Chapter 1 : The Case
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“Potter, you’ll be with Malfoy on this one.”
My boss scrunched up his features, then quickly released them, which made me remember that this wasn’t Dad I was receiving orders from, but the new guy, the deputy deputy. Dad was running after bad guys and Uncle Ron was off on leave for a few days to deal with the Rose issue, leaving me to handle Humphrey Eagerton, the eager beaver of the Auror department, on my own.
He wanted Dad’s job, I could smell it in his high-priced cologne.
“You heard me: Malfoy. You’re Aurors, not children. Get at it.”
Eager Beaver turned his chair around and glared out the window, not that there was much to see. The scene today was a ghastly fog, very suitable.
I started for the door.
“Don’t ‘aye’ me, Potter. You won’t be mollycoddled just because–”
Having heard it all before, I sharply shut out the last words with the very convenient door.
The case was of interest, but working with Malfoy? It would be a complete failure, and who would look like the idiot? Albus Severus Potter. That was all that Eager Beaver wanted.
I turned the corner into the offices of the minions. My own bolt hole was filled with pictures of Death Eaters and other villains, inspiration to push on and save the world. Or maybe it was just to have those faces leering down on anyone who dared poke their nosy noses into my work, which was so entirely... unimportant.
There were some facts that just have to be faced.
Like having to actually work with Scorpius Malfoy, the prettiest Auror in history.
“Potter. I hear it’s you and me on this one.”
Coy as ever, Malfoy sidled over; his grandfather must be glaring up at him from hell in horror at this ghastly result of careful breeding and failed reputation. Scorpius Malfoy was an Auror, which immediately placed him in the failure column for his parents, and, to boot, he was a delicate flower of manhood from his pretty golden locks to his lilywhite skin, which made him a failure among the Aurors. It was definitely something I didn’t have to worry about: none of the Potter-Weasleys had gotten away without a smattering of freckles. At least I hadn’t gotten that damned red hair because Malfoy couldn’t have resisted to make one of his slick comment on it.
Oh yes, Malfoy was slick. I turned up my nose at the smell of his cologne. He must have borrowed the Beaver’s in his quest to suck up and get promoted.
“You can go interview the witnesses, type it all up, and leave it on my desk before tomorrow.” I turned back and bent over some parchment or another.
There was a bit of silence, leading me into the false promise that Malfoy had actually gone to follow his orders. If I couldn’t feel the presence of Pretty Boy, I’d have believed that lovely false promise.
“I’m not doing all the crap work for you, Potter.”
I let out as painful a sigh as I could muster and slowly turned my chair around.
“Too afraid to go all alone?”
“No.” Malfoy winced after saying it, knowing how guilty it made him sound. He was still too green, even if he was the same age as me. Not that you would know to look at him.
“Some of the facts would be nice.” Malfoy paused, his lowered eyebrows making not a crease on his forehead. “To know, I mean.”
Ah, Malfoy was slipping already. I mentally rubbed my hands together in evil glee. Like father, like son.
In reply, I shrugged in my best imitation of Aunt Fleur. “Later.” He slipped away and down the corridor toward the door, accioing my jacket and scarf, tying the latter in a knot around my throat. Something perfect for Malfoy to throttle me with, if it came to that.
You see, Malfoy was new to the job, just out of training lessons. He’d come to the Auors rather later than me, wasting a few years in relative comfort and snobbery until his Dad really did lose everything when the market plummeted like the proverbial Irishman. That left the Malfoys out on the street and Scorpius Malfoy in search of a job. He, of course, being the contrarian he was, chose the one thing his parents would hate most: to follow the career of one Harry James Potter, ie: my father.
I’d come into this right out of Hogwarts and had been on the bottom rung of the ladder for two years before I was allowed – keyword: allowed – to step up and work with trainees instead of being the trainee myself. Dad and Uncle Ron were no help, always telling me that one had to work for it. I suppose that vanquishing Voldemort did the trick for them. There simply wasn’t a convenient Dark Lord prancing about anymore. It was really unfortunate.
For my career, that is. That’s all I meant. Really.
I was almost at the elevators before Malfoy caught me up, breathing hard. Not in good shape for an Auror, tut tut.
Nice to find out another weakness of the boy. (It was easier for me to think of him as a boy, especially compared to my overpowering masculinity.) I enjoyed listening to the sounds of his rasping breath as the elevator flew across and up to the atrium.
We passed by the statues, and like always, I couldn’t help but gaze up at their golden brilliance. The wizard’s face had been replaced, not with my Dad’s as so many had wanted, but with that of Dumbledore, while the house elf was a clear likeness of Dobby. Only the witch puzzled many, her face a cross between my grandmum and Teddy's mum's, but I always saw the nose as Old McGonagall’s, straight and narrow.
“Where are we going, Potter?” Malfoy sneered.
I pretended that I’d been doing the deep thinking of the Great Detective, sniffing in distaste at my boring Watson as I looked down my nose at him, which didn’t work all that well, since he was about my height. Damn and blast.
“You’ll see.” I turned and continued toward the apparation portals.
“Potter–” He struggled to keep up, physically and mentally.
Stopping in front of what I hoped to be the right portal (and hopefully not the one that led to that mens toilet up in the City because they always smelled funny), I let out a very long and dramatic sigh. I reached into my robes to pull out a very thin blue file. Thin meant we had a lot of work ahead of us. Blue meant all of that work was completely meaningless. I’d given up hoping for those juicy red files.
He snatched it from my hand and stuck his nose into it, flipping the first page, then the second, then the third before smacking it shut.
“Surveillance. That’s it?”
Ambition was, after all, his middle name.
“Yes,” I said despairingly. I should have already been chasing after those Dark Wizards and their Golem down in Bohemia. So much better than watching a witch who may or may not be the mistress of an illegal spell magnate.
“Well, it’s safe, at least.” Malfoy preened. Literally.
Scratch that. Coward was his middle name.
“Of a minor threat, too. This’ll be an easy one, then.” He looked pleased to be able to work in a cozy flat in Belgravia and eat well on the Auror budget.
If only he knew just what the food budget entailed...
“Will we be able to see her–”
This I could not allow.
I grabbed the file and stuffed it back into my pocket. “It’ll be incredibly boring.”
He grinned and I could almost see why all the witches batted their pretty eyes at him, though he’d have none of it.
“Didn’t you read the file, Potter?” His grin darkened with gleeful malice. “We’ll be in two different places. That alone makes it a good job.”
On this occasion, he did have a point.
Except for the fact that it would meant that I would be doing all the work. He’d just sit back and watch this witch go through her daily routine while I’d be making detailed notes that would lead absolutely nowhere and be a complete waste of time.
Before I could lash out at his smirking face, I leapt into the portal and flooed off to what I knew was the nicer of the two vantage points, the empty second-floor suite. Obviously, Malfoy hadn’t bothered to read too much into the details. He was stuck in the damp, draughty doorway, holding it open for the wealthy Muggles who frequented this place.
There were some advantages to being the superior officer, after all.
I hoped that he would enjoy this “easy” job.