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Triple Chocolate Frog by banshee
Chapter 1: Prologue - Results
It’s defined as failing to meet expectations; to fail to meet expectation or hope. With heavy synonyms like cheat, fail, and let down, it’s a definition that doesn’t even begin to describe the peril it causes.
It all starts with the hope. The desire. Have you ever wanted something more than anything in the world? Maybe it was a prize, a job, or maybe even a date. You can’t bring your mind to anything else but accomplishing your goal.
Cue the preparation. You put your wits, your heart and your soul into fullfilling your dreams. You work endlessly at becoming better and push everything else aside to focus on becoming stronger. Forget sleep, nourishment, socializing; that extra textbook, extra trial, new highlights or extra practice consumes your time and it’s worth it.
The day arrives. Everything you worked so hard for finally comes to fruition. You’re nervous; whether or not you’d admit it, that tiny bit of self-doubt fills you. But you’ve prepared for this. You perform admirably. You know you deserve that award, that job, or that date.
Then comes the excitement; the waiting and the what if. You’re lingering on an answer. A judge’s choice. Some good news. A yes. You wait with baited breath for a response to all of your hard work. You know you’ve got this. You grip the hand of a colleague. You cover your eyes and peek between your fingers, holding your breath as you wait for that response that will change your life.
And then, your whole world comes crashing down.
I wanted to be an Auror since my first year at Hogwarts. Everyone hated History of Magic, but not me. I heard stories about magic, how we came to be sitting in these desks learning about this school. About a whole new world where people fought for good and evil with the piece of wood that I could hardly use to make a feather float. I learned about men and women who went out and fought the bad guys just like my daddy did – but with magic.
I worked as hard as I could in school. Ravenclaws were known for their brains but Helga picked the hard-working ones for a reason. I wasn’t the smartest, the fastest or the nicest. But I fought to accomplish my dreams; to gain all of the O.W.L.s, and eventually the N.E.W.T.s to go into Auror training after I graduated. I had my close friends; Lucy, Caroline and I were inseparable as dorm mates. The other two girls with matching patchwork quilts, they were nice, but they minded their own business and so did we. I had my share of boyfriends, but, like most teenage romances, they didn’t last. I graduated in the middle of my class, single and ready to join the force.
Caroline went her own direction after school. She wanted to see the world, and while she wrote, we did eventually drift apart after three years. The last I heard she was in Australia. Lucy, my sporty best friend instantly made it as a reserve Chaser for the all-female Holyhead Harpies. Three years later she’s made it as a bit of a star, but still manages to disappear from the world to me for Wednesday ‘Gossip and Gelato’ (her words, not mine) every week.
And me, Taylor Hill, I pushed myself through training to become an Auror. I studied with three other potentials under Ronald Weasley, Head Auror Harry Potter’s second in command. Going in, we all knew how selective the office was, and that even our best efforts wouldn’t be enough to be taken on by the Aurors. We had to give them more. I got into shape, I studied every report I could find on any case ever to have existed, and I practiced my duelling day and night – Lucy can attest to the many injuries I have accidentally caused her in preparation.
I lifted my head as the sound of clapping pulled my distraught mind back to reality. My mouth fell open as the burly, headstrong Joseph Zander rose from the seat next to me. I felt my body shift as his presence disappeared; I had been leaning up against him waiting for the news. Looking down to my hands, I watched them begin to shake. I quickly swallowed the pressure I felt growing in the back of my throat. I hadn’t cried since fifteen and I wasn’t going to start now.
I blinked my eyes a few times to clear my thoughts and looked up to Joe. Arms stretched, he was waiting for a congratulatory hug from me. On their own accord, I felt my knees outstretch and a moment later, his arms enveloped me.
“Tay, I was so sure it was you,” Joe whispered soothingly, refusing to let go.
I swallowed that lump again and forced my lips into a smile. I pulled away and made eye contact with him. “No way, Joe; you deserve it.”
He didn’t. I did, and he knew it.
My ears buzzed with the sound of the press questions and cheering. It had been years since the Auror department took anyone in – with Harry Potter leading, selections were even more limited than before. He was thorough and that was part of the reason I wanted to join. I wanted to work with people who were as diligent as I was – in a place where I could finally encounter a challenge.
I watched as Joe shook Harry’s hand and accepted a new pair of official Ministry robes.
I watched as all of my hard work amounted to nothing.
A/N: A new story, I know! Are you as excited as I am?
A huge thank you to Eleina for betaing this chapter! If you haven’t read her stories, you’re seriously missing out! Go read them!
The definition of ‘disappointment’ is from the Webster-Mariam dictionary, and that, along with any characters or places you recognize do not belong to me.
So, did you like it? I'd love to her your opinions. :) Thanks for reading!