Scorpius Malfoy was in a good mood. That was not often the case, but now his boss had ascertained that Scorpius really didn't have any interest in Lily Luna Potter, newly qualified Hit Witch, Harry Potter had begun to treat Scorpius with a little more respect. Besides which, there were many, many things in his life that were right at the moment, and that was definitely something to smile about.

Auror Potter was now handing out more difficult assignments to Scorpius and Adam Nott, who’d been Scorpius’ best friend since Hogwarts. The two young men eagerly accepted the assignments, for they had quickly become bored with sorting through mundane cases with no relevance to Dark Magic or anything else remotely interesting.

At the moment, by far the most exciting case (recently transferred to Potter’s Auror team at his request) was the one that the Prophet had infamously dubbed as the “Blood and Roses”. It was on the front page almost every day as the unknown serial killer continued to murder, leaving behind a trail of dead bodies — seven to count. Scorpius’ eyes fell on the moving pictures in today’s Prophet: they had done an entire double spread feature about the latest murder, and he wondered how the newspaper was getting its information. Considering how little the Auror Department liked to liaise with the media, the depth of the articles made no sense.

It was strange because, really, everyone should have been appalled by the shocking antics of the murderer in question. Instead, they were intrigued by the serial killer and his or her modus operandi. It was unlike anything the Wizarding world had ever encountered before. The victims had been stripped of all their clothes, and a certain amount of their blood was magically extracted from their bodies after being killed. This blood was then arranged in an artistic manner on the victims’ backs, in the perfect red swirl of a rose.

The killer’s strange, if not morbid signature had prompted many speculative theories as to who this person was. Recalling an article published in the Quibbler just a week ago, Scorpius believed that their most accurate theory so far was the one which said that the perpetrator was most likely a man who had an unhealthy amount of hatred for the victims and used the roses to associate them with —

“Lesbians.” Adam’s voice brought Scorpius out of his reverie.

“What?” said Scorpius blankly.

Adam clarified, “The Quibbler article said that our guy is scared of female sexuality. And we’ve been doing some more digging — the victims only have one thing in common: their sexuality.”

“Excuse me?”

“Before, we were looking in the wrong places. We thought there was a jealous ex-boyfriend or stalker somewhere, and that was it. That theory might still be our best bet, but the victims actually had ex-girlfriends as well.”

“So what?” Scorpius countered.

“So that means whoever murdered them hates dykes.”

“Don’t say that,” Scorpius said automatically. He hated it when minorities were discriminated or stereotyped like that — whether to do with sexuality or religion or blood status, et cetera. His father had taught him from a young age that other people, no matter how different they were from him, should be treated with respect at all times. He just couldn’t be friends with them. Or get married to them. Or go out with them. Or, for that matter, have anything to do with them.

But, yes, respect was apparently the key.

Someone’s a bit tetch—” Adam was interrupted by the loud, wailing sound of their alarm.

“Calling all available Aurors at twenty-hundred hours. Emergency in the residence of Matthew and Dominique Wood—” The cool, disembodied voice reeled off an address, but by the mention of Dominique’s name, Scorpius was already on his feet and spinning on the spot to Disapparate. With a crack, he arrived in the foyer of Dominique’s flat and flew up the stairs at full speed.

There were already Aurors standing outside the door with wands outstretched, preparing to go in, but Scorpius could not wait. He had to see if she was all right. Ignoring his colleagues, Scorpius blasted open the door to the maisonette with his wand and ran into the living room as fast as he could, his heart pounding against his ribcage and beads of sweat trickling down his palms onto the cream carpet as he prayed that everything was not as he feared.

Please, God... she can’t be... If you’re up there, don’t let her be...

The Aurors had followed him in and were now talking in low voices, but all Scorpius could hear were faint noises, inaudible and insignificant. Seeing that there was nothing in the living room and hearing that the kitchen was clear, he advanced up the stairs, nearly tripping in his haste. At last, he reached what he knew to be Dominique’s bedroom...

His eyes came to a solitary wand lying on the floor, pointing at the three bodies strewn on the messy, unmade bed. At the end of the bed closest to Scorpius was a familiar woman. On her pale back was a blood-coloured rose, the wand-drawn bloody strokes contrasting against Dominique Wood’s white skin. On the other end of the bed was a man lying dead on his stomach, an intricate rose drawn on his back as well. And lying in between her mother and stepfather, with an identical rose on her tiny back, was Ophélie Wood.

Forgetting all about the people around him, Scorpius fell to his knees in despair, unable to take his eyes off his dead daughter.

Chapter End Notes: This is my first mystery story, guys! And my first Next Gen and my first Scorose. So could you review? Please? I’ll cry if you don't :)

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