Disclaimer: I own nothing and am making no money on this. This work does not have a beta at this point, so any mistakes are my own.
Acknowledgements: The user 'Aiur' sent me a PM about a year ago as I was finishing up Letters inquiring abuot the possibility of a 'Law and Order' esque story featuring Harry and Daphne. The isn't quite that, but it was from that idea that this came forth.
The Dark In Peace
She danced. She loved dancing. It made her forget about how much of an ass he was being. Had he always been an ass? Or had she just not noticed in school? He ignored her now. Had he always ignored her? She didn't think so. She remembered how he used to smile at her when she hung onto his arm. She liked that memory.
Not as much as she liked dancing though. That was her escape now. He hated that she went to these clubs to dance. He thought it was demeaning. He was wrong. It wasn't demeaning. It was empowering. Almost as empowering as the needles. Those made her feel spectacular. Better than he had ever made her feel.
But what did his opinion matter? He didn't even want her anymore. She'd given everything to him. And he'd taken it. All of it. And always wanted more. And then, when she had nothing else to give. He was done with her.
But others still wanted her. Plenty of people still wanted her. And she could make them want her by dancing. And she loved to dance. That ball should have been so much more fun. But he wasn't a good dancer. At least with non-formal dancing. She hadn't cared then. He hadn't started taking things yet. He'd been sweet, then.
Someone was dancing with her. He was strong. And tall. And handsome. And familiar. She shouldn't have taken the needles. Or the alcohol. She knew him. And she knew him well. But she couldn't remember him. She didn't care. He was a good dancer. His hands were all over her. He wanted her. And she liked that.
It wasn't even a question when he asked to go outside with her. She wanted him and he wanted her. It seemed so easy. So without qualm. She kissed him. He laughed quietly and pressed her against the wall. She liked when they took charge. She liked it so much she wasn't even sure when his hands wrapped around her neck.
Monday, September 16, 2002.
It was raining. It always seemed to be raining when Harry Potter had to be in the field on a Monday morning. He paused for just a moment under an overhang just outside of the Underground. Harry took the last sip of his coffee and tossed the Styrofoam cup into the nearby metal garbage can. His partner was supposed to meet him, but she was nowhere to be seen.
That didn't bother him, though. He'd always been better in the mornings than she was. And there was no telling just what she'd been doing when the floo roared at four fifteen in the morning. And frankly he didn't really want to know. She'd been annoyed at his calling her so early. But he'd been told to get to the park and see if they could take care of the investigation. He wasn't sure who gave the tip, and he couldn't tell her any more than that. He'd left as soon as he'd closed the floo. He saw the Muggle police gathered in the nearby park and figured she'd be able to figure it out when she arrived. He flipped up the collar of his long black coat and stepped into the rain.
He didn't bother waiting at the crosswalk, as there wasn't a pair of headlights in sight, and it wasn't like he'd get arrested. He slipped a hand into his coat pocket as he stepped into the edge of the small park.
It wasn't an overly large park. Just a few trees that were changing color with the seasons and a couple of benches. There was a path straight through it, with a couple of diverging walks as well. It was probably fairly crowded during the day. One of the Muggle police officers approached him as he was surveying the park.
"Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave," the officer said. Harry noticed he was cordoning off the crime scene. He'd probably gotten there much quicker than anyone had expected, but that was the benefit of Apparation.
"I was assigned here," Harry said. He pulled out his badge and ID and handed it to the patrolman as he ducked under the caution tape. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement badge was charmed so Muggles would see him as an Inspector for a nearby station. Squibs and Magicals saw his standard DMLE rank and credentials. Harry gazed around the few cops there while the footman reviewed his Identification. He recognized one of the other first responders there as a Squib. Harry couldn't recall his name, but the Ministry paid him to help make sure other cops weren't too suspicious of his presence at a case like this.
"I see, well, welcome, Inspector Potter," the officer said as he handed back his badge. Harry pocketed it and nodded to the cop.
"I wish we met under better circumstances," Harry said quietly. "My partner's lagging a bit behind, but she should be here shortly.
"Shitty wake-up call, hey?" the cop asked. He was trying to be friendly, but it was four thirty in the morning and Harry wasn't particularly in the mood.
"About as shitty of an end to a patrol," Harry said. "That the body over there?" He gestured to the small tent-shaped tarp by the three other officers at the scene. It was a stupid question, he knew, but it changed the topic easily enough.
"Yea. We didn't want it to get wet," the officer said dumbly. Harry looked at him. The cop couldn't have been much older than him. And he supposed a stupid question probably gets a stupid answer. And, he was infinitely more experienced than people his age. He walked over toward the body, knowing full well the patrolman followed him.
"Who found it?" he asked.
"I did, sir," another young patroller said. Harry nodded at him.
"When?" Harry asked. The shift into cop mode had always been easy. He flipped out a small notebook and a pencil and started to take notes on what the officer said, doing his best to not let the paper get wet. A stay-dry spell would have been nice, but he couldn't very well whip out his wand here.
"Around quarter to four, sir," the officer admitted. Harry was fairly surprised. The ball was rolling on this one much quicker than usual. Typically, on a public crime scene like this, they'd let the Muggle police fill out their report and then take it if they had need of it. Being here this early was unusual.
"Found it as is?" he asked.
"Yes sir, she was just laying here. I mean, not too far off the path. My patrol cuts through the park. I come in from the north and then head off down that lane. There were some neighborhood complaints a couple months back. Nothing ever came of them but it was easy to alter the patrol. I noticed her body a few feet off the path. It was pretty clear she was dead. I went and called in backup and came back to set up the tent. I'm rather amazed you made it here so quickly," the cop explained. Harry gazed down the cop's route. He could figure out the patrol easy enough just from the basic directions.
"I was in the area," he lied. "When's forensics due?" Harry knew it was best to not let the cops think too much about some of the basic, weak statements he'd give.
"Should be here any minute, really," the third cop, the squib, said. Harry nodded to him, wishing he could remember the man's name.
"Any cause of death imminent. Or any clue when the body was put here?" Harry asked. He knew it wouldn't lead to any helpful answers, but going in with more information was helpful.
"There's a couple of possibilities on the cause of death. As for the rest of it, I'm not sure. I'm certainly no pathologist," the cop who'd found the body spoke. Harry nodded at him. He wasn't either. His partner was thinking about moving into that field, but it hadn't interested him.
"Well, I'm going to take a peek. Make sure no one unauthorized comes into the area. And see if you can see anything else," he ducked under the makeshift tent while the other two cops fanned out around the crime scene.
He felt his eyebrows arch as he recognized the body immediately. The squib joined him, squatting under the flap to take a look as well. Harry attempted to stay as passive as possible as he gave a preliminary examination, jotting down what notes he could.
The victim was female, he'd write aged 18-25, but he knew she was the same age as him. Hair color: brown. Height: approximately 5'5". Weight approximately 100 pounds, but it could have been less. She looked far skinnier than he remembered, but the school uniform certainly was bulky. She was clothed in a short, pale, silver dress that had accumulated dirt quite effectively. The bottom was slit clean up the waist to around her navel. She wore no underwear. She wore no shoes. Her face and arms were bruised. Dried blood caked to her skin in a few spots, but Harry couldn't see any open wounds. His gut told him it was her blood, but they wouldn't know until the autopsy had been performed.
One earring was missing and there were bits of gold chain littering the ground around her neck. A broken necklace. Harry jotted down the note. A cursory glance and he suspected the entire necklace was in present, but had likely been ripped off her neck. He saw a faint marking that confirmed the suspicion. She also wore a bracelet that appeared to be whole. He noticed faint pink marks on her arm as well. But they didn't look particularly fresh, and there didn't appear to be any sort of pattern to them. There were also bruises around her neck.
But the eyes were always the most striking feature. No matter how many times he gazed into the cold, apathetic stare of death it always shook him. It had been a few years since he'd had to see it on the face of someone he knew.
He could also feel the leftover magic in her body. Every relatively fresh magical corpse had the same feel. It faded, slowly, after death. Usually within a day, but depending on the skill of the witch or wizard it could be longer. The victim's felt rather excessive, which could indicate spells used on her person before death. It was a stretch, but he made a note of it anyway.
"So, since you're here, I assume this isn't a typical rape and murder?" the squib cop asked. Harry paused for a moment, focusing on what he knew about the man. He knew his name started with a G. He took a shot in the dark.
"No idea, Gary," he said. The Squib just nodded so he assumed he guessed right. Which was good, as he prided himself on his memory. It was handy in his profession. "She didn't have a bag or anything on her?"
"Not that we've found," Gary admitted. "I'd have looked through that for a wand and identification immediately. But I assume you know her? She's about your age."
"She was in my year at school," Harry said. "I didn't know her very well." Gary was twenty years his senior, but Harry remembered he was a good judge of age, amongst other things. The squib was really just a good overall cop. Harry admired his work.
"Yea, so, why are you here?" Gary asked again. Harry just shook his head.
"I have no idea. I'd tell you if I did," Harry lied. He probably wouldn't tell Gary much had he known anything. Just enough to state his interest. "I was called just a few minutes before I got here. I wasn't given any information past the location."
"Is that normal?" Gary asked.
"No." Harry shook his head. "It's highly unusual. There wouldn't have been any way of knowing the victim was, well, you know, before identification anyway. We'll see what comes of it, I guess." He gave the body one more look before sliding the cover back over his head and rising up to his feet. He was just in time to see Hannah Abbott slide under the caution tape.
"You can't be here ma'am," the first officer said. Hannah was going for his badge but Harry shook her off.
"That's my partner, Inspector Abbott," Harry said. The cop nodded.
"What do we have, Harry?" Hannah said, yawning a bit. Her blonde hair was a mess. She didn't look like she'd had the benefit of apparating into a subway coffee shop before coming to the park. He just handed her his notes.
"Take a look, I'm going to look around the scene," he said. She nodded and slipped under the tent. He paced around the crime scene, examining the ground and nearby trees for anything that could be considered a clue. He knew he'd be more likely to find something if the killer was a Muggle. Magical murders were very challenging to solve by just having the body. After all, it was fairly easy to simply Portkey it, or apparate with it, to a drop point and leave. Typically they'd perform some spells on the body and gather what evidence they could. As Dumbledore had told him years ago, magic always leaves a trace. And one of the first things he'd been taught as an Auror was how to sense that trace.
"Pansy Parkinson?" Hannah asked as she emerged from the tent. She tossed his small notebook to him. He caught it rather easily, with the grace of a former seeker, and slid the pencil out of the steel rings. He made a note about how he found nothing significant on his look over the crime scene.
"Indeed," Harry said. Hannah walked over by him and spoke more quietly.
"Well we know why we were called," she said. "No wand?"
"None. Gary, the older policeman, is a squib. He looked for one, along with identification. Couldn't find anything. But we can't be here because of who it is. They wouldn't have known. I got the call about fifteen, twenty minutes after they'd found the body."
"True," Hannah said. "I'm so not staying till five if they call me at four in the morning," Hannah said. Harry laughed a little bit, she would be thinking about what time to get off at that point.
"I doubt I will either. I'm not sure if we should Obliviate them and take the body to an examiner or let their forensics team give it the look over," Harry said. Magical forensics usually focused a bit more on magic and magical wounds. In certain cases that wasn't enough.
"What did they say when they floo'd you?"
"Just to observe and file a report and to hurry there," Harry said. "I didn't think much of it at the time. Mostly because I was pretty much asleep at the time."
"Well, we can file a report, and we're observing," Hannah said. "I say let their forensics team do the preliminaries. If their report doesn't end up being satisfactory we can always step in and get the body over to one of ours."
"Sounds smart," he said. Hannah nodded.
"And I don't feel like performing a bunch of memory charms on an empty stomach," she added. Harry nodded, he didn't either. For all he knew they'd all have a permanent craving for pancakes when he was done.
"Also sounds smart," he yawned. She hit him. Hannah hated whenever he yawned as it always just made her yawn as well, which she did a few moments later.
"Do we wait, then?" she asked, as she finished yawning.
"No. Their report won't be done completely until after their autopsy. And the DMLE won't be open for a few hours yet. I say coffee and breakfast and we'll brainstorm," Harry said. Hannah groaned a bit.
"I say sleep, but coffee and breakfast works," she responded as they took their leave from the Muggle police officers.
They walked back toward the Underground and once they were out of sight they apparated to the Leaky Cauldron. The place was empty except for Tom. They grabbed a table in the corner and Tom brought over some coffee. Harry sipped his and coffee and ordered some eggs and pancakes. Harry was rather famished. Hannah leaned against the wall and sipped her coffee as well, closing her clear blue eyes for a moment before she ordered an eggs Benedict.
"I always liked the Leaky Cauldron," she said simply, opening her eyes and looking around.
"Me too," Harry laughed quietly. "First place I saw of the Magical world."
"Really?" she raised an eyebrow. Harry wasn't known for speaking much about his pre-Hogwarts life, even with his partner.
"Really. On my eleventh birthday. Hagrid brought me in here. Half the people in here came up to introduce themselves. I had no idea what was going on. I've never felt more uncomfortable in my life," He admitted. Hannah laughed softly and sipped her coffee.
"I bet. And at eleven you hadn't mastered that Auror stare you give people that come up to you in the field yet," she said. Harry nodded.
"Best part of the job," he laughed. "At least most people are smart enough to stay out of our way."
"Most," Hannah laughed. There were still quite a few people that would run up to him just to shake his hand or say something to him.
"Most," Harry agreed. "But that's what the stare is for."
"I wish you could teach me it," she yawned. He wasn't sure what exactly it was. But Harry had mastered the blank expression and hard eyes that truly made people realize they didn't need to be talking to him at that moment. It was very handy, even if it made him seem to have a somewhat cold demeanor in public. Still, he wasn't a high enough ranking Auror that he had to give public statements or interviews on cases much. Which was handy. Although he knew Kingsley wanted him to move up in the department more.
"Just try to look mean and stare at them expressionlessly. Get the whole Queen Victoria 'we are not amused' thing going," he explained.
"If only it was that easy," She sighed as their food came. Harry sipped his coffee before starting on his eggs. Harry decided talking about work probably wouldn't be the best idea for the meal, especially when work was the battered body of a former schoolmate, so he changed the subject.
"So did things with you and Ernie ever work out?" he asked.
"No," she said with a shake of her head. "Thanks for helping me move out, by the way," she said. He nodded a bit.
"No problem," he said. "I'm surprised you didn't curse him." Ernie had struck Hannah in the middle of an argument. Apparently he'd always been a tad abrasive. Harry wouldn't have guessed, and she'd always been a bit demure. But she was a trained Auror, and Harry saw her take out two former Death Eaters by herself.
"Didn't seem to be much of a point," she said. "I just wanted to get out of there and not have to fill out a form as to why I attacked my ex."
"Probably smart," Harry said. "Interested in anyone else?"
"It's only been a couple of weeks, Harry, what kind of girl do you take me for?" Harry just stared at her and after a few moments she sighed. "I've gone out with Theodore Nott and Seamus Finnegan since then."
"Really?" Harry asked. He wasn't sure what Seamus had been doing lately. He always seemed to be between jobs and was never particularly interested in one thing for very long. Theodore, however, was an advocate at the ministry. He'd gotten a couple of former Death Eaters off with the Imperius defense. He was certainly Harry's least favorite face amongst the advocates at the ministry. But, even Harry had to admit, he was smart, and damn good at what he did.
"Yes. I knew you wouldn't approve of Nott," she laughed.
"I'm not sure me approving it is relevant," he responded. She nodded, indicating that it wasn't. "Things serious with either?"
"After a week? Hell no. Theodore just asked me to dinner a few days after and I figured I should probably get out of the apartment. I'll probably go out with Seamus again this weekend. He said he was having a get together with some old school friends."
"Could be fun," Harry said, half wondering if he'd receive an invite.
"You're welcome to come. But fair warning, Ginny is going to be there with her new boy toy," she said. She looked carefully at him as she spoke, as if waiting to gauge his reaction.
"We'll see," he said. He'd probably go, just to hang around with some old school friends again and see what everyone was up to. But he likely wouldn't stay long. "She still with the Chaser?" Harry couldn't remember his name. He thought he played for Tutshill, or maybe it was Ballycastle.
"I think so," Hannah said. "I never really followed the sport."
"Me either," he admitted as he finished his breakfast and went back to his coffee. Hannah still had about half of her meal left so he simply started to page through his notebook while she finished. He'd been her partner for two years and knew she disliked when people watched her eat.
Still, he'd been surprised when Hannah Abbott had joined the Auror academy after her seventh year. She'd never seemed the type to go into law enforcement while at school. She'd been passable while in Dumbledore's Army, but he always felt like she was there more because Susan and Ernie were than any particular interest on her own part. She'd claimed the Death Eater control of Hogwarts her seventh year had pushed her toward the career choice.
Regardless of why she'd joined up, they'd gone through the academy quickly. Mostly because the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was desperate for more bodies after the war. They'd been assigned as partners to older, more experienced agents for their first few years in the force.
At least until the Battle of Oxford. Harry still winced at the memory. It had been the last time Death Eaters attempted to make a final stand against the Aurors. There had only been about fifty of Voldemort's staunchest, most insane, followers left, as well as some hired wands, but the direct conflict was bloody. Hannah's partner took a Reducto at nearly point blank range. There hadn't been much of him left. Harry's had retired shortly after the battle. Since then, they'd been working together. It was supposed to be a temporary thing, but it had worked out fairly well.
"So, what about you, any steamy hot dates?" Hannah asked as she took a bite of egg. She knew him well enough to know he could talk and read his notes at the same time. And that he wasn't really reading his notes, just paging through them in an attempt to both pass the time and stay awake.
"No," he said. "I ran into Cho a couple of weeks back and had lunch with her. She seems to be doing fairly well. Lavender Brown asked me out too, but I don't want to go there," he admitted.
"I don't blame you. Susan ever ask you out?" she asked as they both took another sip of coffee.
"No, she didn't," Harry said, looking up at her. "Was she supposed to?"
"Well if she wanted to," Hannah responded. "She always said she was going to. From like, fourth year on."
"Well she never did," Harry said. He was rather amused by that. He doubted he'd have agreed to anything while in school, but now he'd consider it.
"Pity," Hannah responded dryly. "What about that advocate you're always looking at back at the office?"
"Her?" Harry thought about it for a moment. "Sure she's hot, but I just don't see that working out."
"You spend a lot of time with her," Hannah teased.
"No more than you. She's a junior prosecutor after all," Harry laughed. "And she's good. And at least likes to know what we think about the cases before prosecuting. Besides I don't think she and I would get along very well."
"Probably not," Hannah agreed. "May be worth a shot though. Get Ginny out of your system."
"She's hardly still in my system," Harry laughed. And she wasn't, really, but that didn't prevent people from mentioning her constantly. He wondered if it was because of their fame. He as Harry Potter, and her as the star chaser for the Harpies, or if it was something people just noticed in school. Either way he didn't really care. She was his friend's sister, and that was it. Sure, she'd been more, but it hadn't panned out. They'd both gotten over it.
"I guess you're right. But you were more smiley and happy when you were with Felicity. Whatever happened there?" Hannah asked. She was referring to Felicity Hillard, a beater and the captain of the Tutshill Tornadoes. They'd had a bit of a fling over the summer, but it had never been particularly serious. Hannah knew her vaguely as she'd been in Hufflepuff, a few years ahead of them.
"She got busy with quidditch again and it wasn't ever that serious. I'll probably still go out with her here and there," Harry admitted. Hannah nodded a bit. She'd finished her breakfast and was leaning backwards against the wall. She closed her blue eyes as Tom came back around to refill their coffee.
"I see. Well she's a nice girl," Hannah said. "Want to go over the notes from the case?"
"May as well." He flipped the notebook back open.
"Victim Pansy Parkinson, female, approximately 22 years of age. Body discovered around quarter to four on the morning of the sixteenth of September. Some blood on the body, very little at the crime scene itself. Bruises consistent with blunt trauma on the legs and arms. Bruises on the neck consistent with strangulation." Harry paused when he went to turn the page. Hannah was still leaning against the wall with her eyes closed. If he hadn't known better he'd have assumed she was asleep.
"Don't forget the dots on her arms as well. Possible sign of heroin usage," she added. Harry nodded. Muggle drugs weren't particularly common in their investigations, but they'd been trained on the signs.
"Those as well," Harry said, making a note of the added information in his notebook. "Dress was in poor shape. No sign of a bag. No wand, no identification. Body identified by officers at the scene."
"Possible rape," Hannah continued. "Cause of death could have been anything from strangulation, to overdose, to magical trauma."
"Magic level in the body could have been a bit high, but we won't know until the magical autopsy. Both Aurors on the scene could sense the magic in the air. Could have been residue from recently cast spells, or could have been a trace left from whoever disposed of the body. Assuming it's a murder, and assuming the murderer is magical."
"Seems to be a pretty safe assumption with us being called in at this absurdly early hour," Hannah commented.
"Yes, but you know how well assumptions work out for Aurors," Harry responded. She just nodded.
"Anyway, preliminarily, I'd rule the cause of death as strangulation."
"Really?" Harry asked.
"Yes. I didn't have time to run any tests on the body, but the wounds around the neck looked severe enough," she explained. Harry had no reason to doubt her. While she certainly wasn't an expert yet, she did have an interest in pathology and was better at it than he was.
"So are you're leaning toward murder?"
"Ruling out a magical murderer?" Harry asked. Sure it was fairly rare for a magical person to be killed by a Muggle, but it wasn't unheard of. Usually, though, it wasn't in a case of physical, close proximity violence.
"Not at all. Have to think there'd be more evidence at the crime scene if it wasn't one. Just doesn't appear magic was used in the murder. There's pretty standard signs from a stunner or body-bind, like tensed muscles, and she seemed like any other body. And there's something we weren't told. We'll have to ask Dawlish." She referred to John Dawlish, the current head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Harry didn't particularly care for the man, but, for now, he was his boss.
"True," Harry said. "Well we don't have a whole lot to work with."
"That we don't," Hannah agreed. "What do you say, head into the office a tad early so I don't fall asleep in the Leaky Cauldron and write up the report to present it to Dawlish as soon as he gets into the office?" Harry nodded as she finished and took a final sip of his coffee. He checked his watch, it was just after six in the morning.
"Be nice to make some decent tea, too," he admitted. "Of course, we could just rent out one of the rooms for a few hours to kill some time before going in."
"Or we could just go in to work," she laughed, but blushed. Part of him enjoyed teasing Hannah. She'd often get all quiet and flushed like when he'd help her back at D.A meetings. And she gave him enough shit about his own life that she had it coming every now and again. He laughed with her and left some coins on the bar for Tom.
"Yea, that's probably the best bet. I want to figure out why we got sent out here," Harry said.
"Me too," Hannah added. "Hopefully there's actually something involved and we just didn't draw the short end of the stick."
"Hopefully," Harry agreed as they rose from the table and moved over toward the fire. Harry grabbed some of the powder from above it and tossed it into the flames before gesturing for Hannah to go first. She stepped into the fire, annunciating the department name clearly.
Harry sighed and gazed around the Leaky Cauldron before he did the same. He knew nothing good could come out of this week. But after the start, how much worse could it get? He shook that thought out of his head as the floo transported him to the ministry.
Author's note: And that's chapter one. There's a couple of ways this could go. I haven't planned it nearly as much as I usually do with a fic. I have pretty much who the victims will be, and the end of the story worked out. But I think I'm going to see how Harry's Auror life develops a bit rather than planning it all out. Which isn't something I particularly like to do.
Also probably worth noting is that I've never in my life written a mystery. In fact, I don't even read a whole lot of them. I'm aware that my writing style isn't particularly conducive to the genre, but it was something I felt like giving a try. So I am rather outside of my comfort zone, but no one ever improved by staying in their comfort zone.
As always, thanks for reading, and thanks for any reviews, I appreciate all the feedback I can get. I'm sure I didn't do the British judicial system justice here, and that I should have researched it more. I probably will as this continues on, but for now tried to get by as best I could. And, like most of my fics, the title is subject to change. I'm not sure it grasps the theme I want, but I figured I'd rather post it than labor for a few more hours on a title. Thanks for reading.