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Chapter 8 : Return and begin.
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ANSo it’s time for the group to head back to the real world and find out about Kingsley’s plans. Wonder how they will react?!
One month ago the group had sat in this room at the table divided by more than the table, but today they were one group instead of two, and they were mingled together in their pairs when Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic, walked in with a smile lighting up his face when he saw them.
“Well I see the retreat and the month away from work did the trick! Of course I received regular updates from Lightbridge Island, but it’s wonderful to see it with my own eyes!” He told the group.
“You got lucky Kingsley; we were just as likely to kill each other as come together.” Harry told him rolling his eyes at his old friend.
“I was fairly confident of this outcome before I sent you off Potter! Now, I am going to be joined by the new Head of Magical Law, he’s a fellow Order of the Phoenix member who worked tirelessly, and at great personal risk to bring down Voldemort and the Death Eaters. He started a few weeks ago while you were all on retreat and he shares my vision of where this department can go, and the changes we’re making.”
Just then there was a knock on the door.
“Ah here he is now, come in.” Kingsley said.
In walked Bill Weasley with a grin aimed at Harry and Hermione who cried out and jumped out of her seat to give him a hug. He walked around the table shaking hands with each person before taking his own seat.
“Bill you got here just in time, I was about to tell them the changes we’ve made that will affect them.” Kingsley said to Bill.
“Ah, should I do the honors, or would you rather tell them?” Bill asked.
“No, no you go ahead.” Kingsley said laughing.
“Alright, well as you all know you were paired off for the retreat in order to make peace with the person you were paired with hopefully and everyone else in your group secondly. There is a very good reason for this because from now on your new partner is the person you were with in retreat. We are combining the Aurors and Crime Scene Investigators into one department. There will be three groups that will work together and each group is broken down into partners containing one Auror and one Investigator. As you can probably guess you are all in the first group, Team 1.” Bill announced.
Looking around Bill and Kingsley could read the shock on all the faces but two.
“Ah Hermione, I figured you would tell Draco if for no other reason than getting him to work with you to stop me partnering you two.” Kingsley laughed. Hermione blushed brightly.
“Hmm, well I might have had a plan or two that we decided to work together on, but instead we bonded pretty well, actually.” She admitted honestly.
“Precisely my hope when I told you.” He answered cunningly with a smirk.
“Well as I was saying,” Bill started again smiling at the two of them. “Team 1 will help take up the slack while the next group takes their month on the Island, and after that group returns as Team 2, the third and final group will leave and return as Team 3. Your workload will then lighten slightly as we will then have all three teams and 12 paired partner’s full time. The eight of you were chosen for Team 1 because you will work the most difficult and brutal cases as the elite team. If one of you chooses to leave you can only be replaced by someone from Team 2, nobody can join the elite team from the outside as they may with the other two teams and they must work on Team 2 for a minimum of five years in order to be considered for a position on Team 1. In order to remain a cohesive group we will have weekly Team meetings on Friday morning, and once a month we will have a department meeting with all teams. These meetings will be an opportunity to discuss cases and get outside opinions, although you may ask outside the meetings I would prefer that you inform me if you go to another team for an opinion outside of the meeting to ensure a chain of information in the case of leaks. Does anyone have questions?” Bill finished.
“What happens if one half of a partnership is injured, what does the other person do, work alone?” Chloe asked.
“No, you’re never to work without a partner. I will replace the injured party, or someone I assign as a temporary partner will take their place.” Bill answered. “Should that happen Kingsley and I have made a list of Order members we know can do the job and be trusted to step in. We do know that chances of injury in this group are high being that it’s the elite group, however we can always hope for the best.” Bill answered.
Kingsley spoke now, “If any of you want to decline your position please see me after the meeting, and we can then choose a new partner for your current one. However, don’t come asking to remain on the elite team or another team but get a new partner because you were paired off with each person for a reason. Each partnership has a special ability they bring to the Team as a whole. Draco and Hermione are two of the most intelligent and gifted people in the department, and will bring much insight together. Harry and Jennifer are both known for their daring and bravery, Blaise and Stella are cunning and have a way of getting answers which has its benefits, and finally Shawn and Chloe are personable and friendly and can get answers and confessions from criminals where others cannot. If you choose to not be a part of the new teams and partnerships I will gladly refer you to another department if there is an opening, if not your employment at the Ministry will end.” He explained while looking all around at each person.
“I have a couple questions if you don’t mind.” Hermione said making both Draco and Harry smile a little.
“I would be very surprised if you didn’t.” Bill laughed good naturedly.
“Well I noticed we’re all paired into male/female partnerships, I wondered why.” She asked.
“That is simply coincidence in this Team. You will find with the other teams that this isn’t the case. For the elite team we simply had more qualified females than the other teams.” Bill responded to her first question.
“Okay I have another question that I’m sure the other females here have had as well. What happens if one of us becomes pregnant? If your description of the cases we will work on is accurate, then I’m sure Birthing Healers at St. Mungo’s will not allow us to work the cases.” She asked seeing the other females nodding, confirming that they had thought of this as well.
Kingsley stepped in to answer this one. “In the case of pregnancy, you’re correct you will not be allowed to work the cases here. You will take a leave of absence from work, fully paid and your partner will be assigned a temporary partner until you return after the Healer you choose releases you back to work.”
“Hermione’s questions also lead to another issue we must discuss of a personal nature. When the elite team was being chosen and put together we understood there were reasons you would make good partners, we also saw that it could lead to each of you finding there was more in common than mere comradeship. We have heard rumors that more than one pair here did get together in a romantic sense on the island.” As Bill said this Hermione could tell she wasn’t the only one feeling their cheeks get hot.
“While this isn’t strictly prohibited, it is discouraged. There will be no tolerance for personal problems interfering with your job. So if you are personally involved, leave it at the door of the Ministry or disciplinary action will be taken. You may not let said relationship interfere with an investigation either, each partnership is made up of two people who bring different gifts to the job. Each person who works this job does so knowing full well that it’s dangerous and if you’re too busy trying to protect the other, both can be hurt. Are there any more questions?” Bill asked.
When nobody raised another question Kingsley excused himself from the meeting to return to his office and continue working and Bill pulled out two files.
“Alright then we should move along, I have two cases here and we need to get on these cases immediately. The first is a murder of three Muggles by a wizard or wizards unknown, it occurred sometime after midnight and a team of obliviators are on scene now taking care of witnesses and police officers and clearing the way for your entry. If there are eye witnesses to the crime, they will be held back and their memories will not be altered until you say it’s time. The other case is just as disturbing although no murder was committed. There have been a growing number of rapes and assaults on witches, and based on who the witches are we’ve come to the conclusion that it is a serial rapist. The victims are all within two years of each other’s age, all attended Hogwart’s at the same time, all are Pureblood’s, and most are from Slytherin House although there are victims that were in other houses. These are particularly brutal assaults and each one gets more violent, we need to catch the perpetrator quickly.” He described to the group. “Now for the homicide I want Harry/Jennifer, Shawn/Chloe and for the rape cases Hermione/Draco, and Blaise/Stella. You should all return to your new offices, there is one office per team since you get the cases we don’t want overheard. The other teams will have the cubicles you’re used to. As I was saying, find your offices and get with the other partnership I suggested for your case and go over them together. The homicide team must do this quickly and be ready to go when an obliviator contacts you. The rape case I would like for you to take most of today to thoroughly review each victim’s case, and there are twelve so far, discuss it together and be ready to interview victim’s and follow leads beginning tomorrow. We will meet again Friday to discuss the cases and any new one’s that come up and catch up on progress made.”
With that they were dismissed and walked back to their department together and found their offices. When Draco and Hermione found theirs, it was the last in the row and they were pleasantly surprised to find it was a corner office with very large windows on the two outside walls. The view of a lovely spring day wasn’t real as they were underground it was just magic provided by the maintenance department. It was wonderful just the same though. Against one of the windows was a huge two person desk that looked like a big T. They each walked to their side of it and set down their belongings. The floor was a dark brown carpet and the walls were white until Hermione tapped each one turning them light mint green and Draco turned the carpet black and added a black border to the walls. Over a little ways from the desk was a conference size table they assumed would be used for collaboration amongst the team. They were setting up their own desks when Blaise and Stella walked in, knocking on the door frame.
“Wow, ours isn’t nearly this big! Although you have the only office with the table which will make it less private so I really don’t mind that.” Blaise joked.
Stella on the other hand was clearly impressed with the way they had decorated already since she and Blaise still had white walls and brown carpet only, especially when she found out that they didn’t even need to discuss it, just liked what the other added to the room.
“Okay then, I say we head to the table and open the files and each grab a couple cases at a time to read and then hand them to the person on the right of you until we’ve all read each case. Does that work for everybody?” Hermione suggested.
When nobody seemed to object they headed to the table and dug into the files. Two hours later Draco and Blaise left to get Pizza and salads for lunch when they all decided to work through the meal to continue reading the case files. They did pause long enough to eat and talk, just not about what they were reading. When they were finished they dove back in the files and continued reading, becoming progressively more disturbed by what they had to read. By the time they were finished it was nine o’clock in the evening. They decided to eat dinner together and grabbed take out and Hermione side along apparated all three to her house on the outskirts of London. The case was brought up a few times but mostly they tried to leave it at the office tonight, and then Blaise and Stella and Draco began leaving. Draco kissed her before he left and told her he’d see her tomorrow and then he was gone.
Hermione decided to take a bath and go to bed so that she would be well rested as they began the hunt for the rapist tomorrow.
AN: Alright folks, as you can see this is going to get a bit dark for a while. However, I will not ever write a rape scene unfolding so don’t worry about that. Plus you know that I always add a touch of darkness and a touch of light, so there will be a lighter/happier story happening as well. Read and Review please!!! Clumsy!
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