SIYE Time:9:42 on 27th July 2021

Masterful Murder
By Khrys

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Category: Hogwarts Express Challenge (2006-3)
Genres: Action/Adventure
Warnings: Death
Story is Complete
Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 8
Summary: Hogwarts Express (3-2006) Challenge for SIYE:
Murder aboard the Hogwarts Express. Who died? Who killed them? How did it happen? And, for the Love of Pete, Why? Follow Harry as he investigates the murder of a Death Eater found aboard the Hogwarts Express.
Hitcount: Story Total: 3257

Author's Notes:
Author’s Note: J.K. Rowling created the world in which I work. Everything Harry is hers alone.


Hogwarts Express (3-2006) SIYE Challenge

The whistle sounded as the train pulled away from the station platform. Harry looked around the compartment and saw each of his friends buried in their own grief. Ron was holding Hermione, just as he had held her during the funeral the previous day. Fred sat next to them, silent and fuming. Ginny sat next to Harry but refused to look at him or allow her body to come into contact with his. George sat beside Ginny, a mirror image of his twin.

It was the day after Dumbledore’s funeral. The funeral had been a horrible end, to a very trying year. Everyone had been together at the funeral. Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Fred, and George had surrounded Harry, taking comfort in their shared pain.

Harry thought back on their departure from Hogwarts. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had met them after the funeral and asked them all to take the train to Kings Cross Station.

“We have things to do, Mum,” Fred protested.

“We don’t have time to baby-sit,” Fred argued.

“I’m asking you to join them on the train,” Molly insisted. “Not just for their safety, but also for yours.”

“We’ll be fine in the shop,” George maintained.

“They don’t need anyone to go with them,” George pointed out. “They’ll be with the other students.”

“Fine,” Molly declared. “I’m no longer asking you, I’m telling you. You will accompany them on the train to Kings Cross Station and wait for us there. I don’t want another word out of either of you.”

The atmosphere in the large compartment was tense. For a moment, Harry thought that he would be overpowered by the silence. Then, an obnoxious growling sound filled the air. Ron ran a hand over his stomach absently, mumbling an apology of sorts.

Fred and George, who had barely spoken a word the entire trip, glared at the sudden intrusion.

“It’s not like them to be so quiet. I know that Molly coerced them into taking the train from Hogwarts so that they could watch over us, but they’re acting like it’s a sentence to Azkaban.” The sound of Ron’s stomach rumbling a second time brought Harry out of his reverie. “Where is the food trolley? The trolley witch should have been by an hour ago.”

Just then, Neville burst into the compartment. “Harry, come quick,” he panted.

Luna, who had followed Neville in, smiled serenely at the group. “There’s been a murder.”

“What?” Harry shouted, his head was spinning at the news.

“Where?” Ginny asked.

“Who?” Hermione wondered.

“No one knows,” Luna said dreamily. “The Head Boy and Head Girl want you to come to the Prefect compartment.”

“All of you,” Neville insisted, having regained his composure. “We have to go quickly. Everyone has already heard about the murder. They want to see you right away.”

Harry pushed his way out of the compartment, followed closely by Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Fred, and George. Neville and Luna trailed behind them as they made their way past compartments full of gawking students. The continued down the narrow hallway until they reached the Prefect compartment. Once there, they all filed into the already crowded room, each person vying for a good vantage point in the crowded space.

The Head Boy quickly brought them all up to speed, offering a succinct explanation of the situation. “The body of a Death Eater was discovered on the train in the trolley witch’s compartment. We took a vote of all of the Prefects who were present and we elected you to investigate the crime.” He paused to notice the reactions on everyone’s faces.

“You have the most experience with Death Eaters,” the Head Girl offered as an explanation.

Behind Harry, Ron and Ginny gasped. Harry could hear Hermione’s muted protests. A hush fell over the room as Harry smiled blandly at the Head Boy and Head Girl.

“I guess if you chose me, I must accept. It doesn’t seem that I have much of a choice, do I? After all, I do have the most experience with Death Eaters.”

With that, Harry strode from the compartment, elbowing people out of his way as he went. It was a difficult task owing to the sheer number of students who had crammed themselves into the compartment to hear the announcement.

He approached the sliding door to the next compartment slowly. He paused with his hand on the handle as he realized that he had never seen this part of the train before. He wasn’t sure what to expect, but he bravely set about opening the door. No sooner had he cracked the door open, than an overwhelmingly sweet and sickeningly flowery smell assaulted his senses. The perfume stung his eyes and burned his nose.

Harry took a step into the compartment, but instantly found himself choking on the stale air. With his eyes watering, he made a mental note to find out which of the students wore the foul smelling perfume.

He backed out of the compartment, coughing as he stepped into the hallway. He found himself pressed against a mass of bodies, all of whom were struggling to see inside the compartment.

“Back up,” Harry commanded.

Not a single person moved a muscle. “Back up,” Harry growled at the nearest student.

The student, a trembling young wizard fresh from his first year at Hogwarts, flinched at the ferocity in Harry’s voice. He tried to move back, but there was nowhere for him to go. He tripped over the hem of his robes in an attempt to get out of the way. The hallway was jammed, each student packed into the space with not so much as an inch between them.

“Who is that? How come I don’t know who he is? Oh, He’s a Hufflepuff. Still, I should know him...” Harry continued to try and process what was happening in his mind as he allowed his temper to rise.

Harry was just starting to feel his temper get the best of him when a familiar sound calmed him at once.

“Make way,” Fred called out.

“Move over,” George ordered.

“Everyone OUT,” they hollered, “or we’ll release our entire stock of dungbombs.”

Miraculously, the hallway cleared in a flash. Soon, only Harry and his close friends remained. Ron stood, close to Hermione, peering over her head to catch a glimpse of what lay in the compartment. Ginny hung behind, avoiding Harry, but wanting to be close to him at the same time. Neville and Luna were leaning against the far wall of the hallway. Neville had a look of pure terror on his face, while Luna seemed intrigued by the circumstances. Fred and George were standing directly behind Harry, their arms folded across their chests identically.

“We’re here to offer our services,” George began.

“and help you with the investigation,” Fred finished.

“Thanks,” Harry said gratefully. “I have a feeling I’ll need it.”

“I thought we were all going to help,” Ron complained. “I’m already set to go.”

“I think it will be easier if there are less people,” Harry told him quietly. “I don’t want anyone to think that we’re biased in the investigation. If all of us tromp all over trying to figure out who the killer is, then they might say that we are trying to frame someone.”

Ron shrugged in defeat, his feelings hurt but acceptance on his face.

“I promise that if I need help,” Harry began seriously, “that you will be the first person I call.”

The situation was lightened as Ginny snorted in laughter. “He’s all set to go,” she laughed. “Put that magnifying glass away, Ron.”

“It almost seems like you were prepared for this,” Harry suggested jokingly.

“Come off of it, Mate,” Ron argued. “How could any of us be prepared for this?”

“Oh, yeah?” Hermione interrupted cheekily. “So how come you have those handcuffs, then?”

“No reason,” Ron muttered, his face burning with embarassment. “Let’s go back to the compartment and play some Exploding Snap.”

He practically yanked Hermione and Ginny off their feet as he dragged them down the hallway to their compartment. Neville and Luna remained behind for a moment before reluctantly joining the other three in their compartment.

Once everyone had left, Harry slid the door to the Trolley Witch’s compartment open wide. With a flick of his wand, the window opened and cool breeze blew through the compartment. Within minutes, the room was aired out and the air breathable. Harry stowed his wand back into his robes and cautiously entered the room.

“Hold your breath,” Harry advised. “It still doesn’t smell too good in here.”

A slight figure lay crumpled on its side on the floor, the grim black robes spread out around the body. As Harry looked around, he noticed that the contents of the trolley had been scattered across the floor of the compartment. The trolley itself lay on its side, tipped over onto the padded bench next to the Trolley Witch herself.

“It looks like she’s been stunned,” Harry said, pointing at the trolley witch.

“Someone probably got her out of the way,” Fred mused.

“Before they went after the Death Eater,” George continued.

“Maybe they didn’t want her to get hurt,” Harry suggested.

Harry approached the cloaked figure hesitantly. Despite his bravado, his fingers were trembling as he pulled back the hood revealing a head of white-blonde hair.

Harry gasped as he recognized the pale face of Malfoy, Narcissa Malfoy! Harry scanned her body, looking for signs of dark spells, even though he knew there would be no mark left if someone had used “Avada Kedavra”.

“Do you guys have any idea what could have happened?” Harry asked quietly. “I’m stumped.”

Harry rolled her body over in order to examine her back. Nothing seemed out of place, except for some strange smudges on her neck.

“Hold on,” Harry said excitedly. “What do we have here?”

“They look like brown smudges to me,” George announced.

Fred leaned down to examine the marks. He wiped gently at one of the smudges with a handkerchief he conjured and brought it to his nose to smell. “Chocolate,” he announced. She has chocolate smudges on her neck.”

“It looks like there’s something under those smudges,” Harry noticed. “Can I have your cloth?” Harry held out his hand expectantly.

Fred handed Harry the cloth and Harry proceeded to remove the rest of the chocolate from her neck. As he wiped at the smudges, a set of purple bruises appeared.

Harry had no idea what had happened, how she had ended up in the trolley witch’s compartment, or why she had been on the train in the first place. He was only reasonably sure that she had been strangled.

“What do I do now?” Harry mused out loud. “This is a wicked mess. Who’s going to tell Malfoy his mother is dead? How are we going to tell him? No one has any idea where he is.”

“We’ll find him,” Fred and George offered mischievously.

“I think I’d better visit the Slytherin compartment and then,” Harry replied. “Wait a tick. What’s that?”

Harry bent down to examine a small triangle of white parchment that was showing under the black cloth draped over Narcissa’s knees. After several unsuccessful attempts to pull it out without ripping it, Harry pulled his wand and levitated Narcissa’s body off the floor. Fred leaned down and quickly snatched the parchment. George pulled him back out of the way just as Harry returned the body to its original position.

“It’s Draco’s invitation,” Fred exclaimed.

“to the Yule Ball in his fourth year,” George added.

“That git would kill,”

“his own Mum,”

“for the right price.”

“He probably would,” Harry conceded, “but we don’t know anything right now.” Harry carefully placed the invitation in a clear plastic bag he had conjured.

“That’s not true,” George scoffed.

“Yeah, we know that Malfoy’s Mum is dead,” Fred affirmed.

“And,” Harry added, “we know that the killer wore awful perfume.”

“We should search the compartments,” Fred suggested.

“We’re bound to find someone who smells as bad as the dead body,” George added.

“We should go talk to the Slytherins first, don’t you think?” Harry argued. “One of them might have a way to contact Malfoy.”

The trio headed to the Slytherin compartment where they knew that they would find Draco’s cronies. Sliding the door open, Harry couldn’t resist making a snide comment in spite of the serious circumstances.

“A compartment full of Slytherins,” He observed. “That’s never good news.”

Pansy Parkinson shot him a dirty look. He was unfamiliar with the other two Slytherin witches. One appeared to have less brain cells that Crabbe and Goyle combined, the other looked to be a first year, so Harry ignored them for the time being. Crabbe and Goyle simply stared at him blankly as if they had no idea who he was. Harry wondered if something sinister hadn’t happened to them. They appeared to be younger, so Harry ignored them for the time being.

He didn’t have time to concentrate on the idiot twins any longer, as he had noticed that Pansy had the same smears on her hands as Narcissa had on her neck. It took him only a minute to connect the empty Chocolate Frog wrappers to the smears on her hands. Harry kept his discovery to himself. He didn’t want to alert the killer to the connection he had just made.

“Pansy,” Harry began dramatically. “I have some bad news for Draco. Do you know where I can find him?”

“Why should I tell you?” Pansy scoffed.

“His mother is dead,” Harry responded. “I thought he might want to know about it.”

The young witch gasped in horror. She put her hands to her face and covered her mouth completely. Harry looked at her curiously before he was interrupted by Pansy.

“You don’t have to sound so happy about it,” Pansy yelled shrilly. “You sound like you’re glad she bit it. Your Mum’s dead, Draco, ha ha.”

“I never said it like that!” Harry protested. “I’m just trying to figure out what happened.”

“How should we know?” Pansy questioned sharply.

“You have chocolate on your hands,” Harry said simply.

“So,” Pansy retorted. “I ate a few Chocolate Frogs.”

“Didn’t you go to the Yule Ball with Draco fourth year?” Harry asked, already knowing the answer.

“What if I did?” Pansy spat. “It doesn’t mean anything.”

George held up the clear bag, daring Pansy to deny her involvement in the crime. “This tells us that it does mean something.”

“I had nothing to do with that,” Pansy protested. “I don’t even know how you could have possibly found that, the last time I saw it, it was in Draco’s bedroom at Malfoy Manor. I really don’t know how that got there.”

Fred seized the bag from George, waving it around wildly. “Someone must know where this came from.” He pointed accusingly at Pansy. “You went to that ruddy Ball with him. You know something.”

I don’t know anything,” Pansy stammered.

“That’s no surprise,” Fred muttered.

“Where were you when Draco’s Mum was killed?” George spat.

“I was here in the compartment with Crabbe and Goyle,” Pansy said shakily. “Ask them yourself.”

Crabbe and Goyle nodded with the same blank look in their eyes.

“So, you have an alibi,” Harry acknowledged.

“Hold on, what alibi?” Pansy stormed. “I went to the bathroom.”

“So you were in the bathroom,” Fred began.

“the whole time Draco’s mother was being killed.” George emphasized.

“Convenient,” they both drawled.

Pansy halted any further interrogation by squealing loudly.

“Why is the evidence bag floating like that,” Harry demanded, “and where in the bloody hell is it going?”

“I don’t know,” exclaimed Fred.

“We didn’t do it,” George fumed.

The evidence bag, along with the invitation to the Yule Ball, the only link they had to connect Pansy to Draco’s mother’s murder was lazily floating down the hallway out of everyone’s reach.

Harry looked around the compartment, noticing that the young witch who had reacted so badly to the news had disappeared in the commotion.

As they followed the bag, Harry decided to mention the perfume to the twins. “Did you notice that Pansy was wearing the same smelly perfume as we found in trolley witch’s compartment?” he asked them quietly.

“We should ask her about that once we catch the evidence,” Fred suggested seriously.

“She might have been a witness to the crime,” George noted sarcastically, “or she helped someone commit the crime.”

The followed the evidence bag down the hallway until it disappeared from sight.

“It just vanished,” George sputtered.

“I wonder where it went,” Harry mused.

“I have this strange feeling it will turn up later,” Fred predicted.

Just then, the sliding door was flung open and Ron emerged from the compartment on the right. “How’s the investigation going, Mr. Potter?” he taunted. “Did you find the killer yet?”

“No,” Harry said sullenly, “and out best clue just disappeared into thin air and I take it you’re still upset about being left out. You can stop being upset. We need your help now.”

Ron stuttered at Harry, grinning wildly at the news. “What about Hermione and Ginny?”

“Bring them along,” Harry ordered. “We can use all the help we can get.”

“I think I’ll stay here,” Ginny grumbled. “I’m not sure it’s a good idea if I tag along. It might be too dangerous, you know.”

Harry didn’t have the heart to argue with her.

Ron was stammering about Harry being nutters when Fred lunged into the compartment and grabbed something out of Neville’s hands. “I found it, Harry! Here’s the evidence.” He was beaming as he held out a clear bag triumphantly.

“That’s not evidence, that’s my lunch,” Neville exclaimed. “It’s a corned beef sandwich.”

“I hate corned beef,” Ron commented.

“We know,” Fred and George responded icily.

“Now can we get back to our investigation?”

“There’s nothing in this compartment that’s going to lead us to the killer.”

Harry nodded at them, suggesting that they return to the trolley witch’s compartment to look for more clues, since their last one had gone missing.

They turned to leave and promptly ran directly into Pansy. Harry noticed that her hands were now mysteriously clean. “I must remember to talk to Fred and George about the chocolate frogs in her compartment. Whoever attacked the trolley witch is probably the one who killed Narcissa.”

“Potter,” Pansy called out. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m trying to solve Draco’s mother’s murder,” Harry retorted. “What are you doing?”

“I’m actually solving it before the train reaches the station,” Pansy sneered. “I found a clue that you must have overlooked in your incompetence.”

“I hardly believe that,” Hermione snorted.

“We should see what she has to say,” Harry speculated. “She might say something unknowingly that could give us a clue.”

Pansy led the way back to the scene of the crime, spending the entire trip grumbling about Harry’s ineptitude and worthlessness. Harry noticed that there were a number of students following them as they trekked back to the trolley witch’s compartment.

When they were all situated in the compartment, Pansy pointed to the dust on the back of Narcissa’s robes.

“Obviously, you know nothing about detective work,” Pansy scoffed.

Hermione waved her wand and muttered a strange incantation. Narcissa’s robes glowed briefly before a set of shoe prints was revealed. There was a collective gasp from the group.

Harry stared in surprise at the feminine footprints on the fabric of Narcissa’s robes. “That leaves no doubt in my mind on the identity of the killer.”

“I believe I know who the killer is,” Harry began confidently and a buzz filled the compartment. “Before I reveal the killer’s identity, I need to ask one more question.”

The room fell silent as Harry prepared to ask the most important question in the investigation. “Why did you meet with her, Pansy?”

Pansy sighed in disgust. “I knew you’d figure it out sooner or later.”

“That’s the only thing I couldn’t figure out,” Harry conceded. “Tell me just how it happened.”

I got a note, day before yesterday, from Narcissa, asking me to me her on the train. She said that she had a lucrative proposition for me, that it would be worth my while to meet with her. The note specified the time and place. When I arrived in the trolley witch’s compartment, she was already stunned. Narcissa was hiding behind the trolley, waiting for me.”

“Pansy?” Narcissa whispered.

“It’s me, Mrs. Malfoy,” Pansy whispered back.

Narcissa left her hiding place behind the trolley and revealed herself. “I’m glad that you decided to meet with me. I am desperate.” She removed her hood and stood facing Pansy.

“You said that it would be worth my while,” Pansy insisted.

“It will be,” Narcissa stressed. “Hear me out.”

Pansy nodded and waited patiently for Narcissa to tell her the proposition.

“As you know, my life has become a mockery of its former glory. My husband sits in jail. My son is accused of plotting to kill the Headmaster. I am reduced to second hand robes. I want revenge on those who have put me here. Starting with my Muggle loving sister.”

Narcissa paused, waiting to gauge Pansy’s reaction. When Pansy said nothing and motioned her to continue, Narcissa breathed a sigh of relief.

“Andromeda,” she spat. “Andromeda has a perfect life. She has a happy marriage, an obedient and successful daughter, and she is well respected within the Wizarding community. I want to take that away from her. I want her to know what it feels like to fall from grace.”

Pansy continued to wait patiently since she still wasn’t sure what role she was to play in Mrs. Malfoy’s scheme.

“I’m sure that you are wondering what any of this has to do with you. I need you to help me set up Nymphadora. I can’t get close enough to her to get a few strands of her hair.”

“You’re making the Polyjuice Potion, then,” Pansy surmised.

“I intend to impersonate her and attack the Minister. She’ll lose her job, implicate her mother and father, and they’ll all end up in Azkaban. It will be a punishment she so justly deserves.”

“All you need me to do is get near Tonks and steal a few strands of her hair?” Pansy clarified.

“Well,” Narcissa hedged, “I also need to you to kidnap and keep the real Nymphadora busy while I attack the Minister.”

Pansy laughed and was preparing to tell Narcissa what she thought of her plan when Narcissa played her trump card.

“I could arrange it so that you could have Draco. I found this in his bedroom at the Manor. I know that you went with him. He told me all about your ‘affectionate manner’. I can make sure that you are the one he marries.”

Before I could respond, the room went black. I tried to light my wand, but nothing happened. I couldn’t see three inches in front of my face. I panicked. I ran into the trolley, knocking it over with a crash. I ran from the room, tripping on something as I went. It must have been Mrs. Malfoy’s body.

I came back to the compartment where I found Crabbe and Goyle, sleeping on the seats. Crabbe and Goyle woke up and we all shared the pumpkin pasties and chocolate frogs that he had.”

Pansy was shaking; he shoulders heaving with her silent sobs. “I couldn’t have kidnapped anyone. I’m only sixteen. I really wanted to be with Draco. I wanted him to love me as much as I love him. I didn't even have time to tell Mrs. Malfoy that I couldn’t help her. I didn’t like her, but I swear I didn’t kill her.”

“I know you didn’t, Pansy.” Harry tried, awkwardly, to pat her on the back and comfort her. “Draco did.”

“What?” Pansy shrieked. “How could Draco have killed her? He isn’t even on the train.”

“I believe, that if you will all be patient and bear with me, the last clue we need to solve this mystery will be revealed.” Harry turned to Fred and George. “If you would be so kind as to block the exit and prevent any of the students from leaving.”

“Sure thing,” Fred acknowledged, a large smile plastered on his face.

“With pleasure,” George agreed, laughing jovially as he advanced on the unnerved students. Only Fred and George seemed to think that this was a terribly fun game. One first year student in particular clasped her hands over her ears at the sound of the laughter and grimaced horribly.

“According to my calculations we have just a few minutes left,” Harry announced, his eyes trained on the young witch.

Harry pulled Ron and Hermione aside. “I’m going to need to you to keep an eye on all of the first year students.”

“Why?” Ron asked curiously.

“One of them got on the train under an assumed identity,” Harry explained.

“Polyjuice Potion,” Hermione added. “Draco has been on the train the whole time.”

“I think so,” Harry muttered quietly. “First, I saw a first year Hufflepuff that I didn’t recognize. Then, there was a young witch in the Slytherin compartment that overreacted to the news about Mrs. Malfoy.”

“Hang on,” Ron interrupted.

“Here we go,” Hermione pointed out.

The young witch, who had originally been a brunette, was quickly morphing into a blond. She shot up, growing taller by the second. It took only a few minutes for the transformation to take place.

Hermione pulled out her wand. “Accio handcuffs,” she said lazily.

The handcuffs flew out of Ron’s robes and into Hermione’s hands. Ron held Draco still while Hermione placed the handcuffs on his wrists.

“Now that I have proof you are on the train,” Harry began slowly. “I think I can explain everything that happened.”

“Can you?” Draco sneered. “I’d like to see you try”

“Pansy left the compartment to go meet Mrs. Malfoy. You, under Polyjuice Potion as the young Slytherin witch, followed her down the hallway. She had told you that she was going to the bathroom, but you watched as she entered the trolley witch’s compartment. You hid in the hallway, watching the interaction between your mother and Pansy. At some point, you must have crept closer, to overhear what they were saying. You heard you mother’s request of Pansy. I’m thinking that it wasn’t until your mother offered your hand in marriage that you became enraged. You used the last of your Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder to create a distraction as you entered the room.”

Harry paused here and noticed that Hermione gave Fred and George a dirty look. He glanced at Ron for support before continuing. Harry was having an incredibly hard time addressing Malfoy; the pain of Dumbledore’s death was still fresh in his mind.

“Pansy reacted to the situation by running from the room. Even before the darkness cleared, your mother knew that it was you in the compartment with her. You must have morphed back into your normal form before the darkness cleared. In your haste to reach her, you must have tripped on the trolley that Pansy knocked over. Your mother was so terrified that you had heard her offer that she began to laugh hysterically. Her laughing pushed you over the edge and you wrapped your hands around her neck. The chocolate on your hands obscured the deep bruises you left when you choked the life out of her.”

Draco refused to meet Harry’s eyes. He looked at the floor sullenly and somewhat defiantly.

“You covered her head with her cloak, which shows some sign of remorse. Then, you grabbed some of the Chocolate Frogs to take back to the compartment and you doused the room with Pansy’s perfume. What I don’t understand is why you tried to frame Pansy. She was going to turn your mother down. She hadn’t done anything to you.”

“Would you take the risk of having to marry someone like her?” Draco sneered. “Mother should have known better than to think that she could barter with my life. Especially for something as trivial as revenge against her sister?”

“Why Pansy?” Hermione asked interestedly.

“Are you dense, Mudblood?” Draco sneered. “It was convenient.”

Harry raised his eyebrows at Draco’s comment. “There’s no need to call names, Malfoy.” He raised his wand and pointed it at Draco’s throat. He brought his face within inches of Draco’s. “Mind your manners,” he said in a strangely pleasant voice, “or I’ll send you along to meet your mother.”

“You deliberately tried to frame me,” Pansy accused, causing Harry to pull away from Draco.

“Yeah, I did,” Draco retorted. “So what?”

“You bastard,” she cried. “I can’t believe I helped you plot against Dumbledore. No wonder you couldn’t kill him. You’re just a whiny little brat. You’ve never done anything of importance in your life. You’ve failed at everything you’ve attempted…”

Draco’s coolly her outburst. “Actually, my dear, I’ve accomplished two things in my life. I killed mother and, I’ve succeeded in getting out of marrying you. You could say I killed two birds with one pair of hands.”

Draco laughed maniacally as Fred and George conjured ropes to secure him in the compartment until they reached Kings Cross Station. Harry called for Draco’s wand and quelled his desire to deck him. After looking to Harry, Ron and Hermione grabbed Pansy.

“What do we do with her?” Ron asked harshly.

“She deserves the worst for helping Draco plot against Dumbledore,” Hermione stated in the same harsh voice.

“I agree,” Harry told them simply. “We don’t get to choose. We’ll hand her over when we get to the station. We’ll let the Ministry deal with her punishment.”

“Are you sure that is appropriate?” Ron asked. “We could hex her…”

“Ron!” Hermione exclaimed.

“Just conjure some ropes,” Harry admonished Ron. “We’ll leave them together to keep each other company.”

Ron conjured ropes while Hermione confiscated her wand. Hermione tossed the wand to Harry, who broke both of the wands in half. “Just to be safe,” he commented.

“Let’s get out of here,” Ron suggested.

He pulled Hermione from the room. Harry followed them, mulling over the events and trying to cope with the feelings Pansy’s confession had brought up. Fred and George brought up the rear, discussing the crime as they went.

“I feel a bit sorry for him,” Fred reflected.

“his Mum was pretty bad,” George agreed.

“What a trade,” Ron observed. “Who would want Draco’s hand in marriage?”

“I wouldn’t want to marry Pansy Parkinson either,” Harry confessed.

“Let’s go tell Ginny what happened,” Hermione suggested.

“I have a better idea,” George boasted. “Let’s get another pair of handcuffs like Ron’s and see how much trouble we can get into before the train pulls into the station.”

“I love the way you think,” Fred said, grinning from ear to ear.

“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that,” Harry called out to their retreating backs as he made his way to the Gryffindor compartment with his best friends.
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