“I was thinking about the murders...suppose that this is some kind of pleasure sport...like trophy hunting.” Hermione grimaced.
“Oh, so you’re saying that someone is organising groups of people to go and kill muggles?” Malfoy asked looking slightly disgusted.
“Yes...it would be difficult to prove, but it’s a start. Also I wouldn’t be surprised if the ringleader was not at the scene of the crime.” She closed her eyes thinking harder,
“Why?” Malfoy asked leaning forward,
“If you were in charge of a gang of wizards and witches who wanted to kill for fun you wouldn’t be around because there is a high chance of the Ministry finding out and you wouldn’t want to be implicated...”
Malfoy frowned, “I see, so for all we know there could be a huge web of these people across the country.”
“Yes, all they would have to do was to find society’s rejects and pass their deaths off as suicide or something like that, it’s rather macabre when you think of it.”
Malfoy frowned, “But the party?”
“That was a mistake, it was slap-dash and uncontrolled. But it was as if someone had gone in and cleaned away stuff.” She said carefully.
Malfoy nodded as if accepting her view, “And do you know something, I am just the person to find these muggle killers because I know nearly all of the muggle haters.” Malfoy got up to go but Hermione stopped him.
“The leader will be huge; I mean influential...like your dad at the start of the war. But worse!” Hermione gulped when she saw the look of horror which passed across Malfoy’s face.
“We know only...”
“...one, there is one person can you really consider.” Hermione cut over him,
Then almost instantly Malfoy had left the celln and locked the door.
Draco was reeling, he knew exactly who needed to be talked to. Goyle. But on what grounds could they get him into the Ministry; it was unlikely to be something small and using and Unforgivable Curse (to Goyle) was small.
“Sir, Miss Granger has an idea. Suppose it was a game...a sport of sorts. Suppose that someone organised the whole thing and there is a huge network across the country but they are all underground. This thing could be huge and it would have to be led by someone who had power and influence and the only one I know who is likely to take joy in killing muggles is Goyle!” Draco said without one breath.
“Well we have our lead. Now lest get pin pointing mysterious muggle deaths and trying to get Goyle in on some charge... there has to be a way.” Harry said frowning and moving over to his desk.
The next few weeks went with relative obscurity, noting remarkable happened to Hermione and the news reporters had given up on their scandal but were still running little articles about her activities as a teenager.
Hermione lay contemplating life on her small bed; she had long since lost count of the days she had spent in the holding cell it was almost as if they weren’t going to move her to Azkaban. This time in captivity she was treated with respect and looked after, she was even allowed to have books and showers.
The door clunked open and in stepped Malfoy it had been a while since Hermione had seen him and since then it looked as if he had not slept well and he looked rather less well kempt.
“Your twenty eight days are up; you’re free to go...although I would ask you kindly....please come to help us.”
Hermione cocked an eyebrow.
“I don’t work for a corrupt system.” She said coolly,
“Well...work for me then?” he pleaded,
“An ex-Dea...” she started.
“Don’t define me by my past, define me by the choices I now make.” He snapped over her,
“Touché, okay but it won’t be free.” She smirked,
“Okay, well talk about that later.”
They walked briskly to Harry’s office, neither of them talking or looking at anything in particular.
Without knocking Malfoy opened the door and waited for Hermione to move into the office after him.
In one swift move the door was shut and locked behind her. She was then placed in a chair and handed her wands and a mug of tea.
Then she blinked and took in the room around her.
The office she had seen a while ago was orderly and relevantly neat. Now it had been transformed. The desk had been pushed towards the window and was now up against the wall. On one wall there was a large map of the country and the photographs of the men and women that Hermione had identified. There were numerous empty cups and a large stack of plates. Files were stacked on most surfaces and the bin was littered with screwed up pages.
“So from what I can guess I am not the only one who has been confined to a single room for the past few weeks?” Hermione asked scanning the room briefly with an accusing glair at Harry who shrugged.
“Look, we had to put you there to eliminate all accusations. We tested your wands to see if they had been used for certain cloaking spells etcetera...luckily its only apparition.” Harry sank down in to his chair which was surrounded by filing cabinets on two sides.
“So...any developments?” she asked walking over to the map and looking at the pins in various places.
“Is she...?” Harry asked turning to Malfoy who nodded,
“Though not for the Ministry, for me.”
Harry mused for a moment, “Yes, that’s probably better.”
Hermione got up and pulled two pins from the side of the map and placed one on her home and then the other in Avebury.
Harry joined her and watched as she placed another tow pins, one in Hounslow municipal park and the other in the News Agents.
“What are these?” Harry asked, curious as to why she was doing this.
“My home” she said pointing to a red pin,
“My Newsagents,” she said pointing to a second red pin,
Then she moved to the Avebury pin, “Where I attempted to camp and heard Goyle and Ms Malfoy.”
“And this is where I apparated from on the morning of the murders.” She pointed to the last of the four pins.
“Right, that would remove a few questions we had about magical activity. So Malfoy said that you came up with the idea of it being a ‘sport’” Harry commented moving over to one of the piles of files.
“Yeah, it’s rather sickening.
There was the sound of a slightly frustrated movement from behind the pair.
Hermione turned round.
“Yes?” she asked,
“I would like it if you helped us by going through the files here and seeing if anything is amiss.” Malfoy said coldly,
“Yes Boss.” Hermione said with a hint of sarcasm.
The three of them set about analysing the files.
“Really what we need to do is to find these people and check their wands...it would be simple.” Harry said after giving up and sliding back in his chair.
“Okay, well as I am released and...am I cleared of all charges?” Hermione asked looking at Harry over a file.
“Well how about Malfoy and I go to find these people, if I go as Anna...” Hermione said thinking hard,
“NO, they know you are wanted in connection with the murders. It would not be safe, neither would it be safe if you went as yourself.” Harry said sternly,
Hermione frowned and looked between the two men.
“He’s right, but I can give you a different option.” Malfoy said turning to Harry,
“Pollyjuice potion?” Harry asked,
“Yes, open it.” Harry said walking to one of the cabinets and tapping it with his wand.
Hermione was perplexed.
From the cabinet Harry pulled out a box, it was a nondescript wooden box not much unlike the Potion’s box which Hermione had possessed in her school years. This one, however, was covered in lock after lock after lock.
Harry then placed the box on his desk and once more delved into the seemingly endless draw of the filing cabinet. This time he produced a large set of keys and a scrap of paper.
Malfoy moved forward to the table and took the box and the keys which Harry handed him.
Harry tapped the paper with his wand, “I am Harry James Potter and it is an emergency.” He said firmly,
The paper opened up and there from what Hermione could see three lists of numbers and symbols.
“Twelve to B,” Harry commanded and Malfoy took one of the keys of its ring and placed it in the lock.
This continued till nearly all of the locks were filled with a key and Harry and Malfoy had slumped to the floor.
Finally after thirty keys Harry stopped and took the box from Malfoy and turned all the keys in the opposite order to the way they had been put in.
Hermione sat in silence throughout the whole escapade watching and smiling slight when Malfoy nearly dropped the box and Harry darted to save it.
Finally there was a clunk and Harry lifted the lid of the box. He beckoned Hermione forward.
“Hold your hands out.” Hermione did as she was told and waited to see what she would be given.
On her left hand Harry placed a large vial stuffed full with what looked like hair and in the other one he paced seven vials of a sluggish grey looking potion.
“Eve McCall, twenty-five and educated at home. That way they can’t ask you.” Harry said confidently,
“Eve?” Hermione asked, looking round at the two men in the room, her eyebrows knitted together, “I can’t to an Irish accent for potatoes.”
“You’re not Irish, just be yourself it normally works...well most of the time...” Harry said scratching the back of his hair.
“Well there was that time you know the one where it didn’t work!” Hermione said pointedly,
“Now if you two are done reminiscing can we get on!” Malfoy snapped from the other side of Hermione.