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Never Forgive Or Forget

The moment Draco Malfoy had left the Astronomy Tower was one he knew he would remember as long as he lived. The feeling of slight fear and immense worry over what would happen next hovered over him through the next frightening minutes as Snape and himself ran out of Hogwarts. As they got closer to the gates out of the grounds, he couldn’t help but question his actions.

“Dumbledore is dead, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be killed. I didn’t kill Dumbledore…” he thought, gasping for breath. “I came so close to it.” He was brought out of his thoughts and made aware of the dangerous environment around him by a sudden scream of his name.

“Run, Draco!” Snape shouted before turning back to deal with that saint Potter. He didn’t need to be told to run, though. There was no way he was going to stick around here; the Ministry could show up at any minute. But come to think of it, he may be safer with the Ministry. Again, it’s not like he’d even killed the senile old fool; he could plead the Imperius Curse and be off easy. If he ended up back in front of Voldemort, the Dark Lord would kill him for the exact same reason.

He came to rest in a patch of trees skirting the lake about twenty yards away from Hogsmeade. It had been around fifteen minutes since he last saw Snape. He knew he wouldn’t purposely leave him on his own in a situation like this under the circumstances, so he was getting a little nervous and frustrated. He couldn’t hide in the trees forever, he couldn’t go home, and he wouldn’t go back to the Death Eater’s. He would be stuck running and hiding, forever. All because he had said he would carry out the Dark Lord’s plans.

“It’s not like I could have said ‘no’,” he thought out loud, leaning his head back on the tree he was sitting against and closing his eyes.

“You most certainly couldn’t have, Draco,” came an eerily familiar voice that made his stomach drop about ten feet below ground.

“I didn’t ask you to be here.”

“But the Dark Lord did. I don’t think poor Narcissa will ever be able to forgive me.”

****
Harry Potter felt like Mother Nature was mocking him. Looking out the window of their compartment, he saw that it was a bright, beautiful day, complete with a clear, blue sky and shining, golden sun. But inside, he was miserable. It had only been two days since he had done it, and it wasn’t likely that he would be going back on his decision. But he couldn’t deny that it was lonely without her. It’s not like he didn’t have Ron and Hermione to hang out with. It’s just a different type of lonely when you break up with somebody. At the moment, Ron and Hermione were bickering over, believe it or not, Ron’s intelligence. Even crazier was the fact that Hermione was arguing that Ron was more intelligent than he was giving himself credit for. It had all started when they had come to drop off Crookshanks and Pig with him, and she had casually mentioned the end-of-year exams, and how she thought she had done; it had only gone downhill from there.

“Ronald, you may be the most self-centered, clueless and emotionally challenged person I have ever met, but you are not unintelligent,” she explained in her best efforts to pay him a compliment.

“Emotionally challenged? How am I emotionally challenged?”

Harry tried to suppress a groan as he glanced over at Hermione. She looked livid. But before she could even do so much as open her mouth to retaliate, he had sensed the oncoming conflict and opened his mouth.

“Aren’t you two supposed to be patrolling the corridors? You know, prefect duties?”

Hermione turned to look across the compartment at Harry. She then proceeded to open her mouth as if to say something, then quickly closed it. Finally, her brows knitted together in frustration, she quietly stormed towards the glass compartment door, followed by a disgruntled Ron. But before the duo could make it out of the compartment, a fellow sixth year had opened the door.

“Ron, Hermione! Finally I’ve found you,” Hufflepuff prefect Ernie Macmillan said in a rush, visibly out of breath. His eyes glanced from Ron and Hermione to Harry, and back again. “We’re having a very important meeting in the prefect’s carriage, and we need you there now,” he finished, glancing again at Harry before returning his gaze to Rona and Hermione.

“What about?” questioned Ron, a suspicious look on his face.

Another glance at Harry. “I can’t discuss it here, there are too many opportunities to be overheard,” he responded, his voice almost a hiss.

“Okay,” Hermione answered. There was something a little off about Ernie and the way he was acting, but she just brushed it off, thinking he was having an odd day. She couldn’t deny that almost everyone she had come across since Dumbledore’s death had acted differently than usual. This just didn’t seem like a form of mourning.

“So you can’t tell us anything? Well then, let me guess…we’re discussing the ferret’s replacement, seeing as he’s fled and Slytherin is missing a prefect for next term,” commented Ron sarcastically.

“Like I have already discussed with you, I can’t discuss this matter here. But what you’re wondering about is the staff’s decision, not ours and we need to be going now,” Ernie told him, turning back to walk to the prefects carriage.

“Well, hopefully this shouldn’t take long. I don’t think we should be more than forty-five minutes, Harry,” reassured Hermione before she went to follow Ernie.

“Yeah, what could they want to talk about anyway? It’s probably nothing very important,” laughed Ron as he exited with Hermione and shut the compartment door.

“Yeah. Nothing important,” Harry said, but there wasn’t anyone in the compartment to hear him. There was a bad feeling coursing through him; a feeling that he knew was connected to things to come. The way Ernie had looked at him was mostly what had triggered it; he had just never seen him look at anyone like that before.

****
“You mean they never got back?” Harry asked the Head Girl, Brita Marston fifteen minutes later.

“That’s what I’m saying. I sent Ernie out to get them for the meeting twenty-five minutes ago, and they didn’t show up.”

“So they’re all either in grave danger, or they’ve stopped to bicker and Ernie ditched them, and he’s in grave danger,” he figured, leaning back in the mocha leather seat in his compartment. He had his money on the latter of the two.

“Actually, we’ve been thinking that they all might be in danger because the killer may still be on the train,” she told him, and was surprised by the look of confusion on his face. “You do know what happened, don’t you?”

“No, why would I? Ernie said the subject of the meeting wasn’t to be discussed here at the compartment. Something about ‘too many opportunities to be overheard’.”

“But I specifically told him to tell you! Oh, I can not believe this…I guess I’ll just have to tell you myself…it’s not like anyone else could do it, and now…” she trailed off, looking exceptionally frustrated.

“Do what? Tell me what?” he asked, sounding wary of her intentions. He definitely didn’t like the sound of this.

“Oh! Yes. Well, Harry you do know who Luna Lovegood is, right?” she began, and for some reason that he couldn’t place, she seemed a little nervous.

“Yes,” he responded. Anything that involved Luna wasn’t going to be good.

“You see, about ten or fifteen minutes after we departed from Hogsmeade, Luna came to the prefect’s carriage to say that she had found a dead body in her compartment. Of course, none of us actually believed her, but even if she was ‘Loony Lovegood’, we still had to make sure there wasn’t really a dead body on the train. So the Head Boy and I followed Loony – Luna – down to her compartment, where she proceeded to show us the body of Professor Snape in the luggage rack.”

“Are you positive that it’s him?” he asked. It was the only thing he could think to say; he was in utter shock.

“Positive. But the reason I’m telling you this isn’t because almost everyone knows you dislike Snape,” she explained. Harry had pretty much already guessed this. “We want you, no; we need you, to investigate Snape’s murder, and now the disappearance of Ron, Hermione, and Ernie.”

****
Harry couldn’t believe it. All he had wanted was some peace and quiet on the train, but he couldn’t even achieve that. Between Dumbledore’s death and the break-up, he was already mentally and emotionally exhausted. But no, he had to solve the murder of a murderer. First, he needed to convince Ginny to help him, because there was no way he could do this alone. Secondly, he needed to find Ron and Hermione. Then he would deal with Snape’s murder.

He had been so deep in thought that he hadn’t even noticed passing a compartment with a familiar, vivid, redhead sitting alone inside of it. He stopped, turned around, and took a deep breath before knocking on the compartment door, which seemed a little pointless, the door being glass and all. But he wanted to be polite at the very least. Ginny looked in the direction of the door, and upon seeing Harry, got up and slid it open.

“Harry,” she greeted him, not meeting his eyes.

“Hey, Ginny. Can I come in and sit down? I’ve got something that I need to explain to you,” he told her. This wasn’t going to be a fun conversation.

“Sure,” she answered, moving aside to let him in. “What do you need to talk about?”

“Luna found Professor Snape’s body in her compartment,” he explained, taking a seat next to the window. He had decided that the straight-forward approach would be best. After a few minutes, Ginny finally spoke.

“I need to see this for myself,” she declared, then turned around and was almost out of the compartment when she noticed that Harry hadn’t moved from his seat yet. “Do you want me wandering around the corridors, by myself, looking for a dead body?”

“Of course not,” he responded as he got up from his seat.

“Where are Ron and Hermione, by the way?” she asked him as they walked to Luna’s compartment.

Damn. The one thing that had slipped his mind was the one thing that was going to be hardest to tell her.

“Ginny, both of them, as well as Ernie Macmillan, disappeared around a half an hour ago. The prefects want me to investigate their disappearance, along with Snape’s murder,” he told her, watching for a change in her features.

“They’ve disappeared?” she repeated, a look of disbelief on her face.

“Um…yeah,” he answered. He had expected more of a, well, reaction than this. She was known for her temper.

“Snape’s dead,” she continued. It definitely seemed like she didn’t believe him.

“I haven’t seen the body yet, but I don’t know why they would tell me he was if he wasn’t.”

“And they want you to investigate his murder because…?”

But they had reached “the scene of the crime” and Harry was spared from answering her as Brita had come over to talk to them.

“Good, you’re here,” she said, looking a bit stressed out. “I don’t think we’ve met, she added, turning her attention to Ginny.

“Oh, I’m Ginny Weasley, Harry’s…friend,” she explained. “Why do you want him to investigate this?”

“I’m the Head Girl, Brita Marston. We want Harry to investigate because we feel that he knows the most about Death Eaters, at least as much knowledge as a sixth year on our side can have,” the seventh year told them, then glanced back towards the compartment. “I should probably show you the body no, so you can get to work.”

Harry nodded and the three proceeded on into the compartment.

“Merlin, Harry,” Ginny breathed upon seeing what was inside. “What have you gotten yourself into?”

Snape’s body, still clad in the robes he had been wearing the night he had killed Dumbledore, had been stuffed in the luggage rack over the sat on the right-hand side of the compartment.

“I’ll leave you two in here; I’m going to go owl McGonagall about this. Luna’s in the prefect’s carriage if you need to question her,” Brita informed them, then left.

“Okay, we should probably start trying to figure out where Ron and Hermione are-” he started, but was cut off by Ginny.

“Harry, I think we’re better off looking around here first. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that Ron, Hermione, and Ernie disappeared around the same time that the body was found.”

“So you think we might be able to find something that identifies someone who shouldn’t be on the train?”

“That’s the plan,” she said, giving him a grim smile.

“Well, at least we know one thing: his body was definitely moved,” Harry told her, walking over to get a closer look, though that was the last thing he wanted to do at the moment.

“Why do you think his body was moved?” she asked as she joined him at the luggage rack.

“Because there isn’t any sign in here that any kind of duel took place. No scorch marks, no broken glass; I’m guessing whoever killed Snape used magic to move his body onto the train, then into the luggage rack from wherever he was killed,” he said, looking around the tiny room, then settling his gaze back on Ginny. “Let’s look for anything odd first, then try and get his body down and have a better look.”

Ginny nodded in agreement, and for the next ten minutes, they were searching for any evidence that may point towards a suspect. That is, until Luna made an unexpected appearance.

“You know, that’s not evidence, that’s my lunch,” she said dreamily, pointing towards the brown paper bag that Ginny had just picked up. Ginny opened it and looked inside, finding a sandwich, and a few Galleons, Knuts, and Sickles, probably for something off the trolley. She then handed it to Luna, who took the bag and was about to leave when Harry stopped her.

“Hey Luna, can I ask you a few questions?”

She went and sat down in the seat on the left-hand side of the compartment, putting her lunch in her lap. “I don’t have any friends waiting for me, so I guess that would be okay.”

It was one of those things that you just expected Luna to say, yet it was still kind of uncomfortable hearing her say it.

“Luna, how exactly did you find Snape’s body?” he asked her. He had been wondering this ever since he had heard where the body was found.

“I was trying to put my trunk up in the luggage rack.”

“Didn’t you notice a body before you tried to put your trunk up there?” Ginny asked, looking at Luna with a look of disbelief.

“How could I notice something invisible?”

****
“So it sounds like the killer used some sort of Disillusionment Charm, from what Luna told us,” Harry figured once they had gotten enough out of Luna and told her she could go. Other than the fact that Snape’s body had originally been “invisible”, the only useful information she had provided them with was the way in which she found it, which was as if the body was just blending into the wall, and the way she had reversed it, by rapping the body on the head with her wand. Luna was a very surprising person a lot of the time. They were now trying to get the body out of the luggage rack, to have a better look, which was a nasty prospect in itself.

“Harry, what’s this?” she said, suddenly letting go of Snape’s feet, leaving Harry to get the body, which was already halfway out of the rack, down by himself. She was looking at a splotch of what seemed to be potion, but she couldn’t be sure; whatever it was, it sure didn’t look good. “Harry?”

She turned and looked up; Harry was really struggling. So she pulled out her wand, gave it a swish and flick, then said the incantation “Wingardium Leviosa”. Snape’s body gently followed the movement of Ginny’s wand as she guided it to the floor. “That’s much easier, isn’t it?”

“The Ministry could track that, you know,” he told her, going over to where she was looking on the seat.

“But not specifically to me. It’s a train full of wizards, Harry. They would never be able to zero in on the exact person. So, what do you think this is?”

He looked closely at the muddy brown spot on the seat and immediately knew what it was.

“Um, it’s Polyjuice Potion, which means we have a big problem,” he explained. Thankfully, she didn’t ask how he knew so quickly what Polyjuice Potion looked like.

“Why do we have a big problem?”

“The killer’s using Polyjuice to stay on the train as someone else,” he responded, looking around the floor for something. “I think I know who.”

“Who?”

He held up a couple short, blond hairs. “Ernie Macmillan.”

“Harry, don’t you have to put the hairs in the potion for it to work?” she questioned, a slight look of fear on her face. He knew that it was because there was a very strong possibility that a killer had disappeared with her older brother and Hermione.

“Yes.”

“Then why, if the killer wanted to impersonate Ernie, would there be any hairs left?” she wondered, a contemplative look crossing her features.

“Um…well, maybe it’s possible that whoever intended to drink the Polyjuice was rushed, and dropped a couple hairs putting them in. Because there’s no way that the Ernie that left with Ron and Hermione was the real Ernie. The way he looked at me, the way he talked, it was all a little off.”

“But why Ernie?”

“I don’t think the killer was targeting Ernie specifically. They probably just needed a way to get onto the train with the body, and it would be easier to impersonate a student then it would be to be Disillusioned or under an Invisibility Cloak. But how would the killer have gotten a hold of Ernie’s hair?” he wondered, looking out into the compartment in thought. As he did, he caught a glimpse of Snape’s face; it was contorted in pain, as if-

“Ginny, someone, maybe the killer, successfully used the Cruciatus Curse on Snape right before he died.”

“Harry you don’t think that-” she started, but was cut off by screams coming from down the corridor.

Both Harry and Ginny got up from their seat and rushed out of the compartment, looking up and down the corridor for the source of the noise. They saw multiple students sticking their heads out, looking confused, some first years a little frightened, but they ignored them. At the end of the corridor, they saw Pansy Parkinson, kneeling over what looked like the body of…but it couldn’t be...Harry’s suspicions were confirmed when he caught a flash of blond hair as he ran down to the end of the corridor, followed by Ginny. When they got there, he saw that Pansy was sobbing, clutching Malfoy’s head to her chest.

“Harry…he’s-” Ginny began upon seeing the body, but was harshly cut off by a tearful Pansy.

“He’s not dead! He can’t be dead…” she cried, trailing off, secluded in her own anguish.

“Pansy, you need to get off of him. You’re compromising any evidence that may help us figure out who killed him,” Ginny explained, trying to be as sympathetic as she could to a Slytherin sobbing over Draco Malfoy. She had a little sympathy for the fact that he was dead, but that didn’t mean she liked him any more than she did when he was alive.

Pansy got up off the floor, tears still streaming silently down her face. She then fully turned her attention to the two standing in front of her.

“I don’t need a Weasley and The Chosen One to figure out who killed Draco,” she sneered, getting back to her usual self almost immediately. “I already know that You-Know-Who is the reason he’s dead, even if You-Know-Who didn’t do it.”

“Do you know who did, then?” Harry asked, trying to remain patient. This really was no time to be cryptic.

“Why would I? Draco barely told me anything, I wouldn’t know the Death Eater that would most want him dead.”

Well, that’s something. “How did you find him?” Ginny wondered.

“I was walking back to my compartment, and was passing that closet,” she started, pointing to the open closet just over her shoulder, “when there was a noise a bit like a knock on a door, and then the door swings open, and his body fell onto the floor,” she tearfully ended before asking if they were done talking to her.

“You can go,” he said. Once Pansy left, he looked at Ginny and saw a look similar to what must be on his own face at the moment; a look of fatigue.

“Harry, what Pansy told us makes me think that a Death Eater is with Ron and Hermione right now.”

“Bellatrix, by the look of Snape. This means that we need to move Draco’s body and find Ron and Hermione before they become her next victims.”

****
~Meanwhile~

“Hermione, I think there’s something wrong with Ernie…”

“Ron, shut up,” Hermione hissed as they backed against the window of the compartment they were in. Once Hermione figured out that they weren’t going to a meeting, “Ernie” had shoved them in here and cast a couple of charms on the compartment, along with a Silencing Charm. Now he was coming at them, wand drawn, looking deranged. She swore that his hair looked like it was getting darker, more straggly…. Suddenly “Ernie” dropped his wand, and they soon saw, standing in front of them, Bellatrix Lestrange.

“Hermione…” Ron whispered, a look of fear on his face.

****
They had levitated Malfoy’s body into the compartment with Snape’s body in it, and were now contemplating the worst.

“What if we don’t find them, Harry?” she asked, looking him in the eyes for the first time that day.

“We’ll find them.” He held her gaze for a couple seconds until she looked away.

“How do you think she killed them?” she said faintly, looking at the two bodies; Snape on the floor, Malfoy on the seat they weren’t already occupying.

“Well, it looks like Malfoy was killed with The Killing Curse. I don’t think she could have killed Snape using the Cruciatus, even if she wanted to. Unless she didn’t actually kill him…”

“Are you saying someone else did?”

“No, I think this has something to do with the Unbreakable Vow I heard Snape mention to Malfoy. I asked Ron what would happen if you broke it, and he told me you would die. Maybe one of the clauses was for him to protect Malfoy, and since both of them are dead, he obviously failed,” he explained, while searching in Snape’s robes for something.

“Why would she use the Cruciatus on Snape if he were already dead?” she wondered, giving Harry an odd look. “What exactly are you looking for?”

“He might have been carrying a precautionary phial of Veritaserum.” he started, pulling out a glass phial of clear liquid. “This will be nice for questioning Bellatrix.”

They left the compartment and started walking down towards the direction Harry had seen Ron, Hermione, and “Ernie” go when they left. About five compartments down, Ginny stopped.

“Harry, do you notice anything about this compartment that jumps out at you?”

He looked at the compartment door, which, oddly enough, he couldn’t see through.

“I can’t see through the compartment door.”

“And,” she told him, extending her hand to grab something off the door, “Ron’s hair on the door.”

“I saw that,” he mumbled. “Ready?”

She nodded, withdrawing her wand from her pocket as Harry did the same.

“On three, okay?” she whispered, though there was no reason to; the inhabitants of the compartment were too preoccupied to pay attention to what was happening in the corridor anyway.

“One…two…three…”

Ginny used the Alohomora Charm on the door, and they quickly slid it open, revealing Bellatrix Lestrange, her back to Harry and Ginny, advancing on Ron and Hermione, who were pressed up against the back wall of the compartment.

“Stupefy!” Harry exclaimed, his wand pointed directly at Bellatrix’s back. With a flash of red light, she was caught off guard, and the force of the spell threw her into the back wall and knocked her unconscious.

“Why didn’t you two use your wands?” Ginny asked, walking over to them and making sure they were okay.

“Our wands…? I didn’t really think about that…” Ron trailed off, clearly embarrassed.

Harry was already over at Bellatrix’s side, taking the phial of Veritaserum out of his pocket and tipping it in her mouth.

“Hermione, do you know a spell that will restrain her, yet still allow me to question her? Preferably not the Full-Body Bind,” Harry requested, looking over his shoulder at her.

Hermione nodded her head and walked over, kneeled down in front of Bellatrix, and whispered the incantation “Incarcerous”. Thick, black ropes slithered out of the end of her vine wood wand and she led them to wrap around Bellatrix’s arms, securing them to her sides.

“Rennervate,” Harry whispered, wand pointed at Voldemort’s faithful servant. She stirred, realizing that she had been bound, and started to struggle against the ropes. They ignored this, knowing that she couldn’t escape from the binds.

Ginny grabbed the Death Eater’s wand off of the floor, twirling it in her fingers before pocketing it. Bellatrix saw this and reciprocated with a sneer; she especially detested being caught, let alone by a bunch of children.

“Did you know about the Unbreakable Vow?” Harry asked her, thankful for finding the truth serum in his overly paranoid former professor’s pocket.

“Yes.”

“How did you come to find out about it?”

“I didn’t ‘find out’; I was the Binder. How could I not know?” she told them, giving a cynical laugh.

“Why kill Snape and Draco?” Ginny asked. This was a question that was puzzling Harry as well.

“He got in my way. The Dark Lord sent me to kill Draco for disobeying him, and Severus wanted to protect Draco. So I tried to hold him off with the Cruciatus, but if Severus was willing to protect him, he should be willing to die for him. He got in my way,” she began, cracking an evil smile, “so I killed him. Then I killed Draco.”

“Why bring the bodies onto the train?” Harry asked. He was completely disgusted by the way she was talking about this like it was what she ate for dinner that night.

“The Dark Lord did not reveal his reasoning for the plan to me. He told me that Alecto would have the hairs of a student from Hogwarts to give me once I arrived in Hogsmeade, to be used in the Polyjuice Potion he provided. I was to take Draco’s body onto the Hogwart’s Express, and make sure his body wasn’t found. If there were any complications, I was to deal with them.”

“What did you do with Ernie?”

“He’s dead.”

“Why?”

“I didn’t need him anymore.”

They couldn’t believe it. Killing him, just because he wasn’t needed, and would get in her way. Then again, she was a Death Eater; Voldemort wouldn’t expect anything less.

Just then, the train started to slow down, and then came to a complete stop. Harry shot another stunner at Bellatrix, figuring that he should probably go find the Head Girl about now, and an unconscious Death Eater was always easier to handle than even one that was bound.

“I’ll be right back. Um…Ginny, why don’t you go back to Luna’s compartment and make sure that no one goes in there,” Harry said, getting up to leave. He definitely didn’t want some kid, fresh from their first year, accidentally seeing the dead bodies of their Defense professor and another student.

“Okay,” she answered, following him out of the compartment.

Harry dropped Ginny off at Luna’s compartment then proceeded to make his way through the rapidly growing crowds in the corridor, looking for Brita. Hopefully she hadn’t already gotten off.

“Harry!” the Head Girl shouted through the crowd. She carefully pushed her way throughout the crowd until she reached him. “I just got McGonagall’s response; she said that she would have to inform the Ministry.”

Great. It’s not like he didn’t expect it; it’s the fact that they were probably waiting at Kings Cross with the Daily Prophet at that very moment. Where the Ministry goes, the Prophet follows.

“We figured out who did it, and it’s the same person who kidnapped Ron and Hermione.”

“Who?” she asked. Nothing was going to prepare her for his answer.

“Bellatrix Lestrange.”

“Bellatrix Lestrange? She’s on the train? Wait, she kidnapped just Ron and Hermione? What about Ernie?” she wondered, an extremely confused and fearful look on her face.

“Ernie’s dead.” he started, then told her all of what he had been told by Bellatrix. By the end, she was stunned.

“So Draco Malfoy’s dead, too?”

“Yeah.”

“Well…I don’t know what to say. Let me just warn you that the Ministry is out there waiting, and it looks like they dragged along the Daily Prophet as well,” she informed him, visibly shaken.

“Thanks,” he said, and he headed back up the corridor to help his three friends get the bodies, and the Death Eater, off the train.

****

“Mr. Potter!”

“Harry Potter, sir, over here!”

Once they had made sure that everyone was off the train, Hermione had gotten some Aurors from the group waiting outside onto the train, and they had successfully gotten the bodies out of the train, and Bellatrix Lestrange was now on the way to her most favorite place, Azkaban, to join her brother-in-law and husband. Now Harry was being hounded by the press that were on the platform when Ginny, Hermione, Ron, and himself, tried to get off.

“Harry, now they’re going to be calling you The-Boy-Who-Sleuthed,” Ron commented as they made their way through the obnoxious throng of reporters, which was, thankfully, void of a certain beetle Animagus.

“As long as you three don’t start calling me that, I think I’ll be okay.”

“Okay, Chosen Detective,” Ginny teased. The experience had eased some of the post break-up awkwardness, but it would still never be the same.

****
Narcissa Malfoy walked down the dank and dirty hall of Azkaban Fortress the next day, silent tears streaming down her face. In her hand, she clutched the most recent copy of the Evening Prophet, which bore the following headline:

PROFESSOR AND STUDENT FOUND DEAD ON TRAIN

She had reached her husband’s cell; she could see he was sitting on the floor, staring off into space.

“Lucius,” she said, her voice barely audible. He looked at her immediately, he hadn’t been spoken to in awhile and the sound of his wife’s voice startled him. He got up and walked over to the bars of the cell, upon seeing the tears on her face he was immediately concerned.

“What’s the matter?”

Narcissa tried to speak, but found that she couldn’t tell him that his only son was…dead. She compromised by handing him the newspaper through the bars of his cell. He took it, and as he saw the headline and the photos underneath, his face fell.

“He’s…dead?”

All she could do was nod. Tears started to fall more rapidly, for he didn’t know the worst of it: that her own sister had killed him.

“Who…did it? Do you know? Do they know yet?”

“Yes, I know, Lucius. I…i…it was Bella.”

“She killed her own nephew? She killed our son?”

“Yes, she did,” she answered. Lucius’ words reverberated in her head as she walked back down the halls of Azkaban. She would never forget those words, not ever.

“Cissy!”

Narcissa stopped in her tracks at the call of that name. Only one person called her that…one person that she never wanted to speak to again. She started walking again, but heard Bellatrix call after her.

“I told him you would never forgive me,” came Bella’s sadistic tones from her cell. “I’m right, aren’t I?”

For once, she was, for Narcissa Malfoy would never forgive, nor forget, what Bellatrix had done. Never in her life, or her afterlife.

*********

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