Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.Chapter One: A New Assignment / Just Another Day at the Office
"So, are we hitting the Leaky Cauldron for lunch today?" Came a voice from the doorway of Hermione Granger's office. She looked up from her cluttered desk to find her colleague and friend, Elle, slouching against the doorframe.
"I wish I could, Elle," Hermione replied, a look of disappointment gracing her features, "But Grant has me scheduled for a lunch meeting today. And on top of that, I've got mountains of paperwork to get through before the holidays."
"I know what you mean," Elle said, sounding a little annoyed, "Whatever he doesn't feel like doing, gets dumped on my desk. Tomorrow then?"
Hermione looked out her window. It was a cold, blustery December day and the snow was falling softly from the London sky. The streetlights were decorated with wreaths and the street was alive and busy with people getting their last minute holiday shopping done. She turned back to Elle and smiled.
"Sure. I'll probably need it after this meeting. I'm sure it's one of those I-can't-be-bothered-with-this-so-I'll-you-make-you-do-it meetings that he likes to send us on." Hermione laughed, "And anyway, speaking of the devil, I'm supposed to go see him for a pre-meeting conference. Whatever that is." Hermione got up from her desk, fetching her bag and swinging it over her shoulder.
"Hmm, give me a minute to translate…" Elle paused joking, and then smiled as Hermione grabbed her coat, laying it over her arm. "Oh, gosh, Hermione I think I'm loosing my touch. I really need to brush up on my English to Bullshit / Bullshit to English. Go ahead, ask me something."
Hermione laughed at the feigned look of shock on her friend's face and ushered Elle out of her office and locking the door behind her. "I really should go…" Hermione said, her worrywart side taking over.
"Oh come on." Elle whined as Hermione started down the hall.
"Oh alright. Um, how about, 'this is a recent development'." Hermione said, turning back to face her, waiting for the translated reply.
"When the bloody hell did this happen?" Elle called after her, doing her best Grant impression, not noticing the curious looks she was getting from other employees.
Hermione's hand, poised to knock on the door, lingered in the air for a moment. She took a deep breath and knocked softly, quickly hearing what she assumed to be a 'come in'. Opening the door, she stepped inside and stood just a few steps inside the office. She watched her boss, who was looking over the paper- yesterday's paper, she noted- and she decided to speak up.
"Mr. Grant, you wanted to see me." She offered. His eyes lingered on the paper for a moment longer before he ushered her to sit down, which she did.
"Yes. I wanted to talk to you before the interview." He said, finally tearing his eyes from the print in front of him and laying the paper across his desk. "I wasn't going to tell you but I figured you should know now. You'd find out sooner or later." Hermione swallowed hard, unsure of what he was saying and fearing the worst.
"What do you mean, sir?"
"Okay, Granger, I'm leveling with you here. Let's just say this company is paying us to do a write up on them. Make them seem more, shall we say, friendly to attract new business. And I thought you were just the girl to do that. Go on the interview, write the article, and if everything goes well, you might be writing front page news, Granger."
"I see." She said cautiously.
"This could do a lot for you, you know."
"Then you realize that if you leak any of this information that you'll be working in the mailroom." He said, his voice taking on a dangerous tone.
"I understand completely."