What Do You Mean, We're Under Surveillance?
March 14, 2005 1:00 PM
"Ah, hullo, Mad-Eye!" Tom set the glass he was polishing on the counter and walked down the bar.
Moody stumped into the pub. "Hullo, Tom. How goes it?"
"Not too bad, not too bad... Yourself?"
Mad-Eye was leaning a little heavier on his cane than usual. He'd come in to go into the alley for potions ingredients -- keeping up with Verity's new found strength and speed was taking its toll on his joints.
And his muscles.
Even his hair ached.
"Got a bit of the aches and pains -- you know how it is -- but aside from that, pretty fair." Sitting and shooting the breeze a bit actually sounded good. Perhaps he could buy a bottle of firewhiskey and dull the pain a little. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had enough that he couldn't feel his knees ache, and it would probably do him some good.
He seated himself at the end of the bar with his back to the wall, and clear visibility of both doors.
"I'll take the third bottle of Ogden's Old from the left."
Tom smiled and fetched Moody down the bottle. Moody inspected the seal, and after being satisfied that the bottle had not been tampered with, pulled a collins glass out of his coat pocket and poured himself some firewhiskey.
"So, Tom. What's new around here? I must admit that being retired has diminished my ability to catch up on local events."
Tom chuckled. "Dawlish were here last night, and he had t' eject Daedalus Diggle."
Moody's eyebrow went up. "Old Daedalus?" He knew the man in question could get terribly excited after he drank -- look at what happened after Voldemort had been dispatched the first time -- but he'd never thought that the man would cause so much trouble that he'd have to be thrown out of the bar.
"Aye. He were celebratin'. His youngest gull just birthed her first child. 'Twer a boy."
"Well, I suppose that would just about do it," Mad-Eye responded. "To Daedalus' grandson!" He held up his glass and downed a swig.
"'N there's a muggle who knows we're here, but can't see us. He's been watchin' the front."
"Yeah, Young Malfoy and Oz Osborne were in here. Apparently, he were followin' the two o' them, and they decided to do something about it."
Mad-Eye raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
Tom went on to relay the story. "Speak o' the devil... There he is now." He pointed out the dingy front picture window.
"Bloke in the station hack?"
"Aye. That's him."
Moody put the stopper back into his bottle and put it into his coat's pocket. He drained his glass, washed it out with his wand, and it joined the bottle. Moody put a few galleons onto the bar. "I'll be right back. Everyone act like a muggle."
With that, he got up and exited the pub.
Ian watched as another man appeared on the sidewalk, the people around him seemingly completely unaware that it was unusual. He studied the man, what little he could see of him through the long coat. He leaned heavily on his cane, but Ian was smart enough not to dismiss him. Not when magic was involved.
The man easily crossed the street, the cars seeming to flinch away from him if they happened to be rude enough to get in his way. As he got closer, Ian could make out more details, taking note of the scars and the eye that was obviously glass from the way that it never focused in the same direction as his real one.
He looked a bit familiar, actually, but Ian could not think of where he might have met the man before. The few contacts he had who knew about the pub and men and women magically disappearing clammed up quick when he mentioned the skull and snake tattoo or the term "Death Eater". Ian didn't know if the man coming towards him was one of these Death Eaters, but he wasn't going to take any chances. He carefully put his hand on the gun positioned between the seats.
Moody arrived at the Range Rover, and knocked on the window with his cane.
Ian's hand tightened on the grip of the gun before he rolled down the window. The older man could have cast a spell through the window, done some thing to the whole Range Rover, if that's what he wanted. Not that Ian wasn't cautious.
"Can I help you, sir?"
"You must be thirsty," the old man said.
"Not particularly," Ian said, one side of his mouth quirking slightly.
"Well, the barman says that you've been out here off and on for quite a while now. Asking questions, too, about things that probably shouldn't be in one's line of inquiry."
"Last time I checked, asking a few questions wasn't a crime. Neither is getting tired of driving and deciding to sit in your car for awhile. Not that you look like a bobby, in any case."
"As a matter of fact," Moody said, "I don't look like a bobby because I'm on holiday. Perhaps I should introduce myself; Chief Inspector A. A. Moody." He wouldn't get into trouble over pretending that he wasn't retired, as he was still technically a Special -- All retirees were, unless their health prevented it.
The invisible world had people in the police force? Or had their own police? He'd bet on the later, if the man wasn't lying outright.
"Ian Barton," he introduced himself, finally taking his hand off the gun in order to offer it to the man. CI Moody did not take the offered hand, and after a moment he pulled it back and rested it on the steering wheel.
"I don't suppose that you would solve the little mystery of how you and others appear and disappear on that little spot of side walk?" He knew the man could explain it. And that he wouldn't. "Or how I was pulled into a pub that doesn't exist?"
"I imagine that you were pulled into the pub when the Malfoy boy and his new associate grabbed you and pulled you inside. As for the rest..." he raised an eyebrow. "I would probably have to kill you if I told you. Or at least wipe your memory. Let's see if I can make an exception. How was it that you became acquainted with young Master Malfoy?"
Ian snorted. "Let's just say that he works for my former employer," he returned. "And I've made it my business to make sure that my former employer remains... Solvent. Any other information, well, I can't erase your memory, so I'd just have to kill you."
Moody smirked. "I take it, then, that you are acquainted with a young lady by the name of Willow Rosenberg. Tell me, what colour was her hair?"
"Red, last I spoke to her." Somehow he wasn't surprised that the old man knew about the Council. There were layers of connections here that he did not understand. "Though it does change from time to time, red is her natural colour."
The older man nodded. "Then you can name what she is?"
"I can," Ian replied, just to be an arse. "Will you?"
"You see, in order for me to tell you anything more, I need to you to actually say it. I know exactly what she is. The question is, do you?"
Ian growled softly. They were at an impass, one that he could surmount, if he decided that Moody could be trusted.
"Some people would call her a witch," he said after a moment. "And not because she's not a nice person."
"Ah. So you know about Magic, then. I think you may have just answered your own question."
Ian nodded. He'd suspected as much. "But the magic users I know of do not have a separate police force." He was grasping at straws. CI Moody had not indicated that he was part of some magical police force, but Ian could connect the dots.
Moody ignored that last bit. No need to give the clever bugger any details he didn't need. "As for that tattoo you were wondering about, I'm going to advise you to let the matter drop. It's the mark of a now deceased sociopath's followers, and it's a subject that is currently not discussed. If you keep asking about it, you WILL have your memory erased."
He looked very serious.
Ian ground his teeth. Malfoy had led him here, by the nose. Had told him to find out the information. Surely Giles did not know. Did not willfully assign a "sociopath's follower" was the brat's watcher. Unless the prat thought that everyone deserved a second chance.
He'd bet that Giles would offer Hitler the same opportunity.
"I'll keep that in mind," was all he said to CI Moody.
"I will say this for young Malfoy. He was a spoiled brat who had a rather over-inflated view of himself until his father forced him to join up. He quickly learned the harsh realities of what exactly his place was in the organization, and the world in general. Trust me when I say that all of the truly dangerous minions are either dead, or rotting away in prison awaiting execution."
He smiled. "Though, I do so like to make Malfoy and his fellow draftees nervous by letting them know that I have my eye on them."
Ian smiled as well as he decided that he rather liked CI Moody, even if he was telling him to bugger off.
"So, that's it, then. I have to trust that you're telling the truth or suddenly find myself missing a chunk of time. Not sure I like either of those options."
"Yes, well... Your former employment with the Council will probably prevent the latter, for the most part. As for the former... You're not one of us, and very few in the non-magical way of being are privy to the secrets that we hold, and that is the way it must be. Between the religious zealots -- look what happened in the colonies -- and the general population at large wanting charms, hexes, and potions... Well, you can see our position."
"Doesn't mean I have to like it," Ian pointed out. He understood the need for secrecy. He'd dealt with it both in the SAS and with the Council.
"True." He smiled. "It's been a pleasure speaking to you, Mister Barton. Do remember me to young Mr. Malfoy and his slayer the next time you see them." Moody tipped his bowler hat, and then crossed the street much the same way as he had before.
Ian watched Ci Moody, magic user and God only knew what else, disappear from the sidewalk. He waited for a moment then started his Range Rover and drove away.
"So, do we need to call in the obliviators, Alastor?"
"No," Moody responded. "I do not believe so. Bloke is an ex-employee of the Council of Watchers, from before it exploded. He's been keeping an eye on current employees, and had a run-in with young Malfoy."
Tom snorted. "Big surprise there."
Moody pulled his bottle and his glass back out from inside the coat, and put them back onto the bar. He pulled the cork out of the bottle and poured himself another glass.
"So what else is exciting," he asked, taking a drink.