Please note that this story is canon complaint up to the epilogue. However, as this story takes place seven years after the epilogue, there have been a few changes.
Auror Potter and the Creepy Case of Jack O'Lantern
Chapter One: First Attack
The night was a dark one, with the moon and every star hidden behind dense black clouds. In the distance thunder grumbled, threatening a pending rainstorm. A chill wind blew through the air, stinging any exposed skin it contacted with.
A hidden part of London was colder and darker than the rest. Knockturn Alley was widely known amongst certain circles as a breeding point for concoctions most foul, and schemes most nefarious. Since the fall of the Dark Lord Voldemort, some twenty-six years ago, Knockturn Alley was one of few disreputable places in Wizarding Britain that had remained largely the same, despite the best efforts of the new Ministry of Magic.
For some people this was just as well. And that group included one woman in particular.
Standing just inside the glow of a street lamp that was styled much like the gas ones of old, she surveyed the alley in both directions, looking out for her next potential customer. Everybody appeared to be content to remain inside tonight, comfortable in the warm.
As the flame in the lamp above flickered about in the wind, she thought back on how she had ended up here.
Once upon a time, she had lived the high life. She had spent six years touring, not only the country but also the world as a prominent player in home and international Quidditch tournaments. She had served as a starting chaser for her country's team during two separate world cups, first as part of a team that made it as far as the quarter finals, then four years later as part of the team that won England the World Cup trophy for the first time in over one hundred and fifty years. Following that she had been Senior Quidditch Correspondent for The Daily Prophet for a good number of years. More importantly, however, she had been the wife of a war hero. A man who was arguably one of the most famous wizards of recent generations, who was held in the same high esteem by the people as other great wizards of their time; Albus Dumbledore, Godric Gryffindor, Merlin.
That he was loaded didn't hurt either.
All those factors combined together to tempt her into the heady thrills of the high life. It became the height of social appeal to have her and her husband in attendance at any social event you threw, be it party, charitable event or grand opening of some building or other. She quickly got used to all the glitz and the glam that were offered to her. She became addicted to the flash of the tabloid camera, to the taste of bubbling champagne, to the adulation and respect.
But more than that she had fallen in love with what went on behind the scenes. Apart from her occasional stint on the national team when it was required, her entire Quidditch career was spent playing for Britain's only all-female team; The Holyhead Harpies.
And the Harpies had a bit of a reputation. Women not in the know would scoff derisively and claim that the stories going around were nothing more than fabrications of the minds of chauvinistic males who were insecure about their own masculinity. However, to those in the know, the stories going around not only had their origins in truth, but actually paled in comparison to it. Like it or not, the Harpies' reputation had been well earned throughout the years, though it was meant to be kept secret; "What happens in the changing rooms/hotel/backstage of the nightclub, stays in the changing rooms/hotel/backstage of the nightclub.
Obviously the occasional leak got out but never anything too serious. And it was not a tale from behind the scenes that got her caught out. That happened by accident, or so her niece Rose claimed. One simple, improperly aimed "Finite Incantatum" had sealed her fate. Her second son, the middle child, the one who seemed to resemble his father most amongst the kids was suddenly revealed to look nothing like him at all. And the truth had just unravelled from there.
Harry Potter was usually a forgiving man, but even he had his limits and within a month of the truth coming out Ginny Potter found herself having to go by her maiden name of Weasley again.
Having fallen in love with the high life, she had naturally wanted to keep it up. However in the wake of the scandal, she lost her job at the Daily Prophet, all her old friends from the world of Quidditch now avoided her like the plague, lest any of their sordid secrets be revealed by being near her, and she had gotten sod all out of Harry in the divorce settlement. Even her kids, including Albus, turned on her.
The trouble was if she wanted the high life, she had to pay for it in much gold. And the only way to get gold was to earn it. And beyond Quidditch she had no discernible skills to use in a place of work. As she got, and kept, her job at Prophet only through getting down on her knees in front of the right people, she had quickly come to the conclusion that this was the only path available to her.
She had yet to reach the high life she dreamed of returning to, but at least she earned enough to not starve and to keep a roof over her head.
Tonight, however, was proving to be very slow indeed. So far she's only had the one customer; a lad fresh out of Hogwarts, the type who could barely function properly around attractive women, whose mates had pooled together to get him some action.
As the first drops of rain began to fall, Ginny Weasley finally acknowledged that maybe tonight was not going to be her night, and that she might as well go home.
As she turned to leave, however, she spotted something. There was a figure; one that she assumed was a man, walking through the glow of a streetlamp about halfway along the street to her right. As best she could make out, he was wearing a long, pale brown trench coat that reached the ground. The collar of the trench coat was turned up to conceal the face, a feat that was also aided by the presence of the homburg hat that sat on the head. This secretive style of dress did not concern Ginny in the least. Most clients liked to keep their appearances secret; no point letting good reputations go to waste over a quick shag in a dark alley, after all.
Sensing a potential customer, Ginny quickly set about readjusting her robes for the most revealing effect. Then she conjured up a mirror to check her make-up. Satisfied she banished the mirror she took up her usual, provocative pose up against the street lamp and stared lustfully towards her potential client as he approached.
"Hey, baby," she purred with well-practiced ease once he was in the glow of the same lamp as her "you lookin' for a good time?"
All she got in return was a nod, but that was all she needed.
From overhead the raindrops suddenly began falling a lot heavier. Not wanting to lose this potential client she beckoned him over to a dark side-alley where it was a little drier. She sat on one of the crates there, crossed one leg over the other and said in a seductive tone "So, what can I do for you?"
Suddenly, and without warning, the figure reached down and grabbed her by the ankles. Following one, quick tug she was yanked off of the crate and onto the cold, broken stone path.
"Easy tiger." she said, trying to keep the sudden fear that gripped her out of her voice.
And suddenly he was on top of her. She tried to fight him off but he was incredibly strong. What felt like ropes were suddenly winding themselves around her wrists and ankles, then more started to coil around her neck as what felt like whips began to lash at her body. Eyes stinging with tears of pain, she looked up towards the face beneath the mask and saw nothing but two glowing orange eyes. Fear gripped her heart and she screamed. She screamed for all she was worth.
Then the world around her began to fade. But in that moment before everything went black, a door slammed open somewhere nearby and several male voices shouted out. The whip-like blows ceased, the winding ropes unravelled, and he was gone.
Ginny Weasley took one shuddering breath and then passed out as feet came splashing towards her.
Lightning flashed outside the window of the office, but those inside paid it no heed. Teddy Lupin and his fellow Aurors Daniel Burke and Ollie Patterson were sitting around a small circular table playing a game of exploding snap for money in the hope of whiling away a few hours of the night shift in the office. Really they ought to be using the time to do some paperwork, and all three knew that, but really couldn't be bothered. A night shift in the office was dull enough without adding paperwork to it.
Their main purpose for being in the office as such ungodly hours was to await potential calls for backup from those out on night-time patrol. Normally an outdoor nightshift was preferable to an indoor one, but on a stormy night tonight, those stuck inside had a lot to be grateful for.
"Merlin, I hate nights like these." grumbled Teddy Lupin as he places a Mountain Troll card on top of Ollie's Manticore "I'd so much rather be at home with Victoire."
"I know what you mean mate." said Dan with a grin as he placed down a Cyclops card "I'd much rather be as home with Victoire as well."
For that Teddy drew his was and hit his fellow Auror with a stinging hex right on the nose as a chuckling Ollie placed down his card. At the sight of a second Cyclops card, Teddy jabbed the pile of cards with his wand, causing a small explosion that won him the point.
It was to the smell of exploded cards and the sounds of Dan's grumbling and Teddy and Ollie's laughter that Senior Auror Laura Medley walked into the room.
"Alright you three," she scolded lightly "break it up. We've just got a call from Pierson and Michaels. They were called into Knockturn Alley after someone attacked a Hooker. Pierson's taken her to St. Mungo's. Burke and Patterson get over to Knockturn Alley and help Michaels out. I'm going over to the Hospital. Lupin, call Potter and meet me there."
"What do we need to call Uncle Harry for?" asked Teddy once Dan and Ollie had hurried out of the room.
Medley said nothing, instead just giving him a pointed look that told him everything he needed to know.
"Oh damn it." he grumbled and made his way over to one of the fireplaces.
The two wine glasses tinged musically after being tapped against one another. Having shared a beautiful candle-lit dinner earlier in the evening, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger were now curled up together on the comfy sofa in the front room of the Potter family cottage in Godric's Hollow, each of them enjoying a glass of exquisite red wine, and basking and the presence of each other's company, as well as the warm glow of the roaring fire.
"Hmmm," Hermione practically purred as she cuddled deeper into Harry's side "Such a lovely way to spend an evening."
Harry chuckled and held her a little closer "You've never spoken a truer word."
Hermione laughed lightly before asking "So, got anything more planned for this evening?"
Harry looked thoughtful for a moment before making a suggestion "Hmmm, well I suppose we could make out like a pair of horny, sexually frustrated teenagers."
"Sound like a plan." said Hermione appreciatively before turning in his arms and moving in to capture his lips and he mirrored her.
Half an inch before their lips could touch, however, they broke apart. Their attention was forcefully pulled towards the fireplace where the yellow and orange flames had now turned a bright green.
"Uncle Harry? Are you there?" asked the voice of Harry's Godson Teddy Lupin as his face swam into view.
"Yes, I'm here." said Harry in a frustrated tone "What is it?"
"Sorry, Uncle Harry. It's just that we've got something that you really need to come and see to."
"Can't it wait until tomorrow?" Harry asked hopefully. That wasn't really behaviour becoming of someone holding the tile of Head Auror, but he really didn't want to leave Hermione tonight.
Teddy shook his head "You really should come now. It's Ginny. She's gotten herself into a bit of a situation and is now in St. Mungo's."
Harry heaved a heavy sigh "Fine. I'll see you in St. Mungo's in a few minutes."
With a nod, Teddy Lupin's face disappeared and the flames returned to their normal colour.
"Damn woman." grumbled Harry as he summoned his Auror robes and pulled them on over what he was already wearing "Even after I divorce her she still manages to spoil my fun."
"Then don't go." protested Hermione, lightly.
"I have too." replied Harry and he leaned in to give her a kiss.
"See you soon." he said, pulling back.
"Hurry back." said Hermione.
"I'll do my best." he replied before vanishing through the Floo.
Harry met Teddy and Laura Medley on in the Reception area of the hospital.
"She's up on the first floor." Laura informed them.
Harry frowned. The first floor was where they dealt with creature-related injuries.
"They think it's a creature attack?" he asked.
"I don't know." replied Laura "And I don't think they do either."
Harry frowned and followed Laura up to the first floor. Just as they got there Healer Tracey Davis hurried over to them.
"Oh good, you're here. Can you tell me anything more about what attacked her?"
Laura shook her head "Pierson's the only one here who has been to the scene of the crime. We're waiting to hear more from Burke, Patterson and Michaels soon."
"What's wrong with her, exactly?" asked Harry "Was it a creature?"
"That's the thing, we don't know." replied Tracey "She's got several long and deep wounds that we first thought were something that could have been done by claws. However on closer inspection, they seemed to be more like the marks that result from being struck repeatedly by a whip."
"A whip?" Harry asked for clarification.
"Yes, and she's got quite a few bruises, and what look like burns. There're lots of those. And there are marks that look as though they were inflicted by thick ropes wrapping tightly around her wrists, ankles and even her neck."
Harry scowled "Sounds to me like she got too carried away with a customer playing some sort of dominatrix/asphyxiation bullshit."
Tracey sighed "Well, given her lifestyle, we cannot really rule that out. Listen, seeing as this no longer looks like it's a creature attack, we're gonna need to move her elsewhere soon. Do you want to get a look at her first?"
"I suppose we'd better." said Harry, albeit reluctantly.
Tracey nodded and led them through the ward and over to a bed blocked off from view by privacy screens. Auror Pierson was standing guard at the foot of the bed.
Stepping around the screen, Harry caught sight of his ex-wife and could not help but feel a little bit of sympathy. Not for the lying cheating bitch she was now, but the happy-go-lucky little girl that he once saw during those last few weeks of the summer holidays that he used to spend at the Weasley family home, the Burrow.
"Oh dear, Ginny" he muttered with a sigh "what have you been up to now?"
Teddy sniffed the air and frowned "Sorry, but does anyone else smell pumpkin juice?"
Pierson snapped his fingers in a gesture of recognition "That's what it is. Thank you; I've trying to place it."
Harry frowned and leaned forward to sniff the air. They were right. There was definitely the smell of pumpkin juice in the air.
"Not usually a smell I'd associated with one who works in Knockturn Alley." observed Laura "Normally it's a combination of knock off imitation fire-whiskey and vomit."
"Maybe it's her perfume." suggested Teddy.
"Maybe." said Harry "Kind of a weird odour for a prostitute though."
Harry turned to Auror Pierson and asked "Has she been unconscious all this time? Has she said anything?"
Pierson shrugged "Just a bit on incoherent mumbling shortly after they brought her in."
"We've sedated her since then." added Tracey.
Harry nodded and turned to look back at Ginny once more before shaking his head and turning back to the rest "Well, I've seen I all need to at the moment. I'll get progress reports tomorrow morning."
The other three Aurors nodded and Harry left.
"Please don't tell me he still has feelings for her." moaned Laura after he had left.
Teddy shook his head "Don't worry about that. There's no chance he'll want to get back with her. He's sympathetic and feels bad that this happened to her, but he's not gonna fall for her again."
"Good." replied Tracey "He spent too much time in therapy with Daphne to slip back now."
"He's got Hermione now." said Teddy "She'll look after him."
Harry arrived back in the Potter cottage and looked around. He was glad he had this place. When he was with Ginny she had insisted that they live in the big Potter Manor. This cottage was much more homely, and Hermione loved it. Thankfully Ginny's insistence on living in the manor meant that this place held no memories of his past life with her. Here he could start anew with Hermione.
Speaking of Hermione...
He put his hand in his pocket and took out the small velvet box that held the engagement ring that he had hoped to give to Hermione tonight. In typical Ginny Weasley style, however, his ex-wife had found a way to ruin the moment.
He would just have to try again another night.
He wandered through the cottage looking for her.
"Hermione?" he called out "Hermione?"
He made his way through to the master bedroom and pushed open the door quietly. He had taken a few steps into the room when he was attacked from behind.
He landed on the soft and luxurious bed and then a laughing female voice said in his ear "Here I am."
Harry managed to twist himself beneath her and look up at her.
She was naked.
"There you are." he said with a grin and she stooped down to catch his lips in a kiss.
A/N: So what do you think? Not my regular story, I know, but I felt like doing a tale for Halloween. I think that you can roughly guess the villain in this piece, but it should still be a fun ride anyway. Next chapter we'll look at Harry the Auror and see a bit about why Hermione is with Harry and no longer with Ron. We'll also probably see the second and third attacks, maybe more.