The Sugar Quill
Author: PiperX (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Platform 6 at Baldwych  Chapter: Part Two
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

 

I'd better add another disclaimer, just in case: I make no money from this. Julian, Arliss and Jake are my creations but everything else is owned by J.K. Rowling.

 

Part 2

The young agent, Julian Switters, looked up at the clock in his office at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The long hand on the clock was pointed to a small block of words which read, "nowhere near knocking off time".

He sighed, ran his hands through his wavy, blond hair and turned his attention back to the small stack of complaints on his desk. On the top was yet another letter from Gertrude Grapshaw demanding the arrest and death by decapitation of her neighbor for stealing nuts from her nux vomica tree.

Julian rolled his eyes and turned to the next complaint.

The next letter was from Witch Weekly. Julian leaned forward in his chair in excitement. Witch Weekly was one of the most successful and widely read magazines in the Wizarding community. There, blazing at him from the top of the lavender-scented parchment, was the Witch Weekly logo. This was official. It was from the cooking editor, Ginger Mandorla. Not the main editor, but an editor nonetheless. He anxiously pulled it from the stack and read it.

She needed the help of Law Enforcement. Julian's heart raced with thoughts of the horrors she might be facing to need his help. And he would come to her rescue! He read on. She was having trouble with an Apothecary. Julian wondered briefly what the bastard had done to her. According to Miss Mandorla, the Apothecary was refusing to sell her ingredients unless she cooked him a dinner. She reasoned that her next purchase should be free for having to listen to such an insulting suggestion.

Julian scowled as he let the letter drop back to the table. Looking into the mirror on the wall, he said, "Doesn't anything exciting ever happen around here?"

Before the mirror had time to respond, his door burst open and Arliss Ermey walked in. Arliss was also an agent, but he had been with Law Enforcement many more years than Julian. His receding hairline was speckled with flecks of gray and his robes were not as roomy around the waist as they once had been.

"Well kid, you ready to get your robes dirty?"

Julian anxiously jumped up from his desk. "What is it?"

Arliss smirked at him. "You didn't hear? They really do keep you out of the loop. That's not a good sign, Switters."

Julian was indignant. "They do not keep me out of the loop. I'm sure they just didn't want to disturb me." He shifted his body to block the view of his desk. "I have a lot of uh... important work to get done."

Arliss's smile widened. "Oh, right," he said, starting to chuckle. "Society would fall apart if someone wasn't there to handle Gertrude's weekly crisis."

Julian's shoulders drooped slightly. "What do you want?" he asked irritably.

Arliss became serious. "There's been an attack."

"An attack?" Julian's eyes widened.

Arliss leaned close to Julian and said dramatically, "Death Eaters."

Julian gasped. "Death Eaters?"

Arliss nodded slowly. "Attacked a load of Muggles in an underground train car. They were Death Eaters all right but they all got away. "

Julian's pulse was racing again. "Wha... Where?"

"Under the ground, dumb arse. Where else do you think an underground train would be?"

But Julian was too excited to be bothered by Arliss's comment. "Was anybody killed?"

"Mmm... No. Just a few bruises and broken bones. Nothing serious."

Julian gulped. "Anyone tortured?"

"Uh... not as far as I can tell. Who cares. It's just a load of stupid Muggles."

Julian wrinkled his brow. "Nobody killed? Nobody tortured? What was the purpose of the attack?"

Arliss shrugged. "Cheap thrills? I don't know. All I know is we have to get down there to help with the memory modifications." He sneered. "Seems the all powerful Aurors can't even handle a few elementary charms. Now we have to go bail them out. But do you think we ever get the bloody credit? Hell no! It's always the Aurors who get the... Hey Switters! Wait up!"

************

Julian Switters and Arliss Ermey Apparated directly to the old abandoned platform where the attack had taken place. There were Aurors and Law Enforcement Wizards strewn around the station attending to the scared and, in some cases, hurt passengers. Julian anxiously looked around for someone who looked like they needed help.

He saw a small girl holding a stuffed rat and sucking her thumb. She was staring at him. Her slightly dilated pupils betrayed the look of one whose memory had recently been modified.

An elderly woman, who wore a similar expression, was clutching a book and looking disoriented. "Is this the train that goes to Holborn?" she asked a passing Auror.

Julian felt the familiar wave of nausea he always felt when witnessing some injustice.

"You boys are a little late, aren't you?" said a gruff voice.

Julian turned to see his supervisor coming towards them. Jake Falis was a tall, black wizard with a muscular build and a steely expression. As much as he admired his boss, Julian was doubly intimidated by him.

"I got here as soon as I heard, sir," he stammered.

"All the Muggles have been treated. You don't need to stick around," said Jake.

"All right," said Arliss indifferently.

"But..." Julian started.

"What, Switters?"

Julian was anxious to stay and help in whatever way he could. "I Apparated as soon as I was called. Maybe I should just look around a bit."

Jake raised his eyebrow at the young officer. "You think we need some rookie checking over our work?"

"Oh no, sir! That's not what I meant at all, sir. I just wanted... to help." Julian cringed at his own pathetic explanation and silently cursed the natural ability he seemed to have for offending his superior.

Jake nodded and Julian could have sworn that he spotted the corners of his lips twitch. "I see. Can't wait to be the hero? Well, at least you're enthusiastic," he said, shooting an unpleasant look at Arliss. "Go ahead and look around then. Just don't get in anyone's way."

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir," Julian humbly slipped away before his boss had a chance to change his mind.

Arliss, who had no intention of staying, jogged to catch up with Julian. "He said there's nothing to do here. What do you want to stick around for? Trying to make me look bad?"

Julian was slightly annoyed that Arliss had managed to catch up with him. "Look Arliss, just because I'm staying doesn't mean you have to."

"You're damn right it doesn't. And you'd better believe I'm not staying here."

"Okay, I'll see you then."

Arliss gave him one last disgusted look before he turned around to Apparate back to the station.

"Good riddance," Julian muttered under his breath.

Julian continued to survey the remnants of the attack. True to what Jake had said, everything was under control. All of the Muggles' memories had been modified and the injuries were being healed.

He noticed some important-looking Aurors in one of the train cars so he went over to take a look. "Do you need any help?" he called to them.

The Aurors were bent over a hole in the floor of the car performing a diagnostic spell. Too engaged in their own activities, they didn't acknowledge Julian. Deciding it would be better not to disturb them, Julian walked away towards the front of the train.

He supposed that the Death Eaters had stopped the train by cutting off the electricity. But why had they attacked the Muggles? If you didn't count the incident at the World Cup, there hadn't been a Death Eater attack in more than a decade. Not since... Julian shuddered. He had heard the stories of You-Know-Who but he was too young to remember. There were some very foreboding rumors circulating around the Agency. Rumors about the Dark Lord and the boy who was killed at Hogwarts during the last school year. Wanting to be a good detective, Julian sought more information but the only person at the Agency who would talk to him was his partner, Arliss. Unfortunately, Arliss didn't know anything about the Hogwarts case and he cared even less.

But Julian's thoughts were halted by the sight of a Muggle family. They were standing at the foot of the tunnel near the head of the train and it looked as if they hadn't been attended to. They were dirty and disheveled and looking very frightened. A portly, blond Muggle child, about fifteen years old, was standing motionless, as if in shock. Next to him, a Muggle man had his arm around a woman, presumably his wife, and he was doing his best to comfort her.

The woman was in hysterics. She was crying and muttering nonsense words between her sobs. As Julian got closer to her, the man stepped between them. He looked almost in shock as well, "Don't you come any closer to us! We know who you are and we don't want anything to do with you! Do you see what you people have done to my wife?"

Julian was taken aback by this outburst. "Please, sir. It's going to be just fine. I can help her."

"I know what kind of help you people give!" the man shouted. "You just keep your little... stick thingy to yourself."

At these words, the Muggle woman started wailing, "Why can't you just leave us alone? We never wanted anything to do with you people. I just wanted to live a normal life... in a nice house... in a decent neighborhood."

"Madam?" Julian said softly. "Did they hurt you?"

She continued rambling, "It's all her fault... She ruined everything..."

"Please Madam... It'll be all right. I can help you if you just -" he felt a tugging on his sleeve. He looked down to the portly Muggle child who looked like he was summoning up all his courage to talk. "Yes, son? What is it?" Julian asked kindly.

"Harry was hurt. He needs help."

Julian regarded him. "Harry? Who's Harry?"

The boy turned toward the dark tunnel and pointed.

Julian followed his direction and squinted into the darkness. Holding up his wand, he muttered, "Lumos". There in the faint glow from his wand, he could see a small body lying on the ground.

Please don't let him be dead, don't let him be dead, Julian thought as he ran towards the body. He turned the boy over. He was a lot skinnier than the other boy and had messy, black hair. It didn't take long for Julian to see that he wasn't dead; he had only been stunned. He let out a sigh of relief and turned to the Muggles. "He'll be all right. He just got knocked out." The Muggles showed no reaction.

Julian pointed his wand at the boy and said, "Ennervate."

Slowly, the boy groaned and started to open his eyes. They were bright green and seemed slightly familiar to Julian.

"It's okay, son. You'll be all right."

The boy looked up at Julian and squinted, "My glasses?"

"Glasses?"

"Do you have my glasses?" the boy muttered.

"Uh, no. They might have fallen somewhere around here." He got up to look around the tunnel for the boy's glasses. He soon found them a few feet away against the wall. "Here you go," he said handing the glasses to him.

"Thanks."

Julian sucked in his breath as the boy put on his glasses and the realization hit him. "Harry Potter?"

Harry sighed and said flatly, "Yes."

 

******************

A/N: Thank you for indulging my OCs. I promise you'll see a few more familiar faces in the third and final part.

//
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