Chapter 2 : The Detectives
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After a total of three-and-a-half minutes of settling myself into a nice comfy chair, the really fatal kind of comfy chair, there was a smashing fist against the door of the suite. I tried to ignore it for a while, but he was damned persistent, his next step to burst through with some sort of spell. Couldn’t really allow that, you know, seeing that we were not only in a Muggle building, but we were also on a budget here.
I waved my wand and the door opened. He stamped in just like my sister does when she’s in one of her tempers, which is pretty much all the time.
“Potter! How. Dare. You. Give me. Such a crappy job.”
He spoke it with that rhythm, too, rushing the end words in an odd way. Maybe he was trying not to swear. People said he had a potty mouth.
It was going to be one of those discussions, so I turned to the window and brought out my dad’s old Omnioculars. Brilliant things for spying on people. I hoped that Malfoy would get the point and return to his position at the door to the building. What would those Muggles say without their doorman to let them through?
“We have work to do, Malfoy. And it’s not that cold outside today.”
I could hear his fists clench. Well, at least he wasn’t grabbing for his wand first.
“How would you know, being in here?”
His sarcasm was actually kind of cute. He was definitely a pale imitation of his father, and an even paler version of old Lucius, if the stories were true. And I’m sure they were.
“I popped out to get a mocha.” I raised the drink as proof. “And I hope you don’t think that I apparated into the middle of a Starbucks at this time of day.” After a moment of his steaming silence, I added out of pure malice, “Would you have liked one?”
I just had to look back to see his reaction, and I was more than satisfied by his bulging eyes and reddening face and tensed shoulders. He did seem to have a problem with holding his emotions in check, and I wondered how the hell he had passed Disguise when he was so damned emotional. Malfoy wasn’t effeminate or anything, but sometimes he really, really reminded me of my sister. It was downright disturbing.
“I want to be inside,” he said slowly, tilting his head. “Not out in this sh–”
“Language, Malfoy.” I shook my head, then waved a hand to another chair. “If the boss complains about you disobeying his orders–”
“He’ll blame you, of course.”
My eyes shut and I grimaced as much as every other overworked and underpaid under-Auror. We get a lot of practise with it.
“Don’t expect me to go down there instead.” Someone reliable had to be up here.
He crossed his arms and turned to the window. We both stared at it for some time, in which cars passed by, parked and stared off again, dropped people off and picked them up on their way to somewhere. I slurped on my mocha. He huffed and sniffed and said nothing.
All in all, we were quite enjoying ourselves.
There was little action in the girl’s flat. She got up at eleven, then ate breakfast before wandering to the bathroom, turning lights off and on as she went about her business. I don’t exactly know what her business was, but it couldn’t have been much, especially since she spent hours at yoga and even more watching telly. It was unfortunate that the screen was at the wrong angle, otherwise, I’d happily join her at the latter.
Malfoy sat pouting, sniffing and snarling to himself, though I couldn’t figure out why. He had insinuated himself onto the other chair rather than ushering in Muggles from the cold street, and now had the nerve to complain about it. Typical Malfoy. Bet he expected to be running after Dark Wizards in the wilds of... well... somewhere other than here.
Dammit. That’s what I wanted, too.
When he sniffed so loud that I thought his brains were rearranging themselves, I couldn’t remain silent any longer.
“Got a cold, Malfoy? You weren’t out there long enough for that.”
He glared, but rather than achieving death-glare status, he merely looked like a child who’d been denied candy.
“Muggles are dirty.”
Not this again. I thought we’d gotten over those old prejudices in this great modern age.
“That’s a very general sort of generalisation.”
He did not dignify me with a response.
I raised the Omnioculars and stared blankly into her flat. There was a flicker of light from the television that reflected off the pictures on her wall. It turned off an hour later, and she rose, stretching, before wandering over to the kitchen for lunch.
My stomach growled at the thought of lunch.
“What in Merlin’s name was that?” Malfoy leapt up, wand in hand. “Someone trying to get in?” He looked this way and that, but heard nor saw anything move.
Glancing over my shoulder, I told him, “Since you’re standing, you might as well go fetch us some lunch.”
“You mean that was your stomach?”
I blinked. “Yes. I’m sure such a bodily function disgusts you.”
“Really? Your stomach?”
“I didn’t eat enough for breakfast, I suppose....”
He waved his wand in my direction, his face much resembling my sister’s fish. When I think of it, the fish’s nice shade of yellow did add to the resemblance....
“It’s unnatural,” he affirmed, crossing his arms. Well, at least he wasn’t waving that stick in my face anymore. “Not to mention disgusting. And I’m not your slave, Potter.” He sniffed again, raising his chin like the pampered little pout of a boy he was.
I sniffed, too, but could detect nothing suspicious.
His inability to work beneath me was a waste of my professional time. Once this job was over, I could happily squash him beneath my superior boot heel.
The light coming in the window was just right now. I saw Malfoy’s reflection in the glass, his face all scrunched with fury and his wand pointed toward me once again. He was more than a bit wild with the thing, and I’d have to take him to task for that.
After lunch, that is.
He did go, of course, getting me some mediocre slices of meat between whole wheat bread while he, having dished out his own coins to fund such a meal, brandished a very large, very gourmet sandwich. It was a status thing, for certain, but I was above those things and munched on mine in contented silence.
My silence, that is. He crunched and chewed and swallowed with gusto, one particular slurp (what could possibly require slurping in a sandwich, even one of such grandeur?) made me wince and wish I’d brought ear plugs.
When I really thought about it, the answer was simple.
Wand out, mouth shut, I caught him with a silencio when he was too busy staring down at a mustard stain on his trousers. His head lifted, slowly, his eyes appearing first, their irises colourless, nearly lifeless except for the potent scowl that rose from their depths, growing stronger as he opened his mouth and no sound emerged. I could see that the words he mouthed weren’t ones I wanted to hear anyway, so I happily filled the silence with my own, far more melodious tones.
“You eat so loud that I’m sure she can hear you from across the street. Stop eating like a caveman, you dolt.”
He was reaching for his wand.
“Hit me with a spell and even the Beaver won’t be able to save you.”
His mouth opened as though he thought the spell would wear off that soon. After another scowl, he tilted his head at me, eyes narrowed.
So he believed that nothing would happen to him at the office if he smashed me to bits. Little did he know that even the Beaver snickered behind his well-tailored back, and that he’d only been taken on because there was a lull in new recruits. It was at the point where anyone who could manage some good spell-work and was nimble could join the Aurors.
There just weren’t that many truly dark wizards about these days.
Instead, we got to watch the potential girlfriend of a wizarding mobster from Bulgaria. The man himself would have been more interesting. A student of Durmstrang and once a prominent Quidditch player, he had gone flabby a bit before forty and had retired to a convenient life of crime, taking over his uncle’s... or was it a distant cousin’s?... “business”. That kind of word could mean anything from dirty money to smuggling dragon parts, but this guy was far, far worse by most accounts.
I didn’t actually know what he dealt in. I didn’t know what kind of things one could deal in these days at all, seeing that the market was always pretty crowded. Why, one step into Knockturn Alley and–
Ah. I’m forgetting myself.
Pretend I never started that sentence.
It wasn’t until Malfoy tossed his sandwich wrapper at my head that I heard the knocking on the door. When I didn’t move right away, he stood up and stamped over to it, mouthing curses the whole way. By the time he got there, I had risen on shaking legs.
No one was supposed to know we were here. The Muggles believed that this room was closed for renovations, yellow tape across the door in a large X to warn them of impending doom, or just a lot of dust.
Malfoy opened the door.
“Why are you spying on me?” came the impertinent question from the girl on the other side. “Are you creepers or something?”
Little did she know.
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by Luke Grant