leveltwomods: (mod level two)
[personal profile] leveltwomods posting in [community profile] hd_level_two
Episode number and title: Silence Screamed
Episode writer: [livejournal.com profile] stephaniejo84
Episode editor(s): [livejournal.com profile] faieance and [livejournal.com profile] vaysh11
Episode summary: Auror Dawlish gets more than he can handle from a witch whose Squib father goes missing.



Harry stopped.

Hogwarts—just visible through the fog—looked too much like it had during Harry's school days. Draco’s hand brushed against his, and Harry looked up to see concern written on his face. He forced a smile and moved to take Draco’s hand, but stopped himself. Draco didn’t seem like the hand holding type, and he had given Harry no indication he wanted to acknowledge what happened while at work.

‘Have you been back?’

‘No,’ Harry said, ‘Hermione has. Ron and I went right into Auror training.’

The wind, though light, was cold and caused the skin on Harry’s neck to prickle. He wasn’t sure he’d ever be ready for this. What if there were ghosts still present from the war? Not just memories, but their actual ghosts? Harry continued along the path, and Draco kept in step beside him.

When they hit the bridge—and Harry remembered Katie being cursed by the necklace there years before—he pulled away from Draco.

‘I can do this alone,’ Draco offered, ‘if you want.’

Harry shook his head. He wanted to see it. He needed to.

‘Have you been back?’

‘A couple of times.’ Draco pressed his lips into a thin line. ‘To speak with McGonagall.’

He picked up his pace, as though putting distance between him and the spot Katie had fallen would make the sick feeling disappear. For a moment, Harry considered that this was what Dawlish had wanted. To tear apart the fragile relationship he and Draco had built. Everyone knew they shared no happy memories at Hogwarts. Then Draco took his hand. The touch startled him into stopping again, and it took a moment for him to understand that it was in fact Draco’s hand.

But most of Harry’s happy memories did come from his school days, and he decided to focus on them. Draco was holding his hand. It would be another good memory. Harry pulled Draco to him—his expression still filled with concern—and kissed him. Draco stepped back and studied Harry’s face. Once satisfied that Harry was all right, he sighed and rested his forehead against Harry’s.

‘Trelawney’s waiting for us.’ Draco walked and Harry followed along, until their strides matched again.

Harry had been right.

Dawlish brought Draco back on the case, but their progress seemed to anger him. Sometimes, though it was rare, they’d speak with Seers about cases they were stuck on. Harry knew how little respect Dawlish had for Divination —it had surprised Harry when he'd ordered them to speak with one. But Ron was excited about seeing a Muggle police station. ‘Dad will love to hear all about it.’ And it meant Harry’d be working with Draco again, alone with Draco for one more day.

‘Do you think they’ll let us fly for bit while we’re here?’

‘Are you ill?’ Draco pretended to take Harry’s temperature: he felt his forehead, cheeks, and even his neck. ‘You want to play instead of work?’

Harry flushed under the attention. ‘This isn’t work—this is a ploy to waste our time. You’d think Dawlish was the one behind these murders as much as he messes around with the investigation.’

Draco hummed, but gave no other response. They were soon at the familiar entrance gate of Hogwarts.

As massive as Hogwarts was, it seemed smaller to Harry.

They passed the few students who had the morning free and were not in the library studying for their classes. The students whispered to each other if they walked with friends, and smiled and nodded to them if they were on their own. No one sneered at Malfoy or asked for Harry’s autograph; although he found himself anticipating the reverse from the Slytherins.

Draco turned up the stairs and Harry followed him up the ladder to Trelawney’s classroom. It made Harry smile. The absurdity of climbing a ladder to get into a classroom. Had he really done this everyday? It was the type of novelty that never should have worn off. The room was dark and misty just as he remembered it.

‘Mind your head,’ Professor Trelawney said, just before Harry smacked his head against a support beam. Draco smirked at him. He whispered a wandless spell as he ran his fingers through Harry’s hair; the pain disappeared. Trelawney gestured for them to sit, and they both chose armchairs, remembering that the pouffes were uncomfortable.

‘Tea?’

‘Oh no, thank you,’ Draco said, almost as loud and quick as Harry’s own protest.

‘I’ve meditated on this issue since I first received your owl.’ She wrapped her shawl around herself, sending the beads swinging around her. ‘I decided the ball would be the best way to get information for you. Most Divination is too general to be of much help. But with the crystal ball, I can see everything.’

Harry tried not to show his dissatisfaction with the whole idea. Trelawney never remembered her real prophecies, and he never put much stock in Divination. It seemed too much like chance for him to trust it. Harry had read the letter Draco wrote before he sent it. It was a simple: we’re working on a serial murder case and would like any information you can give.

Harry had thought she’d need more to go on, or would ask for something specific. Instead Trelawney closed her eyes and began to hum as she tried to see with her inner eye. Harry tried to catch Draco's eyes, but he was poised and ready to write down anything and everything she said. He fought a smile; Draco looked so earnest.

‘Oh.’ Trelawney gazed into the crystal ball. Her eyes flicked about as though she was watching a movie and wanted to capture every detail. ‘I see it all very clearly.’

They remained quiet as they listened to her.

‘You will be out dining together on your first date.’ She smiled. ‘The decor is lovely; excellent choice, Mr Potter. Though I’m not familiar with the restaurant myself.’

Harry looked at Draco who kept his eyes on his parchment, but hesitated before he wrote down what Trelawney said.

‘You must have the duck, Mr Malfoy—anything else will displease you—and stay for dessert, Mr Potter—you’ll enjoy it the most. It’ll be cool, but neither of you will mind the walk. Look for Henry behind the red door. That’s where you’ll find him.’

Harry and Draco shared an inquisitive look; who was Henry? Which red door?

She watched for a moment longer, but then shook her head. ‘That’s all I have, boys, except a bit of advice.’ She turned to Harry, ‘You need to mind your head,’ and then to Draco, ‘You need to not let your focus be solely on him.’

They didn’t look at each other again, until they’d long left her presence and were outside the castle again.

‘I’ll never get over how odd that woman is.’ Harry shook his head. ‘Why did Dawlish pick her, anyway?’

‘He didn’t. He said, go ask a Seer. I picked her.’

Harry began to ask why, but stopped when he noticed they were not headed off the grounds. ‘Where are you going?’

‘Thought you wanted to fly?’ Draco pulled a Snitch out of his pocket. ‘Come on, let’s have a game—if you win, I’ll even pay for that dinner we’re going to have soon.’

‘And if you win?’

Draco looked Harry over as he thought. ‘I’ll find something.’

‘All right, but just one.’

No one was using the pitch when they got there, but they found Madam Hooch cleaning and counting the brooms.

‘Anyone scheduled to use the pitch for a while?’ Draco asked.

Madam Hooch started, but smiled when she saw who it was. ‘Well, Mr Malfoy, I wasn’t expecting you. And Mr Potter? I read that you are working together. How’s that been?’

Harry bit his lip, and Draco answered for them. ‘Better than expected. We were hoping to have a Seekers' match, if it isn’t too much trouble.’

She studied each of them and then gave a great sigh. ‘You break these brooms, and I’ll break you. No one is scheduled until this afternoon, so clean up after yourself and it’s fine with me.’

‘Thank you,’ Draco and Harry said at the same time. Draco leaned in and gave Madam Hooch a quick hug and a light kiss on the cheek, before he grabbed a couple of brooms and handed one to Harry.

‘All right boys. Have fun.’

Once they were close to the middle of the pitch Harry said, ‘I didn’t know you two were close.’

‘She was worried about me when I quit the team.’ Draco shrugged. ‘We talked some times.’

Harry felt there was more, but he didn’t push it. Draco released the Snitch and they watched it fly off.

‘On the count of three,’ Draco said.

Together they counted, ‘one, two, three’ and shot up after the tiny golden Snitch. They didn’t have to stay close to the pitch, so when the Snitch flew up and around the school they followed it. It has been too long since Harry had been on a broom and he pushed himself to keep up with Draco. He wondered how often Draco flew. Was it his first time on a broom since school as well?

They were both far behind the Snitch. But Harry could still see it in the distance. Draco tried to divert him by a sudden dive, but Harry kept his course straight. Draco popped back up in front of him a few moments later. He tried to obscure Harry’s view. It was a clever move as Draco was flying faster, but not fast enough to make it to the Snitch. If Harry lost sight of it, Draco would have little trouble beating him to it.

Harry pulled back and—keeping the Snitch in sight—changed his direction to meet up with it. Draco noticed immediately and hesitated on his own path. It was Draco’s major mistake. He was fast, but far too concerned about what the other Seeker was doing.

Get the Snitch. Harry’s mind was always focused on getting to the Snitch. He repeated it to himself as he tried to block out what Draco was doing. Harry pushed his broom faster. He distracted Draco, but he still had more area to cover.

They were on opposite sides of the pitch now, but Harry could see Draco gain speed. They both came in at different angles; Draco flying up as Harry flew down. Draco grabbed the Snitch a moment before Harry jerked his broom up to fly over Draco instead into him.

Back on the ground Harry caught his breath as he waited for Draco to join him. It was the first time Draco beaten Harry to the Snitch. It was the first time anyone had. But Harry was more interested in what Draco would ask him for than he’d been in catching the Snitch. And the look of utter disbelief and then surreal satisfaction on Draco’s face was worth more than adding another Snitch to Harry's collection.

Fuck, he had it bad.

He wanted to kiss him, again.

He could have kissed him, again.

He should have kissed him, again.



#


‘All right,’ Ron said. ‘Here’s what we know: the victims are in some way related to a witch or wizard, so these aren’t random attacks on Muggles. And Iris found two matches from the DNA of the Wizard who Splinched himself on her magic box—both were murder cases. But she couldn’t find his name in the National DNA database. So our suspects not only know both the magical and the Muggle world well, but commit crimes in both areas regularly.’

Draco had a pained expression on his face. ‘I find it disconcerting that you use the terms DNA and database, but still call computers “magic boxes”.’

Harry tried not to smile, but Ron reminded him too much of his father at the moment.

‘Folks, I’d hate to interrupt,’ Auror Dawlish called out across the room, disrupting everyone's discussions and paperwork. ‘But we’ve got a missing person, and I’d like a team out looking for him.’ There was a massive shuffle of parchment, and many volunteers called out. ‘His name is Henry Morton and—’ Harry didn’t hear the rest of what Dawlish said, as he and Draco had their own private, silent conversation. Harry’s expression said, The cow was bleeding right; although Draco’s looked more like an I told you so—learn to trust me, Potter than an insult toward Trelawney.

Ron was swearing beside them, but Draco was the first to recover. ‘What’s wrong, Weasel?’

‘That’s my mum’s cousin.’

Harry said, ‘I’m sorry, Ron. Should we inform her—’

He waved Harry off. ‘We weren’t close with him; I’d only seen him twice in my life, but—’ Ron gestured to the file Harry held. ‘He’s a Squib.’

And if Trelawney was right—he was still alive.
#


Mafalda Morton, in a tight black dress that made her look like she had more curves than she really did and high heel shoes that brought her up to an average height, was just the type of girl John had gone after back when he'd still ran after them. There was a determination in her expression and strength in her stance that demanded she be taken seriously. It brought to mind the day he had met his wife—she'd been telling off a man who had the audacity to pinch her bum.

He’d been that man.

His wife told people they met by an accidental elbow at the theatre.

‘I do wish I didn’t have to bother you, but my father has been missing for three days. I’m sure you are aware of the likelihood of finding a missing person, a missing Squib, alive after three days. I just cannot wait any longer.’

There were no comforting words he could offer her. Each day that went by without the person found the better the chances that they were already dead. It was pointless to lie to her. It wouldn’t help either of them in the end.

‘We know there was a struggle, and looking at all the clues I can’t puzzle together why someone would want to take my father. I ward the house myself, Auror Dawlish, no Muggle could have got to him.’

John made a note of that to put in Henry Morton’s file. As Henry was a Squib living in a Muggle neighbourhood, John figured the Aurors must have known that, or the case never would have been filed with the Aurors in the first place. But facts had been known to slip through the cracks in other cases, too.

‘I’m afraid I can only allow you three more days—my nerves can’t handle a day more wondering what torture he might be going through. You know what people think of Squibs. How even good people treat them.’

‘I am truly sorry, Miss Morton.’ He gave her a smile, but something in the way she said allow made his neck itch. It wasn’t a tone he’d heard from a grieving woman before—more like a cunning one about to set a trap. ‘But we are doing everything we can. It is impossible to guarantee a safe return by a specific date, no matter how much I might wish it.’

‘Perhaps I’ve not been clear.’ All grief disappeared from her voice then.

Ah, he was right. His pulse sped up, but not from fear or nervousness. He enjoyed the power he felt when he arrested people, but he found long ago it was much more satisfying when they never saw it coming. He paused his note-taking for the briefest of moments—pressed his lips into a thin line and dipped his quill into the ink—as he slipped another parchment over the one he was using with a quick and—if he did say so himself—sly movement.

It was not the first time someone had threatened him. She would elaborate soon enough, but the note would be written and sent off prior to her leaving the room. Parvati would have two Aurors waiting to arrest her; he just had to keep his hand from shaking until the moment came. The haughty expression melting off her beautiful face would give him something to think about while pleasing the missus for a good few months.

‘Are you married?’

John startled, fearing that she had been reading his thoughts. Judging by her look—waiting for his answer, not smug satisfaction—he guessed not and gave a slight nod.

‘Well, then. If you do not return my father to me alive and well within the next three days, then I won’t be the only grieving party.’

Oh yes, he thought, biting his lip as he studied and memorised the smug look on her face. He’d enjoy watching her be bound and dragged away. He might even visit her later, if he found the time.

‘I understand,’ he said; he held her gaze to not call attention to the note he began to write. ‘This is a stressful—’ He choked and gasped for air, dropping his quill as he pulled at the invisible noose wrapped around his neck. There was nothing to pull on, but an instant later the air returned and—other than the small scratches that began to bleed about his neck from where his own fingernails had cut too deep—nothing signified anything unusual had transpired.

Mafalda sat as calm—no—calmer than before her attack and more than a bit satisfied.

John glanced down. He’d been unable to even write her name. He opened his mouth a few times as question after question died on his lips. He could speak nothing of her threat, nor write of it, or he felt his air cut off. He looked her over and saw her wand’s tip hidden in her left hand. Tricky witch. With no other choice, he took a deep breath and said, ‘I’ll keep in touch, Miss Morton.’

‘I’d appreciate it, Auror Dawlish.’

#


Harry tugged at his hair as he read over their notes. There had to be something in what Trelawney had said that could help them. He thought over the years and tried to remember if anything she’d said had become true before. It didn’t matter either way, because what she saw was useless. He looked up and watched Draco reading a file, squinting slightly. Would it be as easy as taking him out to dinner?’

A memo flew through their door. Draco stood and caught it before it could make its way to Harry. Harry smiled thinking of their Seeker match. He should have kissed him again. Yet, they were co-workers. As frustrating as his job was he did love it. And Draco worked too hard to get where he was to give it up over an office romance.

‘Dawlish.’ Draco shook his head with a dry, humourless laugh. ‘Wants us stop looking into Trelawney’s clues and “hit the streets” looking for witnesses that might have seen who took Morton.’

‘Haven’t multiple Aurors already done that?’

‘That’s what I’ve been reading all afternoon.’

‘Fine. Let’s go. Why not? We’re the Cold Case Division.’ Harry sighed and stood up. ‘This is what we do, right? Clean up after Aurors who couldn’t get it right the first time. No, he’s right. We should be on the street—maybe we’ll just run into Morton.’ He went for his cloak, but Draco grabbed his arm, spinning him around.

‘We both know what we need to do.’

Harry stared into Draco’s cold eyes. ‘You believe that?’ He knew that Draco did believe in the prophecy; it was why he had picked Trelawney.

‘You see magic work every day; why can’t you trust in this?’

‘If you believe in it so much, why didn’t you just ask me out to dinner?’

‘Because you’re supposed to ask me!’

‘What?’

‘She said, “Excellent choice, Mr Potter” which suggests you are the one who asks me to dinner. We could eat every meal together every day, but until you ask me out on a date it won’t be the one!’

‘Relationships don’t work like that; it could take ages.’

‘I’ve noticed.’

Harry spelled the room to be silent to anyone passing in the hall and pulled Draco into a kiss. Draco was the most difficult person to read. He stayed on the other side of the room all day, reading and acting as though nothing had changed, but then it was Harry’s fault for not going out on the limb?

It was the worst time for this. Harry needed to ask him out to dinner and get it over with. He knew that. It’d work or it wouldn’t, but why did their case have to hang in the balance as well?

Draco kissed him back.

And Harry didn’t care anymore that they had a case to solve. It could wait a few minutes. He let himself believe Trelawney. She was right this time, and he just had to let time takes its course.

Draco pushed him backwards, until he fell into one of their chairs. The one that sat in front of his desk? Harry wasn’t sure. He didn’t want to look away from Draco to check.

It wasn’t important.

No one could see them, and no one could hear them. Draco was slipping out of his robes in front of him. Those things were important. Draco continued his slow but determined progress through the insane amount of buttons down his robe. He smirked and Harry realise his mouth was hanging opened.

Harry swallowed and said, ‘You never told me what you wanted for beating me to the Snitch.’

‘I thought you already knew.’ Draco slipped his robes off his shoulders and began to undo his trousers. ‘Are you going to take off your clothes, or do you not want to do this?’

Harry tore at his robes. What was the purpose of having so many buttons on their robes? He fumbled through the last few, and was still working on his trousers, when Draco—naked except for his boots—climbed onto his lap. He pushed them and his pants passed his knees just before Draco sat, bringing their erections together.



Draco wasted no time. He fired off the needed spells. He lifted and guided Harry’s erection into him. They had no time to waste. They’d already wasted too much.

They were far quieter than Harry imagined they’d be. He was so used to the noise of their daily interactions. Their banter. Their disagreements. Their fighting. Like they were just before Harry kissed him not twenty minutes earlier. Harry realised the silence in the hall was much more suspicious than any kind of noise would have been. Heavy breathing could mean a lull in the fight; silence screamed they were hiding something.

Draco rocked gradually gaining speed. Harry held onto his hips. Draco kissed him as the pressure slowly built up.

There was a knock on the door.

They both startled at the sound. Draco’s eyes were wide, but he kissed Harry harder. They were so close. Draco rode him faster and faster. He was moaning into Harry's mouth as he came. Harry came just after when Draco was already firing off spells to clean them up quickly. His hair was fixed before he stood to put his robes on, for which he used a spell as well. Harry didn’t trust his legs to stand yet, but spelled his robes back on and pulled at his hair.

Another knock.

‘Coming.’ Draco blushed and looked away from Harry.

Harry remembered the silencing spell and ended it just as Draco was opening to door.

A short woman who looked as though she’d been crying entered their office. Harry forced himself to stand up. He hoped she didn’t notice that his legs shook. She introduced herself as Mafalda Morton and Draco offered her a chair. She sat in the one Harry had just stood up from. Harry couldn’t look at her. Draco’s blush grew darker. She seemed unfazed by their odd behaviour.

Harry didn’t catch why she was there, but he didn’t want to interrupt her and feel foolish for not paying attention.

‘You were a Slytherin, Malfoy, you know what it’s like,’ she said. Draco nodded, and she said, ‘My mother is a Muggle and hated my father’s side of the family, because of the way he was treated. They were never cruel, don’t think that. It was just—exclusion. He used to say it was like going to the most amazing toy store, but not be allowed to touch or take anything home.

His presence made them self-conscious and worried about what they talked of. “Oh, don’t talk about that in front of Henry” type of thing. He was interested, but told not to ask questions. He was happy for me when I got my Hogwarts letter. He was happy I could be apart of the world he couldn’t. Never bitter. He is never bitter. He enjoys his life. And, of course, he asked me everything he ever wanted to ask them.

I got to teach him everything about the world he grew up in—you can imagine how exciting that is for an eleven-year-old girl.’

Mafalda’s eyes watered as she took a breath. ‘It is just... I fear his case won’t be taken seriously. Not only is he a Squib, but an un-influential one. The only person in this world who cares about him is me. Isn’t that why they chose him? Why whoever they are have been choosing all of them? No one here would notice or care they went missing, and no one there could ever catch them?’

‘We care,’ Harry said. He took her hand and squeezed it. ‘We’re working on this and we’re doing everything we can to find Henry.’ His stomach twisted at his words, because he hadn’t. He still hadn’t asked Draco out on a date.

‘My father raised me on stories about you.’ She smiled, obviously remembering something. ‘When I came to Hogwarts, everyone assumed I knew nothing. I know you never noticed me, but I was in awe of you my first few years there. My father always found my stories of you much more interesting than his own. You are a major character in the stories we share. If anyone can find him it’s you, Harry Potter.’ She looked at Malfoy. ‘The both of you. You were another of our favourite characters to talk about. Stories are no good without a villain, and we choose not to talk about the real one.’

Harry didn’t know what to say, but Draco smirked at this.

‘Thank you, gentlemen. I feel much better knowing this is in your hands.’

Draco took her hand after Harry released it, and kissed it. ‘We won’t let you down,’ he said with more certainty than Harry felt about the situation.

Once Mafalda Morton was out the door, Draco said, ‘She used to follow me around and take notes on what I was doing. Some really absurd things: “took two baths today, has changed his favourite adjective to describe Harry Potter, and only yelled at me four times to leave him alone; he must be warming up to me”.’

Harry smiled and reached for Draco’s hand, but Draco stepped away. ‘That was too close, Harry.’

‘I know.’ Harry shuffled his feet, scuffing his shoes against the floor. ‘It’s a risk.’

He didn’t have the courage to ask Draco if he felt it was worth it.

#


Three days. John had three days to release himself from a curse he didn’t know the bloody name of. Because even if Potter found Morton—and with Potter’s luck, he would—John’s own luck meant the Squib would be already dead. Even when the noose disappeared, letting him breathe freely, John felt it hanging around his neck.

It had been years since he had studied for a case, and his pulse raced as he walked to his familiar old stomping ground. He did so with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Excitement as he raced against time to figure out a puzzle before it was too late. Trepidation, because for the first time it was his own life at stake. He knew the effects of Mafalda's curse were much the same as the Unbreakable Vow, so he decided it was a safe bet to start there. He pulled three books off the shelves and found a quiet place to read.

#


The next morning, John watched his wife make his coffee. She moved around the kitchen, spelling down the loose floorboard that he tripped over on his way in, and dodging it as she went about her day. He’d promised to fix it proper ages ago, but had never found the time. After a few months, she had quit asking.

He sipped the coffee and took the time to appreciate the warmth as it spread through him, waking him up for the day. She fried sausage. He moved to take the paper—his routine for the morning—but he stopped himself. She had his back to him. He tried to remember the last time they’d said more than ‘goodbye, have a good day’ to each other in the morning. He tried to remember the last time they’d even said that.

He couldn’t remember.

He went and grabbed the tools he needed and fixed the floorboard; it only took a moment. His wife stared at him surprised, so he kissed her cheek before he put his tools away. Upon his return, breakfast was ready and she sat to join him. They traded sections of the paper as they ate much like every other morning. Their routine had taken years—hard, difficult years—to form together.

It was a comfort he never recognised as such.

‘Everything all right?’ She glanced at him and then down at the paper. ‘You seem a bit off this morning.’

‘Same as always.’ He smiled at her. He reached out to pat her hand, but her expression stopped him. It wasn’t pleased. It wasn’t grateful. Not even amused. It was concerned. He stood, gathered his things and kissed her cheek before he left. Same as always; except for the lump in his throat, the secret around his neck, and the lingering want after the kiss.

John had feared the spell might stop him from reading about anything conspicuous as well, but it let him be, no matter what book he searched through. No one thought, or at least no one said anything about him spending the day in the library. Ten books later and no luck. Fifteen, twenty, twenty-five books and then the words blurred together and he could read anymore.

He checked out the next few books on his list of far too many and headed to lunch. It wouldn’t do to starve himself. He read in between his office duties, but by the end of the day he was no closer to being free.

He’d figure it out.

Yet when he entered his home that evening, he took one look at his wife and ran for the toilet. Yes, he was sick, but it was nothing to worry about he told his wife. What else caused vomiting but a simple stomach flu? No, he didn’t need a potion. Just a bit of rest. Rest and to read. Rest and to read. He’d have to go to work early the next day.

It would be his last day.

#


It took Harry a couple more days to actually form the words, ‘Would you like to go to dinner with me?’

He knew the answer was yes, but he feared it was really ‘Of course, because I believe our case depends on this, you fool, what took you so long.’ Harry knew magic worked. He trusted in it daily. But that type of magic made him uneasy. He had no control over it. What if he picked the wrong place? What if he asked on the wrong night? Could knowing the future make him accidently make it not happen?

They didn’t have a reservation, but it turned out that Harry Potter didn’t need one.

‘Good evening, I’m Albert, and I’ll be your waiter this evening. Could I start you off with a bottle of wine?’

‘Yes,’ Draco answered before Harry could protest. It was meant to be a date, not for the case but for them. He needed to relax. Everything would come together if he let it, but it was difficult when in the back of his mind someone was screaming find the red door. He hadn’t seen one on the way in and there wasn’t one inside the restaurant.

The wine helped.

Draco’s foot slipped in between Harry’s legs under the table. He was too relaxed to feel nervous and caught Draco’s leg in between his own. Harry refused to let go causing Draco to blush. He’d touch Draco’s hand as though getting his attention—though he already had it—during their conversations of everything except work. And they listened to Trelawney’s advice. Draco ordered the duck. Harry didn’t try to rush the meal and ordered dessert.

They exited the restaurant. The crisp, cool air woke them from their alcohol-induced carelessness, making them feel nervous and awkward.

Draco made the night look beautiful with its misty air surrounding him. Harry leaned in, letting the world and the space between them fall away, until the voices of other diners startled him. They moved out of the way, and then continued to walk. They had nowhere to go, but they didn’t want to leave yet.

They knew they couldn’t leave yet.

If it were a proper date, this would be the point when they kissed. Much like the other morning, Harry hesitated. He wanted to, knew he could, but was afraid to ruin the moment by going too fast. This wasn’t a real date, it could be the wrong night, and Harry was sure it wouldn’t work.

‘Bloody hell, there’s a red door.’

#


John took a deep breath and got himself another cup of tea. He focused on nothing but brewing process. He watched the water steam and then it start to boil, the tea swirl and change the colour of the water, the sugar dissolve as he stirred it in.

It soothed him as he cried.

Mafalda had said three days, but John wished she’d been more specific. He should have asked her. Would he die at midnight? Or would it be the next morning, precisely three days after she’d cast the spell?

It was late in the evening, far past the usual time for him to return home. His wife would be worried, but not surprised at his lateness. There was no hiding how stressed he was from her; she attributed it his job, as always, with the political climate so tense since the first deaths.

He should go home and spend one more night with her.

#


Draco took the front while Harry went around the back.

He could hear Draco knocking on the front door and saw someone move inside the house. But no lights came on. Whoever was there didn’t want to be seen. Harry could tell they were headed for the back. He had his wand out, ready to stop them. When he crept to the door, it burst open. Wooden splinters flew all around. And he fell back as a man ran out.

Harry chased after him. He cast stunners that missed. The man sent rocks from the ground flying back at him. Then he stopped running, and turned to face Harry. He was out of breath. With one last Stupefy the man was down. He was huge. His wrist was Splinched. He must have tried to Disapparate when he’d heard them outside. It was not a clean cut, so Harry healed it the best he could.

Draco came from the house with Morton who was pale and shaky. ‘Idiot nearly Splinched them both.’

‘Are you all right?’ Harry asked Morton.

Morton nodded, but Draco said, ‘I’m taking him to St Mungo’s.’

‘And I’ll take this guy to the Ministry.’ Harry pointed towards the man on the ground and checked the time. ‘Meet me there at half past?’

Draco nodded, and Harry took a hold of the man and Apparated to the Ministry.

#


John was surprised to find his wife waiting up for him. She hadn’t done that in years. Tea and biscuits were set for him on the table. He’d had enough tea for the night, but picked up a biscuit. He’d never thought how lonely it must be for her, being his wife. The politics of his work must have affected her. She never complained about it.

He drank the tea after all—it could very well be the last cup he had with her. When they’d finished, he took her hand in his, turned it palm up, and kissed it.

It was the way, he’d first kissed her.

He’d asked her.

She’d said yes.

And he kissed her palm, instead of her mouth.

It was time he gave her a surprise as well; showed her how much he appreciated her and still loved her after all these years. He only hoped they wouldn't break the table, but then he thought: fuck the table.

#


Draco sat across from the suspect and took notes on everything he said. The man was a half-blood wizard called Andrew Penbrooke. They'd left him overnight in a holding cell, as it was well past ten o’clock when they had booked him. The morning was a better time for an interrogation, after a good night’s sleep.

Harry paced around the room and asked the questions. But Penbrooked claimed to have been the hired muscle only. ‘I’m telling you. I don’t know anything. They never told me what they wanted them for. Just gave me a location, the description of the person, and then a meet up place afterwards. She didn’t show up; it’s the only reason we were still there.’

Draco noted the ‘she’ without taking his eyes off Penbrooke. Harry took that as a sign to not let Penbrooke know he’d let the sex of his boss slip yet.

‘You have no idea what they might want the Squibs and Muggles for?’

‘No more than you—I’ve thought about it, of course, but they didn’t want them dead; I reckon they’re worked them.’

‘How about this,’ Draco said. ‘We’ll drop the murder charges if you can give us the locations of all of your drop-off places and appointments.’ There were never any murder charges against Penbrooke, at least, not yet. The Kidnapping was the only crime they had evidence for.

‘I only ever saw her at the drop-offs. Everything else she sent me through the mail.’

‘The mail?’

Penbrooke swallowed. ‘Yes, she gave me a key for a mailbox.’

Harry held his hand out for the key. Reluctantly Penbrooke gave it to him. Harry left the room to give the key to Ron and Iris. They’d been watching from the observation room.

‘You should have dusted it for fingerprints.’

‘It would only be covered in his—he’s the one who’s been carrying it. It needs to be checked for magic though.’ Harry handed over to Ron. ‘Can you two do that and then go out to the mailbox?’

‘Alright, mate.’ Ron left the room, but stopped outside the door to wait for Iris.

Iris hesitated, obviously wanting to see what else they got out of Penbrooke, but after a moment she nodded and followed Ron. Harry wished he could trade places with her—the mystery that might be lurking in the box was more interesting than anything else that Penbrooke would give them. When he returned to the room, Draco made a list of all the drop-off places as Penbrooke named them.

When he was finished, Harry asked, ‘Do you always work alone?’

‘No, but the bloke I worked with Splinched himself a couple weeks ago.’

Harry nodded. ‘And the person you meet? Who are they? Do you have a name for—’

‘No.’ Penbrooke paused and looked to the left. ‘It’s a different bloke each time.’

‘Never a woman?’ Draco asked.

Penbrooke shrugged. ‘Sometimes, but more often a man. Bloke probably uses Polyjuice. But I never got a name, and I haven’t a way to contact him.’

After they had escorted him back to his cell, Harry said, ‘He’s lying –’

‘Of course he’s lying. Did you expect him to tell us the truth? The important part is figuring out what he’s lying about and when he actually has been saying the truth.’

Harry rolled his eyes. ‘If you’d let me finish—what I meant is, he was obviously lying about the Polyjuice. He knows it is woman and exactly what she looks like.’

‘He gave us the two drop-offs we know were used, but I don’t trust half of these. He’s trying to waste our time.’

‘Hey, Harry.’ Ron ran toward them, with Iris following him. ‘You headed to your office?’ He shook an envelope in his hand as Harry nodded and said, ‘Yeah, mate. What’d you find in the box?’

‘Their next target,’ Iris answered, smiling. ‘Phineas Doyle. We are heading there now. We were just arranging a safe house for him and his family.’

‘Muggleborn,’ Ron said. ‘So it’ll be a quick move—they already know about us, we can use magic—you want to come along?’

Harry looked at Draco, who shrugged. ‘No, though,' Harry said. 'I want to get this added to the file. Meet up with us after everything settle, yeah?’

Ron and Iris were off again, and Harry and Draco went on their way.

‘So,’ Draco said, ‘do you believe in Divination now?’

Harry forced a laugh. ‘Trelawney was still wrong a lot of time.’ He checked the hallway to make sure they were alone and reached for Draco who backed away.

‘It’s a risk, Harry.’

He nodded. ‘Do you not feel it is worth it?’

‘I don’t know. I’ve never been much of a risk taker.’ Draco looked away from him. ‘But I’m thinking about it.’

#


John woke to an owl. The note it carried informed him that Henry Morton had been found. Mafalda would meet him in his office at 9.30. Though he could still feel the noose, he breathed easier. His wife was already awake and making breakfast when he made it downstairs. She smiled at him as he kissed her cheek. The kitchen table had survived, and they smirked at each other as they sat down at it.

‘You’re in a good mood this morning,’ she said.

He couldn’t explain to her what brought on the change, so he said, ‘Well, I had good night.’

‘Oh really?’ She laughed.

John couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen her laugh. ‘Amelia.’

‘Yes, John?’

‘I love you. You know that, right?’

‘If I didn’t know, I wouldn’t still be here.’

#


John went straight to his office, nodded to Parvati and informed her to let Mafalda Morton in as soon as she arrived. It was dark and quiet in the room, and he left it that way hoping it would unnerve her. But she entered, he regretted it—her small form was even more imposing with the shadows forming a giant beast behind her.

‘Is that it? Is it over? Or do you need to—’ He gestured casting a spell with his wand.

She smirked at the dark surroundings and gave him a questioning look. ‘Just a little.’ And repeated his hand gesture.

Even with his wand in his hand, it was too late for him to respond when he realised the spell she’d cast. Obliviate. It already started to melt his incriminating memories way. It changed the reasons for the events of the last few days. He’d studied in the library to impress a young witch with his knowledge, not to free himself from a dark spell. He’d told Potter and Malfoy to search for Henry Morton to give him time to spend with her, not to save his life. And he came to appreciate his wife because of the young witch who reminded him of her younger self.

‘Just relax, Auror Dawlish, just relax your mind. Let it go.’ She held his arm steady, and then pressed her small frame against his side. ‘I’m very sorry and ever so grateful for your help in returning my father to me. But I can’t in good conscience continue an affair with a married man.’

She kissed his cheek and stepped away.

‘Yes, of course—I’m ashamed of my behaviour.’ The words fell from his mouth though he couldn’t place their source. He was not ashamed of his behaviour. He loved his wife, of course, and would never leave her, but the last few days with Mafalda had made him feel more alive than he’d been in ages. He reached for her. ‘Please.’

‘No.’ She stepped farther away. ‘Promise to think of me,’ she said and her voice was shaking.

Her hand waited on the doorknob. He remembered when it had gripped his kitchen table during sex. Where had his wife been that day? Asleep upstairs? How foolish of him. His stomach dropped at the thought of what he risked losing to relive a memory. Perhaps it was better this way.

John walked to her. He took her free hand, turning it palm up and kissed it.

‘I’ll always think of you.’

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK...


From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.

Most Popular Tags