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Hermione was glad that Friday had arrived. The week had been long, not to mention bizarre, and she was looking forward to a quiet weekend at home. She met with Harry, Ron and Draco after lunch that day to discuss the circumstances with Lucius and Stan and how, if at all, they affected the case with Astoria. Harry had filled Ron in the night before so everyone was up to date when they gathered in Harry and Ron's office.

"So," Ron began, "do we all think that we can add Lucius Malfoy to our list of possible suspects?"

"I think so," Harry agreed. Hermione nodded and Draco grunted.

"Don't you agree, Malfoy?" Ron asked him.

"The note that the kidnappers left was signed KoW, not Lucius Malfoy. Besides, what reason would my father have for kidnapping Astoria? Surely he didn't go to such drastic lengths to avoid Azkaban, only to commit such a big crime a few years later?"

"Maybe he's part of them though, the Knights of Walpurgis," Hermione suggested. "If their main goal is to kill Harry and ultimately gain power they sound like the sort of people he would associate with."

"You could be right, Hermione," said Harry, scribbling Hermione's theory down on the corner of a piece of parchment on which their case notes were written.

"Fine, let's say she is," Draco conceded. "What happens now?"

"We need to gather a list of all of your dad's friends, associates, any purebloods he knew. Is all of his stuff still at the Manor?" Harry asked.

"Some is at the flat but most is still there. Mother put it all in the cellar, it's definitely still there, I saw it when we searched the Manor the other day. I'll bring it to the office, can't imagine either of you two want to go back there," he said to Harry and Ron who exchanged dark glances and then nodded.

"I'll go back to Azkaban and see if Stan has had any visitors whilst he was posing as Lucius," Ron added. "Surely if he is part of this group they would want to check that the spell was still working."

"No," Draco said as he stood up abruptly, earning him three alarmed looks. "I already asked."

"You did?" Harry asked, his eyebrows raised in surprise.

"Yes, after you left last night. I forgot to mention it." He sat down again on the end of Harry's desk and began fiddling with a quill, not looking at the other three.

"And?" Ron asked.

"And what?" Draco countered.

"Did he have any visitors?" Ron's tone was impatient.

"None in the whole time he's been there." Draco shifted in his seat and started picking the feathers from the quill he was still holding.

Harry sighed. "We'll just have to hope there's something worth finding in his stuff then."

The door to the office opened and Gawain's head peered around the door.

"Potter, Weasley, didn't you ask me for this afternoon off? What are you still doing here?"

Harry gasped and checked his watch. "Ron! The robe fitting for the wedding started ten minutes ago. Ginny is going to kill us!"
He quickly grabbed his coat from the back of his chair, Ron copied him and they rushed out of the door past a startled Gawain.

"Hell hath no fury like a bride scorned," he chuckled. "I'll let you two get on."

He left the office and closed the door behind him. Hermione and Draco both looked expectantly at each other, both waiting for the other to say what their next step was.

"Well, I suppose I'll go and have a look through my father's things at the flat," Draco finally said.

"Okay," Hermione replied.

There were a few moments of uncomfortable silence before Draco said, "You can come if you want. It'll get done quicker if there are two of us and there's nothing more to be done here."
"Okay," Hermione said again, this time in a hesitant tone.

They headed down to the ministry fireplaces in the main entrance hall in silence, Draco only breaking it to tell Hermione his address before she stepped into the green flames and shouted it.

In the few moments she was alone before Draco appeared behind her, Hermione looked around at the small flat. It could not have been any more different to Malfoy Manor, not just in size but in décor too. A comfortable looking beige sofa took up most of the space in the small living room and an oak coffee table was the only thing between it and where Hermione stood in front of the fireplace, which was unusually large for the size of the room: Hermione suspected it had been magically enlarged for flooing purposes. A tiny dining table and two chairs stood in one corner of the room next to an almost empty bookcase. She could see a door to the left which she guessed led to the kitchen, and a corridor to the right, presumably leading to the bedrooms and the front door.

"It was already decorated and furnished when we moved in," Draco's voice came from behind Hermione, making her jump.
She walked around the coffee table and stood by the sofa, the close proximity to Malfoy making her feel uncomfortable.

"I guessed," she replied.

"You can sit down," he said, gesturing to the couch. "I'll go and get Father's things."

Hermione took a seat on the sofa and waited for him to return. When he did, he was levitating three large black boxes in front of him.

"This is all there is. After he was sent to Azkaban, or we thought he was, Mother put most of his things in the cellar. I wasn't sure if she was going to leave it there for him to collect when he was released or if she was going to get rid of it, so I went down one day when she was out and took some of it. It's mostly books and photographs so it's probably useless." He set the boxes down on the coffee table before taking a seat next to Hermione.

"You never know," she replied, "there might be something that gives us a clue as to who we're dealing with."

Draco shrugged and opened one of the boxes and started flicking through the pages of the books that it contained. Hermione pulled one of the other two boxes towards her and found it full of photo albums. She picked the top one out and placed it on her knee. It was bound with bottle green leather and had a silver snake printed on the front of it. She rolled her eyes at the evident references to the Malfoy's Slytherin pride and opened the album to the first page.

There were two pictures on every page, each one with a hand-written note beneath it. It turned out to be an album of Lucius' days at Hogwarts, from his first day; a picture of eleven year old Lucius with his parents on Platform nine and three quarters, to his last; a group of eight students waving happily, all wearing Slytherin school robes. The pictures in between showed Lucius and his friends at various points of their school lives: in Hogsmeade, at Quidditch matches, throughout summer holidays and at Christmas. Hermione easily spotted Lucius in the pictures, his blonde hair standing out no matter the surroundings in the photo. She couldn't help but notice the startling resemblance Draco bore to his father, though Lucius' face was far more expressionless.

There was one boy that appeared in most of the photographs that Hermione recognised easily, the greasy hair, large nose and sallow face of Severus Snape was unmistakable. The others that stood by Lucius were unfamiliar to Hermione, but their names were not, she had seen them in the paper countless times, and even fought them during the war.

It took hardly any time at all for Hermione and Draco to go through the three small boxes, a task that gave them no new leads in finding Lucius or Astoria.

"Well, that was a waste of time," Draco said with a sigh as he sealed the boxes once more with his wand.

"There are still his things at the Manor though," Hermione reminded him, "don't lose hope just yet."

"I doubt we'll find anything helpful in there either. Father isn't stupid, his stunt with Stan proved that. He wouldn't leave a trail to wherever he's hiding, or where Astoria is if he's involved in that too."

"We'll find them," Hermione said reassuringly.

Draco said nothing but sighed, resumed his seat on the sofa, and put his head in his hands.

"You must miss her," Hermione said, and then mentally kicked herself. Of course he missed her, she was his fiancée.

"Like a hole in the head," he mumbled.


Malfoy's head snapped up as though he had just remembered who he was talking to.

"Nothing. Never mind," he said quickly.

"But you said-" Hermione began.

"I know what I said," he snapped.

Hermione looked at him. She was puzzled, but said no more on the subject. "We should probably be getting back to the office now."

"I'm going to stay here. Tell Potter I'll pick up that stuff tomorrow and he can come over on Monday morning to go through it. Not that it will help at all," he said in a clipped tone. Hermione couldn't help but notice he was furiously avoiding her eye contact.

"Fine" she replied, equally as frosty.

She stood up and walked to the fireplace, Malfoy followed and handed her the small ceramic pot that held the floo powder. He made a move to take the lid off and then hesitated.

"What I said before, about Astoria-" he started, but Hermione interrupted him.

"Forget about it," she said quickly with a wave of her hand.

"I just wanted to say I didn't mean it how it sounded. I do want to find Astoria, I want her to be safe."

"It didn't sound like you didn't want to," Hermione told him hurriedly.

"Good, because it's definitely not what I meant." He stopped talking but Hermione suspected there was more he wanted to say, he opened and closed his mouth and unnecessarily moved one of the photographs atop the fire surround.

"Is everything alright Malfoy?" she asked against her better judgment.

He sighed heavily, let go of the photo and let his hand drop by his side. "Let's just say Astoria and I weren't exactly getting along before she was kidnapped."

"Oh," Hermione responded most unhelpfully.

"Yeah. She didn't exactly agree with a lot of things that I did, work mostly."

"How so?"

"I work with Potter and I sent a lot of wizards to Azkaban for crimes against Muggle-borns. Not exactly in keeping with the infamous Malfoy reputation, is it?" He gave a hollow laugh that did not reach his grey eyes.

"That's a good thing though, surely she could see that and support it?"

"Well, I guess we can't all have perfect relationships like you and Weasley." He gave another humorless laugh.

"Um, Ron and I aren't together anymore," Hermione said awkwardly.

Draco's eyebrows raised in surprise.

"You didn't realise?" she asked.

"Well Weasley has been more unbearable than usual lately, I thought it was just a fight you'd had, not a break up," he said pensively, though with an air of being pleased at Ron's misery.

"I didn't mean that, I meant when we've all been in the office together. Surely you noticed that Ron barely speaks to me?"

"Funnily enough, Granger, I've had other things on my mind," he said in a sarcastic drawl that reminded Hermione of the Malfoy she remembered from their school days.

"Of course. Well, I'd better be getting back. I'll see you on Monday, Malfoy."

She took the lid off the pot and grabbed a handful of the green powder and vaguely heard Malfoy saying goodbye as she shouted to go to the Ministry.

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