4 July: Research Assignments Who: Claire Rookwood and Minerva McGonagall What: McGonagall recruits Claire to the work of investigating dark marks and potential traitors Where: Hogwarts When: Teatime 4 July Warnings: None
Claire had not been expecting any sort of communication from McGonagall, or at least not one any time soon; while she was certain that if her Death Eater husband was the source of whatever had happened to compromise the Order she’d have known before anyone else in the Order at least and more likely would have been too dead to think about it at all, she was less sure that under the circumstances, whatever they were, she remained an asset. At least not right away. She’d been expecting a much longer silence if not a permanent one.
Then again, she was skilled at dealing with the unexpected. It was one of the things that made her good at what she did, both professionally and otherwise.
And so she’d left for the school at teatime, already prepared with a story about the possibility of a real Prophecy from the Divination professor and her deep skepticism therein for Augustus should he ask where she was headed. He hadn’t; Mysteries was often its own excuse for odd errands, and he preoccupied with Mysteries of his own just as often.
Whatever project Minerva had for her had to relate to the communications blackout and whatever had prompted it. But speculating was useless, and she’d find out soon enough. She presented herself to the acting Headmistress’s office promptly and waited to find out.
There might have been a time for pomp and circumstance, but now was not the time. Many things had gone wrong this week, and even more in the past twenty-four hours. Still, there was work to complete up against a clock ticking downward. “Ms Ollivander thank you for coming today, please come in, have a seat.” Minerva ushered Claire into her office.
“We have found ourselves presented with a novel opportunity to study the Dark Mark and the intricacies of magical contracts.” Truly, the Prewett Twins would have been ideal minds for this, but Minerva still couldn’t get a hold of them, apparently out of contact on other business.
Claire sat quietly and let that quiet hang for a moment or two after the Headmistress finished speaking. Magical contracts were hardly her specialty, but the fact that this was being presented to her meant that those who might have better suited were out of commission for whatever reason. She’d have liked to ask- the Prewetts were her contacts and she was, in her way, a bit fond of them- but she refrained. She’d find out presently, or wouldn’t.
“I presume that you mean we’ve an opportunity to study it in action?” she asked finally, eyebrow arching. “Well. That would explain the blackout.”
“Quite clearly, it means we uncovered that an Order member has been marked.” Minerva let those words hang a beat. She didn’t quite care for saything them, but those were facts and truth. Hopefully it would lead to answers. “They are cooperating for the moment, so, yes, we have an opportunity for study, but there is also some hope if we can find a way to weaponize it.”
“For the moment,” Claire echoed, just a tinge wry. The implication was, of course, that whoever it was might cease to cooperate, and she didn’t relish the thought of revealing herself and thus her involvement with the Order to anyone who might someday inform the Death Eaters that the wife of one of their own was an enemy.
But then, she hadn’t joined the cause with anything like her personal safety in mind.
“Are they a spy, then? A double agent? Or merely an unlucky one of our own?” she asked. “Or is that on the docket of things to look into?”
“That would be a point of contention between myself and Alastor.” Minerva was a bit more optimistic, although not naive about the situation. “We have taken every precaution, but this will not be without significant risk. With this in mind, I am able to hand over what we have learned already. From there, I would suggest you further your research in theory and then arrange a few days in which you can work with the subject directly, undisturbed.”
“Theory is rather my specialty,” Claire allowed with a small, vaguely amused smile. “Very well. I may choose to do something of the theoretical work at my grandfather’s, if that’s acceptable.” She wasn’t so naive nor so overconfident as to bring any such research into the Ministry or, Merlin forbid, home, and Garrick Ollivander’s eccentricities excused nearly as much as work for the Department did, at least where Augustus was concerned. Nor did Garrick pry when his favourite grandchild used his back room for her studies.
“I trust your discretion, along with your grandfather.” Trust could be a rather nebulous thing, but in spite of her choice in marriage, Claire had proven loyal. “The Hogwarts library, as well as any personal collection belonging to myself or the late Headmaster will also be at your disposal. I imagine it is obvious, but time is of the essence.”
Discretion was a thing that Claire Rookwood possessed in spades. "Of course. I'll consider it my priority, Professor."