In Search of the Isle of Drear by potterfan2008
** Winner of Most Adventuresome, Best Overall and People's Choice in the Magical Creatures ChallengeGinny is looking for an adventure. She's wondering if she's in over her head when she joins an expedition searching for the Isle of Drear and Quintapeds. She's thrilled to find Harry Potter, who she hasn't seen in years, is part of the expedition. HP/GW, LL/RS
Categories: Alternate Universe, SIYE Challenges, Post-Hogwarts, Magical Creatures Challenge (2017-3)
Chapter 1: Chapter 1 A Magical Expedition
Chapter 2: Chapter 2 The Search Begins
Chapter 3: Chapter 3 Quintapeds Found
Chapter 1: Chapter 1 A Magical Expedition
Author's Notes: Thank you so much to Arnel for her beta skills and her support and encouragement! Obviously this challenge was very inspiring, I hope you enjoy my second story for this challenge. This was actually my first idea and the stories are quite different! All of the information about Quintapeds is taken from 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.'
The Department for Control and Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures — Beast Division is looking for able bodied witches and wizards who are skilled with a wand, adventurous, and willing to travel for an expedition to the Isle of Drear. Because of the danger associated with this expedition, anyone willing to join the expedition will be paid a fee of fifteen hundred Galleons upon their return. Those interested, please report room four hundred and twenty at the Ministry of Magic at 10am on 17 May 2002.
Ginny Weasley looked up to make sure she had the correct room. She thought there would be many more people, but there was no queue of interested applicants. Knocking on the door, she heard someone call for her to enter. Entering the room, she had her second surprise of the day.
“Ginny Weasley?” Luna Lovegood smiled as she rose and hugged her friend. “I haven’t seen you in ages.”
“Luna, you look great,” Ginny said admiringly.
Luna had been one of Ginny’s closest friends at Hogwarts even though they were in different houses. They’d kept in touch through letters, but that wasn’t the same. Luna had lost a bit of that dotty air she’d had at Hogwarts, but she still had the same friendly smile. Her blonde hair was sun bleached and she had the look of someone who spent a lot of time out in the sun.
“Are you heading this expedition?” Ginny asked.
“I’m not,” Luna said, but she was immediately contradicted by a deeper, male voice from behind them.
“Yes, you are.”
The two witches turned and Luna smiled at the young man who had spoken. “Rolf, this whole expedition is your idea. I am merely helping.”
Laughing, Rolf wrapped his arm around Luna’s shoulder. “Hello, I am Rolf Scamander. Luna and I are both leading this expedition. Welcome.”
“Thank you,” Ginny said. “I am Ginny Weasley.”
Rolf’s eyes lit up as he looked over at Luna. “Ginny, the pen pal?”
Luna nodded and Rolf said, “It is very nice to meet you, Ginny. Luna has told me a lot about you.”
Before Ginny could respond, there was another knock on the door. It quickly opened and a tall, dark haired man entered. He was easily over six feet tall and well built. His black hair was pulled back in a ponytail.
“Rolf! I was hoping you were backing this expedition.”
Rolf hurried over and pulled the other wizard into a hug. “It is great to see you. It will be great to have your wand on this trip.” Gesturing to the two witches, he said, “I’d like you to meet the co-leader of this expedition, Luna Lovegood, and Luna’s friend, Ginny.”
As Harry turned to face them, Ginny could see his brilliant green eyes. Automatically she looked to his forehead and she could see the faint pink lightning bolt scar. His eyes widened when he saw her. “Ginny Weasley?”
“Harry,” she gasped.
He hurried over and pulled her into a hug. “It is great to see you!”
Belatedly, she returned the hug. When he pulled away, he looked down at her happily. “I haven’t seen you in what…nine years.”
Ginny nodded. “Since just after my first year.”
“You are Harry Potter,” Luna spoke up.
He nodded and shook her hand. “I am. It is nice to meet you, Luna.”
“You two know each other?” Rolf spoke up gesturing between Harry and Ginny.
Harry nodded. “I went to Hogwarts for my first two years. The first person I met on the train was Ginny’s older brother, Ron. We became fast friends, but…well, once I didn’t return to Hogwarts we lost touch.”
Rolf nodded. Ginny watched as Harry and Rolf talked. It was unbelievable that Harry Potter was here. He was in the papers from time to time, each time with a beautiful witch or on some exotic adventure. She never would have figured him for this type of expedition, but she well knew that he was very capable.
Walking to the door, Rolf peered out into the empty corridor. “I guess there aren’t any more people coming. Why don’t we all sit down and talk about this expedition?”
Now that Ginny had the opportunity to look around the room, she could see there was a large map of the end of Scotland on a big board behind them. There was a picture that looked like it had been taken looking down on what she presumed would be the Island of Drear.
There was a round table with a stack of folders upon it. Following Luna, Ginny sat down between Luna and Harry. Rolf handed each of them a folder.
Opening the folder, Ginny almost jumped out of her skin at the sketch of the Quintaped. The Quintaped was a short, five-legged creature with a mouth full of sharpened teeth. It was covered with reddish brown fur with dark, glaring eyes.
Rolf must have noticed her reaction because he smiled. “They are very creepy looking, are they not? Obviously, this is a Quintaped or at least a rendering to the best of our knowledge. The Ministry of Magic wants us to investigate the Isle of Drear and see if we can determine once and for all what the Quintapeds are and what can be done about them.”
“Why?” Harry asked as he perused the picture.
Flipping over the photo, Rolf showed them the map of the tip of Scotland. He’d circled an area to the northeast of the Shetlands. “We think this might be where the Isle of Drear is located.”
Harry picked up his map and frowned. “I thought the island was supposed to be just off the northernmost tip of Scotland?”
Rolf nodded. “That is what has been put about for years. The best guesses I have heard in the past put the island to the east of Wicks, but recently there have been some attacks off the coast of Fetlar and Unst, both part of the Shetland islands, that may have been Quintaped attacks. Several ferry boats have reported extremely aggressive otters or seals in the water that we think might actually be Quintapeds. Thus far, only one known picture has been taken.”
Flipping over the map, there was a picture of a Quintaped swimming near the boat. It was difficult to see, but looking at it closely the front three legs were easily visible. The fur was dark as it was very wet and plastered to the creature. It’s eyes were dark and flat rather like a shark’s eyes.
“Damn, I thought they weren’t supposed to be able to swim,” Harry said.
“Exactly,” Rolf said. “We need to know if the Quintapeds are escaping on their own and if we can keep them contained.”
“We are hoping to see if we can discover the origins of the Quintapeds,” Luna put in.
Rolf nodded. “My grandfather, Newt, wrote about the legend of the McCliverts and the MacBoons who were the two families on the Isle of Drear. Legend has it that the head of the McCliverts was killed in a drunken duel with the head of the MacBoons. Seeking revenge, a group of McCliverts surrounded the MacBoon compound and transfigured all of them into the creatures we now call Quintapeds or as some people refer to them, Hairy MacBoons.”
“Do we know any actual facts about them… that can be confirmed?” Harry asked.
With a wave of her wand, Luna displayed a hand drawn picture of a Quintaped on the wall. “The Quintapeds that have been sighted are between half and one metre high and about a metre in diameter. They are covered with dark brownish-red fur and have a large mouth of teeth. While some sketches depict them with multiple eyes, we have reviewed all of the sighting to discount that idea. In the early twentieth century, there were several reports of Quintaped sighting and at least two reported necropsies, but the notes from the necropsies have disappeared. We do know they are highly aggressive and move quickly.”
“Are they venomous?” Ginny asked as she tried to keep her voice steady.
“We don’t think so,” Luna said. “There have been no reports of venomous bites, but again there is so much we don’t know.”
“A cache of eggs was supposedly found on the edge of the Isle of Drear in the 1950s, but that has not been authenticated,” Rolf said. “As much as Minister Shacklebolt and the others want us to find the Quintapeds, no one can tell us the location of the island.”
“How can no one know where it is?” Harry asked. “It is supposedly Unplottable — that requires people to have knowledge of where the island is located.”
“We think it might have been a pre-planned memory failure. Those who knew either never told anyone or allowed themselves to be Obliviated. In the mid-nineteenth century, there were numerous reports of Quintaped attacks and even accounts of expeditions to the Isle of Drear, but we don’t know if they are true,” Rolf explained.
“Isn’t there supposed to be a house on the island?” Ginny asked as she tried to recall what she’d read about the elusive creatures. “Someone must have lived there at some point in time.”
Once again, Rolf turned over a picture. It was looking down on the island and in the centre of the island, a roof was visible. “This was taken as proof that the McClivert and MacBoon story was true. This is supposed to be the family home of the MacBoons. I have my doubts, but you are correct someone must have lived there. We can find no information on who that might have been.”
Harry had been looking at the pictures. “I can’t imagine a transfiguration would permanently change people into creatures.”
“I can’t either,” Rolf agreed. “Not to mention, if it was one generation of a family they would have died out by now.”
“If they do have babies in eggs,” Luna said. “That makes it even more doubtful that they are transfigured humans.”
“Are there any guesses as to how many Quintapeds there are?” Ginny asked a touch nervously. She’d wanted adventure, but she wasn’t entirely sure she was ready to hunt down the extremely aggressive and very dangerous creatures.
“My grandfather estimated there were about one hundred and fifty when he first started studying them,” Rolf explained. “I’ve reviewed his notes and I think the number is probably closer to five hundred.”
Rolf pulled another file out from the stack he had. Opening it, he handed a sheet to each Harry and Ginny. “I have camping equipment that will work in a cold environment. Even though we are coming up on summer, the Shetlands and surrounding islands are quite cool, with temperatures in the forties to fifties. The water temperature will be in the forties. To begin with, I’ve rented out the Feltar Lodge. It is on the water and it is rather isolated so we will have some privacy. We may stay there the whole time, but depending on what we find we may need to provide our own shelter.
“I’ve made a list of the clothes and equipment that will be appropriate. There is a shop in Convent Garden that carries all of this.” He handed Harry and Ginny each a voucher for the shop. “This should cover the clothes and equipment you need. Ginny, do you own a broom?”
“Yes, I have a Nimbus two thousand,” she replied.
“Excellent,” he said. “I propose we start at the Shetlands and fly in pairs in a grid pattern to search for the island.”
“In pairs?” Ginny asked.
Rolf nodded. “We don’t know what we are going to find and I would prefer that no one be alone. We don’t know what exactly we are up against, so I’d rather not take chances.”
After reviewing the plans for the expedition as well as the timeline, the meeting was over. A bit dazed, Ginny left the room.
Turning, she could see Harry standing behind her. He said, “I’m going shopping now for the clothes we need. Do you want to come with me?”
Realizing she’d rather go into a Muggle area with someone who had an idea what they were doing, she agreed. “That would be lovely, thank you.”
As they fell instep together, Harry said, “It’s great to see you again. I always felt a bit badly that I wasn’t able to keep in touch with your family. How is Ron doing?”
“He’s good,” Ginny said with a smile. “We actually share a flat. Ron works for the Department of Magical Sports and Games. Until recently, I’ve been watching his daughter, Lilac, but he’s been encouraging me to work and have a life of my own.”
Harry’s eyes widened. “Ron’s a dad? That’s amazing.”
At the thought of her beautiful niece, Ginny smiled. “Lilac is four. Do you remember Lavender Brown?”
“Blonde hair, giggled a lot?”
She laughed. “That’s a good description. She and Ron dated for the last two years at Hogwarts. She became pregnant, so the two married. Unfortunately, she was killed during the Battle of Hogwarts.”
Harry’s jaw dropped. “That’s awful! How is Ron doing with all of that? I can’t imagine being a father and a widower at such a young age.”
“He’s doing better,” Ginny said. “He was a big mess for a really long time. He and Lavender had their ups and downs, but they were doing well before the battle. He’s a great dad.”
“I imagine he would be,” Harry said as they reached the atrium. “I’d love to see him again.” He gasped as a thought crossed his mind. “I was going to ask if your mum would be okay with me contacting him, but is she going to be upset that we are working together?”
Ginny stopped walking at that question. “What are you talking about?”
Harry frowned slightly. “Your mum asked me not to contact you or your brothers. She didn’t think I would be a good example. I don’t understand everything, but I can tell you that she hated my godfather and thought he was doing a horrible job raising me. I was rather upset about that. Sirius loved me and we had a great couple of years together.”
“What?” Belatedly Ginny started walking again. “Can we get some coffee and talk? I really don’t know what you are talking about.”
The two walked in an unsettled silence to a coffee shop frequented by Ministry workers. Ginny’s mind was working furiously. Her mother had asked Harry not to contact them? After the two of them sat down with their coffee and snack, Harry said, “I’m sorry, I thought you knew.” He sighed. “You know how my godfather found me after my second year?”
Ginny nodded. She vividly remembered her father calling her and her brothers into the kitchen when they returned from Egypt with the shocking news. They’d all thought Harry had been kidnapped by the evil murderer, Sirius Black. It hadn’t been until the end of the year, that Professor Dumbledore had let Ron and Hermione know that in fact, Sirius was innocent of the crimes of which he was accused, and Harry was living with Sirius.
They had hoped he might return to Hogwarts, but he didn’t. It had hurt them all that they hadn’t heard from him. Many nights she’d heard Ron and Hermione debating what had driven Harry away and why he’d never contacted them. Ginny always felt that Hermione blamed her for driving Harry away. She’d even told Ginny once that maybe if he hadn’t had to go down into the Chamber of Secrets, he would have had no reason to stay away.
“Sirius found me the night I ran away from my aunt and uncle’s house. He calmed me down and we started talking. He explained that he was my godfather and I simply left with him.” He laughed at the look of shock on her face. “I know, probably wasn’t the smartest move in the whole world, but I somehow knew I could trust him. We went to the British Virgin Islands. His family had a house there and we both needed time to get to know one another. He was brilliant! We talked about everything.
“We travelled extensively and I learned from so many people. We travelled to India, the Middle East, Africa. It was a brilliant education. I missed Hogwarts and of course I missed Ron and Hermione. I wanted so badly to keep in touch with them, but we had to use so many charms and such so Sirius wasn’t captured that it wasn’t an option. One of our contacts betrayed us and I was kidnapped and turned over to Pettigrew. He used my blood to revive Voldemort. We returned to England after that and at Dumbledore’s request, Sirius opened his family home to the Order of the Phoenix.”
Ginny blinked back tears at his matter of fact recitation of facts. His kidnapping was front page news for weeks as well as Voldemort’s rebirth. It had been a horrible time. “Grimmauld Place was Sirius’ home?”
Harry nodded. “He hated it and didn’t want to live there, but he was happy to have it used to defeat Voldemort.”
“Why didn’t we ever see you there?” Ginny asked. “We were there often enough that summer.”
“Your mum,” Harry said simply. He still winced as he thought back to that day.
It was after an Order meeting that he’d seen Mrs Weasley.
“Mrs Weasley!” Harry almost shouted in surprise.
The witch turned and with a smile engulfed Harry in a hug. “Harry, I’m so happy to see you. We were so worried about you.”
Harry blushed. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to worry anyone. Sirius rescued me from my relatives.” He looked over at his godfather with a grin. “He decided to teach me at home. I’ve really learned a lot.”
“That’s nice, dear,” Mrs Weasley replied. She threw a look at Sirius that made Harry think she didn’t really like him.
“How are Ron and Ginny and the twins?” Harry asked. While he loved spending time with his godfather, he missed his friends. “Is Ginny okay after everything that happened?”
“They are all doing well. Ginny has recovered as well as can be expected,” Mrs Weasley replied. “It is kind of you to ask after her.”
Harry looked between the two older people trying to decipher the unspoken conversation going on. Deciding he’d ask Sirius about it later, Harry ploughed on. “Mrs Weasley, I can’t get or send mail because of all of secrecy charms that have been put on me, but Sirius says we’ll see you quite a bit. Do you think you could take Ron and Ginny a message from me?”
He looked over at her, pleading with his eyes for her to allow him to write her children. Mrs Weasley sighed. “I’m so sorry, dear. I don’t think that is a good idea. Professor Dumbledore has shared with us the role you will be playing in the upcoming confrontation. I don’t agree with allowing children to participate in fighting, but your godfather disagrees. I’m afraid that you are going on a very different journey than my children. They are still children at school and you are being trained to fight and kill. I don’t want to encourage a relationship between you and them.”
Harry blinked as tears sprang to his eyes unbidden. That hurt and he really didn’t know what to say. “Oh, okay. Of course.”
He ran up to his bedroom, but not before he heard his godfather ripping into Mrs Weasley. In the end it didn’t matter, he wasn’t allowed to be friends with the Weasleys. Harry often wondered if the reason his godfather invested in the twin’s joke shop was to aggravate Mrs Weasley. Sirius never warmed to her and went to great lengths to ensure that she didn’t run into Harry.
“I am so sorry,” Ginny said. “I didn’t realize…oh my God.”
“My mother and I had a falling out that summer and I’m beginning to see what happened.” Taking a deep breath, she said, “After you fought with the Death Eaters in Little Hangleton, Lucius Malfoy was arrested and Narcissa Malfoy fled the country to avoid arrest. That left Draco with Snape, who was his godfather. My mother kept going on about how Snape was a wonderful godfather because he didn’t want his godson to fight in the war.
“She actually thought Draco was on our side and he just needed a bit of friendship. She kept having me accompany her to Grimmauld Place and leaving me with him. He, of course, thought it was hysterical. Luckily, Ron realized soon what was going on and he came with me each time so Malfoy couldn’t take advantage of the fact that we were alone.
“Malfoy mocked my mother and her gullibility, but in front of her, he was a conflicted soul who couldn’t believe his parents had made such horrible decisions. He would flirt with me and mentioned how pretty I was. She lapped it up. She made a big deal over it and I guess she was…contrasting what she thought was happening with you.”
Harry lifted his gaze from the coffee he’d been staring into while she talked. A touch of anger and betrayal shone in his eyes. “I was so hurt by your mother. I thought that I’d…I don’t know, I thought that she would trust me. I am so sorry your mum took her anger at me and Sirius out on you. I’m glad Ron was there for you.”
“He was great,” Ginny said. “Malfoy was horrid. He would laugh about how he would get me pregnant and let Bellatrix raise my baby. I thought Bill was going to kill him when he found out. He put his foot down and wouldn’t let me go over to Grimmauld without him being there. Ron and I were both on the Quidditch team that next year and we took great delight in squashing Malfoy like a bug. Fred and George pranked him almost constantly. My mother was in denial until it was revealed that he had let Death Eaters into Grimmauld Place.”
Harry cursed colourfully. “I took him down during that fight. He was such a cowardly prat. Once the Death Eaters were being defeated he tried that whole ‘I didn’t realize what was happening’. I was quite glad when we were able to put him in Azkaban.”
“It took a long time for me and my mother to talk again,” Ginny said. “She had no call to be angry at you or Sirius. She wanted to keep us children and out of the war, but she always seemed to forget that I’d know Riddle better than anyone.” She sighed. “I am sorry for my mother’s actions. Trust me, she has no say in whom I am friends with or who I work with. I know Ron would feel the same way.”
She looked up to see a spark of joy in his eyes. Silently, she cursed her mother. How could she have done that? Harry was such an amazing young man and he’d saved her life. How could she have denied them contact?
“How did the rest of your family fare during the war?”
“Percy was killed when the Ministry was attacked,” Ginny said sadly. “He saved my father’s life by giving him the time to escape before the Floo Network was shut down. My dad thought Percy was right behind him, but he wasn’t. I’ve never seen my father so frantic. It took him a long time to forgive himself.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Harry said.
“I was sorry to hear about Sirius,” Ginny said.
“He was killed in an ambush almost a month before the final battle. I was so lost for a long time, but eventually I started traveling again. That’s when I ran into Rolf. We worked together in Africa when he was investigating Nundus. When I saw the advertisement in the paper, I thought it must be him. He’s a great guy.”
“He certainly seems good for Luna,” Ginny said. “She’s enjoying looking for real animals.”
“Real animals?” Harry asked curiously. He toyed with the last of his cream scone and eyed the plate wondering if he wanted another one. With a shrug, he helped himself to another one and loaded it with jam and cream.
“Luna’s father is the publisher of The Quibbler. He was always writing about these crazy made up animals,” Ginny laughed. “I’m trying to remember. I think the one she always talking about was a Crumple-Horned Snorkack. She was always spouting off theories that she’d heard from her father that honestly made no sense. It was a lot of conspiracy theories and crazy animals. When she first met Rolf, she didn’t like him because he challenged her world view, but now I think she’s realizing that there is more to being a Magizoologist than imaginary creatures. I’ve not met Rolf before, but I’ve heard about him from her letters.”
“She sounds like quite the character,” Harry said with a smile. “I can’t wait to get to know her better. Rolf really seemed entranced with her.”
The pair paid up and left the coffee shop. As they walked to the shop, Harry asked, “Do you ever see Hermione anymore?”
She made a face. “Ron and Hermione were great friends for many years, and I know they both fancied each other.”
He laughed. “Trust me, that’s not news to me. He was always a bit fascinated with her. I always thought that’s why he was a bit mean to her.”
“He never knew how to handle it,” Ginny explained. “He was very insecure when he was younger and he didn’t know how to tell her. I think he was afraid of losing her friendship if she didn’t feel the same way he did.”
“I can see that,” Harry said. “Ron was always a bit insecure. When we first met, he told me about his five older brothers and how amazing they all were.”
“In his sixth year, Lavender started flirting with him. It wasn’t really that difficult for her to snare his interest. Hermione was devastated. She’d thought they might start something and he went for her roommate. I didn’t think Ron and Lavender would last, but they did. That summer, Lavender found out she was pregnant. She and Ron were married before they returned to school that September. Lilac was born the following March. It was difficult, but between Ron, Lavender, me and Parvati we took care of her and went to class. Lavender wouldn’t be left behind when the fight started. She took Lilac to her mother’s house, but she returned to fight.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that,” Harry said shaking his head. “Poor Ron.”
“It was awful, the first few months after the battle. My mum was injured in the fighting so she wasn’t able to help. Fleur, Bill’s wife, was great. She helped us so much, so did Lavender’s mother,” Ginny said as she pulled a picture from her robes to show off her beautiful niece.
“She’s very pretty,” Harry said with a smile as he looked at the child. “Wow, Ron’s very tall.”
“Tell me about it,” Ginny said. “He’s well over six feet tall and I’m barely over five feet — it’s not fair!”
Harry laughed. “I was thrilled that I just managed to edge over six feet. I was so scrawny when I was a kid, I was afraid I’d be a short, scrawny git the rest of my life.”
Looking over his build, Ginny had to stop herself from blurting out that he looked great. She didn’t want to remember the horribly embarrassing crush she had on him the last time she saw him.
“So, what happened to Hermione?” Harry asked as he returned the picture.
“She and Ron tried to make a go of it about a year after the war, but Hermione isn’t the most patient person in the world. She would become upset when Ron spent time with Lilac and she made a comment to me once that Lilac just reminded her that Ron had picked someone else over her.”
Harry winced. “That’s not good.”
She shook her head. “I know she never would have hurt Lilac, but I was afraid that she would have difficulty accepting her and she could be a bit…unfeeling at times. Once I heard her make an unflattering comment about Lavender. I told her Ron was a father first and she wasn’t to badmouth Lavender. It was difficult for her and they ended up breaking up. He’s been seeing Parvati. They bonded over missing Lavender and Parvati was always close to Lilac. Lavender asked her to be the godmother so she and I have become good friends.”
“I wish I remembered more about them,” Harry said as they waited to cross the street. “I have a vague picture of what they looked like, but not much more than that.”
“They were giggly and annoying in school,” Ginny laughed as she watched the traffic pass by. She was always a bit nervous at the zebra crossings, she never knew when she should cross the street so she kept an eye on Harry to see what he was doing.
“When Lavender and Ron started dating, I was convinced she was all wrong for him, but they really showed what they were made of during that last year at school. Parvati is a healer and she was always helping with the injured. Lavender was always a bit…ditzy, but she had a good heart. I think she really helped Ron with his self-confidence issues. I was always afraid Hermione would make them worse. You know how bossy and condescending she can be at times. She means well, but she tends to think she’s always right and everyone else is wrong.”
“Trust me, I know,” Harry laughed. He shook his head. “I’m glad you stopped her from making comments in front of Lilac. One of the things I hated most about Professor Snape was his comments about my father. I lived with my aunt and uncle making comments about my mum for years. Snape was worse about my dad. It was hard because I never knew him, so I don’t know what he was really like. Do you remember Professor Lupin?”
Ginny frowned as they crossed the street. “I do, but he taught the year after you left. How do you know him?”
“He was a good friend of both my dad and Sirius,” Harry explained. “He really liked Hermione and wanted to set me up with her. I had to tell him that I never really saw her that way. For almost a year, he was singing her praises to me.”
“Hermione was always very fond of him,” Ginny laughed. “I think she had a crush on him at one point. He turned into a good mentor for her, she really looked up to him.”
“Remus and I had a complicated relationship. He was never sure that Sirius was the proper person to look after me. He never gave Sirius credit for growing up. After Sirius and I returned to Great Britain, Remus helped with my education, but we were never as close as Sirius and I. Once he and Tonks became involved, he tried harder and we eventually forged a friendship of sorts.”
“I can see that,” Ginny said. “He always seemed to use his lycanthropy as an excuse to push people away. I was close to Tonks and I know their relationship was difficult because of that.”
He nodded. “I’m their son’s godfather and Teddy is great. I always thought that Remus asked me to be his godfather because he felt guilty for not trying harder to have a relationship with me.”
“Merlin, I’d forgotten they had a child. He must be about Lilac’s age.”
Harry nodded. “Teddy was born in March of 98.”
“Lilac was too. I bet she would love to meet him — she doesn’t know many other wizarding children her own age.”
“That would be great,” Harry replied. “He lives with his grandmother, Andromeda Tonks, but I see him quite a bit. He’s a great little boy. We have a lot of fun together.”
Looking up, Harry pointed to a shop a few doors down. “I believe that’s where we are headed.”
The shop was a mountaineering shop and it sold all sorts of outdoor equipment that was both waterproof and well insulated. Ginny glanced down at the list in her hand. Rolf had requested they buy several t-shirts, both long and short sleeved, several pairs of waterproof trousers, boots, and a waterproof jacket. She was a bit overwhelmed by the choices in front of her.
“You’ll want to find some shirts from here,” Harry said gesturing to one of the racks. “They are made so they dry quickly and don’t retain water.”
Ginny nodded her understanding and started going through the rack. It took a minute to figure out the sizes and what they meant, but soon she had the clothes she needed. The jackets were surprisingly warm and comfortable — they were lightweight and waterproof. The one she was trying on was a bright, purple colour. Glancing over, she noticed Harry was trying on a grey coloured jacket.
“Should I pick a neutral coloured jacket?” she asked.
He shook his head. “I don’t think so.” He grinned. “I like that colour on you.”
Trying not to blush, and failing spectacularly, she smiled. “Thank you.”
Once they had all of their clothing picked out, Harry asked if they could be held behind the counter whilst they continued looking. They wandered around, looking at the other equipment available. Harry picked up an odd-looking belt that had a large square on in.
“What is that?” Ginny whispered. She didn’t like to ask questions too loudly in case she should have known.
“It’s a head torch,” he said with a grin. She watched as he pulled it onto the top of his head and touched something causing the square to light up. She couldn’t help but laugh, “That’s so cool.”
“They are great to use when you are flying or have your hands full,” he explained. “They run on batteries so our magic doesn’t interfere with them.”
Taking off the one he’d put on, he scooped up three more. He also showed her something called a GPS device. “Do you know what satellites are?”
“Those things in space?” she asked uncertainly. She still wasn’t entirely sure if she believed that Muggles could go into space, but she’d heard about it.
He nodded. “They can do a lot of things, but one of the things they do is send a signal to these devices so that you can see where you are on a map. I think this will work. I know some spells that can protect the electronics at least for a time.”
“What’s wrong with locating spells?”
“With all the spells and charms that we believe have been cast on the Isle of Drear, I thought maybe having a backup would be a good idea.”
She nodded. They each picked up a light-weight back pack and the other items on the list. Once they had everything, they took it back to the front. Ginny watched as the items were rung up and the total sounded like a lot. She’d given Harry the voucher from Rolf and watched as he handed both of them to the cashier. Even the left-over amount sounded expensive, but Harry simply handed the young lady some type of card and after a minute he signed a receipt.
They gathered their bags, Ginny was surprised that for all the money they spent, there weren’t more bags. She had two large bags of clothes as did Harry. He also had a large bag of pillows and blankets and a smaller bag with the electronics in it.
When they reached the end of the street, Harry gestured for her to step into the alley up ahead to their right. Once she did, he lightened and shrank the bags so they could simply be carried in their pockets.
“Are you excited about the job?” Harry asked as they returned to the Leaky Cauldron.
“I’m excited and a bit nervous,” she admitted. “Hunting for Quintapeds? I thought there would be a lot more people.”
He shrugged. “From what I’ve seen, if it involves travel or danger, people aren’t so willing to apply. Rolf is very good and he’s usually cautious, so I think we’ll be good. He mentioned that the first few days he wants to practice the spells needed. They are a bit specialized, because he wants to capture them, not kill them.”
Ginny was disappointed when they reached the Leaky Cauldron. She’d very much enjoyed her time with Harry. He smiled at her. “I’ll see you next week.”
Back to index
Chapter 2: Chapter 2 The Search Begins
Author's Notes: Thank you so much to my beta, Arnel! I so appreciate your advice and input. I hope everyone enjoys! My parents were stationed in Iceland many years ago and I was always fascinated by the concept of the midnight sun and the long summer days. Almost twenty years ago, my husband and I traveled to Russia to adopt our son. We were there on the winter solstice and it was very dark as I had Harry describe.
Stepping out onto the deck of the ferry, Ginny was surprised to see the sun was shining brightly. She was excited that they were starting on their adventure, although she wasn’t quite sure why an overnight ferry trip to the Shetland Islands had been necessary. Surely it would have been easier to Apparate or take a Portkey?
Shrugging off her questions, she looked down at her watch and confirmed that it was only five in the morning. A chill ran through her as she took in the crisp, clean sea air. There was the smell of salt water mixed with briny fish that took her back to her childhood at her uncle’s beach house. It was a bit cooler than she expected, but she hoped once they disembarked it would be warmer. Spying a familiar face up ahead, she joined Harry at the deck rail looking down into the water.
“Good morning,” Harry said with a smile.
“Good morning,” she replied feeling a bit shy.
While her childhood crush on him was long gone, she felt a bit nervous around him. She hadn’t seen him in so long and he was so good looking and so confident. She’d seen the newspaper articles and the pictures of him with starlets and other gorgeous women. During this trip, she hoped to move past Harry Potter, the Man Who Killed Voldemort, and learn more about Harry Potter the boy who befriended her brother on the train and the boy who’d saved her life so many years ago.
“How did you sleep?” he asked.
“Much better than I would have thought,” she said. “A Cushioning Charm on the bunk and I was fine.”
Harry nodded. “I’m glad Rolf splashed out the money for a four-berth cabin. I’ve seen the sleeping chairs they have, but I didn’t want to try one out.”
“I didn’t expect the sun to be up so early,” she commented before taking a sip of her tea.
“We’re going to be so far north that we will have up to sixteen hours of daylight,” Harry said. “That’s one of the reasons that Rolf wanted to have this expedition in the summer. During the winter months, not only is it cold, it is dark for lengthy periods of time. A few years ago, I was in Moscow, Russia in mid-winter. The sun didn’t rise until almost ten in the morning and it was pitch black by four in the afternoon. It was pretty awful. I can definitely see why so many people drink.”
She laughed. “Yes, I can see that. Charlie spent some time in Iceland a few summers ago. He said that having the sun shining brightly at midnight was very disconcerting.”
Looking over the rail, it seemed as though the water was very far down. She scanned the water.
“Look!” Harry pointed and Ginny could see a pair of dolphins jumping in the ship’s wake.
“They’re beautiful!” she exclaimed.
He smiled. “Sirius and I spent quite a bit of time in the Caribbean. That’s where I saw one for the first time. I always loved the dolphins. They just seem so happy.”
Before she could respond, Rolf and Luna joined them. Rolf had a stack of photos in his hands.
“I had a camera taking pictures of the front and back of the ship last night,” Rolf said abruptly showing them the pictures.
“Good morning, Rolf. I did have a good night, thanks for asking,” Harry said teasingly.
Flushing, Rolf said, “Good morning. I apologize. I forget my manners at times. Why don’t we go inside? I have some photos to show you.”
The four left the open deck and walked down the stairs to the large seating area. At this hour of the morning, it was relatively empty.
Rolf handed everyone a stack of photos. “Look and see if there is anything you can find.”
Ginny looked over her photos carefully. There were many schools of fish that easily swam in the wake of the ship. There were also seals and porpoises in the photos.
“Here,” Harry said as he held out the photo he’d been examining. “Is that a Quintaped?”
Ginny stood up to look over the photo that Rolf was now examining. There was a dark form in the midst of a school of fish. He cast a zoom spell on the photo. Enlarged, the now familiar form of the Quintaped was visible.
“I think it might be,” Rolf said excitedly. “Are there any more?”
The four poured over the rest of the pictures, but the one image was the only view of the possible creature.
“Do you think they are hungry?” Ginny asked. She blushed when everyone looked at her. “I was thinking there are lots of fish in the sea. Maybe they are running out of food on their island and they are looking for more food.”
From the look on Rolf’s face, Ginny really wished she’d kept her daft idea to herself. To her surprise, after considering it, he slowly nodded. “That might explain why they are leaving the island. There are only a few reasons that animals migrate — breeding, which doesn’t seem to be applicable; searching for liveable space; or food. If they are leaving the island, it would make sense that something has changed. So, yes, they could be searching for food.”
Gathering up the photos, Rolf said, “I wanted us to ride this ferry for a reason. There have been several reports of what we believe are Quintaped activity along this route. Harry, I’d like you and Ginny up at the bow of the ship. Luna and I will take the stern. We’ll just see what we can see.
“We will arrive at the Port of Lerwick on the Shetland Mainland, I have a Portkey to take us to the island of Fetlar which is where we will be staying. I’ve spoken to the owner, who won’t be there, and he says the island is rather small and lodge is fairly isolated. Harry, will you be able to erect some wards?”
Harry nodded. “I can place some mild Muggle-Repelling Spells so we should be able to practice magic without concern.”
Ginny looked around the Lodge. It was a quaint, white cottage on the Bay of Funzie. The cottage was small with a master bedroom that Luna and Rolf were taking, a room with two twin beds for Ginny, and a smaller single room for Harry. There was another small house on the property, but it wasn’t occupied at present.
After setting her belongings in her room, Ginny stopped by the only bathroom before joining the others in the sitting room. Rolf was setting up a large whiteboard with a map with Luna’s help. Spotting Harry in the kitchen, she joined him.
He grinned. “Rolf had the kitchen stocked for us,” he explained as he prepared a pot of tea. They’d eaten on the ferry, but he pulled out some of the shortbread they’d bought on the boat.
Ginny looked around the kitchen a bit nervously. This was obviously a Muggle house and she had never tried using Muggle equipment.
Harry must have noticed her looking around for he said, “Rolf and I cast some protection spells on the electrical system so everything should work.” Gesturing towards the large white cupboard, he explained, “This is a refrigerator. It’s like a cold cupboard.”
As Harry showed her the stove, oven, toaster, and something called a microwave, she relaxed. They weren’t really that different from what she was used to, just powered a bit differently. Since she really couldn’t figure out what a microwave might do, she decided she should probably stay away from that.
Searching the kitchen cupboards, she found a tray and together they put together the tea tray and took it out to the sitting room. Rolf looked up a bit surprised when Luna handed him a cup of tea.
Ginny sat down on the sofa and was please when Harry joined her. Luna sat in one of the armchairs. Rolf showed them the enlarged map of the Shetland Islands. “We are here on the south side of Fetlar. This island to the north is called Unst and Yell is the island to the west. I want to concentrate on these islands first because this is where the Quintapeds have been spotted. I have double checked and there are no reports of Quintapeds in Norway or the Faroe Islands, so I’ve set up a grid pattern that takes us approximately one hundred miles out from the Islands.”
“The Faroe Islands?” Ginny inquired as she looked at the map.
With a wave of his wand, Rolf highlighted the island group in question. “The Faroe Islands are these islands here between Scotland and Iceland. They are about two hundred miles north-northwest of Scotland. It is helpful in that we can eliminate areas to search.”
“This is still a huge area to search, mate,” Harry said as he studied the map. “So, we are ruling out the Orkneys?”
“For now,” Rolf nodded. “There have been no reports there or anywhere else in the British Isles.” With another wave of his wand, he superimposed a standard grid pattern over the Shetlands and the surrounding waters. “I don’t believe the Isle of Drear is going to be part of the Shetlands, but there are many smaller islands. Each of us will have a small version of this map. As you fly over or near an island, touch the map with your wand and it will be labelled. We will probably find unlabelled islands, but I believe the Isle of Drear will be further out.”
Luna stood up and walked over to the map. “We will be starting with the area to the east of Fetlar.”
An hour later, Ginny found herself flying above the waters of the North Sea with Harry twenty feet away. Currently they were flying high enough to enjoy a panoramic view of islands. Under a network of charms, they weren’t visible to the Muggles below. Shivering slightly, she was glad one of the charms she was under was a warming charm.
Inhaling the clear see air, she returned her eyes to the water. From this vantage point, she could see several schools of fish. They appeared as a dark mass under the surface. As they flew over some of the smaller islands, they saw otters playing in the shallows and on one beach they flew over a large number of seals lazing in the sun. Occasionally a sea bird would fly up to investigate them, but then flew away again. Closer to the islands they could see Muggles out on the water in boats and on something Harry called jet skis.
It was easy work, but could be a bit mind numbing. Periodically either she or Harry would dive down closer to the water to check out something that had caught their eye, but by the time they quit in the early evening they’d had no sign of either the elusive island or any stray Quintapeds.
The intoxicating smell of bacon frying woke Ginny the next morning. Taking advantage of the empty bathroom, she hurried to take a shower and prepare for another day of flying.
Rolf was alone in the kitchen manning the stove when she arrived. He smiled. “Good morning.”
“Good morning,” she replied with a smile.
Gesturing towards the counter with a spatula, he said, “Help yourself. Luna is meditating on the beach and Harry went for a run.”
After preparing a plate, she sat at the small kitchen table. She was spreading some jam on her toast when Rolf said, “Luna is so happy that you were able to join us.”
“Me too,” Ginny grinned. “I’ve missed her. I love receiving her letters — she always has such a unique view of the world.”
“That she does,” Rolf laughed. “She hated me at first. I admit, I was rather arrogant. I made a disparaging reference to some of her father’s beliefs in a journal article. Two days after the journal came out, she was pounding on my door.”
“I can imagine,” Ginny said.
“After two years together, I can say that Luna’s a bit more logical and I’m a bit less rigid in my thinking,” Rolf laughed. “We’ve actually proven the existence of Nargles, but still no Crumple-Horned Snorkack.”
Ginny laughed. She’d heard plenty about the Crumple-Horned Snorkack whilst she was in school. While she still wasn’t clear entirely what it was or did, she knew that it was one of Luna’s dreams to find proof of the animal’s existence. As she ate, she surreptitiously studied Rolf. He was shorter than Harry, probably a little under six feet with a slender build. With his dark hair and dark eyes, he was nice looking in an understated way.
“Do I pass?”
Ginny flushed deeply when she realized she’d been caught. Rolf laughed. “Don’t worry. I know that Luna is a good friend of yours. I would be worried if you weren’t at all curious about me.”
“You are the first wizard she’s ever talked about at length,” Ginny laughed, “and you are right. At first, she was not at all a fan of yours. She wrote pages about how closed-minded you were. I think the two of you balance each other out well.”
“Thank you,” Rolf said.
Anything further she might have said was forgotten as Harry entered the kitchen through the back door. He’d obviously had a good workout. The neckline of his shirt was ringed with sweat and he was mopping his face with a towel. Greeting Ginny and Rolf, he grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator.
Flashing a grin, he said, “I’m going to take a quick shower before we head out.”
Ginny nodded and perhaps she stared a bit too long, but who was keeping track of such things? She blushed again as she met Rolf’s amused gaze. To her relief, all he said was, “Why don’t we make some bacon sandwiches to take with us?”
Together they put together two small food baskets with the sandwiches and some fruit. That way each of the pairs would have some food to snack on whilst flying. This established the pattern of their days. They would fly most of the day and each evening they would review what they’d discovered before planning the flight paths for the next day. On the second evening in the cottage, Harry had discovered a large supply of board games in the sitting room. He’d taught them to play Cluedo and Uno. Pictionary quickly became the most popular game. The four of them spend hours in the evening laughing as they tried to act out words or guess what word others were acting out.
As difficult as she found it to believe, Ginny was tired of flying. After four days of flying, she was tired of sitting on a broom staring down at the undulating blue, grey, and white water. She’d never flown so many days in a row and cushioning charms didn’t really help on brooms. Maybe it was a good thing she’d not had the opportunity to try out for a professional Quidditch team. After she, Luna, and Harry had returned to the cottage with sunburns after the first day of searching, Rolf had been insistent on them using sunscreen charms. With his more olive undertone, Rolf didn’t burn at all. Ginny was rather jealous at how easily he tanned. She would either burn in splotches or streaks, or she’d end up with more freckles. Moving slightly, she looked over at Harry. He was scanning the water below.
Guiltily, she returned her gaze to the water. They’d seen a whale early in the day, but right now they seemed to be in open ocean. Looking at the varying colours of blue and white, she imagined that a Quintaped would be difficult to find. Hugging the horizon was a large boat of some kind, but it was too far away for her to tell anything else.
He looked up. She pointed ahead. “I thought I saw something.” She frowned as a sudden anxiety took her over. “I think we should leave.”
“What?” he pulled up next to her.
She was starting to feel a bit frantic. “I think we should leave. Maybe Rolf and Luna need our help. It looks dangerous.”
His sharp voice stopped her growing hysteria. “I think there’s a really strong repelling charm in the area.”
It took a minute to realize what he was saying. Her eyes widened. “Have we found it?”
He scanned the air ahead. “I think we may have.”
With a wave of his wand, he sent out Patronus messages for Rolf and Luna. Looking at Ginny, he said, “Why don’t we dive and see what happens closer to the water’s surface?”
Nervously, Ginny agreed. She watched as he turned and tipped downward, diving at a very steep angle. Just when she thought he was going to splash into the sea, he turned and skimmed along the top of the water. The speed he was going generated a wave behind him. Shaking her head at his antics, she followed at a more gradual speed.
Although she still felt uneasy, following Harry reassured her. He wouldn’t lead her into trouble. She stopped next to Harry who was hovering on his broom.
“Do you hear that?” he asked.
She listened for a minute. “Waves. I hear waves hitting land.”
He nodded. Hovering on his broom, he began casting spells. Most of them she didn’t recognize, but she assumed he was trying to see what charms had been cast.
“I’m pretty sure this is it,” Harry said. “The number of charms on this place…I haven’t seen anything like this before. Some of these were cast at least a century ago.”
Before he could say anything else, Ginny saw both Rolf and Luna flying towards them. When the pair arrived, Harry quickly explained the situation to Rolf. Repeating Harry’s actions of a few minutes earlier, Rolf examined the charms around the island.
When Rolf was done, Harry said, “It seems that most of them are keeping the island hidden. I don’t detect any defensive charms.”
“I agree,” Rolf said.
“What are we going to do?” Ginny asked.
“I don’t want to bring down the charms until we know what we are dealing with,” Rolf said. “Harry, would you mind flying into the area?”
Harry nodded and with a quick grin for Ginny, he took off. It only took a moment before he was obscured from view. Ginny stared at the spot he’d entered the enchanted area. After several long tension filled minutes, he reappeared with a big grin on his face.
“This is it! There doesn’t appear to be anything to stop us from flying over the island, but I didn’t try to land.”
Rolf nodded. “Let’s see what we can find.”
It was nerve-wracking to fly onwards when all of her senses told her to turn around, but she followed Harry.
The island was not so different from many of the others they’d flown over in the past week. It was almost twenty square miles, a bit bigger than Fetlar, but less than half the size of the Island of Unst. There was a lake near the southern edge of the island surrounded by trees. The northern half of the island had rolling green hills, but unlike most of the islands they’d flown over, there were no sheep or ponies on the hills nor were any otters spotted gambolling in the water.
“There,” Rolf called out.
Ginny squinted and she could see the shape of a roofline. It was difficult to tell what sort of house this might have been. If she had to guess, Ginny would say it was a good-sized cottage. There were two chimneys from different parts of the house. One entire exterior wall was gone and she could see flowering plants actually growing inside the building. Exposure to the elements, as well as the Quintapeds, had rendered most of the house uninhabitable. They circled the cottage while Rolf took pictures of it.
Flying away from the house, they could see it was situated near a creek. The shape of another square foundation caught Ginny’s eye, but there was nothing to indicate what it might have been. Following Harry, they skirted around the forest until they came to a beautiful meadow.
“Rolf, look!” Luna said excitedly. “They appear to be living in prides, like lions.”
Looking down, Ginny could see what her friend meant. There were dozens of groups of Quintapeds spread out along the meadow and stretching into the forest. Within each group, there were animals of different sizes leading Ginny to believe they were most likely families of adults and their young.
After taking more pictures, Rolf signalled from them to regroup. They flew to the edge of the lake where they could hover together. Rolf was smiling from ear to ear.
“This is brilliant!” Rolf said joyfully. Looking at Harry he said, “Did you use your GPS?”
Harry nodded. “I have the longitude and latitude of the island.”
“I know it’s late in the day, but I think we should attempt to sketch out the island so we can make plans for tomorrow.” When he received no objections, he continued, “Harry and Ginny you can take the south of the island. Luna and I will take the north. We can meet in the middle.”
Ginny watched a bit bemused as Rolf and Luna flew off. Looking over at Harry, she said, “How do you want to do this?”
“Why don’t we go up higher?”
Soon they were looking down over the southern part of the island. Harry made a rough sketch of the island with the large lake. Together, they flew back and forth along the island adding to the sketch as they went, noting placement of trees and water. There was a low wall around some of the land.
It was another two hours before they rendezvoused with the other couple. Rolf was giddy with excitement as they flew back to the Lodge. They pieced together their two halves of the map and examined it.
“There weren’t as many Quintapeds in the structure as I would have thought,” Harry said.
Rolf nodded. “There seems to be more to the house than I expected. Obviously, anything in the outer rooms would have been destroyed, but there may be documentation further into the house.
“We saw several meadows that appeared to have a stone wall or perhaps a fence around them. I would like to explore those in a bit more detail.”
“Did you see any evidence of aggression from the Quintapeds?” Harry asked.
Rolf shook his head. “They didn’t pay much attention to us. We flew only ten or so feet above them taking photographs and they didn’t react. We didn’t try landing, however.”
Harry nodded thoughtfully. “I’ll be right back.” He returned a moment later with a duffel bag which he opened to reveal a box containing a dozen round devices. Taking one out, he showed it to them. “This is a stun grenade. It’s named after the Muggle weapon, but this doesn’t explode — it stuns. I thought they would be good in case the Quintapeds swarmed. We don’t know how they behave, but I figure better safe and sorry.”
After a moment of internal debate, Rolf nodded. “That is a good idea. We don’t know anything about their behaviour. If they do swarm, they could be quite dangerous.
“What we want to do tomorrow is document their behaviour. I’d like to spend the morning planting the cameras and watching them.” Rolf strode over the board and started writing. “The questions we want answered: Do they live in family groups? What do they eat? Are they as aggressive as reported? Why are they now leaving the island? How are they leaving the island? Are there any signs of intelligence?
“Once we have the island rigged with cameras, recording spells, and magic sensing devices, we need to do a complete inventory of the charms and wards over the island. Did something fail or have they always been able to leave the island? Of course, I’d also like to see if we can find out anything about their origins.”
“Are we attempting to capture one?” Harry asked.
“The Ministry would like at least one captured, but I don’t want to authorize that until we see how dangerous they are. There are only four of us and I don’t want to lose someone in an ill-advised attempt to capture one. We simply don’t know enough about them.”
After showering and changing, Ginny followed the smell of food to the small kitchen where she found Harry and Luna working on dinner. Luna was making a salad whilst Harry was tending to some sort of fish in the oven.
“Why don’t we eat outside?” Ginny suggested. When the others agreed, she walked out to the picnic table and conjured a table cloth to cover the rough wooden surface. Gathering plates and utensils from the kitchen she set the table, even putting together a centrepiece of wild flowers.
After a simple dinner of roasted salmon, roasted Shetland Black potatoes, peas, and salad, Rolf and Luna retired to the bedroom to review some of his books. For someone used to spending most of her time with a toddler, the quiet was both welcome and unsettling.
“Ginny, I’m going over to Lerwick for a bit. We didn’t have a chance to look around when we arrived and I’d like to find a gift for Teddy,” Harry said. “Do you want to come?”
“Sure,” Ginny hopped off the sofa and together they walked out of the cottage.
They Apparated to the destination shopping district they’d seen briefly when they arrived on the island. It was early evening and the shopping area was relatively quiet. They strolled along looking at the various shops. Ginny stopped in to buy some Shetland yarn for her mother and some locally made bath products for her sister-in-law, Fleur.
“It took me a while to accept her,” Ginny admitted as she told Harry about Fleur. “She’s so beautiful and she’s part Veela. That’s enough to intimidate anyone. Ron and George still tend to drool a bit if they meet her unexpectedly.”
Harry laughed at the thought. “I’ve met a few Veela in my time.” He shook his head. “The first time I made a complete fool of myself, but eventually I learned how to block out their allure.”
Glancing over at Ginny, he couldn’t help but think that she could give a Veela a run for her money. “Is Bill still in Egypt?”
She shook her head. “He moved back to help with the Order before my fourth year. He transferred to Gringotts in London. He and Fleur have done some contract work in Egypt, but Fleur had a baby two years ago so they’ve stayed in England. Victoire was born on the anniversary of the battle. She’s adorable. I sometimes watch her and Lilac together.”
“That’s great,” he said. “I love spending time with Teddy. He’d such a sweet boy and I hate that he’s put in the same position I was in, being an orphan from such a young age.”
“At least he has you,” she said.
Wandering into a toy shop, Ginny chose a stuffed lamb for Lilac and a stuffed pony for Victoire. “She’s already lobbying Bill for a pony.”
Harry laughed. “If she’s as cute as you say, I bet he caves.”
“I’m sure he will,” Ginny agreed.
Harry chose a stuffed pony for Teddy. “He loves animals. We go to the zoo at least once a month. When he gets a bit older, I’m going to enrol him in a summer camp at the zoo. He’s seen the older children and keeps telling me that’s what he wants to do.”
“That’s so sweet. Victoire is mostly stuck on ponies. There is a Muggle toy called My Little Pony. They have all sorts of brightly coloured ponies. My dad brought one home for her and now she has tons of them. Lilac and I play ponies with her all the time.”
By this time, they’d paid for their purchases and left the shop. The next shop was a fudge shop. Laughing, Ginny pushed the door open. “You know there is no stopping a Weasley around chocolate.”
Together they perused the decadent smelling shop. Harry purchased some fudge for the cottage while Ginny bought some to send to Ron and her nieces.
Smiling nostalgically, Harry said, “For years, chocolate frogs always reminded me of Ron. I’ll never forget being introduced to them on the train that first time. I couldn’t believe it when it hopped. I took that first bite thinking it was going to taste horrible, like a real frog.”
“I image it would be confusing if you didn’t grow up in the wizarding world.”
After shrinking their packages, the pair returned to the cottage. Hesitating a moment, Harry said, “Would you like to walk along the water?”
Blushing slightly, she nodded. Together they walked down to the rocky beach. The sun was not nearly as strong as it had been earlier.
“I keep thinking it’s so much earlier than it is,” she commented. “So many hours of sunlight takes a while to get used to. I was just thinking it would be impossible to get Lilac to sleep. She seems to think if the sun is up, she should be as well.”
“She and Teddy would get along well.”
The pair fell into an easy conversation as they walked along the shore. Ginny shared stories about her nieces while Harry told her about his travels. Ginny found his stories fascinating. He’d been to so many places and seen so many things.
“Are you ready for tomorrow?” he asked as they turned back to the cottage.
“I think so. Listening to Rolf this evening, its very exciting to think that we might be able to answer some of those questions and discover new things, but of course I remember the stories I’ve heard about Quintapeds. It’s a bit scary.”
“What stories have you heard?”
“Just the usual, I’ve heard the story about the MacBoons and the McCliverts. The twins used to tell scary stories when we were little; they told a story about Quintapeds breaking into the house of a family and ripping them to pieces. They totally made it up, but it still sticks with me. I guess now that I think about it, I haven’t heard any real stories about them.”
“I’m a nervous, but I’m mostly curious. The island is very well hidden, was it a pre-arranged memory failure? They could have Obliviated anyone with knowledge of the island so no one would know, but it seems to me a bad idea that no one knows anything about them.”
When they entered the cottage, Luna and Rolf were not in the sitting room. Ginny took her packages to her room and decided to write some letters. She wrote to Ron and Bill with smaller notes included for her nieces. In the morning, she would ask Rolf if she could use his owl.
Glancing at her watch, she was surprised to find it was ten o’clock. She wasn’t very tired, but she didn’t feel like reading.
Harry passed by her room and seemed surprised to find her still awake. “Everything ok?”
She nodded. “I’m just not very tired. I wrote some letters thinking I would be sleepy, but I’m not.”
“Want to play a game of Scrabble?”
Even as she started walking to the sitting room with him, she asked, “What is Scrabble?”
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Chapter 3: Chapter 3 Quintapeds Found
Author's Notes: Thanks to Arnel for her wonderful suggestions and of course great beta skills! I hope everyone like the ending. I would have liked to go into more detail on the Weasleys or Hermione, but with the word limit I wanted to keep the focus on the magical creatures (for the challenge) and the romance between Harry and Ginny. I hope you like my take on how Quintapeds came to be!
Animalis Revelio - animal revealing spell based on the human revealing spell. Any Latin errors are totally my fault.
Harry had to push himself to run the next morning. He knew he’d stayed up a bit too late playing Scrabble with Ginny, but he couldn’t help himself. She was fun and clever and very beautiful. He smiled when he recalled her outrage at his use of Muggle words she’d never heard before. He’d had to pull out the dictionary to show her that “rugby” really was a word.
Reconnecting with Ginny was an unexpected bonus of this adventure. He’d almost given the expedition a miss, so he was glad he’d followed that impulse to see if it was Rolf leading the expedition. In the years since the end of the war, he’d drifted. For years, he and Sirius talked about what they would do once Voldemort was gone and the loss of his godfather devastated him. Immediately after the war, he’d indulged in long nights of drinking and quite a few one-night stands. After the Death Eater trials were over, he’d left London and just went a bit wild.
One morning, almost a year ago, he’d woken up not sure where he was or who he’d been with. That had truly been a wakeup call for him. Did he want to continue these meaningless affairs? Did he want to find out in a few years that he had a child out there somewhere that he’d never seen? Sirius had always talked about the love Harry’s parents had shared and Harry realized that was what he wanted as well.
When Ginny had told him everything Ron had been through, Harry had felt a bit disgusted with himself. Ron had been through the loss of his wife and was raising a child with the help of his sister while Harry was gambling and partying with shallow, beautiful people.
Sure, he’d done some good. He’d helped with a vampire outbreak in Romania, he’d stopped a Inferi uprising in Israel, and of course the Nundu hunt when he’d met Rolf, but he knew he could have done a lot more. He’d left the south of France where he’d been lazing away his days and returned to London.
He’d always made time to spend with Teddy, but in the past year he’d spent a lot more time with his godson. He’d worked with Kingsley and other law enforcement agencies offering his expertise in hunting practitioners of Dark magic. He’d revived his interest in working out and was now in the best shape of his life.
Up until now, he’d not found a woman who really sparked his interest, but Ginny was brilliant. He hoped she felt the same way, but he was a bit uneasy that he wasn’t quite worthy of her. After all, she’d given up her plans to help Ron with her niece while he’d left his godson for months at a time to party. Granted, Andromeda was perfectly capable of taking care of her grandson without any help from him, but he felt a bit guilty that he’d not tried harder.
Turning around, he picked up his pace as he knew Rolf wanted to head out early. Returning to the cottage, he quickly showered and dressed. Ginny and Luna were cooking breakfast while Rolf was reviewing the plans for the day when he entered the kitchen. It didn’t take them long to eat and prepare to leave.
Harry launched his Firebolt into the air and watched Ginny out of the corner of his eye. She was one of the best fliers he’d ever seen. He wished he could have played Quidditch with her at Hogwarts. Being on the team with her and Ron and crushing Draco Malfoy would have been great. She’d mentioned that she’d taken his place as Seeker during her second year and continued as Seeker in her fourth year before moving to Chaser the rest of her Quidditch career.
Now that they knew where the Isle of Drear was, it only took them thirty minutes of flying to arrive at the island. The four of them flew straight to the middle of the island. Rolf looked around at everyone. “Does everyone know the monitoring spell?”
Luna put her hand on his arm. “Rolf, we’ve already reviewed what to do. We will place the monitoring spells and cameras near the groups of Quintapeds as we’d planned. We will look for a gathering place or nest of some kind and we will see if we can find any documentation to explain what happened here.”
Flushing slightly, Rolf nodded. “Of course, you are right. I’m sorry. I just don’t want anything to mess this up.”
Luna simply smiled at him and kissed him on the cheek. Each couple had a map they could update with just a few spells, a bottomless bag for any evidence they might find, and stun grenades. Starting from the middle of the island, each couple flew in opposite directions placing monitoring charms and cameras.
As they flew over the second group of Quintapeds, Harry stopped, hovering over the largest one. The Quintaped glanced up, but generally ignored them as if they were no more than large birds.
“What is it?” Ginny asked a bit nervously. She knew they were a good fifteen feet over the creatures, but they didn’t know if they could jump or not.
Harry frowned. “I’m detecting a magical signature from them.”
“What does that mean?”
“I’m not entirely sure,” he replied as he recorded the magical signature from the enormous beast. “Some creatures have a magical signature because they use low levels of magic, like dragons and trolls. They manipulate the environment in order to camouflage themselves. This could be the same thing.”
Flying up a bit higher, they continued placing the charms and cameras. It wasn’t arduous work, but it could be slow going at times. By late morning, they’d finished their first task and moved onto their second task of exploring the old house. Rolf and Luna were to be examining the wards and charms cast over the island.
They circled the area and Harry cast the strongest wards he could to keep out animals. He hoped they would work on the Quintapeds, but he knew magical creatures weren’t always affected by wards. He gave Ginny some of the stun grenades and kept some for himself. Just before they landed, he conjured enough cattle grids to circle the property.
“What are those?” Ginny asked.
“They are called cattle grids,” Harry explained. “It’s a grid of metal bars that are generally wide enough so an animal’s foot would fall through the gap, but a person can walk across it easily. I don’t know for sure if it will work, they might be good jumpers or something, but I thought it might slow them down.”
The two of them landed inside the protective circle he’d created. Looking around, Harry pulled his wand and noticed that Ginny was only seconds behind him. “Animalis Revelio!”
There was no response to his spell. He started breathing a little easier. “The animal revealing spell isn’t as fool proof as the human revealing spell, but it is a good indication there is nothing here. I don’t know how sturdy this building is, so be careful.”
Ginny nodded and gripped her wand a bit tighter. Together they cautiously walked into the building. As they’d suspected from the air, the outermost rooms had long since been destroyed. Looking around, it proved to be an attached barn. Several trees and flowering bushes were growing through the dirt floor. There were remnants of stalls against the far wall. Ginny wrinkled her nose at the smell of mould and mildew that pervaded the room. There was also the distinctive smell of urine and animal droppings. She was glad she’d worn her boots.
Moving past the outer room, they entered a corridor that appeared to run the length of the house, connecting the barn and the house. Pushing the door opposite them open, they found a larger room with a big fireplace on the outer wall. There was faded and torn floral wallpaper on the wall and it appeared the room had been a sitting room. There were stained and ripped remnants of a large sofa and love seat in the room. An antique piano in one corner with armchairs flanking the fireplace. There were several bookshelves on the far wall.
Walking around the room, Ginny noticed a framed portrait on the wall. It was a family portrait of with a stern looking man and his wife and six children. The father wore a traditional kilt with a brown and green tartan. His wild dark hair and beard reminded her a bit of Hagrid. The wife wore the tartan as a draped head covering that reached down to her waist. Unlike her husband, she had a kind, if frazzled, countenance. The two oldest boys and the oldest daughter appeared to be in their late teens while the youngest child was no more than four or five.
“That isn’t a wizarding portrait,” Harry observed.
“Actually, moving portraits weren’t common outside of the Ministry or Hogwarts until sixty years ago,” Ginny said. “Even then, it was quite expensive, so most families didn’t have them done.”
“I didn’t realize that,” he said as he looked over the portrait. “This seems to have be painted here on the island. Could you guess when this was? I don’t know clothes or fashion very well.”
“It looks like the end of the eighteenth century,” she said. “Possibly the 1780s or 1790s, but I’m not certain.”
Nodding, he took a picture of the portrait and the room in general before moving on. They discovered a mostly intact dining room and a kitchen that had been ransacked.
“I’m guessing the food that was in here was a draw for the animals,” he commented as they gazed at the cupboard doors that had been clawed and ripped off the hinges.
Across from the dining room, they found a study. The walls were lined with bookshelves and there was a large mahogany desk dominating the room. Harry rummaged through the desk while Ginny opened a small chest of drawers.
“Look at this,” Harry said as he pulled what appeared to be a small book from the desk. “It looks like a journal of some sort.”
The flyleaf read: Property of Alfred Joseph McClivert, son of Dugald, chief of the Clan McClivert.
31 March 1779
My father was buried today on his beloved patch of land on this beautiful Isle of Drear. I trust that with him gone, the animosity that has existed between us and the Clan MacBoon will desist. My beloved wife, Ada, was once a MacBoon, and we’d hoped our marriage would mend the rift between our two families, but our fathers wouldn’t bend. I pray that Ada and I will be happy on this lovely island.
“There are some journals over here as well,” Ginny said as she pulled the slim journals from the shelf. “Angus McClivert 1640 — 1759; Dugald McClivert 1699 — 1779. I wonder if all of the clan chiefs maintained a journal.”
“Could be,” Harry said as he flipped through the journal. “See if you can find out more about this ‘rift’. Dugald’s death was supposed to be the impetus for the turning of the MacBoons into Quintapeds, right?”
Ginny nodded. “That is the story.”
Conjuring a blanket, Ginny set it on the filthy floor before sitting cross legged on the blanket. She started looking through Dugald’s journal. Harry conjured a beanbag chair and settled in to read Alfred’s journal.
After several long minutes, Ginny said, “It seems that Angus first settled on the island in the late 1670s. He brought with him his wife and five of his brothers. They all eventually married and three moved away, but that left three brothers and their families.”
Marking the spot he was reading in the journal, Harry asked, “What did they do?”
“It looks like they raised sheep and sold yarn made from the fleece,” Ginny said as she skimmed the journal. “The MacBoons moved to the island in the 1720s, there is a reference to a Muggle war. The Clan leader, Quintius, fought in Queen Anne’s War in the British colonies in North America.”
Harry shrugged. “My Muggle history is a bit hazy. I vaguely remember that there was a Queen Anne, but I don’t know anything about a war.”
“The British colonies?”
“That’s the United States, they started as British colonies.”
Ginny nodded. “Quintius brought his wife, Charlotte, and their four children.” She frowned. “Give me a minute to see if I can figure out the cause of this feud.”
After reading more of the journal she discovered the cause of the feud. “Quintius and Charlotte began raising Shetland ponies.” She gasped. “First one of the ponies killed one of the McClivert’s prized sheep and then another one gravely injured one of the McClivert’s children.”
“Damn, that would certainly cause a feud,” Harry said. “I’m guessing this is the McCliverts’ house. I wonder where the MacBoons’ house was.”
“From what I can tell, it was on the other side of the island.”
Standing, Harry said, “Let’s take these with us and continue looking.”
Harry stashed the journals in the bag he’d brought with him. Gingerly, they negotiated the rickety wooden staircase, which was missing several treads, to the first floor. There they found four bedrooms and a drawing room as well as a small attic space that seemed to have been used for servants. They divided up the bedrooms to search, but when they met up again neither of them had found anything.
They were contemplating how to descend the stairs when they heard the noise. It was an angry chittering sound that reminded Ginny of a ferret or weasel. Ginny gripped her wand tightly as she looked over at Harry. He’d also drawn his wand.
To her horror, a Quintaped appeared at the bottom of the staircase. It appeared to glare up at them before turning to the side and vocalizing again. Her blood ran cold when the call was answered.
Next to her, Harry swore. “We did something to attract their attention.”
The largest of the group of Quintapeds that now huddled at the bottom of the stairs shrieked and leapt up the walls. Harry pulled her backwards as he threw a stun grenade into the group of creatures.
He yelled, “Accio Firebolt!”
A second behind him, Ginny Summoned her broom as well. It didn’t take long for the brooms to arrive. Harry’s Firebolt arrived easily enough, but Ginny screamed when she saw her half-eaten broom flying towards them with a Quintaped on it.
Swearing, Harry tried to Banish the broom, but the spell missed. Harry jumped in front of Ginny as the Quintaped leapt off the broom towards him. He screamed as it’s sharp teeth ripped into his skin. Ginny bashed the creature over the head with what was left of her broom. To her relief, it slammed into the wall and fell down to the ground floor.
Turning back, she blanched at the sight of the blood pouring from Harry’s chest. “Episkey! Episkey!”
The first aid spell managed to slow the bleeding and heal some of the wound, but Ginny knew it was not the proper spell to heal a wound of that complexity. It was the only spell she could think of at the moment. She conjured a pressure bandage and wrapped it around his chest.
He smiled his thanks as he mounted the broom. At his gesture, she climbed on behind him. When they approached the wall, he yelled, “Reducto!”
They both ducked as the wall disintegrated. Ginny gasped as they flew out of the house. The garden that had been empty when they entered was now covered in snarling Quintapeds. Several of the larger creatures were jumping upwards, but thankfully, not high enough to reach the broom.
Harry immediately started climbing. Once he reached fifty feet, he evened off. “We need to find a place to hole up for a bit.”
Nodding, Ginny scanned the ground. When they’d flown over this same ground earlier, the groups of Quintapeds were lazing around docilely. Now they were active and fighting within their small groups.
“What is going on?” Ginny asked.
“Something set them off,” he replied. “I wonder if our use of magic somehow started this.”
They flew for a few minutes over the now aggressive and violent groups of Quintapeds as the sound of grunting and screeching filled the air. Although they were fighting each other, they seemed most angry at the witch and wizard who flew above them. The placid, docile creatures of earlier were gone.
“There’s a cone of protective magic up ahead,” Harry announced. “I’m hoping it is a safe place.”
Ginny nodded as she looked down at the landscape below. The meadows that had looked so beautiful earlier took on a more sinister edge. The islands were notorious for their lack of trees, but there were several small groves of trees on Drear — perhaps planted by the settlers. Up ahead in the area Harry had indicated was a larger copse of trees. Suddenly the broom seemed to shudder. Startled, Ginny clamped her hands around Harry’s waist. “What was that?”
“There’s something wrong with the broom,” he said as he struggled to keep it airborne. Turning her head, her heart sank when she saw the state of the Firebolt’s bristles; most showed signs of being chewed. She relayed the information to Harry who swore angrily. “They must have chewed through some of the control spells. I don’t think I can keep it aloft much longer. Look for a clearing or anyplace free of Quintapeds where we can land.”
The broom staggered as Harry tried to keep them above the tree line. Ginny could feel the rock-solid muscles of his arms as he struggled against the draining magic.
“There!” she pointed to a clearing at the edge of the trees.
Their descent was anything but smooth. In struggling to avoid the larger trees, they were being battered with the branches. Ginny tried to keep the branches away from Harry’s face so he could see. The Firebolt came to an unceremonious halt four feet from the ground and the pair flew off the handle, landing in a heap a few feet away from the bedraggle broom. It lay in the grass, its tail sparking ominously.
Harry groaned as he helped Ginny to her feet. She frowned at his pallor and noticed her rudimentary healing spells had given out; he was bleeding again. Ignoring his discomfort, he held his hand over the broom. “Up!”
His beloved Firebolt, a present from his godfather, didn’t even respond. “Shit! This doesn’t look good.”
She cast some protection spells whilst he investigated clearing. A small stone wall, like the type they’d seen all over the islands, separated the clearing from the trees. Gasping, Harry cast a spell, revealing a passageway down into the ground. Unlike the sea caves they’d seen on the other islands, this was a cave in the middle of the island.
“I think this was wizard made,” Harry said. “It’s a shelter, maybe. I don’t detect any signs of life. Do you want to chance it?”
“I think we have to,” Ginny said. “I need to look at your wound and figure out what’s going on.”
He nodded wearily. After casting a proximity alarm, he said, “I think the cave is safe to enter.”
While Ginny did not like caves in general, Harry’s pallor and fatigue was much more concerning to her. She didn’t like the way he seemed so short of breath, although he was trying to hide it from her.
Reaching into his bag, he withdrew the two headlamps he’d purchased in London. Placing one on his head, he handed one to her. With his wand in one hand, he reached out for her hand with the other. She followed suit and the pair entered the cave. They walked along a narrow passageway for almost ten minutes before the cave widened into a large open cavern.
Ginny gasped. It was set up like a large flat with rugs on the floor and dusty furniture that had fallen into disuse. The McClivert tartan was prominently displayed, leaving no doubt which family had lived here.
Glancing over at Harry, Ginny swore at the glazed look in his eyes. Drawing her wand, she added a few more protective spells to the passageway before conjuring a sofa for Harry to lie on.
He all but collapsed onto it and Ginny wasted no time in cutting away the bandage she’d placed earlier. Growing up with so many active brothers and living under Death Eater rule for a year, she’d picked up some rudimentary healing skills. Calling on those, she cast another healing spell several times over the area.
“Tergeo!” She nodded satisfactorily when the blood cleaned up well. Digging in her bag, she found a small bottle of Dittany which she poured on the wound before reapplying the pressure bandage. Wishing she had some Blood-Replenishing Potion, she gave him a mild pain potion and some Pepper Up Potion.
“Stay here and rest for a few minutes,” she ordered, deciding to do some exploring. Harry nodded with his eyes half closed. She imagined he must have been feeling ghastly to not put up a fuss.
Beyond the open cavern were more passageways leading away from the entrance. There were book cases along one wall as well as a large desk. A hand drawn map of the island was attached to the wall behind the desk.
Ginny walked over to the map to examine it more closely. The site of the MacBoon house was marked on the north side of the island. There were several areas marked with the word Quintapeds. Casting a preservation charm on the parchment, she loosened the sticking charm holding it to the wall and carefully placed it in her bag. On the desk, she found another journal and a slim, hand-written book entitled ‘Quintapeds’. Placing them both in her bag, she explored the room.
There appeared to be a sleeping area containing one large bed and two smaller beds. They weren’t actually beds but more like sheets stuffed with hay or grass. She wrinkled her nose at the mouldy, mildew smell. Peering down one of the corridors, she found a storage area with a large container of fleece and several other containers with yarn. They must have had a strong preservation charm on them as they appeared fresh.
Returning to the main chamber, she explored the kitchen area. To her surprise, she found a stock of preserved herbs. Sorting through them, she made a poultice of yarrow, goldenrod, and marigolds which she placed over Harry’s wound before redressing it.
“What is that?”
She jumped slightly as she hadn’t noticed his eyes open. “It’s a healing poultice. Hopefully it will help heal that wound. It still doesn’t look good.”
He sighed. “I tried sending a Patronus to Rolf and Luna, but it didn’t seem to go through. I think the caves might be blocking the magic. I tried to Apparate, but I couldn’t do that either.”
Fear rose up in her, almost overwhelming her. She found it difficult to breathe and it felt like a heavy weight in her stomach. Before she could process what was happening, Harry wrapped his arm around her and helped her sit next to him on the sofa.
“Take a deep breath,” he said gently as she leaned back against him. “It will be okay. We will find a way out of this.”
“Really?” she asked with a quaver in her voice. She blinked back tears.
He nodded and pulled her into his arms. “I promise. I will do everything I can possibly do to find a way out of here.”
Closing her eyes, she rested her head against his chest, being careful to avoid his wound. The thump of his heartbeat was comforting and his strong arms made her feel safe and secure. Her heart started racing when he kissed the top of her head. She couldn’t tell how much time had passed, but she eventually straightened up. “Sorry.”
He waved away her apology. “It’s okay. Why don’t we eat?”
Nodding, she opened their bags to find several bottles of water and some wrapped sandwiches. They ate in silence and Ginny wasn’t surprised to see Harry drift off back to sleep.
Several hours later, Harry woke to find a small magical fire in a cleverly concealed fireplace in the kitchen area. Looking around the room, it took him a minute to locate Ginny. She was sitting on the floor reading from one of the journals. He must have made some noise as she looked up and smiled.
Standing, she hurried over to him. “How are you feeling?”
Frowning, he mentally inventoried his injuries. “My chest still hurts a bit, but it is better. I’m still a bit tired.”
“You lost a lot of blood,” she said as she removed the bandage. “I don’t have any Blood-Replenishing Potion. This looks a lot better.”
“Why do I smell like flowers?”
She laughed. “The poultice I made has marigold and golden rod in it. Although they were dried when I heated them, the flowery smell came through.”
Rising, she brought over another pain potion and a poultice. “This should help. It’s the last vial of pain potion.”
He shook his head. “It doesn’t hurt that badly.”
Studying him for a moment, she nodded before replacing the poultice and dressing. “I haven’t heard from Rolf or Luna. It’s almost eight o’clock so I’m hoping they will be looking for us.”
“Anything?” Rolf asked.
Luna shook her head. “No notes, no messages.” She pulled the map off the wall and placed it on the floor of the cottage’s sitting room. Taking a crystal from around her neck, she began scrying for Harry and Ginny.
“Does that actually work?” Rolf asked sceptically. “I thought it was a Muggle thing.”
Luna shook her head reprovingly. “Just because it is looked down on by many witches and wizards does not mean it doesn’t work.”
Leaving her to work, Rolf walked into the kitchen trying to figure out what went wrong. They’d placed the cameras and sensors and spent most of the day observing the Quintapeds. They’d made some exciting discoveries. The Quintapeds seemed to emit a low level of magic themselves and they had a system of vocalizations that they’d managed to record.
It was in the afternoon when the change happened. A wave of magic was felt over the fields before the Quintapeds reacted. They immediately started for the witch and wizard in their midst. Luna and Rolf had easily flown higher and out of reach. They’d flown over the island for a while longer, but it seemed to be agitating the creatures. Patronus messages to Harry and Ginny had gone unanswered.
When they’d flown over the southern portion of the island they found the Quintapeds upset, but no sign of their missing friends.
“Rolf, I think I’ve found them,” Luna called out. He hurried into the kitchen where she showed him a small copse of trees.
While he didn’t know that he believed in scrying, he had nothing different to add so they mounted their brooms and headed back to the island. When they landed, Rolf’s heart sank to see a broken Firebolt.
“Here!” Luna called out. “This is an entrance I think.”
Nodding, Rolf took the lead into the cave system.
At the sound of the proximity alarm, Harry and Ginny jumped to their feet with their wands raised.
“Luna,” Ginny called out in relief.
Luna entered the cave with Rolf on her heels. She hugged Ginny while Rolf went to Harry.
“Mate, what happened?”
After the four sat down, Harry and Ginny described the events of their day. Rolf listened intently while Luna flitted about the room. She returned with a steaming cup of tea for Harry.
“This will help with your blood loss,” she said as she pressed it into his hand.
He looked dubiously into the murky liquid and back up at Luna’s open and artless face. “Okay.” He took a sip and to his surprise, found it wasn’t all that bad.
Returning to the conversation, Rolf said, “That explains the sudden changes we saw. I’ll reckon it is magic that turns them aggressive.”
“That is part of it,” Ginny said. “I’ve been reading the journals and I can tell you what I discovered.”
The other looked over eagerly. Rolf said, “Yes, please.”
“Alfred and Ada McClivert had hoped their marriage in the late 1770s would return calm to the island, but I think too much had gone on for that to happen. Ada’s nephew, Ewan, began experimenting with different animals. He was fascinated by the concept of a Basilisk, but he didn’t want a large snake. He wanted an aggressive animal to protect the MacBoon family from the McCliverts.
“Ada’s grandson, Callum, was the first to describe the Quintapeds. He managed to kill one and bring it back to the McClivert compound for dissection. Alfred believed it was part manticore and part chimera, but it was magically created, not bred. There were several prototypes before the Quintapeds survived.
“In the beginning, they stole some of the McClivert’s sheep. They also were seen in the waters eating fish and chasing otters and seals. In 1822, the remaining MacBoons sought shelter with the McCliverts. Their creation had turned on them, killing Ewan and his family. They’d eaten all of the ponies and most of the MacBoons. Callum and Alfred returned to the MacBoon homestead. They found Ewan’s lab and retrieved his notes.”
“Notes?” Rolf broke in.
Ginny laughed. “I have the notes.”
Rolf nodded and Ginny continued with her tale. “They tried to lure the Quintapeds to the homestead with a pony. Once the Quintapeds responded, Callum and Alfred burned the homestead to the ground. Unfortunately, that was not all of them. They returned home to find the Quintapeds had attacked their home, killing Ada and three others.
“Alfred refused to leave the island where his beloved Ada was buried. He is the one who created these caverns with Callum and the other survivors of the attack. They lived here in the caves for almost ten years. In the 1830s, Callum and his wife were both attacked and killed when they were out foraging for food. Their son, Gavin, took his younger siblings and fled the island. I don’t really know what happened once they arrived in Scotland, but I would assume the Ministry must have gone out to investigate the Isle of Drear.”
Rolf nodded excitedly. “This must have led to the story of the McCliverts being wiped out by the Quintapeds. I imagine the MacBoon’s experimentations must have somehow led to the story of them being transfigured into the Quintapeds.”
Rolf wanted to hear more, but Ginny reminded him they needed to leave. On their way back to Fetlar, Luna and Rolf shared a broom while Harry and Ginny shared the other one.
Harry reluctantly stepped out of the shower the next morning. The hot water was soothing to his battered body, but he was hungry. He honestly didn’t recall much after leaving the Isle of Drear.
After drying himself and securing his towel around his waist, he examined his newest scar in the mirror. It was an angry red star-shaped
scar. The skin had grown back and he’d finally stopped bleeding, but the scar was awful.
Sighing, he opened the door and almost walked into Ginny. He flushed slightly when he could see her eyes drawn to his scar. “It’s bad, isn’t it?”
“It should fade,” Ginny said softly as she reached out to touch the scar. She traced the edges, causing him to shiver. Dropping her hand,
she stepped back. “I’ll let you get dressed. I’m making breakfast if you’re hungry.”
He dressed quickly and joined her in the small kitchen. She gestured to two familiar vials of potion on the counter. “Luna went into Lerwick for some potions.”
Nodding, he dutifully swallowed the potions. “Where are Rolf and Luna?”
“Rolf is using the little cottage next door as Quintaped Central,” she said laughingly. “He’s been reading nonstop since we returned. He’s compared the map Alfred made to the one we made. Luna tried to coax him into sleeping, but he was too wired.”
“I can understand that,” Harry laughed. “This is probably a magizoologist’s dream.”
Ginny brought a platter of eggs and sausage to the table and Summoned a stack of toast as well. Loading his plate, Harry started eating quickly. “Sorry, I’m so hungry.”
“No problem,” she laughed. “I can understand. I don’t think you ate after those sandwiches yesterday.”
Once his hunger had lessened, Harry asked, “Do you know what’s happening now?”
“Rolf said he wants to review the data we collected first, then he’ll come up with a plan.”
Two days later, Harry and Ginny found themselves on new broomsticks flying over the now familiar Isle of Drear. They were flying the perimeter trying to tell if the wards had been damaged or if the Quintapeds simply learned a way around them. That was when Ginny discovered that Harry had the ability to see magic. She was a bit jealous, since that would be an amazing ability to have.
The Quintapeds had settled down since the day of the attack. One of the groups near the water had managed to drag an orca on shore. It appeared that most of the family groups had made their way to the beach to take their portion.
“Is it just me, or are they working together?” Harry asked.
Ginny nodded. “I was thinking the same thing. Even when they attacked us, they worked together. They withdrew and lulled us into a false security. Once we went upstairs, they had us pinned down.”
“How many Quintapeds did Rolf estimate were here?”
“He was thinks there are a little over two hundred living in either five or six family groups. Now he thinks the lack of prey animals led to many Quintaped deaths, which in turn led them to leave the island for the first time in search of food.”
Harry nodded distractedly. “There!”
Looking at the spot where Harry was pointing, she frowned. “What?”
With a wave of his wand, he caused the wards to be visible. Where the rocky beach met the water, there was a hole in the wards. “That’s how they’ve been escaping.”
He cast a spell allowing the area to show up on the ever more detailed map of the island they’d developed. The day before, Rolf and Luna had discovered an aeroplane wreck on the edge of the island. All the people on board had been killed and used by the Quintapeds as food. He grimaced and rubbed his forehead.
“Are you okay?” Ginny asked.
He nodded. “Sorry, sensing magic is difficult and usually causes a headache. When we were in India, they taught me how to use the ability so that I didn’t automatically see all the magic around me.” He laughed. “I’m so glad I wasn’t at Hogwarts when that ability surfaced. With all the magic in the castle, I would not have reacted well. Luckily, it was just me and Sirius when it happened. I’ve always been able to sense magic. Even before I knew about magic, I knew there was something different about my relatives’ house. When I turned fourteen, I could suddenly see magic.”
“That must have been overwhelming,” Ginny said sympathetically. “Bill can see through glamours and disguises — during the war with so many people using Polyjuice or glamours, it was difficult for him. Charlie is an empath. I think that’s one of the reasons he likes to work with dragons. It is easier for him emotionally.”
“Sirius told me that not everyone has different abilities, but that somehow magic responds to our needs and helps us out. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it definitely made me feel better when I felt so different from everyone.”
Harry broke off and started flying towards the middle of the island. Ginny followed. She watched him, but didn’t question him. He would explain himself, she was sure of that.
They stopped over a beautiful meadow. Frowning, Harry took out his wand and cast several spells she didn’t recognize. Looking around, he cast one more spell. It was a spell used in wizarding archaeology that showed what was under the ground. Ginny gasped at what she saw. There in neat rows were the skeletal remains of Quintapeds. They’d found a Quintaped graveyard.
An hour later they watched Rolf pace as he pondered this latest information. “If they buried their dead…that shows near human intelligence. I assumed they ate their dead.”
“I noticed on the cameras that the ones killed when they attacked us were taken away by others. It didn’t even dawn on me that they would bury them,” Ginny said.
“Should we try communicating with them?” Luna asked. “Perhaps a translating spell? Or through use of runes?”
Harry wandered away when the two magizoologists started talking. They could talk for hours and Harry often didn’t understand what they were talking about.
Harry woke with a start. He didn’t know what woke him, but he instinctively went to investigate. When he reached the kitchen, he found Ginny making some hot chocolate.
Stowing his wand in his back pocket, he asked, “Are you okay?”
She sighed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“That’s okay.” He watched her for a few minutes. “You didn’t answer the question.”
“I had a nightmare,” she admitted. “I think the cave reminded me a bit too much of Chamber of Secrets.”
He sat down at the small table and she brought over two cups of hot chocolate. “I’m sorry to hear that. You still have nightmares about it?”
“Not usually,” she clarified. “I haven’t had a nightmare about it in years. I think part of it was that musty underground smell. That and then the skeletons of the Quintapeds. I remember a lot of little skeletons in the corridors around the chamber.”
Harry nodded. “I remember.”
“I don’t think I ever thanked you. That was the most embarrassing, humiliating time of my life. Thanks to my brothers, everyone knew I had this huge crush on you. I made it worse by acting like a ninny and not even talking to you. I still can’t believe I sent you that Valentine.” She blushed and shook her head. “Thank you for never making fun of me or making me feel badly and of course, thank you for saving my life.”
He flushed. “Of course. I…I didn’t know how to handle being the object of someone’s crush. In the Muggle world, I was scorned and humiliated myself, so it was odd to think I was worthy of someone’s attention. It was flattering, but I didn’t know how to handle it.” He grinned. “I still have that Valentine. It was the very first one I ever received.”
Ginny couldn’t believe what she was hearing. It was thrilling to think he’d kept that Valentine. While the rhyme was awful, she’d worked so hard on it. Her thoughts returned to the Chamber of Secrets. “How did you know to rescue me?”
“Ron and I were going to tell Professor McGonagall that we’d figured out where the entrance of the Chamber of Secrets was. When we heard the announcement and heard that you were the one who’d been taken…it was awful. We didn’t know what to do, but we couldn’t do nothing. I just wish we’d picked a more competent professor to bring with us.”
“Ron told me how Lockhart tried to Obliviate the two of you and it backfired.”
Harry nodded. “Somehow it wasn’t that surprising that he was nothing but a huge fraud. All his classes consisted of was reading and acting out his stupid books.”
Ginny nodded. “He was one of the worst. Professor Umbridge was worse. She actually kept us from practicing magic.”
“I heard about her,” Harry nodded. “Kingsley hated her.”
When he fell silent, she asked, “Can you tell me what happened…you know, from your point of view?”
“I was so scared,” he admitted. “I kept hoping you were still alive. When I finally entered the chamber…it was so spooky and then I saw you lying there. I remember thinking ‘please don’t be dead, please don’t be dead.’ When I reached you, that was when Riddle made his appearance. He told me how he’d tricked you and how powerful he was and of course he made his big reveal about his name.”
With a wave of his wand, Harry recreated the moment. “He then let the Basilisk out. Professor Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes, brought me the Sorting Hat. When I put it on my head, Gryffindor’s Sword appeared.
“Fawkes wasn’t done helping me; he poked out the Basilisk’s eyes, which made it easier for me to kill it. He also cried in my wound, because the Basilisk venom was already killing me.”
Ginny gasped with tears in her eyes. “You were bitten? I never knew that. Merlin, I am so sorry.”
Scooting next to her, Harry reached out and covered her hand with his. “I have regretted many things that happened over the years, but I have never, ever regretted going to rescue you. Voldemort used you, just like he used many people over the years. You managed to fight against him for an entire year!”
She blinked back her tears. “Thank you.”
Smiling, he drew her to him and she melted against him. When their hug ended, he searched her beautiful face before lowering his head to kiss her. She responded almost immediately. Harry slid one hand through her hair and secured the other at the small of her back. When breathing became an issue, he finally pulled back.
“I’ve been wanting to do that for days,” he murmured as he pushed her hair back behind her shoulder.
“Really?” she said uncertainly. “I’ve just…I’m not as beautiful as some of the girls I’ve seen you with.”
He stood up and held out his hand. “Will you walk with me?”
Taking his hand, she let him pull her up. Together, they walked out and could see the sky starting to light up. He finally started talking.
“Sirius’ death so close to the final battle really messed me up. I…I helped Kingsley and testified at the trials, but I went home to an empty house. I started drinking and partying. I would go out and people loved me. Women wanted me and men wanted to be my friend. It was so confusing. Being young, I took advantage of it. It took me a while to realize that none of these people really liked me. They wanted to be seen with me or more.
“I finally woke up and realized that I didn’t really like the person I’d become. That’s when I returned to London. I started working with Kingsley and worked with some other countries on their Dark Arts problems. I’ve been spending time with Teddy and trying to make myself a better person.”
He turned and looked down at her. “You are so amazing. You gave up your own dreams to help your brother. You are clever and fun and incredibly beautiful and sexy. Trust me, you don’t belong in the same class with those women in the pictures. You are so far above them. You are actually so far above me, too, but I’m hoping you will be willing to overlook that.”
She looked up at him steadily trying to comprehend everything he was saying. While they’d been working together, it was easy to forget who he was and what he’d done. He wasn’t the storybook character from her childhood, he was so much more. Reaching up, she pulled his head down and kissed him deeply.
Harry grinned at his beautiful wife as they entered the Ministry. Three years had passed since their Quintaped hunt and the time between now and then had been amazing and fulfilling. Harry mentally ticked off the highlights: he had reconnected with Ron, Ginny had agreed to marry him, Teddy had become a most important part of their life and the three often spent time with Ron, Parvati, Lilac and Victoire.
His relationship with his mother- and father-in-law was still a bit strained. Ginny clashed with her mother a bit too much for him to develop a close relationship with the older witch. Bill and Fleur were frequent visitors to Harry and Ginny’s house as was Ron. The twins were great and still as friendly as they’d been that long-ago first September when they helped him with his trunk.
“Look at Luna.” Harry jumped at Ginny’s voice in his ear. Looking around, he spotted her in a bright yellow ball gown and black lace-up boots.
He smiled and shook her head. “She certainly is unique.”
Pushing their way through the crowd, they joined Luna and Rolf on the raised platform. Behind them was the photo from the cover of Rolf’s book on Quintapeds and in front of them was a long table with microphones. The two couples greeted each other with hugs and sat down behind their name tags.
The assembled media quieted down as the Minister for Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, strode onto the stage. After the applause, he said, “Three years ago, Rolf Scamander, Luna Lovegood, Harry and Ginny Potter started on a quest on our behalf to search for the Quintapeds. We’ve learned much about these creatures and their origins.” Turning, he gestured to Rolf, who began his story.
He explained the origins of the Quintapeds. The madness of Ewan MacBoon and the creation of his monsters and how that had been changed over the century to the story everyone knew about the MacBoons and McCliverts. The rumour of Quintaped eggs had been proven false when the cameras caught the birth of a baby Quintaped on film. Over the past three years, a team of wizarding scientists had worked to sequence the genome of the Quintapeds.
A hush fell over the crowd as Rolf unveiled the chart showing where MacBoon had taken the DNA to create his creature. There was manticore, chimera, and Hungarian Horntail DNA. Surprisingly, he’d also included DNA from his family’s prized Shetland pony as well as the common weasel. The most surprising and controversial was the inclusion of human DNA as well.
Magilinguists had tried in vain to decipher the Quintaped speech, but had thus far been unsuccessful. The vocalizations had been analysed and other magical creatures such as mermaids and goblins had listened without understanding anything that was said.
A team from Gringotts had recast the wards around the island while at the same time stocking the lake with enough fish to keep the Quintapeds going for quite some time. The location of the Isle of Drear was placed under the strictest of security after some foolish wizards followed a group of scientists out to the island. Their bodies were found the next day.
Harry sat back and watched as Rolf fielded questions from the audience. Ginny reached over and took his hand under the table. Suddenly he couldn’t wait for the press conference to be over. He had plans for his beautiful wife.
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