Gift For: empathic_siren
Summary: Eight years after the end of the war, Harry stumbles upon Draco in an unexpected place: Islington.
Author's notes: Many, many thanks to my betas who did a wonderful job so very quickly. Much love to them both. And for empathic_siren who wanted a bit of a tale about Harry coming to terms with his sexuality. Happy Christmas—I hope your holidays are wonderful!
Harry hated the Tube.
The Northern Line was crowded and overheated, even in December, and if he’d managed to walk out of the Hampstead police station on his own—and how he dreaded having meetings with their detectives; the Islington force was much better organized and besides, he was never comfortable arguing jurisdiction--he’d have merely Apparated back to his office on Tolpuddle Street. As it was Ethan had caught him in the lift, and proceeded to complain at great length about Juliana in dispatch who’d turned him down yet again for a date, and really, Harry thought, leaning against the mirrored door, who could blame her?
He’d made his usual excuse about having lost his Oyster card when he had to stop to purchase a paper ticket and study the Tube map, and Ethan had waited patiently, much to Harry’s annoyance.
It wasn’t that he disliked Ethan. He didn’t dislike anyone anymore. He was too tired to, he thought. Tired and drained and depressed, Hermione said with that worried sigh that Harry thought should, if he were a decent bloke, make him want to feel better for her sake. It didn’t.
They’d dated for a while two years past. Ron had set them up, actually, which was a bit bizarre, given that he’d shagged her for a few years himself, but then again he was happy with Luna now and it was Harry’s experience that anyone who thought they were in love automatically assumed that all their friends wanted to be as well.
It’d been decent enough, him and Hermione; he’d not had to learn what drove her mad, and they were good together in bed. Very good, in fact, and even after breaking up, they occasionally ended up waking in the same bed on a Sunday morning, and neither complained too much about that. Harry rather liked it, in fact. He’d go out for scones and the Guardian and they’d share a pot of tea and maybe another quick shag—or two, if he were lucky--before Hermione headed back to her flat. Much more comfortable than the mornings where he woke up next to some bird whose name he only vaguely remembered from the night before.
He shifted his bag from one hand to the other, a whispered Stabilising Charm keeping him from having to grab at the pole when the train lurched around a curve. Tube legs, his co-workers teased him about having and Harry merely smiled and shrugged when they asked him how he did it.
It was a steady job, working with the force, and there was a good chance he’d make detective inspector this year. He liked his work, rather a lot, really, and he was good at it in ways that surprised his supervisors. And anyway, he preferred to be away from the wizarding world. It had been too much after the war and the Ministry had had plans for him—ones that didn’t coincide with Harry’s own wishes—and everywhere he went he was faced with the spectre of the Boy Who Lived.
He’d hated it, and a year into his Auror training he’d fled for Muggle London and the relative stability of the Metropolitan Police.
Ethan droned on in his ear. The doors opened at King’s Cross St Pancras and the modulated woman’s voice politely suggested that one mind the gap. Harry slid to one side, letting an elderly woman in a brightly coloured sari take the seat behind.
The crowd shifted, and Harry turned his head.
It couldn’t be.
He only had a glimpse, but it’d been enough. Blond hair, almost silver in the fluorescent light, and pale skin, and he was certain he’d seen a glimpse of recognition in grey eyes.
Harry pushed towards the door, ignoring Ethan’s sharp “Potter” and the glares of his fellow passengers making their way further into the train.
“Police,” Harry snapped, holding up his badge and people suddenly stepped out of his way, but it was too late.
The doors closed and, frustrated, Harry slapped his palm against the glass as Draco Malfoy smirked at him from the platform, blond hair swinging against his chin. Malfoy raised a hand, pulling his black coat tighter around him, a dark and silver ghost as the train sped off towards Islington’s Angel Station.
“Bloody hell,” Harry murmured. “Bloody, fucking hell.”
“You’re certain it was him?” Hermione caught a drop of duck sauce with her tongue before it fell from the egg roll onto the bed. She licked her finger and glanced over at Harry from behind messy brown curls.
Harry poked his chopsticks into the box of lo mein, spearing a pepper. He chewed it slowly, leaning back against the headboard. “Yeah. Definitely.”
“So what are you going to do?” Hermione took a sip of water from the bottle she’d set on the sidetable. “The Wizengamot’s already tried him. Taken away his wand. You know that’s the worse punishment for a pureblood.” She shivered and tucked her hair behind one ear. “For any blood, really.”
Harry shrugged. “I don’t know.” He dug at the lo mein for a moment. It was the truth. He’d no idea. It’d just been a shock, seeing Malfoy there on the Tube of all places, and he’d never expected that. It was such a mundane place for the bastard. He sighed and pulled his knees up to his chest. “Maybe I just want to talk to him.”
“About what?” Hermione looked at him as if he’d gone round the twist, and Harry wasn’t entirely certain he hadn’t.
“I don’t know,” he protested. “Why he did it, I reckon. Whether it was worth it.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “You,” she said, poking him with a chopstick, “have always been far too obsessed with Draco Malfoy.” She tilted her head to one side, studying him for a moment. “You know, I thought sixth year that you fancied him a bit. You were always trailing after him.”
“What?” Harry barely caught the lo mein before it hit the mattress. “You never did. That’s just—Merlin, Hermione, that’s revolting.”
She grinned at him. “Well, what was I supposed to think? It wasn’t until you started dating Ginny—“
She broke off, biting her bottom lip, and she looked away.
It’d gotten easier, Harry thought. Now he didn’t flinch anytime someone said her name.
Voldemort had taken her in February, and by the time Harry had found her in June, she was broken in every way possible. When she looked at him, there was nothing there any longer, no life, no recognition, no spark. Just a bleak emptiness that no one had been able to fill.
Harry’d tried. Christ. He’d tried for two years, but nothing had helped, and Molly had finally come to him and wrapped her arms around him and told him to let her go.
Doing so had nearly killed him.
She was in St Mungo’s now, and he went to see her with Ron once a month. She still didn’t recognise him.
It’d been Snape who’d told them in broken, stumbling sentences, words slurring together, what had happened, how the bastards had treated her, and if McGonagall hadn’t been with him in the cell, hadn’t caught his hand when he reached for his wand, Harry would have killed him, just for speaking of it. Just for the angry, bitter pity in Snape’s eyes when he looked at him.
Harry set the lo mein aside and he caught Hermione’s hand, pulling her closer. “I never fancied Malfoy,” he said against her throat, and he felt her soft laugh.
He almost believed it himself.
Harry stared at the computer screen, watching the cursor blink impatiently at him. A Starbucks cup steamed at his elbow. He hated the shite, but he’d stumbled home last night at four in the morning from a stabbing in East London, and he’d discovered at half seven, standing blearily in front of the bathroom sink, that he was out of Pepperup.
His fingers hesitated above the keyboard.
He didn’t have time for this. There was a three-centimetre high stack of paperwork to be gone through before lunch, and Timmons was expecting a briefing this afternoon on the Bryce investigation. And what was the likelihood that Malfoy’d be listed in the Yard’s database anyway?
The keys clacked softly. Last name, Malfoy. First name, Draco.
Harry hit enter, sending the request spinning through HOLMES’ cross-referenced list of anyone in the British Isles—and quite a few outside, given Interpol and FBI resources—who had been booked for any type of crime.
Nothing. Of course. It was crazy to expect—and then Harry paused. He was an idiot.
His fingers flew over the keyboard.
Last name, Black. First name, Lucius.
The screen flashed, and there it was.
Against all odds.
The photo was recent, as were the fingerprints. Malfoy’s hair hung down to his chin, framing his faint, superior smile. It was a face that knew the procedure; there was no fear or shame in his expression, merely the trace of exasperation at having his evening interrupted. Grey eyes were steady, one eyebrow quirked.
Take the damned picture already, Harry could almost hear him say.
“Christ,” he breathed, leaning closer to the screen. Vice records. Fourteen of them at least in the past six years, and wouldn’t you know that Malfoy’d be a poof?
The first record was from 2000. Two years after the war, and Malfoy’d been caught soliciting in a Soho alley.
Harry’d been on the force long enough to know exactly what some of the constables thought of the rentboys and how they could be treated when they were brought in. He’d seen more than one walk out of the station with more bruises than he’d had when he’d been booked.
It made Harry uncomfortable, and he’d spoken out once as a detective constable, only to be asked point-blank by Blake if he was one of those lot himself. If he’d like one of those boys to give him a bit of a ride because, mates, that could be arranged, now couldn’t it? Give Detective Constable Potter a thrill, should they?
Harry’d turned away, face red, and Olliver, his partner at the time and a twenty-year veteran, had just shaken his head and warned him to leave things well enough alone. The boys knew what to expect when they came in, after all.
“You’re an idealist, Potter,” Olliver had said with a sigh. “A few more years seeing what people are mad enough to do to one another and you’ll change your tune. Pick your battles. Believe me, lad. You’ll be glad of it.”
It’d been two years before Harry told him he’d already been taught that lesson.
“Potter,” Timmons snapped from the doorway. “Holland Walk. Council housing. Olliver’s said to send you down.”
Harry was already reaching for his jacket. “Right.” He hesitated, glancing back at the computer.
It only took a moment to scribble down the address before clearing the screen.
He’d lost his bloody mind.
Edward Olliver was a burly man, wide and tall, with the faintest tinge of a West Indian accent from his mother’s side, his practical personality brusque and straightforward. Harry’d liked him from the moment they first met, Harry as a constable who’d stumbled across a man beaten to death in a Camden Town warehouse, Olliver as the detective sergeant assigned to the case.
Olliver had been the one to pull him from the beat, bringing him into the Criminal Investigation Department. They’d worked together for nearly four years, until Olliver had been promoted to detective chief inspector and sent to Homicide Command in the Specialist Crime Directorate seven months past.
He was one of the few people Harry trusted implicitly. In everything.
Harry still missed the bastard. He’d been the only Muggle Harry’d ever told about the wizarding world, one night over pints at the pub down from the station. It’d been a nasty case that day, a rape, and Harry’d only been able to think of Ginny and what had happened to her so many times. He’d drunk himself nearly into a stupor, spilling ale on the papers he was to file, and Olliver had found him there. And when he’d slid into the seat across from Harry, and demanded to know what the fucking hell was wrong, Harry’d told him.
His partner hadn’t batted an eye, merely grunted and muttered, “always knew there was something odd about you” before telling Harry to hand him the damned paperwork so he could wrap up this bloody case.
Two months later, Harry’d returned the favour, when Olliver lay in hospital, a gunshot wound in his chest. Olliver’d broken down then, told him about a woman he’d loved and lost nearly a quarter-century past, about their son who’d been murdered a few years back, and Harry’d squeezed his shoulder and made the same empty promises of retribution that Olliver’d given to him earlier that year—ones they both knew were useless comfort. After all, they both made them every day to families across Islington. And when Olliver’d slept, finally, Harry’d stayed with him, curling up in the chair in the corner.
That’s what partners did, after all.
Olliver was squatting next to the body when Harry ducked beneath the crime scene tape, and he didn’t even bother to look up, instead motioning Harry over.
“How’s the Yard?” Harry murmured, squatting next to him. The body was sprawled across the cobblestoned alley, a wide gash across the neck, an arm thrown over the face as if to ward itself. Blood covered the throat, congealing on pale skin, matting in dark hair, and the clothes were rumpled, jumper ripped and jeans torn, black bloodstains stretching across the hips.
The body. It always surprised Harry how much he could detach himself from a scene like this. It couldn’t be human. He couldn’t let himself think of it that way, not now, not at the scene.
Olliver snorted and rubbed the back of a gloved hand over his close-cropped dark curls. A few streaks of grey were beginning to spread across his temples. “Bigger lot of tits I’ve never seen. Almost puts Timmons to shame.” He glanced over at Harry. “Been trying to get you over there since June.”
“Not interested.” Harry gave him a faint smile.
“Pity. Could use your voudoun down there. Third one of these in the past month.” Olliver handed him a pair of latex gloves. “So. Any ideas?”
Harry frowned down at the body. “Geoff Anders. Caucasian male, late twenties, probably using an alias, given that he was found in this section of Islington, throat slashed left to right, vivisected and genitalia removed.”
“All that from your—“ Olliver hesitated, then wiggled his fingers at Harry. “You know.”
“No.” Harry grinned at him. “I skimmed the report your constable’s filing right now.”
“Prick.” Olliver pulled at Anders’ jeans gently. The fabric slid open, revealing the clotted stump of a penis. “Did a decent job there.”
Harry winced. “Christ.” He slid his wand out of his pocket, glancing around to make certain no one was watching. A quick flick of his wrist and a murmured Legilimens, and he pressed lightly at the edges of the dead man’s mind, searching for any residual entrance.
He sighed. “It’s been too long.”
“Sodding fuck.” Olliver ran a hand over his face, tugging at his jowls. “Nothing then?”
“Not from him.” Harry hesitated. “Send me the full reports. Maybe another pair of eyes?”
“Expect them this evening. But I think you ought to see this. It’s why I called you down.” Olliver slid the corpse’s arm away from its face. The hand flopped against the cobblestones, splashing into a puddle.
Harry’s breath caught.
Olliver looked over at him. “Poor sod looks rather a bit like you, doesn’t he?”
Harry pulled his coat tighter around him, huddling into the warming charm as he lingered across from the bank of grim council houses on Lyon Street. He sipped from a paper cup of tepid Darjeeling, purchased from the tiny newsagents on the corner and cursed the London rain.
Polyjuice. It’d only taken him a moment to cast the detection charm and Olliver had demanded to know what it meant. Harry hadn’t known what to tell him. Anders—or whomever he was—had been a wizard, which meant the Aurors should be involved. Harry knew that.
He also knew he’d not owled Ron yet, or Tonks, or Kingsley even. He didn’t want to, and he couldn’t quite explain why.
Just like he couldn’t explain why he was standing here in the damned rain watching Draco Malfoy’s flat.
He was done with it.
He crossed the street.
Harry tossed the cup in the rubbish bin on the corner, exasperated with himself. This was mad. Entirely. Christ. He should be at work; there were three cases already on his desk waiting--
Malfoy’s window opened and a towel landed on Harry’s shoulder. He caught it reflexively before it hit the wet pavement.
“Wipe your feet if you’re coming up,” a familiar drawl said above him. “I just had the floors cleaned.”
Malfoy had answered the door in trousers only—black wool, Harry noted with a detective’s eye, and he ignored the sharp jut of Malfoy’s hipbones above the thin waistband and the way the wool smoothed over his arse when he turned to go back into the bedroom, leaving Harry alone long enough to look around.
Music drifted down the hallway—French pop, Harry thought, bright and crisp. Not something he would expect Malfoy to listen to.
The flat was small, but meticulously tidy, and there was nothing visible in the tiny sitting room that would indicate a wizard lived there. Three creaky wood steps led up to a galley kitchen--gas stove, refrigerator, miniscule sink. The dishes were stacked neatly in the cupboards behind glass-paned doors, the paint chipped at the corners.
There was a telly in the corner with a Freeview box, and the books on the bookcases on either side of the worn leather chesterfield were all Muggle—Harry saw Joyce and Doyle and Hornsby and tucked away on a bottom shelf he thought perhaps he might even have had a glimpse of Stephen King.
“I do read, you realise.”
Malfoy had pulled on a white shirt; it hung open as he fastened the cuffs, and he’d pulled his damp hair back neatly.
“Interesting books.” Harry stood up, and his coat swung around his hips. He pushed it back on one side, tucking a hand into his pocket and giving Malfoy a glimpse of the badge clipped to his belt.
Malfoy blinked slowly.
“The truly interesting ones are in the bedroom.” He slid his feet into a pair of black loafers sitting next to the chesterfield. “What are you doing here, Potter? I sincerely doubt it’s for sex.” He looked Harry up and down. “Filth, are you now? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Once an Auror, always one, Muggle or not, I suppose.”
Harry couldn’t stop himself. “And once a whore, always a whore?”
Malfoy paused, his fingers stilling on his shirt buttons. “If you must be so vulgar.”
“How else would you describe it?” Harry ran a hand through his hair. “Fourteen vice violations since 2000. What the hell are you thinking—“
“I’m thinking that I like eating,” Malfoy snapped. “And I like a roof over my head.”
“By shagging any bloke who wants a slap and tickle—“ Harry couldn’t explain why he was so angry. It was a waste, he thought. Even Malfoy deserved better.
Malfoy’s grey eyes blazed. “What should I be doing, Potter? The Wizengamot never stopped to think of that, now did they? Took my wand, sent me to live as a Squib for all intents and purposes, stole the Manor and all my father’s accounts, and made it damned certain that the wizarding world would toss me out on my ear--”
“You could have found help.”
“From whom?” Malfoy gave him a scathing glare. “Surely not you. You wanted me in Azkaban as I recall.”
“Snape,” Harry bit out, and even though it wasn’t fair of him to use that particular card for any number of reasons and he bloody well knew it, he was still surprised to see Malfoy’s face crumple for the briefest moment before he caught himself, his mask sliding into place.
“How is he?” Malfoy asked, and his voice was almost calm.
Harry hesitated. When Voldemort had discovered Snape’s betrayal he’d cursed him, a hex that had broken his spine and seeped into his neurological system, the Healers said. The spine had been easy to fix. Snape’s mind, on the other hand, had not. He hadn’t left St Mungo’s in three years. They never expected him to.
Harry’d seen him a few months ago on a visit to Ginny. Snape’d been curled in a corner on the locked ward, raving to a mediwizard sitting patiently next to him. He was barely intelligible, words garbled as he shouted about Death Eaters and Dumbledore and broken promises, and when Harry’d passed, he’d grabbed his arm, fingers digging in painfully, and the look of humiliated anguish in Snape’s dark eyes when he’d choked out “Potter—owe me—out help of here” had twisted Harry’s gut before the mediwizard Stunned Snape into letting go.
It was a slow, excruciating end for a proud man. Particularly one who had been the only reason in the end that Harry had been able to defeat the Dark Lord.
“He’s not well,” Harry said slowly. “It’s only a matter of time now.”
“I see.” Malfoy looked away. “The last time I saw him was after my hearing, you know.”
There was an awkward silence. The hearing had been a farce, really. Harry knew that now, but at the moment he’d wanted someone—anyone—to pay. Only Snape’s angry, halting testimony had kept Malfoy from Azkaban—or, like his parents, a Dementor’s Kiss.
“I could take you to see him,” Harry offered. It seemed a small penance to pay for his youthful ignorance.
“No.” Malfoy’s voice was sharp.
Harry nodded, relieved. He’d rather not repeat that experience. He glanced around. “Doesn’t seem like you’d like living like a Muggle.”
“I don’t, you idiot.” Malfoy had stepped away, his back to Harry, and he was staring out the window, watching the rain stream down in long rivulets. “But I prefer it to the alternative. Particularly given the life span of former Death Eaters in the wizarding world.”
Harry couldn’t protest. It wasn’t uncommon for a rumoured Voldemort supporter to be found dead in ditches and alleys, whether or not they’d been through Wizengamot hearings. Sometimes it was still enough for a whisper of collaboration to taint a wizard or witch, destroying their lives and often those of their families.
“Why’d you do it, Draco?” he asked softly. “You didn’t have to take the Mark. You didn’t have to do what he asked.”
Malfoy laughed, a sharp bark of resentful laughter that echoed in the room. “You always were thick, weren’t you?” He looked at Harry then, and his eyes were cold and empty. “I never had a choice, Potter. Just as you never had a choice about killing him.”
“There’s always a choice,” Harry said, but he didn’t really believe the hollow words any more than Malfoy.
“The truly ironic thing,” Malfoy said, looking down at the wet street again, “is that everything I did was to keep my parents alive. And for what? It was always going to be either His Lordship or the Ministry.” He glanced back at Harry. “They never had a chance,” he said bitterly.
Harry said nothing.
Malfoy walked to the door and opened it, waiting. “Get out.”
Harry stopped in the hallway, turning back to look at Malfoy. “Six years. You couldn’t have found another way?”
Malfoy slammed the door in his face.
Ron caught his Boddingtons just before Harry knocked it over with another one of the homicide reports. “Watch it, mate.”
“Sorry.” Harry rubbed his palm over his burning eyes, and he stretched, grateful for the pop of the vertebrae in his neck. They’d been going over the files Olliver had sent over for five hours now, and the only thing they’d discovered, besides the fact that each of the three murders were committed in an identical fashion, was that each of the victims resembled a war hero.
Victor Whitman, Remus Lupin. Timothy Griffin, Severus Snape. Geoff Anders, Harry Potter.
“I feel sorry for the Snape one,” Ron muttered, and he downed another swallow of beer. “Rotten luck, dying like that.”
“What I don’t understand,” Harry said, peering down at the crime scene photos, “is how they managed to stay Polyjuiced.” He tossed a picture of Griffin on the autopsy table down. “Fourteen hours after death. Still looks like him.”
Ron shuddered and pushed the photo away. “Christ, the way Muggles treat their dead’s inhuman. Can’t they at least mend the skin?”
“With what?” Harry frowned at the autopsy report for Whitman. He’d had a kidney removed for some odd reason. “They’re Muggles, Ron. They do the best they can.” He bit his lip. “Who are they?”
“They don’t match any of the missing wizard reports I have.” Ron set a bright orange folder on the table. Its papers ruffled inside, a quick puff of exasperation. “Then again, the description’s not really much to go on unless you turned up missing.” He looked at Harry over the rim of his beer bottle. “Don’t go doing that, all right? Bad enough when you lit off with that French bird last Christmas and didn’t tell anyone. Mum nearly had a heart attack.”
Harry snorted and leaned back in his chair. “This is bloody ridiculous.”
“What’s bloody ridiculous is that I’m still here.” Ron drained his beer and with a grimace wiped the back of his hand across his mouth. “Horrible shite. Next time, I bring the beer, all right?”
“I like it.” Harry grinned up at him, rocking his chair back. It creaked underneath him, and Harry let it fall back with a thud.
“You’re mad. And you’ve no taste.” Ron stood up and shrugged on his Auror’s robe. The new squad commander insignia glittered in the lamplight. “I’ll leave those files with you. Just don’t lose them or Kingsley’ll have my arse.” He glanced down at Harry. “You know you could come back any time. Tonks tells me that every time we have a meeting.”
“I know.” Harry reached for his beer. It was warm and bitter against his tongue. “You know why I can’t, though.”
Ron sighed. “It’ll calm down eventually.”
“Eight years, Ron.” Harry shook his head. “You know as well as I do it never will. I won’t ever be anything but the Boy Who Lived, and I’m tired of it all. Besides, I rather like straddling both worlds like this.”
“Right.” Ron rolled his eyes and grabbed another beer from the table. “Tell Hermione hello if you see her before Sunday. She’s coming over to take Luna shopping, but I think that’s just an excuse for Luna not to have to go to dinner at the Burrow and have Mum ask her again why we’re not married yet.”
“You have gotten her up the duff,” Harry pointed out with a laugh. “You’d think this would be the time.”
“Tell her.” Ron fastened the frogs on his robe. They croaked softly with each click. “It’s not like I haven’t asked.”
The flat was quiet after the Floo sputtered out, and Harry looked back down at the autopsy photo of Geoff Anders. It was strange, seeing his own face cold and grey, the y-incision barely missing the mole on his right clavicle.
He had to be overlooking something, somewhere.
With a sigh, he reached for his coat. It didn’t look like tonight would be filled with sleep either.
He really needed to order some more Pepperup.
It wasn’t difficult to Apparate into Geoff Anders’ flat. The wards were strong, but Harry had gotten used to breaking wards during the war, and within three minutes he was inside, latex gloves on.
Muggle habits were hard to break.
The flat was dirty, piles of dishes spread across the floor, clothes draped on the telly. No Floo, no sign of a wizard’s presence, no pictures even, and Harry frowned. The flat was almost like a filthy version of Malfoy’s.
It was in the bathroom that Harry found the first traces of magic. Potions, a chest full of them, in small blue apothecary bottles labeled to resemble Muggle herbal infusions. Quite a bit of Polyjuice—Harry nearly gagged at the smell—and a few other medicinal potions, those purchased from a small apothecary off Knockturn Alley.
Harry slid the Pepperup into his pocket.
There was a mobile on the sidetable in the bedroom, and Harry flipped it open. One new voice mail.
He hit the call button.
It took a moment to connect, and Harry nearly dropped the phone when he heard Malfoy’s voice.
Where are you? You stupid sod, I’ve been trying to reach you for two bloody days and now you’ve forced me to speak to this wretched Muggle thing when you know I despise it. Ring me back.
The voice mail beeped.
Harry closed the mobile slowly and slid it into his pocket.
Draco Malfoy had some explanations to give.
Harry heard Draco down the hallway, complaining as usual. Twenty-six years old and it seemed he still acted like he was eleven.
Shrugging out of his jacket, he draped it over one of the chairs in the holding room. Hermione’d bought it for him when he’d first made detective sergeant, and it was one of his favourites, brown Harris tweed with suede patches on the elbows, and combined with his uniform of jeans, white shirt, loose tie, wire-rim glasses and messy black hair, it gave him a suitably intellectual look that managed to send him home from the pub on Friday nights with a girl rather frequently.
Harry refused to consider why he grabbed it from the closet today.
“Black’s here, Harry.” Gemma Ansari, a detective constable Timmons had brought on a few weeks back, knocked on the doorway. “Bit of a prat, isn’t he?” she murmured.
“I heard that.” Draco entered the room with as much confident aplomb as he had when they were in Hogwarts. He moved as if he owned even the Muggle world, and Harry envied him that certainty as much as he envied him the elegant way he took the chair, crossing one leg over the other with a bored sigh. “Stupid rasher.”
Harry nodded at Gemma, and she backed out of the room, with a sideways glare at Draco.
Harry didn’t quite think he blamed her.
“What is it, Potter?” Draco examined his neatly trimmed fingernails. “I truly hope you’ve a decent excuse for bringing me into this hellhole at such an ungodly hour.” He looked up then. “Well, aren’t you going to offer me tea?”
Harry set a manila folder on the table. “No. And this ungodly hour is two in the afternoon.”
“I work late.” Draco smirked at him, and Harry resisted the urge to throw him out of that damned chair.
Instead, he opened the folder, tossing the photographs across the table. “Anders. Griffin. Whitman. Odd, but they all seem to have familiar faces.”
The colour in Draco’s cheeks drained and he reached for the photo of Anders with a shaking hand. “When?” he murmured, and Harry felt a twist of relief that he wouldn’t have to force Draco to help.
“Anders was found yesterday morning.”
“I just rang him,” Draco said quietly, almost to himself. “He never answered.”
Harry sat on the edge of the desk. “Who was he, Draco?”
Draco’s eyes flashed and he tossed the photo down again. “I’m not your Watson.”
“Christ.” Harry ran a hand through his hair, leaving it standing on end. Even after eight years, Draco was still a bloody annoying little prick. “You know him. I’ve a message you left on his mobile—“
Draco glared at him. Harry sighed.
“Don’t you want to find who did this?”
“You won’t.” Draco looked away. “I can guarantee that.”
Harry pleated his tie between his fingers, let it go, then pleated it again. “Why not?” he asked finally.
Draco didn’t answer.
“Look,” Harry said, “I need your help—“
“Or what?” Draco stood up. “You can’t keep me; you’ve nothing on me. Not in regards to those—“ he pointed at the pictures, “—or my method of paying for my flat. So if you’ll excuse me—“
“Draco,” Harry said softly and Draco’s shoulders stiffened. He turned, at the door, and the glare he sent back at Harry had a tinge of fear. He knew what was happening. Harry was certain of it. “You’re frightened.”
Draco shook his head. “You’re mad, Potter. Now either charge me with something or let me go.”
There was silence for a long moment, and then Draco sighed.
“Leave me be, Potter. Please. For Merlin’s sake, just leave me—and all of this--be.”
The room was oddly empty when he left.
Green flames flickered around Ron’s head.
“Better make this quick. Kingsley’s in rare form today. We’re all putting Galleons on whether or not Tonks made him sleep in the library again.”
Harry snorted. “Do they ever stop arguing?”
“Only long enough for a makeup shag or two.” Ron grinned. “So, I reckon you’re wanting to know what I found?”
“Yeah.” Harry bit into a reheated pasty and swallowed. Four o’clock and he was just now slipping home for a quick lunch and a Floo call to one of the Auror hearths. Fucking Malfoy. “Anything?”
“Nothing.” Ron shook his head. “Cross-referenced every Ministry file I could wiggle my way into, and let me tell you, I probably broke a few codes in the process. Better be bloody glad I’ve high-level access, mate.”
“No trace of any of those names?” Harry wiped his mouth. He wasn’t surprised. He’d expected them to be aliases.
“In those combinations? No. According to the Ministry, they don’t exist.” Ron hesitated. “There are records with those last names, though.”
Harry raised an eyebrow. “Really.”
“Yeah.” Ron pushed a thick file through the Floo. Fresh parchment copies stuck out willy-nilly from the stack, their corners curling slightly. “Thought you might like them. Might be some others tucked in there too—I couldn’t be too thorough with Kingsley breathing down my neck. Interesting stuff in there; don’t know how useful it’ll be. Makes for good gossip though. Did you know old Ollivander had three brothers? Weird. Only showed up because his mum’s mum was an Anders. One of them had a Squib in the family too—very hush-hush that. Padma Patil married one four years back—an Anders, that is, not a Squib. I think I remember Hermione trying to make me go to the wedding when we were together.”
“She did,” Harry said dryly. “I got you out of it last minute by pretending to be ill.”
“Oh, right. She caught us out, didn’t she? Oh, and Crabbe—remember that piece of shite?—he had a Whitman for an aunt.” Ron scratched his chin. “Didn’t they put him in Azkaban?”
“Most of them ended up there.” Harry flipped through the papers quickly. Birth records, death notices, marriages licenses, Auror reports, Ministry departmental lists… “Ron, if you weren’t a bloke, I’d kiss you.”
Ron gave him an odd look. “Right. Well, you can buy me a pint instead.”
Harry was already two pages into the file by the time the Floo flickered out.
“You realise it’s well past time you had a new partner, yes?” Olliver set his whisky down on the bar. “That Ansari’s a bright girl, according to her files.”
”Stop breaking into Personnel’s records. You can’t tell me you’ve forgotten how tetchy they were about it last time they caught you.” Harry waved Andy over, holding up his empty glass. The Angel was only a few streets away from the station, near the corner of Pentonville and High Streets, next to the Tube, and was a favourite meeting place for constables and detectives both off duty and on. Wetherspoon never complained; he claimed the filth kept his pub in order, the way they had in his father’s day and his grandfather’s and his great-grandfather’s.
“Keeping an eye on you, Potter.” Wetherspoon drew him another Guinness. “I’m not sending you home pissed tonight.”
“Sod off,” Harry said amicably. “It’s not Friday yet.”
Wetherspoon set the pint down in front of him. The head sloshed over the side, splattering across Harry’s hand, and he licked it clean.
“Any matter, I don’t need a partner,” he said to Olliver. “Besides, it’s not like Timmons hasn’t tried.”
“So I’ve heard.” Olliver eyed him. “You run them off in less than a week.” He drained his whisky. “Stop being a prick, Potter. Or get off your lazy arse and come over to SCD.”
Harry didn’t say anything. He didn’t want a partner. He wanted Olliver. They’d worked well together, to the point they’d even begun finishing each other’s sentences. It’d been easy, the two of them, and he knew finding that again would be nearly impossible. And finding a partner who could know his particular secrets was unthinkable. Olliver’d just accepted them, without surprise, without question, without scepticism. It’d surprised Harry, but he’d been grateful. He wasn’t going to have that again, he knew.
But going to the Yard?
Not a possibility. If he’d wanted that, he’d have stayed with the Ministry.
Harry liked Islington. He liked the streets, and he liked the people. He was comfortable here. Police work suited him, and he felt as if he was doing something worthwhile. He didn’t have the bureaucracy of the Yard hanging over him, nor the expectations of the Ministry.
He didn’t have to be anyone here but Harry. Not the Boy Who Lived, not the Saviour of the Wizarding World. Just the quirky detective sergeant with his odd little hunches.
The Guinness was half-gone; he tilted the glass, watching the remnants of foam slide up the side.
It wasn’t as if he avoided the wizarding world. The great majority of his friends were wizards and witches, he shopped rather frequently in Diagon Alley, and he used magic every day.
He just wasn’t willing to give up the safe anonymity of the Muggle world, he supposed.
Rather like Malfoy, really.
“Guinness for your thoughts,” Olliver said as Wetherspoon set another whisky in front of him.
Harry took a sip of beer, licking his bottom lip. “Do you believe in coincidences?”
“Me either.” Harry twisted his glass between his hands. A shout went up from the group of constables gathered around the dartboards. “It’s just I find it odd that I unexpectedly run into an old schoolmate who happens to have connections to your case.”
“The rentboy?” Olliver scratched at his beard. “Bit murky, that.” He eyed Harry. “You think it’s deliberate?”
“I don’t know.” Harry finished off his Guinness and set the glass down, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “But I think maybe I should find out.”
Olliver nodded and picked up his whisky. “No such thing, really, as a coincidence. Especially when it comes to rentboys. Bloke’ll do a lot if he needs a few pounds.”
“I’ll come with you then.” Olliver reached for his coat.
“No need. Finish your drink, mate.” Harry slid off the stool. “I’ll let you know what I find out.”
Harry pounded on the door of flat 4B. “Come on, Malfoy. I know you’re in there.”
The door flew open and Malfoy, wrapped in a black silk dressing gown, his hair mussed and cheeks flushed, glared out at him. There was a long, pink scratch down the side of his throat. “Get lost, Potter,” he snapped, and started to close the door.
Harry stuck his foot out, stopping him. “Let me in or I take you and whomever you’ve got in there down to the station.” He crossed his arms. “Don’t make me do that, Malfoy.”
A scruffy man, not much older than Harry himself, came out of the bedroom, running his hand through his messy dark hair. He was naked and Harry looked away quickly from his lanky, thin body and the curve of his cock. “Something wrong?”
“No.” Malfoy met Harry’s eyes. “Potter was just leaving.”
“Are you trying to get me to take you in?” Harry was beginning to lose his temper. Christ. He wondered if he could get away with strangling the bastard. Accidental death in the course of an investigation—it happened sometimes.
Malfoy flushed. “Stephen is not here on business,” he hissed at Harry, and Harry felt his face flame.
“Oh.” Harry tried not to look at the man leaning against the wall, or at the bite mark on Malfoy’s jaw.
Malfoy rolled his eyes. “Will you please get out of my doorway?”
Harry stepped back hurriedly. “Right. Sorry.”
Malfoy slammed the door on him. Again.
Harry sat on the steps of Malfoy’s building. He didn’t know why he was waiting. It’d been nearly an hour and a half, and who knew? Maybe Malfoy was the type who liked to cuddle afterwards.
He tipped a bottle of beer to his lips. Thank God for off licenses, and the rule about drinking on duty be damned. There were moments when a bloke just needed a bit of alcohol to forget what he’d just seen.
The problem was, he couldn’t.
It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate women. God knew he did. He liked their softness, their warmth, the sweet taste of the gloss on their mouths.
Women were beautiful, and he liked nothing better than to have one wrapped around him.
But he noticed men. He always had; he knew that. And he knew most blokes didn’t pay attention to the way a man’s back smoothed into an arse, or the slope of a man’s shoulders, or the sharp jut of a man’s hipbones, so much narrower and more prominent than a woman’s.
He didn’t like that he looked. And he tried not to. Christ, he’d tried. And he’d become quite good at not noticing.
It wasn’t that he thought it was wrong to be bent. He didn’t care what people did in their own bedrooms. It was just--he wasn’t like that.
He didn’t want to be like that. He couldn’t be.
A movement at the end of the street caught his eye; he had the odd sense of being watched—a skill he’d developed in the war and honed on the beat. “Hullo?” he called out, his hand going to his wand.
There was silence, then the rustle of a bush and a fox darted out, disappearing into the rubbish bins across the pavement. Harry snorted. He was too damned jumpy tonight.
Another swig of beer, and he leaned back against the iron railing of the steps. It had to hurt, really. After all, it wasn’t as if that was made for sex.
He shuddered and the bottle clinked against his teeth. He couldn’t imagine doing that in a million years.
And then he thought of the bite mark on Malfoy’s jaw, and he wondered what his skin would taste like, if the faint stubble would scratch his lips. It had to be different from kissing a woman. There were more angles, after all. Fewer curves.
His breath caught.
The door rattled behind him and Stephen came out, dressed this time in jeans and a jumper, and Harry hated him when he flashed a grin at him.
“He says you might as well come upstairs before you’re too pissed to walk.”
Harry glanced up at the window. A drape shifted, and he caught a glimpse of Malfoy’s pale face. “Bastard,” he muttered, and he kicked over two bottles when he stood. They clanked against the pavement.
“He won’t be any good for a while, though,” Stephen said, with a smirk that made Harry want to knock him to the ground. There were love bites on his clavicle. “He’s a brilliant fuck, you know .”
“Bugger off, arsewipe,” Harry said, and he let the door snap shut behind him.
Malfoy’d at least had the decency to pull on clothes.
Although it didn’t help that his idea of proper attire was a pair of grey cotton pyjama bottoms that slid low on his hips and a white ribbed undershirt.
Harry shifted on the chesterfield, suddenly uncomfortable, and quite aware that he might not be entirely sober.
Malfoy sat down next to him with a sigh. He crossed one leg over the other, bobbing his bare foot lightly in the air. “Well?”
“What?” Harry looked up from studying the curve of Malfoy’s arch and blinked.
There was an annoyed sigh from the other end of the chesterfield. “It’s midnight, Potter, and you’re in my sitting room. Do forgive me if I wonder what the hell you might want from me.”
“Oh.” Harry rubbed his palm over the chesterfield’s curved arm. The worn leather was warm against his skin. “Right.” He’d rather not think about what it was that he might or might not want. “It’s just you showed up so conveniently.”
Malfoy gave him an odd look. “What?”
“Seven years almost since I last saw you at the hearing and now suddenly you show up right at the time when there’s a murder case that you know something about—“ Harry broke off and he shook his head, scraping his thumbnail across the leather piping on the chesterfield. “Something’s going on. I can feel it.”
There was a silence. Harry could hear the distant sounds of traffic and the faint tap of rain starting against the windowpanes.
Malfoy glanced away, and he pulled his knees up to his chest, his feet pressing against the edge of the cushion, toes curled into the leather. He sighed. “I followed you the other night. I didn’t intend for you to see me. I didn’t know if you’d be needed. I just wanted to know how I could find you if you were.”
“Needed for what?” Harry watched him carefully. Malfoy shrugged and his fingers smoothed over the cotton of his pyjama bottoms, pressing them to his shins.
“Something. Anything. You are the Boy Who Lived after all. Seemed like a good idea to find you. In case.” Malfoy looked at him then, and his pale blond hair swung forward, brushing against the marks on his neck. Harry licked his bottom lip and turned his head.
This was a sodding bad idea.
“Who’s Anders?” he asked, trying to keep hold of the threads of conversation, and then Malfoy’s palm slid over his jaw, turning his head, and he was right there.
“Why’d you sit out there, Harry?” Malfoy asked, and his breath was soft and warm against Harry’s cheek. “Two hours, just to talk to me?” His thumb dragged over Harry’s mouth, and Harry froze, his fingers digging into the leather.
“Malfoy—“ he started, and then Malfoy’s mouth was against his, wet and open, and he was straddling Harry’s hips, pressing him back against the cushions.
Harry couldn’t stop his hands from curling over Malfoy’s shoulders, and he knew he should push him away. This was mad. Utterly mad.
And then Malfoy shifted, sliding forward, and his tongue slid into Harry’s mouth and that was his cock--Christ--this was what a man tasted like, what he felt like, and Harry was so bloody pissed—
Malfoy’s mouth moved down Harry’s throat, nipping lightly, and he felt entirely different from the way Hermione felt against Harry. Malfoy was hard and rough, and Harry could feel the barest hint of stubble rasping lightly across his skin.
He was hard, and breathless, and Malfoy rocked into him and Harry gasped and that was too much, that press of cock against cock. Harry pushed Malfoy away, knocking him off his lap and onto the floor.
“Don’t,” he choked out, staring at Malfoy sprawled in front of him, his pyjama bottoms tented. Malfoy was breathing hard, his eyes bright, cheeks flushed.
He looked incredible.
Shaking, Harry pulled himself up. “I have to—“ He swallowed hard, hands tightening into fists. “Yeah.”
He fled the flat, leaving Malfoy watching him, slightly dazed.
Hermione hadn’t said anything about Harry arriving in the middle of the night, reeking of beer. He’d just pushed her into the bedroom, jerking off her knickers as they stumbled backwards, kissing, and they hadn’t even made it to the bed before he was in her.
They fucked on the floor, quick and fast, her legs wrapped around his hips, fingers digging into his shoulders, and it’d been enough to push the thought of Malfoy out of his mind.
At least for a few hours.
Work seemed to be slightly less distracting.
Harry leaned back in his chair and ran his hand over his face. He could feel the press of Malfoy’s mouth still, the warmth of his cock—Harry groaned and rocked forward, burying his face in his hand.
He was getting hard just thinking about it.
“I’m never drinking again,” he mumbled into his palm.
“Pity,” a woman said, amusement tingeing her voice.
Harry dropped his hand, face flushed, and he slid his chair further under his desk in an attempt to hide the bulge in his trousers. Gemma set a stack of papers on his desk. “These were faxed over from the Yard.”
The phone rang.
“And that,” Gemma said, “would be the Yard.”
“Thanks.” Harry reached for the phone as she slipped out the door. “Potter here.”
“Are you looking at the faxes?” Olliver’s voice was brusque, hurried, and Harry could hear the blare of traffic in the background.
Harry skimmed the first one. “Gemma just gave them to me—“ He broke off, flipping to the second page. “Bloody fuck.”
“Rentboys all,” Olliver said. “You want to explain how four of you lot ended up bending over for a few pounds?”
“I know who can.” Harry pushed the papers into a folder. “I’ll ring you on your mobile when I find out. I want to check something first.”
He hung up and grabbed his jacket and the folder.
This time Malfoy was staying the fuck away from him.
First, however, he needed to Floo Hermione.
The morgue was cold.
Harry knew it had to be—one didn’t want bodies rotting, after all, bad form that--but there was cold and then there was freeze your damned bollocks off.
The morgue assistant pulled the drawer out. “I can give you five minutes, but you owe me, Potter.”
“Tickets to Arsenal against Man United, I promise, Patrick. Up the Arse and all, what?” Harry shivered and pulled his jacket tighter. Still strange to see his face like that. Hermione shifted next to him, and he could feel her distress. He touched her arm lightly; she looked at him, lip caught between her teeth, and tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear.
Patrick snorted. “Better come through this time or I’ll put a bug in Timmons’ ear.”
Harry waited until the door clicked shut behind him. “What do you think?”
Hermione studied the body. “It’s strange. Definitely your face.” Her eyes drifted further down. “And cock.”
“I’m bigger than that,” Harry protested and Hermione rolled her eyes and pulled her wand out.
“Shrinkage. It’s freezing in here, and he doesn’t have any flowing blood.” She walked to the other side, her mouth pursed. She flicked her wand at the corpse, murmuring under her breath. Black sparks drifted across the grey skin. “Interesting.”
“What?” Harry leaned forward, watching the pattern form on the skin.
Hermione frowned down at the sparks. “It’s not just Polyjuice. Obviously. There are traces of an additional potion of some sort. Possibly transfiguratory, which makes sense.” She looked up at Harry. “It’d keep the form after death. Very difficult to break too. It’s just usually those sorts of potions are considered very experimental because they tend to border on poisons. You have to be very adept at brewing either of them. It’s far too easy to mix them and end up with a potion that’s a poison or a poison that’s a potion. Or both.” She frowned. “We’ve done a bit of work with them at the Ministry, mostly based on Death Eater research.”
“So which is this?” Harry asked, looking up at her.
“I don’t know. I’d have to examine the molecular structure and magical signature of the potion remnants and that takes time.”
“Right.” Harry shoved his hands in his pockets, rocking forward on the balls of his feet. “But we do know they were forced to drink something before death.”
She shook her head. “Not necessarily. Some potions can be delivered intravenously. St Mungo’s does it all the time with unconscious patients, and there are Dark potions that work best through a cut in the skin.”
“Possibly the mutilation?”
“Maybe, although I’m not getting the proper readings from the wounds to say definitively. Check the reports again.” Hermione swept her wand over the body and the sparks disappeared. “Something could have been overlooked. Or maybe there was a puncture wound? A needle of some sort could have been used. Far easier to transport potions to be used offensively in that manner. The Death Eaters did it from time to time during the war.”
Harry stared down at the body, rubbing his hand across the back of his neck. Fucking hell. “And that would look like?”
“Small circular wound, probably surrounded by a slight bit of bruising, I’d say.”
Harry squatted slightly, peering at Anders’ neck. “Rather like this?” He pointed to a faint bruise around what looked like a purple-black pinprick just behind Anders ear. It’d been listed on the autopsy report as a possible bugbite, he recalled.
Hermione looked at him. “Rather like that, yes.”
“Great.” Harry sighed and pulled out his mobile.
Hermione touched the tip of her wand to the bruise. Dark sparks exploded everywhere. “Any idea who did this?”
“No.” Harry dialed a number. “But I know who’s at the top of my list now.”
“Malfoy?” Hermione asked, curious, and Harry held up his hand.
“Olliver,” he said into the phone. “I think you need to stop by the morgue.”
“There has to be a motive.” Olliver bent over the body, pressing lightly against the tiny cut with a gloved fingertip. Hermione frowned at him, shooing him off as she traced her wand lightly along the y-incision across Anders’ chest. “You can’t jump to conclusions just because you don’t like this rentboy of yours.”
“He’s not mine,” Harry protested. He leaned against the tile wall, arms crossed. “And doesn’t it make sense? I mean, he’s not told me a damned thing—“
“Except that he’s frightened.” Olliver stood up. “What’s wrong with you, Potter? You’re acting like a twat. For Christ’s sake, think. You’ve a bloke who’s connected to these murders. Same profession, same background, knew at least one of them well enough to leave a message on his mobile, won’t tell you anything except a vague indication that he’s scared shitless. Now is he your suspect or your next victim?”
Frustrated, Harry ran a hand through his hair, leaving it standing on end. “He stonewalls me—“
“And how many times have you run up against that in this line of work?” Olliver shook his head. “You’re slipping, Potter. He’s a rentboy. On a good day, he’s not exactly what you’d call trusting of the filth, now is he? And if there’s history between you two—“
Harry flushed. It sounded so damned tawdry. “Just old school grudges.”
“That’s enough.” Olliver looked over at Hermione. “Tell him he’s being a twat.”
She didn’t even glance up as she gently tapped her wand into a clear phial. Green sparks tumbled down to the bottom. “You’re being a twat, Harry.”
“Then tell me who our top suspect is?” Harry glared at them both. “We’ve nothing.”
Hermione sealed the phial. “You’ll have something shortly. A name at least for this poor fellow. I think I’ve enough for the Aurors to trace a magical signature at least.” She glanced hesitantly at Olliver. “You know they’ll want to take this on though. It’s not Muggle any longer.”
“The fucking hell it’s not.” Olliver glared at her. “My case, my jurisdiction.”
Hermione ignored him. “If Malfoy’s involved, Harry, the Wizengamot will have to be notified. Once I turn this in…”
Harry sighed. Christ, this was not something he wanted to argue at the moment. “Is there any way to keep it hush for now?”
“I could talk to Ron, I suppose.” Hermione chewed her bottom lip. “He’s high enough to get me Auror laboratory access without having to file an actual report. And I’ve a contact in the labs who could probably assist, as long as Ron signs off on it.”
Harry nodded. “Ask him. Tell him he owes me that favour from last year still. He’ll know what you mean.”
“How long until we hear anything?” Olliver asked.
“An hour, maybe two.” Hermione slid her wand into her pocket. “I’ll let Harry know as soon as I can.”
She Apparated and Harry looked at Olliver. “She’s right, you know. The Aurors will take this over at some point. They have to.”
“Then I reckon we should find the bastard first,” Olliver said calmly.
Harry grinned. “I reckon we should.”
Files were scattered across Harry’s desk.
There was something he was overlooking; he knew that. Something obvious and glaring. He rubbed his temple, staring down at the pages of notes he’d made.
How’d the three wizards get hold of the Polyjuice? He supposed they might have brewed it themselves, but chances were, given that they were making a living as Muggle prostitutes, their names were on the extensive list of Death Eaters who’d escaped Azkaban only to have their wands taken, their magic hobbled. And the Office of Improper Use of Magic kept a strict eye on the list as a whole.
So someone had to give it to them. But who, and why?
And how the bloody hell had that person managed to obtain enough bits and pieces of Remus and Snape and himself?
It made no sense.
Harry pulled his glasses off, tossing them on the pile of papers. He pinched the bridge of his nose.
He needed a break.
There was a loud pop, one that nearly sent him backwards in his chair, surprised, and then Ron was there, in the shadows in the corner, a rolled parchment in his hand.
“Jesus.” Harry glared at him and slid his glasses back on. “Don’t bloody do that in here. I could have been in a meeting—“
Ron shrugged. “Obliviation, mate. It’s an Auror’s friend.”
“I was expecting an owl.” Harry leaned forward. “What do you have?”
Ron handed him the parchment silently.
Harry scanned it quickly. Christ. Bloody fucking Christ. He looked up at Ron. “Explains a bit, at least.”
“Yeah,” Ron said. “But only a bit.”
Harry shivered. Something was wrong. He could feel it in his bones and he wasn’t certain why.
He just knew he needed to see Malfoy.
He stood up, not bothering to put the files away. His wand was in his pocket, and he reached for his coat. “Come on,” he said, and Ron gave him a curious look.
“Where are we going?”
Harry shrugged. “I have an odd feeling. Wouldn’t hurt to check it out.”
END OF PART ONE
CONTINUED IN PART TWO