Chapter 1 : It begins with pink
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 30|
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You moved stealthily through the long, dimly lit corridors, your eyes blinded by the newly painted, bright pink walls. You snorted as you saw the walls covered with pictures of cats. How typical. Hidden from the view of the human eye, as well as the cats’ eyes, you purposefully strode forward to the only closed door in the entire two bedroom house. “Alohomora,” you whispered, pointing your wand at the knob. The door opened softly on its hinges with a light click, not disrupting the monotonous, deep snoring that was heard from within. It was too simple. With Voldemort vanquished, no one cared about reliable security measures anymore. You doubted whether the pompous bitch ever did care about security, considering her denial of the Dark Lord’s return. With a sweep of your wand, you caused the five lights in the room to flash into their highest intensity, jerking the woman out of her sleep, with a small shriek as she covered her face. She gaped at you, startled.
“You,” she said, pure astonishment etched into her features. “What...what are you doing here? How did you get in?”
You grimaced, looking at the bright pink nightgown she was wearing. “Your locks were pitiful. Even an eleven year old could get past them,” you answer her with clear contempt lining your tone. You were tired of all the talk. You twirled your wand once between your fingers, before pointing it steadily at her.
Her eyes widened, her eyebrows disappearing into her matching pink nightcap. “Put that thing away. You have no right to be breaking into my house. Don’t you know who I am?” She puffed out her chest and her eyes seemed to be trying to burn a whole through you, with the intensity of their gaze and indignation. You smirked in amusement, enjoying the way she squirmed under the constantly threatening stick of wood, cross-eyed as she tried to keep it in view while you positioned it to be mere inches from her nose.
“You won’t harm me,” she suddenly burst out, uncertainty tingeing her voice as she gazed into your hard eyes.
“Won’t I?” you said, softly, tilting your head to one side. She gulped audibly as you casually flicked your wand and muttered, “Imperio.”
‘Now, tell me your name,’ you thought. You could feel her struggling against the bonds in futility, unable to break free of your influence. The feeling of control sent a surge of power through your limbs. ‘Tell me your name,’ you thought, even more strongly.
“Dolores Umbridge,” she immediately responded, unable to resist any longer.
‘No,’ you thought back. ‘You are a spiteful old hag who deserves to be punished. Now repeat what I said.’
You loosened the control over her mind a tad, willing to let her try to fight your power. You waited amusedly for her to tire out, before letting your unbeatable domination wash over her mind again.
“I am a spiteful old hag who deserves to be punished,” she said, meekly.
“And how should you be punished?” you whispered to her.
“By the Cruciatus curse,” she replied without hesitation.
“You seem to have read my mind,” you told her coolly. “Crucio.”
Your wild, tainted laugh drowned out her screams.
“Early call?” asked Ginny Potter from the kitchen as Harry Potter stumbled down the stairs, barefoot, with his hair ruffled and eyes bleary. “They work you too much. You were out late last night as well.” She pursed her lips together in disapproval and gave him a worried look over, taking in the bags under his eyes and the slight wrinkles that had started to form due to weariness.
“This is an important case, love,” Harry replied, giving her a soft kiss and grabbing a piece of toast from the pile on the counter. “Umbridge was murdered last night in her home, and every senior Auror has been called in.”
Ginny’s eyes widened. “The toad was killed? I mean... Umbridge. Merlin, I did not expect that. She was...” her voice faltered. “She... I guess you can’t find anyone as ambitious and... okay, I’m sorry, but she was vile,” Ginny ended in a small voice, frowning.
“It’s alright,” Harry murmured, stroking her hair. “I don’t know what to make of this either. But a murder is a murder, and I have to help with the case.” Their silent reminiscence of Umbridge’s actions was interrupted by a small tawny owl which flew in through the window with the Daily Prophet. He opened it quickly, not wanting to be late, and let out a groan as he saw the headlines.
“What is it?” Ginny asked, coming to stand beside him and peer into the newspaper.
“The murder has already made headlines,” Harry said. “I don’t know how it got leaked so quickly. It must be that stupid new system that the Prophet has begun. No wonder the paper is an hour late today." His green eyes quickly perused the rest of the news. "The Ministry is going to be flooded with reporters now, wanting to know more about it when we ourselves haven’t investigated this yet.” He sighed, finishing off his toast in three large bites and pulling on his shoes.
“I had better be off,” Harry said, pecking his wife on the cheek. “Give James a hug from me when he wakes up. And don’t forget to take that potion for your cramps.” He patted Ginny’s bulging stomach fondly, and turned towards the fireplace.
“I will, don’t worry. And try to get home early tonight,” Ginny called after him. With a small wave, he disappeared in a flash of green flames, swirling through the soot to land in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry.
Harry cleared off the soot accumulated on his robes and glasses with a quickly muttered ‘Tergeo’, and moved towards the conference hall, where the rest of the summoned Aurors and their Head were bound to be. Sure enough, he found Ron there, struggling to keep his eyes open as he lounged on a chair at the far end of the room, and Pamela, another adept Auror, twirling her wand and staring mindlessly at the ceiling. Harry sauntered over to where Ron was sitting, poking him on the back of his head to wake him up.
“OUCH,” Ron exclaimed. “Blimey Harry, no need to poke that hard.” He rubbed his head rapidly.
“Good morning to you too, Ron,” Harry replied pleasantly, taking a seat beside him. Pamela smiled and shook her head slightly, used to their antics.
“So what do you think?” Harry asked.
“Bloody hell, I don’t know, really. There would be loads of people who’d have wanted to do her in,” Ron said.
“I don’t understand it either,” Pamela quipped in. “Who would go to so much trouble to break into her house and kill her?”
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Harry replied, his brows furrowed, just as the Head Auror, Gawain Robards, entered the room.
“I trust you all knew Dolores Umbridge?” he asked, cutting straight to the topic of discussion.
“Yes sir, she taught us defense for a year,” said Ron, while Harry and Pamela nodded the affirmative.
“And what did you all think of her?” Robards inquired. “Or more precisely, did any of you like her?”
Just as I thought,” he said in response to their grimaces. “Which opens this case up wide, for there could be scores of people who wanted to do her harm.” He waved his wand to dim the lights, and projected ghostly images of the crime scene from its tip. “She was tortured before she was murdered, to the brink of insanity. There are traces of the Imperius having been performed on her as well, and her mind is in tatters. This does narrow the possible suspects slightly, for it was someone ruthless enough to perform all three Unforgivables on her.”
Harry rubbed his eyes wearily, unable to formulate any guesses about who the killer might be. There was a slight nagging sensation in his head, seeming to indicate that he was overlooking something.
“Potter, Weasley, both of you go and search the crime scene for clues and possible witnesses. One of the neighbours might have heard something if the Un-Sub wasn’t careful. Also, question Mrs. Gladys Selwyn, who was the one who reported the murder. She lives just down the street,” Robards instructed. “Brady, you’re with me. We’re going to talk to Umbridge’s family. We’ll all report back here at precisely, 1200 hours, after which you’ll resume your routine training with the other Aurors until you are summoned again.”
“Yes, Sir,” the three senior Aurors said in unison, before going about their assigned duties.
Harry and Ron apparated to the main hall of Umbridge’s house, the wards placed by Robards expanding to let them in. They were immediately struck with the sickeningly sweet smell of her perfume and almost blinded by the bright pink walls.
“Oh joy,” Ron muttered, squinting to shield his eyes.
Harry turned to examine the front door. “There are no signs of forced entry, and no traces of dark magic,” he said, waving his wand in various patterns. “It seems as though the Un-Sub just walked in, probably gaining access with just a simple unlocking charm.”
“Hmph. It’s as though the toad thought everyone liked her,” Ron commented, peeking into the nearby guest bedroom and kitchen. “What’s that sound?” he asked, remaining silent and straining his ears.
“It seems to be coming from the master bedroom,” Harry said, following Ron into it, to a cacophony of high-pitched mewling coming from the multitude of cat pictures adorning the walls.
“Silencio!” said Ron, waving his wand around the room, and simultaneously covering his ears with his arms. The noise died down. “That woman was crazy,” he exclaimed.
The room would have seemed normal, if not for the torn quilt on the floor, lying beside clumps of mousy brown hair and two bloody fingernails, clearly those of the victim. The body had been moved earlier that morning.
“Harry, look,” Ron said, pointing towards a leg of the bed. “There’s a lone black hair there. Do you think it could be the murderer's?”
Harry’s eyes followed Ron’s pointing finger, and sure enough, there lay a single strand of hair that was clearly not Umbridge’s. “Good spotting, Ron. We should take this back to see if it can be identified,” said Harry, conjuring a tiny vial and levitating the hair into it. He placed a stopper in it, and placed it in his coat pocket.
After sweeping the area in vain for other clues, Harry and Ron departed to Mrs. Selwyn’s house. She turned out to be a gracefully ageing woman of forty three, and a big bundle of nerves when the two Aurors turned up at her doorstep. Three cups of tea and two long hours of crying and regretful mumbling later, Harry and Ron returned to the Ministry in low spirits, having found nothing of consequence. There had been a silencing charm placed over the room, preventing any of the neighbours from hearing anything. The body had been discovered when Mrs. Selwyn had gone to Umbridge’s house early that morning with a flask of her special herbal tea that she’d promised to give Umbridge.
Robards and Pamela hadn’t been successful either. It was four years since Umbridge spoke to her parents or any of her other family members, and they couldn’t shed any light on who might have committed the crime. The vial with the strand of hair was the only slight ray of hope that was shed that day, as Harry immediately handed it over to the Head during the debriefing.
“Well, that was disappointing, and extremely tiring,” Harry said, plonking down on a couch by the fire as he returned home that evening.
“I’m just glad you didn’t stay out late tonight,” Ginny said, snuggling up beside him. She leaned forward and whispered in his ear. “James is asleep. I hope you aren’t too tired.” She gave him a wink. There were no further indicators of fatigue that night.
A/N: Hello readers! What do you think of the first chapter? Intriguing? Boring? Any ideas who the killer might be? I'd love to know what you think, so please leave a review below. I hope you keep reading, things will pick up soon.
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