And Then There Were Twelve
Trelawney... announced... that Harry was not going to suffer an early
death after all, but would live to a ripe old age, become Minister of Magic,
and have twelve children." (OotP,
pp 582-583, US)
This story takes place
on the way to fulfilling that prediction...
Chapter 1 -- Death and
Five Aurors and Apparated
with loud cracks on the small cottage situated on one of the tiny Orkney Islands.
Stealth was not necessary and would have only delayed their mission.
They found the cottage in
ruins: the roof had been destroyed and it wallss were crumbling. Loud roars and
crashes of more destruction filled the air as a raging mountain troll
demolished everything in its path. The troll stood head and shoulders above
what had once been the roofline of the small house.
Harry Potter, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, to the four
other officers. At once five Stunning Spells hit the troll. With
one last roar the troll fell forward onto his face, knocking out the remains of
the back wall of the cottage. Dust and debris filled the air. The hiss of running water from the ruptured
plumbing was the only sound.
survivors," ordered Harry. He wouldn't have been involved in this
sort of field work ordinarily, but he had taken call this weekend so his
assistant, Seamus Finnegan, could have a holiday. It also didn't hurt
that he liked to keep a hand in the field work once in
"What the hell was a
mountain troll doing here?" asked Meirs, one of Harry's best lieutenant
"No idea. Bind
him up and transport him to the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures
Department. Tell Adams to run some diagnostics. I want to know if the troll
came here under his own power or not. If not, I want to know whatever
caused this event, and make sure that it won't spread."
Harry stepped over some
rubble to join the rest of the team in the search for survivors. The
cottage was a total loss; not a brick or piece of thatch was left
untouched. Pieces of broken furniture and belongings were
indistinguishable in the destruction. Harry and his team went from room to
room searching for anyone who may have been involved or victimized.
there's a body here," shouted O'Neil from the rear of the cottage.
here," shouted Smythe. She was the youngest Auror on the team, only
having finished training six months ago.
Although young and eager, she was willing and capable in any situation.
The two bodies were that
of a young man and woman. They were holding hands, the woman's with a
gold wedding band. Both skulls had been dented by the troll's club.
Blood was spattered among the debris, wetting the plaster dust and dotting the
victims' clothing. The man was clutching a broken wand.
look here," said Smythe. When Harry approached her, she pointed to a
destroyed child's cot.
breathed Harry. He hated it when children were involved. It always
reminded him of his own ten, soon to be eleven, and what he would do if any one
of them were hurt.
out and look for a child," he shouted, as he frantically started shifting
rubble and broken boards, filled with dread but desperately hoping for a
miracle. The team joined him, taking great care to avoid causing more
damage as they searched.
Several minutes later
Harry uncovered a small trunk in the corner of the couple's bedroom. He
almost overlooked it, only expecting papers or household items. But as he
wondered what he would have done in the same situation to protect his
child, he carefully opened the trunk.
Curled up inside the
trunk in a fetal position was a young child, about three or four years
old. Harry reckoned a Silencing Charm had been cast on the trunk because
the child was screaming and he hadn't heard a thing with the lid closed.
He couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl as his or her arms were curled over
his or her head. Carefully touching the child's shoulder, he ran his
broad hand softly down the child's back.
The screaming stopped
abruptly as the child looked up at Harry. Tear-filled bright blue eyes
stared into Harry's, who tried to keep his own gaze as gentle as
possible. A girl, Harry thought, heart aching with love for his
own daughters. She had long, wispy blond curles, disheveled and damp with tears, and
was dressed in child's robes. Seeing Harry she launched herself out of
the trunk and latched her arms around his neck and her legs around his
middle. With a small "Oomph" Harry stood up and regained his
balance. The girl buried her head in the crook of his neck, her
heart-wrenching sobs breaking his heart and her tears wetting his collar.
"Mummy! Mummy!" she cried. Harry jostled her
slightly and stepped away from the area where the girl's parents lay. The
other team members, seeing Harry had a live rescue, resumed their extraction of
the girl's parents and gathering the evidence needed to investigate the
"Meirs, contact St.
Mungo's. Have a pediatric Healer come to examine her. Smythe, can you
take her?" asked Harry, grateful for a woman on his team.
Smythe approached her
Head of Department and tried to prise the little girl's arms away from Harry's
neck. The girl screeched and clung tighter, choking him.
"No! No! No!"
gasped Harry, moving further away from the debris and making little movements
he used when any of his children were colicky or cranky, chivvying her to
release her grip on his neck. Making soothing noises and clucking softly,
he wandered into the yard and sat on a large boulder, cradling the distraught
youngster and rocking back and forth. He started singing one of Ginny's
made-up lullabies under his breath:
Lull-a-by sweet baby,
Night is slowly fading,
No monsters will dare to come in,
While Daddy holds his arms you in.
The nonsense song soothed
the little girl and her sobs faded to exhausted chuffs against the side of his
neck. As he continued to rock and croon, Harry's thoughts churned.
Who had sent the troll? They didn't inhabit any part of the Orkney Islands,
nor the Shetlands. What was the motive? Harry fervently wished Adams' examination
would reveal a simple rogue troll and nothing more nefarious. And what about the little girl? She didn't appear
injured but Harry couldn't get a good look at anything other than her back in
this position, and she clearly was not inclined to move at the moment.
And where was that Healer?
As Harry's thoughts
continued to spin, Smythe approached him carrying several documents.
"We've identified the victims, sir," she said softly, not wanting to
upset the girl. "Heather and Brian McFadden.
Both just twenty-two years old. Brian was a
fisherman, Heather a homemaker. This is Bridget Donohue McFadden.
According to what we found she just turned four. Her parents were magical
but poor, neither went to school beyond primary.
No relatives, each were only children, parents deceased."
No apparent family meant the Department of Orphaned Magical Children would have
to be involved. Smythe stuffed the documents in his pocket.
A tall witch in lime
green robes approached and Harry held up a finger. "Can you examine
her without waking her up? She's just now relaxed," he said quietly.
A sympathetic look
crossed the witch's face. "Of course I can, poor little
ducky." She waved her wand over the area of the child's back and
muttered several spells.
"No physical injury,
extreme emotional upset, of course. No permanent damage unless she
suffers more psychological trauma."
Harry sighed with
"Colonel Potter, may
I give you some words of caution? It looks like she's latched on to you
right well. If she does not willingly go to another adult, if you force
her in any way to release you before she's ready, you may do more psychological
"I'm sure the DOMC
will be able to handle it," Harry said hopefully.
him a skeptical look, the mediwitch Apparated with a soft pop. Harry got to his feet, Bridget latched onto him like
a tree frog, her grip still strong even in restless slumber.
"Smythe, tell Meirs
he's in charge of the rest of the investigation and see to the bodies.
The Benevolent Fund should cover the funeral costs. I'll take Bridget to
the Ministry now. Keep me posted if anything else comes up."
With that, Harry
Apparated to the Ministry of Magic, Bridget still clinging
to him like a leech.