Summary: All is seemingly well in Wizarding Britain as the last aftershocks of the War against the Dark Lord fade away, but a series of murders lead ace Auror Daphne Greengrass to a threat that may throw her world yet again into imbalance.
Chapter 1: Meet Daphne Greengrass
The Liberals had won. There was no doubt about it, reflected Daphne Greengrass as she took a whiff of her morning tea and unrolled her Daily Prophet. The Prophet's headline screamed about yet another bill the Liberals had rammed down the Wizengamot's throat - this time restricting the laxity Pureblood families had typically enjoyed in teaching their underage children magic within their homes. A scant few years ago, such a bill would never have even been tabled, let along actually passed, she mused.
In Daphne's mind, the Dark Lord was responsible for the Traditionalists' current predicament. Yes, they had had a few good years when the Dark Lord had been ascending, but then Dumbledore's forces had staged a remarkable comeback. A bloody battle was fought, and many noble families were extinguished - a large number of which had once upon a time formed the bulwark of the Traditionalist agenda. The Notts, the Parkinsons, the Haileys, the Greevers, the Goyles - they were all gone.
And the Greengrasses too, she sighed. The Greengrasses were gone too. Their father had died on the night of the battle - not at the battle itself, but from a surprise case of dragon pox. Dragon pox was nearly always deadly when it hit in adulthood. With only Daphne and Astoria to survive him - their mother had died giving birth to Astoria - there were no males to carry on the Greengrass line.
She shuddered and shook her head to distract herself from memories she had no wish to think of. Her father's loss still cut deeply - in part due to the love and regard she held for him, but also in part due to what had happened after he died.
Pureblood society held little regard for the status of women as heirs. After her father's death, the headship of House Greengrass was dissolved. Much of the family's political influence and interests were taken over by the more closely related Pureblood families. Their seat on the Wizengamot had been taken by the newly raised - and upstart, Daphne thought ferociously - Boot family. Why, they were barely four generations' worth of wizards! It was the Liberal influence in the Wizengamot again, she thought with a sigh.
Of course, this was going to have happened sooner or later, and their father's death just let it happen sooner. After their mother passed away, Daphne's father had realized his daughters would have to stand on their own eventually. He had set aside a portion of his wealth into trust funds for Daphne and Astoria - enough to allow them to live comfortably, but not enough to attract the predatory vultures of the noble families.
Still, Daphne chose to work. Astoria had gotten married a year after their father had died - Daphne smiled wistfully, thinking of her sister. Astoria was never one to work when comfort could be had easily. A Pureblood from a respectable family had proposed to her, and Astoria had accepted before the words left his lips. They had a lavish wedding, and Daphne had never seen her sister happier than the day of her wedding. She had caught Astoria throwing several condescending glances at her, but Daphne didn't particularly care. Astoria might have a well-respected name again, but Daphne had their father's name still. A surge of warmth went through her body as she thought of their father. If she died single, it wouldn't be so bad - at least she would die with her father's name. She was the last Greengrass.
In Daphne's line of work, dying was particularly easy. She was an Auror, part of the cleanup taskforce, created after the events of the war. The first year had been difficult and bloody - the giants and werewolves and vampires that the Dark Lord had welcomed into Britain had to be subdued, and either exterminated or expatriated. The giants had been particularly bad - Daphne had lost at least two partners to the giants. Both had found themselves crushed under the giants' clubs.
After the giants they had gone after the vampires. The first battle was bloody and difficult, but then Hermoine Granger - a heroine of the war - had come up with the variation of the Lumos spell that burnt the vampires' skin. They were quick to repatriate to Transylvania after that.
The werewolves were another matter altogether. Granger had refused to assist with the werewolves - though it was said she had researched a way to reign them in - and many lives were lost because of her refusal.
An ordinary Muggleborn - the word Mudblood had dropped out of popular vernacular since the fall of the Dark Lord - would have been pressured by the Wizengamot by treason charges and the like, and would have caved forever ago, but Granger had been under Harry Potter's protection. No Pureblood with any sense of self-preservation would have dared raise charges against her. It was a pity the Goyles were wiped out, Daphne snickered to herself.
Unfortunately for Granger, she hadn't known what was protecting her. She pushed Potter into going for an extended vacation to the continent by himself. Even with him gone, no one would have directly attacked Granger - but without him, people felt bold enough to make life a little ... uncomfortable for her. Hermione Granger had slowly been pushed out of the public sphere, and it had been well over a year since anyone had heard from her and a good three years since Potter had left for the continent.
With a sigh, Daphne rolled up her newspaper. It was because of the Dark Lord that Magical Britain was in imbalance. Perhaps she should have been more worried - but she was just an heiress of a House that no longer existed. There was little she could do except her job and in the end, Daphne supposed, Magic had a way of righting itself. In time the Traditionalist strength would grow again, and they would balance out the Liberals. Magic would find a way.
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"Good morning, Madam Bones," greeted Daphne politely, entering the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement's office. "You asked for me?"
Madam Bones peered at her over her rimmed spectacles. "Ah yes, come in Greengrass," she said. "Congratulations on the job with the Lovegood case, it was quite well done." Despite her years of experience, Daphne blushed. Madam Bones inspired a great deal of awe in her underlings, and Daphne was not immune to the effect.
"It was nothing, Madam Bones," she said modestly.
"Nonsense," declared the Matron. "It was a case that first came up when you were a child, and a generation of Aurors failed to crack it before you. But then again," she smiled at Daphne warmly, "what else can we expect from Britain's finest."
Daphne found herself quite at a loss for words.
"Now Greengrass," continued Madam Bones. "You haven't had a partner for over six months, right?" Daphne nodded in the affirmative. She had an idea where this was going. "As you know, that's the Department limit for staying without a partner. Do you have any ideas on whom you would like as you new partner? There are quite a few unattached Aurors floating around."
Daphne closed her eyes to collect her thoughts. "Madam Bones," she began carefully. "As you mentioned, I do a good job for the Department."
"You do," confirmed Madam Bones.
"And I understand that Department rules require me to have a partner. I have been keeping an eye out - but since that unfortunate incident when Travis was ... er ... since Travis met his end under a giant club, I haven't found someone who is quite my ... umm ... my caliber," she said. "I'm not trying to be arrogant or anything ..."
Madam Bones waved her off. "No, no, I quite understand. You're one of my best, so I may be able to turn a blind eye for a few months, but in return, I may need you to do me a favour."
Daphne raised an eyebrow. For a former Hufflepuff, the Head of the DMLE could be very Slytherin when she chose. Daphne supposed it was the only way she had survived so long at the helm of the most notoriously male-dominated department in the Ministry. Madam Bones ruffled around her desk for a bit, and then at last pulled out a file and handed it to her.
"We've had a new recruit. He didn't have to go through Auror training because of the exceptional ... circumstances. He's new to the job, but obviously I can't pair him with just anyone. You're the best choice ..."
Daphne stared at the file, her throat dry.
"It would be temporary, you understand," she continued. "Just take him on a few cases, show him the ropes. And after that if either of you wants to split up, that's completely understandable."
Daphne just continued to stare at the name on the file. The name "Harry Potter" was emblazoned across it. The Boy-who-Lived was back in England.
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AN: Thanks for reading. If you like what you've read so far, I encourage you to follow the story and drop me a review. If you don't like the story, or have any recommendations for improvements to my writing style or my English, I would love hear them.