A big thanks to Anne for beta'ing, even though she says that I'm one of her easy ones…
"You know," Ron said conversationally, "they know that we're on the grounds. Don't you think it's a bit ridiculous to stand outside here?"
Ron and Harry were standing on Remus and Anna's front porch, babe in arms.
"No, it wouldn't be right to just barge in," Harry said.
"I think that, under the circumstances…"
"Harry. Ron." Anna looked a bit taken back. "You could have just come right in. What's going on?"
"I'm going to have to call for back-up," Ron told her, quite seriously. "Can I use your fireplace?"
"Of course," Anna said and then blinked. "There really was a baby. That poor thing. Hand her over. Where's her mummy?"
"Dead." Harry's voice was cold and hard as he said it.
"Oh, my goodness. Where? How?"
Remus appeared on the stairs, and with one look at the scene in front of him, made his way quickly down and was at his wife's side.
"What's going on?"
"I don't know just yet, dear. I was asking them the same question," Anna told him patiently.
"It's long and complicated," Harry said. "I'm not sure…"
"Back-up's on the way, Harry," Ron said, emerging from the lounge to join them in the main hall.
"Good. That way I can tell this story once. Just once."
"I also sent for the girls."
Harry raised his eyebrows. "Why?"
"Because they need to be here. Draco Malfoy is still a threat to all of us. Besides, Hermione and Ginny would kill us if we left them out of this one, and I'm already in enough trouble with Hermione."
"I suppose you're right, but I'm the one who's going to be in trouble," he mumbled.
"Why?" Ron asked, interested.
"Because I just am," Harry said miserably. "I'll be lucky to make it home in one piece."
"I'm sure you didn't do anything too terrible," Anna said reassuringly.
Harry shook his head.
"Here they come!"
Three men in black robes approached the house somewhat warily. They wore carefully blank expressions, and they looked the same to Remus. Brown hair, brown eyes… exactly, and perfectly, normal.
"Gentlemen," Ron addressed them as he opened the door.
"Lieutenant Weasley, Officers Wayne, Davis, and Mitchell reporting for duty."
Ron very nearly rolled his eyes at the formality, but held back as Anna was looking very impressed.
"Lieutenant Weasley? When did that happen?"
Ron shrugged. "Oh, not too long ago."
"Why didn't you let us know?" Anna demanded.
"Didn't seem really important, that's all."
Harry stuffed his hands in his pockets. "He got a field commendation for saving the life of a fellow officer under extreme circumstances, and was promoted right there."
"Harry," Ron said warningly.
"That officer was me," Harry finished.
"It's not a big deal," Ron said defensively.
"It is to me," Harry shot back.
"What's going on here?" Hermione and Ginny walked right through the door. It was Hermione who spoke, as Ginny rushed to Harry's arms immediately.
"You didn't tell me you were going on call," Ginny said, and poked a finger in Harry's chest. "Never in my life have I been so mad with you. You have to give me a proper chance to worry."
Harry grinned. "I was actually hoping to spare you some of that worry, dear."
"Nonsense," Ginny said with a toss of her head. "I deserve to know."
"You're right," Harry said finally. "You do. I'll tell you next time. If there is a next time."
"There'd better not be. You're retired. Once and for all, and it's about time someone took notice of that fact."
"Excuse me, Lieutenant Weasley. Can we get on with the report and the investigation?"
"Of course," Ron said, and visibly swallowed at the look Hermione shot him. Obviously, he hadn't told her, as well.
This was getting interesting, Anna thought.
One of the three officers that Anna had taken to privately calling Huey, Dewy, and Louie, gave Ron a quill and a piece of parchment.
"Verbatim," Ron said with authority.
Harry cleared his throat and began to speak. The quill copied everything that the two said, and added some observations of its own.
"On the evening of 22nd August, Lieutenant Weasley received an emergency help call from Mr. and Mrs. Remus J. Lupin regarding unusual sounds on the property.
Lieutenant Weasley responded and contacted Detective Potter, retired, and both officers preceded to the area the citizen was concerned about. After a thorough investigation of the area, Lieutenant Weasley and Detective Potter discovered the body of a female. It is as yet unknown whether said woman was a witch or a Muggle, but the cause of death is the Killing Curse."
Ron took over. "A further investigation of the body revealed that the woman was lying next to a child, who is still alive and in Lieutenant Weasley and Detective Potter's custody.
"A search of the premises showed no signs of Death Eater activity, or any signs of anyone Apparating or Disapparating from the grounds.
"After retrieving the child, Lieutenant Weasley and Detective Potter returned the house of Mr. and Mrs. Remus Lupin, and called for back-up. Said back-up arrived at twenty two fifty-six.
"Officers, if you would inspect the premises once again and seal the crime scene, Lieutenant Weasley and I have some business to attend to."
Harry smiled at the young officer's enthusiasm. He had never been that excited about the job, but then, he'd been fighting Dark wizards from the time he was eleven. The shine had worn off for him by the time he'd been forced into service.
One of the officers, the one on the far left, sneered at him. Harry was used to it. Some officers hadn't taken kindly to his early retirement, but he had ceased to care. Besides which, it wasn't like the department ever let him rest, anyway. When he wasn't playing Quidditch, he was helping clean up some mess for another officer. It was just like being on active duty, without having Ron as his partner.
"Officers," Harry said patiently, "that means you can leave."
Ron, who hadn't been looking at the three look-alikes, turned on his heel and glared.
Even Hermione felt the chill.
"A superior officer just gave you a command, gentlemen," he said politely, but his tone was pure ice. "I suggest you follow it."
The youngest officer left quickly, and the other two followed him out at a much more relaxed pace.
"I ought to write them up," Ron mumbled.
"No, it's not worth it," Harry said, the fact that he was tired clearly showing in his voice. "I'm not on active duty anymore. It would just make things worse for me when I have to work for the department, anyway."
"We have to ask you two a few official questions," Ron said, shooting Harry a look that said there was much more that needed to be discussed.
"All right," Anna said. "Come on through to the kitchen. We'll have a sit down and a nice cup of tea."
It took just a little over an hour to get the Lupins' story straight and down on paper. When the officers brought pictures back of the body, neither one of the old professors recognized her.
Harry and Ron closed their on-scene immediate investigation at eleven thirty, and then it was time to have a more informal chat.
"Okay, spit it out, Harry," Ginny said, once the officers had left and the group was left alone in the kitchen.
"The woman's name," Harry started, "is Cassandra. She's an… acquaintance of Draco's. When Ron and I were doing our investigation of Malfoy's private affairs, her name came up quite a bit with the people we talked to."
"In all likelihood," Ron continued, "Cassandra isn't her real name. By this time, most of the Death Eaters had taken code names and the like to make it more difficult for the government, that is to say, us, to find them."
Harry nodded. "Right. Apparently she and Draco were having a bit of an affair."
Ginny raised her eyebrows. "The last I heard, Pansy and Draco had signed a marriage contract."
Harry shrugged. "That doesn't mean Draco meant to keep his vows."
"If I were Pansy I'd skin him alive," Ginny muttered.
"I think Pansy knew what she was getting into when she agreed to marry him. According to our research, most Malfoys weren't really famous for their fidelity. More often, it was the direct opposite that gave them their reputation," Ron said, almost dismissively.
"Cassandra?" Anna asked to get the conversation back on track.
Harry nodded in acknowledgement. "Draco thought he was being discreet, but obviously he wasn't."
Ron grinned. "Obviously. All of our connections knew about her."
Hermione huffed, but didn't say anything.
"Well, there appeared to have been a bit of a disagreement among the ranks. It seems that some of the remaining Death Eaters didn't approve of their leader's choice in women."
"We think that this might be because she was a Muggle, or possibly even a Squib," Ron inserted.
"Right, but we actually don't know much about her. Other than she was a bit, um, depressing…"
"She kept predicting the defeat of the remaining Death Eaters."
Ginny bit her lip. "Do you think they killed her because of that?"
"It's unlikely. Other than Draco, none of the other Death Eaters are really bold. I can't imagine any of them using the Killing Curse and then advertising it like this."
"So, did Draco kill her?" Hermione asked, her excitement pushing her silence aside.
Ron seemed to ponder it a moment. "Well, according to the rumors that we heard, Malfoy was rather partial to her."
"Yes, but those are rumors," Hermione said quickly. "What do you have that's fact?"
"Not much of anything," Ron admitted. "That's the frustrating part. We can't even prove conclusively that the woman they just hauled off to the morgue is Cassandra. Harry's the only one who could I.D. her."
"Why is that?" Ginny demanded.
"I'm the only one outside of the Death Eaters to have seen her."
There was a silence in the kitchen that was thick and heavy.
"When we entered Malfoy Manor, in your seventh year," Harry began. "I followed Malfoy's trail for a bit."
Even Ron blinked.
"You didn't know either?" Ginny asked. "What were you thinking?"
Harry shrugged. "I wasn't thinking. I was young and stupid."
Ginny bit her lip to keep the scathing reply from falling off. "Then what happened?"
"I didn't find Malfoy," Harry said, "but I did find where he had been most recently, using a spell that follows the traces of a person's magical aura. It's a bit hush-hush."
Ginny nodded. She hadn't been in on the development of that spell, but she had heard of it. It wasn't really approved for use, even now. Unless the wizard using it was extremely talented, it was very unreliable.
"Then I met Cassandra. Actually, it was more that I ran into her than anything else. She took one look at me and ran, but she dropped a note on the way out. It said, ‘Cassandra, they're after me. Leave the Manor and meet at the prearranged spot.' Draco had signed it with his full name."
"It could have been anyone," Ginny broke in. "She could have been carrying the message to the real Cassandra."
"Draco isn't fond of compromising his security," Ron said. "That would have been a definite breach of security."
"So what about the child?"
"Well, about six months ago, the news got out that Cassandra had told Draco the good news. She was going to have a baby. His baby." Ron leaned forward on his elbows, getting in to telling the story.
"From here there are two split stories. The first is that he killed her and dumped the body somewhere. The second is that she had disappeared, and that not even Draco knew where she was."
"So it is possible that Draco killed her!" Hermione said and stood up.
"Possible. Anyway, in all likelihood, if that girl was Cassandra, that little girl is her daughter. If Cassandra was still alive, that little girl could only be a couple of weeks old."
Anna nodded. "She's still small. She could be that young."
Ginny noticed that Hermione and Ron were still carefully not looking at each other.
"Oh, for goodness sake. We aren't going to find out anything just sitting here in the kitchen. It's too late for us to be thinking this hard, anyway. I'm taking my husband and going home."
Just then the doorbell rang.
"Don't answer it," Anna said firmly. "Remus Lupin, if you answer it, I will never forgive you."
"Department of Magical Law Enforcement! Open up!" The magically amplified voice shook the walls of the house.
Harry's head hit the kitchen counter. "Please, don't let it be her. For the love of all things holy, don't let it be her."
"Who?" Anna asked.
"I probably should answer it," Remus said, and got up to walk out to the foyer.
"It's disgusting how terribly Gryffindor he is sometimes," Anna mumbled. "You know, there are wards around our house to prevent this sort of thing."
"You might want to check out those wards," Harry commented as he rose, as well. "I can't imagine how anyone got the body onto the grounds without your security being raised, but I can't say that I'm comfortable with the wards right now."