Post Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:29 pm

Hard Goodbyes

Salem

The Hexagon - Archive Image Vault

Jake Wincheter's boots were swung up on a table next to a cooling cup of coffee. He had spent the better part of the last 24 hours filtering through images captured from the fall term at the school at the Academy. It's often times fortunate that an Auror can count on a there being a series of photographs, moving and not, that can be called up whenever the Secretary of Magic makes a public appearance. The Fourth Estate of the wizarding world got well more than a few good captures of the Secretary, and subsequently went apoplectic. After a trail of tears and a count of bodies that rival most of the muggle world's most heinous, the students, faculty and staff of the Academy managed to stuff a certain villain into the void for what most hoped, and prayed, would be for eternity.

During the fall term, when the void spat him back out.

Simon Drake. Alive.

The thought made Jake want to spit; Simon Drake's name leaving a bitter taste in the Auror's mouth. But he didn't. Drake wasn't conclusively the cause for concern. Heck, he wasn't even in the collection of footage he was watching. It was Jake and Anton. More specifically, it was Anton about to have his throat torn out by someone. But that someone wasn't Jake Winchester, no matter what face it was wearing.

As much as he wanted to blame Drake, or this new grade-A jerk named Algernon, there wasn't enough evidence to make the case.

He didn't have much. Barely anything to go on, really. What he did have was a 3 second clip from when he fought his boss and old friend on a Wizard's Chess Board.

The clip had been cycling for a half an hour.

Anton and Jake both held onto a quarter staff.

Pause. Nothing.

Anton came in to sweep Jake's leg, Jake avoids the attempt.

Pause. Nothing.

Jake swings a hammer fist across his body toward Anton.

Pause. Nothing.

Anton tries to drive a knee into Jake's belly. Jake drops an open palm down on the up coming strike deflecting it.

Pause. Nothing.

Anton brings a big left hand across Jake's jaw.

Pause.

That's where it happens. It was so slight that no one seemed to notice in any obvious fashion.

But the angle of the image over the course of 3 frames showed Jake's right eye... the special eye... flash sapphire blue, then die back down again.

The rest of the fight, until Anton broke the hold over what gripped Winchester, was a dark spot in Jake's memory.

Rewind the image.

Play it again.

Flash of sapphire blue.

Rewind the image.

Play it again.

Flash of sapphire blue. Rewind the image.

Play it again.

Flash of sapphire blue.

Jake swung his feet off of the table and swallowed the remaining coffee.

He entered the lift leaving the archive footage vault.

"Destination?" The lift's chipper tone made Jake bristle.

"The Office of Chief Auror Anton Tovoretski."
Lt. Jake Winchester
Auror-at-Large

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
Winston Churchill