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Murder on the Hogwarts Express by Violet Gryfindor

Format: Novella
Chapters: 10
Word Count: 17,570
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Strong Violence, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Humor, Mystery
Characters: Moody, Tonks, Bill, Charlie, OC
Pairings:

First Published: 04/23/2005
Last Chapter: 04/26/2018
Last Updated: 04/26/2018

Summary:


Sometimes going back to school can be murder. Nymphadora Tonks and Charlie Weasley get caught in the midst of a feud between prefects that turns deadly. Both detectives must sort through red herrings and numerous suspects to find the one important thing: the name of the killer.

2007 Dobby Award Winner for Best Novella!


Chapter 6: The Evidence of the Prefects - Part Two

Six


The compartment door opened to reveal a very short and somewhat plump girl wearing the Gryffindor colours. Tonks supposed (for it is never good for a detective to guess) that usually a huge good-humoured smile would be plastered across the girl’s face. At the moment, however, the prefect looked insecure and frightened, to the point that her hands were shaking.

Charlie knew the girl, but only from sight. She gave him a shy smile as she sat down across from Tonks, whose face had not softened an iota, not even for a fellow Gryffindor. Looking at his friend, Charlie thought for a moment that she was channelling the great detective, Sherlock Holmes; that’s how deep into the role of detective she had delved.

“Thank you for coming. I know this is a hard time for you,” Tonks said, her voice so quiet that Charlie had to lean forward to hear her properly. He wondered which tactic she would be using during this interrogation.

The girl, Irene Westmacott, looked back at Tonks with large brown eyes. “I-I can’t believe that this happened,” she said with a large sniffle. “Gilbert may not have been the nicest of people, but no one deserves to die like that. It’s so horrible!”

“Indeed it is,” Tonks answered back. “Which is why we have to find out who did this.”

Irene nodded profusely, her mousy curls bobbing up and down with the movement of her head. “Of course, I understand, Nymphadora.”

Tonks winced at the sound of her first name, but said nothing to correct the older girl.

“You were going to do your rounds at the same time as Mr. Moriarty, correct?”

The curls bobbed again as Irene nodded. “Yes, I was.”

“And where were you while he and Miss. Vane were in the first compartment?”

Irene tilted her head to the side. “With my chums in the third carriage. I went there right after the meeting to catch up after the summer.”

“How did you hear about the ... tragedy?” Tonks asked, her eyes narrowing.

Kicking her legs against the seat, Irene did not seem to notice the predatory look on Tonk’s face. “Well, we heard the commotion from the front of the train. Just before ten, I think,” Irene replied. “Then Bill came around, saying that something had happened and that I had to join the other prefects in the back compartment.” She bit her lip and looked down. “That’s when he told us what happened. I still can’t believe it.”

“Some people didn’t seem to like Mr. Moriarty very much.” Tonks stated, seeming to relax. “What did you think of him, Miss Westmacott?”

For the first time during the interview, Irene straightened up and looked Tonks in the eyes. “Gilbert may not have acted like the nicest of people, but he wasn’t as vindictive as too many of the Slytherins are. He judged people by their actions, not their bloodline or wealth. He was fair too: if he thought that you were in the right, then he would let you go without a warning, and if you did something wrong, he would aptly punish in an according way.” Irene paused to take a breath. “Unlike most of the Slytherins, he knew what had to be done and did it the way he thought was best. Not that he didn’t have his negative points, we all do. But I thought that he was better than some people out there.”

Tonks leant forward in her seat. “Like who?” she asked with a conspiratorial air.

Irene scowled, if a face as cheerful as hers could ever do so. “That hussy Harriet Alder, of course. She made a number of passes at Gilbert without much success. He was too much in love with his own looks to even bother with her.”

Inwardly applauding Irene for this tidbit of information, Tonks shook her head.

“But I heard that Gilbert once had a girlfriend...” she left the sentence hanging to urge the girl on with her wonderfully-detailed answers. Irene had a loose tongue, which was a blessing in an investigation.

Irene rolled her eyes dramatically. “Oh her! Well, let me tell you, Catharine Lynley was a perfect match for him if only because she was as self-admiring as he was. But, she held no candle to him for fairness or brains. I wonder sometimes how she even gets through her classes.”

From the window, Charlie grinned. If only all their interrogations could go this well.

“Did she take being dumped hard, do you know?” Tonks asked, her voice light and conversational, as though she were gossiping with friends.

“Oh yes she did! You wouldn’t believe how vindictive towards him she became. He couldn’t go anywhere without her there following him. It was as though she was obsessed with him,” Irene answered. “Sort of creepy if you ask me.”

Tonks agreed with her, then asked, “How long ago did they break up?”

“Last spring, right before the end of school. Her screams for him to come back to her rang out through the dungeons for a while, I heard.” Irene smiled sardonically. “Gilbert had a good reason to wait until the last day. That way, he could get away from her faster.”

This last statement worried Tonks, but she tried not to show it. Finally, it seemed, they had found a perfect suspect, but she could not allow the testimony of one person skew her own thoughts and opinions. She and Charlie would have to speak with this Catharine Lynley before too much time had passed.

“Is there anything else that you think we should know, Miss Westmacott?” Tonks asked with a serious tone. “It is of the upmost importance that you are honest with us. It could mean the life of another person if you are not.”

The expression on Irene’s cheerful face changed to return to the nervous, fidgety one that she entered the compartment with. “No, I’m sure I don’t. If I do think of something, though...”

“Then you should tell either us or Bill as soon as possible,” Tonks finished for her. “You are now free to go, Miss Westmacott. Could you call in the next prefect for us?”

Irene quickly left the compartment. Neither Charlie nor Tonks said a word to each other. There was nothing for them to say. It seemed with each prefect they spoke to, another suspect was added to the list. If there was one problem with this case, it was that there were too many suspects and not enough opportunities for murder.

The compartment door slid open suddenly and, without knocking, a tall heavily-built boy entered, wearing the colours of Hufflepuff. He nodded briskly to them and sat down across from Tonks, his piercing green eyes looking at the two fourth years, as though he wondered which would speak to him first. His jaw chewed on a piece of gum in the same manner that a cow chews cud.
“Thank you for coming,” Tonks greeted him. “And you are...?”

“Terrence Brown,” he replied, his voice a low rumble.

“And where were you this morning when Miss Vane screamed?”

He pursed his lips, appearing to think deeply. “I was with the Head Girl and the other Ravenclaw prefect, whatsername,” he paused and scratched his head. “Nancy Hastings, yeah, that’s her name.”

Tonks raised an eyebrow. Obviously, this poor boy had been hit by one too many bludgers on the Quidditch field. She snuck a look at Charlie, who rolled his eyes at her, then went back to concentrating on his transcription of the interviews.

“That’s who you were with, Mr. Brown, but where on the train were you?”

“Uh, must have been near the middle of the train,” he replied. “Mary, the Head Girl, you know, she wasn’t feeling too well, so me and Nancy were looking after her a bit.”

“Oh, that’s too bad,” Tonks sympathized. “I was wondering where she was during all this. Do you know what was wrong with her?”

He shrugged, a clueless look on his square face. “She was throwing up a lot and kept moaning all bad-like. Nancy told me to leave soon after Weasley told us something happened and she came later, telling us that Mary had a bit of the ‘flu.”

Tonks nodded, a thoughtful look on her face. “Did you know Gilbert Moriarty at all?”

Terence shook his head. “He wasn’t much into Quidditch. I barely spoke to the chap.”

“Alright,” Tonks announced while getting up from her seat. “Thanks for your help, Terence. Could you call in Nancy for me now? Good luck with Quidditch this year!”

He grinned, revealing a missing front tooth. “Thanks, I’ll get her for you.”

When he left, Tonks turned to Charlie. “After seeing him, Char, are you sure you still want to try out for Quidditch this year?”

Charlie smiled weakly. “Being a seeker is very different from a beater.”

Before Tonks could reply, the compartment door opened and a very plain-featured girl entered. She was the Ravenclaw prefect, Nancy Hastings, and from the expression on her face, she had something very important to tell them. She stumbled into the room, sweat pouring from her brow.

Tonks jumped from her seat and grabbed the other girl’s arm before she fell flat on her face inside the compartment. Carefully, Tonks guided the girl to a seat and sat down beside her.

“Nancy,” she said, her voice soft. “What’s wrong? Please, tell me if it’s important.”

The other girl looked up and stared at Tonks through unfocussed eyes.

“The Head Girl,” she managed to say, her voice shaking. “She’s pregnant.”

Charlie dropped his pencil in shock while Tonks froze with fear. “Whose is it?” she asked.

Nancy closed her eyes as though the news pained her. “Gilbert Moriarty’s.”

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