Written by ilene
story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various
publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, and
Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark
infringement is intended.
Chapter Three: Ted, Again
Ted Tonks stepped out of the fireplace, feeling as if he’d
been pulled through a wringer. His fatigue was not just the physical
kind. He could still smell the putrid smell of the sewer, the blood, and
hear the screams and groans of the injured. And if he closed his eyes, he
could see the bodies, and parts of bodies. Ted tossed his briefcase on
the floor near his desk, as a wave of nausea washed over him that had little to
do with the effects of the journey through the Floo Network.
While the Department of Magical Catastrophes was already at the
scene by the time Ted arrived, their work had been limited to finding and
securing the key Muggle witnesses to the scene, employing Memory Charms on the
others...and removing the remains of Peter Pettigrew. Not that there
was much left to remove.
Peter. Ted had met him a number of times, usually in
the company of Sirius, James, and sometimes – though not recently, come to
think of it – Remus. He was a small, pudgy kid, who somehow seemed
even younger than he actually was. He didn’t remember having too many
interesting conversations with him. Peter had seemed to be one of those
people who went through life smiling, nodding, and sometimes loudly voicing
assent to the opinions of others, but without daring to state his own – that
is, if he even had any. He dealt with such people enough as it was, at
the Ministry. Who knew he had it in him to challenge anyone to a
duel? Much less Sirius?
His head swam. He still couldn’t make any sense of
it. He hadn’t been able to talk directly to any witnesses, since that
pompous Fudge had refused, declaring that “As the senior Ministry official on
the scene, I must tell you that the Muggle Relations Department has no
jurisdiction over this investigation”.
He had barely refrained from pointing out to Fudge that,
strictly speaking, the final jurisdiction belonged not to Magical Catastrophes
but to Magical Law Enforcement. But he’d gotten enough information
from more talkative Ministry members at the scene to have an idea about what
had happened, about what Peter had allegedly said to Sirius, and what Sirius
had supposedly done.
Ted’s thoughts were interrupted as Dora ran into the room.
“Wotcher, Dora!” Ted smiled for what he thought must
be the first time that day. “I see you’re going with red hair today?”
“Just like Mr. Weasley at the Ministry,” Dora said. “I
like him! He’s so funny. And he gave me plugs to take home!”
“Yes, he does have quite a collection of them, doesn’t
he?” Ted said. But Arthur Weasley, for all his eccentricities, was also
quite helpful when it came to supplying him with leads on Muggle-baiting
“Uh-huh,” Dora said, then clapped her hand to her
forehead. “Oh! I forgot! Mummy said I had to write him a
“Where is Mummy, by the way?” Ted asked. His smile began to
fade, though he tried to maintain it for Dora’s sake. What am I going
to say to her?
“Mummy’s in the kitchen,” Dora said. “She’s reading.”
“In the kitchen?”
“Mmm-hmmm.” Dora stepped toward him as if to take his
hand, then jumped back. “Daddy! You smell like Dungbombs!”
She twisted her face, and her nose shrank to the size of a Knut.
“Yes, I suppose I do,” Ted said, walking slowly toward the
kitchen, Dora following him at somewhat of a distance.
“Were you out reporter-ing again, Daddy?”
“Yes, I was.”
“Mummy said you were going to be in the telly, so we went up
to the treehouse, but you weren’t in the telly! Oh, and then the
newspaper came, and Cousin Sirius was on it! He was laughing!”
At the mention of Sirius, Ted quickened his pace
considerably. He saw Andromeda, sitting at the kitchen table, the Daily
Prophet laid out in front of her, with the screaming headline, “BLACK
ATTACK ON MUGGLE STREET”, clearly visible.
“Ted!” Andromeda looked up, and he saw that her eyes
were obviously red, even through her glasses. “Ted, you’re okay!”
“Yes, but I can’t say the same for my clothes,” Ted
said. “Might be time to cast Incendi –” Ted broke off his words in
surprise as Andromeda suddenly embraced him, with apparently no care in the
world for the state of his clothing.
“Oh Ted, I saw it. On the telly, I mean. There
weren’t any pictures of it in the Daily Prophet, except for...Sirius….”
“I know, Dora told me,” Ted said in a low voice.
“She doesn’t know,” Andromeda said. “I mean, she knows
his picture’s in the paper, but not why.” She laughed nervously.
Ted realized that it would be best to talk without Dora
He stepped back from Andromeda, and turned to Dora.
“Dora? You remember what you said about writing a
thank-you letter to Mr. Weasley?”
“Well, why don’t you go use Daddy’s desk and write it
now? I think I left a piece of memo parchment on top of it,” Ted said.
“And I left a quill on the chair,” he added, remembering how he’d tossed it
there before jumping into the Floo.
“I get to write a memo?”
“Yes, and the next time Daddy goes to work, I’ll fold it up
and send it right to Mr. Weasley’s office.”
“Okay!” Dora smiled, and trotted off.
He looked at Andromeda again, and sighed. “So, what
does the Prophet say?”
“Not much,” she said. “Oh, it goes on and on about how
terrible it was, thirteen people killed with a single curse…how it took twenty
Hit Wizards to take him away…how he was laughing…and Peter, Peter was there,
oh, Peter’s dead...little Peter Pettigrew…”
“And it says Sirius killed him?”
“Yes, but it’s strange,” she said. “There’s
nothing there about Peter being his friend, or why he…it makes it sound like
Sirius just went crazy! But it also says that ‘the circumstances
make it appear to be a Dark incident’…of course, they had to bring up Regulus,
too, and Bel…my sister.”
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Ted
remembered his boss saying, when he’d first gone out to cover the story…it felt
as if it had been days ago, not hours.
Andromeda looked at him, the unspoken question apparent in
the expression on her face.
“Apparently, Fudge has declared most of the information
classified,” Ted said, suppressing a snort.
“Fudge? Since when does Fudge have the authority to do
that? Last I checked, Crouch was the Head of the M.L.E.”
“Well, Catastrophes was first on the scene,” he said.
“The M.L.E. chaps Apparated in a few minutes later, but…well, you know how it
goes. I’m sure Crouch has sent a whole flock of memos out to Catastrophes
already about ‘clarifying jurisdictional matters’. Fudge held some of the
Muggles who were there so that M.L.E. could question them, but he let the Obliviators
handle the rest, which, of course, means that there might have been crucial
witnesses whose testimony will never be heard.”
“Oh, I’m sure Crouch will love that. Fudge is such
a…he’s not even head of his Department!” Andromeda rolled her eyes.
“And what did the witnesses tell you?”
Ted couldn’t suppress his snort this time. “Well, I’m
sure they would have told me something, if I’d actually been able to talk to
them. But no, according to Fudge, Muggle Relations has absolutely no
jurisdiction in the matter. Never mind that a dozen Muggles were killed,
and twice that number are in the hospital.”
“Fudge is a fool,” Andromeda said. “Especially when it
comes to Muggles. Muggle-borns, too.”
“I’ve noticed,” Ted said. He laughed harshly, remembering
the way Fudge had looked at him, as if he should be grateful that Fudge was
deigning to actually speak to him in person.
“So you don’t know anything, then, other than what’s in –”
Andromeda gestured at the paper on the table.
”I didn’t say that,” Ted said. “I talked to some people. Frank was
there, he told me what he heard.”
“Now, I know what you’re going to say, Andromeda. Yes,
I am glad that I never did challenge Frank Longbottom to a duel at
Hogwarts. And not only because he tells me about M.L.E. matters,
either. I mean, if I had, I’d probably have wound up sent up
to Madam Pomfrey in a matchbox....” Stop trying to change the subject,
Ted, he thought. You have to tell her! She deserves to know.
He took a deep breath.
“Frank told me, some of the Muggles said, they’d heard Peter
say, right before the…no, I have to explain, first.”
“Explain what?” Andromeda looked halfway puzzled, halfway
“Well, you know how James and Lily went into hiding?”
“Yes, of course I do,” Andromeda said. “But they
didn’t hide well enough, did they?” She looked angry now, though Ted
wasn’t sure if the anger was directed toward the Potters for getting themselves
killed, or at him for bringing them up.
“And you also remember, Sirius said he’d be going on a long
trip? That we shouldn’t expect to see him for a while?”
“Are you saying he went into hiding, too?” She
laughed. “Sirius would never do that! Oh, he knew there were plenty
of people who’d like to see him dead. Bel…my sister, for one. But
he would never just run away. He’s a Gryffindor, after all. Now, if he
had a wife, and a baby, it might have been different –”
“No, I’m not saying that he was hiding,” Ted said. “Well, not
for himself, anyway. Listen, you know about the Fidelius Charm, right?”
“Of course! So…you mean…” Andromeda looked at Ted as
if a light had come on in her mind. It was one reason he’d fallen for
her; that way she had of suddenly putting everything together and coming up
with the right answer in an instant. “Sirius was the Secret-Keeper for
Ted nodded. “He was the Secret-Keeper for James, and
Lily, and Harry. For the secret of where they were hidden.”
“But the Fidelius Charm can never be broken! How did
the Dar…I mean, Vo...I mean, You-Know-Who…how did he find them?”
“Andromeda,” Ted said, “You know the charm is broken if the
Secret Keeper tells –”
“No! Sirius would never have –”
“Andromeda. This is what Peter said, before Si...before
the explosion. He said, ‘Lily and James, Sirius! How could you!’”
“No, he couldn’t have! That Muggle must have heard him
“It was more than one Muggle,” Ted said. “Look, I’m
not even saying Sirius did tell. But it does seem Peter thought he
did. And after that, they said Sirius raised his wand arm, one of them
actually saw his wand…and then…”
“And Peter? Did he draw his wand?”
“Probably,” Ted said. “Some witnesses said they saw
him raise his arm. No one saw his wand. But they did find it,
after…it was on the ground. Along with his –”
“That was in the Prophet,” Andromeda
said. “Something about his finger being the largest part of him they
“The largest part of him they could identify,” Ted
said. “And even that’s not…there were so many people there, Muggles
rushing to work. My god, it was hard to tell sometimes…which body parts
belonged to which….” He shuddered.
“Oh, Ted,” Andromeda said. “You saw –”
“I saw everything,” Ted said. “Well, I didn’t see
Peter, they had to…clear him away before the Muggles came.”
“And Sirius? Did you see Sirius?”
“They’d already taken him away, too. Straight off to
“It was a Dark curse, then,” Andromeda said.
“Well, actually…Frank told me that it wasn’t, not
really. A simple Reductor, probably, or something like that, maybe a
cross between that and Incendio.”
“But how could a simple curse …”
“Because there was a gas explosion.” Ted found
himself on the verge of something close to laughter. “There was a gas
line running under the street, along with a sewer line. A little hole, a
little spark…that’s all it takes.”
“Simple yet brilliant,” Andromeda said, then suddenly closed
her mouth. Ted looked at her, knowing what she was thinking. How
many times had she said that about one of Sirius’s little schemes?
After what seemed like a long, uncomfortable silence,
Andromeda looked at him.
“So you think he did it?”
“I don’t know,” Ted said. “I really don’t know. Frank
said he’d tried to speak to him, but he was…well, still laughing, and speaking
some, but it was nonsense, just raving, really. Something about rats and
worms, apparently. Whatever happened, it must have been a big shock to
him, enough to make him lose his mind. Hopefully it’s temporary.
I’ve heard of that happening to Muggles, too. Usually, they regain their
senses with time, but it can take a while; months, even years.”
“Oh Merlin,” Andromeda said. “What are we going to
“I don’t know,” Ted said again. He felt foolish saying
it, but he couldn’t think of anything else. “Maybe something like,
‘Cousin Sirius was in a big accident, and he had to go to the Ministry to
answer some questions about it.’”
“I suppose,” Andromeda said. “But if he’s in
Azkaban…if he goes in front of the Wizengamot…we’ll have to tell her the truth
“I know,” Ted said. The problem is, I don’t know
what the truth is, anymore.