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The Case of the Missing Wizard
Chapter 1. The Boy Who Vanished
So, another new one. Starts with Harry Potter, will jump to Sherlock in the next chapter, then goes to a blending of both. But mostly Sherlock, so I'll leave it there.
August 2, 1995
The drought and heat wave had tempers fraying and harsh words being said between loving family members all over southern England. Between family members that were less than loving, such as Harry Potter and his loathsome relations the Dursleys, the words were often more than harsh and sometimes accompanied by rough layings-on of hands. By the beginning of August, Harry Potter’s Aunt Petunia had taken to tossing him out of the house whenever she could in an effort to keep him away from the rest of the family, and Harry had to agree with her reasons. If the weather remained unrelenting, he would lay odds on an assault, or perhaps even a murder, happening in Number Four, Privet Drive before very long. While he appreciated the reprieve from endless housework, he made an effort to be home while Uncle Vernon watched the evening news, which Harry knew he did religiously because he enjoyed shouting at the telly. If Harry couldn’t be in the house, he could listen from outside the window, even if that meant sitting in the garden with only a hydrangea bush to hide him from passers-by.
Accordingly, as the hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close, Harry was sprawled on his back in the dry, powdery dirt and dying plants of the garden beneath the living room window. He listened to Uncle Vernon throwing some random abuse in his direction – he agreed with everyone else that Harry should remain in the Mushroom Club, but that was no surprise. Mrs. Figg from over on Wisteria Walk wandered by, apparently looking for one of her cats; Harry had seen the beast flitting about the neighborhood, and he wished it well in its bid for freedom – he wouldn’t want to spend all day cooped up in Mrs. Figg’s cabbage-smelling house either. He glimpsed a furry face peeking out from under Number Six’s car and winked at it conspiratorially, as if it could really understand that he was on its side and would not give it away. He sort of envied the cat – given half a chance, he’d become a cat animagus like Professor McGonagall and go live with the feral cat colony behind the Tesco instead of here. Anywhere instead of here.
The news was quite boring, as it had been for the last month, beginning with travelers stranded due to a baggage-handler’s strike, then progressing on to the drought, a random helicopter crash, a lurid celebrity divorce, and finishing with a water-skiing budgie. The tension he’d been experiencing all afternoon evaporated – another day and nothing happened – though he had to wonder why exactly nothing happened – surely Voldemort had to be up to something! But not today at least, and the relief left him feeling a little limp as he rolled over so he could get up and hopefully sneak off unseen by his Aunt and Uncle.
He had moved about two inches when a sharp, loud crack broke the silence like a firecracker going off. The cat streaked out from under the neighbor’s car and flew out of sight. A shriek (Aunt Petunia), a bellowed oath (Uncle Vernon), and the sound of breaking china (either or both of them) came from the Dursleys’ living room. Harry jumped to his feet, at the same time drawing his wand from the waistband of his jeans – an awkward place to keep it, but the best he’d been able to manage so far. At least he tried to jump to his feet. Halfway up, the top of his head collided with the frame of the open window with a loud crash. Aunt Petunia screamed even louder, and it was all Harry could do not to let his wobbly knees collapse and send him back down into the dirt. His head felt as if it had been split in two; his eyes streamed with tears and little lights swam in his vision from the impact. Nonetheless, he tried valiantly to focus on the street and spot the source of the noise. He was caught by surprise when two large hands reached through the open window and closed tightly around his throat.
“Put. It. Away!” Uncle Vernon snarled. “Now! Before.Anyone.Sees!” He seemed to be trying to drag Harry bodily in through the window.
“Get – off – me!” Harry growled in return, trying to grab one of his uncle’s meaty fingers to pull it away from his throat. In Harry’s experience from wrestling with larger opponents (mostly Dudley), if you grabbed a finger and yanked it backwards, the rest of the hand usually came with it. However, since he stubbornly clung to the wand with his right hand and only had his left free to work with, Uncle Vernon’s fingers remained locked, and breathing was rapidly becoming an issue. Pain throbbed in Harry’s head, and his uncle yelped and released him as though he had been stung or shocked. Accidental magic? It wouldn’t be the first time, and Harry didn’t question it further. Staggering out of Uncle Vernon’s reach and almost falling over the hydrangea bush, he glanced around, trying to take in as many details as fast as possible. If Cedric’s death had accomplished nothing else, it was to teach Harry to notice things – if you didn’t notice, if you didn’t understand what you were seeing, you couldn’t react properly, and then you wound up dead.
In this case, he noticed Mrs. Number Seven peering out at them from behind her curtains, and a few other neighbors at various windows. Nothing else was moving; even the cat was out of sight.
“Lovely evening!” shouted Uncle Vernon, who had also apparently noticed Mrs. Number Seven. “Did you hear that car backfire just now? Gave Petunia and me quite a turn!”
He continued to grin in a horrible, manic way until he thought the neighbors had stopped looking; then the grin became a grimace of rage as he beckoned Harry back toward him.
Harry had more sense than to venture back into strangling range, and it was as well, since the ensuing conversation was just as ugly as he thought it was going to be. He broke it off with a final insult and stalked off up the street. It would take Uncle Vernon a few hours to calm down before he could go back to the house. Hell, it would take Harry himself a few hours to calm down. Uncle Vernon probably wouldn’t calm down for a week. Harry would definitely be paying the price for this later on, but later was later, and with any luck the world would end before then …
Harry walked on, his feet working automatically while he thought. The cracking noise had sounded like someone Apparating or Disapparating. He’d heard it several times at the Quidditch World Cup, and it was also similar to the sound Dobby the house-elf made when he vanished (though that was really more of a ‘pop’). He wheeled around and stared back down Privet Drive, but it appeared to be completely deserted again. Neither Dobby nor any wizard or witch was to be seen – not that he’d expected it, really. If it was Dobby, he was sure the little elf would hide, or possibly become invisible. He didn’t know if Dobby knew how to become invisible, but house-elves somehow did all their work without being seen. He just didn’t know. Not enough facts, dammit. How was he supposed to figure things out without enough facts to go on?
He walked on, paying only cursory attention to his route; he had walked these streets so often over the years that he knew every crack in the pavement, and his feet carried him to his favorite haunts automatically. He wasn’t completely careless, of course. Every few steps he glanced back over his shoulder, or flicked his gaze along a side street or into a neighbor’s garden. The more he thought of it, the more convinced he was that someone had been near him in the garden; there had been a faint odor of tobacco smoke and whiskey mixed with the smell of dried grass and earth, he was sure of it. Whoever it was was probably gone now, but why hadn’t they spoken to him when they were close? There had been plenty of opportunity. He thought about Headmaster Dumbledore’s comment to him in first year: “I don’t need a cloak to become invisible.” And Ron’s when he got the cloak: “They're really rare, and really valuable.” Rare, but not unique; his cloak obviously wasn’t the only one. Wasn’t there a ring in some Muggle storybook that made the wearer invisible? If even the Muggles thought about it, maybe wizards had other things than cloaks that could do it? And maybe there were other spells … but he wasn’t Hermione, she probably had every spell in the Standard Book of Spells memorized, and half the ones in the rest of the library at Hogwarts. He didn’t remember, he didn’t study … That is something else that will change, he thought grimly. He couldn’t depend on Hermione to remember things for him. Not when she might not be there.
The more frustrated he became, however, the less certain he was.
Perhaps it had just been a car backfire, maybe one street over. Or something breaking in a neighbor’s house. Maybe he just wanted so badly for it to be a sign of contact from the wizarding world that he was simply overreacting to a perfectly ordinary noise. After all, there was nothing in the news, either magical or Muggle. The only contacts he had in the magical world weren’t even talking to him, not properly. Ron and Hermione’s letters were full of little cryptic comments about what they knew, what they were doing, but they couldn’t tell him, no, not the person who most needed to know it. He knew they were together, and assumed it was at the Burrow. He could hardly bear to think of the pair of them having fun there when he was stuck in Privet Drive. The twins … he had given them the Tournament prize money, not a small amount … and had he heard one word from them, even a thank you note? No. Forget them. They’re unreliable. Was there anyone else? Sirius sent notes telling him to sit tight and be a good boy. A Marauder! Telling him this? What did he expect? Information, he thought. I’m isolated, even in school. I need to change that … make more friends. If not friends, at least contacts.Other houses?Other years? Slytherin would be hard, but surely not all of them could be part of Malfoy’s clique. Hufflepuff … Susan Bones had an aunt in the Ministry, he’d heard – that could be useful. And Justin Finch-Fletchley – he was down for Eton before he got his Hogwarts letter. Even thoroughly middle-class Harry knew what that meant. All sorts of connections on the Muggle side there.
Plotting and planning, his mind finally fully engaged, Harry headed toward the darkening play park, which was closed at this hour and would provide some privacy. He vaulted easily over the locked gate and crossed the parched lawn, hearing the sound of crispy grass stems breaking beneath his feet as he walked. When he reached the swings, he sank onto the only one that Dudley and his friends had not yet destroyed, wrapped the chain around one arm, and rubbed at his scar. He had not been sleeping well lately, his dreams alternating between Cedric’s death and long dark corridors, all finishing in dead ends and locked doors. From what he remembered about dream interpretation in his Divination classes, that meant he was feeling trapped and confined. No surprise there. To round off the lot, sometimes he dreamed he was trying to find the door Cedric was on the other side of, before something awful happened. He’d done a little magic Hermione recommended for bad dreams (non-Traceable, she said, because it didn’t use his wand, but he’d still spent hours terrified a Ministry notice would come the first time he tried it). It hadn’t really helped, or if it had, he didn’t want to know what the dreams he should have been having were like. Often the scar on his forehead prickled uncomfortably, but even he didn’t find that very interesting anymore. Voldemort was back, the scar was irritated, nothing new in that.
He forced his mind back to thinking, planning, organizing. Dreams would not help. Anger – at Dumbledore, at Ron and Hermione, at Sirius, at the stupid Daily Prophet, at the Minister – would not help. Not even at Voldemort, if it came down to it. Anger only got in the way. All he had to do was to look at Snape to see that. He pushed it away. Snape was a torment to be endured and then he could leave the man behind. Only three more years, he could do that standing on his head. Voldemort was a puzzle to be solved, a threat to be removed. Nobody else seemed willing or able to do it, not even Dumbledore, supposedly the greatest wizard of the age. For whatever reason – and he was sure there was a reason, and he made a mental note to find out that reason – it fell to him, a barely fifteen-year-old boy, to deal with it.
While he thought, a sultry, velvety night fell around him, the humid air full of the smell of warm, dry grass and the only sound that of the low grumble of traffic on the road beyond the park railings. He only looked up when he heard a distant rumble that was not traffic. The streetlamps from the surrounding roads were casting a misty glow, which was the only light available – there were no lights in the park, which was officially closed for the night, and the moon and stars were invisible behind clouds which had rolled in during the hours he was thinking. As he looked, sheet lightning flashed through the clouds, followed some seconds later by another rumble. A storm was coming in. It would break the heat, but it would be best for him to be in the house before it did. Aunt Petunia wouldn’t appreciate him coming in sodden and dripping all over her floors.
He’d only just stood up when he heard two sharp cracks, one after another, just the same as he had on Privet Drive. And now he knew the sounds were magical, knew it beyond a doubt, because two people were standing in the light of the streetlamp nearest the park gate. Two people who hadn’t been there a second before. Two people wearing robes. Be careful what you ask for, he told himself darkly. You might get it.
A second later he was moving, as quickly and as quietly as he could. They were in the light. He was in the darkness. Even so, he could be seen as a shape against the light sand around the swings once their eyes adjusted. But he knew this park like the back of his hand – had spent years learning all the places in it where he could hide from Dudley and his friends. He ghosted across the sand onto the dry grass, and from there into the denser shadows under a stand of trees. Slipping behind the thick trunk of an oak and keeping his own breathing as quiet as possible, he strained his hearing to listen for any words between the strangers.
“… very Muggle sort of place.” A sniff, perhaps of disapproval. Female voice . Very young. No … somebody trying to sound very young.
“Probably the idea. We’re certainly more noticeable here.” Older man. Scots accent? Hogwarts accent .
“So where is he? The address would be over that way, but the Trace …”
“In there. Somewhere.” The tall man moved toward the locked park gate, which opened soundlessly before him. The shorter woman followed after.
“Yoohoo, Mr. Potter!” came the woman’s voice in a high-pitched sing-song. There was something seriously wrong with that woman, he could tell. “Come out, come out wherever you are!”
“God’s sake, Madam Umbridge. Don’t treat him like a little child. He’s fifteen. Old enough to be tetchy about that.” He spoke in a low voice, but Harry could hear every word. The tip of the man’s wand flashed into light, casting a beam about like a torch.
Harry pressed himself harder against the trunk of the tree, wishing he’d had time to get further away, time to climb the tree … he’d hidden from Dudley in trees plenty of times – no one ever bothered to look up.
“Mr. Potter!” called the man. “Please come out now! This is Auror Wainwright, Ministry Security Division, escorting Madam Dolores Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister. We just want to talk to you.”
The woman cleared her throat with a “hem-hem” noise. “Quite right, Mr. Potter. Please come out. The Ministry would like to have a word with you about … about what happened after the Third Task. We need to hear your story. All of it.” Her voice was now a bit lower pitched, her tone less condescending.
Harry was wracked with indecision. On the one hand, he’d been hoping, praying, for exactly this – that someone from the Ministry would take an interest. On the other hand … he didn’t exactly trust the Ministry, either. The Minister, to be precise. Of the times he’d actually met the Minister, one had been spent sucking up to The-Boy-Who-Lived, and three had been subverting justice or ignoring unpleasant truths. Oh, and spreading unpleasant gossip – he’d almost forgotten the time he crashed the meeting in Rosmerta’s private room. Then there were the other Ministry representatives he’d met – Mr. Crouch, Mr. Bagman – really, the only decent one he’d met was Mr. Weasley. And he got the feeling that Arthur Weasley wasn’t exactly “in” with the rest of the Ministry – he’d have a better job if he was.
So. He wouldn’t trust the Ministry as far as he could throw it.
He licked his lips nervously. He knew every inch of this park; he could doubtless escape them in the dark and either slip through the gap in the fence over by the climbing frame or go over the gate on the other side of the park. But then what? There were two of them. They could Apparate. They could, apparently, track where he was. He’d never get away from them. And where would he go if he did? He had no money, nothing except his wand, and he couldn’t use that without setting the Ministry on himself again. He swore quietly under his breath, words he’d heard Dudley use but never dared speak out loud himself lest Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon hear and punish him for “degeneracy”. The Boy-Who-Lived would never use such language, either – he was practically a saint, he was. Harry really hated the Boy-Who-Lived sometimes.
Taking a deep breath, he stepped out of the shadows. “Madam Umbridge? You wanted to talk to me about Vol – about You-Know-Who?” he said, changing what he was going to say when he saw the stout woman flinch at the first syllable.
“Oh there you are! You had us so worried, young man! There’s no reason to hide, you know, we’re from the Ministry.”
“Sorry, thought you were my cousin and his friends at first. Didn’t particularly want to see them right now,” he said, lying through his teeth. As far as he was concerned, their being from the Ministry gave him every reason to hide, if he could.
“Of course. Completely understandable.Now, then. We at the Ministry understand that you experienced … a traumatic incident in connection with the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament, and we’ve given you some time to recover from it – I do hope you’re feeling a bit more stable, now?”
“I was never unstable, but thank you.”
“Well then, I was hoping you would tell me what you think happened after you took the cup at the Third Task.”
“What I think happened? Why don’t I tell you what did happen and we go from there?”
The short, round woman – who he could see now was wearing robes in an alarming shade of pink – made a moue of disagreement, but indicated with what she probably fondly thought was a regal nod that he should proceed. He gave them the short version, since he didn’t want to be standing there talking until midnight.
Madam Umbridge glanced over to Auror Wainwright, who gave her a tiny nod. She gave a sigh and turned back to Harry.
“And do you have any actual proof of any of this, Mr. Potter?”
“The fake Professor Moody – Barty Crouch, Jr. – he admitted it all in front of witnesses.”
“An escaped prisoner, more than likely insane, is not a reliable witness. By your own admission, he stayed at Hogwarts and wasn’t at this so-called ritual. And he’s been Kissed now in any event, so we can’t confirm it one way or the other.”
“Headmaster Dumbledore, Professors McGonagall and Snape – they were there, they heard him!”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “Yes, he did. And it’s a very good thing for you, young man, that the Ministry has ruled his death a ‘tragic accident’ during the Third Task. Otherwise you might be facing an enquiry for use of a Killing Curse, which as you know carries a lifetime sentence in Azkaban.”
“I didn’t kill Cedric! It was Peter Pettigrew, I told you that!”
“A man who has been dead for fourteen years. Who died a hero, facing You-Know-Who’s right-hand man, and received an Order of Merlin for it.”
“Sirius Black is innocent!” He hadn’t intended to say that, hadn’t intended to bring Sirius into this at all, but this Umbridge woman seemed to be able to rile him up faster than Snape.
“And how do you know that? Have you seen him? Have you talked with him? You know Sirius Black is a wanted criminal, and anyone that sees him is required to report it immediately. Should we bring you up for an enquiry for that as well?”
Harry took two steps backward, and his wand was suddenly in his hand, though he didn’t recall reaching for it.
“Now, now, boy, there’s no reason for that,” said Madam Umbridge, suddenly back to cooing sickeningly at him. “It’s obvious now what’s happened, and you’re not at fault. In fact, you’re a victim. You poor thing.You poor, poor child.”
“I’m not a victim,” Harry replied tightly. Victim, he hated the word. Yeah, things happened to him, but he wasn’t exactly helpless. He could always deal with it. He wasn’t a victim of anything. And particularly not of Sirius Black, who was one of the most brilliant things to happen to him ever. Right up there with discovering he was a wizard in the first place.
“You think not, no, but that’s because you’ve been bespelled,” said Umbridge. “The Confundus Charm, perhaps you’ve heard of it?”
“Heard of it, yeah,” said Harry uneasily. A year ago Snape had claimed that Harry, Ron and Hermione had been Confunded into believing that Sirius was innocent, and Crouch had even managed to use the charm on the Goblet of Fire. Harry himself hadn’t looked it up – idiot, he berated himself, always do your research. Especially with something that’s already bit you on the arse twice! – but he could guess it was powerful if it would even work on something like the Goblet.
“Of course you have, clever boy,” said Umbridge condescendingly. “Professor Snape made a report last year, when Black escaped from Hogwarts, that he believed you and your little friends had been Confunded. That it was the only reason you would believe something so impossible. It’s obvious, now, that you have a susceptibility to it. A master of the Charm can make you believe anything, plant an idea in your head, and once it’s in there, you know, it’s impossible to get rid of. You run it around and around in your mind and keep thinking about it and adding details until you completely believe it. Auror Wainwright here is skilled with Legilimency – he could see your surface thoughts and emotions as you told us your story – and it’s obvious that you do believe it.” Now that was a scary thought.
“I can throw off the Imperius Curse. What makes you think this Confundus Charm would be any harder?”
“Because it’s insidious. You believe it because you want to believe it. Nobody can convince you otherwise. It’s obvious now that this can all be laid at the feet of Sirius Black. He’s Confunded you into believing that he’s your friend, that You-Know-Who has returned and that you, somehow, are supposed to do something about it. Oh, don’t look surprised, it’s the obvious conclusion. Don’t you see, Harry – may I call you Harry? – he’s setting you up! You’re meant to fail, because after all, you’re just a student still and Sirius Black is a powerful wizard. But you are also the Boy-Who-Lived. You have influence, even if Professor Lockhart never managed to teach you how to use it properly. If Black can use your influence to convince the public that You-Know-Who is back, then he gets his power base back – become a Dark Lord in his own right, eventually. He can become the power behind the Death Eaters, and in his own time he can either kill you, to cement that power and destroy the public’s confidence in the Ministry, or worse, convince you to become one of them. Have you any idea how awful that would be, Harry, to have the Boy-Who-Lived, a hero, become a pawn of a Dark Lord – either the old one or a new one?”
“Yeah, I know. Turned him down once already.”
“So you do see! Clever boy! That will make it so much easier to deal with this, won’t it?”
“And how do you intend to … deal with this?” Harry fought to keep his tone level, pretending to be reasonable about this – but how could he be reasonable when she was saying things like that about Sirius?! – and also managing to take one more surreptitious step backwards.
“It’s obvious, isn’t it? The only answer to treating a memory that’s gotten lodged in your mind – be it ever so incorrect – is to remove it. Make you forget all about it.”
“You want to Obliviate me?!” Harry shouted. Another two steps back, nothing surreptitious or careful about it this time.
“Don’t worry, Auror Wainwright is an expert; he performs necessary Obliviations on Muggles regularly. He won’t do anything like what Professor Lockhart tried – yes, we obviously know about that, and no, that was not at all the way it’s supposed to be done.” Umbridge obviously thought her sugary-sweet tone was calming and convincing to a distraught and possibly uncooperative child.
“All I’ll do is ask you to concentrate on those specific memories, and then I’ll remove them,” said Wainwright. “It’s simple and painless and you won’t even be aware they’re gone. I can fill in the gap with something more reasonable, and after that everything will be fine.”
“Forgetting that Voldemort is back won’t stop him from trying to kill me. It’ll just make me an easier target.”
“There’s no need for this paranoia, Mr. Potter. You-Know-Who is not back and he will not try to kill you,” said Umbridge.
Harry smiled grimly. “It isn’t paranoia if they really are out to get you. And you just added yourselves to my list. Go away and leave me alone.”
Wainwright sighed. “Sorry you want to do it this way, lad. Oblivi —”
“Protego! Stupefy! Expelliarmus!”
The park was illuminated by multi-colored flashes of magic as both adults answered Harry’s barrage of spells. He was only buying time, though, and he knew it.
No matter how talented he was, no matter his gifts for Defense Against the Dark Arts, Harry Potter was only fifteen and hadn’t even taken his O.W.L. exams yet. Though Umbridge couldn’t launch spells as fast as Harry could, Wainwright was a full-fledged Auror as well as an Obliviator, and only his desire not to hurt the young man kept him from ending the battle with a single well-placed Blasting Curse. The boy had talent, he could see that, and he thought he’d make an excellent Auror one day. Assuming he could be made to see reason.
Finally Wainwright managed to time a Disarming Spell so that he hit Potter just after Madam Umbridge’s attempted Body-Bind took down the boy’s Shield. His wand flew through the air toward Wainwright, but the older man attempted to grab it with his off hand, and had never been much for Quidditch. He missed, and the wand went flying off into the darkness, where it was invisible to eyes dazzled by spellfire.
Instinctively, Harry turned and ran. Without his wand, he was helpless. If he could get enough of a lead on them, maybe he could get away, find someplace to hide, someplace safe, and then come back to find it later. Run getaway runaway hidesaferungetaway … His magic, already keyed up to defend him, began to swirl around him. The world began to twist, the way it had that awful day Dudley and his gang chased him and he wound up on the school roof. Harry didn’t question it – the faster and further he could get away, the better, anywhere, he didn’t care.
He dove into the twist.
Auror Wainwright, feeling the buildup of magic and more than a little panicked by the thought of accidental magic of that magnitude, let loose his own magic with a roar – “ OBLIVIATE! ” – and the spell sailed into the twist of spacetime and vanished along with the boy. Simultaneously, the supercharged atmosphere produced a lightning bolt that ripped through the space where magic had left a path for it, arcing over and grounding out on the swings. Wainwright and Umbridgeboth tumbled to the ground, blinded by the light and deafened by the thunder that was too loud to be merely a noise, but hit them as a physical blow. Rain hissed to the ground around them as the storm that had threatened all evening was suddenly released.
After a time neither of them could measure, they regained their senses, shaken and shocky from their close call. Wainwright could see Madam Umbridge’s lips moving, but heard nothing. He put one hand up to his ear and felt a wetness stickier than rainwater dripping down from his earlobe. He patted about in the darkness for his wand, muttering “ Lumos ! ” as he did so. After a few tries, a dim light shone from the wand’s tip; fishing it out of a puddle, he cast a quick healing charm on himself and heaved a sigh of relief as he was able to hear her voice again, although as if from a long distance off. Annoying though it was, at that moment it was the sweetest voice he’d ever heard.
“—at was that, Wainwright? What happened?”
“That, unless I miss my guess, was a blind Apparation and possibly the worst splinching I’ve ever seen. We’ll be lucky to find bits of him large enough to identify,” Wainwright said gloomily. This was bad. Career ending bad.Splinching and Obliviating the Boy-Who-Lived?Azkaban bad.
“Where’s his wand? I saw you Disarm him.”
“Accio wand! ” The holly wand flew out from under a bush, and this time Wainwright was able to catch it. Madam Umbridge’s wand also came out of the darkness, and she scrambled after it. He handed Potter’s wand over to her.
“Good. If he ever shows up again, he’ll be useless without this. I’ll keep it for now. I’ll also be paying a visit to his relatives. They’ll be only too happy to hand him over if he shows up there.” Madam Umbridge tucked the wand away inside her robes.
“His family? Just hand him over?”
“There are rumors – no love lost there. And just in case, I’m not so bad with a Confundus myself. They’re only Muggles, it won’t be difficult at all. After this storm has stopped, of course.” She winced as more lightning flashed above them, and pushed sodden curls out of her face. “The Boy-Who-Lived will be sorry he ever crossed my path.”
The sound of two Disapparations was lost in the roll of thunder.
His feet hit hard on an asphalt roadway, and he had to keep running, windmilling his arms in an attempt to get his balance back. He hadn’t quite managed it when bright lights flashed into his eyes, blinding him. He didn’t have time to stop or to dodge out of the way. Something hard hit him in the leg, and pain surged through him as he slid upward and across hot metal. His forehead struck an unyielding surface and more pain lanced through his head. There was a screeching, squealing noise, and he slid to the side, rolling off the metal and hitting the road again. Hidesafe hidesafehidesafe … Darkness took him away.
Here we go again. Wish me luck.