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(Parts... 8-11 today! You can find the whole lot of them on FFnet.)

*

'Things?' Hermione asked, trying to feel out her assistant's tone of voice. He was a bit melodramatic over the least consequential things, so it was hard to say just how incriminating his material on Snape was. 'What kind of things?'

Pip scooted his chair so that his knees were bang up against her desk. 'All sorts of things. You know about the Shacklebolt cabinet offer, but do you know why he refused it?'

She shook her head.

'Some say that he joined the Unspeakables. Others say he fled the country after the war.'

Hermione frowned. 'So which is true?'
*

'That's just it,' Pip said, relaxing in his chair just a smidge. 'Nobody knows for sure. A certain blonde bombshell from International Magical Cooperation apparently met up with Snape in Spain a few years ago for something or other, and the whole department still teases her about her torrid affair with the man.'

Hermione drummed her fingers on the edge of her desk. 'Snape, a debonair international man of mystery?'

'Well,' Pip offered matter-of-factly, 'he was a sort of domestic man of mystery before the war, wasn't he? With all that spying on Voldemort and whatnot.'

*

Pip rummaged through the candy dish on her desk, pulling out a wrapped toffee.

'How long ago was this?' Hermione asked.

Teeth now glued together, he garbled out a reply. 'Three yearsh, maybe? Shomething like that.'

Curious, Hermione thought. 'Does anyone in Magical Cooperation know what Snape was doing in Spain?'

Pip thought about it for a minute. 'You know, I never asked.'

Hermione sighed.

He perked up again. 'Are you investigating Snape for some kind of wrongdoing?'

'No!' she quickly said. 'There's no official inquiry. I merely have... questions.'

'Talk to Fiona,' he said. 'She might have answers.'

*

Fiona Bones, Hermione thought, trying to remain cool and collected. The woman was the elder sister to her classmate Susan, and was one of the Hufflepuff prefects when she arrived at Hogwarts as a firstie. She was smart and savvy, as well as the only Fiona working in International Magical Cooperation, and she absolutely fit Pip's description of Snape's woman: a bombshell.

She was the kind of woman who intimidated Hermione without even trying to.

'Pip, do I have any meetings today?' Hermione asked.

'Nothing before noon, Ms. Granger.'

She groaned, knowing where she had to go next.
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