Chapter 2: Searching and finding
It took him four and a half years of constant searching throughout the entire wizarding world to come to the only conclusion one could come to, Harry had vanished from the wizarding world…completely.The only answer the goblins could give him was that Harry was definitely alive since the Potter vaults were still active but they were unaware of where he lived now.
The next step he decided to take was to poke around in the Ministry of Magic. Sure, as Salazar Slytherin he was considered dead but he had connections under many other different names so he pulled some strings to get the information he wanted. But the only intelligence he got from there regarding Harry Potter was that his godfather Sirius Black had been thrown into Azkaban without a hearing or a trial. He frowned upon learning about that, again. How low did the ministry have to sink to not even give a fair trial, (or any trial at all really) to a man who not only never did anything to go against any of the laws written or broke any of them, but was also the heir and future head of a well-known and previously respected old pureblood family? But regretfully he couldn’t do anything about it just yet. Besides that, the information he got was nothing specific. Only that Dumbledore “took care” of Harry. What he did, or where the boy was, nobody knew so this was yet another dead end.
After that, he tried another approach from a different angle. Perhaps the press had heard something since reporters were known for finding information other people badly tried to hide from the public. So, he asked around at a few different newspapers to see if he could learn anything new. Merlin, he even asked the Quibbler whether they knew something about the whereabouts of Harry Potter but even the newspaper full of the most unconventional conspiracy theories had no inkling on where the Boy-Who-Lived had disappeared to.
Therefore, Harry was most definitely not in magical England. Perhaps Dumbledore had sent Harry out of the country as a safety measure so Salazar asked around the other countries he knew had magical hotspots; he even asked around the colonies. Yes, for a supposedly dead man he was very well connected ever since he vanished over millennia ago because he knew one thing for sure: knowledge is power and knowledge comes from either books or connections. So, he had cultivated himself a large network not only in the wizarding world but also in the mundane one. But now his entire network in the wizarding world had reached its limits. Not one single person knew where the boy was. Oh, he heard rumours which he had followed but every single one was a dead end and even Sirius couldn’t help him since he was in Ministry custody as of the day after the incident so he also had no idea where Harry was.
Now Salazar paced in the study of his townhouse a few blocks from Diagon Alley in the mundane part of London, growling after reading the latest letter he received half an hour ago while musing over the content of said letter.
It is nice to hear from you after such a long time. I hope you are well.
As to your request regarding young Mr. Harry Potter I have to admit that I cannot be of any assistance in finding him.
You know very well that everybody who wants to immigrate or seeks refuge to any county of the Northern and Middle American continents needs to register with our Department of Immigration and Integration. That also goes for political refugees as seems to be the case with Mr. Potter. After some investigations within said department, I can confirm that Mr. Potter has never moved to America officially.
I’ve also checked with the Department of International Travel on whether Mr. Potter was registered as a visitor to one of our countries but they also said that Mr. Potter has never entered legally.
To check that he also didn’t enter illegally I consulted our Department for Underage Magic as to whether there has been unregistered accidental magic within our boundaries as it often happens to children that age and can hardly be hidden. They told me that there was none related to unregistered children.
Therefore, I can only assume Mr. Potter never entered our country except he was hidden so thoroughly since entering our country illegally that neither of our departments could detect him. Which is very unlikely thinking of the tremendous effort one would have to put into such an undertaking.
I’m sorry I couldn’t be of any help with your search. Hopefully, you find young Mr. Potter soon especially if what you told me is true. Oh, and please let me know when you found him. Also please feel free to write to me more regularly. I sorely miss our stimulating discussions since you left America.
Your old friend
Head of the American Ministry of Magic and Magical Affairs
Henrietta was his last hope, but when she said there was no trace of Harry within the Jurisdiction of her Ministry then he believed her. Bringing into account that the American Ministry was one of the best structured, organised and most powerful institutions in the world… well, if they couldn’t find Harry then he doubted anyone could.
Jack Hardinger was the name under which he was known to the American community. Not an acceptable name for a wizard according to the purebloods within the English wizarding community but the Americans didn’t have the stick up their ass attitude like the local ones.
He was well known in America but all his connections and the favours he called in had brought him nothing. He was at the end of the line regarding what else he could do to find Harry.
“Damn it!” he shouted while grabbing something off his desk and throwing it against the opposite wall. Unfortunately, it was his inkpot that had shattered upon impact and the deep blue ink lay splattered all over the wall, the ceiling, and the floor now. A moment later a man entered the study dressed as what a mundane would refer to as butler’s uniform.
“Sir, might I ask what the problem is?” the man asked while looking at the blue disaster. He hoped the house-elves would be able to clean up the mess properly.
“My search for Harry Potter. I’ve only reached dead ends. My last hope was the American Ministry but they too have no clue as to where the boy is. James, I have no idea where else I should or even can look for him. It seems like he has simply ceased to exist,” Salazar told the man who in fact was his butler, sort of, with a desperate voice.
James Finnigan had been his butler for over 15 years now and was also so much more than that to him. James had become his friend and Salazar trusted him with everything, including his life. Salazar knew that it was really uncommon for a wizard to have a butler in these times since house-elves were so much more reliable and he also had two of them, but sometimes it was more convenient to have a human butler to manage things. Especially when one had to deal with the mundane world as well as the Magical. That’s why he hired James.
James was the magical child of an old mundane family of butlers but when he had finished his education at Hogwarts he wasn’t able to find a proper job in the wizarding world since they hadn’t any need for a butler; But he also didn’t want to abandon his magic to only work in the Mundane world again. That was until he came across Salazar Slytherin who hired him on the spot and here he was today. The only downside was that he had to swear a magical oath to never betray his employer. That was okay with him though since he had no need to do so, even less when they became friends.
“Then perhaps you should try something else. Have you looked into the mundane part of the world?” James asked his employer and friend.
Salazar stood there shell-shocked with an incredulous look on his face.
“Wha…? How? Why…?” he didn’t know what to say.
“-When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth! -” James quoted one of Salazar’s favourite authors – Arthur Conan Doyle. “So, if he’s nowhere to be found within the magical community and he definitely is not dead since the goblins would know that, then the only logical conclusion would be that he is in the mundane part of the world.”
Salazar tumbled down into his chair.
“Why haven’t I thought about that?”
“Because you sir, sometimes, despite being highly intelligent, miss the obvious which is only human,” he answered with a smile. “Sir, I assume you thought that because Harry is a wizard Dumbledore would put him with other wizards but you forgot that the man is highly manipulative. Though I think in terms of fulfilling the prophecy this man has constructed around the boy he put the youngster with someone who either has no knowledge of magic or a grudge against anything magical. Only so that he can act as the great saviour towards the boy when he finally shows him the wonders of the magical world in order so that the boy becomes utterly dependant and loyal towards him.”
Thinking about the reasoning of James Salazar had to admit that he was right. That just sounded like something Dumbledore would do only to get the trust and dependency of Harry. The only question now was where Dumbledore would put the boy to achieve that since the mundane world was so much larger.
While thinking about this new possibility Salazar took a guess about where the boy currently was.
“You don’t think he’d put the boy THERE? Do you?” he asked horrified.
“I see you came to the same conclusion that I myself did. I’m terribly sorry Sir but that is the only logical place for him to be put where Harry would not only be hated for his magic but also close enough to Dumbledore for the boy to be watched by him or one of his followers. It also would give him a good reason for putting the boy there” James replied thoughtfully.
Now Salazar was fuming. He knew very well that if Harry was with those people he not only would be hated for being a wizard, but even worse things could occur.
“If you are right may Merlin have mercy on Dumbledore, for I certainly will not!” he shouted while rushing out of the room.
“Trixy” he called out on his way to the front door and a small house-elf appeared before him ducking her head because she could feel the rage radiating from her master.
“What can Trixy do for her master?” she asked obediently.
“I’ll be leaving immediately so please bring me my coat,” he commanded.
The house-elf promptly left and returned shortly after with the requested coat.
“Is there anything else Trixy can do for master?”
“No!” he bellowed and so she left again with a little bow after Salazar took the coat.
“Sir, I know you are furious but you shouldn’t take your anger out on the poor elf and you also shouldn’t try and approach the boy in your state in case you find him. Who knows what security measures Dumbledore has implemented to make sure no one takes the boy or so that the boy doesn’t run away” James scolded him.
“I know” Salazar huffed “But I have to make sure he is – hopefully – not there, but in either case I’ll return shortly after confirming it. If he is in fact there, I’ll order one of the elves to watch him closely while I plan and arrange everything to take the boy from there. I’m not losing him again because of a mistake in my planning or because I rushed in there headlong like how Godric used to do.”
Knowing the truth behind those words even in a rage like that, James went to the entrance door and opened it with a small bow towards Salazar.
“Do be careful, Sir,” he said while Salazar passed by.
Salazar stepped out of the house, went to his car and drove off to what certainly had to be the most mundane town in England, Little Whinging.