The war was over.
Everyone had learned to go on with their lives in the best way they knew how. Jobs were taken and education resumed, flooding the offices and schools with eager patrons of reconstruction. Most of the known Death Eaters were behind new and improved Azkaban walls, the suspected ones couldn't catch a wink of sleep at night. The sons and daughters of enemies were being braided together by a relieved society, hoping forced integration would erase the stigma that caused the war in the first place.
Although she wouldn't tell anyone, not even Harry, Hermione Granger doubted this tactic would work any better. Sooner or later a war would break out, most likely worse than the last because everyone could see where each side went wrong. She had learned enough about the ways of humans at the Office to see that.
Twenty-three and successful, Hermione worked under an alias as a journalist at the Daily Prophet, her first order of business being her systematic uprooting of one Rita Skeeter. The editor didn't feel too bad about letting the hag go, mostly for the fact that Hermione brought with her unlimited access to Harry Potter and the entire Order of the Phoenix. The cherry on top being her in-depth investigations into the most shady parts of the conflict and its participants. The vultures in the media couldn't wait for her articles about the war, especially since each revealed a little more about the true nature of the rift and the reason good conquered evil.
Her quill couldn't write fast enough to slake the slavering masses' hunger. There was some pride in the thought that she had so many people desiring her work.
"Ah, the dynamo. Granger, come in." her boss, Benson Coulder, waved her into his office, setting his cup of coffee on his desk as memos flew about his head. "I hear you've a special report on Mister Potter, is that true?" His eyes were sharp like a hawk's and set back beneath his bushy grey eyebrows, giving him a stern look despite his grin.
"Harry agreed to let me cover his wedding to Ginny come next month, I'll be able to take pictures and spread the good cheer." She hoped Ron wouldn't drink all the Firewhisky and get wasted like at Harry's last birthday. She'd have to make sure Peter, her cameraman, didn't take any unflattering shots.
"Cheer? The war's nearly six years in the dirt, Granger, no one cares anymore. Your appeal was your access to war criminals, heroes and details, not smiling couples and happy endings. I want something new, fresh," Benson stood and corralled his memos into a manageable pile. "Something dark."
'But sir, I thought you wanted to follow Harry and the rebuilding of London?" She had five reports waiting for the presses that she'd spent months on, she couldn't fathom letting all that gather dust.
"I do, but the public is growing weary of the same old coverage. It's always updates on court proceedings and 'A Look Back'. We can't keep shovelling shit hoping to find a nugget of gold." Benson sighed and ran a thick hand through his thinning hair. He looked tired and desperate. "There's a new band in town."
Hermione heard the mission before it even crossed his lips and she shook her head. "I'm not covering some druggie band again. It took four months of sitting in on trials and trips to Azkaban to earn my credibility back. White Teeth was a false lead and an even falser story."
"We all remember, Granger. But this is genuine. Firstborn Sons is selling out wherever they go and they've got a hunk for a lead vocalist who writes all the lyrics to their songs."
"How is this fresh? Why would people care about a stupid band?"
"Because the lead singer always performs shirtless."
Rolling her eyes and standing, Hermione was prepared to stomp out. "This is rubbish. Why would that be news?"
"Because he's got a Dark Mark on his left forearm, and his lyrics describe the Death Eaters and the Dark Lord...from the inside."
Hermione stood stock still for a moment to process, then bit her lip. "What's the name of the band?"
"Firstborn Sons." Benson replied, smiling.
"How do we know the Mark isn't forged?" she asked, trying to think of every angle.
"You'll have to find that out on your own. They're playing at the Indigo Palace tonight."
"White Teeth played there...I don't like the smell of this, Ben." she muttered, frowning.
"Every band that wants to follow in Weird Sisters' footsteps plays there. Even Celestia has done a show or two."
"It just feels too convenient." Hermione sighed. "Why would a Death Eater with the Mark in full view sing revealing songs about the man some still think is coming back from the dead?"
"That's why I'm assigning you. No one in this office could break a story like this. You've got to get in there and weed out the lies from the truth. I want a front page shocker for the books by the end of the month. I'm counting on you, Granger."
A/N: Thanks for reading, please review, I'd like to know what you think of this. Tickle2Kill