Chapter III: Of Cadavers
“Merlin, it's been so long since you and I last had the chance to actually do something like this,” she gushed, beaming at her boyfriend. “Really, Ron, thank you for this—all of it. Thanks for the dinner, for the fact that it's here rather than at some posh restaurant without privacy, for having been there for me, holding me up no matter what, this past year even though you were going through the same thing… I just—I can't tell you how much it means to me to have you in my life. You've proven to be so much more than I ever expected… thank you,” she repeated, her eyes brimming with tears as she spoke.
“Love, it's just pasta,” he teased her, but the distinct blush on his face was more than enough to assuage her that he appreciated her words.
She laughed merrily. “And what good pasta it is.”
“Happy anniversary, love,” he smiled, raising his wine glass and clinking his glass with hers. “There's no one I'd rather be spending-”
Ron's speech, however, was interrupted by a rather unwelcome guest stumbling into the flat, and into their coffee table where the food had been set.
“Oi, I'm not late, am I?” Harry drunkenly groaned as he lifted himself off the table, apparently not even noticing the fact that he had just come in contact with a rather hard surface or that he was covered in manicotti and fettuccini alfredo.
“Harry, what are you doing here?” Hermione incredulously asked as she got up off the pillow on the floor that she had been sitting on and moved towards him, picking the food off of him as she tried to keep him steady and prevent him from doing any further damage to the flat or himself.
“The dinner party, you invited me, remember?—Look, I even brought some whiskey… 'fraid there's only a bit left though… I think I got thirsty on the way back from the liquor store to my flat… or at least I think so… you're smart Mione, right?—Tell me if I did,” he rambled on without ever even noticing the pained expressions marring both Hermione and Ron's faces.
“Mate,” Ron gently interrupted his tirade.
“Oi, Ron, when'd you get here, you arse?!” Harry smiled widely, moving foreword to greet him only to trip over his own feet and fall into the practiced and already expectant hands of his friend.
Ron let out a pained smile as he went through a scene that was becoming all far too ritual for his own taste. “I've been here the entire time, Harry.”
“Oh?—you're not shitting me, are you?”
“No, Harry, he's not,” Hermione answered for Ron with a tired sigh as she felt all of her energy quickly dissipating as it somehow always did in Harry's company the past year. “Harry… the dinner party was three days ago… you didn't show up.”
“Well fuck, that's a shame if there ever was one.”
“This hotel has amazing strawberry daiquiris,” Hermione announced with a wistful look towards the bar as Harry led her to the lifts.
“I wouldn't know,” Harry admitted in a clipped tone as he roughly pressed the button to signal the lift.
She blushed slowly. “I'm so sorry, that was insensitive of me, wasn't it? God
, I'm such a cow-”
“I didn't mean that
, I was referring to the drink,” he told her with a slow quirk of his lips. “Figures you'd go for something as girly as a daiquiri.”
She scoffed, punching him in the arm as they made their way through the open doors of the lift. “You prat!—and it was
insensitive of me… I'm really sorry, Harry-”
“Bloody hell, Hermione, don't be such a damn martyr. It's over with, that time in my life has passed, and it's primarily thanks to you that I got through it, I think that giving up on drinking is a small price to pay—besides, at least cumulatively, in those two years I drank more than most people do in their entire lives.”
She laughed lightly. “Don't remind me… please.—This is a nice hotel…”
“Yeah, I doubt you'll be singing quite the same tune when we get to the penthouse suite.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Penthouse?”
He nodded gravely, his eyes trained on the lights of the bar above the lift doors as they signaled what floor they were passing. “At the desk—when I showed them our identification, while you were off mooning over that bar—they told me that we were to be going to Andrew McMullen's penthouse suite.”
“McMullen… as in the McMullen of McMullen
“Well you always were a bright one, Hermione, great to see that your brain is still so quick that you can come to such conclusions while we're in the McMullen hotel,” he teased her.
He tutted her. “But a right one nonetheless.”
As he groggily lay on the bed, trying to fall asleep, a feat which he was finding to be surprisingly difficult even in his alcohol induced stupor.
“Hermione!” he heard Ron say in a whispered sort of yell, that despite how oxymoronic still held the same bite as any bellow.
“What Ron? What do you want me to do?” she asked, her voice tired as she whispered her retort, both unaware that Harry could hear them through the slightly open doors as they spoke right before them.
“You can't keep on coddling him like this—letting him walk all over you—over us. It's unacceptable, he has to learn to support himself but all you ever do is act like this bloody mother hen, watching over him at all turns!”
She scoffed, and Harry could feel the anger radiating off of her even if he couldn't see her. The imagination was a daunting thing, and that combined with the knowledge of the extent and clout of her anger was more than enough to make Harry wince before even hearing her response. Anticipation, after all, was often far more powerful than the actual thing.
“Oh don't tell me you're jealous now because I'm taking care of him—he's our best mate, Ron, you can't always let yourself-”
“No,” Ron roughly interrupted her. “No, it's not that. Hermione… bloody hell… I'll admit that I tend to get jealous of him, okay? I admit it. But this—this isn't about that, it's about you letting him walk all over you, it's killing you, having to put up with this, having to care for him. You're tired, you're depressed, and I hate seeing what this does to you, you don't deserve it. Just let him go,” he begged her.
“I'll let you go, Ron, if you ever even think about telling me to abandon Harry again,” she threatened him in a cutting tone, before storming away to the kitchen to prepare some hangover food for Harry.
“Fucking chit,” Ron groaned, banging his head on the wall before letting out a deep breath and following her to the kitchen.
“Oi!” Harry groaned as the doors opened. “Ugh
, what's that stench?”
“A corpse,” was the dull witted response she got from an Auror walking towards them, handing them each a disposable face mask and gloves.
Harry chuckled lightly. “Hermione, Sam Ludlum. Sam, Hermione Granger.”
“Well, it seems as if miracles are
possible, you finally got strapped down with a partner after all, wait until I tell Herbert, seems as if I've just gained ten galleons off of him. Knew Buckley isn't that
accommodating,” he grinned with pride as he shook Hermione's hand. “Pleasure to meet you, love,” he told her with a small wink.
“I like him,” Hermione announced, a proclamation that only received a glare from Harry.
“Well of course, he flirts with everyone, how couldn't you.—Where're we supposed to go?” he asked Sam, trying to make sense of the ostentatious suite that was filled with aurors at every corner.
“Bedroom—that way, heads up though, not the prettiest sight I've ever seen in my life… few aurors even threw up at the sight—bloody hilarious that was, actually.”
Harry rolled his eyes, chuckling as he took Hermione's hand and led her to the direction they were pointed to.
“Well the fun just keeps on coming, doesn't it?” he asked her as they entered the bedroom.
“Oh my God,” Hermione gasped as she surveyed the room.
Even Harry couldn't help but wince slightly as he looked around the bedroom. “Well fuck
“Potter, there you are!” Herbert called form behind them. “About time you got here, when Buckley told me you'd been assigned I didn't think it would take two hours for him to actually fill you in.”
Harry just shrugged in response. “What the hell happened here?”
“Yeah… I don't even know how the hell whoever did this managed it. This suite is supposed to be fully protected; I mean, even for some muggle `technology', it's pretty impressive-”
“Muggle technology?” Hermione asked in surprise.
Herbert nodded. “Bloke's a half-blood; this hotel chain is apparently for muggles and wizards alike… I'm Robert, by the way, nice to meet you, Granger.”
She smiled weakly, still rather affected by the sight before her. “Nice to meet you too…”
He gave her sympathetic look. “As nice as it can be under the circumstances though, I take it.”
She nodded numbly. “This certainly is a messy
case isn't it? I mean, even for my standards it's a bit out there,” she admitted shyly, cringing as she tried to ignore the distinct smell of burnt flesh that was accosting her senses.
He smiled slowly, sympathetically. “Just call me if you need anything, I have to go do some damage control, press is arriving and Buckley doesn't want anything to get back to him.”
“Brilliant, the head is still as antisocial as ever—bye Robert.”
“Nice meeting you,” Hermione waved before turning to Harry. “Here
,” she told him, passing him one of the clipboards that she had, unknowingly up until that point, been holding, probably had been passed to her at some point when she had entered the room and was in a stupor.
Harry looked down at the board that had been thrust into his hands in surprise. “What, I'm your slave now?”
“I'm the brains you're the brawn. I'm the Scully to your Mulder, the 99 to your Smart…” she distractedly quipped as she approached the cadaver lying on the middle of the floor, before the enormous divan and chained to its legs.
“Oi, come on, the last one was just taking it way too far.”
She shook her head, tiredly. “Just take the notes, Harry, I have to make sure that this is even something in my area to begin with.”
Harry furrowed his eyebrows. “What, you think it might not be?”
She shrugged. “You never know… hmmm…”
? what the hell is that supposed to mean?” a bemused Harry petulantly asked her, slowly beginning to remember another reason why he hated partners so much, even if it was Hermione.
“Shut up…” she told him as looked at the scaring on the body. “Ready with the notes?”
He sighed. “Yeah.”
“Okay, one incise extending across the midgut of the GI tract… not able to give you a sure estimate as to what curse, but it definitely was one and my guess is that whoever did this probably even created it…”
Harry couldn't help but let his eyebrows rise at that. “Created it?”
She shrugged. “Doesn't look like anything else I've ever seen, I'll give you a sure answer when I examine the bones. Just keep writing for now, I want to get out of here as soon as possible, we can talk about it later, yeah?”
He nodded, slumping slightly in defeat, but, still, it was Hermione and he had never been able to say no to her as it was. “Sure.”
“Also, note that whoever did this definitely made the slit in the GI tract postmortem.”
“Also write that each of the fifty or so scratches on the corpse are… exactly… five centimeters.”
“Based off of the scarring I'm going to assume that he's been dead for about fifty to seventy hours now, give or take. Given the amount of blood and the extent of burning on the phallus it could have been taken off as much ten or so hours before that-”
Harry groaned as he wrote down her estimations.
“Stop that, Harry, I'm trying to ignore the fact that this is positively vomit worthy and you're not making that very easy for me.—Okay, that's it,” she announced as she got up off the floor moving away from the body she had been kneeling before. “Tell them to send the body over to the pathologist—use Alexandru Ionesco, he works in my department, only one of them I can actually stand talking to as it is… and he'll do a preliminary autopsy to check if the murderer left anything behind so I can then get the bones and try to suss out whatever curses were used for this.”
“Right, well I'm going to have to stay here to look around and see if I can find anything, you want to stay with me or bolt?”
… I think I'm more needed at the-”
He chuckled. “Just go, don't bother with the excuses, I'll see you at dinner tonight, yeah? You and Ron can come on over and we can celebrate your return.”
She smiled, nodding her head slowly. “Sure, what time?”
“Eight or so?”
“So eight,” she told him with a small grin, kissing his cheek as she left with a cheery goodbye, more than thrilled to be leaving.
author's note: so there was another chapter, no idea how well I did with this, probably totally mucked it up, but it's a pretty nasty case—a fact that can only be explained through the fact that I was actually watching “Carrie” while formulating this.
As for the notes on this being like bones, well I can only say I'm flattered that people think so. I actually only got into the show a month ago, after I started formulating this fic, which was while I was still writing Taking off the rose-colored glasses, but the fact that Hermione works with bones was deff. affected by the show since originally she would have been a pathologist, but I figured that she just doesn't seem like one for the gore… to that extent at least. I'm hoping to make this fic entirely separate of Bones, but if it does influence it too much, fell free to warn me.
author's used in this: Ludlum, Herbert, and Ionesco—can anyone guess which authors those were?
special thanks to my betas Searcy and MyUsedRomance as well anyone who reviewed! PLEASE REVIEW!