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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 7: The Evidence of the Head Girl

Seven


Tonks' eyes opened wide while Charlie's jaw dropped at the news Nancy had given them. The Head Girl was pregnant with Moriarty's child! How could that be possible?

"Are you sure of this?" Tonks asked, struggling to keep her voice even.

"That's what she told me," Nancy answered, her cheeks flushed with both apprehension and embarassment. "She said that there could be no doubt as to the identity of the father."

Tonks nodded, still feeling shocked. "Do you know how ... advanced she is in her pregnancy?"

When the prefect frowned, Charlie spoke up. "What sort of symptoms was the Head Girl showing? Other than throwing up, of course." Tonks glanced at him with a raised eyebrow and he hurried to explain. "I've watched my mum go through a few and I sort of can guess by the symptoms."

Nancy pursed her lips, as though carefully thinking back to what she had seen. "Well, I couldn't see much because she was wearing baggy clothing. Even her robes are larger than they need to be."

"At least a few months then," Charlie reasoned. "Three or four, surely."

Ignoring Nancy entirely, Tonks sat up straight, her eyes bright. "But that would mean that he - well, you know - while he was still going out with Catherine, his ex-girlfriend."

"What are you talking about?" Nancy exclaimed. "Catherine Lynley is the Head Girl!"

Once again, Tonks found that she was greatly surprised. She silently berated herself for having not known that tidbit of information beforehand. However, this news also gave the investigation the one thing it had been direly missing.

"And that," Tonks said, a smile growing upon her face. "Gives us a definite motive."

She turned to Nancy. "Thank you very much. We'll ask you some more questions later. Would you kindly tell Bill that we'd like to see him?"

As soon as the Ravenclaw prefect had shut the door, Tonks leant forward in her seat.

"We'll have to leave off of the prefects for now until we've spoken to the Head Girl. I have a feeling that leaving the prefects alone will be fine. If any of them are involved, and I feel that some of them are, they will not want to reveal their crime to those not privy to the plan."

"And you think that it's the prefects who've done this?" Charlie asked her.

"Either at the will of Miss Lynley or in defence of her," Tonks said by way of answering. "The only problem is that I don't know which of them are responsible and which have been caught up in a vicious circle of events. Nor can I think of which of them planned the whole charade."

A strange look crossed Charlie's face. "Tonks, I think you're beginning to sound like one of those American police detectives."

Tonks tilted her head to the side. "And how, my pureblooded friend, would you know that?"

Charlie bit his lip, realizing that his knowledge of the muggle world was greater than he'd ever care to admit.

"My dad likes that sort of thing, remember?"

Grinning widely, Tonks said, "Of course." A more serious tone drifting into her voice, she added, "Now, when the Head Girl is interviewed, I'd prefer to go alone to make her feel more comfortable, especially with her situation as it is. She might not say as much with a boy in the room."

Disappointment was evident upon Charlie's freckled face, but he managed to keep it out of his voice.

"What do you want me to do while you're talking to her?"

Tonks had known ahead of time that Charlie would not enjoy being left out of things and had planned to let him search for a pearl of information that perhaps had been missed.

"You will be interviewing the train's staff," she told him brightly. "The porters and the trolley witch especially. They may have seen someone or something that makes a bearing on the case. Make it sound routine, like we're just checking up on things. Being too serious could frighten them."

Charlie nodded and stood, closing his notepad. "I'll do that right away then. Good luck, Tonks."

Just as he was leaving the compartment, Bill entered looking harried and disgruntled.

"What is this about Catherine?" he asked, taking the seat across from Tonks. "Hastings was barely able to speak much less explain her strange behavior."

Tonks chewed on the inside of her cheek, trying to figure out the most appropriate way to tell him someone else's secret.

"It's something that might get the Head Girl into a very serious predicament, even more so than the one she is currently in," she finally said quietly.

"We need to know what happened, though," Bill argued, his brow furled. "There's only a few hours left until we arrive in Hogsmeade and I'd like to have the matter cleared up by then. I've already sent an owl to Dumbledore, outlining the problem." When she didn't interject, he continued. "The train will be met by two Aurors, who will investigate and arrest whoever did this."

"But by then, all the students will have left the train," Tonks added. "Making it harder to find the conspirators."

Bill nodded. "Now tell me, what's wrong with Catherine?"

Turning to look out the window, Tonks whispered, "She's pregnant with the child of the dead prefect."

Bill swore profusely and buried his head in his hands. "I should have guessed that. She acted like she was hiding something," he admitted.

"I was just going to talk to her, but I thought you'd want to know why it's so important," Tonks said, looking back at him. "I believe that her pregnancy plays a big role in Moriarty's death. It's an excellent motive for murder, especially since he dumped her."

His eyes rose to meet hers in question. "Do you think that Catherine had a hand in Moriarty's death, then?"

Tonks shook her head. "I don't think so, but I'll be able to give you a better answer once I've spoken to her."

"Then what are you doing sitting here?" Bill asked, mockingly raising his eyebrow.

With a grin, Tonks saluted. "Right-o, sir. I'll get right on to that."

Leaving Bill to return to the prefect's compartment, Tonks began walking towards the back of the train, where the Head Girl was supposed to be. She finally found Catherine Lynley sitting alone, eating a bar of chocolate as though it were her last. Catherine was slouched in her seat, looking out of the window, her face red and stained with tears. Tonks guessed that the other girl had just learned of her ex-boyfriend’s death.

“Hi,” Tonks said, entering the compartment and sitting down across from Catherine. “Miss Lynley, I’m sorry to bother you at this time, but it’s important that I ask you some questions.”

Pale blue eyes rose to meet hers. “So it’s true then, Gil’s gone. I didn’t want to believe it. I mean, I always thought that he’d come back, but now - “ She broke off, her eyes filling with tears.

With a ragged breath, she continued. “It was a stupid thing, our break-up. We argued over something trivial, then he told me that it’s over, that I wasn’t ‘logical’ enough for him. It hurt, yes, but for the entire summer I’ve been waiting for him to owl me or just talk to me. Anything... But that’s impossible now. I’ll be left with nothing. Who wants a girl with a child anyway?”

Tonks swallowed, feeling immense pity for the Head Girl. “I’m sorry. It’d be a lie if I said that I understand what you’re going through, but there is something I need to know... How many people know of your - your condition?”

Catherine frowned, wiping a tear from her cheek. “What do you mean?”

“Have you told anyone that you’re pregnant?” Tonks blurted out.

“No, no, of course not,” Catherine replied, her voice now calm. “It would compromise my position as Head Girl, which I suppose will be revoked now. Nancy figured it out for herself, so I couldn’t very well lie to her.”

This answer posed a problem for Tonks, who had been hoping to easily find someone connected to the motive that sat right in front of her. Perhaps Catherine was simply too convenient. There had to be another, far greater reason that Gilbert Moriarty had been murdered. With only two and a half hours to find both motive and murderer, Tonks had much work to do.

“Tell me about Gilbert,” she asked, leaning forward in her seat. “What was he like?”

A rather dreamy expression crossed Catherine’s face. “He was perfect. Good looking, though just a little conceited about it, but one can’t blame him, not with the way his body was perfectly toned and his hair like spun gold. And his eyes, Merlin ... nothing like them can ever be seen again on this earth.”

Just as Tonks was ready to throw up, Catherine continued, her voice soft with remembrance. “I don’t blame him for dumping me, you know. It would be stupid of me to even try. His ambitions were great: he dreamed of climbing the Ministry of Magic ladder and maybe even becoming the Minister. And he would have deserved it, too. He was so incredibly smart - not just book smart like some people thought - he could conjure spells and mix potions like you couldn’t believe.” She paused for a moment, smiling to herself. “Gil was so chivalrous as well, helping old ladies across the street and protecting the younger girls from being teased by the upper years. I’ve never known anyone like him.” She finished with a romantic sigh, her eyes sparkling.

The expression on Tonks’ face revealed the mixture of disgust and disbelief she felt. Most disturbingly, Catherine’s description wasn’t too far off the mark, but it only saw the good side of Moriarty’s character, which was, perhaps, the only part of him that Catherine had ever seen. The Head Girl was star-struck, and there was no possible way to get beyond that.

Much of her pity vanished in the blink of an eye, replaced by great discomfort. How could someone be so blindly in love? What was the point of letting that happen to yourself?

“Do you know anyone who would want to kill him?” she finally asked, breaking into Catherine’s seemingly blissful reverie.

The Head Girl blinked, surprised at the question. “Well, I could never understand why anyone would want to kill such a person as Gil was, but the only person I know who would is Harriet Adler. She wanted him badly and everyone knew it. I guess she just couldn’t handle the fact that he had his attention in other places.”

Eager to leave, Tonks stood and thanked Catherine for her help. Perhaps, within her grossly romantic narrative mixed with serious answers, there was a tidbit of information that the Head Girl had revealed that could lead to finding Moriarty’s killer.

The only problem was that, the more she heard about his personality and actions, the less she liked the handsome and clever Slytherin prefect. The perfect murder for the perfect person. It fit quite well, almost too well.

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