Harry's Angels by zequist

Summary: *** Winner of Most Dramatic in the “Wanted: Dead or Alive” Challenge ***
Suspended from the Auror force, Harry's busy hunting Death Eaters anyway, with a little help from a few friends.
Rating: PG-13 starstarstarstarhalf-star
Categories: Wanted: Dead or Alive Challenge 2012-3, Wanted: Dead Or Alive Challenge (2012-3)
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2012.08.16
Updated: 2012.08.16

Harry's Angels by zequist
Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Author's Notes:

Harry knocked on the door.

“Enter,” said a clear, calm voice, and Harry was irresistably reminded of the many times he had received the same greeting after knocking on the door of Dumbledore’s office as a student. Pushing those thoughts aside, he opened the door and stepped inside the office of Kellen Williamson, the head of the Auror office and Harry’s boss. As one of the few experienced Aurors who had survived the second war against Voldemort with both his life and reputation intact, Williamson’s ascent in the five years since the war ended had been very rapid. Streaks of grey colored his ponytail, but he still projected a sense of strength and vigor. Harry had taken an immediate liking to the man. He reminded Harry of an older version of Bill Weasley, and not just because of their shared choice of hairstyles.

“Harry!” he said. “What can I do for you this morning?”

“Good morning, sir,” said Harry, inclining his head. “I have my reports about Monday’s incidents in Bath ready for you, and an update on the status of our search for that missing couple in Lancashire. We have a few more leads, but nothing concrete.”

“Thanks, Harry,” said Williamson, taking the proffered pages and quickly scanning through the missing persons report. “Interesting,” he said. “I’d follow up on this lead first — “ he tapped a paragraph on the parchment. “These traces of dark magic could be an important clue, especially if we can reconstruct the spells that caused them.”

“I already sent it down to magical forensics, sir,” said Harry. “They said they’d get back to me in about two hours.”

Williamson smiled, pleased with Harry’s initiative. “Keep me informed if they discover anything.”

“Thank you, sir, I will.” Harry hesitated a moment, then said, “Mr. Williamson, there’s something else I need to talk to you about, something that could be very important.”

“Of course, Harry. You know you can come to me with anything. Close the door, and have a seat.”

“I had a very interesting conversation yesterday,” said Harry after he had sat down. “Someone came to me offering information that he said would help us capture several Death Eaters who disappeared after the end of the last war. We assumed they had all died or fled the country, but he says that he knows some who have stayed here under false identities, and wants to help us arrest them.”

“Who is it, Harry? Is it someone you can trust?”

“Not completely, but how often do you find a mole or a turncoat who is 100% trustworthy? What’s more important to me is that he is someone who’s well-placed to know this information, and he has some compelling reasons for offering to help me. After hearing his explanation, I believe that his offer is genuine.”

“This sounds familiar. It’s not the ghost of Severus Snape, is it?”

Harry laughed. “No, it isn’t, although he may be channeling a little of Severus’ inner romantic.”

“Can I know who it is?”

Harry thought for a moment. “I’ll tell you if that’s an order, but if you’re giving me a choice I’d rather keep it quiet for now. He’s taking more than a bit of a risk in doing this, and the fewer people who know who it is, the better.”

“All right, you’ve shown me that I can trust your judgment. If you think you can work with him, then you have my permission.”

“Thank you,” said Harry. “But there’s one other thing you need to know first.”

“Oh? What’s that?”

“Are you familiar with section 28.6 of Wizarding Britain’s Criminal Law Code?”

Williamson shook his head.

“It’s an old law that the Wizengamot passed shortly after Sirius Black’s escape from Azkaban in 1993,” said Harry. “It says that a private citizen of Wizarding Britain will receive a reward of 1000 galleons for apprehending any escaped Azkaban prisoner and handing them over to the Ministry of Magic. Dead or alive.”

“Interesting. And how did you find out about this law? I know you don’t spend long hours at home studying legal codes.”

“That’s true, sir. My contact told me. I also asked my friend Hermione to double-check afterward and verify that this law actually exists. It does, and it’s still on the books. It was meant as an incentive to catch Sirius, but even after the Ministry cleared his name they never rescinded the law. Everyone probably forgot about it in the chaos of the war.”

“Naturally. Why are you saying that I need to know about it, though?”

“Unfortunately, there’s a catch. The law only applies to private citizens or those effectively functioning as private citizens.”

“Vigilantes, in other words.”

“Something like that. Hermione’s trained in magical law, and she told me that as the law is written, I can’t collect the reward money if I arrest these escaped Death Eaters as part of my official Auror duties, because it would simply be considered part of my job requirements as a professional Auror. I can only collect if I do it during my off-duty hours as Harry Potter, civilian wizard. I can’t even be on call to the Auror office.”

“I see,” said Williamson. “That is a problem, but why is it so important to you to collect the reward? I’ve never had the impression you cared that much about money.”

“I don’t,” said Harry. “But my contact is in bad financial shape right now, and he’ll only agree to help me in exchange for a forty percent share of the reward money for each Death Eater that I bring in.”

“Forty percent?” Williamson raised his eyebrows in surprise.

“He actually wanted sixty percent at first, but I was able to talk him down a bit.”

Williamson sat and thought about everything he had just heard, while Harry waited patiently.

“I’m not sure I like this,” he said at last. “You’re talking to a person who claims to know a bunch of escaped Death Eaters, which means his own background is dodgy at best. Then he wants you to do all the work of locating and arresting them based solely on his information, AND he wants you to do it as a private citizen, stripped of all the resources and protections of the Auror office? It sounds like the perfect setup for a trap. If he’s so desperate for money, why doesn’t he just stun these people, hand them over himself, and collect the entire thing?”

Harry blew out a breath. “These arrests are going to make headline news, not just in Britain but worldwide. He can’t do it himself because as soon as the reward money is distributed everyone’s going to know who collected on it. We’d never be able to keep that a secret, and he can’t afford to have his name anywhere near this project, because it’s his life at stake if the rest of the escaped Death Eaters ever find out.”

“I think you’d better tell me who this is after all, Harry,” said Williamson. “I agree that we stand to gain a lot from capturing those Death Eaters, but it sounds like you’re assuming far more risk than he is. If my best young Auror is going to stick his neck out on this project without any cover if something goes pear-shaped, I want to know who’s behind it and why. Consider it an order, if you must.”

Harry briefly related the story of his encounter. Williamson’s expression cleared.

“Thanks, Harry. I know about his background, and I understand why he’d want this kept private. I still don’t like it, but I won’t try to stop you. Let’s be very clear on this, though.” He leaned forward in his chair. “If you plan to launch a second career collecting bounties in your spare time, then I’m placing you on indefinite suspension. You will be off the force and not getting paid, except for whatever reward money you collect from this project. If I see you anywhere near this office, then your suspension is lifted and this project is over. Is that clear?”

“Crystal, sir.”

“Good. Let me know when you want to start, and we’ll stage a reason for your suspension. We can’t just do it with no explanation, especially in your case.”

Harry smiled as he stood up. He knew Williamson would come through for him.

“One more question, Harry,” said the veteran Auror. “How do you plan to keep yourself safe, in case your trust is misplaced and he is setting up a very clever trap for you?”

Harry grinned. “I’m going to obey one of the first rules that you taught me in Auror training, sir: when facing an unknown and potentially dangerous situation, always prepare ahead of time for every conceivable scenario, and never work alone.”

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