A flock of letters Characters: Harry and the Haven's Loft owls Summary: After a spot of investigation, Harry reaches out to some old friends
Harry forced himself to get up early, despite the utter exhaustion that had left him limp the night before.
Remus, Serenus, Gaius, Regulus, Tybalt, even Snape had followed Sirius to Haven's Loft for a drink after the Inferi attack on Hogsmeade. Harry'd had to join them late because he'd wanted to check on Hermione first. He remembered being stunned to find the house still standing with Snape in it. His former professor hadn't looked happy to be there, but they'd all been too tired and shocked to snipe at each other.
Sirius had worked to heal Gaius' injuries while Harry was away, and stiff drinks and tales of the battle had followed. Most of their guests had taken their leave after a couple drinks because holding their children called to them. Regulus had opted to stay the night, though, that much Harry could recall, but he had no idea how he'd gotten into his bed properly clad in his pajama bottoms. If Harry hadn't been so tired when he woke, he would have imagined it had been Regulus who'd helped him to bed.
The joke of that thought gave Harry the amused energy to crawl into the loo. He knew the Ministry wasn't going to wait long to start claiming and clearing away the evidence as to who might have raised the Inferi horde that had swarmed over the Equinox Festival. Yesterday, Harry'd fought to protect others, but today, he could investigate for himself. He slipped out the door after a few surreptitious spells revealed that Regulus, Sirius and Gaius were fast asleep. With any luck, there'd be breakfast on the table by the time he came home and his stomach would be in a state to still welcome it.
There were less people out on the streets of Hogsmeade than Harry thought there would be. A few merchants were trying to clear and repair their storefronts, and a several younger Aurors seemed to be making a show of patrolling the area. Harry thought he recognized Hermione's friend from the day before bent over the remains of one burnt Inferi husk. At least, he assumed it was the same woman when she raised her head and waved at him sunnily before she began poking her wand at the char again.
Evidence of magical misfires was all over the place - scorch marks up too high, piles of dead butterflies and sewing needles that were meant to be birds or knives or other more effective conjurings, crates and other items smashed against walls rather than the Inferi they were intended to hit. When he asked one of the Aurors, Harry was surprised (and yet relieved) to find out only seven had died the day before. The Inferi were slow-moving, and most people had eventually stopped panicking and been able to leave the area while a brave few fought and defended their retreats.
He spent an hour or so looking for patterns, casting tracing spells and identification charms, the kind of rare tracking and revealing magic that Hermione had taught him and Ron during the war, but it was no use. Harry couldn't locate Lestrange, nor prove she had even been the one to raise such a ghoulish army. Most of his tracking spells on the Inferi corpses seemed to lead back to area cemeteries, some as far away as Edinburgh. He'd been staring into space, mulling over his findings, for several minutes when one of the junior Aurors became brave enough to ask the Great Harry Potter if he knew anything. A mute shake of his head, and Harry Apparated back to Haven't Loft, startling himself with the sound of a faint pop where there had been a silent dissolve since his time spent as pure energy.
Breakfast was, indeed, on the table, Regulus deciding to cook bileela and eggs in thanks for a bed. Harry said he had been on a walk when asked, and the conversation had turned to trivialities while they were eating. Faelan came in when they were almost finished and he took quite a ribbing from Sirius and Gaius, but still accepted what was left of the meal with them. Harry's mum and father never appeared that morning, and he was grateful for it. While he'd made the proper responses throughout the meal, part of his mind had been turning over what he'd discovered during outing.
Harry didn't have Hermione's gift for deduction, but a horrible thought had occurred to him in Hogsmeade that morning, and a second idea had come to him when he'd realised Hermione might not be up for a "here's everything we know, now you tell us the answer" session that day. He'd asked Faelan and Sirius separately if he could borrow their owls, and as soon as he could be alone, Harry sat down with his quill, writing quickly before he could talk himself out of it.
To the FormerMembers of the Order of the Phoenix:
You must all know about the attack at the Hogsmeade Equinox Festival by now. I also know many of us have been dealing with erratic and misfiring magic lately. After investigating the attack site this morning, I think that those creatures weren't Inferi, as we'd all assumed, but just zombiescorpses that came back to life. I think that maybethe corpses and the magical strangeness might be connected somehow.
Most of you are stillYou are the best wizards and witches I know, and when we were acting together, we accomplished many great things. What do you think - should we meet and try to figure this thing out? Maybe ProfessorHeadmistress McGonagall can let us use her office, like we used toa room at Hogwarts to meet after school hours on Wednesday.
If you cannot or will notattend, maybe you can join us another time. Thank you all for at least reading this.
When he was finished, Harry read it over and made a few quick corrections and then made enough copies for all the living Order members except Dumbledore, who deserved to have his peace for as long as possible.
"Hed, Hunter, Edward-" He watched the birds flutter down from the perches they had taken up around his bedroom. Faelan's Edward was easily the smallest, but he was also the most energetic, hopping about a bit on Harry's desk before settling down after a glare from Sirius' Hunter. Hedwig fluffed her feathers once and stilled, looking for all the world like she didn't wish to associate with such ruffians, even though Harry knew she treated the other two owls with affection when she thought no one was looking.
"I know there's a lot of these, but I can't trust any other owls to deliver them. I'm taking enough of a chance with Ed here, but he's a part of the household now, and I trust him," he said directly to the bird, who seemed to stand up straighter under his gaze. Even with three of them, the owls would be flying all day to deliver the letters, and he left it to them to sort out which Order member each bird would take. Several minutes of hooting followed, and then they were gone in a great flapping of wings. Harry resolved to pick up some live rodents for them as soon as the magical creatures shop opened again.
He'd held one letter back from his delivery team, and Harry returned to his desk to scribble Sirius' name on the front along with a personal note - I'm not being a complete prat about this, right? He slipped it under Sirius' door and then somehow found the energy to go outside again. Exhaustion seemed to be pulling at his bones now, but he wanted to inspect the barn to see what he could do about the hole he left in the side of it from summoning the broomshed in a fit or pique the day before. If Sirius did come looking for him, it would be to have the kind of conversation Harry wanted to have in clean, fresh air.