Prompt Set: 100.3
Prompt: 57) Lightning
Word Count: 1,711
Summary: My name is Hermione Granger, and I am a private investigator. My cases were simple, but Draco Malfoy changed all that.
Warnings: Descriptions of violent death.
Notes: In order to understand this, reading the prologue is a good idea. The chapter index can be found here.
Made by .showmethelove at The Dark Arts
For almost six hours after I decided to take the case, I cursed myself for getting involved. There were two reasons for that. Firstly, this was Draco Malfoy I was working for, and true, he hadn’t said I had to prove him innocent, but, still, working on anything that involved Draco Malfoy was destined to end badly. It was just a matter of time, really. He was, for all technical purposes, a magnet for horrid things. After all, he had been shagging the victim, and she died, in a most bloody way. Had Draco done it? Surely he was capable of it, the great son of one of the most dangerous Death Eaters I had ever seen. Yes, he could have done it, his heart was cold as ice and black enough where he could have taken the life from this woman and then sat down for tea while her bloody body lay on the floor. Oh, yes, I did believe Draco could have killed her, but the question wasn’t could he have killed her. The question was: did he kill her? And where the thought that he killed her was frightening enough, the idea that he hadn’t, strangely, was even more frightening, because if Draco didn’t do it, that meant the Ministry had no idea who did, and this man, this killer, was still out there, choosing another victim.
This case was dangerous, and I felt a fool for having gotten myself involved in the first place. I was mad, utterly mad, but damn it, Draco had piqued my interest. He knew just how to get to me: find a person killing innocent women. Well, then again, exactly how innocent could Marya Corbin have been if she had been involved- intimately- with Draco Malfoy. Could she, like him, have been involved with the Death Eaters? Was she also part of a group of pureblood extremists who decided that the wizarding world had to be purified and that to do so all muggleborns or those with muggle blood had to die? And if not, why would she have gotten involved with someone like Draco?
And since when did I call him Draco?
So many questions were floating around in my head, and for once in my life, I didn’t have an answer to a single one of them. None of my books and studies could answer them, only research, digging for information and digging into the past could do that. And even then, was I sure I could, in fact, answer the questions? Maybe I was just fooling myself. This could have all been an elaborate plot by Draco- no, Malfoy damn it- to give the ministry reasonable doubt. He was probably looking for me to find some small shred of evidence that could point to a possible other culprit. If there was any doubt, they couldn’t touch him. Of course, it was entirely possible- though unlikely- that Malfoy was actually innocent. After all, could I really picture Malfoy getting his hands that dirty? Too much blood, too messy, too un-Malfoy like. No, I wasn’t even sure of anything anymore, and the only place I would find any answers was at the Ministry.
It wasn’t an easy task to get into the section of the Ministry I needed to, but, my connections there paid off, because not only could I get Arthur Weasley to give me information, but dropping a famous name like Harry Potter was enough to get me into the department, but then, of course, diplomatic tape kicked in. Hush-hush investigations were not open to public access, no matter whom you knew, so, after arguing with the poor Ministry workers for over an hour I had all but given up and gathered my things to leave. That was when the unexpected happened.
I was already out the door when Kingsley Shacklebolt approached me. It had been quite some time since I had actually seen Kingsley, since the great battle with Voldermort, actually, but, I recognized the voice without even turning around. A very specific voice, that’s for sure.
He questioned my reasons for investigating these killings, and I told him, in an almost completely honest way, I wanted to know the truth about what happened, no diplomatic tape rubbish, no lies, no manipulation. I wanted to know what was happening to these women. I don’t know if he was completely convinced, but, he relinquished his inquiry after a bit and handed me a folder, deceptively small in appearance, but surprisingly heavy in my hand. “If anyone asks, Ms. Granger, you didn’t get this from me.”
I nodded. Of course I knew how much trouble he could get into if they found out he had given my confidential files, but, his faith in me wasn’t lost. I thanked him, what seemed like a million times over, then left, heading back to my office. If the file was this heavy, going through it would take a while. And it did.
Almost midnight and I was still sitting in my office, finally eating dinner, looking through the written reports on the women who had been victims. All young, all beautiful, and all very much dead. Even the magic of wizard photography couldn’t make these women look alive. Their eyes stared up at the camera, white, empty. My stomach clenched. There was a distinct look in their eyes, each of them, a look I knew all to well: pure fear. They had probably died wanting to scream their heads off, but had been too afraid to do even that. Poor women. Whoever had done this to them was a monster.
I started to flip through the crime scene photos and ended up throwing out most of my dinner. Enough blood could make even the strongest stomach afraid to eat. These women, pale skin splattered a violent red, surrounded in a dark halo of blood, made my stomach lurch.
“Looking a little green, Granger.”
I nearly jumped out of my seat. Malfoy had managed to sneak into my office and watch me long enough to see me pale before I even noticed him. I was losing my touch, and when I was on a case like this, that was never a good thing.
He smirked at me, that bastardly smirk I hated so much, and sat across from me. “Did I scare you, Granger?”
“What are you doing here, Malfoy?”
He crossed his legs in an elegant, aristocratic way, resting his hands on his knee. “I came to see how your investigation is progressing.”
I watched him quietly for a while, then back down at the photographs in front of me and began digging through them until I found the one I was searching for. Alexia Dragen, age 20. She was a beautiful girl, high-class, model beauty, and the first victim. Poor girl had died of a broken heart, literally. True, she had been eviscerated like Marya, but, Alexia had died from a wound to the heart- it literally split her heart in half. The other wounds followed shortly there after. The photograph in my hand smiled back at me, a picture of her in happier times, when her skin wasn’t graying from death’s cold kiss.
I turned to picture to him, pursing my lips. “Did you know her?”
He took the picture from me, purposely brushing his fingers against mine, and despite myself, my stomach warmed at the feeling. No, damn it, I was not attracted to Draco Malfoy. I refused to be.
He examined the picture, inclined his head ever so slightly in a way that could be considered a nod. “I know who Ms. Dragen is, yes.”
“She’s the fist victim.”
“Ah. I had wondered why I hadn’t seen her as of late. Such a shame. She was a very pretty girl.”
I snatched the picture back from him, tucking the smiling girl safely away from his prying eyes. “Strange, isn’t it Malfoy? Two victims you know. Did you know her as…intimately as you did Ms. Corbin?”
The answer was so simple, so matter-of-fact, that it startled me at first, but soon I was scowling. “Have you no morals, Malfoy?”
“Now, now, Granger.” He leaned forward, resting his arms on my desk. “You speak as though sex is a disturbing thing.”
“How many women have you slept with, Malfoy?”
“Do you really want to know?”
His tone told me I didn’t. “It’s disgusting to sleep with that many women, Malfoy. You should have some restraint.”
“Oh, I have restraint, Granger. You don’t see me trying to sleep with you, do you?”
“And sully yourself with impure blood? Never.”
The edge of his lip curled slightly as he leaned back in his seat. “You believe I did this, don’t you, Granger?”
“I’ve seen absolutely no evidence to the contrary. And, seemingly, you have no alibi for either of the killings. What would any rational person think?”
“I never took you for rational, Granger.”
Now he was teasing me, I could tell by the tone of his voice. Bloody hell, Draco Malfoy was flirting with me.
We sat there watching each other for a long while, me looking into those cold, pale gray eyes, almost too hypnotized by their depth to look away. I did look away however, when a bolt of lightning sounded outside. I jumped a bit, and he smirked slowly.
“Believe I am guilty all you want, Granger. I know I’m innocent.”
“Unless that’s proven, Malfoy, you will pay for these crimes.”
“I am well aware. I also know, deep down, you are thinking I should pay for many others as well.”
I shrugged. Was I going to deny it? Surely not. He knew how I felt about him, all too well, and I knew how he felt about me. We were comfortable in our mutual disdain: it was a pattern for us, and why go messing with what works?
“Let me know when you find anything out, Granger.”
I nodded a bit, leaning back in my seat. “Very well, Malfoy.”
He stood, fluid and almost inhuman, like he had muscles no human should. “I’ll be seeing you soon.”
As he left I realized how seductive his voice had been.
And how close that had sounded to a threat.