Disclaimer: Not Mine.
Small Town Trouble
Chapter One: A New Assignment
Harry shut his office door and sat at his desk. The news of his latest assignment was still sinking in. After months of dreary busy work and what Harry was convinced were made up duties, being chosen for special errands or delicate matters, he was beginning to get fed up with the ministry.
The most exciting assignment he had in three months was his meeting with a diplomat of France. Not that it had anything to do with the diplomat himself. He was as dull as a deflated balloon. It was only because they had been attacked while he and Harry were leaving the restaurant. Two wizards apparated behind the duo and tried to kidnap the foreign leader. Harry managed to block their stunning spell before it hit the intended target, and then used expelliarmus on them. Even saving the diplomat was boring.
After that Harry wasn t given any more assignments that required him to leave the building. Any meetings he had were held inside the ministry. They were treating him like some precious trophy that was going to break. He was tempted, on more then one occasion, to run the bathrooms to check his reflection in the mirror, just to make sure he didn t have the words handle with care stamped on his forehead. He became an Auror to make a difference, to help people, not to be stuck writing reports and meeting with diplomats. It was ridiculous to treat him different, especially since he had more experience before he was eighteen then some Aurors had in ten years of field work.
He tried to complain, to argue, but he was sent away each time with some made up reason as to why he was more useful doing the work he had been doing lately or that he had a knack for it no one else had. He even asked Kingsley for help, but nothing could sway the stubborn minister.
Now that he had been replaced however, things were changing. The new minister was the one responsible for his recent assignment. Harry didn t get a chance to meet him, yet, but he decided he already liked him better then the old one, as soon as he received his orders through owl.
Now that reality had time to catch up with him, Harry found he couldn t contain his excitement. This was the first time in too long he got to leave his office for something other then lunch. He closed his date book and pushed it away, un-able to think about appointments any more. He shut his eyes and leaned back in his black leather swivel chair. It wasn t his style, but it had been a gift.
Ginny had bought it for him, saying he needed something to make his office more sophisticated. He hadn t really wanted it. In his opinion it was over the top and looked out of place, but he was never any good at saying no. He made no argument and she brought the chair to his office a day later. But that had been back when they were dating.
When they broke up he considered getting rid of it, but found he had grown to like it. It was extemely comfortable and was always cool on hot days.
And why should he have to get rid of it, because she decided to end their relationship? Harry frowned-- remembering. He thought they were doing fine, until one night he came home to an empty house. She had moved all of her things out and left a note explaining how he was never home, and how lonely she felt and she couldn t live like this any longer.
Harry had been shocked to say the least. He had no idea she was so un-happy with their life. He thought they were perfect; he was even planning to propose to her. Harry s first instinct was to rush out and find her, beg her to come back.
But as he was trying to think of a plan to win her back, he looked around their room searching for an answer to her unhappiness. Most of the things off the shelves were missing, the pillows on the bed, even the pictures on the walls.
She had taken her things, and her things were most of the room. Harry didn t need to look around the rest of the house to know that most of it would be empty too. He stood alone in his nearly entirely empty room and realized for the first time how much she overpowered him. It wasn t their place, it was her place with a few of Harry s things in it. Even though the original apartment had been his, she had taken over.
He realized that he didn t care as much as he had at first.
If she was having problems then she should have said something. She didn t need to give up on them, and if she thought it wasn t worth a simple talk then he wasn t going to try and save their relationship. He crawled into bed, deciding to sleep on it. And in the morning he got a hold of her and they broke up officially.
Harry shook his head trying to get rid of his thoughts. He didn t want to ruin his happy moment. As he propped his feet on the desk, a move he saved for special occasions, he allowed him self to think about this mission. He was assigned to stay in a small muggle town, undercover as a muggle of course, for an entire month.
Harry s job was to monitor for suspicious behavior, which meant getting to know the neighbors and the people of the town. There had been three muggle deaths in three months and the ministry suspected some kind of ritual sacrifice.
The killings all happened on the same time every month and each time a young girl was taken. The reason it got the attention of the wizarding community was because the last one had been a witch, named Emily Treshhold. The only witch in town, but still important enough to require an investigation. That, along with the nature of the attacks caused every one to believe something supernatural was behind it.
The ministry had sent their people to investigate before this, but they too have also gone missing. They were sure that who ever is responsible for these disappearances and deaths knew how to stop a wizard. They didn t want to lose any more Aurors. It was time to get to the bottom of this and Harry was their best bet, at least according to the new Minister he was.
Harry, along with having to blend in, also had to quell any suspicions that might lead to the involvement of the magical world or any other authority figures. There was no concern over some one recognizing him. The minister was convinced who-ever was behind the disappearances had no connection s in town. Most likely he stayed hidden until he grabbed the girls. But the people of the town might have noticed odd occurrences that could be helpful to the case. There was even one witness. Harry s plan was to get information with out making it any more traumatic for her.
He knew every one would be curios about the new guy in town. He would have to be careful not to let any one find out he was a wizard. It shouldn t be too hard, he lived like a muggle for most of the first half of his life.
His main objective was to figure out who was behind the disappearances and report back as soon as he did. He was specifically told not to go after the culprit with out back up.
Even though it was possibly a dangerous assignment, Harry was looking forward to it. He saw it as a vacation, with the added bonus of doing field work again. His chance to get away for a month. He was almost giddy thinking how he was going to be living in a place were no body knew his face.
Where he wouldn t get mobbed trying to walk down the street. He couldn t wait to do something as simple as walk into a store and not have people stare and whisper behind his back. He loved his friends and the magical world, but it was too much for him sometimes. Especially after he defeated Voledmort. These people wouldn t even know who he was. Harry smiled to himself.
Harry sat in his private compartment looking over the files on last time. Almost all the information, or lack there of, he already had committed to memory. The brunette was just feeling restless at finally having an assignment. He wanted to make sure everything went smoothly.
He sighed, looking away from the papers to watch London disappear in the distance. He was finally on a mission, finally had some time to himself and was eager to get started. He relaxed as he leaned back in his seat. He spelled the papers small enough to fit into his pocket.
His mind wandered, as he watched the landscape zoom past him. He imagined what his life was going to be like for the next few weeks. Soon Harry s excitement depleted and his good feeling slowly morphed into a sleepy one. He stretched and let out a big yawn, resting his head against the cool glass of the window.
And that was how Draco Malfoy found him a few minutes later.
Harry woke with a start, jumping up from his seat and pulling out his wand. His heart was pumping wildly in his chest as his lungs worked hard to take in deep breaths of air. After remembering where he was, alone on a train, he slowly relaxed and put his wand away. He was more wound up then he thought. Just as he was taking his seat, he heard a chuckle.
That how you always wake up, Potter? I do feel sorry for your partner.
Harry closed his eyes hoping he was still asleep and having some sort of nightmare. A horrible, horrible nightmare. He took a breath before opening his lids and turning to find Malfoy sitting on the bench opposite of him. The blonde smiled and raised his eye brows. Harry clenched his fists, his anger at the Slytherin s flippant attitude already coming to the surface, and opened his mouth to question the man.
What are you doing here? The blonde s smile disappeared and he frowned.
I was reading, before you decided to interrupt me and attack the invisible man. He answered holding a book up, that Harry hadn t noticed before. The Gryffindor stared at Malfoy liked he d grown another head.
I meant what are you doing here, on this train, in my cabin.
Harry could feel his blood start to boil. The adrenaline from his abrupt wake up was making him edgy. He was tense and more nervous then he expected at being on a mission again and the blonde s presence was really damaging his calm. That hadn t happened in years, not since he was a kid. In fact the last time he let his temper get out of control this fast, was the last time he saw Malfoy.
The un-grateful little brat didn t even say thank-you when Harry returned his wand. He just made a snide remark, Harry couldn t remember at the moment, but back then it had caused Harry to blow up on the boy. Looking back on it now, he could admit it wasn t all Malfoy s fault. Harry let out all the frustration and anger he had been holding in since the end of the war on Malfoy s face. And as he was punching the other boy in the nose, after the blonde kicked him in the knee, Harry got the feeling Malfoy might have been doing the same.
It only ended when Ron pulled him off the bloody and bruised Slytherin and dragged him away. Harry came to his senses once the blonde was out of his sight. He felt slightly guilty, but also surprisingly better. Fighting with Draco had allowed him to work off a lot of tension. He hadn t seen the blonde since then.
Harry looked the other man over. He seemed harmless enough. Taking a breath to calm himself down, Harry was determined not to behave like he had when they were children. He took his seat again.
I m sorry, Potter. I didn t see your name on it. Although, I m not surprised at your selfishness. You must be so used to getting everything you want.
The comment held all the snark expected from the Slytherin, but the trademark smirk was missing from his face. Instead a deep scowl marred his features. As if he just learned some disturbing news he d rather not have heard. Harry gritted his teeth as he tried to ignore the blonde s remark. Looks like he hadn t changed one bit. He turned his head towards the window, wearing a small frown of his own. Maybe if he pretended the blonde wasn t there, he would disappear.
Malfoy was regarding him wearily, un-sure of the sudden change in the Gryffindor. Harry watched as he made up his mind to not care and slipped his cool mask on once more.
Alright, Potter. Have it your way... Harry kept his eyes on the blonde as he shruged and picked up his book, presumably beginning to read where he left off. Harry s frowned deepened. He settled back into his chair, attempting to ignore the other man s presence. But after sneaking a few sideways glances at him and listening to a couple of soft sigh s from the blonde, Harry couldn t take it any more.
What s your deal, Malfoy? Harry said, getting from his seat and standing in front of the man. Harry looked down at the surprised blonde. He once more shut his book and set it aside.
However, before he uttered the first syllable, he was interrupted by a sudden jolt in the train, causing Malfoy to end up with an arm full of Harry. But it was only for a second, because in the next moment they were sent hurling into the wall, as the train came to it s final halt. Everything was eerily silent for a moment, then someone down the hall yelled. The lights above their heads flickered once, then died. Neither man moved for a moment, each trying to get their bearings. It was only Malfoy s heavy breathing Harry s ear, that caused the brunette to come to his sense.
He pushed Malfoy off him, and straightened his glasses. Thankfully they weren t broken. But they did little good, as the train was pitch black. The crash had caused the curtain on the window to collapse, shutting out the sunlight. Harry s first thought was Dementors, but he didn t feel the sudden chill that came with their demonic presence.
He got his wand out just in case.
Potter. Came Draco s voice from some where in the dark.
Yeah. He said wondering if he should try the window. He decided to wait when Malfoy spoke again.
I think there s something on the train. Harry didn t question how Draco could possibly know something like that. After all, their sudden cease of movement could be explained by a mechanical malfunction. There was nothing magical about this train except for them. They had no reason to be suspicious. Yet, they both were. Harry s fears only became solidified by Malfoy s statement.
Years of training taught him to trust his instincts and his partners. And while Malfoy was not even close to any of the partners he s worked with in the past, Harry did have to give the other man some credit. Besides his own intuition was screaming at him. He slowly moved next Malfoy as the he opened the door.
Someone very solid ran at Harry with the force of a semi-truck and he fell back into the blackened-out cabin. He heard Malfoy s grunt as something knocked him backwards as well. The blonde and the man that tackled him landed next to Harry and Malfoy followed suit as Harry stunned his assailant. Once both men were unconscious, Malfoy stood up and went to the door once more, this time with more caution.
I think it s clear. Come on, He said and disappeared into the shadowy hall. Harry stumbled after him, clumsily tripping over the body of one of their attackers. He managed to reach the long hall, feeling his way to what he thought was the exit. He wandered down the eery path, trying to find Malfoy. He found nothing. But that didn t feel right. Harry was certain this train had been full of people and that all of them couldn t have gotten off already. He was about to open a nearby door, to check for others, when a hand grabbed his shoulder.
This way. I found a way out. Malfoy s voice was in his ear and his hand was tugging him the opposite direction he had been going. Harry resisted.
Wait. There are people still on board. We need to help them.
They re fine. Just a bunch of muggles. What ever hit the train must have froze them. He said pulling at Harry once more.
Potter. Obviously what-ever caused this doesn t care about them. They weren t the ones attacked. We need to leave, now. He said, using more force and finally moving the stubborn Gryffindor.
Harry reluctantly followed Malfoy to the exit. They ran from the train and into the nearby trees. There were no signs of who ever stopped the train, but they didn t wait around to see if they would be stopping by. Harry needed time to recuperate and to think. As their run became a jog and then finally a brisk walk, the pair fell into silence. Harry s mind was too busy racing to notice. He felt uncomfortable leaving all those people behind, but he had to admit Malfoy was right. He hoped they would be fine. Harry desperately needed to contact the minister and inform him of what just happened. But he looked around realizing it might be more difficult then he thought.
He was starting to get restless even though they were still moving. Harry felt the time slip away from him. Time he could use to track down who-ever attacked them or time to figure out what to do next. Maybe he should have stayed behind and questioned the two un-conscious people in his cabin. It had been a while since he d had to deal with a suspect, but he was sure he could remember how.
It took him ten full seconds to realize Malfoy was no longer beside him. Harry stopped and looked over his shoulder. The blonde was beckoning him to follow. Harry sighed and shrugged before taking off after the man. His quest lead him over some railroad tracks, across a street and in front of a small diner. Harry went straight for the phone. He wasn t sure if he should use magic yet and was glad he had a muggle number in case of emergencies. He watched Malfoy follow a sign pointing around to the back of the building. He needed to use the loo.
Harry shut the door and picked up the phone. When it came time to dial the number he found himself doubting his decision. While he did appreciate the man letting him out of the office, he for some reason he didn t trust the new minister. He couldn t bring himself to call the man. Instead he punched in the number of Kingsley. Ever since the war Kingsley had always shown complete loyalty to him.
Harry, is this you? Harry strained to hear. The voice on the other end was almost too quiet to make out, but he was sure it was Kingsley.
No wait! Don t answer that. We don t have much time. Harry tried the volume button on the phone. No change. He pressed the phone closer to his ear.
There s a leak. Your cover s been blown. Forget the mission. Stay where you are. Try to blend in. I ll reach you when it s safe...... Keep Malfoy with you. This is very important, do not use any magic. Your in great danger. Stay where you are, it s best I don t know where it is. You can t come back, yet. The phone clicked ending the one sided conversation.
Harry stared down at the black receiver in his hand. This was almost too much to process. He was close to being over whelmed by all that happened in just the past two hours. But Harry let his Auror instincts kick in. He had a new mission. He left the compact booth and went to search for Malfoy. He was slightly surprised how they could know about Malfoy, but he shrugged it off. Instead he focus on how he was going to break the news to the blonde.
Harry entered the restroom, just as another man was exiting. They exchanged apologizes and Harry smiled at him. The man blushed and walked into a trash can. But Harry was already scanning the room for Malfoy. Harry informed the blonde of their situation. More predictable then an old geyser, a pout graced Malfoy s features and he huffed.
What do you think we should do? Harry asked hesitantly.
What do you mean, We? This is your problem Potter.
Well, like it or not, your in this as deep as I am now. And like I told you, Kingsley said they know about you. Which means they ll be after you too. It s best if we just stick together and lay low for a bit. Maybe we can.... He sighed. I don t know, camp in the forest or something.
I m not sleeping in the dirt, Potter! Malfoy cried indignantly.
Well, what do you suggest we do? He snapped back. His patients growing short.
In case you ve forgotten, we do have these helpful things called wands.
Do you listen at all when I talk? Harry said, rolling his eyes.
I drift in and out. After a while it all starts to sound the same. Malfoy said, looking slightly frustrated.
We can t use magic. It s not safe.
Then what is your plan, oh great one. Because I m not sleeping on some dirty forest floor until Merlin knows when.
He stormed out of the restroom.
Lucky for him, the answer to his question was waiting just outside. Malfoy stopped short, not wanting to have to deal with any more annoying people today. There was a pair of muggle twits right in front of him.
Denice was an elegant middle aged woman, aging quite well. Her eyes were deep, full of life, and the color of dark chocolate. There were small wrinkles around them, but nothing compared to the crows feet other woman her age had. Her eyes lied, making you think they belonged to a young teen on the verge life, instead of a woman half-way done with hers. She was average height and her shoulder length brown hair bobbed back and forth as she walked along side her husband of fifteen years, Bob.
Bob looked as well aged as his wife, but his big secret was being born a few good years after her. He had a full head of chest nut colored hair and sparkling blue eyes. He was taller then Denice, but just as fit. He smiled, patiently, as his wife talked excitedly about something.
Malfoy watched the couple and from his spot. Staying hidden behind his corner. They had stopped walking while Bob tied their dog, Trixie, to a post.
When do they get here? Bob asked as he looped the leash around the pole and slipped it through the other end. His voice was deep and soothing.
Not for another month, but I wanted to get everything ready now. Malfoy was surprised to hear an American accent. He watched as Bob stood up and pecked his wife s lips. He slid and arm around her shoulder and pulled her into a tight, half hug.
You worry too much. Relax. She leaned into him before pulling away.
I know. It s just the contractor s still have to finish the bedroom and my boss is not doing anything about it. Even though he insisted he deal with the room. I want everything to be prepared and done with as soon as possible.
Malfoy found himself sympathizing with the woman. While she was complaining, she wasn t being whiny. She just sounded annoyed at the incompetence of the people around her. Malfoy could relate.
Did I tell you they are asking for twice as much now. And Jack and Alex want a new carpet put in. Those two are so sweet. Jack promised not to bother me again. I told him they were no bother at all. I love getting their e-mails. Suddenly she got more excited. All the while Bob watched her with loving eyes. Her passion was part of the reason he fell in love with her.
Did I show you the carpet. Oh, it s gorgeous. The most beautiful blue. Much better then that drab brown that s in there now. They only saw pictures, but they knew right away it was no good. She paused to take a breath.
Jack has a really great eye. It s a shame we can t talk more, because, he s so funny. There about to start their trip any way. But I nearly fell over laughing the other day when he told me this story of how he and his partner... I told you he and Alex ran a business together right? He nodded, before cutting her off.
Denice. I love you with all my heart, but I haven t eaten since breakfast.
She smiled sheepishly and apologized.
It s alright, I m used to it by now. He teased her.
Prat. she shot back.
There was more to their friendly banter, but Malfoy couldn t hear it as they disappeared around another corner and out of his sight. Malfoy turned sharply and came nose to nose with Harry.
He jumped back and scowled at the man.
How long have you been there? Harry shrugged. Malfoy rolled his eyes and started walking.
Where are you going? Harry said when he caught up with him.
You can be really dense sometimes, you know that, Potter?
At Harry s confused look he continued.
We re you listening at all?
Harry frowned in concentration, trying to figure out what changed since there fight in the bathroom. He had chased Malfoy out, only to find the other man concealing himself with the building, while he watched two muggles talk. Curious Harry had moved to see what they were discussing, but he didn t understand what it had to do with them.
You mean the house? He asked, still not sure where Malfoy was headed.
Merlin, I should get an award for putting up with you. Malfoy stated.
Will you just tell me, Malfoy. Harry growled, getting frustrated. Malfoy stopped to face the brunette man.
Yes, Potter. The house. The big empty house. He stressed the word empty.
We pose as these business men, Alex and Jack, and we have a place to stay.
What? We can t..... Harry started, but Malfoy was already walking away. Harry caught up to him and pulled on his arm with a little more force then he meant to. The blonde gritted his teeth but didn t make a sound. Harry smiled as he waited for some passerby s to walk around them before he spoke.
Wait, just think about this for a minute. He pleaded.
What s there to think about. The house is empty. We have no money, no food, no ids, or magic. It sounds like these muggles don t know what Jack and Alex look like. I guess they only ever talked via computer maybe the occasional phone call, so they won t be able to tell we re not them. It s getting late and I m tired. So unless you have a better idea.... Malfoy waited for Harry to talk.
But...wait, you know what a computer is? Harry said, getting distracted at the idea of Malfoy knowing something about muggle life. Malfoy rolled his eyes and walked past Bob and Denice s dog and around the final corner. Harry rounded it, just as Malfoy went through the diner doors.
Harry had no choice but the follow the stubborn blonde. He shot past the smiling hostess, around the muggle trying to catch her kid and straight to Malfoy. He was standing by an empty table and scanning the room.
Come on, they re over here. He walked towards the couple, expecting Harry to follow. The Gryffindor shrugged. He d come this far, he might as well see what the Slytherin had planned. As much as he hated to admit it, Malfoy was probably right again. Besides, a few people were starting to stare at him. He frowned. This was not how his mission was supposed to go. He didn t even know where he was. Grudgingly, he walked up to stand next to Malfoy, just as the other man opened his mouth.
Excuse me? Harry s jaw dropped at the sweet, almost shy tone of his voice. The couple looked up expectantly. Malfoy smiled candidly at them. Harry gaped.
Are you Denice? He asked the woman he already knew was. She nodded, returning his smile. Harry marveled at Malfoy s acting skills. The blonde let out a small sigh and a look of relief washed over his face.
Oh, good. We ve been looking for you all over town. He let out a convincing, exasperated sigh.
You see we ve lost all our luggage. Which had all our money, ids, phone s and even your number. I know we re a bit early, but we had an emergency. We honestly have no where else to go. It seems we just have one mishap after another.
I m sorry. Who are you? Denice asked politely as she could. Malfoy ducked his head, feigning embarrassment.
Forgive me. I m Jack and this is Alex. He said gesturing to Harry.
Denice and Bob shared a look. Harry gulped, ready to bolt.
You re Alex and Jack? She said slowly, giving Malfoy a chance to hear the question clearly.
He nodded, confidently. Inside, he was slightly nervous. Something was off here. The couple at the table shared another look. The patron s of the diner, who had been pretending to eat, but were really listening, stopped pretending and stared openly at Harry. He squirmed under the attention.
The newlyweds? Denice asked.
Harry s blood ran cold and he felt like he was hit with a sack of bricks. He didn t think he d ever been more embarrassed. His checks flushed bright red. Of course. Now that he thought about it, it didn t make sense that business partners would share a house. He was ready to apologize for coming to their peaceful town and lying to them, before running out and never coming back. But the hand that slipped into his prevented him from moving. Harry stared at Malfoy, dumbfounded as he turned back to the couple at the table.
Yes, that s us.
An: Love it, hate it? Tell me what you think. Please. I should update next week.