DRARRY SLASH! Draco/Harry You no like, you no read!
They entered a small cement room, and in the middle was a pedestal. Draco had read enough wizard adventure stories to know that this set-up never foretold good things.
"What is that?" he asked, pointing at the vessel that sat on the pedestal.
"It's a pensieve," Potter replied, walking slowly closer. "And look."
The other wizard held up a vial that Draco hadn't noticed earlier.
"Memories?" he ventured a guess.
"Memories," Potter confirmed, uncorking the vial and pouring the silvery liquid into the pensieve. "I think that if we want to continue, we have to watch them."
Draco swallowed hard and stepped up beside Potter.
"Well," he said softly. "Let's go."
In they plunged.
A room took shape around them, and Draco recognized it as a morgue. There were three people standing around a body laid out on a table. Draco moved closer, curious, and he heard Potter following closely on his heels. It was a young woman, covered up to her neck by a sheet. Spread out next to her were a set of robes.
"That's Kingsley!" Potter gasped, looking up into the face of a tall wizard in Auror robes. "And Mad-Eye, too."
Draco ignored him and stepped up to the body. He looked down at her face, then looked over at the robes. It didn't take long to figure out some minor details.
"Potions Master," he announced to Potter. "Worked for the Ministry."
Potter abandoned the two Aurors and came up beside him. "Okay, Ministry robes. I'm guessing they belong to her. How do you know she's a Potion's Master?"
"Stains on the front, creases from rolling the sleeves up to the elbow. Singe on one sleeve from working with cauldron flames. Come on, Potter. You saw Snape every single day at Hogwarts."
"Then why is her face and hair not greasy?" Potter asked. "She looks fairly young, too."
"An apprentice, maybe?" Draco walked over to the body, just as the memory finally started playing.
Memory-Kingsley drew back the sheet and said, "Melissa Harburrow, found early this morning in the morgue. Someone brought this body down and put it in here. Last night, she was still in the Potions lab at half nine, when her last co-worker went home for the evening."
"Who has access to this room?" demanded Moody, picking up one of her hands to examine it. "She didn't get down here by herself."
"We already had a team search the lab," the third person, a woman in white robes, reported. "There's no sign of the murder taking place in the lab. The wards were dismantled at about 2 in the morning and reset at 3. The only reason that we found her before her body was cremated was because one of the lab assistants opened the wrong vault."
"That's snake scale," Draco input, looking at the hand that Moody was examining. "Caught under her fingernails. What kind though?"
"She was at the Potions lab at 9:30 last night. So when did she die?" Kingsley asked, frowning.
"Autopsy report is skewed. Her body temperature cooled far more quickly than it would have normally from being in the morgue. Our best guess is between 12 and 2."
"Cause of death?"
"Her blood is completely frozen. Flash frozen, it happened all at once."
"What the hell would cause that?" Potter's expression twisted in a vaguely amusing way.
Draco turned to the robes and examined them further. "Snake scale and Midnight hellebore. Look here, Potter. Look at her nail beds, they're turning–"
"Blue," Potter replies, looking at them thoughtfully. "Why blue?"
"It's more purple, Potter, honestly. She's been brewing using Midnight Hellebore. It's obvious from how dark the colour is that she's been doing so for an extended period of time. Except that Midnight Hellebore is a Class B Non-Tradeable substance. Only Unspeakables and Aurors have access to it. It's main use in potions is untraceable poisons and drugs. Cross reference that with snake-scale... I think that this is most likely runespoor scale, actually... another Class B Non-tradeable substance... and we have Morpheus Muse. Or, as it is known on the street, just Muse."
"What is that?" Potter looked at him askance. "Why do you know so much about Potions? What's more, do you find it suspicious that your knowledge of Potions keeps coming up?"
"Muse is a recreational drug, but because of the Hellebore, it slowly poisons the user. Highly addictive and hard to remove from the system once introduced, it is one of the main sources of money for the Knockturn Alley Knights. Also, very definitely illegal. Why do you think I know what it is, Potter?" Draco looked down at his hands. "Under the watch of the Dark Lord, my skill at Potions was put to use. I know better than almost anyone the ingredients and effects of this drug."
"So she's been brewing Muse?" Harry looked down at her body. "So do you think that she might have gotten on the bad side of someone dangerous?"
"Possibly?" Draco shrugged. "I suppose the only thing that can be done is find out who else was in the Ministry at the time of her death. But seeing as only Unspeakables and Aurors can even get ahold of those two ingredients, I'd say that the stores of confiscated items should be checked. Then they know if the supplier was in the Ministry or whether she had to deal with the Underground potions market."
Potter was staring at the girl again. "Potter, quit staring at her chest. She's dead."
"There's something odd about the shape of her ribcage," he said, frowning again.
"She has several broken ribs and a broken sternum," cut in the lab witch. "They occurred post-mortem. Not only that, her jaw has been dislocated."
"It sounds like someone tried to revive her," Potter said, tilting his head thoughtfully. "That sounds like Muggle CPR right there. I guess it didn't work if she's dead."
"But if they occurred after she died, then someone who knows Muggle life-saving techniques found her. I wonder who that could be?"
A moment later, the scene shifted and swirled. They were in another austere looking room, white walls, and a man sitting at a table in front of them. A moment later, Kingsley stepped through the door."
"Norman Richards. You were at the Ministry last night, working. Do you recognize this woman?"
He was shown a picture of Melissa.
"I do," Richards said, leaning closer. "That's the girl I saw last night in the lift."
"Where was she going?"
"I didn't ask. But I was heading to level seven, and she was still in the lift when I got off."
"The Department of Mysteries," he and Potter said together, before glancing at each other in bemusement.
"What, it was obvious," Potter said, shrugging. "I mean, I don't even know what's on level eight, but everyone and their auntie knows where the Department of Mysteries is."
"What time was this at?" Kingsley interrupted.
"Just past midnight."
The scene shifted again, same room, different person. Kingsley was still there.
"Darla Chisholm. You were in the Department of Mysteries last night on an overnight shift. Did you see this woman while you were there?"
Darla leaned forward slightly, and her frown was mild as she took in Melissa's face. "No."
"Lying!" Draco announced giddily.
"I don't understand why the Auror department is interfering in Unspeakable affairs," Darla added, her tone frosty. "We are out of your jurisdiction."
"No you're not," Kingsley said flatly. "Not when we have reason to believe that someone who went into your area of the Ministry was killed last night."
"She wasn't in our part of the building."
"She's a user," Draco said suddenly, and Potter turned to him, eyebrows raised.
"Look at her pupils. Dilated and ringed in silver."
"She can't be under the influence right now, can she?"
"Once a person is addicted, they're always under the influence. It's very hard to wipe completely from the system. Her eyes would probably be like that even if she had quit weeks before. Which she hasn't. Look, withdrawal tremors."
The world swirled again, but this time, the Pensieve ejected them both from the memories.
"Hey, wait! Why did it do that?" Potter actually looked cross at not getting the chance to finish solving the mystery. "We never got to find out what happened!"
"Why were we even in those memories?" Draco sighed. "What was the point? We need to get out of here. I'll be asleep soon. Very soon."
"I don't know. How are we supposed to proceed if we don't know why we were there?"
Draco looked over at the door.
"Potter, the door is open."
They both looked at the door incredulously.
"Did we pass the test then? Whatever it was that we were being tested on?"
"Let's not stay and question why, let's just get out of he– here..." Draco felt the world shift alarmingly under his feet and went down hard on one knee.
"Malfoy! What's happening? Oh crap, you're falling asleep, aren't you."
As his vision began to go out of focus, it suddenly occurred to him to wonder exactly whose memories they were and how whoever was testing them had gotten them. And just like that, he knew the answer.
"Potter, just leave me. I know what's going on. Nothing bad will happen to me, just go on and finish the test." His words were getting really slow and drawn out.
"Malfoy, I'm not leaving you here."
"I'll only slow you down."
"I can't just–"
And then everything went dark.