30: The Rogue's Gallery
It really was a truly epic pile of work.
Tonks took a deep breath as she faced down the mountainous heap of scrolls and parchment laid out upon her desk, praying quietly that somehow it would shrink, or reduce itself until she didn't have to face the prospect of wading through it sheet by sheet. For an instant, she wished for a baby dragon; Hagrid and Charlie Weasley had both mentioned that they made excellent flamethrowers. Or perhaps a couple of generous Ashwinders could set fire to her desk – and maybe ignite Dawlish while they were at it. Hell, she'd even take flobberworms if they could be persuaded to chew paper instead of lettice…
Oh well. No point in wishing for what I can't have…
Unwelcome thoughts crowded in once more. She forced them away.
No. I'm not going to think about him. I have work to do.
No Remus. No Remus. No Remus.
Brusquely, determinedly, she reached for the topmost file, where a photograph of a lumpy-looking little man leered at her.
Amycus Grint. Born 13th September 1947 in Dorchester, Dorset. Slytherin House, Hogwarts. Known associate of Lucius Malfoy, brother to Alecto. Specialises in…
She just didn't understand the stupid git. He loved her. She knew he loved her. Bloody hell, even he knew he loved her, if he could only wake up and stop hiding behind whatever damned excuse first sprang to mind. Why couldn't he have just accepted it? Why did he push her away?
…rarely known to perform solo missions, Grint has previously worked under the command of other Death Eaters such as…
Tonks tossed the file aside. Amycus Grint was a lackey, a sycophant. He wouldn't have had the guts to turn in someone like Bellatrix, even anonymously. She reached for the next one, a stocky little woman whose photograph giggled inanely.
Alecto Grint. Born 27th February 1950 in Dorchester, Dorset. Slytherin House, Hogwarts. Sister to Amycus, one time housekeeper to Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. Claimed use of the Imperius curse to escape imprisonment at the end of the last war. Specialisms include…
It wasn't as though she didn't know what she was getting herself into. She had known he was a werewolf from the day she had first crossed his path at Grimmauld Place – as an Auror, she always read the papers, whether she believed what was in them or not, and his name had featured quite prominently the year before. And with the exception of his father and Albus Dumbledore, she was pretty bloody certain that she knew him better than anyone alive. But somehow, this time, just what it was that he was afraid of continued to elude her.
…vindictive streak but is known to act in partnership with her brother…
Tonks discarded Alecto's file with a flick of her wrist. It seemed that to rule out one sibling was to rule out the other. From the next picture, a hard-faced man glared out at her.
Valerian Gibbon. Born in Lincoln, 2nd April 1956. Slytherin House, Hogwarts. A known associate of the Lestrange family, Gibbon is believed to have hidden in Europe until recently, possibly in the company of Mingan-Moritz. A former human guard of Azkaban, Gibbon is known to have a stronger than average resistance to the effects of Dementors. Specialist curses include…
It was sheer stubbornness on his part. It was ridiculous. If he had just admitted it, let himself believe… Or if he had at least given her some kind of excuse she could work with. Oh, he'd said it wasn't the right time, but that was just plain dodging; she needed a proper reason for his rejection of her love, something she could get her teeth into, something she could fight, discard and argue away until he had nowhere left to hide from her. Something she could use to make him see how stupid this was.
…former school-friend of Rodolphus Lestrange and Best Man at his wedding to Bellatrix Black…
Unless something drastic had happened, it didn't seem especially likely that Rodolphus' Best Man would have turned his wife over to the Aurors. Gibbon's file joined the Grints with a skid.
A prim young man with slicked back brown hair and a haughty expression over clean-shaven cheeks gazed up at her from the next file with a sardonic tilt of one eyebrow.
Adolphus Mingan-Moritz, Count of Liebrucker. Born in Vienna, Austria, 14th October 1961. Student at Durmst…
The prim man smiled at her slickly, his eyes cold. And Tonks hesitated. There was something awfully familiar about that smile…
Leaning forward for a better look, she deposited her elbow on the abandoned pile of files to her left.
It was a shame that the files were not entirely on her desk.
Down plunged the files and Tonks' elbow, which inconveniently and most inconsiderately decided to take the rest of Tonks with it. And as her free hand grabbed out instinctively for purchase, it landed upon the remainder of the parchment pile.
The avalanche that followed was deeply impressive.
For a few moments, all Tonks could do was crouch, hands protectively poised over her head as wave after wave of paperwork cascaded down upon her. A particularly tinny jolt told her that her beloved box of biscuits had joined the party, breaking open to scatter distressing quantities of chocolate fragments and crumbs across the already significant mess. A moment later, finally, the document waterfall dried away to nothing, leaving only the quiet and familiar patter of the impressed applause of her fellow Aurors at the show.
Slowly, wearily, Tonks opened her eyes.
"Bugger," she said.
Resting against the edge of her nose, the blackened tip-off note rocked gently back and forth in the swell of her breathing. Shouldering lingering files away from her body, Tonks extended one arm and lifted it away.
Why did she have to be so bloody clumsy? This was why she hated paperwork; it always made such a bloody mess when the inevitable finally happened. Even that time on the train with Remus, coming back from the Institute when she dropped her papers all over the floor…
Her eyes focussed on the tip off note, still gripped between two fingers just above her nose. And she froze.
The handwriting. She knew this handwriting.
She had seen it scrawled in a red diary in Rebekah Goldstein's office.
The Death Eater who had betrayed Bellatrix Lestrange was working in the Feral Institute.
Shaking away crumbs and loose fragments of paper, Tonks pushed herself to sitting. No. She had to be mistaken, it couldn't be. If Bellatrix was Rebekah, what purpose would it serve to turn herself in to the authorities? Which could only mean one of two things – another conspirator in the Institute had written the diary and set up Bellatrix or Bellatrix Lestrange had not been Rebekah after all.
Tonks felt a cold chill settle in her stomach. Why was it that every time they seemed to find a piece of this puzzle, they ended up losing three more?
Brushing chocolate from her mousy hair, Tonks reached out for the nearest file. It was Adolphus again, smudged with chocolate and crumbs – Merlin, Dawlish was going to kill her if he saw this mess! – his face filled with rage as he stared indignantly at a smear of chocolate slapped across his chin…
Like a beard.
Like a goatee.
And that smile had been so familiar.
The cold chill turned to solid ice. Oh good God…
The face, framed by slick brown hair, was younger, the beard missing until filled in by chocolate, but there was no mistaking him now.
Adolphus Mingan-Moritz, the Austrian Death Eater, was Dolph bloody Greymoor.
Her eyes burrowed into the file.
Adolphus Mingan-Moritz, Count of Liebrucker. Born in Vienna, Austria, 14th October 1960. Student at Durmstrang, House unknown. A school-friend of Antonin Dolohov, Mingan-Moritz is known to be an expert in the casting of the Imperius curse, especially on multiple subjects simultaneously. He is also a well-informed scholar of Dark Creatures, particularly working with Dementors and werewolves. After the fall of You-Know-Who, he fled to Europe in the company of Gibbon and disappeared. Rumours that he was working in the vicinity of the Black Forest have abounded in the 1990s but his exact location remains unconfirmed at present. Sources have also indicated some manner of personal dispute with Bellatrix Lestrange, but the details remain unknown.
Further details of his activities during the First War and suspected victims continued below but Tonks did not read on. She had already seen enough.
Remus had been right. She had been so focussed on proving Rebekah to the danger that she had given barely a thought to Dolph. But it fitted so neatly – research with werewolves in the Black Forest could have easily lead to an accidental bite. And then, as he returned to his newly risen Master in England, he had fallen foul of the feral laws somehow and been locked away…
Had it been deliberate, the bite, the capture, a way to get inside? No, Tonks couldn't see Dolph – Adolphus – as the kind who would have willing submitted himself to that kind of indignity. His incarceration then, was most likely an accident. But then how he managed to write notes to be found in Rebekah's office? He must have gained a wand back in order to have such freedom, but from where?
From an ally. From someone who came into the Institute to help him.
From another Death Eater.
There was still the Polyjuice, still the theory of Bellatrix-as-Rebekah. But it no longer seemed to fit. Tonks could not see her aunt as an adjunct to anyone, let alone someone that sources had implied she disliked and feuded with. It did, however, make rather more sense of Bellatrix's capture. Had Dolph turned her in as some kind of revenge?
Or as some kind of distraction?
Tonks felt the blood run from her cheeks. Tonight was the full moon. And there had been an attempt to take Remus only a few days before…
What if Dolph needed a free rein, something to take the eyes of the Order away from the Feral Institute? And what if he had turned in Bellatrix to cover for himself?
You-Know-Who would probably kill him. Unless he had already succeeded in producing a valuable werewolf army in her place and providing him with the Order's tame werewolf as a prize…
And Remus was at Hogwarts. Dumbledore wasn't.
She needed to get to Remus. And Dumbledore. Now.
"Can't I leave you alone for a minute?"
Her head snapped up at the deep, familiar tone. Kingsley was staring down at her dishevelled form with a grin on his face.
"Honestly," he chuckled. "You have got to be the most accident prone…"
"Remus is in danger!" In a flurry of paper and crumbs, Tonks rocketed to her feet, her momentum causing Kingsley to take a startled step backwards. "Kingsley, you have to go get Dumbledore and I've got to go, I've got to go to Hogwarts and warn him…"
She started forwards but her treacherous feet tangled in the mess and sent her hurtling over – only Kingsley's quick reflexes saved her from another fall. His big hands clamped around her shoulders, the big man hauled her back to her feet, all trace of laughter wiped from his face in an instant.
"Tonks, what have you found?" he said intensely.
"This." Tonks shoved Adolphus' file into his hands. Kingsley took it and flicked it open, his brow creasing in confusion.
"What am I looking at?" he queried urgently.
Tonks met his eyes. "Dolph Greymoor."
It took a moment, but then memories of briefings on the Institute returned and Kingsley's eyes widened in horror. "The werewolf from the Institute? He's…" His eyes snapped back to the file. "Oh bloody hell," he breathed softly. "Mingan-Moritz has been off the radar so long, I never even thought to look at his file. But it fits. He's blind-sided us with his condition. Damn!" With a slap, he slammed the file shut. "But I don't see how this affects Remus…"
The urge to shove Kingsley aside and belt as fast as she could for the floo was surging rapidly through Tonks' veins but she forced herself to resist it. "It's his handwriting!" She flourished the tip-off note, still gripped between her fingers. "It's the same as the handwriting in the diary in the Institute. And it says he has a grudge against her – it had to be him!"
Kingsley was shaking his head. "They're on the same side. Why would he…"
"As a distraction!" Why couldn't he see? "He knew we'd be so busy with her, we'd forget the Institute for this one night, the full moon night. And he knew that Dumbledore would leave Hogwarts. I'm sure the Headmaster is the only reason they've never tried to use a legal warrant to get Remus before and with him out of the way…" She grabbed the sleeve of Kingsley's robe. "We need Dumbledore."
Kingsley's expression was agonised. "But we can't get him!" At Tonks' shocked look, he elaborated. "When I spoke to him, he was just going in to a closed session of the Wizengamot. You know the law, Tonks, they can't be disturbed during that. And it could be hours yet…"
"We have to do something." Tonks' heart was pounding twenty to the dozen "We have to do something now."
He'll be fine. He has to be fine. I'll get to Hogwarts and he'll be standing there with a bemused look on his face and I'll tell him what a prat he is and he'll see sense and…
"I agree." Kingsley's jaw locked as his two words cut away her scrambled thoughts. "I'll scramble Moody and some of the Order just in case we need a rescue organised. You head up to Hogwarts and warn Remus. Maybe it won't be too late."
"Already going." With an undignified stumble, Tonks pushed her way past her friend and with a single nod, hurled herself towards the fireplace and its floo connection.
He'll be there. He'll be fine. He'll be there. He'll be fine.
Don't let our last words have been an argument.
Don't let me lose him now.
Robards was standing near the hearth – he caught her as she stumbled, giving her a confused look as she snapped out thanks and grabbed a handful of green powder from the shelf. With a swipe of her hand, she hurled it into the flames.
"The Three Broomsticks!"
Green flames flared. A moment later, Tonks had thrown herself into their grasp.
He'll be fine. Please. He'll be fine.
I don't know what I'll do if he's not.
And then the flames consumed her and thrust her on her way.
A/N: Again, I believe a couple of you may have caught me on a few of these revelations and to you observant types, I offer congratulations...:)
Many thanks to my lovely reviewers this week; felixgirl, Alexia S Luclwit, xMissxUnderstoodx, Oath of Feanor, wizardelfgirl, Jump Highly, Mee-Yah, thee-unknown-factor, Paloma, Rel Fexive, The Jazz, Lady Slytherin3, NaginiFay, Ruby, EllaJ.W, elka78, Lola Ravenhill, RebeccaGoose, krumfan, le petit chou, Lucathia Rykatu, pstibbons, Pickledishkiller, blacklady, phoenixtear19, Zevazo, Howling-Wolf, WMG, Kailin, Kitana, sylthian, Lady Bracknell, kitkatgirl11, purebristles, Leonew, Gilpin, aurelie1, wcoast-girl, Snowfall, Mandalen, morgan and Camilinha (see, there's your name! ;)). It was very nice of you all to offer your generous remarks (can anyone tell that I'm running out of new and interesting ways to say this? ;))