24 Chapter 22 - Clothes

***** REGULARLY SCHEDULE CHAPTER ***** A/N: Posting from my mobile so not gonna say too much. NFT NYC has been so much fun! Anyways, hope you all enjoy the story!

"I didn't drop it there anyways....." Added on Harry helpfully. "I discovered it was missing before the 3 of us came into this clearing."

"So... You found this wand elf?" Amos once again jumped to accusations. "Picked it up, and decided to have some fun with it, did you?" Turning to the crying Winky, Amos decided to accuse the only target left available to him.

"Winky is not knowing how sir!" She bawled out, in between sobs. "Winky is.... Winky is... Only picking it up sirs! Winky cannot cast the Mark sir!"

"It wasn't her!" Hermione shouted in outrage. Although she felt quite uncomfortable screaming at the Ministry, her Gryffindor bravery was on full display, attempting to stand up for Winky. "Winky's got a squeaky little voice! The voice we heard casting the incantation was a much deeper big voice!"

"No... it definitely didn't sound like an elf." Harry backs up Hermione, as he usually does.

"Well..... we'll soon see!" Amos continued unfazed, as though he never listened to what Hermione and Harry said in the first place. "There's a simple way of discovering the last spells cast on wand. Lord Khan mentioned it himself."

Holding his wand to Harry's, Amos casted out. "Prior Incantato!"

A single spell was displayed; Morsmordre!

"Elf! You have been caught red handed!" Amos said with a savage triumph, glad that tonight's perpetrator would not go unpunished. "What do you have to say for yourse-"

"Are you suggesting, Mr. Diggory, that I routinely teach my servants the dark arts?"

Crouch appeared to have come out of his shocked state, with the accusations being now thrown at his elf.

That shut Amos up.

There was a deeply uncomfortable silence, much to Khan's enjoyment.

'Serves these trigger happy ministry officials right.' He snickered to himself.

"If you accuse my elf, you are accusing me Amos!" Crouch continued on his tirade. "Winky's story has been corroborated by 2 eye witnesses, both of whom, would have no background in the dark arts, one of them being the 'boy-who-lived' and the other being a Muggleborn. Obviously, they were all in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"Winky, however has shamed me and disobeyed me. I told her to remain in the tent. I told her to stay there while I went to sort out the trouble. You may rest assured that Winky will be punished for her transgressions tonight." Crouch finished, looking down at his sobbing elf.

"M-M-Master!" Winky stammered out. "P-P-Please!"

"Winky has behaved tonight in a manner I would not have believed possible. THIS MEANS CLOTHES!"

"NO!" Cried Winky in great distress. "No Master please! Anything but the Clothes! Not Clothes!"

"But she was frightened!" Protested Hermione in righteous fury. "She's scared of heights and those evil wizards were levitating people for fun! You can't blame her for wanting to get out of their way!"

"I have no use for a house-elf who disobeys me!" Crouch looked at Winky as though disgusted. "I have no use for an elf who brings shame to her master!"

Khan meanwhile had transfigured his clothes back to his dark robes, and was idly watching the drama take place in front of him. Unfortunately, he could not help Winky, and was once again reminded of the unfairness house-elves could be subject to. Deek's old master, Poppy's old master, even poor Scrope's master, Headmaster Black; all of them abused and forced their house-elves to do things they did not like. For example, with Deek's friend who was deathly afraid of spiders, but was still forced to harvest spider parts for his master.

And as much as he would like to help and befriend her, he was forced to simply watch the sad situation occur. It was unfortunate, but Khan was too well-versed in family politics to know that he could not interfere with another family's internal issues.

"I think I'll take my son and my guests back then." Arthur announced after a few moments of awkward silence, following Crouch's verbal tirade. "Amos, if you could please hand Harry his wand back?"

Amos complied and handed Harry's wand back, albeit with a bit of unwillingness. There was still no suspect for the dark mark after all, and this was the wand that cast it! It was unfortunate that they could not keep the wand as evidence.

"Come on you 4..." Arthur finished as he began to lead the group away towards their campsite.

"Granger!" Khan called out.

He had noticed that Hermione had not joined them, and was instead rooted in spot, eyes still on the sobbing Winky. Walking up to her, he grabbed her arm, gently pulling her away while speaking softly to her. "Hermione... We can't do anything for her now.... I'm sorry.... Just come with me... We have to leave....."

She followed, eyes still on Winky's figure as she was marched away from the clearing.

"What's going to happen to Winky!?" Hermione demanded aloud as soon as they had left the clearing and caught up with Arthur, Ron, and Harry.

"I don't know...." answered Arthur awkwardly, as they all marched back to camp.

"The way they were treating her!" Hermione ranted furiously. "Mr. Diggory, calling her elf all the time instead of her name..... and Mr. Crouch! He knows she didn't do it, and is still giving her clothes! He didn't even care how scared or upset she was!"

"I agree with you Granger." Khan placated her, as they walked with the group, still unconsciously leading Hermione by the arm, unnoticed by the 2 of them. "Unfortunately, house-elves aren't treated the best in wizarding culture. Quite shortsighted, as they are very loyal and powerful companions."

"It's not fair!" Hermione felt emboldened by Khan agreeing with her. "The way they treated her... it was like she wasn't even human!"

"Well.... she's not." Interjected Ron rudely. He had noticed Khan leading Hermione by the arm, and had become rather angry at their closeness.

Hermione immediately rounded on him in response. "That doesn't mean she hasn't got any feelings Ron! It's disgusting the way house-elves are treat-"

"Granger..... I'm with you." Khan interrupted Hermione, before she could get worked into another one of her righteous rants. "But we can't do anything for her right now. Especially so soon after a riot. The best thing we can do at the moment, is to better position ourselves, so that we'll have a better opportunity to help her in the future."

Khan passed on advice his mother had always told him; just because something isn't possible or capable now, does not mean it will not be possible in the future. Often times, it is better to prepare yourself, so one is able to take advantage, when that opportunity does eventually present itself.

With that thought in mind, the group moved off in silence back to their campsite.


The group soon arrived back in the campsite, and was greeted by the rest of the Weasleys, minus Molly of course.

"What happened dad?" Charlie asked in curiosity once they were all settled. "Did you find out who the Blue and Yellow robed auror was?"

"Did you find who cast the dark mark? Did you get them?" Followed up Bill.

"We apparated to the area from which the dark mark was cast from, immediately casting stunners. Unfortunately, we didn't find the culprit, only Crouch's elf unconscious holding Harry's wand." Answered Arthur. "We did however meet and discover who the Blue-yellow robed combatant is, as we were suddenly attacked."

"It is someone you all know very well. Lord Jordan Khan." He continued. "He took down 2 auror squads before we could halt the battle."

Charlie, Bill, Percy and Ginny were stunned, whereas Fred and George looked excited. Not counting the battle with the aurors, they had all seen Khan combat the group of death eaters when the battle initially started. The explosive barrel, lightning bolt explosion combo in particular, was seared into their memory. There was no way anyone survived that.


Wasn't he still a student? Why was he so powerful?

"Why were you fighting the aurors, Lord Khan?" Accused Percy pompously, uncomfortable with Khan possessing that much magical and political power.

"It was of course our fault, as we were the aggressors first, casting stunners without even announcing ourselves." Answered Arthur quickly, hoping to avoid a disagreement, especially with his family ally. While he previously treated Khan on a level akin to how he treats his children, he now subconsciously treated Khan in a similar fashion to how a subordinate treats his boss.

Arthur continued to tell the rest of the story to his remaining kids, eventually finishing with Winky's punishment.

"Look... Can someone just tell me what the big deal is with this mark?" Ron asked dumbly, as soon as everyone was caught up on the events. "It's just a sign... not like it hurt anyone. What's the big deal?"

"I already told you it's you-know-who's sign, Ron!" Hermione immediately replied. "I read about it in "The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts".

"It hasn't been seen in over 13 years." Arthur continued, looking at Harry pointedly. "Of course people panicked... It was like seeing you-know-who again!"

"I still don't get it..." Ron, still lost, replied. "It's just a shape in the sky...."

"Ron... They sent that sign into the sky whenever someone was killed." Arthur explained ominously. "You're too young to remember, but the terror it inspired." He shivered. "Everyone's worst fear, was coming home and seeing that Mark over your house..."

Silence followed as everyone digested the information.

"Well not like the Dark Mark helped the death eaters at all." Bill cut into the silence, attempting to lift everyone's spirits up. "The ones left alive, all stopped battling Khan and the Aurors, and immediately grabbed their comrades and disapparated away, when they saw the dark mark. It was as if, they were scared of it."

"If they were death-eaters, why did they disapparate away?" Asked Ron. "They would have been pleased to see it, wouldn't they?"

"Not Necessarily." Interjected Bill. "The death eaters who stayed out of Azkaban, were probably the ones who were active tonight causing chaos. If I remember correctly, many of them claimed the Imperio defense, during their trial when Voldemort died. They denied ever being involved with him when he lost power, choosing to save their own skin, and go back to their daily lives. If Voldemort did ever return, I don't reckon he'd be too pleased with them, do you?"

"So... Whoever conjured the dark mark..." Hermione said slowly, thinking hard about this mystery. "Were they doing it to show support for the death eaters and their activities.... or to scare them away?"

"Your guess is as good as mine." Answered Arthur. "But I will tell you this... The only people who ever knew how to cast the dark mark, were only ever death eaters. So whatever their intentions, it is undeniable that that person used to be a death eater in the past."

With that uncomfortable thought, the group dispersed as they all went to try to sleep for the remainder of the night.

Getting into bed, Khan was thinking over everything, especially regarding the recent revelations surrounding Voldemort and his 'Death Eaters'.

'His death eaters did not appear to be very skilled in combat.' He thought as they reminded him of the lesser Ashwinder grunts, he used to fight previously during his own time. 'Although the Aurors did not appear to be very skilled either, come to think of it... Perhaps the level of combat prowess has dropped from my time?'

Thinking back to his Professors fighting against the Goblins, and comparing them to the Aurors he had faced that night; he could only conclude that to be the current situation. His previous Professors were each magical powerhouses after all.

Khan fondly remembered watching them mow down hordes of Goblins with magical skill and precision. Professor Sharp, his potions professor, himself was an ex-auror, injured in the line of duty. And even handicapped, he was able to one-shot a troll.

Comparing him to these current aurors Khan had recently defeated was laughable indeed.

'It appears that this Voldemort character inspires quite a bit of fear however, even 13 years after his disappearance.' Khan thought to himself. 'From people still afraid to say his name, to a simple mark in the sky causing a riot, I wonder how bad he truly could have been. Especially if this is all his followers are capable of...'

It had only been 1 week since he had awakened in 1994, but it seemed he was once again, thrust into another adventure. Hopefully, with their meager level of skill displayed, this would be a relatively simpler adventure to solve.

With thoughts of the past, and triumph in his head, Khan eventually let sleep take him.

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