Chapter 45

Harry had gone up to the sixth year dorm much earlier than he would usually without saying a word. Neville and the others were worried, normally the whole gang hung out, outside the Gryffindor dorm so that they could be with Luna. There was no way that they would leave her out in order to sit somewhere more comfortable.

Now that Ron wasn't here it seemed that things had gotten a little better than before, but none of them put faith in chance. Sure there wasn't as much bullying as there had been before, but there was still the memory of what had happened before.

Harry had been pale and quiet all day, at first they had thought that it was waiting to meet with his mind healer, but it seemed worse now that it was over. Obviously what ever they had done together was praying on Harry's mind. Some of this silence probably also had to do with Ron and Hermione. A situation they were all concerned about.

So Neville had decided to go up to the dorm in order to make sure that Harry was actually okay. It didn't take long as they had all met in an empty classroom halfway between the Ravenclaw and Gryffindor towers. A place they often used as it was convenient for everyone getting back to their respective dorms.

The main dorm room was very busy because it was still so early. Several tiny first years were trying to play wizards chess, and a large group of third years playing exploding snap. Someone had brought out the old radio and was blaring out 'The weird sisters' in one of the corners. There was a scream of pain and annoyance as someone got their eyebrows singed off by their exploding deck.

It took a few minutes for Neville to weave his way through all of the tables and chairs, but eventually he made his way up the stairs and to their dorm room.

The red curtains to Harry's four poster bed were open something that drew his attention as he almost always closed them. As he drew nearer, Neville blushed. Harry wasn't wearing a shirt. The blue purple scales of his wings iridised in the light of the candles. Hopefully the discomfort of holding them in had been eased. Standing here felt so incredibly wrong and uncomfortable, more uncomfortable, than he had felt in a long time. Neville could feel his heart beat increasing rapidly, thumping away in his chest. For a while now he had realised that his feelings about Harry had changed.

Having a crush on a close friend was beyond terrifying. It could lead to a destroying of that friendship very easily, especially if it wasn't reciprocated. Harry had frankly been through enough, without him having to worry about Neville's interest in him, and that making him uncomfortable.

He sighed picking up the blanket that Harry had kicked off the bed, arranging it as best he could around the smaller boy's wings. It was important to be careful of the small scales on the wings as they were very delicate. Doing that took him much longer than he expected. Realising how creepy/terrifying it would be for Harry to wake up with him standing over him, Neville quickly moved away.

With the help of all the nutrient potions that professor Snape and Madame Pomfrey were making him take and the fact that his appetite was slowly returning to him, Harry had put a little weight on. It made the larger boy happy to see but the way his ribs and spine were still so pronounced was upsetting. How anyone could treat another human being like his Aunt and Uncle had treated Harry was beyond Neville's understanding. How no-one had noticed that treatment was also saddening, but it, no doubt had something to do with their ex-headmaster.

Now that he knew that Harry was safer the Longbottom heir got into his own bed and was soon joining his friend in dream land.

The next day

Dumbledore planned to mobilise his escape plan as quickly as possible. He had originally planned to do it later but things had had to be moved forward with certain news that he had been made aware of. Albus had thought that playing along with the game the ministry seemed inclined to play would be diverting. Unfortunately things seemed to be against his will.

It was disconcerting that things weren't going his way as he had, had his own way for so long with no opposition. Of course he had planned over the years for something like this happening, but he had never thought that he might actually need to put those plans into motion. Obviously that planning was now vitally important.

His family house the one Aberforth refused to even come near was filled with all sorts of escape routes. All pureblood family's had various escape routes planned into their homes. It was something that was sensible to do in the tumultuous centuries that had passed by. Every generation adding their own routes to the already existing ones.

He knew he wouldn't have much time before they would notice his disappearance. If the Aurors were any good at their jobs, he gave it five minutes in all for his escape. Just because he was wearing magic dampening handcuffs and didn't have his wand, didn't mean that he wasn't capable of anything. After all, hadn't it been he who had battled and won Grindelwald all those years before?

Under the kitchen floor and a plethora of protective spells there was a tunnel down to a secret bunker of sorts that he had built in his younger days. It was down there that he had stored as many of the darker artefacts he had collected over the years as possible. It was also where he kept a store of spare wands. None of them worked as well for him as the elder wand, which had been confiscated by the ministry, but they were better than nothing.

After checking that he could not be seen by the Aurors that were guarding him, Albus lifted up the rug covering the hatch. Holding the handle to it in his hand, he felt a slight tingling pass through it. The protective magic was, checking whether or not to let him through or to curse him. After a tense few seconds, he heard the click of the lock.

"Won't be long now, and I'll be out of here and free again." Albus whispered to himself as he lifted up the trapdoor, being careful not to make a sound.

At the scheduled meeting of the Auror department there was a great deal of discussion regarding their largest case. It was quickly becoming clear that the Albus Dumbledore case was bigger and more complicated than they could have ever imagined from the outset. Instead of this being a rather complex safeguarding and abuse case it was spiralling into something huge. Every step that they took in order to clear up the case, only found them following new leads that pointed to new crimes. And so it was taking up a larger and larger amount of the workforce as time went on.

The evidence that had been collected so far was literally piled all around them in boxes and in crates. There was a cabinet full of glass vials containing memories stood against the stone wall. Some of them had been donated by students of the school (both former and current) and others by people in the wizarding community. One of the largest boxes contained the transcripts of the children's testimonies that they had been collecting over the past few weeks.

They would in the next couple of days be going back up to the school in order to interview everyone that had submitted something. This was to collect more detailed statements and any extra evidence that could be used to support the claims. It had taken what felt like forever to the team tasked with reading through them to get to the bottom of the pile. Apparently going through them all had been upsetting and two members had requested a period of leave. But they were both here to brief the rest of the team as to its contents.

"As we all know operation red stone is top on our list of priorities at the moment." Kingsley Shacklebolt stated addressing the gathered Aurors. "The minister is now asking me for daily updates in regards to this case. He wants us to sort it out quick smart. But I don't want anyone rushing and missing something." At this several people seated towards the back of the room nodded, rushing a case never did any good. This was especially so in a case like this, with a rather famous individual with a high standing in the community. It was vital that this case was investigated correctly.

"It's better to do something once and do it properly!" An experienced Auror shouted from where he was leaning against the wall near the door, his robes slightly askew.

"True…true!" Kingsley agreed before moving on. "This meetings purpose is to brief everyone on the developments in operation red stone, I introduce to you now Angela Featherbroke." A relatively plain middle aged woman stood up carrying one of the evidence boxes. "She is here to talk about the items seized from the Dumbledore ancestral home and the headmaster's offices." Kingsley then sat down and Angela took up his former position.

"We seized a very large number of items from both locations. Due to the sheer amount, not all of them have been fully identified and processed yet. So I can only comment on the ones we have." She placed the box on the table in front of her and people craned their necks to get a better view of the objects that were to come out of it. The room was much fuller than it would normally have been and it was hard for those at the back of the room to get a good view. "All the items have been placed in stasis and fitted with an impervious charm in order to preserve them." Angela stated pulling out three complex metal contraptions and placing them on the table in full view. There were many confused looks from the gathered people. "After consulting with the Department of Mysteries we have ascertained that this is a tracking device of Dumbledore's own making." Someone in the mass of seated Aurors raised a hand missing three of its fingers.

"Do we know who or what they were made to track?" The three fingered Auror asked concernedly.

"It's pretty clear that this one," she pointed to the smallest and most delicate of the three. "was made with the sole purpose of tracking Harry Potter. The device was made approximately a day or two after the murder of his parents. It seems to work through a form of blood magic."

"Well that's something." A junior remarked as she jotted notes down, with a tattered brown owl feathered quill. Dicta-quills were expensive and couldn't cope with dialects, so they were something the Department never used.

"Didn't he argue the hardest that, that branch of magic should be made illegal?" Someone asked in a gravely voice. Obviously someone who had been an Auror long enough to remember the argument in question. It had been a very long time since blood magic had been taken off of the syllabus at Hogwarts.

"So far as we can work out, it has various functions such as warning Albus when the boy's magical core was getting above a preset level, his physical status and who was around him as well as his actual position." Angela explained.

"So there is no way that he can say that he wasn't aware of the lad's home life now, is there?" The same Auror questioned sarcastically, before beginning to talk in a hushed voice to the person to their immediate left.

"One of the other two, this one!" She picked up the middle sized one, covered in little green and black beads. "Tracks Severus Snape, Hogwarts' potions master and the other made several years earlier for an unknown person."

"Severus worked as a double agent and a spy for the light during the latter end of the first war and in the time between Voldermort…" Kingsley explained, to those who were not aware of the full situation. There was a shudder around the room in these not sufficiently battle hardened. "For Merlin's sake get a grip on yourselves he's fucking dead and gone. Stop treating him like a monster under the bed that could come and get you in the night." A grizzled ageing Auror shouted annoyed at the reaction of those who were supposed to be protecting the wizarding world.

"Anyway as I was saying between Voldermort's second rise and his death in the Ministry Atrium fountain. He took up the spying for the light once again."

"We also confiscated a lot of paperwork from both locations. This is the school's log supposed to be kept by the headmaster and this is Albus Dumbledore's own personal account of what he was doing. As you will come to see there are a significant number of discrepancies. From reading them, it seems obvious that he has been taking money out of the schools account and using it for personal gain. We are currently waiting for a response from Gringotts in regards to the two accounts as well as the accounts of various students who seem to have had money withdrawn from them." Angela continued, pulling out two diaries from the bottom of the cardboard box to show to her assembled colleagues.

"That's despicable!"

"It's a betrayal of trust and his position to do something like that." Both exclamations came from different directions and it was impossible to work out who it was that had actually said either of them.

Mrs Featherbroke calmly placed the three complex tracking devices back into the box they had come from along with the two diaries. "There are a number of other important points raised within them and they are written on the parchment in front of you. A full list of all the items that we have seized, has also been provided."

Kingsley Shacklebolt stood up from his chair as Angela returned to her seat.

"Next is the team assigned with reading the statements we were given by the children at the school and those involved with the initial case that brought this to our attention."

It was half two in the afternoon when the alarm went off. The blaring klaxon disturbed the silence of the small village Albus Dumbledore family home was part of. This was something that they had been warned to look out for. And to be honest, everyone had expected that it would happen. This time it wasn't a drill. Albus Percival Wulferic Brian Dumbledore was making an escape attempt and had so triggered the complex wards around the house and its grounds. A group of Aurors was walking a twisting and turning path down the back lawn.

"He's down here somewhere Sir!" One of them shouted, which was immediately followed, by someone kicking him in the shins.

"Tell the bloody world, why don't you?!" A senior officer scolded with one eye firmly fixed on the tracking spell that they were using. It wouldn't do to lose Dumbledore at all. That would be something that at the very least would get you not thrown out of the department entirely.

The speed of the progress that Dumbledore was making under the ground could only mean that he was using some sort of tunnel. "Get ahead of him and prepare to blast the ground in order collapse the tunnel." He commanded, picking up the pace so that he could overtake the prisoner.

Before long half of the group was standing in a line, directly in the path of the escaped prisoner. The other half, standing behind on the path he had already taken. They too would be using a blasting curse to collapse the tunnel behind Albus so that he couldn't escape back down the way that he had come.

"One, two, three. Bombarda!" For a second nothing happened, before the ground began to give way in the areas targeted. Two female Aurors ran forward and grabbed a firm hold of the wrinkled hands that had poked their way through the loose soil and pulled hard. Others rushed over to help them.

After a few minutes they had a very muddy Albus Dumbledore sat on the ground beside them. It was obvious now that he could no longer be kept under house arrest. He would have to be taken to the Ministry and detained in the cells. His house would have to be searched again for other escape routes and hidden items.

The senior Auror sighed as they prepared to leave; the paperwork that he was going to have to fill out would take hours. His wife wasn't going to be happy. Today was her birthday and they had planned to go out to a fancy restaurant.

A/n: Long time no see... *coughs awkwardly*