(1938-11-15) Trouble Times Two
Details for Trouble Times Two
Summary: Chief Worthington calls two Jr. Aurors into his office to discuss an ongoing case.
Date: 1938-11-15
Location: Dept. of Law Enforcement, Ministry of Magic
Related: Plot: Forgotten Shadows

The Auror Office is buzzing with activity. Between the recent bust that ended with a certain Auror being bitten by a young dragon, and the revelation that at least one known Dark wizard was apprehended during the recent Diagon Alley riot, everyone is busy working cases, or talking about them.
Chief Worthington cuts a path through the cloud of chaos, taking a detour to pass by two particular desks. "Cohen. Lee. With me," he orders with a sharp beckoning gesture, never slowing on his way to his office.

Graham locks up the files he's working on at the beckoning of the chief. He stands, grabbing his jacket and swinging it on. "Yes Sir." He looks to Rena, tilting his head as well as he moves to catch up with the Chief. "About finished with the report on the dragon incident. See if we can’t have the law enforcement squad there to shut it down."

For her part, Rena snaps to attention the moment Chief Worthington appears. In fact, she snaps so fast that she manages to fumble and knock a file off of her desk. It clatters to the floor and makes an impressive mess. Clearly flustered, she hurriedly cleans up the mess and places the papers back onto the desk. A fleeting - somewhat worried - glance is shot at Graham as she hurries to follow in the Chief's footsteps. Nervously, she tugs the hem of her jacket and cuffs into place as she walks.

Worthington tosses his hat into a hook as he breezes into his office. He doesn't move behind his desk, opting to lean against the front of it to face the two young Aurors. "What a bloody mess that is. Don't worry, R.C.M.C. and Ogden are all over it. We've got plenty more to deal with. If word gets out that a Dark witch was torturing a Muggle-born in an alley during the riot, we'll have a lot worse than broken windows and looted artefacts to worry about." He shakes his head in exasperation. "But that's not what I called you in here for. Cohen, any new leads on the location of your man from Umber Alley? What was his name? Gastley?"

Graham gives salute and nods "Yes, that wouldn't be good, wonder if we should protect the shops in the alley that might be targets. Area shields as a precaution?" He says but moves on to the next topic "I've been looking into them each, actually when I was at Mungo's someone suggested looking for the dragon at the shadow Bazaar. I figure that if someone is hiding him or there is information to be had we might get it there, they snuck a dragon in so seems well connected."

Wide eyed, Rena slips into the office after both men and moves quickly to stand beside her co-worker. She casts a brief look around the room and then meekly folds her hands before herself. Standing at attention for the moment, the younger Auror Initiate merely listens as Graham answers the question put to him by the chief.

Worthington arches an eyebrow at Graham, sobering suddenly. "So. You've finally stumbled across the Shadow Bazaar, have you? I hope you haven't gone looking for it." He smirks between the two Aurors. "Tell me what you know so far."

The young man shakes his head: "No Sir. At least not as of yet, only that the dragon was either gotten there or at least it's passage into England was likely negotiated through it." The auror looks to the chief "I am assuming it's not as easy as that sir?" Graham asks figuring he knows the answer based on the response.

To be fair, there isn't much that Rena can do but observe the men in their conversation at the moment. Her gaze flicks back and forth between the two of them curiously, taking in every word.

Worthington nods, eyeing both of them. Taking Rena's silence for unfamiliarity with the subject, he launches into explanation. "You wouldn't be wrong, Cohen. The Shadow Bazaar used to be a floating market, centuries ago. But it's taken to putting down roots these days; and in our time, those roots are right here in London. You can acquire all manner of contraband, even services, there. Of course, that's if you know where to find it, and even then, getting access is…tricky."

Graham looks between the other auror and the chief a moment, nodding as he listens to the explanation. "I wonder if the wizard I caught might talk. I'm not one to do so but maybe a deal of some sort?" He says a wince to his face as he doesn’t like his own suggestion but if it gets them the bigger target it might be worth it.

Looking up, Rena's gaze meets that of the Chief and she listens to the explanation quietly. Frankly, she wasn't exactly aware that places like that existed amongst the Wizarding folk, same as Muggles back home. Her eyebrows arch slightly, but she does her best to not seem terribly surprised. Finally, she nods and says: "I see, sir."
Graham's obvious distaste for the idea of wheeling and dealing in the black market causes her to turn and look at him skeptically: "What's the matter with you? All you'd 'ave to do is pretend!"
Well, so much for refraining from typical Rena outbursts. At least she lasted a few minutes.

Worthington strokes his chin thoughtfully. "I can get you to the Bazaar easily enough. We know where it is. But I'm hesitant to send you in there without good cause. Violence is prohibited there, but they still don't take kindly to the presence of the M.L.E." Suddenly he's on the move, striding to the door, and giving Rena an amused smirk as he passes. Poking his head out the door, he calls to his secretary, "Clarice, bring me everything we've got on the Vengal case."
"It's on your desk, sir," comes the woman's mildly exasperated voice.
Worthington frowns, looking back inside to the stack of case folders on his desk. "When did that happen?"
"It's been there for three weeks, sir."
Worthington grumbles, shutting the door again and striding back to his desk to sift through the case folders. "This place is a bloody circus," he mumbles, flipping through the file full of Graham's reports. "Ah! I knew I was overlooking something. Vermilion. Have you spoken with him yet?" Is that worry in Worthington's eyes?

Graham cannot help but smile: "I'm not worried about the market, Rena. I just usually like the wizards I catch to stay caught is all." He explains easily enough, though as the chief says he can get them to the place, he nods. But it looks like it'll require proof. "Hm, informant? I have not met with him yet no. I am of course willing to do so Sir. If I can get the proof needed to make the trip to the Bazaar worth it." He listens about the Vengal case looking at the chief but sits watching.

Rena's eyes follow the movements of the Chief, and her expression fluctuates slightly as the small interchange occurs between him and his secretary. She takes a moment to cover her mouth with the back of her hand and cough in a lady-like manner to hide the choked laughter hidden beneath. She knows she ought not to laugh. It isn't /really/ funny…

The Chief Auror furrows his brow, again looking between the two of them. "You might find Vermilion at the Bazaar. But…by the stars, man. You do know who he is, don't you?" As busy a man as Worthington is, he may have skimmed a few details of the case. "Cruentus Vermilion isn't just an informant. He's not some raggedy snitch. He's an information broker, among other things. More importantly, he's a vampire, and an old one, at that."

The auror sobers up, knowing the words are a bit more serious than they might sound even. "Yes sir, I’ve read into him a bit given the clue from the Leaky Cauldron." Graham says to the chief in explanation "I've never dealt with him in person before, I’ll admit though. Does any work with him regularly? Maybe I can talk to them first."

To say that Rena's dark eyes go absolutely wide with astonishment when the chief reveals the identity of Graham's target… would be an understatement. Even her lips part and her mouth drops open briefly. Frankly, she casts one of those: "Better you than me, mate!" looks at her fellow Auror.

Worthington gives a humorless laugh. "Well, yes. I did, back in my field days. He's only a threat if you give him reason to be. He'd much rather turn a profit than risk a confrontation with the M.L.E. The real danger is that you'll never come out of a bargain with him without sacrificing something." Perusing the case file more carefully, he nods. "The station, mentioned in your report. That's got to be the Shadow Bazaar. It's held in an old, shut-down Muggle tube station, under the British Museum. You'll probably find Gastley, Vermilion, or both down there. It's Unplottable, though, so you'll need to find someone who knows how to get in to take you there…and I don't want you going alone. Put together a team. Better if it's not all Aurors, or you'll never be trusted enough to get anywhere near the Bazaar. Ah! That reminds me. You recall our friend, the Unspeakable? Endira Max, and how she was supposedly reassigned away from our case? Yeeeah…seems that was a lie…blood Mysteries department. She's been on assignment, alright, but apparently it was related to the case. She's back in London, and I suggest you look her up if you can find her."

He can’t help but smile and shake his head at the others’ words to him, but he looks to the chief nodding: "Yes sir, I’ll put together a plan and run it by your desk." Graham says pondering who else he'll wish to take with him smirking a moment "Perhaps you would like to be one, Rena?" He asks, quite serious now. He looks back to the chief though: "Miss Lee also has the problem I’d spoken to you about with her investigation."

Rena's glance plays a game of tennis between Chief Worthington and Graham once more, only to end somewhere in the middle when Graham suggests that she might like to be on the team. Swinging her gaze in his direction, she wrinkles her nose slightly and makes a face at him before defiantly smiling: "Like to? Why, I'd love to."
Take that, Mister Cohen.
"Erm, yes… sir, it's about the case of Esmeralda Abbot. " Rena remarks, sobering down once more and returning her focus to the Chief. Her expression plainly speaks without saying the words: It's complicated.

The Chief nods firmly. "Ah yes, the matter of Auror Abbott." He sighs, making a face like he's just tasted something bitter. "She's been as clean and professional as ever since the Umber Alley incident. I'm willing to give you one last shot at proving your suspicions about her. But this has to be it. She's never before given us reason to believe she's dirty. Lee, I assume you've familiarized yourself with the details of the case. From an outsider's perspective, what are you thoughts?"
"I am willing to drop it if she comes up clean this time, i'd just like to be sure. Well you read my report no need to go into it again." Graham says to the chief with a small grin which fades quickly enough. He looks to Rena to allow her to respond.

To be honest, Rena glances in Graham's direction somewhat ruefully. It's not nice to have to talk about one's friends as if they aren't there. But, she has to be professional about this.
"Frankly sir, I don't know who to believe. She may well 'ave been given faulty information and acted upon it. She may well 'ave been under the influence of someone else - under their control - whether by magic or something as mundane as blackmail, for all that I know. Stranger things 'ave 'appened." Pausing uncomfortably, the young woman shifts on her feet before continuing: "Regardless of conflicting accounts, she remains innocent until proven guilty in my book. The problem is that proceeding with investigating 'er is a tricky question. If I tail 'er and muck it up some'ow, she'd 'ave every right to raise 'ell. If I talk to people who know her, it's risky and could raise her suspicions. I'd try to befriend 'er, but the impression I've been given is that she en't suffering for company, and I 'ave absolutely nothing to offer as bait - as it were. The only course open to me, it seems is to be assigned to work with 'er so that I can observe 'er."

"It might seem odd; assigning her another rookie partner after the last one went so well." Worthington gestures indicatively toward Graham, who was still an Initiate when he worked with Esmeralda. "But I suppose I could treat it as a training exercise. A young Initiate needs to learn from a veteran. She's not the type to complain about extra duty." He stares at Rena for a moment, tapping his fingers on his desktop. "Alright. Let's say I assign you to her. What then? If she is dirty, she's not likely to give anything away in front of you. So you'll still have to do some digging, and you'd best be careful about it, Lee. As you say, if she finds out, and it turns out she's clean, she'll have every right to raise hell."

"I believe we can rule out Imperious, given her resistance to the truth potion. The others are all possibilities." Graham says to both of them. He's taking the questioning of his report very well it would seem. He can either see both sides - or will hope that truth will out. He looks to Rena a moment, hoping she has something good. It is his butt on the line after all.

"Again, sir, as I said, the problem is a sticky one. And that's just exactly why I don't like it. But what can I say?" Rena gives a little helpless shrug of her shoulders. "You two seem to believe that it's important to settle the matter one way or another. Befriending 'er or trying to gain 'er trust en't going to be easy - it may be impossible, and I'm certainly no mind-reader."
Lapsing into silence once more, Rena furrows her brow a little and then remarks at length: "Other than that, I could try to pursue Marvin Cooley - if 'e even exists in reality. The 'snitch' as she called 'im that incriminated agent Cohen in the first place and started this mess. But, to be fair, I'm not even sure where I'd begin to look for 'im. The Cauldron is 'opping these days since the riots, given 'ow it's staying neutral. I'm not sure the usual types wouldn't be put off 'anging around there."

Worthington snaps his fingers and points at Rena. "That may be the best place to start. Let's hold off on partnering you with Abbott. Join Cohen's team, and while you’re at the Bazaar, look into Cooley. If he exists, someone there will know about him. Vermilion definitely will…but use him as a last resort. He'll extract his pound of flesh…or blood…your fondest memory, perhaps. Whatever he demands, it's always something precious."

The young man doesn’t like the sound of the vampire's price, and may look for any way around this, or at least paying something he can live with. Graham watches back and forth he nods following as a plan at least forms of something which can be done. "If we're lucky we'll be on our way to closing to cases, about Endira, I can meet up with her and catch her up. She might be able to give some information too."

Rena perks up slightly. The problem of dealing with Esmeralda is taken off of her shoulders for the moment, and it's a very freeing feeling. However, the admonishments of the chief with regards to this Vampire in the shadow bazaar cause her to tilt her head slightly to one side. ""Ey, if all 'e wants is blood, I can deal with that. I'd offer it, in fact - if it was the best means to an end. Just make a deal all amicable-like that he don't kill me and I bet 'e might go for it."
Rena can have a fairly deadpan face at times, and it's difficult to tell whether or not she's actually kidding. She probably isn't, though.

Worthington sighs, shaking his head. "If he senses that you're so willing to give it, he won't want it. Taking what you don't want to give is a power play, and he plays the game very well. Just be careful. Alright, you two. Get your team together. Try to find a way into the Shadow Bazaar. You might be able to find Cruentus elsewhere. He frequents Knockturn Alley at times, but it's no guarantee. But if you're in the Bazaar looking for him, he'll know it soon enough. Dismissed." He gives them a curt nod, and then gives the towering stack of case files on his desk a rueful grimace.

"Yes sir, make sure that we don’t make a straight forward approach." Graham says about the informant. It does seem like a dangerous mission any way that one looks at it. He nods "Thank you." he moves to leave but will move along with the other auror when she leaves so they leave at the same time.

"I've got you. Play 'ard to get and make out like my blood is the last thing I want 'im to get 'is fangs on. Right-o." Rena gives a knowing nod… and far more knowing smirk. Sometimes it's hard to read just what Rena knows - or thinks she knows.
Backing to the door upon being dismissed, Rena quietly says: "Thank you, Sir," before slipping out of the room with Graham. Best to leave the boss-man to his work.

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