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Chapter 3: old friends & new friends
Beautiful chapter image by RosieQueen @TDA
"So, you and Malfoy are friends now? You've never mentioned him at all!" Hermione burst out as they apparated into a small village near Glasgow.
"Oh, yeah I guess it just never came up. Me and Draco are friends now, have been since he became an auror just after I did. He's changed a lot for the better, even his divorce has made him a better person, oddly enough." Harry replied with a shrug of his shoulders.
Hermione's brow furrowed " wait, who was he married to?" Harry laughed a little, "You couldn't have guessed? He married Astoria Greengrass right after we graduated from Hogwarts, it's weird you never heard about it. She was really awful to him, always nagging, going out with other men, she ended up cheating on him with one of his friends, she's pregnant with the other guy's child now."
Hermione's mouth opened in shock as her eyes opened wide she said "I would've never guessed that... Poor Draco."
Harry nodded, leading Hermione into a small pub near the street they apparated into. They chose a table near the front and each ordered a firewhisky. Just as they sat someone really familiar walked towards the bar. Noticing us, she walked over with a huge grin on her face. "Hermione! Hermione Granger!? You're the new forensic analyist?!" Cho Chang asked incrediously, pulling up an empty chair.
Hermione chuckled "Good to see you too Cho, and yes I am! Do you have our case or are you just here for fun?"
Harry winced slightly, remembering how Hermione had reprimanded him about Cho in their fifth year at Hogwarts. "Yes Hermione, Cho is our liason for cases. Can you tell us the details please and we'll get right to work."
Cho smiled, sensing Harry's awkwardness. "Yup, so we believe it to be a homocide, no suspects. Just one wizard killed in his garage, still holding onto his wand when we found him."
Hermione nodded, calculating and thinking already, "Alright Harry, let's go see the body and get this case closed as soon as possible so we can tell the family what happened." All three got up, paid the bartender and walked out the door and into the cobbled street. Cho motioned them towards her car, "We take cars when we're working right in town, too many muggles around to apparate without them noticing" she said shooting a glance at man just walking out of a phone box. They all got into Cho's silver Mazda and she quickly drove off down the road.
They drove until they reached a small street, pulling up to a large white stone house. They all stepped out and Cho led them to garage door, opening it they all stepped inside.
"Hey Cho! Hi, you must be Harry & Hermione, my name's Charles and I'm the auror who was called in first to this. It's all yours now, see you!" Charles smiled shaking Hermione, Harry and Cho's hand then walked straight out the garage door.
Hermione then walked over the the body. It was male, roughly 6'2 about 38 with sandy brown hair and very tan skin.
"Alright, well you're all good here, send me an owl if you need anything." Cho said, walking back to her car.
Harry walked over and knelt beside Hermione, who was examining the body. "So, what're you thinking Mione?"
Hermione's brows furrowed, "I think this was a test, there's no way they needed me to tell what happened to this man, it's obvious waht happened. You can see here that he has a book of defence hexes right here, his wand and a nice metal garage door. Perfect for practicing hexes, wouldn't you think? Except I bet you he did a more advanced hex, got it wrong because of intonation" she motioned with her hand toward's the man's lips which were almost black and had significant skin damage "and therefore the spell bounced off the metal, killing him."
Harry nodded understandingly and took his cell phone out of his pant's pockets, dialing a number. "Hey, it's Harry. Can you get some techs to the homocide at 148 Collingway Road to test and analyze Dr. Granger's work. Alright thanks, we'll lock the door when we leave but the password to get in in sherbert lemon."
Hermione chuckled at the name of the password. "Y'know what Harry, we can totally apparate from here to the Ministry, any wards this guy had died with him" Harry agreed and they soon apparated back to the Minsitry. After getting back, Hermione and Harry did some paper work from the case, then both decided to go home as it was after 5:30. Waving good-bye, Hermione apparated from outside the Ministry to her apartment.
Hermione arrived at work early, walking into her office and drawing out today's case file from the bin Neville had given her. A soft knock on the door roused Hermione from her reading. It was Draco.
"You ready to go Gra- er Hermione?" Draco asked rubbing his jaw unconciously. Hermione joined him at the door and they soon left the Ministry. "We're apparating there, would you mind taking my arm? Just because you don't know exactly where we're going." Draco added.
"Yeah, sure." Hermione said as her small pale fingers laced over Draco's arm. The familiar feeling of a hook in her navel pulling her into the air, then letting her drop came over her. Opening her eyes she saw that they were still in London, albeit not a very nice part of London. The streets were filled with garbage and other things Hermione didn't want to think about.
"The victim is in this building right over here" Draco said over his shoulder as he led the way to a ramshackle apartment. Pushing open the creaky door, Hermione had to step over garbage, splintered wood and various cans and bottles.
"It looks like no one's been in here for ages..." Hermione whispered to Draco, staying close behind him as they walked single file up the spindly staircase, the elevator looking much too dangerous.
"It's been empty for a few years at least, really popular for drug deals and the like. I don't know anything about the victim except someone magical definitely murdered them." Draco replied as they got to the door of a very ratty looking apartment. Stepping in, Hermione could see that this was where the victim had lived, a horrible looking old matress was in the middle of the room, cans and bottles littered around it. The apartment didn't have much else in it other than those few items. "The body's over here" Draco said as he walked across the room and into the delapitated kitchen.
Hermione walked into the kitchen behind him and knelt down to examine the body. "Yup, definitely the killing curse. This guy's definitely a wizard though, see his wand? Why would he be living here I wonder..."
"I have no idea... Any idea what made someone murder him? I mean, doesn't seem like he has a lot going for him, judging by this place."
Hermione laughed slightly as she walked around the body. Noticing something odd, she kneels down again. Reaching just under the man's left side, she pulls out a small baggy of an almost clear substance. "Ooh hoo hoo, look what we have here. This here is calatius root, a very powerful magical hallucagin. It's worth a ton on the black market, guess we know why this guy was a target... Why would someone leave the stuff here though? Wonder if he made any other mistakes."
Draco was listening, although he started walking back to the doorway, looking closely he saw what he was looking for- a hair. Using his wand, he extracted it from the doorknob, using a quick spell to determine from who it came from. "I have our first suspect. Millicent Smith." Draco said with a smirk to Hermione.
"So, Miss Smith. Do you know a Mr.Karloff?" Hermione asked as her and Draco sat opposite Millicent Smith in an interrogation room.
"No, I do not" Millicent replied sniffily, shaking her head and then starting haughtily at the ceiling.
"Hermione, can me and Miss Smith have a minute please?" Draco asked sweetly.
Hermione frowned slightly, but left the room none the less.
"So, Millie. How do you know Jack Karloff? Don't stress, I have evidence you were there, so don't deny it. Make this easy on yourself, if you tell me the truth, I can cut you a deal."
Millicent broke out into tears and threw her upper half onto the table in front of her. Slowly getting a hold of herself she replied to Draco "I'll tell you what I know but p-p-please don't hurt him.... It's my boyfriend, Jacob. He's into some pretty harsh drugs and he'd been buying them from Jack... But Jack didn't want to sell anymore, wanted a better life. So I went with Jacob to go see him, and then..then.. then Jacob lost his temper and did something horrible.."
Draco leaned forward, making direct eye contact "It's alright, go on."
"He killed him. Right in front of me. I ran out, I've been running ever since." she whispered.
Draco nodded. "Okay, thank you for telling me, if you go with this officer right here, she'll help you to fill out some paper work."
*clink* Hermione and Draco's wine classes hit eachother with a beautiful note. "To great partners fighting crime!" Hermione said happily.
Draco took a sip of the rich merlot and . leaned in towards Hermione. "You did really great today, couldn't have solved it without you."
"You too." Hermione replied shyly. After a few too many glasses, both of their tongues began to loosen about their lives. Hermione told Draco all about how she thought that her and Ron had been perfect for eachother, but Ron had other ideas. She had put so much effort into their annual new years eve celebration- just for the two of them. And Ron had decided to chose that night to break it to her that his feelings weren't for her anymore, that they had changed and he really didn't want to hurt her.
Hermione had agreed to the breakup, more to make Ron happy than anything. She spilled to Draco how hurt she had been at the time, the nights she stayed up crying and then the first social event when Ron had shown up with her good friend Luna.
Draco had then taken his turn and told her all about his life with his wife. How they had gotten married close after he graduated from Hogwarts. Life had been great, his mother was back to herself, his father was on the mend to being a better person and he was married to the love of his life. Then after years of what he thought to be a perfect marriage, Astoria had hit him with a bomb, she was pregnant. At first he was overjoyed, thinking that he would be a father.
However, after a couple days of telling him about the baby Draco had found out from a servant that the baby was in fact not his- it was his friend Andrew's. His whole world had been rocked. After the divorce, Draco had nothing to live for, therefore he threw himself into work and quickly made his way up the totum pole.
"Well, I say that's enough deep talk for tonight, but thank you for listening. Would you care to dance?" Draco asked, extending his hand to Hermione as a slow song started playing in the crowded bar.
Hermione nodded and followed him out onto the dance floor. As she wrapped her arms around his neck, his settled around her waist as he drew them closer to one another. Letting his forehead drop to hers, they swayed in time to the music for what seemed an eternity.
When the song finished, Draco helped Hermione into her coat and took her home. "I'll see you tomorrow Hermione." Draco kissed her hand and soon apparated to his own house.
Hermione opened her flat door and as she closed it, she leant against it and smiled to herself.
AN: thanks for all the wonderful reviews and for everyone who is reading my story:):)