Harry rounded the corner of St. Mungos scrubbing a hand through his hair, he had spent the last hour with the cleanup crew down in Diagon with Dean and Seamus. He caught mops of red hair and saw the Weasley Matriarch moments before she crushed him into a rib cracking hug. “I’m alright mum, how’s Ron.” He asked hugging her back.
“He was hit with a modified stinging hex that reacted badly with the spell damage he’s been suffering from on your last raid.” She gave Harry a look that made him swallow back an apology. The years had been kind to her, her flaming hair streaked liberally with silver and her eyes still warm as ever, “don’t go feeling guilty. You know Ron would take those and a thousand more for you.” She shook her head, “but who would do this? Didn’t we suffer enough under You-Know-Who?”
Harry tightened his arms around her. “I know mum, I know. The kids?”
“At the Burrow with Bill and Fleur, Arthur is in with Ron right now I was just coming out to check on Albus and Scorpius.” She motioned to the side and Harry turned to see his son sitting with his friend, their heads close together as they looked at something in a book.
He also saw Draco talking quietly to his mother and Harry was shocked to see the Malfoy matriarch there as well. Harry gave Molly’s arm a squeeze and walked over, “hey boys why didn’t you go to the Burrow with everyone?” He sighed softly at the twin looks of ‘what the hell’ from the boys and shook his head. Interhouse relations were still a work in progress, two snakes in a den full of lions never went well even with Rosie being in Ravenclaw and Bill and Fleur’s children being students at Beauxbatons.
“Harry,” Narcissa said softly, pulling the darker males attention up to her. He stood up, bending at the waist a bit to press a kiss to her cheek.
“It’s good to see you Narcissa, how have you been?”
She was still as stunning as she was fifteen years ago, her pale hair was pulled back in an elegant french twist, more white than blonde now and fine lines around her eyes lending her an air of matronly elegance that she held well. “Southern France has been very kind to me. It’s rather lovely this time of year, I would like it if you and Albus visited more often.” She pinned him with a look that successfully had him feeling like a shuffling, reprimanded child again. She glanced over his shoulder seeing a Healer and tracked him until he was out of sight before she drew Harry closer. “Draco says it was Dolohov, is this true?”
Green eyes met pale grey and Draco simply shrugged. “You try keeping something from her.”
“It’ll never happen,” Harry laughed softly shaking his head. “I can’t tell you everything but yes. Have you been in con...tact...with…” His words trailed off at her sharp look and he shivered at the icy ferocity in her gaze. “Sorry ma’am.”
“You know very well that I wouldn’t risk time with Scorpius or my son. I cut all ties to those people and last I had heard Dolohov was in a cell near Lucius.” She reached into the folds of her robes and drew out a single, slender envelope. “This, however, did come for me a few days ago. I never broke the seal.”
Draco looked over Harry’s shoulder and sucked in a sharp breath as seeing the very same symbol hanging in the sky of Diagon Alley pressed into the wax. “Well this is a fucking coincidence.”
“Draco Lucius Malfoy, you watch your language.” Narcissa snapped as their boys snickered behind her. Harry bit back a laugh at seeing the flush on his partners cheeks, also trying not to think on how good it made him look.
“Sorry Mother,” Draco muttered taking the letter from Harry and turning it over in his slender fingers. “No return address, how did this arrive?”
“It was there when your aunt and I had returned home from tea with the lovely witches down the lane from us. Even Lopsy had no idea where it came from.”
“We should have a curse-breaker look at...it….what?” Harry asked as he got a side glance from Draco.
“Really Potter, you’d think you would remember who you partnered with.”
“Except you’re an auror.”
“Who spent most of my training with the curse-breakers. Before they partnered me up with Lee, you remember how everyone refused to partner with me I’m sure.”
“Excuse me? Auror Potter?” A spritely witch bobbed up to them. “I’m Healer Janice Todd, you’re working with the American Aurors yes?”
“Um...yes are they alright?”
“Yes, they’re asking for you and we don’t wish to release Miss Rosewood just yet but she’s demanding to see you and Auror Malfoy.”
“Rosewood?” Narcissa asked softly, tapping a finger to her lips. “That name sounds so familiar,” she mused shaking her head. “Ah I’m sure it will come to me.”
“Mother, can you take the boys? We were going to ask if they could stay with you at the cabin, with us being on a new case…”
“I’ll take them, not to worry my little dragon.” She pressed a kiss to his forehead and clapped for the boys. “Come along you two, Draco, Harry I expect you both for dinner this evening and bring along the lady Aurors who are staying with you. I wish to meet the Americans that have my grandsons so enamoured.” She cast a sharp glance to them and both men swallowed hard.
“Yes mother, six o’clock sound good to you?”
“Perfect,” She nodded as she took both of the boys hands and lead them to the Floo.
Harry and Draco turned to follow the Healer down the hall. Draco slid the letter into the folds of his robes, ready to look it over when they were back at Grimmauld Place. He watched Harry from the corner of his eye, watching how he lost himself to thought and chewed on his plump lower lip. Draco knew that this partnership was something he had always wanted but being so close to the object of his desire for the last twenty some odd years was slowly driving him mad. Astoria was hardly cold in her grave and the blonde was wanting nothing more than to kiss him. He sighed softly, shaking that thought from his head as they rounded the corner only to hear a tirade in a heavily accented voice from down the hall.
“Sylvie you really need to calm down,” Lyra’s gentle voice could be heard through the door.
“Calm down? Non! There’s some kinda gris-gris here and they ain’t lettin ya go?” Harry and Draco exchanged a look at the total change in the werewolf, though Draco’s eye twitched at the french.
“I knew I recognized her accent, she’s bloody cajun!” The blonde hissed.
“Ya got a problem with it blondie?” Sylvie snapped as she opened the door.
“Oh my hell, Sylvie!” Lyra groaned from the bed, her freckled cheeks slightly paler than normal. “I am so sorry Draco, she gets...testy and then her mother’s blood comes out.”
“Do ya know how long it took me ta get dem damn coonassin Healers to let me in ‘ere?” She glared at said Healer who simply glared back. “Least dis here lil’cher went ta get ya.” The witch threw herself into a chair with a huff.
“We were only concerned-”
“Thank you Healer Todd, if we could please have a moment with them? Is Lyra well enough to leave?” Harry flashed her his most charming ‘Golden Boy’ smile that absolutely did not make Draco swoon.
“O-oh,” Healer Todd blushed as she looked at the chart in her hand. “S-she’s cleared to leave whenever. All her tests came back fine, but if you insist about her leaving we can’t stand in the way of official Auror business.”
“Thank you Healer Todd,” He smiled again, leading her out of the door and casting a glare at Draco who snorted into his hand. “Shut it.”
“Not on your life, Golden Boy.” he smirked, eyes locking with Harry’s enchanting emerald.
“Boys?” Lyra called snapping them out of their little staring contest and making them both blush.
“What happened out there Lyra?” Harry asked, pulling up a chair to the bed she sat in.
Sylvie perked up as she pushed herself up into a more upright position, “before she answers...we have people in...3...2...1” She clicked her fingers pointing to the door as it burst open to reveal a slightly panicked looking Neville and Blaise smirking right behind him. “Welcome to the party boys,” Sylvie smirked her accent receding a bit, though the hard hits on her vowels still in her voice.
Lyra blushed harder as she smoothed the blanket over her lap carefully, her dark eyes avoiding looking at Neville, who had dazzled her with his knowledge of plants in Diagon Alley, as Harry and Draco shared a look. “Hi Neville,” she said softly.
“Lyra, are you alright?” He cast a glare at his snickering partner as they shouldered their way into the room.
Harry smirked as he watched his friend, elbowing Draco lightly who only shook his head as he watched his own childhood friend drooling over a seemingly uninterested werewolf. “Good thing you two are here. Did you find anything out?”
“Dolohov was somehow released about six months ago, he made it sound like he was reformed and ready to rejoin society and make amends. He’s kept his nose down and stayed within his parole until this. Kingsley wants us to go and have a look at his house he’s got curse-breakers taking down the wards.” Blaise dropped into a chair, lounging back and running his fingers through the soft curls of his hair.
“It would help if we knew what we were looking for,” Draco sighed leaning against the wall, pressing the heel of his hand into his arm to rub away the phantom pain of his Dark Mark.
“That’s where I come in.” Lyra said as she lifted a hand with a shy smile. “Before he AK’d himself I saw...something.”
“You...wait a second you were inside his head as he died?” Nevill’s eyes went wide as he gaped at her.
“The one thing I’ve told her twenty million times to NOT DO!” Sylvie growled glaring at her handler who simply glared back.
“Oh I’m sorry was I supposed to tap him on the shoulder and ask him where his head was during this whole holy unspeakable killing spree?” Lyra glared back at the werewolf.
“You were in his head minutes before he killed himself! You know what that does to you!”
“He was going to kill himself anyway! That was his mission all along and we needed answers before they were lost! My comfort means nothing when we can get answers or did you forget that these people killed Leigh?” Lyra asked, “she always said to use our skills to the absolute end to find all the answers. It was the only way we could get ahead.”
“Ladies,” Blaise chuckled. “We have a case to work, you can snipe at each other later.”
“Bitch,” Lyra grumbled pushing the blankets off her legs and standing up.
“Brat,” Sylvie shot back though there was a relieved note in her voice as the other woman got up.
“Right, so...as Sylvie pointed out I was in that mans head. I couldn’t find much, I saw...flashes. A pale man with no nose, a snake...a really big snake, a crazed looking man with long teeth and claws.”
“ Vargulf ,” Sylvie hissed spitting onto the floor and making the wizards exchange a look.
“Gypsy thing,” Lyra rushed on. “But I also saw something that might help. I saw canals and a city that sits on stilts.”
“Venice,” Draco muttered softly, the first thing that popped into his mind.
“Well…” Harry sighed raking his fingers through his hair making it fluff and stick up haphazardly. “We need to search Dolohov’s house. See what we can find and hopefully click in some answers.”
“Jail break?” Sylvie asked hopefully, visibly perking up as she got to her feet.
“Jai-she’s free to-”
“Jail break!” Sylvie cackled as she gathered Lyra up, booking it out the door.
“She’s insane.” Draco groaned rubbing at his temples.
“That’s what makes her so fun.” Blaise laughed slapping his friend on the back.
“You’re insane,” Draco sighed as the four wizards followed the witches out of the hospital.
Harry flinched as the door to the small house swung open with an ominous creak, revealing dark shabby rooms with stagnant air. The curse-breakers had done their jobs and now the small team of Aurors were left to gather evidence. Harry sighed as he pulled out his wand, “ lumos. ”
“Not showing off this time Potter?” Blaise smirked as he flicked his own wand, wordlessly summoning the ball of light to the tip of his wand and wiggling his eyebrows at Sylvie who snorted and rolled her eyes.
“Be careful what you touch everyone, the curse-breakers cleared things out but we don’t know what sorts of things Dolohov was keeping here.” Draco instructed, with his own muttered lumos , moving into the main living area. Pale eyes scanned the room, a shiver racing along his spine as he felt the tingle of dark magic. Flashes of Dolohov sitting at his table in the Manor raced through his mind as they began their search. He remembered with unease the way the man would happily torture muggles and non-supporters, forever loyally at the beck and call of the Dark Lord. Draco pressed the heel of his palm into his arm as phantom pains raced through his nerve endings as he remembered Dolohov holding him down as he was given the mark. He felt a pressure on his hand and looked to see Harry’s sun darkened one resting over his own moon kissed skin. Warmth radiated from the darker Auror and grey eyes lifted up to see understanding and compassion staring back at him from that comforting emerald gaze. He shook his head slightly and Harry nodded, giving his wrist a squeeze before moving past him and further into the room.
Harry stood by a desk that was shoved into a corner and held his wand aloft as he began looking over the papers scattered there. Slight movement caught his eye and he spotted photos from the original Death Eaters gathered up. Bellatrix’s maniacal smile and crazy hair and Fenrir snarling up at him from the magical pictures. Harry felt the rage pool in his stomach as he waved his hand over the photo, watching as flames curled around it and felt a wave of satisfaction roll over him as the people in the photo tried to get away from the flames.
“Really?” Blaise snorted as he walked past.
Harry shrugged as he began to sort through papers, listening as the other Aurors rustled around looking for clues. He heard humming and turned to see Sylvie bobbing along to some music in her own head, catching only the last bit of what she was singing.
“ La da...dada da….dadada… OW!” The werewolf yelped as a book clipped her in the side of the head and she whipped around to see Lyra glaring at her. Sylvie smirked back at her bracing her hands on her hips, “good golly!”
“I will end you,” Lyra glared at her friend as the woman only smirked.
“Um...guys? I think I found something.” Neville called from down the hall.
The five Aurors drifted down the hall to see Neville standing in an empty room. Well, not empty, on the long table there were several masks laid out each one of them done in different colors and sets of the deep red robes hanging on mannequins. On the far wall the same symbol the dark wizard had thrown up in the sky was painted, drips of red had slid down the wall leaving trails behind.
“Well…” Harry muttered, “that’s not creepy.”
“Not at all,” Sylvie rolled her eyes as she moved over to the table picking up a mask. “This looks like something you would see down in Naw’Lens during Mardi Gras.”
Blaise moved over to her, looking at the mask from over her shoulder. “It looks like something my mother would collect.”
“Let me guess she also collects the petite dolls, with all the pretty petticoats and delicate curled hair?”
“Yeah, she loves them.” He nodded.
“Creepy,” Sylve shook her head waving her wand and muttering a shrinking spell on all the masks and putting them into a bag.
“Hey guys, look at this.” Lyra held up a letter. “I think we found our way in, there’s a gathering in Venice at the end of the week.”
Harry walked over and took the letter looking it over, his heart falling as he saw the date. “September first…”
“The same day the kids go back to school,” Draco said softly.
“Kingsley will probably want us to go and investigate,” emerald eyes lifted to meet slate grey. “I’ll miss Lily going on the train.”
“We can go mate,” Neville said softly. “I don’t want you missing-”
“They attacked Diagon Alley Nev...where my kids were. They attacked Hermione...twice. Ginny won’t like it...but I need to be there you will all need my help.”
“Hero complex...that’s going to get you killed.” Draco muttered, “no one would fault you if you wanted to be here.”
“Scared that I’ll show you up Malfoy?” Harry smirked as he watched a pale brow arch at him.
“Oh my god kiss already! The tension is killing me!” Sylvie griped from behind them making both men blush hotly and look away from each other.
Lyra groaned as she smacked a hand to her face shaking her head, “I can’t take you anywhere.” She sighed, “well looks like none of us are sleeping tonight, who wants take out while we go over evidence and get sanctions to go to this party?”
“Not thai tonight,” Blaise groaned, “my stomach tried to kill me after that last time.”
Draco’s eyes went wide as he fumbled with his wand. “Bloody hell! What time is it?” He cast a quick tempus charm and groaned as he saw the time. “We have to be at mother’s in 10 minutes! She wants to meet Sylvie and Lyra because of Albus and Scorpius. You two are coming with,” he glanced at Neville and Blaise, the Gryffindor paling a bit at the thought of dinner with the Malfoy matriarch. “The sooner we go, the sooner we can get back to the case and I don’t have to listen to my mother guilt trip me about the new women in my son’s life that she didn’t know about.”
Blaise barked a laugh as he held out his arm to Sylvie, “shall we go m’lady?” He gave her a dashing grin to which the witch only rolled her eyes but took his arm.
“You splinch me I’m going to cut your dick off.”
Blaise paled a bit before popping away, Neville taking Draco’s arm as Harry took Lyra’s and with twin pops they left the house.
The six Aurors landed easily in the receiving room of the ‘modest’ cabin Narcissa kept in England. In reality it was a sprawling country house, Draco sighed softly as the warmth of his home chased away the chill of Dolohov’s house. In the years following the war the elder Malfoy had decided to rid them of the home that was tainted. Where the Manor once stood was simply a grand space of land that held no purpose even now. Draco felt that the very ground was tainted from the darkness that was Voldemort and had not set foot on his ancestral land since. His mother kept two homes, one in England that she enjoyed during the summers when Scorpius was out of school and her main home in Southern France that she shared with her living sister. The door to the receiving room was opened and an elderly house elf stuck her head in, narrowing her eyes at Draco.
“Master Draco is being late! Madame Narcissa expected him to be here at 6 o’clock.”
Draco rolled his eyes, “we are not late Lopsy, we are-” he heard the clock start to chime six and sighed shaking his head. “Late.”
“That is what Lopsy said, now come. The young Masters are waiting with Madame Narcissa.” She motioned for them to follow her, Blaise snickering at the glare his friend tossed him as they entered the formal dining room. Albus and Scorpius were both sitting at the table, talking with Narcissa who watched the boys with a fond smile on her face. As the doors opened she slowly stood up, her pale blue eyes taking in the six adults.
“You are late my dragon.” She arched a brow at her son who flushed and moved to press a kiss to her cheek.
“We were investigating mother, time ran away from us.”
“I suppose I will allow it, this time.” She turned to Harry accepting a kiss on the cheek from him as well as Blaise. “Blaise, how is your mother?”
“She is well,” The darker male smiled. “She’s looking forward to your next garden party.”
“Such a dear, I look forward to seeing her again.” Her eyes traveled to Neville and she gave him a gentle smile. “Good to see you as well Auror Longbottom. I hope your grandmother is well.”
“She is, thank you ma’am. You look lovely as always.” Neville gave her a stiff smile, still uncomfortable around the woman due to her sister torturing his parents.
Pale eyes landed on the two women who stood ramrod straight, their hands folded behind their backs. “And I am right in assuming that these are the American Aurors?”
“Agent Sylvie Rasputin, ma’am. On loan from the MCUSA to assist with a case.”
“Rasputin? As in the ‘Mad Monk’?” A pale brow lifted and Sylvie shrugged, not squirming under the scrutiny.
“His brother actually, my da married a gadje woman and left the clan to be with her. I completed school at Ilvermorny and joined the Auror program after graduating.”
“A gypsy? It’s been a long time since I have been around one. My aunt Walburga-”
“Sylvie’s a Black,” Harry broke in with a small chuckle. “We found out the first day in the house. She looks almost exactly like Iola Black.”
“Ah, yes. Well welcome to my home.”
“Thank you for having me,” Sylvie said softly, looking a bit uncomfortable with the reminder of being part of one of the oldest families in England.
“And you are?” Narcissa’s eyes traveled to Lyra who smiled kindly at the elder Malfoy, slipping into her pureblood manners easily.
“Agent Lyra Rosewood ma’am. I’m Agent Rasputin’s partner.”
“You are...Rosewood? Ah now I know why I know that name. You look so much like your mother.”
Lyra paled, her freckles standing out once more. “You know my mother?” She squeaked, clearing her throat.
“Why yes, my ex husband, Cersei torment his soul, had some dealings over in the United States. Business ventures he called them, he had an interest in the Rosewood Potioneer business. Your family is quite well known for their brews.”
Lyra’s lips pursed tightly as she fisted her hands into her robes. “Yes...mother and father are very proud of their empire, though they refuse to help those who really need the potions. They were...less than thrilled when I entered the Auror program.” Lyra rolled her eyes, “mother thought it was...unlady like. Told me my future husband would not like that line of work.”
Narcissa’s eyes danced as she let out a small laugh. “Considering he is in the same line of work I would hardly think it would matter.” She arched an eyebrow at the several confused looks she got. “Draco has been promised to Lyra since they were in nappies...well more accurately since Lyra was born since her elder sisters were already promised to others.”
“Mother!” Draco yelped, casting a frantic glance at Harry and seeing something akin to hurt in those emerald eyes.
“I beg your pardon?” Lyra gasped, her own dark eyes finding Neville’s who was looking at her in confusion.
Narcissa laughed, covering her lips with her fingers. “I apologize, I always look for a way to nettle my son. I had the contract nulled shortly after the war. With Lucius rotting away in his cell I refused to dictate my sons life and wished him to live as he chose. With whomever he chose.” She cast a meaningful look at Draco who groaned softly and scrubbed a hand over his face, a feeling she had a certain dark skinned auror in mind. “Now then, who is hungry?”
“We are!” Scorpius called from the table, the two boys had silently been watching everything, snickering at the older woman’s antics.
Narcissa smiled as she motioned for everyone to have a seat. Draco settled into the seat at his mother’s right, feeling Harry drop into the chair next to him. He chanced a glance at the darker male, catching the other’s emerald gaze and offering a small smile. Harry smiled back softly and shrugged, nudging the lighter male with his foot under the table. It was a moment of peace, and the six Aurors knew it would probably be one of the last they would be able to have in this investigation.