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by: Jacob Sullivan
Jan. 6th, 8:35 pm

Open door, close door, insert key, lock, then walk. The nightly routine of going for a walk from eight thirty pm to nine pm was just one of the many habits of Elias Hunt. He ate modestly, lived modestly, and worked quietly. Not much was known about the half-blooded, blond wizard recently returned from an overseas study of magical politics. He was polite to his unsuspecting muggle neighbors. He tipped the milkman. He had no pets. He dressed upscale, but casual. He walked to and from work at a discrete office building, and could talk for hours on the economy.

Elias Hunt was a shadow of a man, and the man who cast that shadow was a very patient one indeed.

For a week now, the moderately built blond lived a moderate life that was spare on action and spare on words. He wrote letters to a newspaper that nobody read. He counted on the fact that his letters weren't read by the public. They were censored. They were blocked. They were grabbing the wrong attention. Except, to a man who cast a shadow such as Elias, it was just the attention he wanted to get. Knowledgeable, cocky, confident, and trustworthy. Eager to prove himself with the capability to do so. He was young, but he was hungry. The name Elias was just as unknown as the name Jake. Both men, however shared one very important trait in their fabricated and not so fabricated lives: ambition.

Yes, as Mr. Hunt walked the path that Mr. Sullivan put him on, he waited for the opportunity to let that ambition through. After all, Mr. Sullivan had ambitions far beyond that of any man or wizard in all of Great Britain. That, however, was another life and another time. For now, he would walk for half an hour, then retire to wait, work, and walk again.
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by: Destiny
For all his mundaneness, Elias Hunt had been under surveillance. It was not his discreet letter writing that had brought the attention of the wizarding government to the man initially, of course. Rather, it was the fact he chose to live in a muggle community. It was not something that was encouraged with current politics for someone to live amongst muggles. Near them? Not too troublesome, but within their community was odd. It went against every principle the current government seemed to hold dear. It had not been more than the occasional surveillance before one such day had lead to the discovery of him sending letters to muggle papers.

Ever since then they had been monitoring the no-name papers and waiting for just the right thing to be stated that would ascertain permission to snatch him. Tonight was the night, and James Sark was the man. And a well-deserved night off from Azkaban it was. After years of loyal service, it was about time he was allowed to prove his worth in another field. Perhaps this wasn't a huge mission, but it was a shoe-in. Someone would perhaps notice him. Never mind the fact he had only been chosen because most people wouldn't recognize him, making him ideal for such a mission. Others were to trail him in case something went wrong, something that only made him more determined to prove himself. If they had to become involved at any point, he would be doomed to a life of desk work and harassing inmates the rest of his life.

Sark was sitting on a door step of a just-sold house, a paper in hand as he read by the porch light. Elias Hunt would soon be passing by this point if he was on time with his usual evening walk. He glanced at his watch, entirely too bored reading about the mundane lives of muggles. Some murders were going on, it seemed. People dead, chunks of flesh from the cheek missing in all of them. It was scattered, but this had been the fifth murder. Still not time. He went back to the article, expecting to be further bored when he spotted a name he recognized. Perseus Goodwill. Then, another. Lavender Pond. Both magical folk on the surveillance list for living amongst muggles. What about the others? He didn't recognize them, but they would be something to run through the system after this little sting was over.

The man had to control himself when he finally saw Mr. Hunt rounding the corner of the block. Not fast, idiot, he chided himself. Too suspicious. You know this. So, he remained casually on the doorstep before looking up and putting the paper down. "Evening, neighbor!" he shouted out. The part of new-to-town neighbor who was looking to meet those in the neighborhood would do just well, he thought. Mr. Hunt would know this house had been for sale until about three weeks ago, and a moving van had been out front about a week ago. This was on his usual route. It would make no sense for him to remain silent. No one sat on the porch reading the paper unless they were really hoping for some sort of companionship, after all.
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by: Jacob Sullivan
Elias kept the collar of his coat up against the bite of the winter wind. His apparent silence was in truth filled with the myriad of clicks and grinds of a mental machine chewing on a rather large problem. He had been here a week and had expected to be contacted at some point. The letters to the Daily Prophet had gone unpublished. The letters to the London Times were nowhere near so inflammatory nor had they been revealing of his magical heritage, but if the Ministry was watching him, the talk of equality and unity of all peoples in the country would have caught their eye. His talk about incompetence in all levels of government would have also caught their noses and someone, by now, was surely on his scent.

The murders.

Those were unexpected. Who was doing that? Elias wasn't sure if the deaths were a help or a hindrance to the plans that he was a part of. So far, every death had been a muggleborn or mixed blooded wizard. Was some overzealous Death Eater having a go? It was hard to tell at this point. There were more important things to focus on at the moment. Hands were jammed into pockets as the wind shifted direction.

"Evening, neighbor!"

Elias looked up at the hail and met the eyes of a man seated on the porch of his house. A smile warmed Hunt's face and he returned the greeting. Was this how it started, or was this really just the casual encounter it seemed to be? No trace of the question or the thrill of adrenaline it produced appeared in the blond man.

"Hullo! Bit nippy tonight, eh?"
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by: Destiny
"A bit," Sark agreed, folding the newspaper in half so he could free his right hand and offer it to the other man. "Name's Sark." He figured his last name was safe enough considering he wasn't the only Sark in the world. And besides, his first name was absolutely dreadful in his opinion. Tony. What had his parents been thinking? It was such an awful name and he didn't look a thing like a Tony. So, Sark was what he preferred to go by.

He took the time it took the man to reply to size him up. Elias Hunt was blond and hardly looked the sort to do the things he was accused of, but that didn't make Sark doubt any of the charges. It was always the ones you wouldn't suspect who did things. The quiet ones. The outcasts. The nice ones. The outgoing ones. This man was as guilty as the rest of the miscreants he watched over and harassed daily in Azkaban. He would soon be amongst them and see quite a different side to Sark. The thought of fresh meat was the only thing that brightened Sark's day when it came to thoughts of Azkaban. The prison had made him so disappointing even to himself.
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by: Jacob Sullivan
Sark, eh? That was an uncommon name, but Elias wasn't going to focus on that at the moment. He had an image to maintain with the muggles, so he slowed down and stopped in front of the man's house to converse. He approached no closer than the shaggy lawn. He jammed his hands back into his pockets against the evening and evaluated the man on the porch.

His build was on the broader side of athletic and he was pale. His square jaw and high haircut spoke of a professional of some sort. Elias didn't know where to peg the man, so the only thing was to keep conversing. If this was a trap, then it would be just as expected.

"Hunt. How's Nancy doing?"

He had met the apparent missus Sark earlier in the week coming home from the library, but if the man didn't know that her name was really Nellie, then this was a Ministry trap. Even if he did know her name, it could still be a trap and just well researched. Tonight would tell though.
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by: Destiny
"Nancy?" Sark asked, looking to the side as though pondering. Was that the broad's name? It started with an N. Pretend wives were hard to remember the details of. Give him dates like their anniversary or how long they were "married" or even details and he was fine. But names? Names were not his forte. He could only hope he was right. "She's alright. Workin' on a novel. At the library..." he glanced at his watch. Realizing it was after 8:30, he scratched just above his temple. "Err...hopefully on her way home soon. But yeah, she's pretty excited for it. Last one's going to be published in a month here."

Sark smiled, rocking on his feet a little. He was getting antsy, though only these small tells gave it away. His face was believably congenial. "Say, why don't we meet her halfway? Always get a bit nervous when she stays until close. 'specially with these murders here lately. Keep trying to tell her that, but she hates the buses and insists the fresh air is good for her." He gave a half-hearted eye roll and sighed. "Women. What would we do without 'em?" He chuckled slightly. He didn't know what was worse right now: the antsiness he was feeling, the uncertainty regarding the name, or the fact this was taking entirely too long for his liking.
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by: Jacob Sullivan
Elias sighed, dropping his congenial demeanor for one of disappointment. He shook his head sadly as he regarded the sidewalk. When he looked up at Sark, his previously friendly blue eyes held a mix of hardness and pity.

"And you were doing so well...This is exactly the type of incompetence I was writing about. Her name is Nellie. She drives a blue car, and I met her on the public transportation a week ago. Do what you came here to do. I won't resist. Just know that I am very disappointed in how you handled this."

Perhaps he would get roughed up, perhaps he would only be held overnight, and perhaps he would disappear entirely. There were people watching his movements that were below the government's radar, and if he did go missing, all hell was promised to break loose. It was easy to know these plans and it was easy to say that you'd do something. Now, however, with the threat of a Ministry official arresting him, perhaps even just killing him outright, promises were like birds. Right now, with the dark winter around him, hope was somewhere in the south enjoying the sunshine. Bastards. Elias' first tell, a swallow, betrayed the fact that his thoughts weren't as confident as his stance. He banished the doubt and waited for Sark to make the next move.
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by: Destiny
Failure was not something Sark condoned, and when the idea of failing himself or his government through his own actions crossed his mind, it made him very disagreeable. In this case, he gave a frustrated, "Ha-rumph!" and walked around behind the man who was being strangely compliant (Who wanted to be arrested, anyway?) and put handcuffs on him. They might be magically altered to prevent easy escape, but they otherwise resembled their mugggle counterparts--something necessary in this case. A good, old-fashioned body bind spell followed by levitation was not a legitimate option in a muggle area, so they had adapted for this particular case.

"What's your game, anyway?" Sark asked bitterly, his trademark scowl on his face. He grabbed the man's arm rather roughly then jerked him toward the house and pushed him up the steps before opening the door. This was the closest point at which they could get away with apparition, so he was going to use it. A few moments later, the familiar tugging, squeezing feeling enveloped their bodies, taking them to the only open port of apparition to Azkaban, a point which changed on a bi-weekly basis for security purposes after the last rescue the pesky Order had carried out during the feigned execution of their leader. Only a select few knew it now. A bit of an inconvenience, but it was necessary.

Once there, Sark nodded at the Guard behind the desk. "Check Hunt in, will ya, Jenkins?" He glanced over at a chart on the wall, which tracked prisoner and guard movements in real time throughout the prison. Currently, all black prisoner feet were in their cells, and the red guard dots were in various places--stationary. His eyes quickly went toward the interrogation rooms, looking for the blue mark which indicated visitors. Seemed Williams was waiting in, "Interrogation Room two. Taking Hunt there. Assign him to cell 12 in D-block for after." That was all the man stated before roughly pushing Hunt forward. "On with ya. Big man's waiting."
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by: Jacob Sullivan
There was no surprise in the roughness that Sark exhibited. Hunt kept himself limp and compliant as he was cuffed and dragged into the house, then apparated to who knows where, followed by another apparition. Interesting. A shadow in Hunt's mind made note of the paranoia that a double apparition implied, but no trace of that shadow crossed the man's face. Once in Azkaban, he held himself with an easy dignity, neither slouching nor looking down upon any of the guards. They had a job to do, and they were doing it.

Ethan's eyes traveled the room and it's contents. A tracking board, a guard, and...

"Interrogation Room two. Taking Hunt there. Assign him to cell 12 in D-block for after."

Boredom flickered out of his eyes as disdain came back into them. He shook his head again and scornfully talked down to his captor.

"Nice frisking job, you've done there. I could be rigged with explosives, listening devices, a poisoned dagger...I'm glad that you've considered security before you let your complacency decide that I'm as harmless as I look...which I am, wand is in the left jacket pocket. No wonder the Imperium Guard is the laughing stock of the wizarding world..."

The blow to his face wasn't entirely unexpected, but he did nothing to avoid or deter the blow. Whomever had struck him, for surely it could have been one of the other guards just as easily as it was Sark, had either a set of rings or a powerful fist, because Ethan's left eye immediately swelled closed. He felt a trickle of blood run down his face, but said nothing. The disdain didn't leave his stance even as he was shoved towards the interrogation chamber. He'd meet his fate just as proudly as he faced the idiot guards.
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by: Destiny
Now behind the man, urging him along with a firm grip on his forearm, Sark rolled his eyes. "Ever consider we have spells against that?" he asked. Wouldn't be much of a wizarding prison otherwise, in his opinion. Some of the protective spells may have been added after the rescue the Order had pulled off last year, but some had been there at least since the new regime. Sark had his suspicions Voldemort's own attack on the prison that had free Death Eaters all those years ago had held a strong influence on protective measures the Death Eaters had gone to after taking over. No, he wasn't idiot enough to buy the "terrorist" story, and he wasn't off put by the people either--just the cowardice.

"But I will be taking your wand now," he tacked on as they reached a room with a white number two on a black piece of plastic bolted to its door. He reached into the man's left jacket pocket, then placed it in the bag the guard by the door produced. He then proceeded to frisk. Given the man lived in the muggle world, the possession of their metal weapons was possible, and if Williams wanted to have the man released from his bonds, he didn't want to be responsible for the man's death. Only reason he hadn't done this sooner was because the man had already been in cuffs.

"One wand." Sark glanced at it. "Black wallet. At least seven inches...." The other guard began to jot notes down on a card. "One wallet. Muggle money of an unknown amount. One identification card--muggle. Card...organ donor." He rose a brow at Hunt as he placed that one into the bag with everything else as he had been doing while reading it off. "A library card. Ink pen, blue." He frisked the man again as he realized something was missing. A smirk played at the corner of his lips. "And no blood paperwork. Seems Mr. Hunt will not be leaving us anytime soon."

Sark took the card from the other guard, who hung the clipboard back up, and then placed it in the bag. The guard holding it sealed the bag. "Put that with Crowly, will ya?" he said. The man saluted him and answered him with a "Yes, sir!" then headed off. "The door, Evans." The guard who had filled out the card jumped to attention and opened the door. Sark shoved Hunt in ahead of him. "My lord," he greeted as Trevor looked over toward him casually. "Mr. Hunt."

"Have a seat," he told Elias, motioning toward the chair across from him. "Leave us, Sark."

"My lord," Sark said, giving a bow, then leaving the room.

As the door closed behind the guard, Trevor turned his attention toward Elias Hunt. "I'm sure you know what this is about. What do you have to say for yourself?"
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by: Jacob Sullivan
Really? What did he have to say for himself? Williams might be the current Head of State, but he garnered no respect for using language that made him sound more like a scolding father. Elias sat comfortably despite the handcuffs and met Trevor's gaze with his one functioning eye. He smiled and delved into the rhetoric that got him here in the first place.

"What do I have to say for myself? Only what the entire country is too scared to voice: England is going tits up and needs leadership. Nobody else got your attention, so I figured I had to do it. Some smart, manipulative bastard put us as a nation between a dragon and her eggs when they took your daughters and now, no matter what you do, you're going to lose it all. Unless,"

The pregnant pause borne of the silent beat came naturally. Elias had a commanding presence when he decided to use it and his youthful cockiness kept him from being too intimidated to act on his knowledge.

"...you appoint a new Minister of Magic, let them handle the day to day, and you focus on the more important matter: getting your girls back. If you don't do that, you're heartless. If you ignore the country in favor of family, you're incompetent. You should, no, you NEED to do it soon, preferably within a week. I've been out of the country for the past six years...one year in Europe, one in Africa, one in the Americas, two in Asia, and one in the Pacific Rim. I know how the other nations must be slavering over England right now...we are hamstrung, Lord Williams. Weak. Not a good position, especially since the Asians are training their children for war while ours learn how to turn teakettles into turtles. I don't care if my stunt earns me the rest of my life in Azkaban, so long as England prevails. My country means too much to me to see it die, so I had to do something. Now, a smaller problem seems to be more immediate. You have no candidates for a viable Minister. So I have to ask...what are your plans to get this country back on the broomstick?"

Elias had turned the situation back around, he thought. Azkaban wouldn't be his forever home, but his point was made: He was willing to risk everything so long as his country was stable. His intensity was focused back on the current leader, knowing that the man was becoming more and more unhinged with each passing day. He looked tired. No, he looked exhausted. The time was right for an ambitious man, and who was more ambitious than the man willing to risk everything?
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by: Trevor Williams
Trevor wasn't impressed by this man's response. Frankly, there was no reason for him to give a rat's ass about this Elias Hunt's opinions or even entertain the man with an answer. He seemed like nothing more than a power hungry man at the moment--at least based upon what he had followed his pause with. It had meant to be a ploy to draw Trevor in, make him curious, but it had simply made the aforementioned conclusion come to mind. The man had exercised a quick use of Legilimency on Sark, enough to see the ease with which Hunt had given into the arrest.

"Forgive me if I feel no need to qualify that with an answer," the man replied as he crossed a leg so his right ankle rested over his left knee. "You see, Mr. Hunt, I know little about you aside from the fact you leave the country years ago, travel abroad, and suddenly are seen back on the scene expressing discontent with the current government to muggle papers after failed attempts to be published in the Prophet. Never mind the fact you have no blood paperwork to have seen the inside workings of what you profess so profusely to be on the road to failure. For all I know, this means you are in contact or alliance with someone who is working against me. You'll understand my hesitancy to extend you enough trust to reveal my current plans for my people and why you'll have to do a lot more to gain my trust than use mere words meant as a backwards personal attack to garner a response."
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by: Jacob Sullivan
Elias listened carefully and nodded at Trevor's response. Such a response was warranted and expected. That Trevor complied put Elias at ease because the man wasn't as incompetent as was feared.

"Wise of you to say so. I got my information and assessment from foreign diplomats, who I was close with during my travels. I can understand your lack of trust. In your position, I would feel no less wary. As to the paperwork, I don't have any because it wasn't needed when I left and I haven't felt the need when I returned. I'm half blood, so it seemed safer to just live as a muggle and not cross the magical border. Isn't that what's encouraged anyway, for those of us who aren't pureblooded?"

Elias cocked his head and met Trevor's gaze challengingly. He was still cocky and still playing his game, whatever it was. As per plans, however, he was guarding against Legilimancy.
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by: Trevor Williams
Trevor rose a brow at the man, but the movement appeared slight--no more than a subtle twitch--if noticeable at all due to the nature of his right brow. He was testing him, which was cocky as hell. He was the one in cuffs seated in a chair before him, a man who was supposed to hold the highest authority in the area. The man had balls. Trevor would give him that, but it didn't mean he was thrilled at the prospect of allowing this man to take the lead in this conversation. Still, perhaps if he entertained him a bit, compliance would be easier to come by--not that it seemed the man was being overly non-compliant. There was a difference between non-compliance and directness, after all.

"Might I remind you, Mr. Hunt, that you are here for me to question and not the other way around?" he stated as a reminder, but that was where he would leave it. "Still, you have a sharp mind, just the sort we need within our citizenship. I'll entertain your questions for now." He could very well learn things through the man's responses if he tailored his own carefully enough.

Trevor sat forward, resting his elbows and forearms on his legs. It was hard to see terribly well in these interrogation rooms. There were hardly enough of the floating candles or enchanted lights, and the flickering didn't help any. He wanted eye contact, to try to see what this man was thinking. A wave of his wand later, and the lights seemed to brighten enough that eyes and features were clearer and less hidden in the shadows. He pocketed the thing then made eye contact no matter how brief the other man may have allowed for it. Nothing. It was disconcerting at least. No one had a blank mind, an impenetrable mind unless trained against it. Maybe it was a fluke, but it was best for now to take anything the man said with a grain of salt. His attempt at Legilimency had been slight enough most wouldn't notice it.

"I don't know which diplomats you may have spoken with, Mr. Hunt, but we welcome half-bloods with open arms. Perhaps some might not prefer it, but my own daughter isn't pure. More than half, yes, but you'll find I'm not as close-minded as some are. Half-bloods have more than a good share of merit, and they aren't entirely offensive to some of the more open-minded, considering the magic cannot be viewed as stolen by any means." Trevor cleared his throat lightly and sat back.

"However, Mr. Hunt, I believe that was a tangent you sent me on. If it really mattered to you and you wished to abide by such pretenses, you would have kept your nose entirely out of our affairs and remained on your travels. What is it you want?"
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by: Jacob Sullivan
Elias reeled out one thread of emotion, in case Williams tried to use Legillimancy. It was easier, anyway, to be convincing when one didn't block all his emotions. This thread, ambition, became a ribbon, and then the very fabric of Elias' motivation. Through Trevor's expository vomit of information, Elias became more and more pleased with the direction of the conversation.

The question was finally asked, and Elias let his answer fly out into the open: a dark thestral born of the ambition that had been carefuly developed and fostered.

"What do I want, Lord Williams? A job. I want to be your Minister. I have the qualifications to do the job well. There's enough evidence against me to keep me towing your agenda, and yet not so much that the public knows the nature of this conversation. It would free you up to do what needs done: finding your daughters and still keeping the country running."

Elias gave a tight mouthed grin. He was right where he wanted to be, no matter the answer given. He had friends poised to strike if the answer was no, and friends poised to begin the next phase if the answer was yes. Williams may not realize it, but Hunt held the cards in this game. The question was, what cards did Williams have?


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