High-ranking Death Eater Yaxley keeps Lucius Malfoy under his insidious sway. Can the Slytherin "Careers" help Draco save his father?
You are Pansy Parkinson.
You accidentally brush shoulders between aisles with some girl from Gryffindor, moving in the opposite direction you are. "Sorry," she mutters before scurrying on her way.
You stand and glare at the back of her head before shaking it off and resuming your journey back to where Draco Malfoy is standing, talking with Gregory Goyle. You keep having to remind yourself you're on the same team as these non-Slytherins now, even the insufferable Gryffindor lot.
"Alright, you two," you say coming up alongside them. "Have you got a plan yet? I can't bear this place for much longer!"
Seriously, if you have to stand for one more minute in this atrocious excuse for a shop that the Weasley twins have set up, you're going to go mad. And whose stupid idea was it to have a secret headquarters here of all places? Couldn't someone have picked a more reasonable place, like Borgin and Burkes? If Potter really is serious about this Rebellion succeeding against the Dark Lord, then he and his ilk need to quit being so squeamish and consider the Dark Arts as a necessary addition to your side's arsenal. There's a war on after all.
"Oh, hi Pansy!" Goyle greets. He's been acting rather affectionately toward you ever since you two teamed up to escape the Arena together. "Just figurin' where to start."
"And are we looking for anything or anybody in particular, Gregory?" You don't know if you're particularly keen on Goyle really, but you figure there's no harm in at least playing along with his affections. You might grow to fancy him in return, but even if you don't, his interest in you can still have its uses, of course.
"Goyle thinks we should get his father to help our cause," Draco puts in, his tone suggesting this plan would work about as well as asking Luna Lovegood to stop being barking mad.
"I take it you disagree then, Draco?" you ask. While you can appreciate Goyle's rugged and strong physique, there's just something wonderful and intangible about Draco Malfoy that's captivated you since at least your third year at Hogwarts.
"No offense, Goyle, but your father is as dim-witted as Hagrid and even more clumsy than his idiotic creatures."
"Hey, that's my dad yer talkin' about, Draco!"
"Yes, but he's also the same man who was nearly taken in during the previous war by a rookie Auror... out of Hufflepuff."
Goyle looks like he wants to throw a punch, but you step between the two. "Easy boys," you say. "Gregory, didn't you say at one point your father's been taking on a lot of missions lately since the Death Eaters became part of the Ministry?"
"Well, yeah," he says. "So?"
"So he's probably away on some mission right now. Maybe we ought to listen to Draco's suggestion then. Draco?"
Nodding his thanks to you, he says, "We should find my parents. They're both well connected, and I'm sure they'll help us with whatever we need."
"Moreover," you add, looking significantly at Goyle, "Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy can help us locate Mr. Goyle as well. Right, Gregory?" Goyle nods, looking relieved. And that's when you sense what's been really troubling him:
Goyle is afraid for his father.
The three of you start making your way toward the door (at last) as the conversation takes a turn from the what to where: "Do you know where your parents are right now, Draco?" you ask.
"We'll start at my mansion, of course. One of them may be home, Mother most likely, as Father's been occupied at the Ministry a lot, last I heard--which I guess was quite a while ago now."
"Are you sure?" you respond. "I mean, the last time we were at Malfoy Manor--looking for Marvolo Gaunt's ring, remember--the place was empty, like it hadn't been lived in for days."
Draco looks a bit uneasy. "I guess during times like these, they're both needed at the Ministry more than ever. I've no idea how much the Dark Lord knows of what's been going on, but he has to guess things are getting pretty bad for him. He'll want to keep all of his followers close, I suspect."
You're about to suggest going to the Ministry then, when you emerge outside and find the Patil sisters and Lavender Brown gazing back at you. What do they want? you think. Why can't they mind their own bloody business? The Patils look ordinary enough, but Brown is wearing some strange Muggle suit with the most garish colors.
Despite that, it's one of the twins who grabs your attention. Parvati or Padma--you have no idea which and frankly don't care--suddenly breaks off eye contact, looking toward the street. The three of you just keep walking along, but you keep your gaze on the Patil girl a while longer.
She's got something she's hiding from us, I just know it, you think.
You have half a mind to turn around and demand that she spill it, but you end up dismissing the thought. Whatever it is, it can't be that important. You can't fathom one of the meek and mild Patil girls holding any crucial information anyway.
"We off to the Min-stry then?" Goyle speaks up once you're out of earshot of the Patils' team.
"Yes," Draco replies. "We'll start there. We should be able to find Father easily enough, at least."
"What the blazes is with that Lavender girl's outfit?" you ask in a huff as your group rounds the corner onto a different street.
Draco shrugs. "Hell if I know. Isn't that how Muggles dress?"
"I'm not exactly a Muggle expert, am I?" you retort.
"I can't believe Potter let a bloody Muggle into this thing," Goyle seethes. "Sure, the lot of 'em are filthy Muggle lovers, but this...!"
You have all agreed to join Potter's Rebellion, but that doesn't mean you still approve of everything he and his sort do--particularly how friendly they are toward Muggles, whose inherent weakness can only serve to weigh the Rebellion down, if not outright cripple it. You don't care if they think you prejudiced or not, it's a weakness that will endanger you all.
"Like that girl Everdeen," you muse. "I saw her leaving the shop with Cormac McLaggen and the Weasley girl not long before we left."
"Of course a penniless Weasley would bring a useless Muggle on an important mission against the Dark Lord!" Draco laments.
"And that McLaggen," Goyle says through clenched teeth, remembering the fact he and McLaggen were one-time Quidditch rivals. Now he relaxes a bit, though. "But Ginny's alright, I think." You recall how the two of them overcame a dementor together during your escape from the Arena. You feel an unsettled void in your gut that you're loath to admit might just be jealousy.
"And really, like that Muggle weapon of hers is going to do their team a lick of good," you say, shaking your head and doing your best to steer the conversation away from Ginny Weasley. "Everdeen won't last ten minutes if they find themselves up against any serious opposition. They'll see then and there what good Muggles are for, mark me!"
Draco looks like he's about to throw up in his mouth. "Now was it just me, but did I also see a werewolf in our gathering?"
"Diggory's chum?" Goyle answers. "Yeah, I saw 'im too, Draco. Bad enough Diggory's gotten all spooky-like lately. Now he's got him a dumb brute!"
"But at least werewolves can be useful if it ever comes to a fight," you say. "Even the Dark Lord employs some. Almost like guard dogs."
"Yeah, but last I heard their leader, Fenrir Greyback, had a memory wipe and then defected," Draco replies. "I'd prefer a proven wizard or witch having my back in a fight, personally." Goyle nods in agreement.
"Ideally me too, don't get me wrong. I can't bear the claws, fangs, fur, all the drool." You suppress a shudder. "At least Cedric's werewolf--Jack or Jacob, was it? Whatever. At least it stayed human during the meeting. Most of the time anyway."
At length, your group emerges from a mercifully empty Leaky Cauldron into a section of Muggle London known as Charing Cross. Immediately you have to duck away into a corner as the mindless Muggles brush past your group in herds. You look out to see many others driving their strange mechanical contraptions in the wide streets as well.
The Ministry of Magic headquarters is at a place called Whitehall, only half a mile distant from where you now stand. Even if you don't outright loathe the Muggles like you once did, still the thought of walking amongst these common people is an uncomfortable one, especially in your full Slytherin garb, and you can tell Draco and Goyle feel the same way. But Apparating to your destination may not be the wisest option these days...
"Oh, hell with it," you say and grab Draco's arm with your right hand and Goyle's with your left. "You know how I feel about crowds."
Less than a second later, you unlink your arms in a notably more deserted place and look at your surroundings. On your right is an abandoned red telephone booth and to your left is a set of public toilets leading down to grimy lavatories. These are the only two ways into the Ministry, and none of you are completely certain which one is safer.
A.) Use the telephone booth?
B.) Use the toilets?