Auror Coldgate studied the empty hourglass without a word. It was unclear if he heard the Head office representative or not, for he made no indication of listening to his explanation. He left it to auror Fisher to write the words down, to ask the questions they asked at any crime-scene. When did this happen? What have you seen, do you know anything that has done this, was there anything out of the ordinary?
The answers the man gave where not very helpful. The citrines were there in the evening, and gone in the morning. Hufflepuff had had the most points, they would have won the house-cup… and so all the students and professors with loyalty to the other houses had a motive. No-one had noticed anything else.
Coldgate's eyes travelled over the Rubies, the Sapphires, the Emeralds, then back at the empty hour-glass. Points. Everyone seemed to think this was about points, not about jewels. Three thirds of the school's pupils had a motive…
And still Coldgate's gut told him there was something else going on, that the house-cup was merely a distraction… not a motive.
It was true, it seemed to be an inside job. Hogwarts was too well protected to allow outsiders to enter without anyone noticing, especially since the dark magicians that could have managed were long gone and there was no sign of anyone breaking in anywhere. Even the hourglass looked untouched… undisturbed as if the citrines had vanished into thin air…
It reminded Coldgate of a series of break-ins over ten years ago, when he had just started as an auror. There had been no signs of break-in back then. And though many valuables had been taken out of the wizards-manors, the thieves had never taken everything, always made strange choices.. as if their motive had been something more than just the money.
They had left the aurors puzzling for years. They had arrested other people, people that seemed to have a motive to take *those* things. And then they had been caught. Red handed, while breaking into the house of one of the most powerful families in the wizarding community: The Cullens. It had taken some time, but they’d confessed to every break-in, and every riddle the aurors had had was solved. The motive was a distraction, a way to keep the aurors busy while they'd planned their next crime.
Auror Coldgate remembered he had been almost disappointed when he learned it was only ever about the money. But he had been young then. Later, after years of catching the most uninteresting criminals he had come to appreciate their intelligence.
He looked at the hourglasses once again. The house-cup… The fact that the rubies, emeralds and sapphires were untouched pointed at a direct attack towards Hufflepuff. But why take all? Why not take a thousand… Make sure they can never catch up, without being this obvious…
It could not be the Lieks. The two thieves from the past had been put in Azkaban years ago. And still…this crime looked like theirs. It felt the same… A fake motive… No signs of break-in…
“What are you thinking, boss?” Auror Fisher stood next to him.
“How old would she be, Fisher? The Liek-child? How old would she be by now?”
“ You’d think? She’d be.. twelve, maybe thirteen now. “
“ A child without parents. “
“ No.. She has.. she was adopted after the trial. Foster-parents.”
“ Find me those parents, Fisher. I want to know… why’d she felt the need to do this. She should have been protected…” there was a hard look in the auror's eyes.
“ And… the girl?” he asked.
Coldgate studied the empty hourglass. “ I’ll get her to place them back.” He said. “She could get detention. Lose some house-points… It would be a prank. Just a prank.”
So maybe it wasn’t fair. Maybe he should arrest her, question her.. put her on trial, and watch how the Cullens would make sure she’d be send to Azkaban to join her parents.
Maybe that was justice.
But auror Coldgate remembered the lost look on the tiny girl’s face when he’d told her her parents would not be back. He remembered the stubborn look on her face. Her refusal to cry.
She had asked him then, why she had to lose *people* while all they had done was take *things.*
He had not had an answer.
Maybe it was justice,
Maybe it was not.
He would not arrest her.