Disclaimer: I don't own HP or any of these characters. That belongs to JKR, Scholastic Books, Warner Brothers, etc. This fic is AU for the last two books and also for Hermione's middle name since it's been changed from when I first started writing this fic.
A hand snatched the morning paper out away from Ron just as he was getting to the good part. "Hey!" he protested. "I was reading that."
"You've been reading the paper for the better part of the last hour, mate," Harry returned evenly. "Time for you to learn how to share."
"Learned all about that while I was growing up. I had five brothers, you know," said Ron.
"Couldn't tell by how you act."
"That's because I learned that I hate it." Ron huffed and crossed his arms. He snorted as Harry tried to hand him a part of the paper back. "Don't bother. I know you're taking the best part."
Harry started to deny it, but he was interrupted by the arrival of their other roommate stomping through the kitchen. "Good morning, Hermione," he called out cheerfully. Hermione merely grunted in his direction, heading straight towards the pot of coffee.
"Morning, Hermione," said Ron. "Nice to see you up early for once."
"Sod off," she said. Hermione opened the cupboards, searching for her coffee mug, though that was a misnomer. Hermione's usual mug was much larger than the norm, and approached the size of a rather large soup bowl. Both Harry and Ron had learned to make sure there was enough coffee left over for Hermione to completely fill up the thing. Facing the wrath of a Hermione who needed her caffeine hit once was enough to last several lifetimes. Neither of them had liked spending the day as a pair of pot-bellied pigs.
Her mug full of that vital substance she needed badly, Hermione returned to the table. She glanced at the paper that Harry was reading. "Anything interesting to report?" she asked. She almost groaned when she saw the grins covering the faces of her best friends at that question.
"Calamity Jane strikes again!" Ron announced triumphantly.
"Fifteen former Death Eaters captured by her in one night."
Hermione rolled her eyes. The boys could be so naïve at times. "I am sure she had help from her partner," Hermione told them, taking the spoon out of her mug and pointing it at them. "And I should know. I'm the only Auror at this breakfast table."
"That's only because you weren't willing to join me and Harry in becoming star Quidditch players," said Ron with a sigh. "And then Harry had to sign with the Magpies rather than the Cannons."
"Get a pair of decent Beaters in, and I'll think about it again," said Harry. "I've seen the bruises you've got from practicing."
"Don't remind me. Got a matching pair yesterday when both of them hit me at once." Harry winced in sympathy, knowing how much that must have hurt.
"I don't know why the two of you insist on playing that ridiculous sport.," said Hermione tersely. The boys looked at one another, knowing that Hermione was on the verge of lecturing them once again.
Some things never change.
"She says that as if being an Auror is a perfectly safe profession," Ron said to Harry before Hermione could continue.
Harry nodded. "I know. Frankly, she shouldn't complain about our professions until she gets one that is a little less dangerous."
"The difference between my job and yours is that I am making the world a safer place. What can you two say about your contributions to society?"
"We're making the world a happier place," Harry said simply. "Don't knock it. The world needs its distractions just as it needs its heroes. And I'm tired of being its hero. Calamity Jane is welcome to take over that role from me."
"Again, I tell you she isn't that great. And why can't you believe me when I say her partner helps her out? They assign Aurors in pairs after all."
"I think someone here is jealous," said Harry.
"Looks like it." Ron regarded Hermione as she fumed in her seat. "I hate to have to be the one to tell you, green is not a good color on you."
"You both are impossible!" Hermione drained her mug in a single gulp and got up. "And I'd best get going." She rose from her seat and pushed back the door. She started to walk out, but thought the better of it, and crossed over to where Harry was sitting. Before he could realize what her intentions were, she had taken the paper out of his unresisting hands.
"Hey! I was reading that!"
"What comes around, goes around," Ron said with a smile.
"Right," Hermione agreed. "Besides, I need this more than you. You can go to the newsagent to get another if you want. I don't have that sort of time." With that, she reached for her wand and Apparated.
"Malfoy, I am going to kill you!" Hermione stormed into the office she shared with her partner. Draco didn't even blink. Death threats from Hermione were common, and so far, she hadn't followed through on a single one, so he wasn't going to worry about it. He didn't even bother to look up from his desk as he knew if he did, he would see an upset Hermione. The first sign of Hermione being mad at him was her using his last name instead of his given one. He actually didn't mind it. It was kind of a turn on.
He was interrupted in his reading by her throwing down a copy of the Prophet on his desk. He smiled to himself. The second sign of Hermione being mad at him was another article about the exploits of Calamity Jane. Looking up, he said, "You know, I think it's me who should be upset with you, Hermione. You're getting all the credit for my hard work."
"Your hard work?" Hermione raised an eyebrow at him. "Oh please. You didn't take out even half of those Death Eaters last night."
"That's because I had to be the decoy as well."
"That does not count as work. Playing the son of a Death Eater turned male prostitute is hardly a stretch for you, Malfoy."
"Touché. Yet, you have to admit that you couldn't have done it without me. So I should get some of the credit, but I doubt I ever will."
Hermione gritted her teeth as she stared him down. "I can live without the credit, thanks. You can have it all back . . . along with that stupid, stupid nickname!"
"Come on now. Be reasonable here. After I learned your middle name was Jane, of course, you had to go by Calamity Jane. You needed a code name anyway, and everyone else seems to like it." He grinned at her unrepentantly.
"If you like it so much, why didn't you take it?" she asked.
"Alas, my parents did not have the foresight to name me Jane."
"Neither did mine."
"Your middle name counts."
"That's what you think." Hermione looked over at his desk, which once again was covered by books on the Old West out in America, over half of which were comics. She sighed. "Haven't I told you before that you're too young to be going through your second childhood already?"
"This isn't my second," he replied shortly. "It's my first. I never got to play much as a child, but on the bright side, it spared my complexion from the ravages of the sun." Hermione scoffed at those words. "And while I'm at it, please spare me the lectures on how Muggles have romanticized the cowboy while portraying Indians in a false light. You clearly do not understand the whole—"
"No, I don't," Hermione said. She sat down at her desk. "And I'd have never bothered with the lecture if you didn't come up with that . . . that damn code name of mine."
"Well, you got me back by ruining the name, 'Billy the Kid,' for me. I could have lived happily without ever knowing about Aberforth and his goat.
"Thinking about it, I realize that I shouldn't have told you that story then."
"Damn right you shouldn't have."
Hermione smiled wickedly. "I ought to have waited until after that name was finalized for you before letting you know about the love Aberforth had for his goat."
Draco winced. "You're in an especially foul mood this morning. What's got your knickers into a twist?"
"Three guesses, and the first two don't count."
"I don't need any. I'm willing to bet your two biggest fans were raving about you again."
"Yes. And I was about ready to wring their necks if they didn't stop! And you know what?"
"What?" Draco prompted.
"They were accusing me of being jealous of myself! Can you believe the gall of those two?"
"Well, I've always said that you ought to let them know that Keepers and Seekers aren't supposed to catch Bludgers, that they're supposed to go after the other balls. Those two already have taken enough blows to the head." He suddenly ducked, and sure enough, Hermione had lobbed her inkwell at him. Again. "You know, that could have really hurt if it hit me," he told her.
"That was the whole point. You were being impossible again, and I am fed up with impossible men!" She stamped her foot for emphasis.
"Hey! At least I'm the man responsible for making you famous."
"I live with the most famous wizard in the world. We get enough reporters around our flat as it is. And besides, I'm not famous, Calamity Jane is."
"But you are Calamity Jane and so—" He stopped when he saw the look that Hermione gave him. Clearly, she wasn't in a good mood this morning, and he wondered if those gits she lived with had sucked up all her coffee again. You would think that they would have learned their lesson by now. "Fine, fine. I'll stop." Draco held up his hands in a gesture of surrender. "And to make it up to you, I'll give you your birthday present now." He withdrew a small, heavy box from the confines of his desk. "It took me forever to find this."
She eyed it suspiciously. "I knew I should have brought a Sneakoscope in today. What's it going to do to me when I open it?"
"Hermione, do I look like I'd play a prank like that on my partner?"
"Yes. And you have."
He coughed. He had actually, several times. "But on her birthday?"
"It's not my birthday yet," she replied.
"Fine, fine. Here." He carefully took off the top of the box, revealing a pair of pearl-inlaid, silver pistols. "See?" he said with a grin. "A perfect gift for Calamity Jane."
Hermione walked over to the desk, not believing her eyes. She gingerly picked one up. It was real, and she had to suppress the urge to moan out of despair. "Merlin, Malfoy. Please tell me you got these legally."
"Would I have black market connections?" was his response.
"If I remember correctly, your best informants are certain businessmen with shady pasts, so yes."
"Fine, curse your perfect recall. Would I buy something illegally?"
"What about that pink elephant you tried to bring to Malfoy Manor?"
"You wound me. That was a nasty story made up by that Skeeter broad to embarrass me. You should know that I wouldn't do anything to get you into trouble."
"How about the time when you blew my cover? In front of Crabbe and Goyle, no less."
He shrugged. "Have to do that occasionally to maintain my credibility in front of my former compatriots. I would have clued you in, but then your reaction wouldn't have been as genuine." He then winked at her. "Besides, it was fun getting to watch you beat the living daylights out of them."
"You're lucky I stopped at them. I ought to have kicked your arse for good measure. It would've helped you maintain that credibility you're always talking about," said Hermione, crossing her arms.
"Okay, I can tell someone is still sore about that incident. But to answer your original question, these are legal." He beamed at her. "I've even signed you up for lessons. Can't have our Calamity Jane shooting off her own foot."
"That's assuming I ever use them." She sighed. "Thanks for the gift though."
"Don't mention it."
"I probably won't ever again," Hermione noted. "But enough of this small talk. Anything new for us to handle?"
"Yes," Draco said slowly.
Hermione waved him on. When he didn't speak, she knew she wasn't going to like their latest case. She frowned and said, "You might as well tell me. The sooner we get it over with, the better."
"You don't know how true that is." He sighed. "Muggle Relations sent this one over to us. There's been a new drug on the Muggle club circuit . . . and they suspect it's a love potion in surprise."
Hermione cursed fluently, which would have surprised her roommates, but then many things about her would do that. "That's rape, and those poor girls don't even have a chance to fight back," she said, once she had finished.
"I know. So far, there's no evidence of it being sold to Muggles for their use so we're only looking for a wizard or a group of wizards."
"Lovely. That narrows it down to about half the population of the Wizarding world. Are there any striking aspects to the M.O.?"
"Not that I can tell from the file, but we probably should interview the witnesses ourselves. The only thing noticeable is that they hit all the trendiest clubs. It hasn't happened at any of the shadier ones, like you would think," Draco said. "So I'm guessing whoever it is knows the club circuit well."
Hermione frowned. "Maybe it is a Muggle-born, but it would have to be a very rich one high up in society to know all the in clubs. Most people read the gossip columns to know what's hot this week. I think it's just as likely that someone gets the club names from the paper. We should check to see when the clubs that have been hit have been mentioned in the local papers . . . maybe that could give us a clue."
"Split up the work?" Draco offered. "I'll do the research, you talk to the witnesses?"
"Deal." And with that, the two of them were gathering their things, both of them needing to solve this case before the criminal struck again.
Author's note: Yes, I know. A new WIP is the last thing I need. But this is what came to my mind once I learned what Hermione's middle name is. Anyway, I hope everyone liked it, and I'd appreciate it if you could let me know what you think by leaving a review. Thanks!