Beyond the Foggy Path

Chapter 62: Wood

Erela made sure to keep her hood over her face so no one would see her when she made way out of Knockturn Alley. When she reached Diagon Alley, she kept her face hidden as the approaches the end of it to the wall that led to the back of the Leaky Cauldron. Upon opening the hidden door, she snuck came into the back as casually as possible and asked for a room to stay in for a couple of days.

She had done a little bit of work on some possible anagram names by writing some possible names on both boys. As much as she wanted to lengthen the list of names, it was rather hard to think of a believable name with these boys' names. God, what was she thinking? Without a lead, Erela was drawing a blank on what to do or what to ask.

Should she just drop it and let it go . . .?

Erela rest her face in her palms, allowing herself to think of her decision. She thought about why she felt the need to find Stacee's killer after all those years and not bring her fiancé with her to assist the mini mission. But, she had already lied that she was sent on a mission by the head himself and Erela didn't have a lot of time left before everyone begins to question and notice she hadn't been in work for a while.

With everything that had happened before, you never know if anyone from the Ministry will turn against their government and start a war. With what Erela did, the Ministry just might think she was plotting against them. It would take some time to regain some people's trust in her, but if she tread carefully, her career won't be completely damaged.

She let out a quiet sigh an ran her hands through her short hair before getting out of her room. She went down the stairs into the pub and started to ask questions around about whether or not they saw a student come by around the time the Hogwarts students were killed or if a new face had appeared that exact same time. The upside to the Leaky Cauldron was that everyone remembered every face that comes through those doors. If there was a new face, they would remember who and when they first appeared.

"Excuse me," Erela started as she approached the owner of the Leaky Cauldron since Tom's passing twenty years ago, Benjamin Freeman. "I was wondering if you remember seeing one of these boys here five years ago around the same time the even at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry took place," Erela started professionally.

Mr. Freeman looked at the two pictures of the boys and shook his head. "Can't say I recall seeing them around that time. Aren't these boys dead?"

"It's a case we dug out to look into again and discovered one of them wasn't caught with the other students that were sent to Azkaban. One of them is convicted of murder," Erela started. "Are you positive you don't remember seeing any of them around that time?"

"Quite positive," he answered as he cleaned some glasses.

Erela pursed her lip and putt eh pictures away in her back pocket. "Aright, do you remember seeing any new faces around the time of the event or some time in a five year span? There might be a chance that he may have been using polyjuice potion to ide his identity," she tried.

"Errrrrm . . ." Mr. Freeman thought on the question and muttered numbers to himself. "There have been a lot in the past couple of years. With firs years, parents, guardians, tourists, professors, and visitors coming in every day for five years, it's quite a long list."

Erela let out a quiet sigh and ran her hand through her hair. Of course . . . what was she thinking? But she couldn't bring herself to quit there when the possibility to find Stacee's killer was right in front of her. "Is it possible if I could look through the guest books?" Erela asked.

"It's twelve books per year," he reminded.

Great . . . Sixty-six books to look through. Erela nodded. "I know, could you send them to my room?"

"Yes, Ms. Harris," Mr. Freeman nodded and disappeared into the back.

The auror let out a sigh and exited the Leaky Cauldron into Diagon Alley to go get something to eat. The Leaky Cauldron was nice and had great good to eat, but the place was grimy and filthy. As she looked for a decent place to sit and eat, she imagined being in the boy's shoes after killing a student and knowing two classmates of yours saw you. Where would he have gone? Home wasn't safe, the authorities would be at his doorstep asking questions and family was out of the question. The only safe place where news of the magical world was secret was amongst . . .

Muggle society . . .

Of COURSE! Diagon Alley gets nothing buts news of their world and what happened at Hogwarts was on the front page of the Daily Prophet, everyone would recognize his face and have spread the news that one of the supposed dead was alive. And once news reached Hogwarts of the one student that wasn't dead Erela, or Wisenburg, would have pointed fingers and had him thrown in Azkaban for murder. Not only that, but it took far too long to make a polyjuice potion to use in order to hide, Erela remembered the two boys weren't exactly THAT bright enough to plan ahead on something like that if the chances of them getting caught and running off were on the table.

The Auror slapped her palm into her forehead and made her skin scream in hot pain. How could she have been so stupid!?

She turned back to the Leaky Cauldron to get her things and think of another plan. Start anew and widen the possibilities. Erela came in through the doors and called Mr. Freeman to cancel her request and that she was about to check out while she went up the steps to her stairs. She took long strides down the narrow hall and aggressively shoved her door open after unlocking it, waved her wand for her things to fly into her bag and into her hand, and went out the door.

Erela didn't look where she was going and the moment she stepped through the door she crashed into someone just passing her door. She SERIOUSLY needed to look where she was going. Erela stumbled back and into the wall when she looked up at the werewolf in front of her.

For the LOVE of—seriously!? Europe couldn't be THAT small! How was it even possible for them to run into each other so much without hinting at their whereabouts?

"We seriously have to stop running into each other . . ." Erela started halfheartedly.

For a moment, Wisenburg looked confused until he saw who spoke to him. "Oh, don't say such things. You'll break my heart," he shrugged and slide his hands into his pockets.

"Naaaaw," she cooed in her mock tone and tilted her head, "Then I should hold my tongue or I'll end up smothering it, huh?" Erela said with a smug look and shouldered her bag as she began down the hall.

Wisenburg rolled his eyes and followed after the Auror down the steps of the Leaky Cauldron. "That it then? Heading back home?"

"Maybe," she sighed and looked back at him. "Why so curious?"

"Because I'll be four days ahead of the papers," he rolled his eyes and turned away from her to head back up to his room. "Sorry."

Erela's finger tapped against the strap of her bag as she went down the stairs, pursed her lips, and let out a frustrated sigh and quickly turned away to follow him. "When was the last time you saw your family?" she asked.

"Oh man . . . Um it's been years. I SAW Braiden when I went to visit Haxel. Didn't talk though," he muttered.

Erela didn't say anything for a couple of seconds as she internally lectured herself for asking a question like that. Of COURSE he wouldn't have seen his family in the past couple of years. With his lifestyle, it wouldn't have worked. No time to be all sweet at the moment, "Would you care if I borrowed your tree house for the time being?"

"Sure," he sighed, "I don't use it."

The Auror took in a deep breath to say something, but no words came to mind to even say. Dare she even think of it, Erela really wanted to say something because of the feeling in the atmosphere that she felt needed to be lifted, like she didn't want to leave things like that. "Why did you go see Haxel?"

"Just to have someone to talk to I guess . . . Humanity's bane is loneliness," Wisenburg answered.

Fucking bollocks . . . Erela let out a sigh and ran her hand through her hair. "Well, if you want someone to talk to you know where to find me," she half-assed a casual salute and turned on the balls of her feet toward the stairs.

Landon sighed, "Come on, Erela. Don't stand there and tell me I can talk to you about my shit like nothing." He ran a hand through his hair and continued, "That's just not fair."

Erela furrowed her brows at him and turned back to face Wisenburg. "What? Am I not allowed to be the listener? How is that not fair?" Hold on; take it a little more calmly than that. Erela took in a deep breath and started again, "sorry, let me try that again. "Enlighten me how that's not fair . . ." The auror stated calmly.

Landon rolled his eyes and looked back at her. "Um, for starters, in case you needed a recap, we had a bad break up the last time we actually spent time together. An if that on its own wasn't enough to not talk to each other ever again, I am a fugitive and you are an auror. That usually doesn't mean that it's all good to call each other up and chat."

Erela rolled her eyes at his first comment, "in case you needed a recap". Asshole. "It's just an offer," she sighed grimly. "You said you went to Haxel for some human interaction, I'm offering you the same only IF you want it. I'm not forcing you to come to me and chat," Erela said and shoved her hands in her pockets.

"Harris, I think we have a different dynamic," he shrugged, "But I guess I've got a flat in Köln if you ever find anything out. It's far, but I hear you can Apparate now."

Erela blinked a couple times and did a little double take on what the werewolf had said. Wow, didn't think he saved enough to own a flat in a different country. She pursed her lips and nodded at the last thing he said. "Yeah. Took some time, but I eventually got the hang of it," she shrugged. "Sorry for picking a fight with you last time we saw each other," she finally apologized.

"Don't be. Erela, we aren't friends you don't need to be apologizing for things like that. Do you apologize to a bad driver for flipping him off, or not giving a bad waiter a tip?"

Erela rolled her eyes at him and turned away. "Forget I said it then . . ." she muttered and shouldered her pack. "Thanks for letting me use your flat and tree house," she continued and went down the stairs. She did her best not to look back and talk to Wisenburg some more as much as her gut told her to. But she had to ignore the feeling and try push him away.

HE was at least . . .

God . . . even reminding herself that he continued to push her away made her heart ache. It shouldn't bother her . . . it really shouldn't . . .

The auror went and checked herself out properly when she Disapparated. Different colors whizzed by her in ribbons, her body pushed and pulled around until she appeared in whole in Wisenburg's tree house. Erela looked around at the once bright and clean living space she visited five, nearly six, Christmases ago. Dirt, twigs, leaves, and three inches of dust had proven how long it had been since anyone had come to visit the homey house made of wood and stone.

She quietly huffed, took her wand out of her holder strapped around her leg and waved it around for her papers to fly out of her bag, the broom in the corner came to life and started sweeping the floors, the sheets from the bed floated off the mattress and soared out the door. While Erela's papers, newspaper clippings, photographs, and ball of string floated into place the tree house was being cleaned for it to be deemed livable for however long she would be staying there.

Yet, Erela couldn't help but look around and remember the last time she was there. How cold it was when she and Wisenburg traveled into the forest to their little sanctuary, how amazed she was the first time she saw it and looked inside, and how it ended up with giving in to her affections for the werewolf. She swallowed the lump in her throat and ran her hand through her hair when she looked down at her necklace that hid underneath her shirt. Erela twirled her finger around as the chain wrapped around her when the diamond ring peaked out of her top.

Markus was hers . . . It was terrible how she had to remind herself that she had someone waiting for her back home. Markus waited for her back at home, a dedicated man whom she knew would always be there for her . . .

Her breathing became shaky when she dropped her hand and looked back at the living space, the room slowly becoming a little more colorful the cleaner it got. She would only stay for a little while . . . until she got more information on her target . . .

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