Chapter 2 : Chapter Two
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Harry Potter entered the children’s ward at St. Mungo’s closely followed by Ron Weasley. He approached Hermione and Draco in the nurses office. “Right, what is going on?” he asked. Draco handed him the letter.
“Some woman produced this letter and the staff here handed my daughter to her. It’s a good approximation of my signature but I never wrote this letter. You have to find her Potter. Please you have to find her.”
“We will find her, Malfoy; I promise we will find her. What is her name?”
He turned his attention to the nurse. “What time did this woman appear?”
“About 9.30.this morning and as I told Mr Malfoy we had no reason to doubt the authenticity of the letter.” Dean Thomas arrived on the scene.
OK sister, if you will go with Mr Thomas and assist him in producing a likeness of the woman please. It will be a great help. As quick as you can please Dean. Thank you. Before you go can I ask how many nurses work here?”
“Three on the day shift and two on nights.”
“Thank you, we will need to speak to all of them. Ron, will you get started on that please?”
“OK Harry, but can I just ask Hermione a question?” Without waiting for a reply he turned to Hermione,
“Hermione, why are you here? What do you have to do with all this?” His one was less than professional and Hermione had noticed.
“Well, Mr Weasley, I’m here because Mr Malfoy asked for my help. He’s very nervous about being at home with his daughter without help.”
“Malfoy asked for your help, and you came running.” His tone sounded to Hermione now to be accusing.
“Yes, is there a reason why I shouldn’t help him?” The sharper tone of her voice seemed to change his attitude. Draco joined in,
“Yeah, Weasley is there a reason?” He sneered. Harry intervened,
“Stop. We are not doing this folks; we have an investigation to run and a baby to find. Let’s just get on with it. Ron, on your way, now!” Ron turned on his heel and walked away.
“Thanks Harry, that could have turned into a shouting match which nobody needs right now.”
“No problem Hermione. Draco can you think of anyone who might have anything to do with this? Anybody who might wish you harm?”
“Nobody specific springs to mind immediately Potter, if I think of anyone I’ll let you know.
“It’s likely that you may receive a ransom demand, and even though you may be told to keep the Aurors in the dark, it’s vital that you tell us right away. Don’t be tempted to pay a ransom; once you do they have no reason to keep Grace alive.” He looked again at the letter, “This woman’s name Lilith Trevayne means nothing to you then Draco?
“No, nothing. Never heard of her.”
“Well, it’s probably a fake name anyway. Whoever she is, I doubt she would use her real name. I know I wouldn’t”
A few minutes later Dean returned clutching a sketch pad and the ward sister a pace behind. He showed Harry. Harry looked at the nurse. “How good is this likeness Sister Absalom?”
The sister looked at the woman on the picture. A thin angular face with prominent cheekbones. A fringe of dark hair covered her forehead, the back dropping down to her shoulders. “A good likeness Mr Potter, a very, very good likeness.” Harry called one of the other nurses and showed her the picture. “Do you recognise this woman?
“Yes sir, that’s her. That’s the woman that was here this morning.”
“OK Dean, make a load of copies. I want them plastered all over Diagon Alley, the Ministry, and every pub and shop in wizarding Britain. Full contact details for the Aurors office.”
“Is that wise Harry?” Hermione asked, “Won’t that increase the risk to Grace?”
“I don’t think so Hermione; we have received no instructions from the kidnapper not to get involved so we let them know that we are involved from the get-go.”
“I hope you’re right, Potter.” said Draco. “I really hope you’re right.” Hermione took Draco’s arm,
“Of course he’s right Draco, there’s nothing more we can do here, let’s get you home.”
“I don’t want to go home Hermione, not without Grace. I’ll get a room at the Cauldron.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea Draco. You’ll only sit around and mope. That’s not going to help you at all is it?”
“So what do you suggest?”
“Well let’s go to my place and discuss options.”
“Your place. Are you sure about that. What about your friends, how will they feel about that?”
“I don’t care what they think. Nothing’s going to happen that will damage my reputation is it?”
“You know that and I know that but they won’t. People will always assume the worst you know.”
Harry intervened. “Your reputation is quite safe Hermione just get going.” He glanced at Draco “Behave yourself. Just remember what happened here today.”
Hermione unlocked her front door and led Draco into her kitchen. “Would you care for something to drink, Draco? Tea or coffee perhaps?”
“No thank you Hermione, I wouldn’t mind something stronger though. Do you have any Firewhiskey by any chance?” he sat down in an armchair.
“Yes I do, but isn’t it a bit early in the day for that?”
“Under normal circumstances I would agree, Hermione but today is hardly normal is it?”
Hermione went to a cupboard and took out the required beverage and a couple of glasses. “No I suppose it isn’t.” she poured them both a drink and led him through into the lounge carrying the bottle with her.
“Why are you doing this Hermione? You’re being very kind to me; you are the last person I would have expected to help me like this.”
“I’ll ask you what I asked Ron. Is there a reason I shouldn’t help you?”
“Is just that Draco, history, it’s the past and I think that’s where it should stay. So what happened at Hogwarts stays at Hogwarts. Agreed?”
“Agreed Hermione, thank you. Do you really think we will find Grace?” as he spoke his composure deserted him and his voice broke into a sob and tears came into his eyes.
“Of course we will find her, Draco. Never doubt it for a moment.”
He gulped his drink down in one go and held out his glass to Hermione, “More please.” She poured him another while thinking ‘I can’t give him too much. That would be counterproductive.’
A couple of hours later Draco swallowed the last of his fourth drink, “I’d better be going Hermione, I’ll get a room at the Cauldron tonight. Can we meet tomorrow?”
Why go to the Cauldron? You can stay here. I have a spare room. The furnishings are a bit pink and girly but I wasn’t expecting a guest.” She could just imagine Draco getting steaming drunk and starting a fight. His mood had changed through the time he had been here with her and now a fierce anger was simmering just beneath the surface.
“Thank you, I’ll stay if I can have another drink.” She smiled at him,
“Deal.” She tipped the bottle once more. They talked at length about Amanda, leaving Hermione in no doubt of his feelings for her and the true depth of his loss. They talked about Hogwarts and their time there; laughing at the memory of his sore nose after Hermione had punched him in the third year. Before they knew it the evening had come and gone.
“You know Hermione; whoever has Grace is living on borrowed time. They picked the wrong man to mess with. They will suffer before I kill them.” Suddenly his eyes felt heavy and his brain seemed full of fog. He finished his drink and said, “I think I need to go to sleep Hermione; if you’ll just show me where, I’ll go to bed.” She led him upstairs and showed him his room.
“Sleep well Draco, everything will be fine, you’ll see. Goodnight.”
“Thank you Hermione, I do appreciate this. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Back downstairs she made herself a cup of strong black coffee. She had not tried to keep up with Draco in the alcohol stakes because she wasn’t much of a drinker. What happened at Hogwarts stays at Hogwarts. She flexed the fingers of her right hand as she remembered the punch again, and feeling just a little guilty, she smiled.
When she finished her coffee she tidied the room, secured the house and climbed the stairs to her room. As she passed Draco’s room she heard him crying softly. She contemplated going in to see him but decided against when she heard him say “I’m sorry Amanda, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” Her heart went out to him but she turned and entered her bedroom.
Two weeks passed with no progress. Several leads had come to nothing. Harry was in his office, ostensibly working through his in-tray. In reality he was thinking about the missing baby. He was frustrated that they had no worthwhile leads at all. There was a knock at the door and he looked up to see a security guard lead a woman into his office.
“Sorry to trouble you sir but this lady says she has information concerning the missing child. She insisted on seeing you.”
Harry stood up, “Please come in Miss…”
“Mrs. Mrs Lilith Trevayne.”
“Lilith Trevayne? That’s very interesting Mrs Trevayne, that’s the name the culprit gave. Please sit down.” She sat, as did Harry. “Now then Mrs Trevayne, assuming that you are not our suspect, what information do you have for us.”
“Well sir, I assure you that I am not your suspect. I have seen the posters all over Diagon Alley and in the Prophet and I know the woman in the picture.”
“Really! Well who is she?”
“She lives in the apartment next door to mine.”
“Does she have a name?” What a stupid question, Harry thought; of course she has a name.
“I know her as Sylva Mercado. Mind you that’s all I know about her. She keeps herself to herself. She moved in to the apartment about three months ago.”
“Why has it taken you two weeks to come forward Mrs Trevayne?”
“I’ve been away on holiday for the last two weeks; I’ve been touring the continent and I only got back late yesterday.”
“And where do you live?” she gave him the address of an apartment not far from Diagon Alley.
“Have you seen her since you got back?”
“No, as I said I only got back late last night.”
“Well thank you for coming in. If you really don’t know any more about this Sylva Mercado, I think that will be all. You may notice a lot of Auror activity in the next few days, please don’t talk about this with anyone else.”
“Of course sir, I understand. If there is anything more I can do, please just ask.”
“We may need to use your apartment for surveillance.”
“Not a problem, Mr Potter, anything at all that you need. Just find that baby.”
“Thank you Mrs Trevayne, we will. You’ve been a great help. Thank you.”
Draco and Hermione were having breakfast the next morning when the fireplace in her kitchen flared green and Harry’s head appeared in the flames. “Morning you two, I thought I’d just call and give you an update.”
“Has something happened Potter? Have you found Grace?”
“No Draco, not yet. But we do have a strong lead that we are following up. Do you know anyone with the name Sylva Mercado?”
“No I don’t think so. Who is she?”
“She is someone we are investigating; apparently she was recognised from the picture we issued. I’ll let you know about any further developments.”
“Thanks Potter, I’ll come and see you later today, if that’s ok?”
“Of course Draco, you know where I’ll be. Bye Hermione, see you later.
“Bye Harry thanks for calling.” Harry disappeared and Hermione poured more coffee for her and Draco.
“Mercado? Where have I seen that name before?” Try as she might she could not recall where. “Dammit I know I’ve seen that name somewhere.”
About half an hour later Harry’s phone rang. It was Ron calling. “Hi Harry, I’ve just got back to Mrs. Trevayne’s flat. I’ve carried out a covert entry into the suspects flat next door. It seems to be deserted, there is no food in the refrigerator, however; there was a baby’s feeding bottle. Mrs. Trevayne has never seen or heard a baby next door. So if the suspect was here with a baby it doesn’t look like she’ll be back anytime soon.”
“OK Ron, keep the surveillance going mate, we can’t take the chance that she won’t come back with or without Grace.”
“Right Harry, Charlie Palmer will have the night shift, I just hope the bugger can stay awake.”
“If you can’t rely on him Ron, get someone else. Don’t take any chances.”
“Everyone else is busy Harry, don’t worry I’ll put the fear of God into him. He’ll be alright. What do you want us to do if she does show up, shall we nick her?
“No! Just keep watching; if she hasn’t got Grace with her we’ll have to follow her and hope that she will lead us to the child.”
“That’s what I thought. Ok if there’s nothing else I’ll start briefing Charlie.”
“Good Ron, keep in touch mate.”
“Come in.” Harry responded to the knock on his office door. Looking up he saw Draco enter carrying a shopping bag.
“Been shopping Draco?” He asked.
“Yes, I wanted to get Hermione a gift. She’s been amazingly kind to me over the last few weeks.”
“What did you get her?”
“A book. Hogwarts: A history.”
“Draco, if you knew Hermione, you would know that she has read that book cover to cover about a million times and she has two copies that I know of.”
“Yeah, I figured something like that but I bet she hasn’t got a copy of the 1353 first edition by Elise Marchant.”
“Probably not. I think you made a good choice. She will love it. Where did you find it?
“Being a Malfoy still has its advantages, Potter, you just have to know where to look. Any developments worth talking about?”
“Not so far, I’m afraid, we’re watching the suspects apartment but until we can get eyes on the actual woman progress will be slow. I know this can’t be easy for you but don’t give up hope.”
“I won’t. I’ll just have to rely on you to do your job.”
Hermione was sitting in her office drafting new legislation for the consideration of the Wizengamot. She wanted to reduce the age of entrants to Hogwarts from 11 to 9. She stopped when there was a knock on her door. “Come in.”
Draco walked through the door and up to her desk.
“Hello Draco. What brings you here?” She looked up at him. He looked casually smart in a dark blue shirt with the top two buttons undone, a pair of dark grey slacks and shiny black shoes. He wore his hair slightly shorter these days. Hermione thought him attractive and she was sure that when the time was right, he would be an extremely eligible bachelor.
“It’s lunchtime Hermione, care to join me for a bite to eat?”
“Thank you, Draco. I normally eat in the canteen.”
“Oh come on Hermione, I think we can do better than the canteen. What about Gino’s, it’s just across the street?”
“I love the food there, but I can’t afford it very often.”
“Gino’s it is then! Let’s go.”
“OK. Thank you.” She cleared her desk, picked up her handbag and followed Draco out of the office.
The waiter at Gino’s showed them to a table by a window and handed them their menu’s. “The chef today recommends the Pollo Pomadoro. Can I get you something to drink?”
“A bottle of Frascati please Tony.”
“Very good Mr. Draco. Coming right up.”
“You must come here often to be on first name terms with the waiter, Draco.”
“Yes, this was… Amanda’s favourite restaurant.” She noticed the hesitation before he spoke his late wife’s name.
“I’m sorry Draco, I didn’t mean to…”
“No Hermione, it’s fine, really don’t worry about it. It sometimes catches me unawares. As I said it was her favourite restaurant, so I bought it. I wanted to change the name to ‘Amanda’s’ but she wouldn’t hear of it. Said it would be an insult to Gino. As with most things, she got her way.”
“You own this place?”
“Yes and from today, Hermione, you eat here anytime you like. No charge. I’ll let Gino and Tony know.” He reached under the table and picked up the bag he had placed there. “I’d like you to accept this little gift. You’ve been a great help and comfort to me recently and I’d like to say thank you.”
“You didn’t have to do that Draco.” She took out the package, recognising it instantly as a book. Removing the wrapping she saw the title and a frown furrowed her brow. “I have this book Draco, but this one is considerably thinner than my other copies.”
“That’s because this is the 1353 first edition. Not so much history to write about back then, was there?” Hermione gasped,
“1353? This is extremely rare and expensive, Draco. Wherever did you get it?”
“From a family friend, Hermione and I am very fortunate that I don’t have to worry about the cost. I figured a book was the best way to go.” She slid her hand across the table and placed it gently on top of his. She gave him a beaming smile,
“Thank you Draco, it’s really a lovely thing to do. Thank you.”
Just then Ron Weasley entered the restaurant. “Oh hi Hermione, still babysitting the ferret, I see.”
Hermione bristled, “We’re just having lunch, Ron, just leave us alone please.”
“Yeah, Weasley, clear off, you can’t afford to eat here so sod off.”
“Mind your manners, Malfoy; I’m trying to find your child. Remember that! Walk back to the office Hermione?”
“Not with you, Ronald. Besides we haven’t eaten yet.”
“Oh well… I guess I’ll see you later.”
“Not if I see you first.” She said. She knew it was cruel but he would get the message eventually. Draco followed him to the door.
“Wait Weasley, what did you mean you’re trying to find my child?”
Ron spoke quietly, “Just that I can help or hinder the investigation, Malfoy. Best you start being nice to me.”
“Don’t threaten me Weasley, you really will regret it. Now get out of my restaurant and don’t come back.”
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