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
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
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
"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
"Do you think it's really Draco Malfoy?" I
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,
"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
"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
"Got it," I told Sirius. "Is there anything
"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
"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
"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
"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
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,
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
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
"Good idea," remarked Harry. He did the same.
Walking that far made us a little tired and we sat down to take a little
"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
"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,"
"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
"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
"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
"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,"
"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."