I hated, hated working on Saturdays. I avoided it at all costs. Unfortunately, when I arrived home (alone) on Friday evening, an owl was waiting for me. Lupin, it seemed, had no problem working late nights, and had had the audacity to tell me he’d got a lead on this case. Apparently, his ‘past experience with similar cases lead to a breakthrough’, whatever that meant.
I still couldn’t figure out what was so special about him that Uncle Harry had felt the need to pull him off the cold case he’d been chasing for years, and bring him here. Internal cases were important, but not that important.
I wouldn’t have put it past one of my meddling family members to spill details of my love life (or lack thereof, at least until recently) to Uncle Harry, who then would have felt the need to bring in Lupin to resolve some past issues of ours.
It was none of their damn business, in my opinion. I decided to ask Dom as soon as possible, nothing slipped past my sister.
Pulling myself up straight, I forced all thoughts of past relationships out of my mind, and focused on the task at hand. With Lupin making a breakthrough last night, I felt obliged to come in early this morning and compensate. I could not have him stealing all the glory on this case. No freaking way.
“Ah, what a surprise to see you here this early.”
Groaning, I turned slightly to see Lupin leaning against the ‘kitchen’, arms folded, smug smirk in place.
I shouldn’t have been surprised.
“What, you really have nothing better to do than spend not only all of Friday here, but Saturday as well?” I jibed, watching as his eyes narrowed at my insult.
There was a slight undertone to my statement, something I’d never say out loud. By insinuating that he had no social obligations, I’d also pried into his private life. I had no doubt that he’d lie, or mock me in return, but a part of me was insanely curious to know just who he went home to in the evenings, if anyone.
Apparently, he was well aware of this, and didn’t answer me directly.
“You’ll have to do a bit better than that, Vic,” he said, taking care to accent the last syllable.
Unlike the last time he’d uttered the nickname, we were both slightly prepared for it, and it wasn’t an accident. My eyes narrowed, just as his had a minute ago.
“Oh, Teddy dear, don’t delude yourself into thinking I care,” I found myself saying, my voice light, with a venomous edge. I sounded completely unlike myself - funnily enough, Lupin had always been good at bringing out sides I never knew I possessed.
To his credit, Lupin didn’t flinch, he simply half smiled, and pushed off from the wall, heading towards my - ours now, I suppose - cubicle.
There was an awkward silence as we progressed down the row. I studied the back of his neck silently, only speaking when we were settled. Lupin had placed a chair next to my desk in my cubicle. Thankfully, someone had had the foresight to cast an undetectable extension charm, so it wasn‘t too cosy.
“So, I hear you discovered something last night, Lupin?” I stated, cutting right to the chase. No need to waste time, especially since we were working on a weekend. Such a thing was fairly unusual for me, so I couldn’t help but whine about it, if only in my own head.
Of course, I was well aware that it was Lupin’s presence more than anything that was making me grumble. To be completely honest, I had had no plans for the weekend anyway, and would have most likely come back to the department at some point on Sunday. I only ever came into the office on a weekend if I hadn’t closed whatever case I was on during that week. Thankfully, I was fairly efficient and didn’t have to come in for more than a couple of weekends a year. I certainly never came in on a Saturday, only ever on a Sunday. Having at least one day to rest was important, after all.
“Oh, I was merely compiling our notes from the D.O.M workers when, well,” Lupin started, waving his hand as if to brush it off, “when the pieces started to fall together.”
He paused, and I had no doubt that it was for dramatics. Lupin had always loved that stuff.
“The memories Scraton was recovering, the man he was recovering them from, well, the name was familiar to me. Good reason, too.”
He lent back in his chair, placing one ankle on the other knee, the picture of confidence, a smug smirk once again on his face.
“He was a victim, the first victim actually, in the cold case I’ve been chasing.”
I drew in a sharp breath, my eyes flicking to his.
“So that’s why you’re here,” I said softly - it all made sense now.
If he’d been on this cold case, as he claimed, he would have had an ear out for any goings on in the Ministry about it. A researcher sniffing around memories would certainly qualify, and I wagered it would be enough to bring Lupin back to London.
Of course, it was also highly likely that Uncle Harry had tipped him off to the memories and called him in, and as soon as the case had landed in my lap, Lupin would have been asked to stay. Uncle Harry had a point - whilst this new case was mine, if it truly intersected with a cold case, then it was also Lupin’s.
The lines with this sort of thing were horribly blurred. Cold cases almost never got a breakthrough, which was a large part of the reason why I didn’t understand Lupin at all. Who would willingly decide to chase a case they had little hope in closing?
Lupin hadn’t said anything, instead we were sitting in silence while I thought it all over. I looked up at him, my lips pursed slightly.
“Well, are you going to show me what you’ve got, or not?” I said with an edge of impatience, and Lupin smiled dryly, handing me a folder.
“Be warned, it’s not a pretty case,” he said, chuckling slightly as he winked at me.
Once again, I narrowed my eyes at him. If this kept up, I’d get sore muscles around my eyes from doing that, if that was even possible.
I flicked the folder open. I’d never had details on the case Lupin had been chasing, but he’d been tempted enough by it to just pick up and leave London, and all of us. Naturally I’d been curious, and now I could finally satisfy that curiosity.
It was a case opened in the early 2000s; it had been dismissed then for lack of evidence.
After the wizarding war, we, the magical community, had suffered through a bit of an economic crisis. Things had been tough, and we’d all been recuperating. I, of course, had been too young to remember it, but I’d heard a lot about it.
Uncle Harry had been new in the department, and from my limited knowledge, I knew crime had been high. Not every Dark Wizard had been caught immediately, and there were plenty of people who’d had homes destroyed and love ones who died. It was the aftermath.
This case looked like an extension of that blow out. A supply trafficking ring, or at least that’s what it had started out as. As I flicked through the folder, my eyebrows rose more and more. Trading in black magic was apparent, and I would bet my broomstick that those spoken of in the file were those who, back in the day, had run rampant in Knockturn Alley.
That place had turned rather respectable now, and the, er, less legal trade that had operated there had gone underground. This ring that Lupin had been chasing seemed like it could be them, though of course that would be impossible to prove. There were lists and lists of crimes, but they could never pin it on a suspect.
A shiver ran down my spine. This case had clearly been shunted away, closed, forgotten about, until Uncle Harry had resurrected it. It gave me a bad feeling.
This ring had, clearly, turned to murder at some point. The memories Ray Scraton had been working on had been from the first victim. It was clear to me now that Lupin had made the connection. Whatever was in the memories, it was damning enough for this ring to kill Scraton to protect themselves.
Eventually, I closed the file and glanced at Lupin. He wasn’t looking at me; he was playing with a stray quill I’d left on my desk, rolling it between his fingers. He’d always been one to fiddle and fidget with things, he could never sit still for long.
I smiled slightly, hardly noticing I was doing it. Watching him perform such an action, so similar to things I’d seen him do countless times over the years, made me feel nostalgic.
It took me a moment to shake myself out of it. I couldn’t slip back into that place. I was a professional, for Merlin’s sake.
“So, we’re looking for this trading ring then?” I said, rather abruptly.
Lupin was startled by my sudden statement, and dropped the quill. I watched, amused, as he hastily bent to pick it up, and almost hit his head on my desk.
“Smooth.” I smirked, earning myself a glare from him.
I was surprised when he didn’t retort back; instead, he snatched the case file out of my hands, and gave me a tight smile.
“Yes, we are. Let’s get to work.”
I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at that. Teddy had never been serious about this sort of work, at least not to this extent. He’d get the job done, sure, and he believed in justice. The tedious side of it, the paperwork? He’d be more likely to joke and come up with fantastical theories than be helpful.
Clearly, things had changed.
Without commenting, I followed him over to the board he’d set up, preparing to work.