SIYE Time:8:12 on 20th July 2018

The Aurors
By FloreatCastellum

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Category: Post-Hogwarts, Post-DH/PM
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Death, Disturbing Imagery, Extreme Language, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Negative Alcohol Use, Violence
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 298
Summary: The last thing Harry Potter wants is to be lumped with a trainee Auror, especially not one that idolises him. As he guides her through the realities of being an overworked Auror and tentatively settles into adult life with Ginny, a dark plot brews on the horizon...
Hitcount: Story Total: 45324; Chapter Total: 2190
Awards: View Trophy Room


Theia arrived home late. The cracked pavements were illuminated in the orange street lights, and somewhere far off, above the continuous hum of traffic, a dog was barking.

Her mother would be annoyed at her, for apparating to a dark alley and walking the rest of the way alone, but as she looked up at the tall, grimy estate, she could see lit windows and groups of teenagers loitering on the balconies, despite it being past midnight. She wondered what a hardened London youngster would do if they saw a woman appear out of thin air. Perhaps they would assume that they were tripping, or maybe they would come down and try and attack her. Most likely, they would pretend they hadn’t seen it all, but it was best to be on the safe side.

Someone had pissed in the lift again.

With a scowl, she took the stairs, the thud of her boots echoing and her body aching. She was exhausted. Dead on her feet. She fully intended to spend the whole of tomorrow lying on the sofa.

When she finally reached the seventh floor, the door next to her own was open, and a young man was waiting.
‘I saw you walking in from the window,’ said Dennis. ‘You’re back late.’

She gave him a tired grin. ‘Been up waiting for me? My mother will be delighted.’

He chuckled, and looked awkwardly at his shoes, rubbing the back of his neck. ‘Actually… I, er… I ordered some pizza earlier. I can always reheat it… I thought it might be better than you waking up your mum.’

It was certainly tempting. No doubt her mum had put aside a casserole or something for her, but pizza… And there was something quite endearing about how embarrassed he looked. ‘How’re you planning to reheat it?’ she asked. ‘It always goes soggy when I do it.’

‘I bet you use a microwave, don’t you? Amateur.’

She giggled, and followed him into his flat.

Like the one she shared with her mother, Dennis’s flat was small, and a little damp. But his did not have the years of family life to fill it with warmth, odd little objects and photos, and instead felt truly like a student’s pad. Posters of Muggle bands, a cheap clothes horse with dripping laundry, a criminology book being used as a coaster for an old cup of coffee, and a quietly whirring computer in the corner.

‘Sorry,’ he said, blushing. ‘I could have tidied up a bit.’

‘I’m not the bloody Queen, Dennis, you’re kind enough just letting me in here and allowing me to eat your food.’ He smiled even wider at her response, and grabbed a nearby pizza box, making his way to the kitchen while she made herself comfy on the rather collapsed looking sofa. ‘So where you at university today?’ she called through, eyeing his books eagerly.

She heard him give a small laugh. ‘It’s Sunday! I’ve spent the day watching telly instead of doing my essays, like every other student in the country.’

‘Right, of course,’ she said back, still peering around. ‘I’ve had such a weekend, I’ve completely lost track of the days. I bet it’s easy to do that when you’re a student too, isn’t it? If you miss your lectures or something.’

She babbled until he returned with (oven-heated) pizza, and she grabbed a slice hungrily, groaning as she bit into it. ‘Finally,’ she mumbled. ‘I’m starving.’

‘Been working hard?’

She raised her eyebrows and gave an exasperated nod. ‘I’m shattered. We’ve got so much going on and it’s so confusing. Last night we were trying to get someone to a place of safety, but he refused, and lo and behold, we can’t find him anywhere today. I’ve been apparating up and down the entire country trying to figure out whether he’s done a runner or it’s something more sinister.’

‘That sounds serious,’ said Dennis, sitting cross legged at the end of the sofa to face her. ‘Is he a criminal, then?’

She wobbled her head. ‘Sort of. I dunno. He was quite few years above you, Cormac McLaggen?’

Dennis squinted. ‘Oh! Big guy?’ She nodded, her mouth too full to speak. ‘Yeah, I barely remember him. Got himself into trouble, has he?’

She shrugged. ‘Seems all the old Death Eaters are in-fighting about something, Harry thinks it might be a power struggle over an Azkaban plot. But McLaggen wasn’t a proper Death Eater, really, so we dunno.’

Dennis’s face darkened somewhat. ‘What d’you mean not a proper Death Eater?’

‘He was more of a paperwork guy. Got a position through family connections high up in the Muggleborn Registration Committee, then orchestrated a lot of nasty stuff without really getting his hands dirty, not sure how aware he was of what he was doing but- Oh! Dennis, I’m sorry!’

Dennis had gone pale, and looked highly uncomfortable, like he was about to spring off the sofa and run out of the door. ‘Sorry,’ he muttered. ‘Don’t mind me-’

‘No, I shouldn’t have started blabbing about that! I bet you had an awful time with them!’

Perhaps to give himself time to think, Dennis grabbed a slice of the pizza and chewed on it for a while. ‘It was Colin that dealt with all of that,’ he said finally. ‘Got one of his friends to persuade her parents to take us in as “cousins”. Did most of the talking at our interview. I don’t know that he ever really came across McLaggen.’

Theia hesitated. The words were on the tip of her tongue, she desperately wanted to say them, but she could hear her mother’s voice in her head scolding her for insensitivity. Theia had very poor self-control when it came to asking questions. ‘It said in his file that you were in the public gallery for his trial.’

He looked genuinely surprised. ‘Was I? I went to quite a few with Demelza and Colin’s girlfriend. It’s all a bit of a haze really. I thought maybe if I saw a few people come to justice… But then I just wanted to get out of wizarding society completely.’

‘He had a girlfriend?’ She hadn’t known the Creevey brothers well at Hogwarts by any stretch of the imagination, but she had to admit that she’d been a gossip, and this was completely new information.

‘Yeah, Zaha… I forget her second name. Something Arabic. Very quiet. But she was there when he… Well, I wasn’t at the battle, so everything I heard, I got from her.’ His voice grew quiet and he looked away. ‘I expect you think I’m silly, don’t you? For hiding away, becoming a Muggle? It’s not very Gryffindor of me.’

‘Don’t be stupid!’ She grasped his knee without thinking. ‘I think it’s perfectly reasonable!’ She wanted to change the subject. It was upsetting to see him distressed. ‘Tell me about your degree, what have you been studying?’

He blinked. ‘Oh, well, it’s all quite simple stuff at the moment, you know, I only just started. But we’ve been looking at what motivates people to commit crime.’ He frowned. ‘I was hoping to find out what would motivate someone to… Nothing seems to fit what I’m looking for.’

‘Well, like you said, you’ve only just started,’ said Theia gently. ‘What have you learnt so far? It might come in handy for me!’

A small smile played around his lips. ‘Well… There’s social structure theory. That accounts for the majority of crime. It suggests that those who aren’t privileged in wealth, or class, or status get into crime out of necessity… For financial gain or because they’ve grown up in an environment where it’s normal.’

‘Like the teenagers on the balcony outside,’ said Theia. Colin nodded. ‘But… Rich people commit crimes too. Loads of the Death Eaters were rich. I suppose they might have grown up in environments where it’s normal, but it seems… I don’t know, it seems more suited to petty criminals, doesn’t it?’

‘These are Muggle theories,’ he reminded her gently. ‘I expect some Death Eaters might fit into the anomie theory. It’s usually in regards to social inequity, but any stresses or divisions between groups or classes can make people more likely to commit crime.’

‘You’ve lost me, I’m afraid,’ said Theia, smiling. She could almost hear her mother’s voice marveling at how smart he was, how passionate…

‘So, if you say a pureblood Death Eater, for example, treats Muggleborns with suspicion, or fear, he might believe them to be disgraceful. His feelings might make him more likely to commit a crime against a Muggleborn. He’s even more likely to commit crimes if there’s lots of different problems going on at once, health problems or money problems, or tensions in the family. He might be angry.’

Theia’s brain was whirring. She nodded slowly. ‘There’s this one bloke… Shyverwretch. He’s so angry with Harry and people in charge at the Ministry. He wasn’t a proper Death Eater, but he worked for the regime-’

‘Anyone who worked for that regime is a Death Eater,’ said Dennis abruptly.

‘Sure, but he didn’t wear the robes or anything,’ said Theia, waving a hand dismissively. ‘But he’s angry because this “other group” is in charge, and he’s not well, he’s very frail… And he has to resort to illegal potion smuggling to keep his business open. Not to mention,’ she said suddenly, ‘how desperate he must have been for insurance money to alert the Ministry about the break in!’ She suddenly remembered who she was talking to, and blushed. ‘Sorry. I don’t suppose any of this makes sense to you, and you don’t want to hear it anyway.’

There was an odd look in his eye, something like intrigue. ‘No, it’s quite interesting hearing you talk about the wizarding world… Not that I want to rejoin it or anything!’ he added hastily, spotting her delighted expression.

‘Sure,’ she said teasingly. ‘I’m sure I’ll convince you to come work at the Auror office before long.’ He looked highly uncomfortable at this, so she quickly returned to asking him about more criminology theories.

‘Well, social control says that people will break the law if they have the opportunity to do so and don’t believe there’ll be a negative consequence,’ he babbled, seizing on the conversation. ‘Everyone is capable of crime, and it’s just fear of prison that stops most people doing it. I think that…’

As interested as she was, she zoned out slightly as he spoke. Unlike the others her mum had tried to set her up with, Dennis was… Quite lovely. She’d remembered him as a small, skinny boy the year below her at school, never anyone to take much notice of. But now… Well, he was taller, and he’d broadened out a bit. Certainly not muscly, but lean. He could definitely pick her up if he wanted to.

‘And then of course there’s social process theory,’ he said.

She shook herself a bit. She wondered if she’d been staring. ‘What’s that?’

‘It’s a bit like social control… Anyone can be a criminal. But they don’t act like criminals all the time. But they have a tendency to meet other criminals, and learn from them. A perfectly happy, well-adjusted person could spend some time around criminals, and start to learn deviant behaviour.’

She thought of McLaggen. ‘Like… If they’d been in prison, for something minor? And made friends with worse criminals?’

‘Yes, I suppose. I-’ His eyes had strayed to a clock, and he swore suddenly. ‘It’s nearly three in the morning! I’m so sorry, I completely lost track of the time!’

She giggled, but raised her hands to her mouth in shocked despair. ‘Mum will kill me if I wake her up at this time!’

‘You can stay here,’ he offered. ‘I’ll take the sofa… God, you’ll be exhausted for work tomorrow, won’t you?’

‘Harry insisted I take tomorrow off,’ she replied, yawning. ‘Otherwise I will have worked…’ she scrunched her nose up in concentration. ‘Ten days in a row? I think. Something like that.’

He shook his head in sympathy and helped pull her off the sofa. ‘Come on, I’ll show you to my room.’

‘I don’t mind taking the sofa-’

‘Please, I insist.’

Her heart was beating quite fast as he led her to his room. His flat was the same layout as her own, and he slept in the larger bedroom, like her mother. ‘What do you do with the smaller bedroom?’ she asked as they passed it.

‘It’s a study,’ he said quietly. ‘Here, make yourself comfy. Can I get you anything?’

He had led her into the room, and now she stood at the base of the small double bed, the faint yellow glow of light pollution peeking through the blinds. She looked at him. He had been a Gryffindor. Gryffindors were brave, reckless, wild. She had always wanted to be a Gryffindor.

They were both staring at each other, he looked washed out in the odd light, but she could feel something between them, like the sparking and burning of a match. He took a step closer. His head leaned down slightly.

She met him the rest of the way.

As she kissed him, her arms reached up and looped around his neck, pulling him down, and she trembled with excitement.


It was a beautiful area. Quiet, peaceful. From the hill they had apparated to, the valley sloped quickly down to a wide river, bordered by rushes. It was at low tide now, the water sinking down into thick mud and revealing old, sunken row boats, abandoned lobster pots and buoys. On the other side, Harry could see a Muggle boat yard, masts stretching up into the early morning sky. Beyond that, the steeple of a church poked out from behind rooftops, a faint bell clanging.

‘You had a good photo in the Prophet yesterday,’ said Neville teasingly.

Harry groaned. ‘I thought I might. What was the angle?’

‘Well they all worked out you missed the match, and Ginny attacking one of them didn’t help. I reckon they’ll be on your case for a while.’

Harry shook his head. ‘It’s exhausting… At least Rita resisted writing about the missing criminals.’

‘Nah, she didn’t, that was on page six. Less interesting in the potential collapse of the Potter-Weasley power couple though, apparently. Is that it then?’ asked Neville, nodding to the house at the top of the hill.

‘Must be.’

The house was large, but retained an old country charm which seemed to shun the word ‘mansion’. Three stories tall at the back with a balcony over the front door, whitewashed walls and curved bay windows which offered stunning views across the valley. It was exactly the sort of place Harry had pictured; a life of understated wealth tucked away in a quiet corner of Suffolk. Just enough to grow a sense of entitlement, but not grand enough to feel truly privileged.

‘Shouldn’t your trainee be doing this with you?’ said Neville miserably. ‘I hate this part of the job.’

‘I’m not taking her anywhere near something like this until she learns to think before she speaks,’ said Harry. ‘I need someone with tact.’

‘Williamson would have been better then,’ muttered Neville, but he kept pace with Harry as they crunched across the gravel drive, around a delicately sprinkling fountain.

Harry rose the heavy iron knocker and rapped it on the front door. ‘Besides,’ he said quietly as he waited. ‘I told her to take the day off, and I haven’t worked with you in ages.’

Neville grinned at him, but swiftly changed his face to a somber expression as the door opened.

The blonde woman behind it had been smiling pleasantly, but her face fell as soon as she saw their uniforms.

‘Mrs McLaggen?’ said Harry gently.


‘We’re from the Auror department,’ he said unnecessarily. ‘May we come in?’

‘Is it Cormac?’ she whispered, her face paling. ‘What’s happened to him?’

‘Let’s sit down and talk,’ said Neville kindly. ‘Is your husband here?’

‘No, he’s gone fishing… Please, come through.’

She led them to a large sitting room, light and airy with pale yellow walls and antique furniture. Harry sat awkwardly on the chaise longue she gestured to, and she sat by the empty marble grate.

‘Is he dead?’ she squeaked, her voice breaking and eyes welling. ‘Is my boy dead?’

‘Mrs McLaggen, Cormac is missing. He hasn’t been missing for much longer than a day, but we’re concerned about his safety. I’m judging by your reaction that he isn’t here? He hasn’t contacted you?’

She shook her head frantically, and now tears were rolling down her face. She was a well-kept woman, approaching her sixties at least, but with expertly applied makeup that was now beginning to run. ‘He’s gone and done something stupid, hasn’t he?’ she said, her voice straining with despairing anger.

‘What makes you think that?’ asked Neville carefully. ‘Has he been talking about anything unusual lately?’

She sniffed loudly, and summoned a handkerchief. ‘What do you mean, he’s missing?’ she asked haughtily, trying to regain composure. ‘How do you know?’

‘My colleagues and I offered him protection on Saturday night. When we returned on the Sunday morning, his flat was empty, with signs of a struggle. Can you tell us anything that might help us find him? We are trying to find him, Mrs McLaggen, this is a missing persons case, nothing darker.’

She choked back a sob, and turned to him with shrewd eyes. ‘You’re Harry Potter,’ she said. ‘I recognize you, from the paper.’

He was used to this, so he said nothing. He waited patiently.

‘I used to tell him all sorts of stories about you when he was little. He was so excited when you got sorted into the same house as him.’ She paused, and more tears spilled down her cheeks. ‘I just don’t know what to do about him. He’s my little boy! What do you do when your little boy becomes… Dark?’

Harry risked exchanging a glance with Neville, and leaned forward. ‘Mrs McLaggen, we think Cormac may have been involved in a plan to help prisoners escape from Azkaban. Has he spoken to you about this at all?

She let out a small wail, clutching her handkerchief to her chest. ‘Oh, he hasn’t has he? Oh, stupid boy! He’s fallen in with the wrong crowd, he really has!’

‘What happened, Mrs McLaggen?’ asked Neville. ‘We knew Cormac at school, we didn’t expect this. What changed him?’

She sniffed, dabbing at her nose. ‘We didn’t raise him to be like this. He was such a nice, well-mannered boy, he was able to join in with our dinner parties from such a young age, could talk to adults just as easily as he could talk to other children. Of course, he heard a few impolite things about Muggleborns from others here and there, but we always taught him, always made sure to tell him later how very rude it was to talk about other people in that way.’ She gave a watery chuckle, and said, ‘he even tried to argue back a few times, but of course we soon put a stop to that! Guests don’t want to be lectured on ethics, we told him, just let people say their piece, and change the topic of conversation.’

She was reminding Harry of Aunt Petunia. Determined to live in a world of polite pleasantries and chattering conversation, carefully steering the topic to nice, frivolous things rather than risking confrontation or judgement. But, just as the Dursley’s had ignored their son’s bullying, or Marge’s bigotry, the silence was endorsement.

‘And then Donal’s brother Tiberius, Cormac’s uncle, got him a job at the Ministry, working for the Registration Commission. I told him, I said to Donal, I don’t want our son working there, not now, we need to keep our heads down. But Tiberius insisted that this was the way things were now, and the best way of surviving was to work with them, and make the best of it.’ Her lip trembled, and her grey-blue eyes met Harry’s. ‘I suppose you think we’re awful, don’t you? You were out there fighting, and we were working with them.’

‘Not at all,’ Harry lied. ‘I understand it was a scary time.’

‘I just wanted my son to be all right,’ she cried, looking up at Neville for approval. ‘I just wanted him to have a promising future! We didn’t know how long it would go on for… But of course every day he’d come home with these…. These ideas and opinions and we did try to make it better. We tried getting him to do the things he always loved, fishing and hunting and sailing and Quidditch… And he’d do it, but he was always talking about work. He wanted to succeed, we’d always taught him how important it was to be friends with the right people.’ She closed her eyes. ‘But these were the wrong people.’

‘And then he went to Azkaban,’ prompted Harry quietly. ‘For three months.’

She nodded, shame crossing her face as she sobbed. ‘The things that came out in that trial… I didn’t raise him to be like that. But he just didn’t see it. All he was doing was signing papers, writing letters. It was easy for you two,’ she said fiercely. ‘You were free to fight for the right side, you were never going to be welcomed anyway. But for Cormac… I do believe he thought he was making the right choice. He didn’t realize what he was doing. He didn’t. He couldn’t have.’

Harry thought about telling her of how Polly died. How Ginny would sometimes wake in the night, remembering it, how she had sobbed when she’d found out that Polly’s mother had died weeks before the battle, Polly never knowing that her betrayal had been for nothing.

But it was Neville that spoke.

‘Cormac’s sentence was short because so many of the Wizengamot knew him. Others that had less impact had far longer sentences.’

She gave a short, sharp nod. ‘Well of course we know that,’ she said briskly, not meeting his eyes. ‘We never imagined that our position would benefit us that way, but all the same… I won’t pretend that it wasn’t a relief.’ She looked to the window, and her voice became distant. ‘If I thought he’d changed before, it was nothing after he went there. We were happy that he wouldn’t have to suffer the Dementors… Perhaps we dismissed how scared he was. Just three months, and he’d be back here… We didn’t think that was so bad.’

‘A lot of people thought that,’ said Harry. ‘When we got rid of the Dementors, there was outrage. People saw them as a deterrent, wondered what would make the prison something to be dreaded if they weren’t there.’

‘That place never needed them,’ she said coldly. ‘The Dementors were all in his head. He started feeling guilty. We’d visit him, and he’d tell us he spent his days lying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling, thinking about what he did. Thinking about how some of those people must have died.’

‘He felt remorse?’ said Neville, who seemed unable to hide the surprise in his voice.

‘At first,’ she said, looking back at him. ‘For the first month, he was miserable, being around all these Death Eaters, it made him realize what he’d been doing. But then…’ She returned to her sobs. ‘Then he made friends.’

‘Which friends?’ asked Harry. When she shook her head and continued sobbing, he leaned forwards. ‘Please, Mrs McLaggen, I know it’s hard, but this could help us find him.’

‘Dozens of them,’ she wailed. ‘Every time we visited he’d be talking about worse and worse people. Alecto Carrow. Antonin Dolohov. Gilbert Mulciber…’ Her expression turned sour. ‘And of course that Parkinson girl kept visiting him.’

‘You don’t like her?’ asked Neville.

She scowled. ‘Well… He started mentioning her in his last year of school, and I kept telling him that Slytherins weren’t to be trusted, and that he’d end up getting mixed up in dark magic. I know we’re supposed to be tolerant and what not, but I was right, wasn’t I? When he got out, he moved back here for a while, we told him he could keep a low profile, get better… But we kept refusing to have that girl in our house, and he was furious. So he moved to that grotty little flat and got by on the allowance we gave him. He couldn’t find a job, not with his conviction.’

‘This was just so he could keep seeing Pansy?’ questioned Harry. ‘Did he come back much? Visit?’

She burst into tears again, her shaking hands twisting the handkerchief on her lap. ‘He just kept slipping further and further away. So many of his old friends from school were war heroes now, and I think he was ashamed, in a way, that he didn’t have a revolutionary moment. He kept talking about justice and people just being misunderstood. I think he was humiliated,’ she said quietly.

Harry’s eyes found the mantelpiece of the fireplace, where a photo of a small, blonde boy grinned broadly at the camera from a fat little pony. It was easy to see that Cormac had been raised as the hero in his own stories, that he had perhaps once imagined himself to be the dashing, daring, chivalrous Gryffindor he had expected.

‘He just became so angry,’ she said helplessly. ‘Just so angry. All the time.’

‘Did he ever mention a man called Shyverwretch?’ Harry asked her.

Her brows knitted together and she sniffed again. ‘That fellow who owns the shop on Knockturn Alley? Now and then. I don’t think they were friends or anything.’

‘What about someone by the name of Dubrow?’

A few times, I suppose, but-’

The door opened, and a man who looked strikingly like Cormac strode in, dressed head-to-toe in fishing gear. ‘Delia? What’s going on?’ he asked with a soft Irish accent. He stared at Harry and Neville, and his shoulders sank as his eyes traced over their uniforms. ‘Who are…? Are you…?’

‘Mr McLaggen,’ said Harry quietly. ‘Why don’t you sit down?’

But the man went pale, his shoulders shook, and he dropped to his knees in despair, wailing for the son he knew in his heart was gone.


When Theia woke, it had gone midday. She had a slight headache from oversleeping, and as she stretched out, her arms brushed against cold sheets. She supposed Dennis had gone to his lectures or something.

She sat up sleepily, pulling on the nearest shirt she could find and yawning widely, feeling rather pleased with herself. She smiled as she plodded across the bedroom, hardly believing that last night had actually happened.

The flat still smelled slightly of pizza, but it only made her smile wider, practically giddy with excitement. Dennis had a small amount of milk left, and she helped herself to cereal and coffee, carrying it through to the small living room to eat it on the squashy sofa.

She hoped she’d been all right. Did he… Like it? Did he like her? Were they boyfriend and girlfriend now? It was probably too early for that… It was quite remarkable that her mother had managed to find someone, finally, that she liked, and for him to like her too! What were the chances?

She pulled one of his criminology books forward as she finished off the cereal, and read it while she drank her coffee. It was very interesting, exactly the sort of thing she should be reading, really. Learning on the job was all well and good, and she was very grateful to Harry, but perhaps she wouldn’t screw things up as much if she was a bit more knowledgeable about it all.

She was so fascinated with the book that her coffee sat cold and forgotten as she flicked through the pages, marvelling at the Muggle techniques that she knew would be so useful if wizards would just accept them. Just imagine, if they had DNA profiling? Incredible.

She felt an odd stab of guilt. She hadn’t realized how far she’d fallen behind with the Muggle world. All this information… Dennis might not think so, but it was useful, she was sure of it.

She wondered if there was anything more specific than the theory book. Anything that focused on just murderers, or war crimes or something.

She went to the room Dennis had said was a study, the one that acted as her bedroom in her own flat, but it was locked. She returned to the bedroom, wondering if maybe he had any in there, but jumped at the scratch of a key in the lock.

Dennis smiled at her as he entered, carrying a small brown bag. ‘You’re up!’

She blushed. ‘Sorry… I was very tired.’

‘Not at all, I’m not surprised. I bought you a Danish.’

She decided not to mention that she’d already had breakfast, and followed him back into the living room, accepting the pastry with a slight embarrassed thanks. ‘Your trousers!’ she exclaimed, noticing them as he sat next to her. ‘You’re all wet, you must be freezing!’

He laughed. ‘What can I say? Van drivers, I swear they speed up to splash you if you’re within three foot of a puddle. Been reading my book?’ he nodded to his criminology textbook, which she had left resting on the arm of the sofa.

‘Oh, yes, I hope you don’t mind. It’s very interesting. All this stuff about us being a product of our experiences and lifestyles, it’s fascinating. I found this bit interesting…’ She opened it up on to a chapter near the back. ‘About people receiving rewards for aggressive behaviour, reinforcing it.’ She paused slightly, the Danish pastry hovering near her lips. ‘I was reading it, and I could sort of see why you… Why you’ve returned to the Muggle world. There’s a whole segment of wizarding society that’s been rewarded for aggressive behaviour, for so much of their lives, isn’t there? So many people that got so much influence from it, so many people that still escaped, because of corruption, and fear.’

He nodded. ‘Yes. It has to be eradicated.’

‘That’s what Harry said,’ she told him. ‘About the Dementors. Darkness and corruption has to be eradicated.’

Dennis smiled. ‘Harry knows what’s up. He was always Colin’s hero. You’re so lucky, Theia. You’re making a real difference.’
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