A/N: Disclaimer, I do not own the characters or the plot leading up to Deathly Hallows (minus the epilogue). This story however is mine and everything that happens is an original idea.
With that said, hello again readers! It's been too long since I posted a chapter, and I missed writing each week so much! But the planning of this story took so long, and on top of that, I was severely lacking inspiration for a few weeks. And then life and finals got in the way and I couldn't post because of that! But I'm finally back, with a new story that has been very nearly completely planned! With that said, onwards to the new story.
Hermione stared at the files on her desk, wishing them away, as she usually did Friday afternoons. They were the quietest of days at the Ministry of Law Enforcement, mainly because most of the week's cases had been solved by that point. Because of this, she would use the time to look over the cold cases that the department hadn't solved, hoping that she would be able to find some new, telling detail which she had missed prior to now.
Of course it only happened rarely. The minute Hermione was presented with a case, she would go over the entire thing, front to back, and researching every detail, even those which appeared to be not so relevant, hoping to find something that stood out at her.
It had been nearly five years since she had graduated from Hogwarts, and six since the final battle that had taken place. She, unlike Harry and Ron, had gone back to repeat her final year. It wasn't because she wanted to complete her education, which even though was a huge reason she did, but because she needed more time to find out what she wanted to do. In her fifth and sixth years she began to look into the magical professions, and was so sure she wanted to go into something which would allow her to look into the rights of magical creatures. However, looking back on it, she knew it wouldn't have been right for her.
If there was one thing that Hermione had struggled with her entire life, it was the struggle between what was right, and what she wanted to do. It happened first when she was a child and she had to make a choice between going off to Hogwarts and staying with her family. For an eleven year old, choosing to enter a new world that she knew nothing about was a very hard choice. She was scared out of her mind, but also knew it would be best for her, regardless of her fears. It also happened when she told McGonagall about the broom Harry received third year. When reporting the incident she knew that Harry would probably hate her for it, but it was right for him because it would keep him safe. How was she supposed to know that Sirius would turn out to be good and on their side? She didn't regret telling McGonagall in the end, as it would have protected him if Sirius had indeed been a murderer.
Fighting for house elves would have been a noble cause; there was still so much prejudice remaining after the war, but it had decreased heavily from before. If anything, the tables had somewhat turned, to the point where blood purity may still influence society, but not to the point where hatred would drive actions. At the end of the day, the job would have been right, but it wouldn't have been what she wanted to do. And if there was one thing the war had taught her, it was to do something for her, as opposed to the greater good.
It was only fitting that she went into a researching job that involved thinking outside of the box to find out motives and suspects behind the cases. She had spent most of her life looking up one thing or another, so it became a second nature to her. She had had enough of the action from the war and the time leading up to it to last her a life time. Besides, it was more interesting for her to solve the mysteries.
Hermione's eyes snapped open, bringing her back to the current situation, and out of her day dreams. The files in front of her were the milder of the unsolved ones, involving things such as thievery or muggings that were only slightly violent. Either way, they had no absolute outcome and Hermione hated leaving her cases unsolved.
The case she was currently looking at was for a break in at the local apothecary where a few seemingly unrelated herbs had been stolen. The trail was going cold, as it had nearly been four months since the incident, and Hermione knew that if she left it too long she would never be able to solve it.
"Are you making any progress?" she heard a voice call from the door.
Hermione looked up from the pile of files that she had scattered over her desk. "Harry? What are you doing here?"
"I came to relieve you from yourself," he said, a bit too seriously. "How long has it been since you took a break from your work to do something else, something relaxing?"
"I take breaks!" Hermione argued. "Just last week I…"
"You what?" Harry asked her as he took a seat at the front of her desk.
"I…" Hermione said, unable to think of anything. She bent her head down ever so slightly to avoid looking at Harry.
"Hermione," he said softly. "I know it has been a rough few months for you. I haven't seen you so devastated ever since you and Ron broke up a few months ago. I know it's been hard, but you need to get out; you can't keep everything so bottled in. It's not healthy."
"Don't," she said, as she rubbed her temples. "I know what I'm doing is wrong, Harry. But I just need to deal with this my own way. Just give me a bit of time, please."
"Okay," Harry said finally. He paused for a bit before continuing. "Hermione, Ginny wanted me to invite you over to dinner at the Burrow. She wanted me to remind you that even though you and Ron aren't together, you still have a family in them."
She shook slightly. She had been severely lacking in family lately.
"Is he going to be there?" she asked quietly, even though she was already sure of what the answer was going to be.
He hesitated, "…Yes. But I know he would want to see you; you know all things said and done. Besides, forget about him for a minute, and think about yourself. Everyone else is dying to see you."
"I can't, Harry. You have to understand that it's not something I can handle. The last thing I need is to see him with whatever bimbo he with this week."
He became sombre at that. "I understand, Hermione," he said, as he got up from his chair and made his way to where she was sitting. He grabbed her arms and brought her into a tight hug. "I want you to know that I will always be here for you. I know when we were younger I often chose to side with Ron, but not anymore. You're like my sister, and I will always love and support you. Please remember that."
A few tears slipped from her face as she hugged him back tightly. "I know, Harry, I know," she said, as she rapidly wiped away the tears from her face, desperate to return to hiding her emotions.
"Good," he said, as he pulled away enough to see her face. He wiped her tears away before kissing her on the forehead.
"It's getting late, Harry. You probably should go," she said desperate to change the topic. "It's getting late, and you know how Ginny worries."
Harry smiled at her words, "That she does," he said softly.
"Good bye, Harry," she said with a false smile. "Don't worry about me; I'll go home soon, and I'll do something for myself."
He gave her a once over, as if he were deciding whether to believe her or not, but he must have decided against saying anything further, as he just gave her a smile.
"Good bye, Hermione."
Draco walked down the halls of St. Mungo's Hospital with files in one hand, and a large coffee in the other. He hadn't been getting much sleep between the long hours at his job, and attempting to balance out his life as well. Hell, it was probably safe to say he had been getting no sleep.
He took a sip as he passed by the receptionist, Donna, and she rolled her eyes at him.
"Healer Malfoy, I have something for you," she said as she handed him a large envelope. "It gave by owl not more than an hour ago, and I've finally caught sight of you."
Draco sighed, wondering what it could be. The only times he received owls at work were in cases of an emergency, and honestly, that was the last thing he needed to deal with right now.
"Thanks, Donna," he said, as he grabbed the orange looking envelope. He eyed the seal at the top but could not identify it from first glance, so he placed it in the pile he had under his arm already and continued walking towards the break room.
Draco stopped suddenly however as he saw room 309. He opened the door and peeped in, to see Jamie Donnelly sitting on the bed, reading over a copy of Hogwarts: A History.
He smiled, before entering the room. "Enjoying the book, Jamie?"
The brunette looked up from the book he was reading with a smile, "Yeah! It's the newest edition and everything! It even talks about the Final Battle, but only to briefly point it out."
Draco tried not to shudder at the mention of the war, but he could not hold back a slight cringe. The days of his past were long behind him, and he had spent the last few years attempting to build up a name for himself, which he could be proud of, and not one that was associated with the darkness of his family's legacy.
Draco simply placed a smile on his face as he walked closer to where the boy was sitting. "Oh really? What part are you at right now?"
"It's talking about the brief reign of Umbridge and how Dumbledore's Army defied, and eventually got rid of her. But I already know everything that happens; this is my fourth time through the book!" Jamie said enthusiastically.
"You remind me of a girl I used to know when I went to school," he reminisced. "It was rare to see her without a copy of the book in her hand. I reckon she's read it at least a hundred times by now."
"Really?" Jamie asked as his face lit up. "What was her name? Do you still talk to her? Do you think that maybe I could meet her?"
"Her name was Hermione," Draco said softly. "But we were never really friends, and now she's just someone from my past."
Jamie looked disappointed at that, but masked it quickly, "That's okay, Healer Malfoy!"
"So how are you feeling today, Jamie?" Draco said, wanting to learn about his patient's current conditions.
Jamie had a rare condition that caused his blood too thin to the point where proper circulation was near impossible. Draco had been made the Healer in charge of his condition when he first came to them a few years back, but he had been no closer to finding a medical solution than he had back then. And it wasn't due to the lack of effort, because Draco spent all the time he was at work, and even some afterhours looking into old records to see what had happened in the past. But so far, nothing had come up.
It didn't help Draco that Jamie had no living family. According to the orphanage, both of his parents had died during the war but their identity was unknown other than the last name that Jamie had. He had attempted to trace back his lineage, but there was virtually nothing on his parents.
"I feel better today," Jamie said with a smile. "It hurts sometimes to move my body, but it's better than the usual."
Draco nodded, "That's good," he said. "Let the nurses know if you need anything, okay?"
"Alright! Bye, Healer Malfoy!" Jamie said with a wave.
Draco left the room, feeling slightly better about his day. Jamie was one of his favourite patients, and he had a way of lifting up one's mood simply by talking to them.
He resumed walking, going down the hall to take his long needed break. He entered the nearly empty room and sat at the table closest to the window.
Draco took some time to go through the files, when he saw the owl that Donna had handed him earlier. Curious, he ripped open the envelope to see a seal at the top, addressed from a law company.
His eyebrows rose; it was very rare that anyone had a complaint with his work, let alone going to a lawyer over it. He took the rest of the envelope so he could read it properly. To his surprise it had nothing to do with any patients he had in the past. Instead, it had to do with another matter altogether.
He had just been served divorce papers.
Hermione stretched on the couch, one hand holding a cup of wine, and another holding the book she had picked up at Diagon Alley. True to her word to Harry, she had spent the evening relaxing and taking care of herself. She hadn't had a night to herself in so long. Even know, she was half tempted to re-open the case files right back up and start looking through them again.
But she wouldn't let herself. Both her parents had been workaholics, and Hermione would not let that happen to herself.
She flipped through the pages of her book, but her mind was wandering, and she knew it.
Hermione looked at the clock, and sighed when she saw that it was only 8 o'clock. It was far too early to consider going to bed, so instead she was going to have find something to keep her occupied.
Her mind began to wander to her life lately. The last few months had been so hard on her, and she had been unable to properly grieve the loss of her relationship and her former friend.
It was fair to say that the split with Ron had most certainly not been amicable. He wanted to fame and the fortune of the life associated with being a war hero, and she simply wished to remain out of the spot light. She didn't blame him; being in a family so large made it hard for a kid to get individual attention. It had never been a problem for her, as her parents had always given her the attention she needed, but also respected her and left her alone when she wanted to be.
Ron's life of fame didn't just end there. He too had decided he didn't want to go into a career filled with action, however his reasons were far too different. He felt as if he had worked hard enough in the past, and when choosing a career, he wanted something fun. So he had chosen Quidditch. Granted, Ron was good at it, but the fame began to get to him.
He started believing that he should be entitled to more; more money, more popularity, and more women. He believed Hermione needed to change who she was so she could fit in with the glamour of his new life, and she had been against it. After all, why should she have to change when it wasn't even for him, but for the press?
She could tell that he began to resent her for it, and longed to be with the other women, but he never gave her any clear indication that he wanted to break it off, so their relationship continued.
That is, until he told her that he had enough and didn't want her to tie him down anymore.
She remembered feeling like she had been hit by a pound of bricks at his words as she listened to him attempt to explain how he needed to be free to enjoy his youth.
Hermione had been shocked. This was Ron; the boy who had dreamed of starting his own family since he was a little boy; but here he was, basically throwing that all away.
She wanted to slap him, but she refrained. Instead she walked away and didn't look back. They had tried to talk a few times since, but each had led to awful arguments, and quite frankly, Hermione was done.
She heard an owl pecking at her window, and stood up, confused. Who would be trying to reach her at this hour? Usually, work owls came in the morning, or before dinner, but rarely after. And she was sure it couldn't have been any of her friends due to the fact that they were most likely all at the Burrow.
Her eyes skimmed the parchment before widening slightly. She couldn't remember the last time she received an owl like this.
Sorry to bother you so late, but something has come up and I need you to come in right away.
They found a body.
A/N: I know this chapter was slightly slower, but there were a lot of things that I had to get out there, so it will pick up soon, I promise! As for things I left unexplained, they all will have their moments, I swear.
As per usual, I will be updating every Sunday (or if something comes up, as soon as possible) (and yes, I know today is Monday; I just got back from a holiday). Let me know what you guys think!