Chapter 1 : Prologue
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Madame Rosemerta was not having a good night.
For starters, she had had to break up two scuffles that night, which had always been her least favorite part of being a barmaid. For another, she had been puked on. One of the men in one of the said scuffles was so drunk, that when the man whom had been his best friend upon entering the pub punched him in the stomach, the contents of his stomach came up with his yelp. And finally, now that she actually got to go to sleep, one of her blasted cats had woke her up needing to go out.
She yawned, not bothering to cover her mouth and slowly lowered her feet to the icy cold wooden floors, holding onto her quilt to steady herself. Her balance was only one of the many things that had gone with old age.
Her toes finally felt the warm wool of her slippers and she shoved her feet in them, wincing as her joints creaked and groaned as she stood up. Her back cracked and she hissed in pain, reaching back and massaging the aching joints.
“Yes, yes,” she cooed at one of her cats that was twisting itself around her ankles, meowing at her. “I’m up. I’m up. You can go out now.”
She grabbed her woolen robe that was draped over the edge of her bed and pulled it on slowly, relishing in its relief from the cool night air. The cat continued to wind itself around her feet and she chuckled to herself as she grabbed the guttering candle from her nightstand and walked towards her door. The little black cat followed expectantly at her heels, meowing and urging her forward every few seconds with the bump of its cold nose on the back of her ankle.
She walked carefully and slowly down the stairway that would take her out of her flat and down into her pub. The old wooden stairs creaked under her weight, and Rosemerta shivered. She had never really liked living all alone in this old place, and on nights like this, her fantasies were especially vivid. She gripped the railing tighter as she got to the steepest part of the stairs and eased herself down slowly. She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding as she stepped onto the solid floor again and walked faster over to the back door of the pub behind the bar that lead out to the alley.
“There you go, dear,” Rosemerta said to the cat, unlocking the door and holding it open. The little black cat meowed at her again and then slipped outside. She sighed and wrapped her robe tighter around her before pushing the door farther open and standing in the doorway.
She could hear the rustling of the cat’s paws digging for mice in the rubbish bins just to the right of the door, and she leaned heavily against the frame, shivering and wishing that she could go back up to her warm bed. An owl hooted in the distance, and she shivered from fear this time. She really hated living alone. All of the shadows suddenly seemed much darker and much larger.
Her cat’s sudden hiss shook her from her nightmares and she pushed away from the frame quickly, regretting it once her back cracked uncomfortably. “Hester,” she called warily, inching forward slowly. “What is it love?”
The cat hissed again. Rosemerta inched further toward the trash bins, her heart beginning to beat faster in her chest. She clutched at it nervously; she’d always had problems with her heart. It would do her no good to get worked up over nothing.
“Hester,” she called again. There was a loud rustle from behind the bins and she saw her cat’s golden-green eyes shine from the dimness between the bins and the brick wall. “There you are deary, what did you find? A big mouse?”
By now, Rosemerta was close enough to see that her cat was facing away from her, and all of the small hairs on her back were standing straight up. “What is it, Hester?”
The cat hissed again and Rosemerta looked down at where the cat was looking, squinting and holding the candle closer. It couldn’t be.
A man’s shoe was sticking out from behind the rubbish bin, which wasn’t very uncommon, considering a lot of her patrons liked to get drunk and leave their shoes behind. She leaned closer though, and saw a navy blue pant leg attached to the shoe. “Dear Merlin,” she whispered, holding the candle higher to get a better look. Her heart was ready to beat out of her chest.
And then, her bloodcurdling scream pierced the night air.
She hated nights like this. She had not become an Auror to spend her Saturday nights filing paperwork and being harassed by her partner. She had become an Auror to live up to her parents’ incredible legacy – to prove that she too could catch dark wizards.
She sighed loudly as her fingers fumbled over another sheet of parchment, accidentally slicing open her finger and she stuck the wound in her mouth, sucking on it to help it clot faster. Her blood tasted metallic in her mouth and she grimaced, pulling her finger out with an audible pop and pointing her wand at it. The skin healed over itself instantly and she replaced her wand back in her jeans pocket, blowing a strand of her auburn hair back out of her face.
What had she been doing again?
“Right,” she muttered, glancing back down at the despised piece of parchment that she had let flutter to her desk after she had cut herself. She reached out to grab it, but her hand froze in midair and her resolve crumpled. She sat back hard in her chair, propping her feet up on her desk and knocking over one of the giant piles of paper that she could never seem to get rid of off, but she couldn’t bring herself to care.
She hated being on call. She hated being on call with nothing to do. And even more than that, she hated paperwork.
She ran her hands over her face wearily, massaging her temples, and let her head fall back against the headrest uncomfortably due to her ponytail. Her elastic dug into the base of her neck, but again, she couldn’t bring herself to care.
No one would notice if she fell asleep. The only other person here was her partner, and knowing him, he had probably been asleep at his desk the entire time. At least she had tried.
She shut her eyes, which didn’t require much effort, considering they’d been threatening to close of their own accord for the past half hour. Her normally tense, long muscles eased out and became looser and she smiled to herself. Yes, this was the way to spend a night on call.
“Hey, Rosie-Posey, don’t pretend to be asleep because I know you’re not.”
Speak of the devil.
“What do you want, Malfoy?” Rose Weasley snapped, sitting back up to attention, her feet sliding off the desk and back to the floor uncomfortably. “And how many times am I going to have to tell you not to call me that?”
“At least once more, Rosie-Posey.” Scorpius Malfoy’s aristocratic features turned up into a smirk.
Rose gritted her teeth.
“Did you have a purpose here bothering me, or did you just come over here to annoy me?”
“Actually, I have a purpose this time,” he grinned, showing off his bright white teeth and winking at her. He strode confidently into her cubicle, and before she could open her mouth to protest had settled himself on her desk on top of the paper she had given up filing.
“Spit it out, Malfoy,” she growled, and he smirked again.
She knew that he liked annoying her, and she had vowed many times to not fall for his tricks, but she couldn’t help herself. He had infuriated her since the first day she met him. He was arrogant, and selfish, and overall just a jerk. She had had a right fit when he Uncle made him her partner, but Harry had refused to change it. He said that they worked well together, and as much as she hated to admit it – they did.
When they weren’t arguing, that was…
“We have a hit.”
“What? Really? Where?”
Rose was up and out of her seat, her hand on her wand and ready to go. She loved going out on missions. The thrill of the hunt, the feeling of power coursing through her veins as she took down a Dark Wizard – it was her own personal high.
“Slow down there, Weasley. Hit’s already dead. Two dead bodies found up in the back alley outside of the Three Broomsticks. Rosemerta found them less than an hour ago. Neighbors heard her screaming and finally came around to see what was wrong. Old Aberforth’s the one that Flooed in the message. Just got the memo from Security now. If we hurry, this case will still be on our beat.”
“Then why are we sitting around here? Let’s move, move, move!” Rose cried, picking up the paperweight that rested on a stack of papers and chucking it at him.
Scorpius yelped and dodged the heavy projectile just barely – it soared over his head and bounced off the wall of the cubicle behind him with a loud thump, leaving a round indent there.
“Watch it, Weasley,” he growled, rubbing his head even though he hadn’t been hit. “If you take my head off, we won’t be able to go on this case you are so desperate for.”
“Yeah, yeah,” she sighed, brushing off his comments as she pulled on her set of black uniform robes over her jeans and t-shirt, fastening her Auror’s badge to the front. “Go get ready, Malfoy.”
She saw him roll his eyes at her as he hopped down from her desk and he muttered something in a high pitched voice that she assumed was supposed to be a mock version of hers as he walked by. She swatted at him, but only managed to hit the air as he artfully executed a well practiced dodge. He chuckled and she huffed, covertly waving her wand and sending the paperweight that she had thrown at him before shooting through the air.
She adjusted her badge and waited, tucking another stray strand of hair behind her ear. She heard the dull thunk of it hitting its target and Scorpius’s cry of pain, and she smirked.
No one called Rose Weasley Rosie-Posey and got away with it.
Rose and Scorpius Apparated to Hogsmeade after Scorpius had finished complaining about the lump that was forming on the back of his head and after Rose had mumbled an apology. He seemed to still be bitter about it, and was mumbling under his breath, but Rose tuned him out, striding confidently up high street towards the Three Broomsticks.
For a town that was usually so sleepy and silent, it was odd tonight – everywhere lights were on and sound trickled out from under doorsteps. She glanced at her watch – it was almost three in the morning – and bit her lip. Their job here would really be ten times easier without an audience.
Her uncle, if he had been here, would have probably killed her for doing what she knew she had to do, but she did it anyway, pulling her wand out of her pocket and waving it like a lasso above her head. She heard the locks in all the doors around her click shut and saw the silvery shimmer of the wards she had put in place in front of all the doorsteps. Where the night had been loud and filled with nervous whispers before, it was completely silent, and she reveled in the silence for a moment.
“Come on, Weasley!” Scorpius called, coming up behind her and clapping her on the shoulder, making her jump. “We’ve got a murder to solve.”
“Who says it’s a murder?” she asked, shrugging his hand off her shoulder.
“Two dead guys behind a bar. Screaming old lady. I say murder.”
He winked at her and trotted off towards the bar and Rose resisted the urge to curse him. She’d already hurt him enough tonight.
She loped after him, wand at the ready and mumbling under her breath. Her heart was beating excitedly and she could feel her palm start to sweat in anticipation. She pushed open the door to the Three Broomsticks and immediately saw Madame Rosemerta sitting at one of the empty tables, her wrinkled face in her hands and her rounded back shaking with sobs. She looked up when she heard Rose enter the pub and sniffled, pointing wordlessly towards the back door.
Rose nodded in thanks, and walked through the open door, out into the alley. It was colder out here and it would have been darker than high street if it wasn’t for all of the people milling about with their wands lit. She recognized Ben Thomas from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement milling about across the alley and he waved at her when he caught her eye. She glanced over at where Scorpius was examining the bodies and strode over to Ben, grinning.
“Pretty macabre, aye?” he asked, not bothering for a flowery introduction.
“Is it?” she asked. “I wouldn’t know. Haven’t seen the bodies yet.”
“Go and do your job then,” he ordered her, shoving her towards the rubbish bins.
She rolled her eyes, but did as she was told, striding confidently over to where Scorpius was still kneeling over the bodies.
“What do we have here?” she asked, leaning over Scorpius’s hunched back to see.
She felt her blood run cold and she staggered back a step before she felt a cold hang grab her around the wrist and steady her. She looked down to see Scorpius holding her wrist, and she might have yanked her arm back had she not been so in shock. She was going to be sick.
“I know,” he said quietly, and she lowered herself slowly to her knees next to him.
There on the ground in front of them, were the bodies of their two colleagues, Fagan Gallagher and Dennis Finnegan.
Rose felt a lump rise in her throat and she tried to swallow it down. She was trained to handle situations like this. She had seen plenty of dead bodies before. Plenty of bodies that had been much bloodier than this. From the looks of it, they had died by the Avada Kedavra curse. There wasn’t a mark on them. No sign of struggle.
She swallowed hard again and glanced around. “Are their wands here?”
Scorpius shook his head of shaggy blonde hair and stood up. “I haven’t looked yet.”
“We have to try to be professional,” she murmured to him as she stood as well. “Even though we know them.”
“You should go send an owl to Harry. Wake him up. I don’t care if he’s on vacation. Two of our top Aurors are dead in an alley. There is going to be hell to pay.”
She nodded and straightened her robes, striding back towards the pub. She’d put in an owl to Teddy as well. He was a Healer, and also a well respected medical examiner. Not that they really needed one. Even a child could have told them what killed Gallagher and Finnegan. Still. It would be nice to know the time of death.
Rosemerta looked up again as she entered the pub and Rose smiled tentatively at her.
“Hello, ma’am,” she said, sticking strictly to procedure. As much as she liked the old barmaid, she couldn’t let her personal feelings interfere with her job. “Do you have an owl I can borrow?”
“I’m sorry,” Rosemerta replied shakily. “My old barn owl passed away over the winter. I have yet to replace her.”
“That’s all right,” Rose smiled stiffly. “Thank you anyway.”
She walked past the table the barmaid was still sitting at and out into the chilly night air, pulling out her wand once again. She summoned her patronus, a long-eared hare, and quickly mumbled messages to both Harry and Teddy. She watched as it sped off into the night, leaving a trail of white light behind it that eventually faded. She was about to turn back into the pub when she heard a hoarse male voice shout “Morsmordre!” and then saw a bolt of green light shoot into the sky.
Rose didn’t have to look up into the clouds to see the Dark Mark hanging in the sky over the Three Broomsticks. She had heard enough of her parents’ stories to know what that spell meant. Instead, she followed the greenish trail that the green light had sent. It had come from the small patch of trees behind the house across the street.
She gripped her wand tighter in her hand and sprinted across the deserted street, glad again that she had put up wards to stop civilians from coming out of their houses. With the Dark Mark in the sky, panic was sure to ensue. And to think she thought this was going to be just another murder case.
Her trainers pounded against the gravel and her lungs burned, but she didn’t stop, racing around the side of the house and down the sloping incline towards the trees. She could hear someone or something inside scrambling to move and she pushed faster. A shot of green flew over her head, and she ducked behind a tree, feeling the rush of it zoom barely past her face. Merlin, whoever it was meant business.
She aimed her wand out first and saw a dark figure dart towards the tree kiddy corner to hers and she shot a stunning spell at them, which they easily deflected. Another green light shot towards her, but she ducked it, and shot another stunner at them. Again, they deflected it.
She was about to shoot another curse at them when she heard them shout another curse and a large cut ripped through her robes and her shirt. She fell to the ground and screamed, holding her side. It was burning, like someone had pressed a hot poker to her bare skin, and she felt the hot stickiness of her blood. But she couldn’t let him get away.
She pushed herself to her feet, even though her side screamed in agony and rushed forward again. Whoever it was, they had taken advantage of her injury and had darted ahead. Rose didn’t pause in her running, praying to Merlin that Ben or Scorpius or someone had thought to put up non-Apparition wards on the village. She couldn’t see whoever it was, but she could hear them blundering through the undergrowth ahead, and she charged forward.
She finally caught a glimpse of them in time to see them mount a broomstick that they obviously had placed there for escape and kick off into the night air.
“No!” she screamed, rushing forward and firing curse after curse up after him, but it was too late.
Whoever it was, they rose so rapidly that her curses exploded into the night sky like a fireworks show, and the figure disappeared into the dark night sky.
Rose collapsed on the ground, the pain in her side finally overcoming her, and she lay on the cool mossy forest floor for a few minutes, trying to get her breath back and holding her side. A stick was poking into her back and she groaned, rolling over and pulling it out from underneath her. As her fingers grasped the stick though, she paused, suddenly feeling like she had found the Holy Grail.
That was much too smooth to just be another twig. She pulled the piece of wood out from underneath her and grinned. Yes, that was most definitely a wand.
Rose was about to light her wand to examine it closer when she heard someone running through the woods behind her and she stood shakily to her feet, her side absolutely on fire now. She pointed her wand at whomever it was, prepared to curse this jerk into oblivion when Scorpius’s bright blonde hair burst through the trees, twigs in his hair and a wild look in his eyes.
“Rose! Where is he? Are you okay? Merlin, your side-“
“He got away,” she replied sadly. “He had a broom. Arse cursed me and cut my side. I fell behind. I don’t know who this is, but look, I found his wand-“
She showed him the long piece of wood in her hand. He lit his wand and aimed it at the engravings in the handle of the wand in her hand. They both leaned in closer, squinting to read the few letters that had been cut into the handle.
For the third time that night, Rose felt her blood run cold.
In the wand, there were three letters. JSP.
Scorpius raised his fist to knock on the dark wooden door in front of him, but paused, turning to look back at his partner. Rose stood behind him, wand clasped tightly in her hand and staring straight forward. If anyone who didn’t know her well had looked at her, they would have just seen an Auror doing their job. But he had been partners with Rose now for two years. And he had been annoying her for close to fifteen years now. He liked to think he had a good knowledge of her facial expressions.
And while she may have been staring stonily ahead, he was pretty sure she wasn’t actually seeing anything in front of them. Her hazel eyes had a glassy look to them and her hand was gripping her wand much too hard for her not to be nervous.
“Rose,” he said loudly, and her head snapped to look over at him. “Focus.”
She nodded and twisted her wrist experimentally to loosen it. He could see her white t-shirt underneath her robes, although now it was more red from bloodstains that white. He wondered for a moment if he shouldn’t have taken her to St. Mungo’s and then come to Potter’s flat alone, but he knew that even if Rose hadn’t had some dittany with her she would have insisted on coming anyway.
Rose wasn’t anything if she wasn’t stubborn.
He turned back around, unable to look at her wounds any longer and knocked hard on the door twice, gripping his wand in his pocket just in case. They both waited for the door to open, or even for the sound of footsteps, but he didn’t hear anything. He glanced back at Rose, who was frowning, and then knocked again.
“Auror Department, open up!”
Again, there was no answer.
He glanced back at Rose again, who now just looked angry. She nodded and stepped forward and he stepped out of her way. She banged on the door much louder than he had and shouted “James, open the door or we are coming in there!”
They both paused and listened, but again, nothing.
“Maybe he’s not home?” he offered, and she shook her head.
“He’s in there.”
He stepped forward again and she stepped out of his way. He brandished his wand at the door and shouted “Bombardier!” and the door burst open in an explosion of wood splinters and a loud bang. Rose quickly set up the wards that had come in so handy in Hogsmeade and then pointed her wand at the door.
They both stepped over the wreckage of the door and into James’ kitchen
Rose waved her wand and all of the cupboards burst open, causing dishes to clatter to the floor. Nothing.
“Split up,” Scorpius ordered, glancing around at the now close to ruined kitchen. “I’ll look in the bedrooms; you take the office and the living room.”
She nodded, and he watched her walk down the small hallway towards the living room while he went the other way. He needn’t have bothered though, for a second later he heard a shout from the living room and then a crash. He sprinted back around, wand at the ready and his heart pounding. If Rose got hurt for the second time tonight while he wasn’t there – well, he didn’t want to think about it.
He skidded around the corner in time to see James Potter charge at his cousin. He acted without thinking, throwing a shield charm in between them that was so powerful it bounced James back into his wall.
Rose whipped her head around to look at him and grinned. He smirked back at her and felt slightly triumphant when she scowled at him and then turned back to their quarry.
“What the hell is going on here?” James cried after having scrambled back to his feet. He was patting all his pockets frantically.
“Looking for your wand, Potter?” Scorpius asked, grinning smugly. “Don’t bother, we already found it.” He reached into the inside pocket of his robes and pulled out the wand they had found in the woods. James’ mouth dropped open in shock, and he opened and closed it a few times before clenching his fists and stuttering out “where in the hell did you get that?”
“Don’t pretend like you don’t know,” Rose spat. Scorpius was a bit taken aback by her tone. He’d heard her use that voice many times when dealing with other criminals, but never her cousin. He felt a twinge of sympathy for her – having to arrest your cousin for murder couldn’t have been a walk in the park. It was a mark of her nerves that she was able to manage to stay professional.
James just looked at her blankly, as surprised by her tone as Scorpius had been.
“We found your wand in the woods just outside of Hogsmeade, Mr. Potter. You dropped it when you took off on your broomstick while my partner here was pursuing you.”
“I wasn’t anywhere near those woods!” James shouted. “I’ve been here, asleep on my couch for the past six hours.”
“Lying to us is not going to help you, Potter,” Rose said coldly. “We’ve run the proper tests on your wand, and it clearly shows that the last three spells used by it were the Avada Kedavra curse used twice, and the curse that created the Dark Mark in the sky that hung over the two bodies.”
“You think I murdered someone?” James cried, eyes nearly bugging out of his head. “That’s impossible. I couldn’t kill anyone! I wouldn’t kill anyone!”
“Two people, to be correct,” Scorpius told him.
“Two Aurors,” Rose corrected.
“I did not kill two Aurors,” James insisted, shaking his head of long black hair furiously. “Rosie, you’ve got to believe me.”
“Is that a broomstick there, Mr. Potter?” Rose asked, ignoring his pleas, although Scorpius could see a flash of emotion pass over her face.
All three of them turned to look in the corner where Rose was pointing. Sure enough, a broomstick resembling exactly the broomstick she had described to him earlier was perched in the corner, leaning against the wall. James gaped at the broom for a moment, and then whipped around and tried to sprint towards the door.
Scorpius reacted instantly, throwing his body in between James and the doorway, catching his shoulders and trying to force him back. He was about the same height as James, but James was thicker, more muscular, where Scorpius was lithe and fast. He dug his heels into the carpet, trying not to let James push him back. James’ arm came up, and Scorpius braced himself for the blow to the face that he was expecting, but it never came.
He opened his eyes again to see Rose gripping James arm, pulling on it with all her might. James’ eyes widened, and he submitted. Rose forced both his arms behind his back and with her wand fastened a rope around his wrists.
Scorpius stepped back, breathing heavily, and Rose looked at him and nodded before prodding James forward. They began to walk, James’ head hung in defeat, and Rose looking solemn.
“Mr. Potter,” she said in her most professional Auror voice, “you are under the arrest for the murder of the Aurors Fagan Gallagher and Dennis Finnegan. You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney-“
Her voice became fainter as she guided James out of the room and Scorpius stopped listening. He’d heard Rose read criminals their rights many times, and it all blended together for him.
He looked around the destroyed living room one last time and sighed, running his hand through his long blonde hair wearily.
Why did he feel like they’d just done something horridly wrong?
A/N: Welcome to my new story! I hope you all liked it!
This whole style is a bit different for me - third person, action, and murder - but I'm really excited about this story and I hope you all are too.
Not much to say tis time around, since it's only the first chapter, but I'd really appreciate it if you'd please review.
Thanks for reading everyone!