"ill? … if one rumor got out it would be mayhem. I know a couple reporters who'd love to see what they can find" Lucius said with an evil smirk before going up to write a few letters …
"wait … you were never told who Harry was with? Why? You're really the only family he has. You should've been around him to care for him" Moody scowled at the werewolf who was pacing the hotel room that they charmed for privacy. At first he did consider telling Albus that they were here in the UK again, but as he pressed the werewolf for information he started questioning Albus's story. Why wasn't Remus more involved? Why didn't he even know where Harry lived or who was taking care of him?
Remus winced at the harsh tone the retired auror spoke with "I wanted too, but I'm a werewolf-"
"fuck that excuse! That only means you would need a nanny to watch him that one day, at most two days, a month for your change and recovering from it! Other than that you could've raised him just fucking fine! It doesn't mean you should cut yourself out completely and leave your cub with random people! What kind of werewolf are you to allow that?" Moody growled angrily as he slammed his fist against the wall. He was getting fed up with this attitude and lack of knowledge.
"I didn't want to!" Remus snapped in frustration "Albus wouldn't let me! No matter how many times I begged him to tell me where Harry went he wouldn't tell me. He convinced me it was better that way because of my condition and that there wouldn't be any way I could protect Harry from any number of vengeful Death Eaters-"
"WHY WOULD YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT ALONE? … yes you're a werewolf, big fucking deal! Like I said that's a once monthly problem. So many people owed Harry and would kill to have an opportunity to help. Ask any auror, retired Order member or anyone and they'd help. It would've been the entire fucking magical UK against a few straggling Death Eaters. Sure keeping him a little out of sight is wise, but you can go anywhere without being tracked with a fucking portkey! You had no excuse and should've gone searching. Fuck what Albus said!" Moody ranted in a rage. Afterwards he stood there panting as the werewolf who collapsed onto the bed and hung his head in shame.
Remus finally nodded slowly after a minute feeling like he'd break down crying if he made any sudden movements "I … made those points, but he insisted and how could I argue with him after everything he did for me? Besides he said Harry was being cared for"
"if that was the case then why are you completely out of the loop and haven't been allowed to see him or even given a picture?" Moody asked focusing on pretending Albus wasn't a good friend of his so he can look at this situation as an Auror "I'm starting to wonder what's really going on here"
"you don't … you don't think Albus was hurting Harry right?" Remus asked, but there was a nagging feeling in the pit of his stomach. It was clear something wasn't right.
"I don't know, but one thing is for sure. We aren't being told the whole story" Moody scowled as he thought about any other leads they may have "James had no relatives, but did Lily?"
Remus looked up with an exhausted sigh "yes, but Lily only had a muggle sister who apparently hated her. I doubt Harry would be staying there"
"we'll see … where does she live?" Moody asked a little calmer than before.
"I don't know the address since she tried her best to give as little details to Lily as possible, but her married name is Dursley, Petunia Dursley" Remus answered as he mentally pleaded that Harry wasn't there of all places.
"have you ever tried searching through muggle means?" Moody asked and bit back a growl when the werewolf flushed in embarrassment "apparently that's a no … we'll try that in the morning" the retired auror grumbled. He knew he couldn't be too mad since next no one, aurors included, actually consider going through muggle means to get information even if there are muggles involved …
The next morning they set out early to search around muggle London. They intended to see if there were any public records of one Petunia Dursley, but they found something even better … a newspaper. In that newspaper, on the very front page actually, was an article about the Dursleys and it wasn't pretty!
As the auror read the article he found he became more and more angry "this isn't something you should read Remus-" Moody shrugged as the newspaper was snatched right out of his hand by the werewolf and cast a 'not notice me' spell over them knowing the werewolf was not going to like this at all.
"this can't be real …" Remus choked down a sob. It was all there …
A real estate agent bought house number 4 on Privet Drive in Surrey to fix it up to resell, but found evidence that implied that the former owners, the Dursleys, kept a child prisoner in both modified prison cell upstairs and the cupboard. There were signs that the boy was starved, beaten and forced to do all sorts of different chores that only grown ups should do. They know many details from Petunia's diary that was found under her side of the mattress.
While the Dursleys were away on a long trip this prisoner, who was believed to be their nephew Harry Potter though the diary only referred to him as 'freak', managed to escape by using exposed wires in the attic to blow off his cell door. The attic access panel was apparently over his cell. It was a good thing to because the investigators believe he would've died either from the record breaking heat waves this summer or starvation and dehydration. Not to mention any injuries he may have been given before his family left since it was clear they loved hurting him.
It was believed that the Dursleys returned and panicked when they saw their prisoner was gone and basically ran away to avoid possible conviction. The newspaper went on to explain that the boy was underage, but they want to use his name and plead for him to come in to any police station for protection. Only three pictures were used. One was of the Dursleys. The second was of Ms. Figg who lived nearby and even went on the trip with the Dursley family. She disappeared around the same time as the Dursleys and seeing as the neighbors saw her babysit Harry it's believed she was heavily involved in the abuse. The third picture, since they had no picture of Harry Potter, was of a hallway with a broken cell door laying on the floor and the word 'FREE' painted on the wall …
"he wasn't taken? … he escaped? … but why would Albus …" Remus trailed off his mind whirling at this discovery.
"a very good question" Moody mused out loud as he took the newspaper and folded it so he could tuck it under his arm "I think we should see what would happen if we left this in the Three Broomsticks" he said and grabbed Remus's arm and apparated away. when they landed the retired auror removed the 'notice me not' spell.
Remus frowned as he saw that they were now in Hogsmeade "ummm … you know the Three Broomsticks relocated to Diagon Alley, right?"
"damn I forgot!" Moody grunted.
"how about I apparate this time?" Remus offered kindly wondering where Harry was now and if he was alright. When they finally arrived they discovered another newspaper. This article claimed that Harry Potter was so sick that he couldn't attend school "is this some sort of cover? It says donations are being made to help Harry, but where are they going if Harry isn't sick?" he wanted to think Dumbledore was keeping the money from those who donated set aside for safety, but now he wasn't so sure …
"we'll soon find out" Moody growled and set the muggle newspaper on the counter when no one was looking and they both left. Due to it being later in the day by now very few people were around, but there was one werewolf that walked passed them …
Lyra and Libra trotted into the room that was being used as a dueling room and laid at Cache's feet. The false blonde was leaning against the wall reading a magical newspaper that had an article splashing Dumbledore's words all over the front. It was an excellent read.
"this came out quickly. Lucius works fast" Cache mumbled just loud enough for the potion master next to him to hear as students filed into the room.
"indeed" Severus smirked. Lucius flooed into his office a couple days ago and left with a vial with a memory from Draco of what Dumbledore said. The Malfoy said he needed it to confirm the story for a reporter friend. This friend does greatly dislike Dumbledore and would love to write the story that chips away at Dumbledore's kind mask, but he didn't want to get the backlash if this story turned out to be wrong so confirmation was needed thus the memory. As Lockhart came into the room Cache casually slipped the newspaper into the bottomless green bag in his pocket to pretend to listen.
Lockhart strutted onto the raised dueling platform and gave that 'award winning' smile "now class we're going to use this dueling club to learn how to fight. Professor Snape and his apprentice have agreed to help me demonstrate some spells you will need to know should you have to defend yourself. Don't worry, you will have both your professor and Cache in one piece after this" Lockhart announced with a cheesy smile that for some reason had the girls swooning.
Cache glanced at the long slim platform and raised an eyebrow "are we dueling or working the cat walk. This looks like a fashion show stage for Witch Weekly not a practical dueling ring. Oh, my DADA instructor would be furious if he saw this, but I guess this is more your style Professor Lockhart" he commented lazily as he tried to imagine Trocar's face if he did see this. The comment earned several snickers from the boys in the room, but glares from the girls. Severus had to fight to keep his face impassive though he found the remark quite amusing.
"well I'm sure your defense instructor tries his best, but very few are as qualified as me" Lockhart raised an eyebrow as Cache casually stepped onto the platform "I thought Professor Snape was going first" he said under the impression he just got lucky. He assumed he could at least handle the apprentice. Severus was kind of scared the author though the kneazles that growled at him for some reason scared him too …
"we had an agreement. I hope you don't mind" Severus said not actually caring about Lockhart's opinion. He and Cache agreed whoever was offended by something that came out of the fraud's mouth first got first blood. Insulting Trocar's skills was definitely offensive to Cache.
"not at all!" Lockhart exclaimed happily and tossed his robe down to the awaiting girls who all tried to grab it and swooned just getting to touch it "now we'll see what skills are needed to fight an opponent. I will first attempt to disarm Cache and he will fight me in an attempt to subdue me. Ready? … begin!"
The apprentice drew his willow wand and stood in a relaxed position. It was only a fraction of a second before Lockhart shouted the classic disarming spell. Cache was watching the wave from the spell approach and he allowed the weak spell to pull the wand from his hand. Despite the arrogant smirk on Hermione's face Cache remained calm.
"lesson one-ahh!" Lockhart gave an undignified shriek as several ropes materialized out of thin air and ensnared him effectively disarming him as well as subduing him.
"lesson one is never assume removing a wand makes your opponent defenseless especially when they can summon their wand back to their hand" Cache said holding his wand in his hand. In fact since he did the spell so fast and no one saw he drop his wand. All the students watched carefully this time and saw the wand fly back into Cache's hand.
"wandless magic is next to impossible so it's not fair! You still lose since Professor Lockhart disarmed you!" Hermione snapped.
"impossible? Who here has had a case of accidental magic?" several of the students raised their hands in response to Cache's question "isn't accidental magic, magic without the use of a wand? We've all used wandless magic, which means we are capable of it in more controlled situations. In fact it is natural since wands were only invented relatively recently if you think about it and before that it was all wandless. Magic is natural for us and it wants to defend its host you just need to forget the wand mindset and connect with it. You must've read about breaking spells cast on you, right?" Cache asked a little puzzled as to why Hermione can devour all those books, but remain resistant to contradicting facts. Is she even reading them right?
"of course" Hermione huffed a bit annoyed that he thought she knew nothing.
"that is done without a wand and is common place. Doing magic without a wand not easy if you don't focus. It's easy once you take control of your emotions wand use it to … for lack of a better word, ask, your magic for help. I did so in a life and death situation where I had no wand and had to think of something fast. If I let my fear lead to a blind panic I would probably be dead or had a massive bout of accidental magic. To start try remembering a time where you had a bout of accidental magic or something that brought out strong emotions and think of the feelings you felt, but keep your emotions controlled. Not that wands aren't useful mind you. I need it for advanced healing spells … oh and for that other point you made you know this wasn't a contest, right? He temporarily disarmed me and I subdued him, that simple. No winners or losers, but in real life I would be the survivor" the apprenticee said pointedly.
Hermione gaped "but Professor Lock-"
"Ms. Granger" Severus barked grabbing everyone's attention "you're missing Cache's point. What he means is in a real life situation where someone wants you dead it's not likely that person will stop trying to kill you and sit back twiddling their thumbs just because you disarmed them. If they know the summoning spell, such as the one Cache used, then you must completely subdue them, which Cache did. Your professor in control of your defense would no doubt agree a certain level of wandless magic, disarming, shield and subduing spells are essential. I'm sure Professor Lockhart will be happy to start by wandlessly breaking the spell him" Severus drawled effectively shifting all the students attention to the DADA professor who was dangling upside down with a rope gagging him. At some point Lockhart started sweating nervously and his eyes were darting back and forth silently begging Severus and Cache for help. After a couple minutes passed just waiting for Lockhart to break the spell, which 5th year students should be able to do not to mention a professor, and realizing it wasn't going to happen Severus sighed "apparently Professor Lockhart feels quite comfortable, but this class needs to get going so Cache, if you will"
Cache shrugged "sure" he said as he flicked his wand letting Lockhart hit the floor when the spell was canceled.
After the rather embarrassing display on Lockhart's part the class began. Though Cache noticed something really weird and Severus noticed it too. While all the boys lost all faith in their DADA professor all the girls seemed to steadfastly stand up for the writer. After what happened the faith was simply too strong to be natural.
"a love potion?" Cache whispered to Severus as they watched the students practice a simple yet effective shield spell before starting meditating as Cache suggested.
"indeed, but don't try anything until tomorrow after Mr. Weasley comes. We can deal with the problem in it's entirety tomorrow" Severus whispered back before going over to help Neville with his who was shivering in fear as he was remembering a frightening memory to call out his magic wandlessly. Cache went over too and was glad to see Neville was relaxing more around Severus. With a comforting hand on each shoulder Neville gained control of his emotions and managed to wandlessly levitate the dueling platform. Now that had the class at attention. Blaise noticed a pink tint to Draco's cheeks as Cache helped him focus his emotions. What Blaise didn't know is the emotional memory Draco chose was the one of Harry getting the horcrux painfully removed …
Dumbledore looked at the pile of donations on his desk with a smirk "there's enough here to get my castle built, but I need to do this carefully"
At first he was horrified that this got out. It baffled him until the Daily Prophet confirmed that a first year student sent in his own memories to confirm the story. If it was a letter then the wards would've scanned it and he'd know, but the wards can't scan a vial of memories so he couldn't stop. The source of the memories was unnamed, bu he knew it was a Slytherin.
Now there wasn't a damn thing he can do to stop this. Soon people will be begging for reports on Potter's health. Then St. Mungo's will want to check on Harry who isn't even here! Everything will quickly snowball out of control once people start wondering why they aren't learning anything about their savior's health. When that suspicion sets in he's possibly done for.
In his mind there was only one solution … blame someone else and pretend to clean up their mess. It will take a little time to set someone up, but it could work. He can take all the donation money and say someone else informed him of Potter's condition and he gave all the donation money to that person. No trace of Potter or the money will be found and that person will be blamed for kidnapping, abuse and theft. That's when he, the great Dumbledore, comes in and declares a rescue party be formed to find Potter. No consequences for him, but he'll get all the money, look like a hero and eventually, with great care, he can have Potter back under his thumb again. It just so happens he had the perfect person to blame. …
She knew where Potter was living … she was good friends with Lily Potter so she knew about Petunia's hatred of magic, which will help frame her abuse sense she did nothing … she was Potter's head of house so she had access to him and lastly, she was under his control …
The headmaster left his office to find the Deputy headmistress "Minerva would you see me in my office. We need to discuss something" Dumbledore said and the transfiguration professor obediently followed him …