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Chapter 8 : Questions and Concerns
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He had come over and sat outside on their porch until Hermione came out in the morning. At first Hermione ignored him and apparated but then she finally listened to his one of those days and she decided to slowly forgive him.
"What'r you doin'?" Ron asked groggily, turning toward Hermione and looking up at her. He always stirred when she got up out of bed as though she was leaving him or something. He had been like that since the war.
"Just getting up Ron. What would you like for breakfast?"
"I want french toast, the way you make it." He answered, piping up to the question about food and smiling at her.
"Okay." Hermione replied, putting her toes to the floor and stretching her body after observing Ron's handsome dimples and messy red hair which she loved in the morning.
It was a Saturday, and today Hermione had completely off for once. She promised Ron all cases would be set aside and that they would spend half of the day together and the other half with Ginny and Harry as usual Saturdays work when she's off. They were due to be at the Burrow at seven for dinner.
Also exciting, Harry's godson and son of Tonks and Remus Lupin, Teddy Lupin, was staying with Harry and Ginny this weekend and Hermione always enjoyed his company. He was the youngest in the family being only three now and was a perfect mix of Tonks and Lupin, minus the werewolf part. He fortunately did not inherit any of the werewolf curse from his father.
The stove top roared to life as Hermione flicked her wand toward it, she then grabbed a skillet pan and used the accio spell to get the other ingredients out which consisted of eggs, cinnamon, butter, and syrup of course.
Ron seemed to have started to favor Hermione's cooking since they had been together but of course the love of his mum's cooking would never lessen. Hermione constantly wondered if her cooking lived up to her boyfriend's expectations. He seemed satisfied though as the smell of cooking french toast fell under his nose and immediately showed up at Hermione's side in the kitchen.
"I am happy we are doing good again 'Mione." Ron said with a quick peck to Hermione's cheek before sitting down at the dining table.
"And we should continue to, I hope." Hermione retorted, bringing the first plate of french toast and placing it underneath his nose.
"This smells like heaven." Ron complimented, picking up his fork and digging right in. Hermione didn't let him see, but she was smiling as she returned to cooking her own breakfast.
After joining him at the table, she wondered what they would do before seeing Harry, Ginny, and Teddy later. "What are our plans for today?"
"Well I usually leave it up to you, but I actually have plans for us believe it or not." Ron said with a shy grin. Like Hermione worried about her cooking, Ron worried that his plans would not be good enough to entertain his girlfriend.
"And what's that?" Hermione asked as she added a variety of fruits to her plate.
"I think we should go to Flourish and Blotts and get you a new book. Then we should eat lunch at that new restaurant." Ron said as Hermione smiled brightly at him, pleasantly surprised.
"That new one near the ice cream parlor that Parvati and Padma opened?" Hermione asked excitedly, having been wanting to try it and wondering how their two old classmates were doing.
"Yes! That one. I am just not sure of the name since it's their culture's language and all." Ron said with a shrug as he lifted his wand to add more french toast to his plate, not full yet.
"Right," Hermione said with a small chuckle.
"So how has work been going lately?" Ron asked conversationally, watching her eat because he was already done with his third serving. Hermione ate rather slowly.
"Busy as usual. Except I have major work to do- I'm determined to get Narcissa out of Azkaban." Hermione replied as she finished her food.
Ron looked at her smugly. "Will you put Malfoy back in there in her place? We don't need two Malfoys out and about in the world again."
"No Ron, not unless he does something to deserve it like everyone else."
"He has. He's done plenty." Ron pressed on, making eye contact to which Hermione sighed and rolled her eyes.
"Ronald, I can sort out whether I am safe around him or not thanks. So far he has been a pretty good trainee, he just needs to get a better attitude in check which is something that comes naturally with Draco being who he is." Hermione said a bit defensively. Then she wished she could take it back because she knew that would start a fight.
"Did you just call him Draco?" Ron spat, his ears turning red.
Hermione was even surprised in herself for that and tried to come up with a quick excuse. "Erm- we are told to us
e first names in my department."
"Sure." Ron retorted.
"Whatever Ron. You call your ex-girlfriend 'Lav' so calling Draco by his first name is nothing!" She defended back.
"Okay, weren't we supposed to be going to have a good day together?" Ron asked, attempting to change the subject.
"Yes we were Ronald."
"Okay, let's have a good bloody day then!" He yelled back.
Hermione's face flushed because she couldn't believe the way Ron was acting over her calling a colleague by his first name.
"When do you want to leave?"
"I don't mind, whenever works better for you." Hermione replied haughtily, cooling off from their quirrel.
"Let's get ready to go." Ron said as Hermione started picking up the dishes and flicking her wand so they would wash themselves.
Hermione nodded and after she walked into her bedroom she grabbed some Muggle jean shorts and a light purple halter top, slipping them on after shedding her favorite pink nightgown. It looked warm outside after all and she was going to take advantage of the weather while she can.
Ron grabbed some khaki slacks and a button up plaid shirt from their closet and slipped into the bathroom for a quick shower and to change while Hermione stole a quick cup of tea and waited, wondering what all Ron had in store for them today.
He returned from the bathroom a good twenty minutes later and Hermione was already done drinking two cups of tea.
"Ready?" He asked with a smile as Hermione breathed in the smell of his freshly clean scent.
"Ready," Hermione answered, attempting to at least fake smile back. She was still upset with him but didn't want to ruin the plans he had made for them.
The two of them joined hands as Hermione grabbed her beaded bag she still had since seventh year and they departed the house, locking the door behind them.
After having apparated, they landed in a very crowded Diagon Alley and started to walk toward the book shop.
Hermione's eyes widened in excitement as though she was a kid in a candy store when she saw that the new novel was on display that she was waiting for had finally came out as they entered. It was called Breaking Wizarding Britain, and it was a novel that a muggleborn victim of the second wizarding war wrote.
She walked over and grabbed it as Ron asked, "Want it?"
"Yes I do!" Hermione said with a huge smile, real this time.
"I never see you get as happy as you do about anything but books." Ron joked, taking the book as she set off to find a few more without answering.
They spent another hour and a half in Flourish and Blotts and Hermione ended up getting about five new books all purchased by Ron. Regrettably, the weather was starting to get cloudy and it was nearing one in the afternoon. So the two of them decided they would head toward the restaurant owned by two of their ex-classmates.
"Ron, Hermione! How have you been?" Parvati Patil asked, walking up to them and giving them both a hug.
"We've been well. How have you and Padma been?" Hermione asked, happy to see that she seems to be okay. She hadn't seen the twins since the last classmate's funeral they attended and they did not look good at all.
"We have been great actually! Padma's therapy from her injury in the war is going very well, she is almost back to normal!" Parvati told them happily. As soon as she finished speaking, Padma walked over to them and hugged them as well.
"Nice to see you both." She said with a small bow, a little more shyer than her sister as usual but still very friendly.
The Indian girls handed Ron and Hermione menus and motioned for them to sit in a private booth together wherever they choose.
"Let us know what you'd like to order. It's on us!" Parvati said as Ron and Hermione started to get settled and received silverwear.
"Wow, thank you!" Ron said as he looked over the menu for the biggest lunch he could have.
"No, you don't need to do this, honestly!" Hermione said with a shaking head toward the girls.
"No, no, please, it's our pleasure. You're our friends and we are honored that you chose to eat here!" Padma joined in, taking her sister's arm and leading her away toward some new customers that just made their way in.
Ron and Hermione were left alone again and looked down at the menus.
"All this food is mixed cultures, it has everything on here really. This is brilliant!" Ron commented as he looked at all the sections. "I think I'm going to have a huge order of spaghetti, what are you going to have?"
Hermione shrugged but then saw a salad that looked interesting to her. It had Indian dressing and spices on it and she felt like trying something new. "I am going to have a salad."
"Well that's boring-" Ron said playfully.
Soon they ordered their food and waited patiently after their menus were taken away.
They couldn't find anything more to talk about so ended up just looking around at all the different people coming in to be seated. They both realized that their ability to talk about anything under the sun like old times had long since faded.
After a few more minutes, their food arrived and they dug into it, loving it very much. When they finished they were on their way down Diagon Alley and about to apparate home when an owl dropped a letter in Hermione's hands and startled her, causing her to drop it at first. Gathering herself together again she picked it up and read it. And what it said shocked her:
I know you and Ron are busy together today and I hate to break up your time but I need to see you guys in the Auror Department as soon as possible. There has been a murder and I won't share detail over a letter. I'll see you shortly.
She closed the letter and looked at Ron who had been reading it over her shoulder. "Who do you think it could be?"
"I don't know but if Harry is sending us an owl in the middle of Diagon Alley, it must be serious." Ron said matter-a-factly.
"Let's go!" Hermione said alarmingly, grabbing his hand to apparate directly to the department.
"Well thank Merlin it wasn't one of our people." Ron said, receiving a glare from Hermione and Harry.
"She is our age and even though we hated her she was a classmate!" Hermione said, annoyance in her voice at Ron's immaturity. She then came over to grab half of one of Harry's stacks of papers. "Here Harry, let me help you!"
"Shacklebolt has already called all the Senior Aurors into a meeting and that's where I was all morning. She was found in Knockturn Alley outside of Snaker's bar late last night at around two in the morning. There were no signs of trauma to her body and she appeared to be drunk when she was killed with the Killing Curse, causing her to not even know it was happening. There seemed to be no one outside at the time but with it being a bar it could have been anyone. I guess we have to go back and get D.N.A. and then question every person who was in the bar that night." Harry said, wiping his head with his hand and taking a long swig of ice water sitting in a glass on his desk.
"Is she still with the Zabini bloke?" Ron asked.
"Yes but he wasn't with her last night. An Auror was there soon after it happened because they were having a drink in the Leaky Cauldron when they heard the alert and there was no one found. Zabini's D.N.A. wasn't on her from that whole day, in fact no one's was. Whoever caused the curse had made sure to hide the evidence and did a pretty damn good job of it too to where even who's wand that killed her didn't show." Harry continued.
"Well that just makes our job easier." Hermione said sarcastically. She knew that this investigation would be long, but what she didn't know is that it was soon going to get worse.
The three of them did all the notes and talking they could about the investigation and sent their report to Shacklebolt and the Head Auror before retiring for the evening to meet Ginny and Teddy at the Potter house. It was already nearing five when they finally put the subject to rest until the next day after spending eight plus hours on it.
When they arrived in a long gravel driveway after apparating, Ginny was on the front porch with a young little boy with brown hair and bright green eyes.
"Hi Ron and 'Mione!" Teddy exclaimed, jumping out of the porch swing where he sat as Ginny read a book to him and dashing off toward the three friends.
He jumped into Ron's arms first and then hugged Hermione, kissing her on the cheek before she set him down.
"What have you been up to little one?" Hermione asked the little boy, grabbing his hand and walking with him back to where Ginny sat with a smile.
"Nothing, just with Grandma Andromeda! She has horses you know and I like riding them." Teddy reported.
"That's good!" Hermione said, happy that Teddy had a good woman like Andromeda Tonks looking after him.
After Ginny greeted everyone she invited everyone inside because it had begun to rain.
The Potter House was not a manor or a mansion by any means but it was big enough to place a large sized family. It was a very high profile looking country home that was two stories high and the color of white sitting an hour out of London in a small village called Bukton. Shutters the color of navy were on the windows and flower pots were placed on the window-sill in every window. It was a house that the two of them bought together just recently and they were still working on unpacking. They chose a house a little farther away for their privacy from the paparazzi.
"I am still so breathtaken everytime I come to this beautiful flat of your's." Hermione said as she examined the light beige walls and beautiful white furniture accompanied by a fireplace in the wall when she entered the living room.
"Thanks, we love it." Ginny said, grabbing Harry's hand feeling proud of their home.
After some visiting the four of them and Teddy left for the Burrow and entered it to a wonderful smell of cooking food as usual when they visited Molly and Arthur's flat.
"Hermione, so nice to see you! You have been so busy lately dear!" Molly said, grabbing Hermione for a tight hug.
"Yes I sure have Mrs. Weasley." She said, happy to finally get to see her second mother after a long period of time.
"What are you making mum?" Ron wondered as Molly moved on to hug and kiss everyone else.
"Pork chops and mashed potatoes with vegetables." Molly answered her son, walking back over to the potatoes to check on them.
"Did you hear about the mayhem today?" Arthur asked Harry, knowing that he probably had.
"Yes I have and it's very suspicious. Why would someone kill their own side?" Harry asked questionably.
"Maybe it wasn't their side." Ron joined in, coming to sit by his best-friend.
"You do a have a point, maybe it was an accident, or maybe someone decided they would take revenge." Hermione said, sitting next to Ron and filling up the three seated sofa.
Ginny sat next to her father on the love-seat, silently listening to the conversation.
"Pansy? I didn't even know she passed until Harry told me he was needed at work! I can't believe it's her that is dead." Ginny said thoughtfully, giving a hyper Teddy some toy cars to play with and sending him to play on the floor in another room after he was done snuggling with Molly.
"I can see why someone would go after her," Ron snorted. "She was horrible. She'd probably be a future Bellatrix."
Harry nodded, "probably so."
"Well I hope this is just one murder and that this person isn't on some kind of mission." Arthur said concerningly.
"Me too, that's the last thing we need right now is a mass murder investigation." Harry agreed.
After everyone sat down for a filling dinner they were all very tired from eating and laughing at Teddy's metamorphmagus changes. He changed his hair from brown to red to yellow and back and he made himself fat and then skinny again. Hermione remembered how she once sat at the table laughing at his mum's tricks too. She swore it was Tonks sitting there but it was a three year old little spinning image of her instead.
After staying up and talking with everyone until around eleven Hermione decided she wanted to go ahead and head home with Ron.
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