Disclaimer: Not mine.
A/N: So, I am hoping all of you out there in computer land are like 'YES!! ANOTHER HERMIONE AND DRACO STORY FROM SUNI-DLIGHT!' I hope you'll like this one just as you liked 'The Worse Job' and 'Working it Out'. You guys are fabulous and enjoy.
Hermione took a deep breath, staring at the front door of a very familiar house.
I can do this, I can do this..
She had gotten the owl, the address, and she had shown up. This was her job, what she was supposed to do. Taking one more deep breath, she pushed open the door, assuming the look of indifference and a feeling of distance.
Aurors roomed in and out of the rooms of the house, glancing in her direction apprehensively. She was, after all, Hermione Granger, not to be cocky or anything. People knew her by name, by sight. . . . She was, for lack of better word, popular.
She turned around to face Draco Malfoy. Over the past couple of years since school let out and Malfoy had left the Death Eaters, the two had grown to . . . tolerate one another, though they really had no choice.
"You two make a great team," everyone had always said. Even Harry had said it, though he hated to admit it. Ron, of course, was still in denial.
And Hermione admitted they worked well together. Her with her book smarts and intuitive nature and him with his sharp tongue and wit. So they became a team 'on the force' and it was actually working out.
"Malfoy," Hermione greeted.
"What are you doing here?" Malfoy asked, frowning.
"My job," Hermione said. "And I'm sure that's what you're here for too."
"I just – didn't think they would send you. First Potter, now you. Isn't this case a little too personal?"
"Where's the scene, Malfoy?"
Sighing, Malfoy turned, motioning for Hermione to follow him to the bedroom. "Boyfriend found her this way when he came home from Quidditch Practice. She was dressed in a white nightgown, lip gloss applied to the lips post-mortem, just like the others we've seen. Boyfriend says he tried to wake her but his fingerprints are the only ones we can find. He recognized the pattern and Apparate to the Ministry to call it in."
"Where's the boyfriend?" Hermione asked.
"In the kitchen with Potter, being questioned. . . . You ready for this Granger?"
They stood outside the bedroom door, the crime scene. Not giving herself a moment to think it over, Hermione nodded. Malfoy pushed open the door.
Luna Lovegood lay on the bed just as Malfoy had described. Her bright blue eyes stared out blankly at the ceiling and she lay still as the photographer moved around her. Her hands lay on her stomach with an apple placed between them, a piece cut out of it as if it had been bitten.
"What've we got, Seamus?" Hermione asked.
Seamus looked up from his place beside the bed, peeling his gloves from his hands. "A guy who knows his shit, is what we've got here. Once again, there's no bloody evidence except for the fact that it's the same poison. Window was open, everything set out exactly the same as the others. Damn it. Why'd it have to be Luna?"
Colin Creevey lowered his camera, shaking his head. "The Poison Apple killer strikes again. That's the seventh one in the last three months.. Merlin, this guy, is good."
"Brilliant is more like it," Hermione said, shaking her head in disgust. "What do you think the chances are that one day, this guy will slip up?"
"With any luck he might have slipped up today," Malfoy said.
Hermione shot him a glare, spinning on her heel and heading out of the room. "I'm going to see how Harry's getting around with the boyfriend."
Hermione sighed as Malfoy followed her out of the room. "I'm going to have to tell the chief to take you off this case," he said.
"What?" Hermione said, spinning around to face him. "Why?"
"Because you're too into your feelings, Granger," he said, angrily. "If he turns out to be the killer of this one, then that means he killed them all."
"He's got an alibi, Malfoy."
"He says he was at Quidditch Practice. And until we can get that confirmed, he's a suspect and you're just going to have to accept that."
"And you're going to have to accept that he's my friend and I have good reason to believe he's not guilty. This is my case too, Malfoy, like it or not. I want to stop this creep just as much as you do. I'm in this, Malfoy. Just – just give me a break alright."
Together, the two walked back down the stairs to the kitchen. Hermione swallowed because she could already hear his voice, pleading with Harry.
"I didn't do it, Harry! You know me! I loved her! Why would I kill Luna?
"You tell me," Malfoy said as they stepped into the kitchen.
"Hermione!" Ron said, jumping to his feet and rushing towards her. "Hermione, please, you've got to tell them that it wasn't me! I didn't kill Luna! You know I didn't!"
Hermione looked around to Malfoy and Harry. "Could you guys just give us a minute please?"
Harry nodded but Malfoy frowned, shaking his head. "Just exactly what are you going to –"
"Malfoy, I've been your partner for five years now, all right? Just trust me."
Malfoy grunted, leaving the room with Harry, who stopped in the doorway. "Call me if you need anything, all right?"
Hermione nodded and Harry left the room. Taking his hand, Hermione led Ron to the kitchen table and sat down. His eyes were tinged with red and were tired. Hermione placed a comforting hand over his.
"Hermione, I didn't do it," Ron said.
"Shh, shh, Ron, I know," Hermione said. "So I need you to explain to me what exactly happened, all right?"
"I – I left for Quidditch Practice after dinner with – with Luna like I always do on Saturdays. It was a really late practice because we have a game tomorrow so I didn't get home until going on three o' clock in the morning. The lights were off and everything so I figured Luna had just gone to sleep. I went back to the room and the first thing I realized was that the window was open and Luna hated going to bed with the window open. I flipped on the light and I saw the apple and the nightgown and – I tried not to move her, I just . . . I couldn't believe she was dead. . . . Is it the same? As the others?"
"Yes. So you understand why this is such a big deal, right?"
"They think I killed all those other girls too, don't they."
"Yes, but not for long, all right? But for right now, you're going to have to come with us and . . . and spend some time in Azkaban until we can talk to your coach and get your alibi to come through."
"You'll get me out of this, won't you, Hermione?"
". . . . I'm going to try. But I'm not going to lie to you Ron, this doesn't look good."
Ron sighed, standing to his feet. He looked determined now. "Yeah I know. But I trust you, Hermione. You're the best."