Disclaimer: J.K Rowling created the characters and situations which is published in Bloomsbury, Scholastic and others. No monetary profit is expected by the author and no copyright and trademark infringement is intended. However, any places, character and the plot belong to me.

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Chapter Two: Sitting On the Tip Of the Iceberg

Kingsley Shacklebolt's office, Ministry of Magic

May 25th, 2003, 2:00 pm

Five years after the death and defeat, of Lord Voldemort, Kingsley Shacklebolt had done very well for himself, as Head of the Magical Law Enforcement and of course, after the retirement of Madam Bones, who stated in her press release that she was ready to, "put her feet up and enjoy a life of quiet bliss and contentment without any signs of impending doom". So it was only natural, that Kingsley was now seated in his predecessor's office, in that same department, after his retirement from active duty.

The second war had taken its toll on the once-fit Auror, though no permanent wounds had been wrought on him. Tiny crow's feet could be seen leading away from his eyes and the frown lines around his mouth were more pronounced. It appeared to make him look grimmer than usual to his colleagues and subordinates.

It was that same grim look coupled with an intense look of concentration that dominated his face now as he studied the parchment in his hand. It was an autopsy report from St. Mungo's, regarding the death or murder of one of his long-time friend and fellow Auror, Peter Griffiths. His eye ran over the concluding paragraph of the report once again, "…death can be attested to belladonna, found in ample amounts in the victim and NOT to the earlier conclusion of mushroom poisoning."

He was the one who had suggested that his late friend's remains be re-examined for foul play. It was a risky gambit for his career but he had been sure of his hand as he was relying on his instincts and on his own knowledge of Peter's eating habits- he hated mushrooms.

The killer (or killers, as he silently amended in his mind) were careful and methodical. If he hadn't known Peter that well, he would have accepted the report at face value and so would have others. Peter was not very sociable around the department and had few friends. He was also unmarried and lived alone in his apartment. Kingsley placed the report back on his in-tray and looked at the small heap of files sitting on the middle of his desk. They were Files of other Ministry employees who had died during the last year or so, and who were, when alive, in relatively good health. Their deaths had been labeled with accidental or natural causes.

'And poor Peter would have certainly been added if not for the second re-examination', he thought.

After three hours of reading each file and committing the relevant information to memory, Kingsley finished with his eyes feeling sore and heavy-lidded. Rubbing his closed eye-lids, he leaned back on the chair and meditated on what he had learned and mentally reviewed their names and positions in the Ministry.

Augustin Lyorman… Unspeakable

Mandy Pritchard…Unspeakable

Dorreen Mirren…Unspeakable

Robbie Wilkes…Auror

Willard Fainkes…Mediwizard Specialist

Thomas Patterson…Auror

Daniel Falkner…Forensic Mediwizard

Peter Griffiths…Auror

All the victims were in high key positions in their own department and some had been involved in the Second War against Voldemort. Was this a purge of some sort? Kingsley didn't think so. These murders were cautiously and methodically planned. If it was a purge, then the murders would have a signature of terror, displayed prominently. He had a feeling that if he dug even deeper then he would find more victims.

Kingsley let out a long-suffering sigh and glared at the files before him. He couldn't have picked a worse time to have unearthed a conspiracy. After the war, recruitment rates had dipped steadily downwards and the department was becoming increasingly short-handed year by year. Coupled with the deaths of more experienced Aurors, that meant many recruits fresh out of training with no field experience, would have to learn on their own, the ways and procedures of the department. It also meant that any investigation team he organized would be filled with fresh recruits. That didn't mean that he would ignore the evidence before him, other people's lives could still be in danger, but he still hated the procedures that followed this job, he'd have to organize everything…Oh! He could just imagine the parchment that would pile up because of it.

At precisely six pm, Kingsley Shacklebolt called a department meeting. He announced to his bewildered subordinates that he was opening an investigation in to the deaths of Griffiths and other Ministry officials in six weeks. In that time, he reminded his employees, that new recruits would be joining the department and he and a few others would be reviewing their files and interviewing them.

The next day at eleven thirty am, at a seedy inn in Knockturn Alley, three men would meet in an inn room and discuss the unexpected and unfortunate turn of events.