Chapter 2: D for Daphne?
When Daphne got one of the head auror positions in San Diego county she left rather quickly from Britain. She felt bad for leaving behind all of her friends and family but this was her chance to start anew, to leave behind all the prejudice that came from being a neutral family in the war and to make a name for herself without the attached stigma that came with being a Greengrass.
If she knew, however, that the job would make her get up at 5:00 in the morning she would have certainly taken her time before deciding to take it.
She got up groggily to the sound of her horrible alarm, and moved across her red maple hardwood floor to the bathroom. While she washed up she thought solemnly about the people that she left behind.
She knew that the people she cared about were doing just fine back home without her. Her sister Astoria was engaged to Draco Malfoy, and she hoped for the man's own sake that he truly was a changed man.
Her best friend, Tracey Davis, had just taken over the instructor position for new aurors alongside Harry Potter himself, and while she did feel bad for leaving Tracey at least they had a way to keep in touch. She looked down at the odd device Tracey had given to her before she left. A 'cell phone' was what Tracey had called it. She still hadn't used it but Tracey had explained to her that if she ever wanted to talk, all she had to do was go to the phone app and enter Tracey's number.
Maybe that was what she needed right now. She picked up the cell phone and dialed Tracey's number. After a couple of dialing noises and some rings Tracey picked up.
"DAPHNE! Omg, how are you doing? Is it warm there? Why haven't you called till now? I was sooo worried, you can't be doing this to me! Did you meet any cute guys? How's your new jo-"
Daphne cringed at the volume of Tracey's voice, "Trace oh my gosh, please stop yelling, I literally just woke up."
"I'm so sorry, you just haven't called in sooo long and I want to know everything that happened since you got there.", Tracey said.
"Trace I promise I'll fill you in on everything but right now I need something to keep me up, I swear I haven't woken up this early since we had our NEWT's.", Daphne responded while rubbing her eyes.
Daphne really appreciated her best friend. She always kept a facade on to be careful but Tracey was one of the only people she could really be herself around.
Tracey cackled over the phone, "Daaaphneee, I know the perfect remedy."
"Now you're making me nervous, what is it?"
"Coffee!", Tracey intoned ominously.
Daphne immediately drew back from the phone "Oh no, there is no chance that I will ever drink that horrible poison, why would I willingly consume something so disgusting."
She was drawn back to her third year in Hogwarts when Tracey gave her a cup of some disgustingly bitter black liquid. That day she swore she would never drink anything Tracey gave her without another classmate trying it. The horrible memories of forcing the bitter thing down her throat came back to her quickly.
"Daphne, hear me out, go to Starbucks and order a pumpkin spice latte. I promise you it isn't horrible like the black coffee I gave you back in third year.", Tracey said.
Daphne rolled her eyes, "Trace, I learned from my mistakes, there's no way i'm having whatever poison you're trying to get me to drink."
Tracey adamantly shouted back, "Daphne that was eleven years ago, get over it!"
"Fine, I'm trusting you Trace, if this is bad I'm not talking to you for a whole week.", Daphne responded seriously.
Daphne went to the kitchen of her small but homely apartment and pulled out the pancakes she had left over from the previous day.
"Yeah, okay buddy. You wouldn't talk to me? I'm the only way you get any real social interaction.", Tracey responded amused.
"Wow thanks Trace, always making me feel better about myself.", Daphne said sarcastically as she began eating.
"Anything for you Daph", Tracey said laughing.
As she thought of social interactions, a certain detective flitted across Daphne's mind.
"Actually you know I met someone quite interesting the other day. He could substitute for you.", Daphne joked.
Tracey laughed, "I'm sure whoever it is can't beat me… wait did you say HE!", "Oooooh my little Daph is already making moves and she hasn't even been there for a week."
"Uh no, it's sooo not like that Trace, I only met this guy once and he talked way too much."
"Yeah whatever, is he hot?", Tracey said, excitedly.
"I don't even know him Trace. I was just joking. Plus he was so aggravating, claimed to be a detective.", Daphne said, flustered.
She vanished the rest of the leftovers off her plate and put on her sweater. The weather outside had cleared up overnight but the wind had picked up. Nothing better than a cold autumn day, she thought.
Tracey began jumping excitedly, "OH. MY. GOSH. If he's a detective, then he must work under you. I can already see the steamy romance, you just have to give me all the deet's."
Daphne facepalmed, "He's a muggle, he doesn't work for me."
The line at the other end went very silent. Daphne turned to the screen confused, worried that the call had been cut.
"Trace, are you still there?", Daphne said slowly.
"Did I just hear you talk to a muggle and didn't rip his head off.", Tracey asked, sounding confused.
"Well yeah, what's so weird about that?" Daphne said, as she locked the door to her apartment and made her way down the stairs.
"Daph I haven't ever met a muggle that wasn't terrified of you. Are you completely sure he's not imaginary?", Tracey said, still sounding speculative.
"Oh yes he was very real, and for the record I was actually very close to hexing him.", Daphne responded, in mock anger
Tracey shook her head in disbelief, "Wow… that's just shocking."
"Okay Trace, I'm not even that scary. I'm going to apparate to this coffee shop you told me about. Starbucks right?"
"Yeah it's Starbucks, make sure to apparate away from the muggles. Or maybe you can apparate right next to them, they're all your friends now aren't they.", Tracey laughed.
"Tracey.", Daphne said, in a dangerous voice as she exited the apartment grounds.
"Yes.", Tracey responded.
"Okay fine, bye Daph, try not to hex anybody", Tracey said.
Daphne replied, "Alright, i'll talk to you later"
Daphne hung up and apparated to the parking lot near the Starbucks, where no muggle could see her.
The first thing she noticed as she entered the store was the sudden assault on her senses. The strong odor of coffee seemed to have diffused throughout the entire room. She took a deep breath and immediately felt more awake.
The barista at the front of the store smiled and asked her what she wanted to order.
"Just one small Pumpkin Spice Latte please.", Daphne said politely.
"And to whom should I order this to.", the barista responded while drumming his fingers along the counter.
"To Daphne, please."
"Okay, your order will be ready soon, please wait by the register until your name is called.", he stated.
Daphne moved to the register. She honestly felt bad for the man. He seemed so bored with his job and he clearly was faking all of his smiles. Of course she would probably fake all her smiles if she had to work as early as he did. Oh wait, she didn't smile at work...
"Uhh I have a Small Pumpkin Spice Latte for a Daphne.", the barista came towards the register holding the aforementioned coffee.
Daphne politely nodded and paid for the coffee. She turned the cup around and immediately lost her own smile.
"That idiot", she muttered.
Written on the cup in large black letters was her name, a very bad copy of it. It spelled DAFNEY across the back of her cup. Calming herself with a deep breath at this display of incompetence, she moved to the door still looking down at the cup. She opened the door and took her first step back outside. Before she could move out of the way she slammed into a large figure in front of her causing her to spill her coffee on the ground.
She looked up to see the culprit and came face to face with the detective from the park.
Oh great, of course it was him.
Why couldn't she just avoid these problems?
Liam had always started out his day with a black coffee. This day was no different. He had woken up early and was anxious to get to work. He really wanted to get back on the case before anyone else was murdered or put at risk. As always, he put on his black trenchcoat and rushed to the starbucks near his house to get his fix.
As he opened his phone to check his messages he barged straight into a blonde woman. He looked down to see who he had unintentionally knocked over and saw that it was the blonde woman from the park.
Uh oh, he gulped. She did not look happy, if looks could kill he would have probably been struck down by lightning at that very moment.
He knelt down to help her pick up her items from her bag and return them to her.
In a voice as cold as ice she spoke, "Have you made it your personal mission to annoy me wherever I go, detective?"
Flustered he responded, "Look Ms. Greengrass, I'm so sorry I wasn't watching where I was going."
"Yes that is blatantly obvious", she said seemingly unimpressed.
He held out a hand to help her get up, which she refused. He looked down at the remains of her coffee strewn about the sidewalk.
"I really must pay for another coffee for you Ms. Greengrass, it's the least I could do", Liam stated, slightly embarrassed.
She seemed amused by his nervous apologies and reactions, "Oh don't worry about it. I can take care of myself, detective."
He looked down at her with discomfort as he opened the door to the store, "Of course Ms. Greengrass I never meant that you couldn't, I just feel that I owe you a new coffee. At the very least if not for crashing into you then for my bothering you yesterday."
She smiled briefly, "Fine detective, I'll accept your little apology. Just try to stay out of my way."
"Of course it's my pleasure, although I can't help it Ms. Greengrass. We're magnetic, the attraction between us is just too much to keep apart.", Liam said jokingly as they entered the store.
She simply rolled her eyes and followed him to the counter.
"One small black coffee for me and one...", Liam looked back at her expectantly.
"Small Pumpkin Spice Latte", she stated.
"Yeah, that" he said to the barista.
"Your orders will be ready in a moment sir, please wait by the register.", the barista responded.
They moved to the register and waited for a couple of minutes until the barista came back.
"Here you are sir", the barista said as he handed both coffee's to Liam.
Liam walked to a table by the window and set both coffee's down. The cold air from outside filtered in through an opening in the window and filled the room.
"Come sit and talk with me Ms. Greengrass, surely you aren't in a rush this early."
"I am in fact on my way to work.", She said, looking at his smiling face. "But i'll take a chance today as I don't actually start till another hour."
His face broke into a grin, maybe she wasn't so bad. He watched as she sat in front of him pulling her coffee towards herself. Suddenly she looked at his coffee with a lot of interest.
"Is that black coffee", she said, suddenly looking sick.
"Uhhh yes, I've never been one for the sugar and additives.", he replied confused. Maybe she was one of those people that thought black coffee was unhealthy
"How can you even stomach that stuff, my friend gave it to me once and I thought it was poison."
"I just like it bitter, I've always thought if I want sugar I'll go get an ice cream or a milkshake, but when I want coffee I'll just get a coffee with no extra stuff.", he stated with a chuckle pointing toward his cup.
She gave him a weird look and then moved to take a sip of her own drink. Her eyes lit up and she turned to Liam with a grin. "Now this, this is really good."
Liam just shook his head, "If you drink one of those everyday your body won't be saying the same thing."
She rolled her eyes and leaned back in her seat. "So detective, what did you want to talk about?"
He analyzed her impassive face. She didn't seem too antagonized yet she didn't seem very open either. Deciding to test his luck he said, "Please call me Liam, detective sounds so professional."
She smirked, "I'll think about it, detective."
Liam thought about his reason for calling her over, maybe she'd be open to helping him, it was well worth a shot. "You see, I'm having trouble with a case of mine. Since you seem to have a good grasp on detective work, I thought you could help me out."
She looked surprised, "Of course I can help. What's the problem?"
He thought about the danger of telling a civilian about an open case but decided she probably knew more about law enforcement than he did. He moved his hands off his coffee and began explaining, "Okay you see I've got three murders, all committed in the same manner and same weapon, strangulation by a guitar string. My problem comes from the fact that the victims have nothing in common. They come from different backgrounds, have different ages, and haven't had any contact with each other within the past five years."
She bit her fingernails thoughtfully, "So they haven't been seen together ever?"
"Nope, not a single time that I could find.", Liam said with a shake of his head.
She looked like she was in deep thought for about five minutes when she suddenly sat up. She looked at him triumphantly.
"What? Did you figure it out?", he said, interestedly.
She gave him a small smile. "I might have found the way all of your victims are related. Tell me, detective, is there a place where people are selected to have the most variability."
Liam scrunched his face up in confusion, "I told you I already checked colleges, they all graduated from different places."
She facepalmed, "A jury, detective, a jury. Juries are chosen to have people from completely different backgrounds to have the least bias."
He looked at her stupidly, "That actually would explain it all."
He got up, and cleaned his side of the table, "Thank you Ms. Greengrass, I'm going to look into past cases they may have been on a jury for right away."
She looked up at him calculatingly, she seemed to contemplate something for a minute before she spoke again. "It's Daphne."
He looked at her confused, "Who the murderer? How would you know that?"
She shook her head with a chuckle, "No, my name. It's Daphne."
He felt his eyes widen in shock. "Daphne. Daphne Greengrass. Now that's a pretty name." He felt vaguely pleased with himself for finally getting her name.
"Thank you.", she said, gripping her bag and standing up, looking anything but thankful.
Oh great she's back her cold, closed off self again. He shook his head laughing to himself.
She bade him goodbye and left the store walking briskly toward the parking lot across the street. His gaze followed her all the way until she disappeared behind some shrubs.
He smiled, "Daphne", he liked the way it rolled off his tongue. He repeated her name a couple of times. Suddenly he noticed his partner Audrey enter the store looking for him. He waved her over to his table. He explained to her the new breakthrough in the case and they walked back to his squad car to head over to the station.
Daphne apparated to Auror Headquarters and greeted her new partners. The place was bustling with activity. There had recently been a robbed vault holding many potions ingredients including basilisk venom and dragon's blood, both items that sold for thousands of galleons for a couple of drops. As she settled down at her desk her partner approached her and threw a case file onto her desk.
Her partner, Enzer Longbottom, was a tall stringy man who walked around with a scowl permanently adhered to his face. She knew he secretly cared for all the aurors' well being but he was very good at masking it.
He looked down at her with a scowl, "We picked up some more material evidence. A torn up robe and some chewed up sunflower seeds."
She raised her eyebrows, "Chewed up seeds? Did you analyze it for DNA?"
Enzer nodded, "Yeah, tests came up negative, he knew what he was doing, I think he's playing with us."
Daphne stood up, "Alright Longbottom, I want every potion shop within our range including the black markets to be monitored, tell our undercover aurors that if there is any sale or even a mention of dragon's blood or basilisk venom, then every visitor should be brought in for questioning."
"Of course, Ms. Greengrass. Are you sure you don't want to bring the shop owners for questioning right now. ", he responded stepping away from her desk.
"No, Longbottom if we want to catch this guy we can't let him get too careful. He can't suspect that we are monitoring the stores so I don't want any shop owners to be brought in without reasonable evidence."
Enzer left her desk and left her to contemplate the case. Dragon's blood and basilisk venom were very powerful ingredients especially when used in poisons. The culprit may not even be attempting to sell the ingredients. She paled, someone's life could be in danger. She wouldn't let anyone die if she had a chance to stop it.
Daphne glanced at her itinerary and realized she had a battle transfiguration class to teach.
She moved up the stairs to her classroom. Her shoulders tensed up as she realized she wouldn't be able to stop a poisoning if she didn't know who the intended victim would be. For that she would need to get more clues about the culprit. She hoped for everyone's sake that the forensics team came back with some better information.
She opened the door to the classroom and looked at all the students. Most of them seemed scared by her presence while some seemed more interested in how she would teach the class.
She moved to the front and picked up the chalk. She wrote her name on the board. "My name is Daphne Greengrass and I will be your new instructor for battle transfiguration, you may also know me as your new chief. I will be substituting for your regular professor until she comes back from maternity leave."
She scanned the class taking attendance. She noticed a couple of students in the back had their hands raised. What questions could they already have?.
"Yes you?", she pointed to a short stout auror with a rat-like face.
He looked at her questioningly, "Do you have any relation to Astoria Malfoy, priorly Astoria Greengrass, the wife of the business mogul Draco Malfoy."
Daphne felt her frustration rise at being referred to as the sister of Draco Malfoy's wife but steeled her face into remaining impassive. "Yes, she is my sister."
Another student still had her hand up, and asked "Your name is Daphne, like the flower?"
Daphne nodded affirmatively and spoke once more trying to add as much venom to her tone as she could, "Yes just like the flower. Now if no one else has any other pointless questions about my name can we move on with the lesson."
No one spoke out. Daphne turned around vanishing her name off the board. She thought back to a previous conversation with a detective in a cafe as she did so. Daphne Greengrass. Now that's a pretty name. She sighed, it was going to be a long day.