Hermione was released from St. Mungo’s two days after Snape had been captured, feeling much more like her old self every day. She still was weak and could move around with some difficulty, but all in all she was happy to be going home
Her parents, Ron, and Mrs. Weasley were there to help her back to Grimwauld Place and get her set up in her room. After they’d arrived, they immediately began getting on Hermione’s nerves.
Her mother and Mrs. Weasley started doting on her in excess; Ron, when he wasn’t being harassed by her father about the sleeping arrangements in the house, was always asking how she was feeling and her father was constantly taking her temperature and checking her pulse.
Finally she’d had it just about enough of it when Harry came home.
“ALRIGHT THAT’S ENOUGH!” she shouted.
Four people stopped what they were doing and turned towards her with expressions of surprise. Harry, who had just arrived, stopped in the doorway and knew immediately she wasn’t having a good day.
Hermione looked at everyone and with a mild bit of anger in her voice said, “Look, I appreciate you all helping me and your concern, but I’M OK! Just let me be and I’ll be fine.”
“We’re just…,” her mother said, but Hermione interrupted her.
“Yes I know. You’re concerned. Thank you, but please I just want to rest. Please stop fussing. If I need something I’ll call Dobby or Ron.”
Ron looked and saw Harry in the doorway, “Hiya Harry.”
“Don’t you start with me,” Hermione said to Harry with a ‘don’t-even-try-it’ look.
Harry walked over to Ron who muttered, “Blew her cork.”
“No,” Ron replied and sat down in the armchair next to Hermione’s bed.
“Well if you don’t need us here then we’ll be going,” Mrs. Granger said to her daughter. She came over and gave her a quick hug and kiss, “Call us if you need anything.”
“I will thanks,” she said. She gave her father a hug when he came over, “Bye dad.
“Bye Pumpkin,” he said, “Call us.”
“Well then I’ll be off too,” Mrs. Weasley said, “I’m sure Fleur will be needing me soon.”
“Thank you Mrs. Weasley,” Hermione said.
“No problem dear,” and winked at her, “Floo me if you need anything.”
A few moments later the parents were gone leaving the three friends alone.
Harry’s mouth quirked and Hermione gave him a dark look.
“Don’t,” she warned him.
“Don’t what?” Harry said trying to keep his face straight, “I was thinking of something else.”
“Uh uh,” Hermione said not believing him in the least bit.
Harry looked at Ron, who was smiling knowing what Harry was thinking. Harry turned back to Hermione and then said, “How do you feel?”
“ARGH!” Hermione exclaimed and pointed to the door, “That’s it! Get out both of you!”
Harry and Ron ducked a couple of pillows thrown their way as they retreated from her room laughing.
Ron closed the door and looked at Harry, “Well I think she’s feeling better?”
“Me too,” he said.
A day later Kathryn approached Harry after their last class, “Harry can I see you in my office please?”
“Sure,” he said and followed her into her office.
“Please close the door,” she said and sat down, “I have something which cannot go past this office. At least for right now.”
Harry closed the door and sat on the other side of her desk, “What is it?”
Kathryn looked a little uncomfortable and hesitated for a moment, “I’ve been told you are very trustworthy and loyal.”
Harry nodded wondering where this was leading too.
Kathryn sat up straight, “I think… I believe there’s a traitor in the Ministry, specifically the Aurors Department.”
Harry’s eyebrows twitched upwards a fraction of an inch, but he remained quiet.
“I’m not sure who, but I’ve been having this thought ever since the Aurors were nearly wiped out,” she looked at him with a bit of nervousness, “I need to know your thoughts on this… you don’t look at all surprised by me saying this.”
Harry shifted in his seat, “Voldemort’s always had some type of spy or informant in the Ministry. It’s not surprising if there was one now. I don’t know who’d it be, but who would you ask to find out?”
“I don’t know that’s the problem,” she replied, “I could ask Shacklebolt, but then he runs the risk of his inquires killing him. This sort of inquiry would have to go through Filmier anyway.”
Harry nodded, “We could do our own inquiry from here.”
“Yes, but that would require a lot of information from here to be falsified, which will hard for you and me to keep up with so we wouldn’t blow the plan,” she was silent for a moment, “Any other ideas?”
An idea suddenly hit Harry, “Ron.”
“Yes,” Harry said, “he works there with his father. He’s in a perfect position to see if our plan is working. Plus, he would see who before we would.”
Kathryn looked a little apprehensive, “Can he be trusted with this?”
Harry’s face flushed with anger at her question. Then he calmed down realizing that she didn’t know Ron like he did, “Absolutely.”
She looked away in deep thought and then nodded, “Let’s do it.”
A few days later and after explaining the plan to Ron and Hermione (who insisted on being a part of it even though she couldn’t actually help), Kathryn put the plan in motion. She started sending back reports that were slightly augmented and half-truths. When Ron reported that nothing was being said or even that no one even noticed the reports, Harry began thinking that there may not be a traitor in the Ministry at all.
Hermione, who was now able to get around without too much difficulty, thought that the person maybe someone new and she decided to check through the Ministry personnel files to see if she could turn up anything. Harry asked her to be careful and Ron to keep an eye out for her.
It wasn’t until the first week of February before Ron reported that something was happening.
“Dad said Filmier’s really concerned what’s happening at Hogwarts,” he said one night when Harry had joined them, “He says that at the staff meetings he tries to brush it off as nothing, but when he’s not around the Ministry Cabinet he’s concerned.”
Harry thought for a moment, “I wonder why?”
“He may not be able to protect Hogwarts,” Hermione said.
Ron looked at her as if she had suddenly grown another arm, “With all the teachers there plus Kathryn and Harry, I think they have enough protection.”
“There aren’t that many Aurors left Ron,” Hermione said, “The office only has about a dozen people in it. As for what’s left of the field Aurors they’re pretty much running their legs off trying to keep up with the evil that Voldemort’s generating.”
“I’m just saying Hogwarts is better protected than most places,” Ron said.
“It may not be,” Hermione said, “Look at out sixth year when the Death Eaters showed up and Dumbledore was,” her voice broke for a moment, “killed by Snape.”
“That’s because Snape helped them,” Ron countered, “Without his help they would have been screwed.”
“Ron,” Harry interrupted quietly, “’Mione’s right. The school may not be as well defended now that Dumbledore’s gone. No one in their right mind would have attacked when he was around.”
Ron nodded his head, “Well that’s pretty much it. The rest of the Aurors keep looking to Filmier for instruction, but he isn’t giving them any.”
Harry looked at Hermione curiously, “That’s odd. He should have at least come to see us and see what we’re doing,” he said.
The chime on the clock sounded. Harry looked up at it and stood, “I need to get going. Please let me know if anything happens.”
With that he was out the door. Ron gave Hermione a brief worried look and after giving a quick kiss, bid her goodnight and went to bed.
It wasn’t until late on a Friday of that week before they had their answer and it was by sheer happenstance.
Hermione was looking through the personnel files when she came upon Filmier’s. She opened it and saw several Ministry photos of him during his career as an Auror. She read through as was impressed by the wizard’s skill and accomplishments. He certainly was more than capable to head the Aurors, but there was a gap in his record of several months that he’d taken as a leave of absence with no explanation.
She finished his file, put it on the growing pile and picked up another. She read through many more before Ron came home. His arrival was announced by a loud bang and swearing.
“’Mione I’m home!”
She closed her eyes and sighed, “Yes I know I heard you from here!” she shouted back.
She heard him come running up the steps and stop at her door.
He knocked, “May I come in?”
She smiled, “No, I’m not dressed!”
She thought she heard him choke on the other side of the door. She chuckled and used her wand to open the door. She laughed even harder at his expression. It was a mix of surprise and expectation. When he saw she was dressed he coughed and his face turned red.
“I… I…,” he stammered, “I just was coming to say hi.”
“Is that all?” she said giving him a playful look.
“Uhhh… well… uhh,” he stammered still.
She laughed at him again and stood, went over to him wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a passionate kiss. It would have lasted longer if the didn’t hear a creak of one of the floorboards.
They turned and saw Harry walking down the steps.
“Harry!” Hermione called out and he stopped at the bottom.
“Sorry guys,” he said, “I wasn’t looking.”
“It’s ok,” Ron said, “What’s up?”
“Kathryn’s here with me,” he said.
“Oh, we’ll be down in a moment,” Hermione said and went back into her room while Ron followed Harry downstairs and into the study.
“Mr. Weasley,” she smiled said in greeting when he entered.
“Professor,” he said, “’Mione will be right down.”
Hermione came down a moment later and greeted Kathryn. After a few moments of small talk Kathryn asked if Hermione had found something.
“Not yet,” she replied, “The only thing out of the ordinary was an unexplained couple month leave of absence in Filmier’s records. Aside from that everyone else is clean.”
Kathryn looked contemplative for a moment and shook her head, “Not enough,” she said, “Besides his mother could have been sick for all we know.”
The others nodded and Kathryn stood, “Well why don’t we head out and get something to eat? My treat. Assuming you can join us Hermione?”
Hermione nodded without hesitation as she had been cooped up since she had come home. They decided to head to Diagon Alley where Kathryn knew a small restaurant near Gringotts. They entered the restaurant and were greeted by an older witch.
“Ah Kathryn, welcome back!”
Kathryn smiled at her, “Thanks Magdalena.”
“I see you brought some children with you,” the witch said, “Yours?”
Kathryn laughed, “No, not mine. These are some friends of mine. Hermione Granger, Ronald Weasley and Harry Potter.”
The witch was shocked when she saw Harry, “Are you really?” she asked him.
Harry nodded and shook her hand. The witch led them to a small booth near the back. Harry sat with Kathryn while Ron sat with Hermione.
“I discovered this place shortly after I got here several years ago,” Kathryn explained, “Magdalena was a big help. She allowed me to rent her loft above this place and kept me fed.”
The trio looked around and took in the surroundings. It was smallish for a restaurant, maybe twenty tables and booths. It was decorated with many pictures of wizards, witches and other types of wizarding paraphernalia. It was lit with enough light as to not blind the eater, but darkened enough to allow a certain amount of ambiance. The tables were covered with multi-colored tablecloths and similarly colored napkins.
They ordered their food and Kathryn chatted with them about different areas of interest in the restaurant. Hermione excused herself to use the bathroom as Ron and Harry talked about the broom on the wall near the kitchen door.
“It can’t be.”
“I’m telling you, it looks like the one Krum used at The Quidditch World Cup we went to.”
Harry shook his head, “No, his was a…”
Harry turned quickly at Hermione’s shout and the three emptied the booth and rushed over to see Hermione standing in front of on wall leading to the bathrooms. She was looking at framed copy of The Daily Prophet.
“What is it?” he asked.
She pointed to the bottom corner and to a picture that was incomplete, “That’s Filmier,” she said.
Harry peered at the picture and saw a younger looking man that looked a lot like the head of the Aurors.
“Could be coincidence,” Harry said.
Kathryn looked at the picture and then looked for the caption, “Magda?” she called out.
The older witch came out from the kitchen and looked at them in curiously when she saw them by the bathrooms.
“Bathrooms ok?” she asked, “That bloody boggart’s not back is it?”
Kathryn pointed at the picture, “Is this complete?”
Magdalena looked at the framed front cover, “Yes,” she said, “I just folded it.”
“Can we please see it then?” Kathryn asked.
Magdelena shrugged, “I don’t see why not,” she said taking the frame down and handing to Kathryn.
Kathryn smiled, “Thanks. We’ll becareful and put it back when we’re finished.”
They went back to the table and undid the paper from the frame. Kathryn spread it out and read the caption, “‘Death Eaters operating in Devonshire’.”
There was no caption under the photo, but Hermione was not letting up that the man in the photo was Filmier.
The an idea hit her, “What’s the date?”
“February 10th,” Ron said immediately.
She rolled her eyes and let out a little sigh of annoyance, “Nooo, the date of the paper.”
“April 5th of 1981,” Kathryn replied, “Why?”
Hermione was thinking fast, “That’s it!” she exclaimed, “The leave of absence was during that time. He was there! That’s him!”
Kathryn looked from the picture to Hermione with skepticism, “I’m not so sure Hermione. It would be a coincidence certainly, but hardly proof.”
“But I’m sure of it,” she replied.
“’Mione,” Harry said quietly, “Kathryn’s right. This photograph isn’t enough. It doesn’t even show him very well. We need more that this.”
Hermione speared Harry with a look as if he’d betrayed her. Harry knew that she hated him for saying it, but she knew he was right.
“Look, Hermione,” Kathryn said, “This is a good place to start. Maybe The Daily Prophet has other photos of this.”
They quickly ate and then went over to The Daily Prophet. They had little trouble gaining access to the archives and immediately went to the photos of that date.
“Ah here we go!” Kathryn said pulling out the small box. She placed it down on a large flat table and they stood around it as she pulled out the photos that were inside.
“That’s the one used in the paper,” Ron said pointing to the first one she picked up.
They went through them all, but found nothing useful. Kathryn placed the pictures back in the box and put it away, “I’m sorry Hermione, but there’s nothing else.”
They turned and were surprised to find Hermione pulling down a small box in a different isle.
“’Mione?” Ron asked.
Hermione brought the box over and opened it.
“These were taken shortly before Voldemort’s death,” she said, “That was also the day when the attack on Diagon Alley happened.”
Ron nodded, “I remember Dad talking to Charlie and Bill about that years ago. He said they just showed up and started attacking everybody.”
“I also happens to be just before Filmier’s leave ended,” Hermione added, “He was back at work two days later.”
She picked through the pictures before stopping on one and smiling. She looked at the three of them and held up the photo towards them.
Kathryn and Harry looked at it and nodded. Ron looked at it then at Hermione and exclaimed, “You’re bloody brilliant ‘Mione!”
The photo showed a brief shot of Voldemort’s Death Eaters attacking Diagon Alley. Most of the photo was blurred with the exception of two dark clad figures. The first was a long-time thorn in Harry’s side Lucius Malfoy. The other was none other than Leon Filmier, abet much younger.
“How’d the Ministry miss this when Filmier was appointed to be head of the Aurors? Or even Malfoy’s picture?” Ron asked any of them.
Kathryn shrugged, “Who knows,” she replied, “No one probably knows it was here.”
“Are you sure it’s Filmier?” Ron asked.
“Yes,” Hermione said, “Who else could it be?”
“I can’t believe that he’d be behind this,” Ron said finally accepting what he was told.
“It was set up a long time ago,” Hermione said, “When he became head of the Aurors he had the perfect opportunity to be able to control them.”
“Control them? He helped wiped them out,” Harry said, “He probably had a hand in Mrs. Bones’ disappearance so he could get the position.”
“You think You-know-who helped him?” Ron asked.
“Yes,” Harry and Hermione said together.
“Hermione and I will make copies of the photo just in case. Then I’ll need to get The Minister,” Kathryn said, “He’ll need to be informed and confront Filmier.”
“Not before me,” Harry whispered.
After obtaining the copies, Hermione was sent to The Burrow (with a great amount of vehement swearing on her part) and Harry, Kathryn and Ron used the Floo Network to arrive at the normally busy lobby of the Ministry. However, at this time of day it was devoid of everyone, except the guard at the check in desk.
“What can I do for you?” he asked gruffly. He perked up when he saw who they were, “Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley! I’m sorry, I didn’t know who you were.”
“That’s ok Harold,” Ron said, “I just forgot my briefcase in my office and I just wanted to pop in and get it,” he leaned up on the counter casually, “I’m taking him out for dinner and I need my wallet if I’m going to pay.”
Harold smiled at him, “Of course Mr. Weasley. Please don’t let me hold you up.”
Ron winked at him and the three entered the lift. Ron pressed the button for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
“How long will it take Professor Ryan to get here with help?” Ron asked Harry.
“She should be here in less than fifteen minutes,” Harry said pulling out his wand.
Ron swallowed hard and looked up at the level numbers, “I hope she’s on time.”
The ‘lift stopped and the door opened. Harry cautiously looked out into the hall and didn’t see anybody. They got off the ‘lift and headed down the corridor towards the Aurors Department.
The offices were empty with the exception of a couple of cubicles near the far side. Ron immediately turned and headed towards those while Harry continued onto large office in the back. He stopped and knocked on the door.
Harry opened the door and walked in. He found Filmier sitting behind his desk reading a report.
He looked up, “Yes, Mr. Potter?”
Harry walked up and stood in front of his desk, “Sir, I have a question if I may?”
Filmier exhaled loudly, “What is it Potter and make it fast. I don’t really have time for you.”
“Make the time,” Harry said coldly.
Harry’s tone wasn’t lost on Filmier, “Mr. Potter, that tone will not be tolerated in here.”
“And your involvement with Voldemort will not be tolerated by the wizarding world,” Harry snapped back.
“Don’t,” Harry said, “Don’t even try it. I know you were once a Death Eater.”
“That’s preposterous!” Filmier shouted.
“No it’s not,” Harry said, “I came across a picture that showed you as one of Voldemort’s original Death Eaters.
Filmier never looked away from Harry the entire time, “You’ll have to prove it.”
Harry smiled and tossed the photo on Filmier’s desk and saw the older man’s face go white, “This picture will be proof enough to get you sent to Azkaban. That and the fact that you set up the Aurors to get wiped out at Malfoy Manor.”
Filmier stood and Harry pointed his wand at him. The head Auror ignored it and blustered on, “I did not set them up! I was there when it happened! We were out-numbered!”
“I saw you sneak away from the battle!” Harry shouted, “I was there! You knew what they were up against! It was planned for them to be wiped out!”
“I ordered a retreat!” he shouted.
“No order was given,” Harry countered, “Even as an Auror-in-training I would have received it, but I didn’t because one was never issued!”
There was a heavy silence in the office before Harry spoke again, this time softer and colder.
“I’m willing to cut you a chance here. Tell me where he is and you maybe able to get out of this building alive. If not they will give you veritaserum and they will know everything. ”
“I don’t know what you’re…” he started.
“Tell me where he is!” Harry shouted pulling out his wand and pointing it under the older man’s chin at his throat.
Filmier swallowed and eyes dropped to the wand under his chin, “Fine. You win. You seem to be a very smart boy,” he stood up straight and looked at Harry, “Yes, I’m a Death Eater. I was one of the first. Snape, Malfoy, Black, Crouch… we were all the first to join him, but certainly not the last.”
Harry stood with his wand out straight and waited for Filmier to continue. The older man suddenly smirked at Harry. Harry was a little taken aback by this but stood still never the less.
Then there was a commotion outside the door. Both Harry and Filmier heard the unmistakable voice of Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister of Magic.
“Miss Ryan, I’m sure you must be mistaken,” he was saying, “Leon’s innocent. Ah Leon… Oh Mr. Potter put down your wand!”
“No,” Harry said flatly.
“I, as The Minister of Magic, order you to put your wand away before I have you arrested!”
“By who?” Ron asked, “Sir, every Auror including myself was standing outside the office when Harry was speaking to Filmier. We heard everything!”
“You may have heard incorrectly Mr. Weasley.”
“Not quite,” Ron’s voice sounded confident, “We have the whole conversation recorded.”
He smiled as he held up a small glass sphere that resembled a Remembrall. Harry saw that it was one of the same glass balls used to record prophecies. He smiled at his friend and looked back at Scrimgeour.
The Minister however was less than impressed, “Look, I’m sure you all have been under a lot of stress recently. It may have led you to reach an erroneous conclusion based on very circumstantial evidence,” he paused, “But I can’t possibly relieve Leon here based on a couple of teenagers’ words. How would that make me look?”
“Like a genius,” Kathryn said from behind him.
Scrimgeour turned and looked at her dumbfounded. Kathryn, for her credit, never wavered from her position.
“Minister, I have learned over the last several weeks that if The Ministry had listened and acted on Mr. Potter and his friends years before,” she inclined her head towards Harry, “then we wouldn’t be in this situation now. Now that was a mistake your predecessor made and it cost him his job. Do you want it to also cost you yours?”
Harry saw that Scrimgeour was thinking very hard as to what to do. The wizard was a politician like Fudge and Harry knew that that was Fudge’s ultimate downfall.
“Your argument is very persuasive Miss. Ryan,” Scrimgeour said, “I must call the Ministry Cabinet and issue an inquiry. Until then please place Mr. Filmier in custody.”
Harry, Ron and Kathryn let out a collective sigh of relief. Filmier was relieved of his wand and escorted out by Shacklebolt and two other Aurors. Just as he passed Harry he gave Harry a cold piercing look that could have cut steel in two. Once Filmier was gone the Minister turned back to the group.
“Now, I will be appointing a new head for your department soon,” he said, “Until then your department will fall under my offices’ jurisdiction, which is standard procedure. Please continue with your assignments until further notice.”
And with that he was gone. The remaining Aurors looked at each other.
“What now?” one asked.
“We do what we were told to do,” Kathryn said, “We do what we were doing before this happened. So that means Harry and I need to get back to Hogwarts.”
The rest nodded and went back to their duties while the other three headed towards the ‘lift.
“I’ll go pick up ‘Mione and take her home,” Ron said.
“Make sure you duplicate that first,” Kathryn said pointing to the glass ball in Ron’s hand, “You break that we’ll have a very difficult time with Filmier.”
Ron nodded and immediately left with another Auror named Evans to do just that.
Kathryn turned to Harry, “Good work Harry.”
“Not me,” he said, “It was Hermione.”
“True,” Kathryn said nodding, “but you got Filmier to spill his guts.”
“I bullied him.”
“Yes, but it worked,” she looked at him from the corner of her eyes and her mouth quirked upwards, “First you punch-out Snape, then you brow-beat Filmier. I like your style.”
Harry shook his head, “It’s not my style.”
“Harry, sometimes you have to be flexible in how you do things,” Kathryn said, “Even if it’s something that goes against your grain.”
Harry nodded in comprehension. He remained silent for a moment before he snorted, “It did feel good to punch Snape.”
Kathryn smile grew, “Then it wasn’t a complete waste of energy.”
Harry smiled slightly and they exited the ‘lift and headed back to Hogwarts.