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


Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Chapter 2: Chapter 2

Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Author's Notes: Thanks for reading my first attempt at a challenge entry! I hope you enjoy it.

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.”

Back to index

Chapter 2: Chapter 2

The man sat down at the bar.

The young blonde barmaid on duty at the Leaky Cauldron that evening smiled at him in welcome and said, “Good evening, sir. A menu for you tonight or just a drink?”

“Pint of ale, please,” the man said shortly. “I’ve already had dinner.”

“No problem! I’ll be right back.”

As the barmaid left to pour the man his pint, he quickly scanned the room, taking in his surroundings. It was a rather quiet night, with only half a dozen other customers inside the pub. He didn’t recognize any of them, and they were all clearly civilians. A husband and wife and their child ate a late supper at one table, two witches in gaudy robes chatted idly near the fire, and a blonde man at the other end of the bar sat with his head in his arms and a half-empty bottle of firewhiskey in front of him, apparently unconscious. Relaxing slightly, he turned his attention back to the barmaid as she set his pint down.

“So are you new to London?” she asked. “I don’t think I’ve seen you here before.”

“I come here now and again on business,” he said. “I’ve never been to the famous Leaky Cauldron before, so I thought I’d stop in this time.”

“Well,” she said with a chuckle, “I don’t think just an ale is going to really tell you much about the place. After all, you can buy ale at any pub in Britain.”

“That’s true,” said the man. “But I’ve been told that this place only brews and serves its own house ales and this one,” he raised the glass, “Is excellent.”

“That’s very kind of you, sir. If you really want a taste of our best, though, you should try our special recipe honey mead. It’s won several competition awards.”

“Thank you. Perhaps another night I’ll try it.”

“Will you be needing anything else for now?” she asked.

“Not unless you have a few minutes to keep an old man company,” he said with a slight smile.

“That’s flattering, but even if it doesn’t look that busy I still have a lot to do. Perhaps another night.”

He gave a small shrug as if to say, ‘can’t blame me for trying,’ and turned his attention to his drink.


After making the rounds of her customers and refilling two pints of ale and a mug of butterbeer, Hannah Abbott slipped into the back room. She grabbed a pinch of floo powder, threw it into the fire, and called, “Phoenix Loft .” When her head stopped spinning and a wide, spacious kitchen came into view, she called, “Harry, are you home? It’s Hannah.” A few seconds later, Kreacher shuffled into view.

“Miss Abbott is calling my master?” he asked.

“Yes please, if he’s available.”

“Master is at a party tonight.”

Hannah cursed under her breath. Tonight was Seamus Finnegan’s bachelor party; Neville was there, and she should have realized Harry would be there too.

“Can I talk to Ginny, then? It’s important.”

“Mistress is here. Kreacher will tell her you are calling.”

“Thank you, Kreacher,” she said. He disappeared with a loud crack. A few seconds later, Ginny appeared at the fire.
“Hi Hannah, what’s up?”

“I need to reach Harry. I think one of those escaped Death Eaters is in my pub right now.”

“How can you tell?” Ginny asked.

“I’m not totally sure, but I think it might be Thorfinn Rowle. His hair and eye colors are different, maybe from glamour charms, and he’s grown a mustache, but otherwise he’s about the right height and build, and he has a Norwegian accent. It’s slight, but it’s there.” Hannah briefly relayed her conversation with the man.

“All right. I’ll let Harry know, and we’ll see what he wants to do. Thanks, Hannah.”

“No problem. I need to get back to work, but could you do me a favor?”

“Sure, what?”

“Tell Harry I’d prefer to have him collect this Death Eater outside my pub, okay? Having it all over the Daily Prophet that a Death Eater was spotted and arrested here wouldn’t exactly be great for business.”

Ginny laughed, “Sure thing. I’ll see you later.”

Hannah broke the connection and hurried back out to the front room, hoping she wasn’t gone long enough to make the man suspicious.


Harry felt the galleon in his pocket heat up. Excusing himself to a quiet corner of the room, he pulled it out and checked the message.

“HP: possible DE at LC. Floo AEC. GP”

AEC — at earliest convenience. That meant Ginny wasn’t 100% certain it was a hit, and was giving him a choice about whether or not to follow up. Harry looked around. He didn’t want to stay too much longer anyway — most of the guests were already drunk and the strippers Dean hired had shown up about ten minutes ago, so he figured the party was well on its way towards moving beyond his comfort zone. Locating Seamus, he asked if he could use the floo for a moment.

“The loo? Course you can use the loo,” slurred Seamus, his Irish brogue even thicker than usual after numerous drinks. “S’what it’s there for, innit? Why are you even askin’ me?”

“Not the loo, the floo,” said Harry. “I need to make a fire call to Ginny.”

“Can’t make a fire call in the loo,” said Seamus with a drunken titter. “Don’t have a fireplace in there, do I? If you wanna use the one in the bedroom, though, go right ahead.”

Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, Harry simply said, “Right. Thanks Seamus.”

“My pleasure!” roared Seamus, “Friends are for sharing things, aren’t they? That’s why we’re all here!” He gestured broadly around the room. “Great party, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, great party” said Harry. Hurrying up the stairs, he added under his breath, “Unless you like strippers and alcohol, it’s as much fun as mucking out a Hippogriff paddock.” Locating the bedroom, he threw a pinch of floo powder into the fireplace. The kitchen of his home, Phoenix Loft, spun into view; Ginny already sat near the fire waiting for him, and they began a hurried conversation about Hannah’s news.

“That’s everything she told me, Harry,” said Ginny several minutes later.

“So we have a probable, but not a sure thing.” Harry thought for a moment then came to a decision. “It’s too bad the new toys aren’t quite ready yet, or else we’d be able to find out who he is before we act, but if it is Rowle I don’t want to risk him getting away. He’s one of the most dangerous people still at large right now.”

“So which plan you think we should use? I promised Hannah we’d try to keep it out of her pub.”

Harry thought for a second. “Hannah said he propositioned her, so he’s obviously open to picking up a woman tonight. I’m going to contact Lavender and see if she feels up to executing Plan H. She’s completely off-duty tonight, so she’ll be able to help us out if she’s not too busy. I’m about to leave the party anyway, so I don’t mind being her second.”

A slow smile spread across Ginny’s face. “Good idea,” she said, “That plan should work perfectly on a perv like Rowle. Send me a note on the coin once you hear from Lavender, and I’ll be at The Leaky Cauldron in ten minutes.”

“Ten minutes?” Harry looked puzzled. “You don’t need to come with us, Ginny. It’s only a two-person job.”

“Harry, I warned you that I am not going to stay home and sit on my hands again while you go off playing the noble hero. I helped you put this group together, and I’m going to be there to back you up, especially on our first mission!"

“Ginny — “

“No, Harry, I’m coming and you can’t stop me! Listen, I’ll floo in through Hannah’s fireplace and stay in the back rooms — that way I’ll be able to tell her what she needs to know about our plan, I’m a second away if you run into trouble, and the Death Eater won’t even know I’m there. Okay?”

“Alright, I guess that makes sense,” Harry admitted grudgingly. “Just be careful, okay?”

“Harry, I fought at your side in three big battles and survived a year of the Carrows, remember? I know how to watch out for myself. Now go call Lavender and let’s get going. That Death Eater won’t sit there all night.”


30 minutes later, Harry sat disillusioned at a table in the back of The Leaky Cauldron, discreetly keeping an eye on the bar as Lavender chatted up the man. Harry had seen her seduction skills put to good use on Auror missions before. In fact, he’d seen her charm some of the most cold-hearted bastards of dark wizardkind into puddles of easily-apprehended goo. Harry was too far away to hear their conversation, but it was abundantly clear that this particular man would make an easy mark. That fit with Rowle’s profile. It was well known that his two biggest appetites were violence and sex, in that order, and he wasn’t too fussy about whom he indulged them with.

‘Ginny was right, he is a real perv,’ Harry mused, as the man’s hand found its way to Lavender’s right knee. ‘Well, he’ll get a lot more violence and a lot less sex than what he’s expecting tonight.’ A few minutes later he saw Lavender tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. At this prearranged signal, he pressed the coin in his hand and then silently left his table, heading for the private parlors. Nearly all of them were empty and the hall was completely deserted. As he approached #18, the door opened, and he slipped inside and canceled his disillusionment charm.

“Plan working so far?” Ginny asked after she had shut the door behind him.

“Working perfectly,” he said. “Even better than I expected, in fact.”

“Well, seducing an old lecher isn’t exactly rocket science…is it? I’m nowhere near as good at it as Lavender, but I’ll bet even I could have trapped him.”

“If you don’t think you have great seduction skills, then you’re kidding yourself,” said Harry, pulling her in for a kiss. They allowed themselves to share the moment for a few seconds, then he gently released her and said, “Maybe later I’ll show you just how thoroughly you seduce me every day. Right now, I have to head out; Lavender’s bringing this guy outside in a few minutes, and then we’ll nail him.”

“Go get him,” said Ginny quietly, as Harry disapparated to the alley behind the Leaky Cauldron with only the faintest pop.

About five minutes later, Harry heard the back door of the pub open, and the sound of Lavender’s giggles met his ears. Peering out from his hiding place, he saw her hurry into the alleyway, pulling the man after her by the hand.

“Come on, this way,” she said. “I live in Diagon Alley, not too far from here.” She hurried towards the brick wall, but the man halted, looking wary.

“I really don’t think I should go into Diagon Alley tonight. It’s late, and I think I’d rather go back to my room. You should come there with me instead.”

“Oh, don’t be silly!” Lavender exclaimed. “I only live a block away and I live alone. No one’s going to see you, and it’s probably a shorter walk than going back to wherever you’re staying.”

The man stood there, uncertain, considering.

“Hmmm, well if you’re going to be difficult about it, then I guess I’ll have to give you a little more incentive.” She sidled back over to the man, grabbed the front of his robes, and kissed him full on the lips. “And that’s just a small taste of what you’ll get once we’re in my flat,” she purred seductively.

The man remained frozen for a moment, and then he reached for Lavender and pulled her closer. His lips met hers again, and he began to kiss her hungrily, nearly crushing her body to his.

Wondering idly what Ron’s face would look like if he could see his ex-girlfriend making out with a Death Eater, Harry silently pulled out his wand and waited. As the two kissed, Lavender gently turned the man around in a circle, fully exposing his back to Harry’s hiding place. One non-verbal stunning spell later, the man lay crumpled on the ground. Harry stepped out to examine the body.

“He’s definitely wearing glamour charms,” Lavender said in a businesslike tone as soon as he got there. “I recognized the signatures as soon as I sat down next to him, but several of them are strange.”

“Strange in what way?”

“These two here,” she pointed to the man’s hair and (to Harry’s puzzlement) his throat, “and this one…” she indicated an area around his abdomen, “both have very unusual resonances, and they seem much stronger than your garden-variety glamour charms.”

“Longer-lasting, maybe?”

“Very long-lasting,” Lavender agreed. “I’d guess the first two probably don’t need reapplying more than once every three to five years, and this one on his stomach feels like it might last for ten years, or even longer.”

Harry whistled.

“It’s a shame we’ll have to remove these spells to prove his identity,” Lavender said, as she began to search the man’s pockets. “I’d love to study them and see how they were put together.”

“Take a recording of the signatures and give it to Hermione,” Harry suggested. “She’ll probably have both spells reverse-engineered in 24 hours.”

“Along with five suggestions for tweaking them to make them even better,” Lavender agreed. Chuckling appreciatively, they both finished searching the man. The only possessions on him were his wand, his watch, and a small money pouch.

“Thanks for your help, Lavender,” Harry said as they both stood up. “For our first capture it went really well, and you’ve more than earned your share of the reward money. I’ll get this guy’s identity checked out, and assuming it’s Rowle I’ll bring him in and get the paperwork started. You can go home if you want.”

“Thanks, Harry,” said Lavender. “As much as it disgusts me to have slime like this putting his hands on me, it’s worth it to make sure another Death Eater is taken off the streets permanently. Especially after, well…you know.” She faltered slightly.

“It’s okay, I understand,” Harry said quickly. “I think Ginny feels the same way. I know she would have offered to do this herself if you weren’t available, but….”

“But it would never work, because you’d forget about staying undercover and rip the guy’s head off as soon as he put a finger on her,” Lavender finished, giggling.

“Probably,” Harry said with a smile. “I know she can fight, as she not-too-gently reminded me a few minutes ago, but she isn’t trained in combat like we are.”

“Still trying to be the noble, protective husband? I think you married the wrong girl for that, Harry.” Lavender was still giggling when Harry suddenly saw her eyes pop wide open as she noticed something behind him. “DUCK!” she shouted, and threw herself into a roll off to Harry’s right side. Harry immediately dropped into a low crouch, and a jet of purple light whizzed over his head. Cursing, he spun and fired several stunning spells back down the alley, and then dashed for cover. He grimaced as another purple jet grazed his shoulder, opening a large gash in the skin. Ignoring the pain, he dove behind a large metal rubbish bin.

Safe for the moment, he quickly took stock of the situation. The newcomer, thwarted in his attempt to knock Harry out of the fight, had turned his attention to Lavender. She was on the other side of the alley from Harry, alternately firing spells and ducking behind a low stone partition to avoid the return fire. They seemed to be fighting only one assailant, however, and despite his initial advantage of surprise, he was still outnumbered by two fully-qualified Aurors. The next time Lavender ducked behind the stone wall, he gave her a quick, sharp whistle. When she glanced over, he made three brief gestures. She nodded immediately to indicate that she understood, then popped her head back over the wall and began shooting off jinxes and hexes as fast as she could, while Harry concentrated hard on his destination.
Focused entirely on Lavender, the stranger didn’t even notice the pop as Harry apparated across the alley and behind him. Harry raised his wand to stun the man, but before he could strike, ropes suddenly coiled themselves around the man, and he fell to the ground immobilized.

“And just for old time’s sake,” Harry said to the stranger, “Expelliarmus.” The man’s wand flew out of his hand, and Harry caught it.

“Mind telling us why you tried to kill us?” Harry asked. The stranger glowered at him, hate in his eyes. He said nothing, but began struggling and kicking fiercely against the ropes, still trying to lash out at Harry despite his restraints. Then he went limp, as a stunning spell from Lavender hit him squarely in the chest.

“Best to knock him out for now, since he didn’t seem willing to cooperate. We need to be careful, Harry,” said Lavender as she walked over. “This one’s wearing the same kind of glamour charms as the first guy. Hannah and Ginny didn’t tell us our mysterious stranger had a confederate.”

“We didn’t know,” said Hannah’s voice from behind them. Harry turned and saw Ginny at the back door of The Leaky Cauldron, with Hannah right behind her. “You got both of them, then?” Hannah asked.

Harry nodded. “Good shot with that incarcerous spell, Lavender.”

“I didn’t cast it,” said Lavender, looking surprised. “I thought you had.”

“I did,” said Ginny. “I promised I’d back you guys up, didn’t I? And now we have two Death Eaters for Azkaban. Great first mission, Harry.”

“Yeah, it would be great if I wasn’t bleeding profusely,” Harry deadpanned. Ginny paled.

“Oh no, Harry, what happened?” she asked.

“Don’t worry, it’s not that serious. The second guy ambushed us, and hit my shoulder with some kind of cutting curse. It’s a shallow cut, but since it hasn't stopped bleeding yet I bet it has some dark magic in it. I’ll get it checked at St. Mungo’s as soon as these two are brought in.”

“Don’t you try to tell me that getting sliced open by dark magic isn’t serious, Harry James Potter,” said Ginny fiercely. “You’ll go get that looked at right now and make sure it isn’t cursed or something. Lavender and I can bring them in.”

“Lavender can’t, Ginny. She’s still an active duty Auror so she can't claim the reward, and we need Hannah keeping her cover too. You and I are the only ones who can bring them in, but I want to find out who this other person is,” said Harry. “He looks familiar somehow, but I can’t exactly place him.”

“Lumos,” said Ginny. As the light from her wand fell on the bound stranger, she gasped. “I don’t believe it.”

“What, Ginny? Who is it?”

“It’s Andrew Paddleford, the Wimbourne Wasps’ team captain!”


“It is! I’d recognize that flat, ugly face and head of moppy blond hair anywhere. And I owe him a little payback too, for some of the dirty tricks he’s pulled in our matches and for trying to murder my husband just now.” She pointed her wand at him again, but Lavender held out a hand to stop her.

“Hold on, Ginny,” she said. “You need to stay completely out of this.”

“Huh? Why?”

“Because aside from the fact that he’s unarmed, unconscious, and helpless right now, you’re also playing a match against Wimbourne this weekend, remember?” Lavender said.

“She’s right,” said Harry. “And we can’t have you bringing him in, either. It’s already going to look bad enough if I’m the one apprehending him, but at least we can justify that — even if he isn’t an escaped Death Eater he still assaulted me, most likely with dark magic, and if he did that carries a mandatory minimum sentence in Azkaban. How do you think the headlines would look in the Daily Prophet if you showed up at the Ministry with a rival player in tow, bound and unconscious, claiming he was a Death Eater in disguise?”

“Point taken,” said Ginny. “I’ll just shut up now and fly on Sunday then, shall I?”

“Wise decision,” said Harry. “You should probably go home right away. The fewer people who know you were here, the better. Hopefully no one will even figure out that you hexed him, because it can’t look anything but bad.”

She stepped forward and embraced him then, and he could feel some of the worry and tension leave her as they held each other. “Love you,” she whispered. “Now go get that shoulder checked out, and hurry home. I won’t be able to sleep until I hear the rest of the story.”

“And you’ll get it, Love, I promise,” he whispered back.


As Harry expected, Ginny was still awake and waiting for him when he came home again two hours later.

“My shoulder is fine,” he told her after a quick kiss hello. “It was dark magic, but the healers recognized the curse right away and knew the counter for it, so there’s no lasting harm done.”

“And our two friends?” Ginny asked. “Was it Rowle?”

“It was,” said Harry. “His identity is confirmed, and he’s in Azkaban. And it turns out your friend Paddleford was another former Death Eater living under an alias too.”

“No!” Ginny exclaimed. “Who is he?”

“Do you remember Graham Montague?”

“Montague…Montague…hang on, he was the Slytherin Captain in my fourth year, wasn’t he?” Ginny asked. "The one Fred and George stuffed in the vanishing cabinet."

“The very same. We knew he’d joined the Death Eaters because he got caught and put in Azkaban at one point before the Ministry fell. The Death Eaters broke him out again, of course, but we never knew what became of him. We thought he might have been one of those casualties of the last battle who were never positively identified.”

“And instead he changed his identity and went back to playing Quidditch,” Ginny mused. “Well I can’t say he’s a big loss. He’s always been one of the dirtiest players in the league, and not much fun to play against.”

Looking much happier at the prospect of a Paddleford-free match against Wimbourne, Ginny sighed contentedly and snuggled herself against Harry on the sofa. They sat in silence for a while, content to enjoy each other’s company.

“So, we planned to catch one Death Eater tonight and got two,” Ginny said quietly, much later. “That’ll be worth 2000 Galleons — not bad for our first try at this. Any thoughts on what you’re going to do with that money?”

“Well, everyone who helped will get their shares of course. Hannah, and Lavender, and my informant.”

Ginny sat up and frowned. “Him? Why are you paying him for this job? Hannah’s the one who tipped you off, not him.”

“Actually, that’s not entirely true,” Harry confessed. “He contacted me earlier in the day to let me know there might be an escaped Death Eater coming through the Leaky Cauldron tonight. I sent Hannah a message on the DA coin and asked her to keep watch. She might have picked up that the guy was suspicious anyway — Neville says she has a pretty sharp eye for that kind of thing.”

Harry paused, looking thoughtful. “You know, I don’t think anyone expected to see two Death Eaters there. Even he never said anything about a second one. Hannah told me that Montague was apparently sleeping at the bar since before she came back from her dinner break, but a few minutes after Lavender and Rowle went out the door, he suddenly “woke up” and followed after them. That’s when Hannah got suspicious and went to find you.”

“So you’re wondering which of these two he meant to tip you off about?” Ginny guessed.

“Yeah. I’ll have to look into that some more, but either way he still earned a share for reporting one of the escaped Death Eaters.”

“Knowing him, he’ll probably try to take credit for both and demand a double share,” Ginny grumbled.

“And he’d get it if he did. I know you don’t like him, but he’s been a great help to us, Gin. We need to make sure he stays happy,” said Harry.

“Well let’s not talk about that anymore,” Ginny said, sighing and leaning back into him again. “Have you decided which charity is getting your portion of the reward money?”

“Yeah. Since Montague was posing as a Quidditch player, I’m going to donate it to the Right to Play Quidditch Foundation.”

“That sounds wonderful,” Ginny smiled. “They’ll be so thrilled to have you as a donor that they’ll probably want you to make personal appearances at some of their play centers.”

Harry made a face. “I sincerely hope not,” he said. Then he realized she was teasing him, and laughed along with her.

“So what are you going to do with your share?” he asked her, gently rubbing her back.

“Invest in a few supplies,” said Ginny. “It looks like we may be doing this for a little while, and I have some ideas to help us improve our coordination next time. It’s something my coaches emphasize every day in chaser training; communication and working seamlessly with your teammates.”

“Good idea,” said Harry. “But right now the only communication I want to practice is communicating to you just how seductive you are, Mrs. Potter.”

“I like that plan, Mr. Potter,” she smiled. Arm in arm they went upstairs, the lights extinguishing behind them with a flick of his wand.

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