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I Specialise in Murders by ThestralPrincess

Format: Novel
Chapters: 20
Word Count: 51,565
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Strong violence, Scenes of a mild sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Drama, Mystery, Romance
Characters: Albus, Scorpius, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 01/03/2014
Last Chapter: 06/10/2015
Last Updated: 06/10/2015

Summary:





Lucy Weasley’s shop straddled the corner of Knockton Alley and Diagon Alley. Knockton Alley was black, Diagon Alley was white, and Lucy was most definitely grey. Scorpius Malfoy was blazing blinding white and struck like lightning into her life with a cocky smile and a murder case.

For VioletBlade's The Five Elements Challenge V.3 & Rumpelstiltskin's Murder Mystery Challenge-2nd place.


Chapter 2: Dead Men and Snapping Teacups

Lucy Weasley stood in front of the navy back door to her shop and ran her red gloved fingers along the doorframe. It was scorched. Someone had attempted to disfigure her runes and break in. She huffed in annoyance.

They would have succeeded too if she hadn’t had the warden against fire placed on it. If she had complicated locks and runes on her door, did people think she was fool enough to not protect her door against fire?

There was no knowing who had done it. Or for what purpose. It could as well have been vandalism as attempted theft. Regrettably, she had plenty inside worth stealing. And she was aware that this was also to some extent the price of placing her shop on the corner of Knockton Alley.

If a safe shop is what she had wanted she would have settled further up Diagon Alley, probably in the shadow of ‘Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes’. But she hadn’t been looking for safe. She trusted her own skills to keep the shop safe.

She debated whether to call the auror department officially. So they at least had the attempted break-in on record. Quietly though of course. She’d send Hugo an owl she decided. She could always trust him to it quietly and not ask too many questions.

Not that any of her cousins really asked many questions. Just accepted her for what and who she was. Lucy recognised how blessed she was to have a close-knit family that trusted one another explicitly and loved unconditionally.

Unlike the Malfoy’s. She knew that with her answers to Malfoy’s questions yesterday, Narcissa Malfoy was now more than likely a murder suspect. She had seen it in his eyes, the way they had gone flat and hard, cold and calculating, as if he were already adding up inside his mind what Narcissa Malfoy would have to gain by murder.

Lucy couldn’t even begin to put herself in his shoes. If it had been her, it wouldn’t have even crossed her mind that old grandma Molly was possible of murder. But perhaps that was foolish. Grandma Molly’s violate dispatchment of Belletrix Lestrange was the stuff of legends. It was not because her grandmother was incapable of killing that made it impossible for Lucy to pair her grandmother and murder together.

Perhaps it was because she made cake. How could people who made cake murder people? Lucy couldn’t imagine Narcissa Malfoy making cake. Did that make her more likely a murder suspect?

Lucy grinned to herself, shaking her head as her own wayward logic. It was silly. Malfoy had asked his questions and gone, and it was no use dwelling over murder cases that she had no business sticking her nose in.

She unlocked the door in her usual slow methodological way. Even if they could have disfigured the runes etched in the inside of the doorframe, they would still have had to get past the lock, and only her own personal magical signature could open the door. She was a Weasley for goodness sake. Why did people insist on believing she was naïve and stupid?

She made a thorough inventory of all her stock, plants and processions’ and did so twice. All accounted for. She opened the two front doors and let in her first customer, from the Knockton Alley side.

“May I help you madam?” Lucy said as the bell tinkled above them.

The woman smiled at her affably. “I was wondering if might have any old tea sets? It’s so difficult to find a complete one these days.”

“I have a particularly nice one in the back, though I’m afraid it requires some transfiguration skills to fix it, all the cups have a tendency to bite, and I haven’t had the time to fix it yet.” Lucy said, retreating into the back room the find the box. Perhaps she’d make a few good deals today. She had to pay the rent soon.

***

Albus was standing outside Scorpius’ office, scowling. Change of direction then Scorpius figured. To the morgue! Without Albus knowing of course.

“I got Milly’s memo.” Albus ground out irritably.

Scorpius assumed correctly that he himself was the reason for his best friend’s bad mood that morning. As Scorpius strode past Albus fell into step beside him, matching his pace with practised ease.

“You do realise that I’m not in forensics. I’m a healer. I work with living people who are in the process of dying Scorpius. Not those that are already dead.” Albus said sharply.

Scorpius waved aside his objections with his hand as though it were nothing.

“But you’re a natural at it Albus. You’ve got excellent visual awareness, pattern recognition and you think outside the box.” He insisted.

“I’m a natural at looking at dead people?” Albus deadpanned, glaring sideways at Scorpius, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose irritably. Dead bodies always made him irritable.

“Come on Albus, you went into healing to help people right? Well, you’re helping.”

“I went into healing to help people stay alive. I can tell you right now that Fitz Rosier doesn’t need that kind of help anymore.” Albus replied.

“But you’re looking at him will help me apprehend a murderer and help keep other people alive.” Scorpius knew he just had to wear him down.

“I knew I shouldn’t have become a healer in the auror department. I knew I should have specialised in cardiology and stayed at flipping St. Mongos.” Albus said

“You know, it did confuse me why you did that until Rose told me.” Scorpius said, a knowing smirk sliding onto his face.

“How the heck does Rose know why I didn’t specialise in cardiology?” Albus spluttered.

“She said, quote: ‘the only reason Albus Severus Potter chose to join the auror department as a healer is because Eliza did’ unquote.” Scorpius said in a high-pitched voice in order to imitate Rose.

“No way did she use my full name. And, that’s a stupid reason anyway.” Albus grumbled irritably, wanting to do nothing more than shove his friends head down a toilet at this moment.

“But it’s the reason isn’t it?” Scorpius crowed victoriously, jabbing his finger into Albus’ shoulder. “You’d follow our little Eliza to hell and back if she decided to go.”

“No I wouldn’t.” Albus insisted, shoving Scorpius’ offending finger away from himself.

Scorpius feigned mock hurt. “Lying doesn’t suit you Albus. Now, be a dear and take a look at my body.”

Albus grinned. “As in Fitz Rosier’s body, or your body?”

“Very funny.” Scorpius sniffed imperiously.

“One day you’ll be in the morgue and I’ll be looking at your body, just to make sure you’re dead and will stay dead.” Albus said wryly.

Scorpius was not impressed. “I thought you were into helping people stay alive? Anyway, I’d come back to haunt you. That’s what friends do, don’t they?”

Albus was pretty sure that was not what friends did. He had never heard of a ghost coming back to haunt a friend just for kicks. He scowled as he looked at their surroundings and realised that Scorpius had successfully led him all the way to the morgue in the lower levels of the Auror Department. This was also not what friends did in his opinion. Make them take a look at dead murder victims.

“You do realise the only reason the forensics don’t hang, draw and quarter me every time you send me in there is because my surname is Potter.” He muttered, his good humour gone once more.

“Goodness, I didn’t think you were the sort to go namedropping Albus.” Scorpius mocked.

He succeeded in returning the dry self-mocking grin to Albus’ face. “It keeps me alive every now and again.”

“Look at that, we’re here.” Scorpius exclaimed with mock cheerfulness, and opened the door for Albus with a flourish.

Albus sighed deeply and walked in with slumped shoulders, defeated, a scowl set firmly on his features. He hated dead people.

“Tori, will you be a dear and wheel out Fitz Rosier’s body for Albus here to take a look at.” Scorpius said cheerfully to the first forensics assistant that passed them by.

Tori looked between Scorpius’ cheery grin and Albus’ scowl and rolled her eyes.

“I hope you realise Hollens is furious. Body is in room three.” She said dryly before continuing on her own path.

Albus strode off towards room three as soon as Tori made as if to leave.

“Thanks Tori, you’re a doll.” Scorpius drawled after her retreating back before striding hurriedly to catch up with Albus.

“Doll?” Albus hissed at his friend.

Scorpius shrugged. “What? She likes it.”

“If you ever called Eliza or Rose ‘doll’ they’d slap you.”

“Hence why I call Tori ‘doll’ and not our darling Eliza or Rose.”

They reached the door to room three and Albus tapped the door with his wand causing it to open. He strode in impatiently and pulled the sheet off Fitz Rosier’s body. His scowl deepened, a feat that Scorpius hadn’t known was possible, as he chucked a pair of latex gloves at Scorpius and snapped a pair on himself.

Albus stared at the body in silence for a moment. Scorpius watched Albus. With a frown, Albus moved closer and looked at the stab wound from Lucy Weasley’s Roman knife.

“Post-mortem, right?”

“Yeah. Apparently the knife can’t actually stab anyone. Some kind of spell according to your cousin.”

“Which one?”

Scorpius rolled his eyes.

“The one that deals in antiques.”

Albus’ eyes snapped up to glare at Scorpius.

“What are you talking to Lucy for?” He asked sharply.

Ah, so that was her name. Scorpius knew it was something that ended in y.

“Knife was sold from her shop.” Scorpius replied with a shrug.

“I see. Have you um, been to the shop?”

Scorpius narrowed his eyes at Albus. He was sounding awfully shifty.

“Yeah. I had to question her about the knife.” Scorpius said slowly.

“I see. Why not question her here?”

“That would require me to arrest her or call her in for questioning, what’s wrong with her shop?” Scorpius drawled impatiently.

“Nothing. Nothing wrong with Lucy’s shop.”

Scorpius chose to ignore Albus. This was not the time or place to needle him about his cousin or his cousin’s shop.

“Anyway, the spell on the knife would explain the fact that it looks like he was stabbed twice in the exact same location. Probably first to actually create the wound, the second time to insert the other knife. Your murdered must have really wanted you to find that particular knife.” Albus said, eager to change the subject.

Albus picked up the arm and peered at the blood veins in the wrist. “Pass me a scalpel and a dish.”

Scorpius passed them to him.

“Merlin, forensics are going to hate me. They always hate me. Hollens hates me. He’s going to murder me in my sleep one day.” Albus muttered as placed the dish underneath, pressed the scalpel to the wrist and slit one of the blood veins expertly.

Thick black liquid oozed out, dripping lazily into the dish.

“With my natural looking-at-dead-bodies skills, I can tell you Scorpius that that is not normal.” Albus drawled sarcastically.

Scorpius made a face of disgust. “That much I can tell. But what is it?”

“Quenwood.” Albus replied.

“Quenwood?”

Albus was tilting the head of the body back and opening the mouth, using the butt of the scalpel to get a good look at the inside of the mouth, humming quietly to himself.

“Yep. And he’s been taking it over a long period of time. Mixed with his wine. Its been slowly breaking down his teeth, cheeks and gums.”

“What the heck is quenwood? A poison?”

“When mixed with the right things and in the right quantities most things are pretty lethal. Quenwood is a plant with magical properties.”

“So he was poisoned.”

“Not by the quenwood, he took that willingly. Otherwise he’d have complained of the pain and this would have been discovered probably a month ago. But he didn’t want it discovered. No, he’s been taking quenwood as a drug. It has medicinal qualities when crushed. When mixed with wine it’s a strong euphoric drug. It’s an imported illegally from Iceland. Extremely rare though. Ask Guffy and Ryan about it. They’ve been attempting to root out the problem from England. They’ll be interested know Fitz Rosier apparently had a regular source of it.” Albus explained steadily as he poked and prodded the body, looking in his ears, up his nose, pressing and feeling his abdomen.

“So he what, overdosed?”

“No. there would have oozed more of that stuff if he had. And it would have been more obvious. His blood veins would have stood out more, been darker.” Albus said, gesturing at the dish of thick black liquid.

“So what exactly killed him Albus?” Scorpius asked impatiently, dragging a hand through his hair.

“tea.” Albus announced with a grin.

“tea?” Scorpius asked, glaring at Albus.

“Yep. Strong tea as obviously it’s the tea leaves, not the water that is the lethal combination. It’s lethal when combined with a quenwood addiction. Bloats the belly, closes up the throat, makes it impossible to breath. I bet if you ask people who know him, they’ll tell you that Fitz Rosier hasn’t touched tea in at least the last year. But he has tea-stains on his teeth, and he has the symptoms. The murderer may have been careful about a lot of details, but didn’t brush his teeth. Step one when you poison someone, brush their teeth.”

“I guess the murderer didn’t want to stick his hands into his mouth.” Scorpius said wrinkling his nose in disgust. “I wouldn’t either.”

“He was forced to drink the tea. Physically forced. He chipped one of his front teeth.” Albus added. “So your murderer is someone who knows Fitz Rosier was a quenwood addict, knew the properties of quenwood, really wanted you to find that knife, and knew the properties of the knife. Should narrow down your suspects. Few people know about quenwood, most of them wealthy. It’s an expensive drug.”

Scorpius grinned. “You know, I don’t get why your father doesn’t just assign you to the forensics department, everyone knows you’re good at it. Including Hollens.”

Albus scowled. It was apparently his permanent facial expression when he was in the morgue.

“Maybe because unlike some people, my father knows I do not care for dead bodies.”

“Personally I find the living ones more irritable, they talk nonsense and blubber all over the place; be glad you don’t have to deal with to the witnesses.” Scorpius said with a smirk.

Albus glared at his friend. “I can assure you, I have my fair share of talking nonsense and blubbering when the aurors come in and I have to stitch them back up. The fact remains that I much prefer it to them being freaking dead.”

“I still can’t believe you singed up for healing in the auror department just because Eliza decided to.” Scorpius said sniggering.

Albus looked at him darkly and muttered something that sounded suspiciously like donkeys, illegitimate children and female dogs as he covered up the body once more and put away the dish and scalpel, noting down all his observations, and making a note to send the black liquid for analysis. Scorpius was tapping his foot impatiently.

“How the heck do you know so much about quenwood anyway?” Scorpius asked as they made their way out of the morgue.

“Because I’m not a flipping forensic, I’m the healer they have do the physicals when Guffy and Ryan arrest the quenwood addicts.” Albus replied, dragging in a deep breath of relief as they excited the morgue. Being good at it didn’t make him like it. “You want to join Eliza and me for lunch?”

“And play third wheel?” Scorpius teased, sending a wink at Tori as she passed them once again, earning another eye-roll from her.

“There is nothing going on between Eliza and me. I’m her best friend. And so are you. And Lily’s coming with us anyway.” Albus said firmly, thinking that shoving Scorpius’ head down a toilet was looking more and more attractive as the day wore on.

Scorpius smirked. A dangerous kind of smirk that Albus knew all too well.

“Thank you for the invitation, but I’m afraid I have prior commitments.” Scorpius drawled, a firm glint in his eyes.

Albus decided he was better off not knowing what his friend’s prior commitments were.

***

Scorpius had decided he could do with stretching his legs during his lunch-break. And his idea of stretching his legs was to allow them to carry him down Diagon Alley, down to the corner of Diagon and Knockton Alley. This time he decided to turn the corner and enter via Knockton Alley.

Lucy looked up from the front desk where she had the snapping tea set all laid out as she set to removing the layers of transfiguration spells that caused the teacups to bite. The woman this morning had been delighted with the tea set, but obviously their violent tendencies were an issue. So she had paid handsomely for the tea set and the removal of the spells.

When it came to antiques such as those Lucy dealt with where the spells had been active for so long, a simple ‘finite incantatum’ wouldn’t do. The spell was as much a part of the object now as the paint and the lacquer, and it was a delicate network of transfiguration, charms and defence spells that were required to remove them and keep the piece intact. Especially with something as fragile as china.

She looked up and her eyes met those of Scorpius Malfoy and her look of concentration slid into one of curiosity for a brief moment, before she replaced it with one of polite disinterest. Scorpius nodded at her and began to look around, browsing through the various pieces of furniture, art and odds and ends. Lucy watched him for a while with carefully blank features, before turning back to her teacups. They were awfully temperamental things.

“Is that what I think it is?”

Lucy looked up with measured carefulness, not showing that she had been startled and realised that Scorpius was standing right in front of her. He was pointing at the oriental carpets in the corner.

“They are antique carpets.” Lucy replied evenly, hiding a frown, hiding it deep inside, deep where he couldn’t see even its shadow. She hated when aurors came poking round her shop asking questions.

“Flying carpets are illegal.” Scorpius said firmly, looking at Lucy sternly with cold grey eyes.

She looked back at him with stubborn big brown eyes. “No one said they could fly.”

They both knew they could. Lucy however also knew that Scorpius couldn’t prove it. She had stitched subtle runes into the fabric to suppress and hide the flying spells. No one would fly them until Lucy undid the threads of the runes. Scorpius assumed she must have done something to hide their ability to fly. Plus that wasn’t the reason he had come. However he was beginning to get an idea of why Albus was fidgety about the idea of Scorpius being round his cousin’s shop. And Scorpius wondered just how much Albus knew.

“What kind of customers do you usually get Miss Weasley?” He asked instead, looking curiously at the tea set she had spread out in front of her.

He reached out to pick one up, admiring the fine summer green pattern, and only just pulled his fingers back in time as the teacup suddenly opened a china mouth lined with sharp little china teeth and chomped at him.

Lucy allowed herself a soft smile, wishing the teacup had been just a little faster and sunk its teeth into his hand.

“All-sorts Mr. Malfoy.” She replied primly.

Scorpius couldn’t help but look appraisingly at Lucy Weasley. He compared her to her cousin Rose, whom he knew all to well. She was shorter than Rose. Same red hair though. He thought perhaps there was a similarity in the wide full mouth as well. Lucy’s hair was curlier. Thicker. She had a spattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose. A nymph-like rounded face with high cheekbones. And she was just all-round smaller than any of her cousins. A petite little thing, with large brown eyes that filled her face. She was the picture of innocence.

Lucy was also a closed book. Rose wore her heart on her sleeve, allowed her emotions to well up, bubble out and touch all those around her, displayed for all to see. Lucy wore an expression of polite carefulness. As though the world around her was only of mild interest, and had no influence upon the existence she had carved out for herself. She spoke in an even measured manner as though weighing every word carefully. The only thing she couldn’t hide was the flash of stubbornness in those cow eyes of hers.

Scorpius had to wonder how someone that looked so innocent and was so prim and proper was dealing in illegal flying carpets. She was Percy Weasley’s daughter for goodness sake, if he knew he’d blow a gasket.

“Call me Scorpius,” He said, daring to wink at her. “What kind of sorts?”

“Mr. Malfoy I sell antiques. My customers are those that are interested in antiques.” She replied firmly, steadily ignoring the wink and his request.

Winking, in her opinion, was simply another way of announcing to the world that one was up to no good. Why on earth would one announce such a thing? If one was up to no good one did not desire anyone to know, and if one wasn’t one shouldn’t pretend one is.

“Do you get many customers from Knockton Alley?”

“You came in through that door yourself.” Lucy pointed out, turning half her attention back to the teacups. She only had three more to go out of a set of twelve.

Scorpius opened his mouth, but was interrupted by the silvery form of Milly Brandon’s patronus, a large Flemish giant rabbit. She had a real one at home that she had brought to work once. To be honest, Scorpius had found it mildly terrifying; it was a giant of a rabbit.

“Scorpius, need you in the office.” It said with concise clipped tones in Milly’s voice.

Lucy looked at it with that expression of polite disinterest, and Scorpius frowned.

“Have a good day Miss Weasley.” He said, excusing himself quickly, hurrying out through the door.

The Diagon Alley door. Once outside he turned on the spot and apparated to the ministry. It had to be urgent for Milly to send a patronus. Milly’s face looked up at him in concern when he hastily barrelled into the auror office.

“We’ve had a second murder.” She said quietly, walking swiftly towards the floo network, Scorpius walking alongside her. “Same theatrical style. Set up to look like he was bashed in the head with a candlestick.”

“A candlestick?”

Milly nodded. “A heavy antique one. Guffy says she thinks it may also be from ‘Clearwater Antiques.’ This time the murder was committed at Azkaban.”

Scorpius tensed, realising that Azkaban was where Milly and he were now headed. He hated visiting Azkaban. When he was younger his father would take him to visit his grandfather there once a year. A murderer who could strike both within the Ministry of Magic, and inside Azkaban.

Lucy had said her customers were those who were interested in antiques. Well it seemed their murderer had an avid interest in antiques.


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