Disclaimer: All the characters and the Harry Potter world belong to JK Rowling and I make no profit from this story.
Thank you so much to my Beta Mari681 for doing an amazing job on this chapter!
"Pansy, for the last time, I can't help you!"
"Oh, come on Hermione, I've had this case for weeks and I haven't made any progress at all. You were the best at this and I could really use your help."
"I haven't worked in your department for almost a year now Pansy, I don't think I'd be much use at all." Said Hermione exasperatedly.
"Now I know that's a lie. You got promoted to the Missing Witches and Wizards department and it's not all that different. I'll owe you big time if you take this one for me." Pansy wheedled, smiling sweetly.
Hermione sighed heavily and pinched the bridge of her nose. Pansy was a hard worker but often lacked the initiative to deal with some of the more complicated cases that came her way. As much as she'd hate to admit it, she and Pansy were friends, had been since they started working at the Ministry together, so she knew she should probably help her, it was good to keep up connections after all. Not to mention that she sort of owed Pansy for saving her from a rather nasty incident involving a sinking boat and some angry merpeople…
"Fine, I'll take the damn case!" Hermione finally conceded. "But don't expect me to get it done all that quickly; I've got a lot on at the moment and a new client coming in this afternoon."
Hermione was almost knocked off her feet when Pansy practically threw the case file at her and hugged her tightly.
"Oh, thank Merlin for you Hermione! I don't know what I'd do without you!" She squealed as she scurried off towards the elevator before Hermione could change her mind. "And don't forget that I owe you a very large favour for this!" She shouted across the atrium as the doors closed on her.
"I most certainly won't." Hermione muttered as she started to walk back to her office.
She had been working at the ministry for just over three years now, having first started after finishing her final year at Hogwarts once the war was done.
Hermione had applied to join one of the new departments that had been created following the war to help deal with all the damage that had been done, and had worked her way quickly up the ranks. Initially, she had started in the Department of Missing Creatures and Artefacts, but after two years in the post she had been promoted. She was now a chief investigator for the Department of Missing Witches and Wizards, a department which, unfortunately, still had plenty of cases coming its way, even so long after the war.
Hermione walked into her large round office and sunk into her chair to take a look at what Pansy had given her. She probably should have asked about the case before, but her confidence in her abilities from her school days sometimes still got the better of her, and she had figured the case wouldn't be too hard. After all, Pansy was...Pansy.
How wrong she was.
The title of the case was bad enough. 'Seven Dragon Eggs Missing'. Hermione had already had to deal with one rogue dragon in her career, and that had been hard enough to deal with, but seven were another thing, especially if they were in the hands of the wrong people. It was the client's name however that filled her with more dread, Charlie Weasley.
The Weasleys and she were on slightly rocky ground at the moment, and had been since the very unpleasant break up between Ronald and her the previous year. Things had gone well at first, in the relief that followed the defeat of Voldemort, and she and Ron had been in a good relationship. He had, like Harry, become an auror but, although he was an adept wizard, he didn't fly to the top of the ranks like he thought he would.
Hermione, however, had aced all her NEWTS and had quickly become the talk of the ministry as she solved even the hardest of cases. Wherever they went, witches and wizards had asked her to recount the many stories she had and commended her for her work, often ignoring Ron sulking by her side.
It had not taken Ron long to become jealous and spiteful of her success, causing him to be grumpy and irrational almost all the time, and it had slowly been becoming unbearable. The last straw finally came when Hermione returned from recovering a library's worth of rare books on dark magic hidden in deepest, darkest Russia. She had come home excited to tell him all about it, only to find that in her absence, Ron had taken up again with his sixth year girlfriend Lavender Brown.
Hermione had jinxed and hexed him as he'd tumbled out of bed with the panic of being caught etched on his face. He had run after her towards the floo, his pants still around his ankles. Before he had the chance to speak she'd abruptly told him it was over and gone straight to Harry's in a blast of green flames.
Both Ron and all the Weasleys, Mrs. Weasley in particular, had tried to convince her to take him back, but, with Harry on her side, she had stood her ground. Unfortunately, however, her relationship with the Weasleys was ruined.
She understood why they were so distraught, they had probably assumed that she and Ron would get married, that she would be the mother of their grandchildren, nieces and nephews, so it was bound to hurt. However, after their efforts seemed to be failing they had started to blame the entire debacle on her, saying that it was no wonder Ron had strayed with Hermione working all the time and being off in other countries. It had enraged her that they still couldn't see their sweet little boy for what he was, a cheating, jealous little prick.
Despite the way things had ended she had still been very sad about losing them and missed the family that had become her own over the years. Perhaps she could try and fix things by helping Charlie, as he hadn't taken it as badly as the rest of his family. Hopefully she'd be able to use this case to her advantage then, probably the only positive thing about it thus far.
Hermione was broken out of her reverie before she could read the contents of the file when her clock struck three and there was a knock at her door.
She was expecting a client today and was pleasantly surprised when said client turned up on time. Many wizards did seem to have a tendency to be late, but then again, she shouldn't be all that surprised, considering that her client today was the wonderful, and always punctual, Andromeda Tonks.