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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 8: The Evidence of the ... Evidence?

Eight



Tonks was very confused. She did not like the way this case was turning out at all. There were too many suspects, too many motives, too many things that the victim had done to make others dislike him ... too much of everything that made the case too complicated. She felt as though not even the Great Detective could solve this one easily, or that Hercule Poirot would have to work his ‘little grey cells’ to their maximum to find all the answers. Tonks was certainly clueless, no matter how confident she pretended to be.

Thinking back on all the murder mysteries she had read, one thing she remembered was that, when a detective found themselves in a mental block, they looked over all the evidence, trying to look for clues they may have previously missed. In her mind, Tonks counted the pieces of evidence that she had found in the compartment - not hearsay, but concrete articles that could convict the killer.

First of all, there was the knife which, for safe keeping, she had placed in her pocket, still wrapped in tissues. There was one clear fingerprint upon it, she was sure, and could therefore be used as evidence against whomever she accused. Secondly, there was the vial which had once contained the sleeping potion. Before leaving the compartment, she had hidden it on the luggage rack, just in case the porter proved to not be as watchful as he should have been.

There was also the body itself, which was stabbed after the potion was administered. That could mean any number of things, such as the basic fact that it kept Moriarty from crying out while he was attacked. But it could also mean that the attacker would not have been strong enough to oppose any defence that Moriarty put up for himself, with his wand or otherwise. As of yet, Tonks did not know how the potion was administered to Moriarty, but she hypothesised that Charlie would find out from the Trolley Witch if Moriarty or another occupant of the compartment had bought any food from her.

There could very well be something in that compartment that Tonks had missed in her cursory search for evidence. After discovering the vial, she had practically disregarded anything else in that compartment except the knife. For all she knew, there could be a piece of crucial evidence still inside.

That left her only one choice: to return to the scene of the crime.

Her footsteps filled with purpose, Tonks made her way back to the front of the train, passing compartments filled with Hogwarts students, old and young, big and small. Most of them were talking to each other about their summers, others were taking a moment before the train arrived to catch up on sleep, while others were studiously reading their new textbooks. Tonks was amazed at all the different people who attended Hogwarts; they came from all walks of life to one place for the singular purpose of learning magic. Yet, of all the people she saw, she knew that one (or possibly more) of them was a ruthless murderer who would go to any length to cover their tracks.

A few minutes later, she arrived at the very first carriage of the train that now contained the lifeless body of a school prefect. By the door, ramrod straight, stood one of the porters. He smiled when he saw Tonks approaching.

“Hello, miss,” he greeted her. “All’s been well here.”

“Thanks for your trouble,” Tonks replied. “Could you stay longer? I may have to run off again soon. Sorry ‘bout that.”

“Don’t apologise, miss,” he said, his smile broadening. “There’s still a couple hours until my services are needed elsewhere.”

A sense of time suddenly came back to Tonks. She only had a limited amount of time until the train pulled into Hogsmeade station and the Aurors took over the investigation from her. If there was one ambition she had, it was to show that she was good at something. Perhaps it would even lead to a future as an Auror, though, she didn’t see herself having much chance of passing the gruelling tests she’d heard were involved in that process.

“How much longer until we arrive?” she asked the porter.

He took a silver pocket watch from his waistcoat. “Two hours, maybe three at the most. It’s been good weather this time around, we’ve been lucky.”

Not lucky from my perspective, Tonks thought, hiding her frown from the porter.

“Right-o,” she told him instead. “If I need anything, I’ll ask you.”

He nodded and leaned back against the doorframe, gazing out the window at the rapidly darkening scenery. Night was approaching quickly. Too quickly for Tonks’ liking. She knew that with the darkness, the murderer’s trail would be better concealed. Tonks’ own safety was also at risk the closer she got to solving the case.

Perhaps she was into something that could become too difficult to escape.

But it was too late, she was in too deep. She had to finish this case, if not for the victim, then for justice itself. No one deserves to die like this, even when they have done others wrong as Gilbert Moriarty had.

And she would be the one to find who had done the terrible crime.

With a new and far stronger resolve, Tonks nodded to the porter and entered the compartment, joining its single - and very dead - inhabitant. Upon turning to look upon this person, she noticed something was very wrong. She could have sworn that she had left his arms folded across his chest as a sign of respect. Now, however, the left arm was splayed out on the floor.

Perhaps it’s just me, she first thought. Carefully stepping over the pool of blood on one side of the compartment, she looked around, hoping to find something else that had been moved, anything that could tell her someone had been in the compartment after she and Charlie had left it. Yet, other than that arm, there were no differences.

Look again,, her mind told her. A prickling at the back of her neck warned her of something else out of place. But what was it?

From the window, she used the fading light to look at the compartment again, but this time with a more open eye, not looking for details, but for an overall picture of the entire scene. There was the body, on the floor by the right-hand seat. The blinds were tightly shut, exactly as she had left him. To the left of the body was a pool of blood, which had seeped from the knife wound in the side of his stomach. There was ...

Then she saw it.

A partial footprint from the drying blood. That was why she hadn’t seen it before, because the changing light hadn’t revealed it to her, but upon closer examination, there was a footprint now beside the body where she knew there hadn’t been one before.

Moving beside the body, she knelt over the footprint, bringing out her magnifying glass in order to see it better. Just as she did so, the lights in the train flickered on, and she saw the delicate outline of a single footprint, smeared upon the compartment floor.

She leaned back against the seat, her mind exploding with thoughts and questions. What did this mean? she asked herself. Who did this, and more importantly, why? What were they after? There must have been something at the scene that had incriminated someone that they were willing to risk their cover in order to get it back. But what was it?

Tonks closed her eyes and remembered back to when she had first entered the compartment. What had been under Moriarty’s left arm, other than the knife wound? Could it have been the knife itself that they were after? If so, then why leave it there in the first place?

There were far too many questions without answers. Before she tried to discover what was missing, why not first try and find who had taken it?

She stood up energetically and rushed out of the compartment, badly startling the porter, who had been taking a quick nap while leaning on the wall facing the window.

“What happened when I was gone?” Tonks burst out. “The body has been moved.”

The porter’s cheeks turned bright red as he quickly stood at attention, looking at Tonks as one would a particularly strict drill sergeant.

“Well, miss,” he began nervously. “You see there was a commotion in the hall by the lavatories. A girl had fainted for some reason or another, and I was called to help.”

That made sense to Tonks, especially since the lavatories were close by.

“And did you have to leave your post for that?”

“Only for the shortest of time, miss,” he replied. “Barely a minute.”

Tonks bit her lip. She had big hopes for her next question.

“When you were coming back, did you notice anyone close to here?”

He nodded energetically, glad to be of assistance. “Yes, yes, miss, there was. It was the same girl that asked me for help, now I think of it. Not the one that fainted, but the one with her, if you know what I mean.”

Tonks smiled brightly. This was her chance to finally find the murderer, or murderers, as the evidence was telling her.

“And can you tell me what she looked like?”

The porter returned her smile with a wide grin. “Indeed I can, miss.”

A few minutes later, Tonks was striding down the row of compartments, a few sickles poorer, but much richer emotionally and mentally. All the loose strings were tying together, with her hands holding the end that led to the truth.

She had found the killer. Now all she had to do was prove it.

Note: there are only about two chapters left in this story, just so you know. Thanks to all the regular and irregular reviews, and to those to don't review but also enjoy the story. Also, if you think that this chapter is a little deeper and darker than the previous ones, that's very true. It comes from watching way too many crime shows on television. :-P

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