushed to the window and slammed it open. There on the sill was another note. This time, on parchment.
"Erik, so good to hear from you. But your note sounded serious so now's not the time to catch up. I'm not with the Aurors, but my brother is. This sounds like something he'd want to hear. Can we meet up with you today? We weren't exactly in the same circles at school but try to think of something I would know about you or our time. The owl should be waiting for a reply. Send an address and time, as soon as possible and we'll meet you. Bill Weasley."
A load of weight shifted off his shoulders and landed in his stomach. He was committed now. But he remembered Bill, knew he was someone to be trusted.
"Bill, one hour, 9 AM The Dancing Pig Pub," He wrote out the address and sealed the note back up. When he opened the window again, the owl flew back in, snatched the note and flew off. The pub catered to the local farmers, some who needed to get their errands done right after the early morning chores. "Honey, I'm going to head down the pub for a bit."
He heard the wardrobe close with a bang- he needed to fix that soon, "Okay, have fun. I'll see you this afternoon. I'll be late, there's a meeting after."
"See you, love."
He sat in the back corner of the pub. It was empty, as one would imagine at so early an hour. The slow time between chores and marketing, but they did serve a good cup of coffee and sweet buns.
The door opened and in slipped his old schoolmate and another tall man who looked so like him he must be another brother. The Weasleys had what, half a dozen or so? He rose and held out his hand.
"Bill, what was the most scandalous thing to have happened in the lowest level Gryffindor supply cupboard?"
Bill grasped his hand and laughed. "Wally Strandel found shagging his first cousin, Mona, said he didn't know they were related."
Erik nodded. "Okay. It's you."
Bill sighed in acknowledgement and continued, "Erik, this's Ron, my youngest brother. He's an Auror. I sent your note over and he wanted to jump on this right away. I can't stick around, I'm due at work soon, so I'll leave you to it." With that, Bill turned and left, leaving Erik to look up at the tall red-headed Auror. "So, where do you want me to start?" he asked.
"You were at school with Bill?" Ron asked. He settled in and waved for a coffee.
"I was only average at magic. Dad was sick so I had to take over the farm. Straight from the train, I went to Diagon Alley, sold everything I could and came home."
Polly, the waitress, knew Erik and his love for their sweet buns so brought over a plate with several, along with coffee for both. When she left, Ron nodded at him to continue.
"Last night, about midnight, my bull started acting funny, stomping, fidgeting. He's normally quite calm in the night. I go out to see and I glance over to the farm across the road. I saw strange lights and some loud yelling. At first, I thought someone was having a bonfire. But the colors were all wrong and flashed instead of flickering." Erik paused, waiting for Ron's take on the situation.
Ron nodded in encouragement.
"Well, I calm the stock down and closed the barn again. There was quiet for a while, so I went back to the house. Before I could open the door, a flash, like lightening flew past my head. I crouched down and ducked around the corner of the house.
"Okay, I could hear some whooping and someone yelled for them to do it again. And aim better! Another flash, I think it was green, or yellow hit the side of the barn." Erik stopped and took a huge bite out of his bun and washed it down with his coffee. "Something magic is going on and it's not happy charms and pixie dust, if you know what I mean."
Ron nodded thoughtfully. Something was indeed going on. There were rumors of things going on in the country. No one had any proof. This might be what they needed. "Has this happened before?"
"I think so. Every weekend, and sometimes a day or two in the week itself. There seems to be another party over there. Day and night people in and out. Last night, they also had beams of light going straight up into the sky. They don't usually bother us though."
Ron checked his watch. "All weekend? It's Friday, do you think they'll be there tonight?"
Erik nearly choked on his last swallow, "I would think so. But I want to be careful. I don't want to get on the wrong side of the new neighbors, you know."
"Yeah, I know. Listen, do you have a phone number? I'll get back to you later today, but first I need to meet with my team."
"Sure. If I don't answer right away, leave a message. I'm out and about the farm."
Ron could see the coffee was having no effect on the other man, but the buzz was hitting him hard. "It'll be close to five tonight, just so you know. That's when my team comes in." He pocketed the scrap with the number. "Whoever calls you, they'll mention the supply cupboard."
With a weary nod, Erik slid out of the booth and left. Ron threw down several Muggle pounds to cover the buns and coffee. Next time Polly came by with refills, both men were gone.
"I'm home!" Ron announced as he stepped out of the Floo. There was silence and he remembered that today was Hermione's weekly check-in at the clinic.
Too wired to do anything else, he sat at the desk in the den and wrote up what notes he could. Next came a list of what information he needed. Having known Hermione for 15 years, and married for 8, he couldn't help but become organized. Besides, it was part of his job and he was good at it. He closed his folder when there was a slam of the front door and Hermione called out, "Ron? You home?"
"In here," he called. He rolled his chair away from the desk, ready for his wife to waddle up the stairs and settle into his lap. "So, how did it go?"
"Oh, she's still staying put. The way things are going, she might be out in time to go to Hogwarts." She snuggled closer. "Hmmm, this is nice. How did your meet up go?"
Ron slipped his feet up onto the desk, making more room for his wife. "Remember that rumor I told you about? New Death Eaters? Well, I think we might have a lead on it. An old school chum of Bill's had a few things to say. I'm gonna check on it tonight."
"Hmmm, okay. In the meantime, I think we need a nap. I'm tired and you're…well, obviously, you're not." She started to unbutton his shirt. "Maybe we could take care of both problems."