Chapter 1 : Chapter 1
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Simply Stunning Chapter Image by: nmpsr_14 @ TDA
She was going to be late. She couldn’t believe it. 24-year old Hermione Granger groaned in annoyance as she half trotted half walked through the throng of people. She hated how crowded Diagon Alley was in the mornings. She didn’t want to miss the Auror meeting, Harry was counting on her.
“Please don’t kill me!” she muttered, while passing through the busy crowd of wizards and witches hurrying to wherever they needed to go, and mentally cursing Diagon Alley for being so crowded.
Some witches gave her a dirty look as her tote hand bag accidently wacked one of them on the shoulder, she sighed impatiently and muttered a quick apology. For once thankful she had listened to Ginny - who thought she needed to add a little ‘mystery’ to her look- and decided to wear sunglasses.
Generally she didn’t come to all Auror meetings, but Harry who was standing in for Neville while he was away, had requested her help, and had also mentioned that Kingsley who was the Minister for Magic had wanted to talk to them. So she figured it had to be pretty important. She glanced briefly at her watch, 9:52; Harry had said to be there by 10:00.
She quickened her pace if that was possible, and nearly walked into the row of newspaper stands, all of which were lined up with today’s issues of; Wizarding Life, Average Wizard,The Daily Prophet,The Quibbler,Witch Weekly, and various others. The man who was in charge of the booth, frowned at her as she bypassed him.
It was almost six years since the war had ended and she had graduated from Hogwarts at the top of her N.E.W.T.s class. She was now working for the Ministry of Magic in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, as were most of her friends.
She was in the Investigation Department a subdivision of the Auror Office; she was practically in charge of the department, since it had only been opened in 1998 to catch the criminals of war.
Although she only reviewed and put together the files for each cases; more specifically every case Harry worked on, which was mostly all of them. She loved her job surprising many people along the way, since most people thought she would become Head of the Law Department.
However after the war and seeing all those bodies of former classmates and people, she knew and loved. She knew she wouldn’t be able to handle sentences or even bare to see any of those notorious Deatheaters, she had realized that she didn’t want to do a job so depressing, so she decided to help by providing Aurors with research and investigations instead. So far she was happy with what she had decided with.
Many people had also been surprised when she and Ron didn’t get together, but after the war, they had tried to make it work, but they realized they were better off as friends. She had seen Ron only once since the breakup, it was at Harry and Ginny’s wedding, and as far as she knew Ron was happy and dating the youngest daughter of the American Minister for Magic.
She exhaled as she finally reached the Ministry Atrium, the building as pretentious as ever, although Kingsley had added some changes after the war, such as proper functioning elevators, and recently far more security was added in 2001 ever since the attack on the muggles in New York City as a safety precaution.
She opened the door of the Atrium welcoming the light breeze; she glanced at the large Rolex cloak and saw that it was 9:55. She waved at the security guard who was sitting at the desk behind a spell-proof window pane and showed her ID card which automatically opened the barrier of the gate in front of her. She smiled at him in thanks and he nodded back. She quickly headed towards the elevators which were now empty as rush hour in the mornings at the Ministry ended at 9:00 AM sharp.
She breathed a sigh of relief as the elevator doors closed; she pressed the button for the 2nd level. She glanced at her reflection on the mirror walls and took off her glasses and put them in her bag. Then she neatly tucked her hair into a messy bun, just as the elevator doors opened with a bell.
“Department of Magical Law Enforcement”, a recorded voice spoke. She glanced at her reflection one more time then walked down the medium lit corridor to the Auror Office listening to the chatter of voices from the other sub-divisions. She stopped at fifth door on her right, she heard low murmurs coming from inside and a deep chuckle following. She knocked gently on the door and heard a shout “Come in!”
She swung open the door and walked in, and found Harry, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Remus Lupin already there. They were all seated at the long table with their heads bent over the massive amounts of files and documents spread out all over. They hadn’t even glanced up as she entered the room. All except for Tonks who was standing in the mini kitchen in the back room, which was attached to the meeting room by a glass sliding door.
“Wotcher Hermione.” Tonks greeted her with a smile, leaning by the sink, her trade mark pink hair coiled loosely in curls, she was wearing a pair of ripped dark jeans with a faded dolman-sleeved loose purple sweater and was holding a bunch of papers in one hand while holding a mug of coffee with the other one. Hermione suspected she was the one who had ‘told’ her to come in.
She smiled back “Hello Tonks! You look tired”
“Yah I’m beat, it sure isn’t easy kicking butt and being pregnant. I swear it seemed easier with Teddy.” Tonks said lightly patting her bulging stomach.
Hermione smiled sympathetically, “It’s only a few more months than you’ll have a beautiful baby!”
Tonks huffed, “It’d better be a beautiful girl or all this will be for nothing.”
Hermione laughed, “Honestly Tonks!”
“What? I’m serious! I’ve been experiencing bladder problems for the past few weeks and not to mention, the lack of sleep.”
“well did you ever think of taking leave for awhile?”
“leave are you kidding, then I’d for sure be reduced to boredom, and well end up being such a bitchy hormonal pregnant lady, I’ll probably make Teddy cry!”
Hermione giggled, “wow you are grouchy.”
“yah no thanks to you, you haven’t been coming to the office for so long, I was absolutely dying for some female company, honestly these guys can really be absolutely thick at times” Tonks glared pointedly at Remus.
Hermione sighed understanding at once at what Tonks was referring too, “yah I know what you mean. Don’t worry he’ll come around, Harry will have a word with him.”
Tonks snorted, “Sure”
Hermione patted her on the shoulder reassuringly, “So do you know what the meeting is about?”
Tonks shrugged “have no idea, Harry was pretty serious about everyone being here, heck he didn’t even let us see the file about this. Seriously he should just take over already and become Head of the department; he practically runs it anyway with Neville going to Hogwarts most of the time and all. So are you going to talk to Harry or what?’
Hermione looked over at the table, they seemed oblivious to the conversation that was happening in the room behind the table, and bit her lip, “They look kind of busy Tonks, I’ll wait until the meeting starts.”
Tonks rolled her eyes good-naturally, “it’s already 10:00 Hermione” she said loudly causing everyone by the table to look up.
Hermione smiled and shook her head at her antics, then went over to the table and took a seat at the long table.
“Hey Guys” she said smiling at everyone.
“Hello Hermione” Kingsley’s booming voice greeted her with a smile.
She beamed “Hi Kingsley.”
Harry looked up from the documents he was reviewing with Kingsley and smiled at her,
“Hello Hermione, glad you could make it; I’ll talk to you in a bit ok.”
She grinned, “Alright, no problem.”
He grinned back and continued reviewing the files. Of course, Harry would be on time, he was the ‘unofficial’ head of the Auror Department since Neville was away.
She turned to speak to Remus who was sitting on her left and he smiled wanly at her.
“What do you think this is about” she whispered
Remus shrugged: “I’m not sure really Harry’s been keeping quite”; he whispered back, “but I guess it’s pretty serious since he seemed stresses about it. - Well more than he normally is anyway” He added hastily at the skeptical look on Hermione’s face.
Then he leaned back in his chair with a thoughtful look on his face. Hermione shared a look with Tonks who had come and sat across from Remus, she had her head tipped to the side and was trying to sneak a peek at whatever Harry and Kingsley were looking at.
By 10:10 everyone had arrived and was looking at Harry, who had cleared his throat and stood waiting for everyone’s attention. He smiled at everyone, “Well now that everyone’s here we can begin. As you all know, yesterday I sent everyone a message via Owl or in some cases; I personally called your houses, about this meeting and told you how important it is.”
He paused for a moment and his eyes held Hermione’s.
He gave them all a knowing look “Well I bet all of you are dying to know what this meeting is about so I’ll get to it. For starters you all will be happy to know that we have rounded up some of our wanted criminals, and now they’re waiting trail in Azkaban,” he paused as shouts and whoops of joy came from all of the Aurors. Tonks whistled to quiet everybody down.
Harry grinned at her “Thanks Tonks” and she winked at him with a mischievous grin on her face. He continued, “It obviously isn’t everything we’ve hoped for, but it’s a step in the right direction, hopefully we can find all of them by the end of this year, no doubt you are all working hard on tracking them and also for the group of Aurors and Hit Wizards who are out tracing them. But this is not the main purpose of this meeting.”
He coughed lightly “Kingsly care to do the honors”
Kingsly nodded, stood up, and spoke in his deep booming voice.
“I trust everyone is following so far?” he questioned, receiving nods from the Aurors.
“All right, the other reason of this meeting was that most Pureblood families are mellowing and some of them are willing to let their children marry Muggle-born wizards and witches, and yesterday I had a private meeting with Mr. Draco Malfoy where he personally asked for a Muggle-born witch to marry and is looking for immediate arrangements. I told him, I would let him know as soon as possible. However we have also unfortunately received a note from an anonymous source who is claiming that, some Death Eaters who supposedly went into hiding four years ago, have now been spotted south of England, near Wiltshire.”
“Which is exactly where Malfoy Manner is located.” interrupted Harry while Hermione rolled her eyes at Harry’s obvious theory of Malfoy is a Death Eater.
Kinsley nodded “Yes but were not exactly sure if Mr. Malfoy is involved in anyway. Which is why I wanted put an Auror in, under the pretense of being Mr. Malfoys future wife, so we can investigate if Mr. Malfoy is really up to something. And since we don’t have many willing Muggle-born Aurors here, it will be extremely hard to make that work, although I do have one person in mind but we still would appreciate your cooperation.”
A couple of Aurors shouted their protests and some of the female Aurors looked horrified at the prospect of the task, most especially the muggleborns such as Robyn O’Reily, Sara Linley, Kathryn Winsor, and Louise Bradshaw. Tonks looked stunned and her hair turned dark blue. Remus however had a frown on his face as he glanced at Harry with knowing eyes, Harry avoided his gaze
Kingsley looked powerlessly around the room: He looked so tired and weary that Hermione heard herself say, “I’ll do it.”
The room went deathly silent and all eyes went towards her.
Kingsley glanced at Hermione his face serious as he spoke “Are you sure about this.”
Hermione nodded “I’m sure”; her was voice steady, and her face was filled with determination.
Kingsley nodded, “Very well then, he turned towards everyone “Hermione will go to Malfoy Manor as Draco Malfoy’s wife. Meeting adjourned!”
The room slowly sprang back to life, and most of the female Aurors left without as so much of a glance backwards as though fearing maybe they’d end up getting roped up into this assignment instead.
Hermione sighed, Kingsley glanced at her softly, “Please step into my office; and you too Harry,” He said with a worried glance at Harry who was frowning, he seemed to be lost in his thoughts.
However she didn’t have time to ponder as Remus and Tonks came up to her. Remus spoke up first “I hope you understand what you’re getting yourself into Hermione.”
She sighed “I do Remus”
He exhaled, “Well alright then but I want you to take care of yourself understand, this isn’t Hogwarts anymore or the war, so don’t do anything rash.”
Hermione nodded “I won’t Remus, and besides don’t you think you need to tell Harry that”
Remus grinned “maybe but just be careful and listen to what your instincts and brain tell you’
She smiled “thanks Remus”
Remus smiled at her and Tonks pretend to wipe sweat off her brow “well that was a speech that could rival Kingsley’s’ she said sarcastically then she glanced at Hermione and her face turned serious “ But really Hermione, be careful alright, and don’t let Malfoy get to you, although I’ve heard he can be a bit of some nasty work.”
Hermione laughed “I won’t Tonks, but you and Remus won’t tell anyone yet, well you?”
Tonks shook her head, “Don’t worry we won’t, its part of the confidentiality rules- she air quoted “confidentiality rules”- so that means your secret’s safe with us and none of the others will rat you out.”
Hermione grinned “Thanks Tonks”
Tonks laughed “No problem, although you probably better get to your meeting with Kingsley; so we’ll see you later and remember 'mum’s the word."
Hermione nodded “Alright then, give Teddy a kiss from me”
Tonks nodded “I will.” She gave Hermione a hug then glanced worriedly Harry; who was putting some documents into a file. Then she turned and left the room with Remus in toe.
Hermione glanced at Harry who gave her a brief smile, then followed her into Kingsley’s office.
A/N: I changed Hermione's age from 19 to 24 cause her previous age would not fit in with the story.I also did some minor changes, it won’t really affect the story THAT much so don’t worry about it that much! Thanks so much for understanding :)
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