The caterwauling siren pierced the air so violently that Maria Nott squeaked and dropped all the papers she was holding. With a mew of frustration, she summoned them back to her with a swish of her wand and then turned, wide eye to her superior. Hermione Granger, war hero and Department head of the Magical Creatures Unit, froze in her perusal of her own documents, her head cocked as the alarm blared through the room. She turned to her assistant, smiled reassuringly and reached out to squeeze her hand.
“Calm yourself Maria, it's probably just a test. Remember your training and head to the designated zone.”
Maria nodded grabbing Hemiones pile of documents before turning quickly and sprinting down the stairs. Hermione watched her until she was out of sight before she scowled and marched down the hall taking the first set of stairs up. The piercing screech was starting to give her a migraine and she gritted her teeth as she took the stairs two at a time.
With her eyes on the stairs she didn’t see the tall body running down them before she smacked into it. Strong arms grabbed her by the shoulders thankfully steadying her.
Hermione looked up, an apology on her lips when she noted who she had careened into.
“Ron? What are you doing here?” she managed, patting her bun to ensure her curls hadn't escaped. He shrugged.
“Patents. What's going on? The lifts are out.”
Hermione dithered for a second before making her mind up. “Walk with me?”
Ron nodded and turned around, matching Hermione's stride easily as they ran up the steps together. She started explaining.
“After the war Kingsley ripped out most of the wards and replaced them. Security was amped up and this is the alarm for some seriously heavy magic use. I’m not sure what actually triggered it but the heads are all to meet on the fifth floor. They’ll tell us more then.”
As they stepped out onto the fifth floor, Hermione saw the rest of the department heads had arrived before her and were mingling in small groups. Thankfully Kingsley was still missing so the meeting hadn't started. Harry, his deep navy robes blending in with the wall behind him, waved them down from his position next to Pax Thingle the Head of Magical Enforcement.
Pax was from the old guard. A grizzly old wizard who reminded Hermione a lot like Moody except without the crazy. His sable hair was tied up at the base of his thick neck while his greying beard was pulled into three distinct braids. A scar missed his left eye and followed across the bridge of his nose while his deep blue eyes darted around the room. They made their way over and settled themselves close to the wall next to Harry.
“Hullo Harry. Pax,” Hermione murmured with a nod to the old Auror. Pax merely grunted noting appreciatively their choice to keep the wall at their backs. Kingsley suddenly appeared from another hallway, his eyes taking a quick stock at who was in attendance.
“Can we turn that bloody siren off Kingsley?” Pax bellowed causing Kingsley to jump. Harry smirked at Hermione who rolled her eyes in response. Ron looked at them in confusion.
“Pax always yells and Kingsley always jumps.” Harry explained in a low voice. Ron nodded with understanding.
“You’d think he’d be used to Pax by now,” Hermione added her eyes on Kingsley as he waved his wand in a figure eight. Suddenly the siren stopped and the other department heads relaxed a bit.
“What happened Kings? If this is some bloody test, I won't be happy about it. We were supposed to be informed beforehand,” Jose Ringwald, the head of Magical Accidents snapped.
“I was just about to leave for Bulgaria,” Trey Higgins called out.
“I have deadlines.”
Kingsley held up his hands to calm them all. “This is not a test,” he announced seriously.
All in the room suddenly stood up straighter and for the first time Hermione noted a figure stepping out from behind Kingsley. Hermione eyes went to the deep purple sash that hung around her shoulders indicating her status as an Unspeakable before recognising who it was.
Raina Polsat was a small thin woman with black hair pulled into an impossibly tight bun and huge hazel eyes that seemed to stare into your very soul. She unnerved everyone she met and almost everyone tried to steer clear of her. Thankfully she was the Head of the Department of Mysteries and so didn’t interact with many people anyway. Everyone stared at her. For such a small woman she certainly commanded her audience.
“At 8:05 am a magical disturbance was noted in the time room. Unspeakables were dispatched to investigate however the time room closed itself off and wards were put in place.”
“Wards?” Pax bellowed making Kingsley jump again. Raina blinked owlishly at Pax before continuing as if he had not interrupted her.
“At 9:05 another pulse of magical energy resonated from the room and started to push the Unspeakables back magically. More wards were erected.”
“Wards cannot just erect themselves, you daft woman. Someone got into the time room,” Pax snapped.
“We have scanned the room and detected no life forms.”
“Then you scanned wrong,” Pax huffed crossing his arms to glare at the small witch.
“I scanned them myself Pax.” Kingsley said, “Can you please not interrupt. And do stop yelling.”
Pax grumbled but didn’t add anymore.
“At 10:05 another wave of magical energy pulsed from the room. We have spent the morning trying to pull the wards down but they form faster than we can cast.”
“Do you think someone dropped a magical bomb off in the room?” Ron piped up. Hermione frowned. Two years ago, the Ministry had a large problem with a magical terrorist group called Tera. They had developed magical bombs and had detonated them at large events. Thankfully the Aurors were able to apprehend them before anyone was seriously hurt and this in turn had seen the development of a new unit that specialised in magical bomb disposal and acts of terror.
Kingsley turned around; his eyes widened when he recognized the speaker.
“Ron? What are you doing here?”
Ron shrugged not at all concerned with Kingsley's frown aimed at him. “Filing patents.”
Kingsley was just about to tell Ron to leave when Raina started to talk, her eyes on Ron. “It is not a magical bomb though the pulses seem to be gaining in intensity. We cannot contain the energy being produce and so we have to disarm it. With the last pulse we found magical signatures within the wards. We were able to determine these signatures are for the removal of said wards though they did not erect them.”
“I didn’t think that was possible.” Hermione said looking at Kingsley for clarification. He nodded grimly.
“So basically, it’s a trap.” Harry said a scowl forming on his brow as he crossed his arms.
“We believe so.”
“Who are the magical signatures geared too.”
Raina stared at the three against the wall and Hermione felt a chill run down her spine.
“Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley.”
The three quickly shared a look before muttering together.