The Sugar Quill
Author: Gemini (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Sleeping Dragons  Chapter: Chapter Two: Back to Bulgaria
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Chapter Two: Back to Bulgaria

 

When Ron and I reached the front door, Harry and Remus were conversing swiftly. Remus saw us approaching and beckoned us all to another room, farther away from the others sitting in the dining room.

We stepped into the Arthur's den with Remus closing the door behind us.

"Remus, what's wrong?" I asked.

"Something's come up," he answered. "Malfoy's been spotted."

I gasped. Ron looked shocked. "What? Where? When?"

"Someone in Bulgaria saw him and reported the sighting to the Minister there," said Harry. "Your dad was telling me earlier about it. He thought I should know."

"Wait a second," I said. "Which Malfoy are you talking about?"

"It was Draco," replied Remus. "But no doubt Lucius and Narcissa are with him. The poor man who saw them Apparated to the Bulgarian Ministry right away and reported everything. He lives in a cabin in the northern forests. Apparently, he saw someone who looked like Draco walk past his house, deeper into the woods."

We stood, thinking about what the sighting might mean. Harry had defeated Voldemort by performing the Avada Kedavra curse on him eight years ago. It was the ultimate showdown. Voldemort was trapped alone in the house of his father, which was surrounded by Aurors. Harry bolted for the house and made us stay behind. Fifteen minutes later, the house went up in flames and he emerged, bloody, battered, and victorious. The Death Eaters went into hiding, including the Malfoy family.

"What are we going to do about this?" Asked Ron.

Remus reached into his robes and took out three envelopes. "I've got your orders right here." He passed out one to each of us. "I've got to get back to the headquarters. These should contain everything you need." We walked him to the front door. Since the Weasleys were just in the next room, he whispered to me and Ron, "Sirius will contact you at ten o'clock tonight so read it by then. Remember to destroy them when you're done." Ron and I would have to relay whatever Sirius told us to Harry who couldn't be contacted in Ginny's flat when she was around. We were undercover, after all.

"If anyone asks why I was here, just tell them I needed to see Hermione about her visit on Wednesday," said Remus, walking out the door. I was to be a guest speaker at Hogwarts for Remus' seventh year Defense Against the Dark Arts class. He had been rehired after the Dark War.

I put the envelope away into my robes, making sure it wouldn't have a chance of falling out. I looked at Ron and Harry and I knew we were all thinking the same thing: Draco Malfoy was back.

* * *

"I'll see you tomorrow, Percy. It was nice seeing you again, Charlie. Take care, Angelina!" Ron and I were saying our good-byes in the kitchen. Harry and Ginny had left earlier (most likely going home to have some alone time for the newly engaged pair).

It was nine o'clock when Ron and I arrived home via the Floo network. Ron flopped down on the couch and pulled me down beside him.

"We have an hour before he calls. We should read the letter," he said. I nodded silently. I dreaded these letters.

I pulled mine out from my pocket, where it got a little crinkled. I already knew what the envelope would say on the front: "U.A.A. - No. 3." Ron's would be "U.A.A. - No. 2."

The letter inside read:

Undercover Auror Agency

Attn: No. 3

Draco Malfoy has been spotted in the northern region of the Bulgarian forests. We have reason to believe Lucius, Narcissa and possible other Death Eaters are with him. The Bulgarian Minister of Magic has informed other Ministers of the sighting, and Arthur Weasley has contacted me with a request for U.A. agents. I have personally selected you, No. 2 and No. 1 for this assignment for reasons I will not divulge in this letter. Please be ready to leave for Bulgaria by tomorrow morning. No. 4 will contact you tonight at 10:00; he will have the rest of the details.

The letter was not signed, but I knew whom it was from.

I sighed and took out my wand. "Aboleus," I said softly, pointing to the letter and envelope. They both disintegrated immediately. Ron did the same beside me. He put his arm around me and I laid my head on his shoulder.

"Bulgaria, huh?" he whispered into my ear. "That brings back a few memories from fourth year." I laughed quietly.

"Do you think it's really Draco Malfoy?" I asked.

He stroked my hair for a moment before answering. "I hope so. I just want to finally catch him."

We sat in silence, waiting.

* * *

"Ron, it's ten! Hurry up!" I hissed at him while I pulled my skirt on.

"I am hurrying!" He said, rushing to button his shirt up. I quickly grabbed my robes and threw them on.

I smoothed my hair down and Ron was reaching for his robes when Sirius Black's head appeared in our fire.

He stared up at us, and then a small grin spread out on his face when he saw our flushed faces. "Caught you at a bad time, have I?"

"No, no," I denied. "Just go ahead and tell us what we have to do."

Sirius laughed. "Right, Hermione. Er, Ron, you've got your buttons a bit mixed up."

Ron glared. "Just talk."

Sirius smiled at Ron's agitation, but instantly looked grave again. "I assume you've read the letter?"

I nodded. "It doesn't really say anything that Remus hasn't already told us."

"I know," he said. "Dumbledore didn't want to say too much in the letter. He thought it would be better if I told you the rest." Dumbledore never said a lot in the U.A.A. letters in case they were intercepted, but just enough to let us know of any duties we may have had to do right away.

Ron and I sat in front of the fireplace.

"You two, along with Harry, are to go to Bulgaria tomorrow morning. You'll have to use a Portkey. You know already that Draco was spotted in the northern forests, but what you don't know is that both Ministries have already sent over fifteen Aurors to scour the area. We're going to have to disguise ourselves this time."

Only the top wizards at the Ministry of Magic know that the Undercover Auror Agency exists, but they don't know who the agents are. That may be a good thing, because I think Arthur Weasley would have a heart attack if he knew that the three of us were involved in the organization. We specialized in Dark Arts Defense, and my research at my regular Ministry job was usually copied and transferred to the U.A.A. headquarters. As much as the wizarding population would have liked to believe otherwise, there are still Dark Wizards in the world.

"What are we going to do in Bulgaria?" asked Ron.

"I'll be meeting you three there at ten in the morning, at the Auror camp." He handed us a map from out of the fire. "Get Harry to tell Ginny he has practice or something."

Ron groaned. "We do have practice tomorrow."

Sirius ignored him. "You'll be taking up your regular disguises, I assume?" We nodded. "Right, then. When we're ready, I'm going to change into my dog form and search for him by scent. It shouldn't be too hard if we've got the right trail. One of you will come with me, the other two will pretend to be hikers if anyone sees you. If by any chance we need to call in for help, we'll have the other Aurors within Apparating range."

"Got it," I told Sirius. "Is there anything else?"

"I don't think so. I'll be on my way then, and leave you two to resume your previous activities." He smirked and before we could say anything, he disappeared from the fire with a pop.

Ron and I looked at each other, then grinned.

* * *

"More toast, Harry?" I offered a plate out to him.

"Thanks," he said, taking a slice.


I sat with Harry and Ron at the kitchen table, waiting for ten o'clock to roll around. We were all extremely tense, and had just finished transforming our appearances with glamour spells. My hair was blonde and I had blue eyes. Ron's red hair had changed to brown and Harry's hair was blonde too. I was in charge of face transformation and we all looked completely different from our true appearances. Ron was in charge of voice transformation so no one could tell who we were when we spoke.

After a long period of silence, I glanced up at the clock over the kitchen door. It read, "Time to Go." I turned to Harry and Ron. "You ready?"

They nodded and we grabbed our bags. Each U.A. agent has a sort of 'U.A.A. kit' with an Invisibility cloak, a quality sneakoscope, et cetera. Only the owner or another agent knew how to correctly open it and find U.A.A. supplies. If a stranger opened it on that particular day, they'd find some spare change, some makeup and hiking gear.

We walked into the living room and I rechecked that my Ministry work was still in its hiding place. We grabbed onto an old shoe and a minute later, I felt a pulling in my stomach and was transported to Bulgaria. (I would have preferred to Apparate but Apparating from one country to another was not a smart idea.) We were in a forest on the edge of a clearing filled with tents.

"Is this the right place?" asked Ron.

I pulled the map out of my bag. "I think so."

"Let's go meet Sirius," said Harry, who strode over to the camp.

A few Ministry Aurors were up and having breakfast in the middle of the clearing. They looked at us apprehensively as we approached. "Excuse me," I said, walking up to them. "Do you know where Sirius Black is? We're the three people he was planning to show around."

"He was here about fifteen minutes ago," an Auror said. I looked closer and realized it was Seamus Finnigan, an old school friend. Of course, I didn't say anything; we were incognito.

"Do you know when he'll be back?"

Seamus shrugged. "Beats me. He's not on duty today."

I turned to Ron and Harry, raising my eyebrows. Harry quickly spoke up. "Do you mind if we wait here a bit for him?"

Another Auror said, "No, go right ahead." She gestured for us to sit at the table with them. "How do you know Sirius?"

"Oh… uh…" Ron had a blank look on his face.

"We're training to be Aurors", I explained.

"Really?" Seamus asked, his eyes lighting up.

Another twenty minutes of Auror stories, tips and advice were given to us before Sirius finally showed up.

"There you are, Sirius! We were getting worried about you," Ron said, standing up.

"You're late," I said.

"Sorry about that… I was just checking the area out," he replied, apologetically.

"You ready to take us on that tour?" asked Harry, pointedly.

"Right." Sirius looked to the rest of the Aurors, who were watching our exchange with amusement. "I'm just going to take them out for a little tour of the forest. We'll be back soon."

We started off into the forest. I pulled my robes a little closer to me, shivering in the cold.

We didn't say anything for awhile until Sirius led us to a small trail that led off into a dense area of the forest.

"Er, where exactly are we going?" Asked Harry.

"You'll see," Sirius said, walking along the path.

"I thought you were going to change into a dog to get on Malfoy's scent?" said Ron.

Sirius paused for a moment, then turned back to the three of us. "Actually, I found something here earlier that I thought I'd show you."

We gave each other confused looks. Finally, we consented and followed him further.

An hour later, as I was walking, I tripped on a branch that had grown over the path. I let out a small cry and stumbled, but caught Ron's arm to steady myself.

"You okay, Hermione?" He looked concerned.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just tripped, that's all. Thanks, Ron."

Sirius looked back at us, perplexed. "Hermione?"

I called up ahead to him and Harry, "It's okay, I just tripped. Keep going."

They turned and Ron and I quickly jogged to catch up.

"We're almost there," said Sirius.

A few minutes later, he led us to an overgrown thicket. "Partius," he said, pointing his wand to the underbrush.

After a moment, the underbrush parted and a dirt path led to a small chamber beneath the ground.

We stared in awe. "This is where the Malfoys are hiding? Where are they now?" Ron was in shock. The chamber was small enough to be the size of a bedroom.

"Most probably," Sirius said. He stepped onto the path. "No one's here anymore though. They probably got wind that they're being searched for."

"Well, couldn't they just Apparate out?" asked Ron.

I shook my head. "Every time you Apparate or Disapparate you're tracked, remember? The Ministry has probably charmed the Apparating records to alert them of Death Eaters. And besides, it's incredibly tricky. Why do you think so many people avoid it?"

"Hermione, you know everything, don't you?" Harry and Ron shared a grin, but I just ignored them.

We followed Sirius down into the chamber with our wands in our hands. There was little room between the ceiling and our heads. "I still can't believe the Malfoys would voluntarily live in a dump like this." Ron was shaking his head.

Sirius reached into his pack and pulled out a bottle of water.

"Good idea," remarked Harry. He did the same. Walking that far made us a little tired and we sat down to take a little rest.

"Sirius, did you find anything else in here?" I asked. It was virtually empty except for the remains of a fire in the middle of the room and a few cooking pots that I guessed must have been stolen.

"No, I left it as it was."

"How on earth did you manage to come across this dump?" Ron asked. He seemed very amused by the high and mighty Malfoys living in a dirt bedroom.

"I got on the their trail and managed to trace it down to here," he explained.

We sort of sat there for a moment, just thinking. "There's really not much here, is there?" Harry commented.

"There's nothing besides the cooking pots," Ron replied.

"And I don't think those are even worth taking back to the Auror camp," I said. I digested what I had just said and an absurd thought came into my head of how the Malfoys could have transfigured themselves to look like pots. A silly grin spread across my face, thinking about it.

"Look," Harry said, "we might as well just take them back and see if they've been transfigured from anything important that could give us a clue. It's worth a shot."

Ron nodded. "Let's head back to headquarters, then."

* * *

Remus was sitting at his desk, writing something on a piece of parchment paper. When we entered, he looked up. "Finished already? What did you find?"

Harry held out a cooking pot, eliciting a strange look from Remus.

"What's this?"

"It's a pot," said Ron, helpfully.

Remus raised an eyebrow.

"We found the Malfoys' hideout," I explained. "The only things there were some pots."

Remus sighed and stood to take it from Harry's outstretched hand. "Where's Sirius?"

"He went to go find Albus about ten minutes ago," replied Harry. I still found it strange calling Professor Dumbledore "Albus," but he insisted after we joined the U.A.A. After all, he reminded us, he wasn't a professor anymore.

At that moment, Dumbledore stepped into the room followed by Sirius.

"Sirius tells me you've found their old hideout?" Dumbledore sat in a chair by Remus' desk. He was looking older and more distinguished by the day.

The three of us gave him our report, while Sirius and Remus stood listening. Sirius and Remus were agents too, but they dealt more with research instead of field jobs. Dumbledore founded the U.A.A. after he 'retired' as the headmaster of Hogwarts. The story he gave was that it was time another teacher should be Headmaster of Hogwarts, or in Professor McGonagall's case, Headmistress. He secretly founded the U.A.A. and instantly asked Harry, Ron and me if we wanted to be a part of it. We agreed. Sirius and Remus joined soon after, and then many more. We worked in teams of three, rarely teaming up with another group.

When we finished talking, Dumbledore looked grave, thinking. "There's nothing else we can do for now," he told us. We were about to protest when he held up his hand to silence us. "We have no other information on the Malfoys' whereabouts. They could be anywhere in the world by now."

I think Dumbledore knew we felt a little helpless because he changed the topic by asking, "Harry? I spoke to Arthur Weasley today about you and Ginny. Is there something you wanted to tell us?" The twinkle in his eye was back.

Harry smiled, and turned to Sirius and Remus. "I asked Ginny to marry me."

"That's wonderful, Harry!" Remus came over to congratulate him and Sirius pulled him into a short hug.

"You two will be very happy together, Harry," Dumbledore said.

"Thank you, Albus," said Harry.

"I must be off now," Dumbledore announced, standing up. "I have a letter to Minerva I want to finish. Goodnight!" He gave a cheery wave and disappeared out the door.

"I'm going to stay here," Remus said. "This needs to be finished by tomorrow so no one will notice I'm gone from Hogwarts." He gestured to the papers sitting on his desk. Remus traveled back and forth from Hogwarts regularly, using a broomstick to get off the Hogwarts grounds then Apparating to the U.A.A.

"I'll stay with you," said Sirius. "I don't feel like going home just yet."

The three of us said our good-byes and Harry Apparated back to his flat. Ron turned to me. "Ready?" I nodded.

I concentrated on our house in Ottery St Catchpole, and felt a slightly dizzy pull. Two seconds later, Ron and I Reapparated in our kitchen, but it was definitely not how we left it earlier that morning.

For a few seconds, neither of us did anything except for stare at our shattered home. Then Ron grabbed my hand and pulled me close. "Someone might still be here," he whispered into my ear.

I nodded and pulled him toward the door. Stepping over the fallen chairs and broken table, we peeked into the living room. The late evening sky let in a little light so we could see the mess that occupied it. My eyes traveled to the corner where my Dark Arts research was hidden.

"Ron?" I tugged on his robes. He looked down at me. "Ron, my research is missing."

//
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