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Chapter 2 : Rhian the Adult
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“Rhian, I am no longer your headmaster,” said Dumbledore, “so you don’t need to address me as ‘professor’.”
“Old habits die hard, I guess,” she answered.
“Now, down to business,” Dumbledore gestured towards the large round table covered in rolls of parchment and leather-bound books, “your task tonight is to sift through the intelligence that we have collected during the past month and try to determine when Voldemort’s next strike will occur, and where.”
“Sounds good,” said Rhian, clearing a spot on the table and trying to organize the mess of papers.
“Unfortunately, I will not be able to stay here during your shift. I feel my eyelids drooping, so apparently twenty hour days are not agreeing with me.”
“Oh Professor, don’t make me keep you here. Get home and get some rest.” Rhian realized that she didn’t actually know where Dumbledore’s home was. Did he live at Hogwarts during the summer too?
“I’ll see you tomorrow then, Rhiannon.” And with that, Dumbledore Disapparated.
Rhian continued sorting the materials, dividing them into piles of questionable and reputable sources, and possible attack locations and dates. The task was rather menial, but of great importance, and Rhian didn’t mind spending some time alone. She wouldn’t be allowed to begin her espionage work until she had completed at least a significant portion of her Auror training, and until then she was perfectly happy doing tasks such as this.
As Rhian worked, the sun beyond the small, dirty window in Order headquarters disappeared below the horizon and darkness rose. The small hamlet of Hogsmeade became very quiet, as Rhian assumed most of its inhabitant had gone to bed. When Rhian’s watch struck ten, she heard a very loud mechanical noise outside the entrance of the Hog’s Head. Twenty seconds later, a set of feet pounded up the stairs and burst into the room.
“There you are!” said Sirius, out of breath. “I’ve been looking for you.”
“I had Order duty tonight, remember?”
“No, I don’t remember, because I haven’t seen or spoken to you in two days.”
“I’ve been busy. You know that.”
“I know,” Sirius sighed. “You work during the day and do stuff for the Order at night.”
“You work too,” Rhian added, “and pretty soon Dumbledore will let you go on missions and you’ll be busy nights as well.”
“Yeah. I still don’t get why he won’t let you do fieldwork, though. My point is, we never see each other.”
“I wouldn’t say never—”
“Biweekly Order meetings don’t count.”
“Well…we’re both so busy.”
“But I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too. But if we’re both going to pursue what we want, we’re going to have to make some sacrifices.”
“You really believe we can make it work?”
“With total confidence. We just have to try,” Rhian said truthfully.
“And try we will,” said Sirius, leaning down and kissing her.
“Now shoo, you,” Rhian laughed, “I’ve got to get this intelligence work done.”
“You free Sunday?”
“From two in the afternoon on.”
“I get off work at five, so maybe we can catch dinner.”
“Sounds good. We’ll probably see each other before then and work out the details.”
“Ciao, babe.” Sirius exited. Rhian had to admit that it was strange going for days without seeing him when they had spent the last seven years in school together, but she and Sirius could totally make it work. After all, doesn’t absence make the heart grow fonder?
Rhian was happy with her routine that July. She began every day by going to the coffee shop across the street, headed to work at Flourish & Blotts, occasionally caught lunch with Lily or Sirius (they worked in Diagon Alley too), and did administrative work for the Order of the Phoenix in the evenings. Her job taking inventory at the magical bookstore was somewhat menial but paid well enough, and was just an interim until she began Auror training.
“You start Auror training next week?” Lily asked, while she and Rhian were on their lunch breaks one day as the seventh month died.
“Don’t remind me! I’m so nervous,” Rhian responded.
“Oh, no you’re not. You’ve been itching for something interesting to do for some time now, I can tell.”
“Lily, how do you always seem to know me better than I know myself?” Rhian laughed.
“Years of trying to decipher your insanity.”
Rhian threw a piece of her sushi at Lily. Lily screamed.
“How can you throw food at me in a public place?” she demanded.
“Years of practice,” Rhian answered. She loved her new independence and responsibility as a proper adult, but was also greatful for her childhood friendships.
The night before Auror training began Rhian couldn’t sleep. She had originally planned to go to dinner with Sirius that evening, but he had to cancel at the last minute. She felt herself lie awake in bed, her eyes wide open and staring at the blank ceiling. Rhian turned to her right. Her clock read 5:00. Well, she was supposed to wake up at 5:30 anyway, so she decided to head across the street and grab some coffee a little early.
Rhian dressed quickly and quietly in the dark green tracksuit that the Ministry required all training Aurors to wear. When, or rather if, she successfully graduated the program her uniform would be navy blue. She tucked the matching green cloak in her emerald duffel bag, obviously not wanting to wear it in Muggle London.
The sun had not yet risen, and Rhian crossed the street without any cars rushing towards her. The only lit building was the café that Rhian had come to love for its strong coffee and tasty baked goods.
“Significantly earlier we are today,” Will commented when Rhian entered. Because of the time, the shop was empty.
“You work this early?” Rhian asked, sitting at the counter.
“I get here every morning at 4:30,” Will answered. “It’s no big deal; at secondary school I had rowing practice before sunup. At university this year, practice is in the afternoon, though. It’ll be strange being awake during 2k pieces.”
“You actually row?” Rhian found it extremely curious that he partook in a sport in which boats raced solely powered by human muscle.
“Yeah,” Will was confused by her surprise. “Practically half the people in this country row in school. Where’d you go to secondary school where it was so strange to row?”
“Uh,” Rhian mumbled. Unfortunately as she became better friends with Will, difficult questions such as this were asked increasingly. “Haverford.” It was the only Muggle school Rhian knew, where her mam had gone and where she would have gone if she hadn’t received her Hogwarts letter.
“Huh. Well, I don’t think it’s coed yet, and many girls’ schools don’t offer sports. Hm, maybe that’s why,” Will thought, handing Rhian the coffee and scone she ordered every morning.
“I start my new job today!” Rhian exclaimed, trying to stop him from thinking too much about her odd response.
“Ooh, what is it?” Will put his elbows on the counter and his chin in his palms, feigning zealous interest.
“Ah, uh,” Rhian fell in a hole again. “Training for…law enforcement.” Well, that’s what it was, right?
“You’re going to be a bobby?”
“Yes. Kind of.”
“High speed car chases, bank robberies, that sort of thing?”
“It’s more than that!” she insisted.
Rhian groaned. “Well, you know MI6, James Bond sort of stuff?”
“Confidential intelligence, twenty-first century technology, and hot babes?”
“Don’t make me smack you! Well, it’s kind of like that, I can’t really say exactly,” Rhian said truthfully.
“Sounds nothing short of awesome, Rhian.”
“I’m glad you approve of my vocational choice, noble purveyor of coffee.”
“Noblest kind of purveyor there is, right?”
“Damn straight,” Rhian sipped her java. “You start university this year?”
“Yep. University of London.”
“What are you reading?”
“Economics. I find it rather dull but it’s what my dad studied so he expects me to do the same.”
“Yeah, I kind of know how you feel. My dad was in politics and he’d always want to discuss current events with me, and don’t get me wrong, I do try to stay informed and all that, but I just don’t have the kind of zeal he did.”
“Um, he died two years ago.”
“Oh geez, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it, you couldn’t have known. You know, I always had such a weird relationship with him. He worked nonstop, either here in London or traveling around the world, and he only ever came home to Wales on holidays—”
“Can’t you tell by my accent?” Rhian didn’t think seven years surrounded by English accents had affected her speaking that significantly.
“I detected a slight deviation, but I thought maybe you were Brazilian or something. Ow!” Will cried out, because Rhian had hit his shoulder with her bag.
“I’m trying to tell you about my dead father over here!”
“Fine, go on,” said Will, rubbing his injured shoulder.
“Anyway, my mam and I were always around each other, but the few times I did see my dad I always felt closer to him.”
“You two had more in common?”
“Yeah, you could say that.”
“Well, I wish I had that kind of connection with my dad.”
“Not a warm and fuzzy man?”
“If, by warm and fuzzy, you mean ice cold and distant. He works for this huge corporation that makes airport runway lights—”
“That’s an…unusual product.”
“I know, they’ve got like a worldwide monopoly. That’s why they’ve been so successful. Anyway, he’s this big CEO or CFO or something, so he’s always working, like your dad. But when he does come home, he criticizes me for everything, and it’s been that way for as long as I can remember. My grades are never good enough, even though I had the highest average in my graduating class. If my crew loses really badly, that’s all my fault too, because I just couldn’t get my head in the boat. When my last girlfriend dumped me, he tried to point out where I went wrong.”
“Ya seem more like a ladykiller than a dumpee.”
“I keep ending up with girls who cheat on me.”
“I think I’m going to take a break from relationships for a while.”
“That might be a good idea.”
“Well, now that I’ve revealed my pathetic love life to you, it’s your turn to confess.”
“Um, I guess I’ve been dating the same guy for half a year now. Does it count if we dated before that too?”
“How long have you been married to this guy?”
“Let’s see, Sirius and I dated for two months, then I was with Remus for ten, and then another six months with Sirius…”
“Sirius and Remus?”
“Yeah, they have weird names. They’re best friends, with two other guys.”
“What’re their names, Julius and Augustus?”
“James and Peter.”
Will laughed at their ordinary names. “I don’t suppose you have your sights set on James and Peter next, do you?”
“Oh no, James is going out with my best friend Lily, they’re probably going to end up married, and Peter…hm, I don’t know if he’s still seeing Seven-Foot Sally.”
“Sounds like a…colorful crowd.”
“You’re the one who asked about my personal life.”
“Ay, I suppose I did. When do you have to go to secret agent training, again?”
“Shoot!” Rhian exclaimed, looking at her watch. “I’m late!” She gathered her things and turned to head out the door.
“My boss won’t be thrilled if you bolt out of here without paying!” Will called.
“Put it on my tab!” Rhian said as she reached the door.
“We don’t do tabs!”
“Well now you do!” Rhian turned left and sprinted down the street. If she had looked back, she would have seen Will grinning at her quirkiness. Turning at the next corner into a dark alleyway, Rhian focused on the three Ds and felt herself Disapparate.
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