A/N: This is a relatively slow chapter but it shows a glimpse of what will happen next. I hope you guys like it and sorry if there are few grammar mistakes, please point it out to me if there is. On that note, I'm looking for a beta-reader for the rest of the story, if anyone is interested, please let me know!
Disclaimer: I would die to own Malfoy but sadly as much as I hate to admit it, I don't. My intellectual capability does not extend to seven brilliant fantasy books and a world that clearly changed our generations.
"Hermione! Hermione! Wait up," shouted a voice from behind but she did not wait or stop at all. Harry tried to catch up to the girl who was looking at the ground walking faster, instantly aware of people intentionally staring at her as she quickly strolled towards the entrance. There were whispers around her; often the words "Weasley" and "break up" were spoken in hushed tones with even few fingers pointing at her. Well, apparently they're not loud enough, Hermione thought sarcastically. Walking faster and faster trying to get away from all these eyes pinned to the back of her head, she knew that this would happen. That somehow her break up with Ron would definitely spark off gossips around the community and most definitely, in the Ministry of Magic all thanks to the Daily Prophet, which was incredulous because Hermione certainly did not think that the Daily Prophet would even bother about relationships such as these. Though she supposed since they were both within The Golden Trio, apparently that gave the initiative to publish the end of their relationship.
When Hermione woke up in the morning, Ginny came shrieking and bursting into her room, shouted, "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU BROKE UP WITH RON! WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THIS?!" The ginger trashed her arms with distress whilst waving the Daily Prophet in front of Hermione's face, which displayed the words, "The prominent relationship from the Golden Trio came to an unbelievable end". With Ginny screeching at her ear in the morning was evidently not a good start of her day, both of the girls talked and Hermione explained to Ginny how when she mentioned about Malfoy last night, Ron exploded in rage and everything just fell apart then. Devastated and shocked, Ginny repeatedly apologised to Hermione about her outburst, that the girl was really just infuriated with her brother and blaming herself for their breakup. Needless to say, Hermione tried to reason with her friend, that it would appear that Ron and Hermione weren't meant to be together after all, or at least not more than friends. It did hurt, when he just left and stated that a relationship with her was tiring. Not difficult, not even awful but tiring. She could accept dreadful, difficult or even miserable but just not tiring. Tiring was the worst adjective that can label her relationship with Ron, in which her heart clenched and felt as if it was stabbed. Hermione spent the whole night thinking about their relationship, she can't help but overanalyse things; it was after all, her nature to do so.
One thing she learned though was when you're in the present, the line between reality and fiction is blurred, everything pasts and you don't even realise what really happens until the present became the past. Hermione thought it was odd, perhaps it's in our nature to ignore everything now and let everything slide through our fingers until the future comes, then we realised it's too late to retrieve everything back. Immediately, she broke out of her contemplation when a hand grasped and locked his or her fingers around her arm. She jumped and tried to pull away from the grip, "Hermione! What are you doing? I've been running and calling your name for a while now," said a deep male voice. Finally, she turned at the familiarity and breathed a sighed with relief and strangely, disappointment until she recognised it was just Harry. For a moment, she honestly thought that there was a chance it might be Ron, asking for forgiveness and they can both mend their relationship though obviously her fantasy was shattered.
"Oh, hullo Harry. Sorry, I was thinking about…some things, " she managed to choked out the last two words before turning towards the available lifts. Harry, frustrated with his best friend's strange behaviour, silently followed behind. The door closed and locked with a final click. There was an awkward silence hanging in the air, as if it was a ball waiting to be dropped.
Struggling to find a topic to talk about, Harry could not take the suspense anymore and quickly blurted out, "What happened with Ron?"
Pointedly, Hermione looked straight pointedly, giving no signs of answering Harry's question but before Harry could repeat it again, she said softly, "You'd know but just to clarify, I guess we just…broke up." The events of last night came crashing down on her again, the date, Ginny kissing Zabini, the shouting, the questioning, the mistrust, Malfoy…freaking Malfoy.
The lift stopped and announced, "Second floor, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement." She walked out with her heels clicking on the marble floor in pace, Harry followed behind her and asked, "You're right, I do know but you and Ron breaking up?!" The sharpness and the incredulous tone of Harry's voice made Hermione strangely furious, how dare he assumed that she and Ron would eventually perfectly last as a couple, get married and live happily ever after? Did everyone honestly thought that after the war, she and Ron of The Golden Trio would kick back and ride off to the sunset? She snorted inwardly, No, of course not if everyone didn't step over broken rocks along the road of relationships, would that even be real? Even if she would not admit it, Hermione truthfully believed that there is a line that separates a start and a happy ending of a love story with something in between, like an unprecedented twist of a Victorian muggle novel.
Without turning her head to look at her friend, she sternly answered, "No, we're not breaking up. We broke up, as in past tense." Harry only stared at her as if she was growing a moustache and she flung her arms exasperatedly. She continuously walked on the path to her office as Harry followed closely behind her. Hermione continued to walk along the path to her office whilst passersby openly gazed at Hermione with a trailing famous Harry Potter. With distaste, she fixedly glared at them before they scurry off into other direction. Hermione hated this; she genuinely did not think that the news would be transpired in a few days but no, apparently someone obviously was compelled to expose the new gossip. Inwardly, she sighed with weariness as she opened the door to her office and entered the sign that read, "Hermione Granger, Department Head of Magical Law Enforcement"
As Hermione walked towards her office desk and cleared out some paperwork, Harry slumped in her leather chair ungracefully. He let out a deafening sigh which brought Hermione to his attention, "What is it, Harry? I know you're dreading to say something, if you want to then go ahead and say it." She crossed her arms and patiently waited for his response.
It was as if he was suddenly lost in a thought and finally decided to look up to Hermione, he commented indifferently, "I just can't believe that you and Ron are romantically over."
For some odd reason, Hermione giggled abruptly and Harry peered at her as if she was mental. She cupped her hands over her mouth but unexpectedly her giggles broke into laughter that filled the room. Her best friend sat in his seat and gawked at her outburst; she choked out one hearty laugh at his expression with his eyebrows furrowed, green eyes white open gaping and face drained of colour. Immediately, she stopped and took a deep breath, "Oh I'm sorry, Harry. It's just that the look on your face was too hilarious for me to resist laughing."
She smiled at her best friend while he steadily replied, withdrew the shock from her ludicrous laughter, "I'm glad my face amused you, Hermione." Harry rolled his eyes but there was a hint of a smile implanted on his face. Hermione bit her lip as her mind floated back to reality before she settled in her seat and started arranging the paper work on her desk in an immaculate order. Harry opened his mouth to say something but snapped it close and thought it twice over. He knew that it would be difficult to approach the topic of her and Ron's relationship; he also knew that Hermione was outraged with the Daily Prophet for announcing this news. Hermione never did have a strong association with Rita Skeeter, not even an acquaintanceship. He started, "Hermione…about the headlines of the Daily Prophet, don't worry about it. I'm positive it will blow over soon..eventually."
The brunette looked up from her paper work and rubbed the side of her head with her hand, massaging the headache. "Yes, I know it will blow over eventually but did you not see how many people were staring unashamedly at me. They didn't even bother to lower their voices, which is outrageous. Do they have no shame at all? It's ridiculous! Not to mention the Daily Prophet's article, which was printed on the front page as well. As if my relationship ended with Ron was the biggest news ever." She took a deep breath again and leaned back at her chair.
Harry was silently listening to her comments but he couldn't think of any other way to ease her discontentment so he joked, "But you have to admit, it is their biggest news ever."
"I just never thought that the Daily Prophet would notify the public so soon. Obviously they would find out about the breakup but- I just want everyone to stop staring at me as if I grew whiskers or anything," she murmured and sighed again.
Immediately, Harry sat up and a grin smothered his face, "Oh yes, remember the time when we took the Polyjuice potion and you turned into a ginormous cat?" Hermione only glared at him in reply and rolled her eyes as he said, "Those were the good times."
"Yes, those were the good times. Not to mention the fact that we were nearly killed around a million times and going off adventures without knowing the consequences. Regardless Harry, I think you should head back to your office whilst I, continue to do my work." Inwardly, she was deciding how to approach her new case. She already looked over the expenditures and revenue of the Malfoy Enterprise but there wasn't any record on the young Malfoy himself.
"Right, so how's the case with Malfoy going?" Harry asked, if Hermione did not wish to discuss her breakup with Ron then he supposed he would address her about Malfoy. In effect, Hermione went pale and pursed her lips tightly.
She wanted to tell Harry that she couldn't accept this case; it was Malfoy, their archenemy. Even though he did after all, shifted his allegiance to neutral during the war, it would be near impossible to investigate his motives after his short 'disappearance' as he openly declared his repugnance towards the Golden Trio. Internally, she shook her head; Malfoy would not stand in her way, she was an Auror and she definitely will not back down merely because of her dismay to undertake the case. "Oh, er- It's going great. I've looked over his past recent actions but it's hard to tell what his purpose for entering back to society's radar so I guess I'll be tracking him down sooner or later."
Her best friend nodded approvingly as he stood and announced, "Well then, I guess I should go to my office. If you have any trouble with Malfoy, you should come and talk to me and we'll sort it out. Also, if you er- need somebody to talk to, you can talk to me. I'm always here." He added those last words in case Hermione would take the hint and talk about her and Ron's relationship.
She knew Harry wanted to know details about how it ended but she couldn't bring herself to tell him, not yet. "Don't worry Harry, I'm fairly convinced that Malfoy wouldn't hex me to oblivion before I hex him myself," she wryly smiled as she watched Harry walked towards her office door.
Harry paused, turned around to look at his lifelong best friend and added, "Of course, you're Hermione Granger. Brilliant as always." With that, he closed the door with a click as Hermione let out a sigh of tiredness. She didn't know exactly the reason of why she was so tired; perhaps it's because of the aftereffect of her breakup with Ron. After Ron left, Hermione was truly a mess, tears were streaming down both of her cheeks and she sobbed for Merlin knows how long before she finally persuaded herself to sleep her heartbreak off. However, sleep became her enemy and never came, which left Hermione pondering the past of her relationship. She had a crush on Ron ever since Fourth Year as he profoundly declared his disapproval of Krum and her relationship, now that she thought about it. It seemed more as if Ron was fuelled with jealousy instead of betrayal. Only in Sixth Year due to the Amortentia potion did she came to a realisation that she was in love with Ron even though he evidently infuriated Hermione to the point where she felt like pulling strands of her hair out.
She suddenly snapped herself from her thoughts from last night; she did not want to relive that again. Hermione only had 4 hours of sleep due to her constant "what if"s and the trip down memory lane when she was with Ron. Her eyes were red and swollen that Ginny had to helped her hide the clear heavy bags under her eyes, which truly looked horrible when she saw her reflection in the mirror. Hermione placed her hands on her table and stood up, she just had to do something before her impinging thoughts eventually invaded her sanity. I supposed I better get on with my work with Malfoy, she thought.
Hermione thought it was better to start with finding the source which told the Daily Prophet that Malfoy was in Flourish & Bolts in Diagon Alley as the notes on Malfoy Inc. was no indication of where he will be and she certainly wasn't going to start with the Malfoy Manor. With her files in her arms, she walked out from her office and began to walk towards the Atrium Hall.
When Hermione arrived at a junction in Diagon Alley, she regained her balance from the Apparition and walked towards the direction of the Daily Prophet's main office. There were crowds pouring in and out from the shops and restaurants of Diagon Alley as usual, it was always crowded but when the Death-eaters returned during the war where they destroyed most of the shops in Diagon Alley, the place was reconstructed and polished to its finest. Hermione was squeezed in between witches and wizards as she successfully and finally zig-zagged her way to the Daily Prophet's main office. She pushed the door and a squeaky voice announced behind a desk, "Welcome to the Daily Prophet, what can I help you with?"
"Hello, I would like to speak to the person who wrote the article on 'Malfoy Jr. finally revealed himself to the public after the long time of isolation', I need to know which source that informed Malfoy's appearance," Hermione inquired but the secretary only stared at her openly. Inwardly, she resisted the urge to fling her arms, as Hermione came to a realisation that this was what happened when she placed her foot in the heart of Daily Prophet. Gossips must be floating around and a breeze to print them too, she thought with utmost distaste. "By the way, I'm an Auror and I need you to help me find the writer for this. Thank you so much for your attention," she said icily and sarcastically which the girl finally recovered from her reverie. The secretary scrambled out from her seat and disappeared into the doors where presumably, Hermione thought the writers and journalists would be.
"Hermione Granger? Is that you?" asked a strangely familiar voice from behind. As Hermione turned around, she suddenly recognised the witch as Parvati Patil, whom she lost connection with after the war. Parvati was dressed in the most stunning robes hanging on her skinny form with her black silky hair pinned on top in an elegant bun. "Oh Merlin, it is you! I never thought I would see you again, but then I thought I'd recognise that brown hair anywhere. You look different, it's fantastic!" Her old Gryffindor friend unexpectedly hugged Hermione and gave two french air kisses as a greeting.
Stunned by the sudden gesture, Hermione smiled sheepishly and exclaimed, "Not as fantastic as you. You look beautiful, as always." It was then she noticed a photographer trailing behind Parvati did she came to a moment of realisation and gasped, "Oh! You're a journalist for the Daily Prophet!"
Parvati laughed and nodded, "Yes, I was always a gossiper back in Hogwarts and I took an interest of becoming a journalist. It's actually really lovely." Hermione smiled in reply though she couldn't comprehend why she would take an interest for this. Parvati waved off the subject and questioned, "What are you doing here anyway? I thought you are an Auror doing your…field work and such."
"This is my field work, I'm just looking for a writer from the Daily Prophet. It's nothing dangerous," she replied, or at least I hoped it wouldn't lead to danger.
At that moment, the secretary at the desk came out from the room with a wizard trailing after her. The witch gestured, "This is Wilkins, he's the guy who wrote that article on Draco Malfoy." Wilkins was obviously a very dedicated writer as his robes were dishevelled, face glazed with intellectual sense and looked as if though he spent most of his times writing articles for the Daily Prophet.
At the mention of Draco Malfoy, Parvati exclaimed, "Oh Hermione, so you're investigating on Malfoy? He's back in town, isn't he?" The secretary already moved back to her desk as if she was bored by the topic.
Hermione replied, "Yes he is, could you wait for a moment Parvati? I need to ask Wilkins something." Parvati shrugged elegantly and moved towards the inside of the office as Hermione shifted to her intellectual side, "Hello Mr. Wilkins, I am an Auror on an ongoing inspection on Draco Malfoy." Wilkins only nodded as a response as she continued, "So, you stated in your article on Malfoy's reappearance that a source told you about this? Can you tell me who that source is?"
Dully, the writer replied, "Miss Granger, is it not? The source just came by this office and dropped off this information, and immediately left. I have honestly no idea on who that wizard is."
She tried to hide her disappointment as she decided to go on other path, "Oh, how about telling me what does this wizard look like and I can possibly trace him." She took out her notebook and waited for Wilkins to answer.
He only sighed insipidly and bluntly said, "I think it would be best if you just trace Malfoy himself, I can hardly remember how the wizard looks like. If you don't mind, I would like to get back to my work." At that instant, he turned and walked inside the office as now, it was Hermione's turn to stare openly at how infuriating the writer was. She felt like screaming, she was going nowhere with this. This is the reason why I absolutely dislike writers and journalists from the Daily Prophet, she thought.
Parvati came and clasped her hand on Hermione's shoulder as the brunette jumped up with surprise, "I hope you got what you needed, Hermione. In any case, I better get back to work. It was nice seeing you Hermione, maybe we can have a drink someday." The journalist waved goodbye as Hermione smiled and nodded. The Daily Prophet, it seemed became a dead end and she supposed she had to find another path. Perhaps if I tried Flourish & Bolts and investigate there.
Hermione walked out of the Daily Prophet's main office as she began her course to Flourish & Bolts. The route was familiar as she often came to bookstores such as these and also, Obscurus Books. Even her job as Auror, Hermione simply loved reading. It was a hobby just as Quidditch was Ron's and Harry's, regardless the fact that they utterly do not understand why reading became Hermione's hobby. She stepped inside the shop and suddenly she was overwhelmed with the comfortable smell of books. She walked towards the inside, moving away from the piles of books, which flooded the shop. A wizard peeked out and asked, "Good day, what can I do for you, miss?"
"Er- Hello, I was wondering if you perhaps saw Draco Malfoy in the shops since it was said that he identified in your shop looking for books for potions?" Hermione questioned with hope for a notable answer.
The manager thought for a moment and suddenly his eyebrows arched up, "Oh yes, I saw him. A very very pale blond man came in the shop requesting if I had the book 'An Anthology of Eighteen Century Potions' and I answered that I did not because well, it's a rare and ancient book, you see."
Hermione pursed her lips and thought, Why would he be looking for an ancient and rare potions book in Flourish & Bolts? There were so many questions she wanted to ask Malfoy but all she received was unanswered questions and even more queries. It was definitely going to be difficult to find Malfoy's intentions even though it seemed as if it was a simple task. Relentlessly, she asked, "Well, did he say anything else other than he was looking for that book?"
"No, he came in, looked into the potions section, asked me if I have that book and left after I declined," the manager said, tapping at each action on his fingers and asked, "Would you like to buy any book of your interest?" Hermione shook her head slowly as he became disinterested on pursuing her to buy his books and the wizard turned towards the new customers. She slumped her shoulders; apparently Malfoy was curt and straightforward, wasted no time if he did not find the book. I never even heard of such a book, she mindlessly thought.
Dejectedly, she walked out from the store and at that moment, more passersby stared and whispered words around her. She blatantly rolled her eyes at them and ignored their persistent oppressing stares at the back of her head as she turned to a small path to Apparate. As she walked on the path, there was a blur of a woman in front of her, dressed in fully body black and disappeared from her sight to another direction. Curiously, she followed this mysterious woman and hid her body behind the wall of a shop. It was a deserted alley where there are few shops still opened but most were either closed or abandoned. It was until then did she glance at the woman, from the back, all Hermione could see was black robes with a pile of blond hair knotted into the most intricate bun and a black refined hat. Hermione followed closely behind whilst hiding in between smaller narrow alleys, she wondered why this strange woman was so secretive and enigmatic.
When the woman turned to the door of what seemed of an unused shop, she peered to her left and right for any onlookers in the alley before entering the shop. Hermione stifled a gasp when she saw the woman's face; it was indeed the prominent flawless face of Narcissa Malfoy herself. Hermione contemplated on the reason behind the Malfoy's surreptitious movements; there was no purpose to be covert as after the war, the Malfoy family was admittedly did not have a strong reason to be locked up in Azkaban since they have fled from the battle in the end, rather than supporting Voldermort. The Malfoy family was pronounced as free, which puzzled Hermione as to why was Narcissa behaving so secretively.
The alley was unwelcoming and inexplicably dark in the midday, the heavy silence hung in the air. A quiet stealthy wind brushed across the alley, caused a clatter of bottles rolled on the cracked ground and sent shivers down Hermione's spine. She hugged her elbows for warmth as she walked towards the shop that she spotted Narcissa entered moments ago, the sign on the shop appeared as if it was hammered into pieces and then displayed on top once more. The windows had curtains draped and she could see nothing but darkness inside of the shop, Hermione knitted her eyebrows in confusion. Why did Narcissa Malfoy, out of all people, enter a place like this? Hermione strangely thought as she decided to peer inside for a closer look.
Slowly, she twisted the knob of the door, with a mutter of Lumos, she stepped inside with a creak on the wooden floorboards. She hovered her wand around but it was empty, there was a staircase leading up to the second floor obviously however inside the shop only had empty counters undoubtedly for the goods that this abandoned shop sold before. The place was dusty, dark and intolerably cold. Hermione sighed and decided to turn around back to Diagon Alley when a voice proclaimed from behind, "Can I help you?" She jumped and pointed her wand immediately to the spokesperson.
The beaming light from Hermione's wand outlined Narcissa Malfoy's facial features, her eyebrow raised to a perfect arch and her pale flawless skin but the woman did not flinch against the light impinging on her face. With a sudden gasp, Hermione immediately lowered her wand. Narcissa Malfoy merely smiled and signalled elegantly for Hermione to follow her out from the shop. Outside in the alley, Hermione kept her wand inside of her robes as the elder woman stood in front patiently crossed her arms with gracefulness that Hermione can't help but envy so much. After she gained her balance, Hermione asked timidly, "W-What do you think you're doing here?" Great, now I sound as if I am the one who is frightened, Hermione thought with distaste to herself.
Narcissa Malfoy gracefully replied, "I was taking a stroll in Diagon Alley and turned to this junction as I was looking for more robes." She pointed at the clothing shop in front, few blocks away from here. She continued with a polite tone of voice, "Until I was walking back when I found you in this empty shop."
Hermione shook her head slightly and replied, "No, I clearly saw you entered this shop and I followed you inside before you somehow disappeared. What were you planning to do in there?"
The Malfoy smirked faintly which reminded Hermione of how the young Draco Malfoy used to do back in Hogwarts, the resemblance was utmost incredible. Narcissa Malfoy unfolded her arms and said, "I was not informed that I had an Auror investigating my actions."
The elder Malfoy evidently knew Hermione and her status in the Ministry of Magic, it seemed Narcissa Malfoy was involved in the news of the public. "No, you don't have an Auror trailing after you. But I still need to know why you were secretively going into this particularly abandoned shop," Hermione responded firmly. Narcissa Malfoy swiftly turned and walked towards the end of the alley, Hermione started and followed her footsteps. "You need to tell me this, I as an Auror, am questioning your behaviour and actions." The elder witch continuously walked without care as Hermione frustratedly made her pronouncement, "Perhaps you can tell me why your son is back in London, Mrs. Malfoy."
At the mention of her son, Narcissa Malfoy immediately snapped to Hermione's attention, paused to turn around and asked, "Draco? What about him?"
Hermione walked to the elder Malfoy as she said indifferently, "I'm investigating your son's reappearance in London. I have the sole right to know about his motives in order to accomplish this case. So if you would kindly please, answer my question. Why is he back now?"
Narcissa Malfoy was silent for a moment whilst Hermione persistently stared at her, waiting for an answer. "I don't understand why the Ministry would send an Auror for this job," was the only reply Hermione received.
"Mr. Kingsley would like to keep track on all the former defected death-eaters, regardless of whether if that wizard or witch has been declared to be free. As Aurors, our purpose is to monitor each and every one of wizard or witch who has a previous or current contact with death-eaters in order to prevent…unexpected possible dangers," Hermione professionally answered Narcissa Malfoy's unasked question. The elder Malfoy was suddenly quiet again though she approached to Hermione with careful footsteps; she took out a piece of parchment and placed it in Hermione's palm.
Surprised at this action, Hermione stared confusingly at the elder Malfoy as she explained, "This is the address to a Muggle cafe where I suddenly grew fond of strangely, meet me there tomorrow at 11am sharp. I expect no delays." The brunette opened her mouth to asked a question but the elder woman immediately resumed explained her unspoken query, "It's not safe to speak here. It's better if we speak in a…safer public area about this. Have a lovely day, Miss Granger." It was then the elder woman stepped back and Apparated unpredictably in front of Hermione as she grasped tightly at the piece of parchment.
As she soon followed and Apparated back to the Ministry of Magic, she spent the time walking to her office thinking about what had actually occurred. Narcissa Malfoy, whom indirectly had an allegiance with the death-eaters before changing sides along with the whole Malfoy family in order to escape a ride to Azkaban. The encounter in Diagon Alley was beyond what she imagined, it was peculiar that Narcissa Malfoy would clearly lied to Hermione about her actions. There was definitely something unknowingly perplexing in that shop and she was certain she would reveal the mystery behind all that. For a moment, her mind drifted off to the possibility that the Malfoy family were recruiting death-eaters and trying to cause an uprising to the Ministry. Hermione shook the thought out from her head at once, she wasn't the witch who thought of the worse situations but it was crucial to be prepared.
Once Hermione closed her office door, she began to settle down at her dest and write down the list of procedure in order to finish this task. She flipped opened the case, took a piece of paper and a pen to write down, 'An Anthology of Eighteen Century Potions'. She made a note to herself that she would unquestionably research on what the book was about and find out why Malfoy was searching for it. Unconsciously, Hermione's eyes rested on the piece of parchment that Narcissa Malfoy gave her, with another dejected sigh, she reached out for the paper and unfolded it. '34, Wellington Street' were the only written words; Hermione leaned back and closed her eyes. She knew this was going to be difficult, getting information out from a Malfoy but she was extremely inquisitive to know why would Narcissa Malfoy willing to have a conversation with her in a Muggle cafe no less.
There were two quiet knocks on the door and Hermione's eyes suddenly fluttered open, in alert. "Come in," she called distantly and Harry's head poked in. He walked towards her office and took a seat opposite her desk. Harry looked absolutely drained, his hair was more rumpled than usual and his glasses framed two heavy bags under his eyes. Hermione asked with concern trace in her voice, "Merlin, what happened to you? Did you do field work today? You look absolutely…dreadful."
Harry grimaced with fatigue written all over his face and replied, "If I was doing field work, I think I might actually look better than I am right now. I just had a meeting with the heads and giving an update on the death-eaters."
"I take it the capture of Rowle have not been transpired yet?" Hermione asked with sympathy.
Harry took off his glasses and started rubbing his eyes as if trying to rub off the exhaustion, which reminded Hermione of how he was back in Hogwarts. She nearly smiled at the memory before he said stiffly, "No, and we haven't got any trace on Mulciber Jr. either or any of the Lestranges, or Goyle Sr. Even Nott in Azkaban is not talking about anything. We were discussing on using the Veritaserum but it would take a lot of paperwork and I'm not even certain it will work on Nott."
Seeing as Harry was getting agitated, Hermione put in, "Look on the bright side, Harry, at least we've captured Nott, Travers and Macnair. Don't worry about it, Harry, we should take it one step at a time." Harry was silent and placed his elbows on her desk before putting his head in his hands. She stood up and walked over next to her best friend, she patted his hair and smoothen it out. "Harry, you're doing great as Head of Aurors and we are making process. Just be patient about it," she said, acting motherlike.
He looked up and smiled tightly before he asked, "So, how's the case with Malfoy going?"
She looked up to the ceiling with her palms bracing against her desk, "Well, I met Narcissa Malfoy today in Diagon Alley. So that's a start, I suppose." Then she looked back to Harry to see his eyebrows raised to his forehead with extreme surprise.
"Really? That's brilliant, right? What did you say to her?" he asked.
She sighed and took the piece of parchment that Narcissa Malfoy gave her and handed it to Harry. He glanced at it in puzzlement and looked up to her, waiting for an explanation. "She gave that to me after I told her that I am an Auror investigating her son's reappearance, she said it wasn't safe to talk to her there so she gave me that address to meet her at a cafe tomorrow at 11am," she begun to explain. "Honestly, I wasn't expecting that but I expect she wants to talk to me about Malfoy himself."
Harry glanced at Hermione's neutral expression for a moment before he spoke, "That's…rather odd. What did she mean by 'wasn't safe'?" Hermione only shook her head as if saying she doesn't know before walking back to her seat.
She started packing her files and paperwork, "I'll find out tomorrow but first, I have to go and find out what exactly is the 'An Anthology of Eighteen Century Potions' as apparently, Malfoy was looking for it in Flourish & Bolts." Harry stood up and walked along side with her as she walked to the Atrium Hall. There were few passersby staring and directly pointing at Hermione and Harry, probably still gossiping about her and Ron's breakup. She nearly shouted at them for being so intrusive but managed to gain control to stop herself from the possible embarrassment. She hugged Harry when they reached the fireplaces, "I'll see you tomorrow, Harry. Get some sleep, really." He gave her a nod and a slight smile before she flooed back to her and Ginny's apartment.
A/N: Maybe Draco is making a potion to destroy all the muggle-borns and half-blood wizards and witches? Or possibly finding a way to revive Voldemort? Reviews, please! I promise I will try to be faster at publishing the chapters (hopefully).