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Eight murdered women, magical and non-magical, that’s why he was here, that’s why they had rolled out the red carpet and spared no expense. Harry felt a little used, pretending he’s out here for another purpose when really, they wanted to have him solve an unsolvable case.

 

Or was it to keep the serial killer in the dark as Lana had said. His thoughts drifted to Lana and how openly excluded she was from the rest of the team, she was clever and threatened the alpha males and she was also beautiful. Without the unnecessary make up and expensive clothes she was striking.

 

“Harry,” Neville beamed.

 

They had arranged to meet in a muggle café, it was bustling and cosy and very hard to overhear another’s conversation. Harry thought finally he would get some answers from the mysterious and hasty relocation Neville Longbottom.

 

“I ordered you one of their famous sub’s,” Neville gestured to an enormous sandwich dripping with mayonnaise.

 

“That’s all mine?” Harry asked taking a seat.

 

“American food,” Neville shrugged and tucked in.

 

“Neville Sutcliffe?” Harry asked taking a bite, it was delicious and challenging to eat.

 

Neville wiped his mouth with a paper napkin, his eyes grew sad, “I just couldn’t stay in London anymore,” he shook his head, “the flashbacks, the noises, I just couldn’t escape.”

 

“I wish you had of said something Neville, we were all going through parallel matters,” Harry said quietly, “we missed you.”

 

“I was just no good in London anymore, after Luna and I… I don’t blame her, I don’t know how she put up with me for as long as she did. I was sorry to hear about you and Ginny.”

 

Harry put down his sandwich, “so you’ve been keeping up with our news then?”

 

“Can’t help it,” Neville smiled tightly, “you, Hermione and Ron are celebrities around the world. I don’t know how you do it.”

 

“I didn’t have a choice,” Harry said ruefully.

 

“You and Lane Turner then?” Neville grinned, changing the subject quickly.

 

Harry shook his head, “that was an accident, wrong place and wrong time.”

 

“She’s a looker,” Neville commented.

 

“She’s incredibly smart,” Harry answered safely.

 

“Must be, there’s not a lot of females on the staff, slim picking’s,” Neville surmised.

 

“Hermione would be infuriated by the lack of females in the Manhattan Ministry,” Harry cracked a smile, thinking of his best friend.

 

“I’ve got to get back to work,” Neville said screwing up his sub wrapper, “how long are you here for?”

 

Harry mussed his hair, “I really don’t know, they’ve put me on that Manhattan murder case but I’m not meant to spread that around.”

 

Neville’s eyes widened, “the Manhattan murders!” He exhaled heavily, “that’s rough, Harry Potter on the case they must be at their wits end.”

 

“Sounds like it,” Harry agreed.

 

“Do they have any leads?” Neville asked.

 

Harry shook his head, “nothing, they’ve got no idea. Why aren’t you doing Auror work here?”

 

“Can’t do it,” he shook his head, “herbology’s always been enjoyable and it relaxes me.”

 

“That’s good then Neville, I’m glad you’ve found your place here.”

 

“I’ll see you around Harry,” Neville embraced his friend and left into the busy, cold street.

 

Harry bundled himself up and braved the cold, his thoughts reeling over Neville. How the man who killed Voldemort’s final horcrux had shut out the very world he saved. Which made Harry seriously consider his own actions, if given the chance would he have moved away and left all the pain behind him?

 

He couldn’t ever leave Ron and Hermione, there was too strong a tie with them, the entire Weasley family, even Ginny. Molly still invited him and Teddy, he couldn’t leave his Godson, he wouldn’t do that to a child.

 

                                                            -------------

 

Harry entered the extravagant lobby of his hotel, gold adorned trims, plush leather furniture. They truly had pulled out all stops to impressive Harry and butter him up to do their dirty work. If he wasn’t so curious and intrigued by a case that had nothing to do with Death Eaters, he might just leave.

“Mr Potter,” Evan called out, his sleek suit looked right at home in the expensive interior of the hotel lobby. Carrying bundles of files was Lana struggling to balance the bulky files and keep her blazing red hair out of her eyes.

 

“Evening, Evan,” Harry nodded, taking some files from a grateful Lana, “let me help. Good timing, I was just heading up.”

 

“Did you want us to come back later so you can relax a little?” Evan asked.

 

“Not at all,” he held the elevator door opened for the American’s ushering them in.

 

“The Ministry asks that you order room service tonight, anything you like, they don’t want this information going public. Even members of our department don’t know all the details.” Evan finished quietly.

 

“Is everyone in the department trusted?” Harry asked.

 

“Of course,” Evan assured, “but the less details people know the less leaks to the media.”

 

Harry nodded in agreement as the elevator slid smoothly up to the presidential suite on the top floor.

 

Lana did a better job of hiding her awe than Evan, he openly gaped at the luxurious facilities his suite displayed. Marble floors, gold and brass adorned furniture, a pristine colour palette of whites, greys and dark wood. But most breathtaking was the view of the Hudson river, the city lights twinkling off its inky surface.

 

“Only the best for Mr Potter,” Lana raised an eyebrow, “when I get sent away for work I’m lucky if I have working electricity.”

 

Evan gave Lana a meaningful stare and busied himself with placing the assortment of files and folders. “We have our eight victims,” Evan began, he shot out eight faces from his wand, their names underneath them.

 

“Amelia Markoff, 32” Lana said, “witch, studying to be a Healer. Found assaulted and strangled outside Central park west exit.”

 

“Elizabeth Hankin, 41 better known as Beth” Evan started, “muggle, worked as a journalist, found in the same way as Amelia but at Central park east exit.”

 

“Callie Thomson, 24 a muggle, studying psychology, found Central park east.”

 

Harry watched as the faces of these young women smiled back at him, the pair continued.

 

“Deliah Demanter, 46 witch a professor at our local school, found in Central Park near the ice skating rink.”

 

“Geneva Tallis, a witch 22, studying to be an Auror and works as a waitress at a muggle restaurant. Her body was found in the East underpass Central Park again.”

 

Harry let the words wash over him and for the first time the short lives of these eight women truly spoke to him and he vowed immediately to solve this case for them.

 

Frieda Souls, 30, a witch in the experimental potions division at MMM,” Evan swallowed hard, “we actually knew her, she was a lovely woman, a mother too.”

 

Lana took over, “Evangelina Garry, 27 a muggle and a part time model, she was found in the ponds of Central Park and finally Heather Peppers, 29, a muggle and part time administration assistant.”

 

Evan and Lana were finally silent, Harry couldn’t take his eyes of the faces of the murdered women. Lana spoke, “I’ve never seen them all next to each other like this,” she turned her head.

 

“It’s madness,” Evan agreed solemnly.

 

“There’s no connection whatsoever?” Harry asked.

 

“No, I mean except one,” Lana finished lamely.

 

“They’re all women,” Evan said.

 

“You know he’s nearly done it alphabetically,” Lana pointed out, “except for Elizabeth, Geneva and Evangelina.”

 

“Hold on,” Harry’s heartbeat accelerated, “you said Elizabeth was known as Beth?”

 

“Geneva?” Evan quizzed.

 

Lana spoke up, “her friend I interviewed called her Eva! Holy shit they’re all in alphabetical order, except for…”

 

“Garry!” Harry announced, “her last name, she could’ve been called Garry for short?”

 

Evan’s mouth dropped, “how did we miss this? How the fuck did we miss this! I’m calling Felix, this is huge. You did it Harry! The first connection between the victims! It’s alphabetical!”

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