(1938-08-16) Interrogating Esmeralda
Details for Interrogating Esmeralda
Summary: Graham and Katherine visit St. Mungo's to interrogate a recovering Esmeralda.
Date: August 16, 1938
Location: St Mungo's
Related: Plot: Forgotten Shadows

After Aurors Cohen and Sykes reported on the events at Number Four, Umber Alley, Cohen's wand was returned and he was cleared of suspicion. Esmeralda Abbott has been comatose for several days, and an Auror has been on guard over her ever since she was brought to St. Mungo's. As expected, as soon as the Auror Office received word that she had awakened, Graham and Katherine were ordered to go question her. Though they received permission from the M.L.E. to use Veritaserum, the healers have refused to allow its use while Abbott is still recovering.

Esmeralda Abbott lays still in her bed, bathed in sunlight from an open window. Her injuries are invisible under her hospital gown and bedsheets, but she still looks pale and exhausted. Her misfired Severing Charm did considerable damage.

"Miss Abbott," says a nurse softly. "You have visitors." Though she gives her patient a warm smile, Esmeralda's doesn't look especially thrilled at the notion, and continues staring out the window.

Graham stands just outside the scree, he's replced one of the vials of truth serum in his pocket at the request of the healers at least he'll obey for the moment. He waits until they are announced before he moves to step inside the screen. He'll not speek just yet to see if she's in mind to recognize them.

Unlike Graham, Katherine walks right into the room and greets Esmeralda with a chipper, "Welcome back, Esmy. Ready to answer some questions truthfully now?" before find herself the closest chair and sitting demurely in it, smoothing down her sun dress' skirt in the process.

The nurse steps out of the comfortable furnished room, leaving the Aurors to their privacy. Esmeralda's eyes flicker to each of her co-workers, and she lets out a quiet sigh. "I'm tired. Come back next week."

The young man can only shake his head at the differing in style between him and the other auror, but as the patient speaks Graham turns his full attention to her now. "I am sorry Auror Abbott. The information could be time sensative, but if you answer our questions we'll leave you to rest and regain your strength." he says still using the title for the moment for the other

Katherine spreads her skirts out a little bit as she listens to Abbott then frowns in fake concern, letting out a little, "tsktsk". Leaning forward a little bit in her chair she looks the injured Auror over closesly then smiles in a rather unfriendly way, "Well… Maybe you should have thought about that before you betrayed a fellow Auror. But just like Cohen just said, the best thing to do is to answer the questions so we can leave. Or I can just sit here being fakely cheerful at you forever and ever…"

Esmeralda snorts derisively. "Darlings, I've been at this job a lot longer than you have. If you think a few false smiles are going to bother me, you obviously haven't done your research. Ask what you like, but I have nothing to say."

Graham cant help but smirk at Kat's way of speaking to the disgraced Auror. He takes a few steps closer to be in line with the other, but now he's serious once more as he hears her speak. "Maybe false smiles wont, but we arent leaving until you speak. We are cleared to use other means to get the answers. So lets just speak instead?"

Katherine tilts her head a bit to the side as she considers Esmeralda's words then shrugs. "Well, we have some time." Digging around in her purse she pulls out a piccolo and considers it thoughtfully, "Just tell us when you're ready to talk. In the meantime I'll try to decide what to play. Graham, do you want to ask questions before I start?"

Esmeralda smirks imperiously, though in her sickly state, some of her haughtiness is lost in translation. "Other means, Cohen? Let me guess. Veritaserum? A classic. Also heavily frowned upon by the healers for use on patients. You're going to have to do better than that." She adjusts her position in the bed, wincing in pain.

Graham sighs again as the auror seems content to be stubborn. "Look the ministry knows what you've done, you cant talk your way out of this. I believe no pain potions until you talk will suffice if we cant use our potion." he says shrugging "It's not like you've have spared me if i'd not defended myself." he ponders but than decides just to continue on. "So I am going to assume your a family member, given how badly you didn't want me to discover that information so we'll start by asking. Where are the others?"

Katherine puts piccolo to lips and lets out a strident little note that leaves no doubt about her 'talent' with the instrument. Then she puts it back down and waits for a moment to see if Esmeralda will answer the question. "Oh, and as someone that has been doing the job for so much longer than us you will probably remember that cooperation can bring a certain amount of leniency with it later on."

Esmeralda tilts her head at Graham. "Oh, dear Graham. I wasn't going to kill you. Why would I have used a Stunning Spell if my intention was to end your life?" She sighs, shaking her head. "You're both initiates, so let me give you a lesson in interrogation technique. Let's assume for a moment that I am what you think I am. One of the Vengals, I presume. If that is true, do you really think I'd betray the 'family'? I've reviewed the files. Everything suggests that these people are slavishly devoted to their own. You walked in here from a position of weakness. You've already played your hand. Overplayed it, in fact. You're making threats you can't back up. You see…that's what separates you from the Vengals. They have the freedom to act where your hands are tied."

Graham sighs exasperatedly at the other "That's beyond the point you still attacked me, oh my threats are quite able to be maintained no pain potions is easy. "Scholtz?" dont let anyone in until I say so if they have a problem with it take it up with the commissioner directly. If you pass out i'll wake you up.. until you talk, now please we can be civil. If you are a part of that family they know you've been taken alive, and the way I look at it we're your only chance of them not finding you. If you arent, we wait and use the serum on you and than you are sent to Azkaban. As Kat said it's possible you can get off light if you talk now." his temper is still in check, but he'll not be run over by this traitor.

Katherine chuckles,"I really haven't heard any threats that can't be followed up on. Believe me, we can with hold pain potions from you and I am truly horrible at the piccolo…" After a moment of thought she adds, "Well, why don't you start by explaining why you attacked Cohen here if you're not a traitor?"

Esmeralda chuckles, wincing as the shaking seems to cause her some discomfort. "Well, I applaud your moxy. But your willingness to break the rules doesn't mean Scholtz will feel the same way. Nor the Auror that takes over after his shift. How do you picture this ending? A pair of Auror Initiates attempt to deny healer treatment to a St. Mungo's patient, who happens to be a veteran Auror with a sparkling record? That doesn't look good for either of you. You're assuming that I have something to fear from my supposed 'family,' ignoring the evidence we have about Vengal loyalty. I must say, when I am reinstated, I'm going to enjoy your disciplinary hearings. But, very well. I'll give you an answer, though it isn't the one you want. In point of fact, I did not attack Auror Cohen. He attacked me and I defended myself. Yes, I aimed my wand at him and tried to disarm him peacefully. No, I cannot tell you why, suffice to say that my information is above your pay grade. Now, an answer from you. Why are you wasting time on me when you have other leads to follow? Not getting very far with the jar, then? No sign of the vacated tenant?"

"I'm afraid I don't believe you, why would they send us here to gather information from you? Also if you were defending yourself why not cast a shield not an offensive spell? Not to mention if you have information we need about the vengals, they've made a very powerful enemy which has alot fewer rules as you say than myself." Graham is being vague but it's true none the same. "I was sent to get information from you. First." he says in answer.

Katherine nods, "Which kind of puts you in a bad position when it comes to intimidating us. When we're working under orders we're not breaking rules, now are we?"

Esmeralda shakes her head. "No, no, no. That's not how you do it at all. When you want your subject to spill information, you cannot simply bully it out of her. Not when she has the advantage. You need to spend time feeling her out, finding out what makes her tick. If you have nothing that she wants, she has no incentive to cooperate with you. And for the record? Your orders don't give you any authority over the healers. You think I've never had to deal with Mungo's bureaucracy before? Thirteen years I've been doing this." She sighs, leaning her head back and gazing up at the ceiling. "Alright, look, I'm sorry for being obstinate. I admit, I'm offended at the treatment I've received from a pair of junior agents, and it's made me testy. But I'm sure you think you've just been doing your jobs. I can try to overlook it. But you need to ask yourselves something. If I really am the monster you want to paint me as, why am I still here? The Vengals have already demonstrated their willingness to act when they are threatened. The Department of Mysteries cargo. Hawthorne Wandworks. They strike fast and out of nowhere, regardless of who gets in the way. Do you really think they couldn't reach me in here? Think about it."

Graham considers her words a moment "The hook is possibly avoiding Azkaban time, speaking as one who's been there if you haven't.. You don't want to be there." he repeats but he's still within the reason to listen. "That is true, but this is rather a public place, i'm not sure they would want to show themselves." the young man says after thinking. "Level with me than, why did you attack me? You have to understand that any auror in my place would have reacted the same a wand pointed at us with no provocation?"

Katherine's mercurial nature kicks in and suddenly she goes from being active in trying to get Esmeralda to talk to sitting back in her chair and just watching the proceedings, letting Graham ask the questions. As she watches and listens she blows tiny little puffs of air into her piccolo, pulling barely audible little squeaks and whistles out of it.

A female voice muffled by the door is raised enough to make out a few words. "…you don't let me past, I'll have the Healer in Charge down here, and…" The more familiar, deep voice of Auror Scholtz can be heard in response: "Just a few more minutes, ma'am. Please, there's no need to…" The conversation goes on, but becomes less distinct.

"I told you," Esmeralda insists, "I have access to information that you don't. I can't share it with you without authorization. But it's the reason I was there. Don't you think it a little odd that I was assigned to the case so suddenly, without any prior involvement? Yes, Natalie is my friend, but there's more to it than that. Listen…when I get out of here, I'll see what I can do about upgrading your clearance. But my hands are tied in here." Her eyes shift curiously to Katherine, arching a high brow at the piccolo.

"I still need answers, i've no reason to belive your not a traitor. So explain the best you can why you didnt want me to figure out the hole. Also if I wasnt supposed to why would the button be used to show me that exact information, who would want me to find that?" Graham asks he does hear the conversation "Let her in." he calls over "Once you heal if your lying we'll use a potion and get the truth." he says with a shrug.

Katherine makes to stand up, about to go check on what's happening in the hallway when Graham calls out for the person to be let into the room. So instead she settles back down into her seat and goes back to playing with her piccolo, eyes flicking back and forth between Graham and Esme as if she was watching a tennis match.

Esmeralda sighs in irritation. "I could have done anything to you while your back was turned. I tried to handle it peacefully. But…"

The door opens, and a very annoyed looking nurse steps in with a clipboard in hand. But she quickly composes herself, and gives Esmeralda a bright smile. "Good news, Miss Abbott. Healer Turpin says you're well enough to be discharged." She marches up to the bed, offering the clipboard and a quill. "If you'll just sign here…"

Esmeralda stares at the quill as if it were a dagger. "I…don't think I'm ready to go. My wounds haven't fully healed."

Graham watches as the healer moves in looking annoyed. The exchange between the two caught "Is this your normal nurse?" he asks just wanting to be cautious something about this whole package isnt adding up and there has to be a break down somewhere. "Go ahead and sign if so we'll finnaly get our answers."

Katherine pops up out her chair grinning and doing a little, girlish hand clap. "That is /magnificent/ news, Esmy! And isn't it nice that we're here to accompany you home? Do sign the forms. We will make sure you don't suffer unduly getting back." She's grinning as if this was the best news she's heard in days, which in a way it is.

The nurse glances to Graham curiously, but keeps her focus mainly on Esmeralda. "Dear, Healer Turpin wouldn't dream of letting you go if you weren't ready. You'll be fine. Just take the potions we've prescribed, and in another day or two there won't even be a scar."

Esmeralda hesitates, and with a wince, she pulls her bedsheets aside, turning to sit up. Her eyes flit to Graham, then Katherine, then the door…then finally to the quill. "Bollocks," she mutters, taking the quill and signing her name in elegant script. The nurse, chipper and apparently oblivious to the tension in the room, hurries out, promising to have Esmeralda's potions ready and waiting for her on the way out. The Auror sighs, and gestures to the robe hanging on a peg by the door. "At least bring me my robe?" As it is, she's still dressed in a hospital gown.

It seems this is on the straight line for now and he relaxes only a little bit as the nurse retreats. Graham looks over to the other auror "Would you mind helping her with that?" it's this figuring this would be better female auror and all. "Than it's to an interrogation room back at the ministry." he says it's not a threat just more of a plan. He reaches to his pocket where the truth serum is making sure it's ready.

Katherine was already on her way to grab the indicated robe before Graham even said anything. "Where's your bag, Esmeralda? I'll get that down for you as well and help you get things ready is you need me to." She's also unobtrusively looking around the room again, to verify if its an option or not to leave her alone to change if she asks for it…

Esmeralda frowns in defeat. "No bag. I don't bring personal belongings on missions, and you already confiscated my wand. You sure you want to risk the trip to the Ministry?" She snorts. "What about the big, scary Vengals out there waiting for a chance to take me out?" She stands with a groan, awaiting her robe. It's clearly not the same robe she tore up with her Severing Charm, but a replacement.

Graham turns back to Kat with an appology on her face "Please watch her? Also be careful hm?" he asks though his face likely got the point across. "Oh we dont have to, i'll just give you the potion here if you think we shouldnt leave?" he says but he'll move to at least allow her to change into the robes without him in the room.

Katherine nods to Graham and offers the robe to Esmeralda, letting her decide if she needs help putting them on or if she wants to do it herself. She does not make a move to leave the room or turn her back, however.

After Graham has left, Esmeralda unties the hospital gown at the neck, shimmying out of the sleeves to let it slip to the ground. In just her undergarments, the healing scar from her botched spell is visible — a jagged, discoloured line from her collar to her left thigh. She takes the robe, slipping it over her shoulders and tilting her head at Katherine, and speaking in a quiet voice. "You know, whatever you may think of me, I'm a pure-blood like you. I know where the Sykes' stand on things. Your family are among the wise that can see that people like Grindelwald are doing what needs to be done. I'm no different. You, of all people, should be able to appreciate that." She takes a step toward Katherine. "We're on the same side. Help me."

The young auror stands with his back towards door as he allows the others to finish up changing back into a wizard robe so they can continue on with their investigation. Graham is watching up and down the row making sure everything is clear.

Auror Scholtz, a rather tall man, smirks down at Graham, nudging him with an elbow. "Get anything out of her?"

Katherine arches an eyebrow slightly at Esmeralda and shakes her head, "If you're asking for help getting dressed I'll be happy to help. If you're asking for help getting out of this mess then I have to refuse. First, because there ways to go about achieving certain goals and I don't necessarily approve the way you seem to be going about it. And second, because if you /are/ going to go about it in a shady, less-than- legal way you should at least be good enough not to get caught…" While she talks she opens up her robes letting her hand drift close to her wand, making it clear that it could be a very bad idea to get too much closer without a really good reason…

Esmeralda arches an eyebrow at Katherine, and a slow smile crosses her lips. "Of course. I wouldn't dream of hurting you." She closes up her robe. "You've been more than fair, Sykes. Maybe I can return the favour one day."

Graham shakes his head "Unfortunately not, but we should be able to now she's been discharged." he answers the other auror's question he's resisting checking on the progress of ther others he figures Kat can take care of herself well enough but still given the past history. He is listening to see if he can hear anything really just trying to be alert.

Katherine matches Esmeralda smiles for smile, adding a tiny little nod to hers, "Maybe the day will come. We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?" Once the older Auror is decent she raises her voice so she's audible out in the hallway, "We're ready in here, Cohen."

Scholtz shrugs. "Hard to believe she'd be dirty. When I made Initiate, my trainer even pointed her her out me as a role model. I'm telling you, things are getting bad out there." He glances back at the sound of Katherine's voice. "Guess we're all done here." He stands to one side of the door, wand in hand, ready to help with the escort.

Esmeralda waits patiently inside, her hands folded in front of her. "It may come sooner than you think," she murmurs cryptically.

Graham nods to the other auror "Yes, they are for certain. Thank you for helping with the nurse." he offers he reaches to his sleeve removing his wand, he'll take no chances if they are moving the other, turning back to the privacy block and moves through. "What do you think Kat should we interrogate here or back at ministry?" he wants her input.

Katherine doesn't really have an answer for Esmeralda's cryptic comment so she instead pretends not to have heard it. Once Graham comes in and asks for her opinion she take a moment to think about it and finally says, "The transport is a bit of a risk but we will have more privacy and peace at the Minitry, besides it being a more secure setting. I think we should go back there."

Returning to the Ministry is as simple as Disapparating from the lobby of St. Mungo's to the Ministry atrium. Of course, both those places are easily accessible to the public, so the Aurors are on guard the entire time. But if Esmeralda or anyone else had plans to make a move, they have been forestalled for the time being.


Less than an hour later, Esmeralda sits in an interrogation room at the M.L.E. offices, having begrudgingly downed a glass of water dosed with Veritaserum. Outside the room, Chief Auror Worthington addresses Aurors Sykes and Cohen. "Remember, whatever she may or may not have done, she's one of our own. This is not an Inquisition. Just get the facts, and let's hope she had some legitimate reason for doing what she did."

Graham nods "Yes, Sir." as the chief Auror addresses him about the questions which need to be asked to the truth potion has been administered. He will wait only long enough to have it take affect, he tries to decide how to place his question which would fit this requirement "Auror Abbott, why did you draw your wand on me when I figured out about the hole in the wall?" he figures he's not assulting with this.

Katherine gives Worthington a flip little salute but her "Yes, sir." is honest enough. She then follows Graham back into the interrogation room and drags a chair into the corner, letting Graham take the lead and limiting herself to watching both Esmeralda and the door closely.

Esmeralda stares blankly across the table at Graham. Her postures is upright, but not tense. She speaks in a calm, even tone. "I had received information that you were in league with the Vengals, and I feared you were retrieving some form of weapon for them."

The young man raises his eyebrow at the response. Though he knows it's also affected by perception of truth so he'll continue. "Who was it that provided you that information, and what proof did they have?" Graham asks a more probing question as he wishes to get more information.

Katherine quietly watches the interrogation, fiddling absently with a fold of her skirt. Her eyes narrow slightly at Esmeralda's intial answer but other than that small reaction she just continues her observation…

Esmeralda's cool, even stare doesn't change a bit. "A snitch of mine. A man named Marvin Cooley. He didn't have proof. He told me he overheard you at the Leaky Cauldron, speaking with a man you called 'Mister V.' He said you were instructed to go to Umber Alley to retrieve a device of some kind, and deliver it to Mister V. the same evening. He followed V. to a rendezvous, where he met with someone matching Gabrielle Evans' description of Callus Vengal."

"If he's meeting with the Vengals, he's hardly reliable as a source. Not to mention that being completely false." He says pausing a moment as he tries to decide his next question. "Once you saw that all that was in the house was a jar of memories.. why did you try and break free of your bonds with the severing charm?" he asks.

Katherine reaches into an inside pocket in her robes, which she's wearing open over her sun dress, and pulls out a small note pad and a miniture quill. She quickly writes down Marvin Cooley's names then goes back to observing the interrogation.

Esmeralda shrugs, relaxing a bit. "You'd already stunned me and bound me, and Auror Sykes had already disobeyed my orders.It was fairly evident that things were going badly for me. I needed an opportunity to get away and clear my name."

The young man shakes his head "But it wasnt a weapon, you just had to explain you'd been given bad information and than we'd have freed you." Graham says mostly to himself he turns to Kat "She's either resistant to the serum, or she belives she was in the right, despite trying to turn you against me and everything else." he turns back he decides on a test. "Do you know what the memories contain, and who the evicted tenant is?" he asks trying not to implicate anything but hoping he can get something to work with.

Katherine nods, "I tend to agree with that. But something still doesn't smell quite right with this scenario…"

Esmeralda leans back in her chair, crossing her legs. "No," she says sternly. "I don't know what the memories contain, nor who the evicted tenant is. I would have looked into it by now, but I've been hospitalized and under detainment." She tilts her head, looking toward the mirror on the wall — which, of course, every Auror knows is used to observe interrogation sessions from outside the room. "Are we done yet?" She asks the mirror before looking back to Graham and Katherine.

Graham nods "There is definately something wrong, wish I could just get a straight answer. One other way to find out possibly." He watches as she answers again though she turns to look at the mirror. "Watch her please?" he says moving back to the other room where his boss is. "Sir, she's clearly immune to the serum, she's answering with thought and is concious obviously, there's something not right going on. Her recalling of the events arent sensical.. I request access to a Legilimens, we need to find out the truth."

Chief Worthington looks over to Graham as he enters the outer room. The mirror before him displays the interior of the interrogation room, where Auror Abbott sits patiently. "Veritaserum can affect people in different ways. She does seem rather lucid, though. Still, she's a trained Auror. I would expect any of you to comport yourselves well, even under the serum." He sighs, stroking his chin. "A legilimens is a tall order, Cohen. Especially for use on one of our own. I don't think I can condone it. You may have to rely upon traditional investigation techniques for this one. Personally, I'm not totally convinced she's lying. But if your instincts are telling you otherwise, keep an eye on her. If she really is connected to the Vengals, she's likely been doing their bidding for some time now, and she'll have to contact them at some point."

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