Chapter 2 - Return to Civilization
Sunday 22 February 1998
"Good morning. I apologize for summoning you in this manner, but there is a rather urgent matter I wish to discuss with you," said the British Minister of Magic.
"Why me?" Harry asked.
"For two reasons, firstly, I believe the matter has already affected your friends personally, and secondly, the people of this country whose support I need still remember what you did for them," Scrimgeour said.
"You're going to try to use my husband to gain support again? Well, that's not going to happen." Susan said.
Though Harry agreed, he still wanted to hear what the Minister was talking about. It might have something to do with what had happened last night, but what could that have to do with the wizarding community as a whole?
"What's so important that you need to speak with me personally?" Harry asked.
"I heard of what happened last night. Our intelligence shows that the men fighting alongside the Death Eaters were French. We have known for some time that after the war, the remaining Death Eaters fled to France where they have been since."
"You're insinuating the French had something to do with the attack?" Harry asked
"The evidence points in that direction," said the Minister.
"And you want me to support you when you officially accuse them?"
"The population trusts you."
Over the bond, Harry could feel Susan trying to warn him. Looking at her, he saw almost no sign of her suspicion. She had, after all, been the sole heir to a pureblood house and was, therefore, well-trained in politics.
"Wouldn't it be better to gather more evidence before openly accusing an entire country for the deeds of a few?" Harry argued.
He was also thinking about what the surviving Frenchman had told them before being taken away. Considering exactly what that implied, he thought it best not to reveal his knowledge.
"I would have said the same were it not for the way the French have been dealing with their resident Death Eaters. They have blatantly refused our requests for extradition," Scrimgeour said.
"What happened to the remaining assailants from last night?" Susan asked.
"They are our captives and currently under interrogation," Scrimgeour answered.
"I would like to speak with them," Harry said.
"The ministry is quite capable of questioning its prisoners, I assure you"
"As you said yourself, this has affected two of our friends quite harshly. I think it would reassure them to know that someone they trusted had a hand in finding out what happened."
"I understand. Very well, you may speak to one of the survivors. Ms. Lightwood?"
A young woman in her twenties walked into the office.
"Would you please escort Mr and Mrs Potter to speak to prisoner no. 4?"
"Of course. Right this way."
The cell was dark and featureless, not even sporting the classic iron bars. The only light came from a candle hidden in an alcove.
"You have ten minutes," Ms. Lightwood informed them.
The prisoner did not look well. He was barely patched up and had not changed clothes since yesterday.
As soon as the door was closed, they cast a privacy charm.
"What's your name?" Harry asked.
"Bélanger. Josué Bélanger," the captive replied.
"Why did you attack 12 Grimmauld Place yesterday evening?" Harry asked. He was standing directly in front of the man while Susan stood off to the side.
"To kidnap Narcissa Black," Monsieur Bélanger answered. He was considerably better at English than the other Frenchman.
"And why would you do that?" Harry asked.
"To gain leverage over you."
"And you did this of your own accord?"
"Yes," Josué said with slight fear in his eyes.
"We all know that isn't true," Susan said, moving a little closer.
"It is!" the Frenchman insisted.
"We spoke with your friend yesterday, and he gave us a different story. He told us he had only done it to protect his family," Harry said.
"They told me my family and I would be safe if I did as they said!"
"Who are "they"?"
"Didn't see who they were."
"Do you know anything that might help us find out who did this?" Harry asked getting impatient.
The Frenchman only shook his head.
"It's the only chance of helping your family," Susan said gently, sending a warning glance to Harry. Being impatient wasn't going to get them anywhere.
"As I already told you, I do not know who did this," Josué repeated.
"Are you sure there is nothing you can tell us?"
"One second, I was on my way home, the next someone has a wand to my neck, tells me he will stun me and to assist the masked men when I wake up. The next I know I am surrounded by masked men in black robes outside the house."
"I don't think we can do much more here," Susan said.
"Me neither," Harry agreed.
On their way out of the Ministry, they were approached by a young woman.
"Hey, how are you doing? It's been a long time," Lavender Brown greeted.
"It has, and your working here full time?" Susan asked.
"I am. It's challenging and hard work, but far more interesting than school," Lavender replied, "I was going to get some lunch. Have you got anything planned?"
"Nothing specific, lunch would be nice. Harry?"
"Sure. It's been some time since we've been in England, might be nice to see things again," Harry answered.
The three sat down in one of the many cafe/restaurants in Diagon Alley. Harry and Susan had applied mild glamours to avoid being overrun by the press eager to get an interview, or even a single quote, from the saviour of magical Britain.
"So, how have you two been? How about the triplets? Enjoying married life on your own private island?" Ms. Brown asked.
"Indeed we are, and the triplets are just great. Only yesterday Amelia took her first steps." Mrs Potter answered.
"Really? That's great!" Lavender exclaimed, "I'm curious, what is your family name? I mean, Potter, obviously, but what about Bones?"
"You mean what's the point of the end-of-the-line clause if the name isn't carried on anyway?" Harry asked.
Harry looked to Susan to let her answer.
"Officially, our name is Potter-Bones. We chose to join the two families to one, as we both are the last surviving members and didn't want our children and their children to be split between Potters and Bones. We go by Potter though, Potter-Bones is a bit of a mouthful." Susan explained.
"That explains it. Tragic though the cause of its creation might be, It wouldn't surprise me if this new family quickly reaches and surpasses the level of its predecessors," Lavender said.
"I hope so. For now, our main focus is on enjoying ourselves and raising our kids as well as possible," Harry replied.
They avoided the subject of last night, as they mostly wanted to enjoy some time away from the island. Nice as it was to spends months on end in a place that for most was reserved for a few holidays in the summer, it was nice to see the rest of society sometimes.
Time passed as the three reacquainted themselves until Lavender cast a Tempus to check the time.
"Shit. I need to be going, " she said while signalling to pay the bill.
"Don't worry, we'll do that," Harry said.
"No no, it's fine."
"Seriously, I think we can afford it." Susan assured her.
Lavender hesitated shortly.
"Thank you," she said before hurrying off.
After paying, the couple sat a few minutes enjoying seeing a Diagon Alley not under the direct effects of civil war. Of course, there were still signs of the conflict: people were a little more careful locking their doors, and the economy was still recovering, but mostly things were back to normal.