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Chapter 3 : Dawlish and Mexican Food
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Rhian popped into the entrance of the Auror offices on Level Two of the Ministry of Magic. She searched frantically through her bag for the letter that had alerted her of her acceptance into the Auror training program. Yes, it said to meet here at 7:00 sharp. She stashed the parchment back in her bag and looked around. A small group of three young wizards had clustered in the corner, and Rhian decided to join them.
“Hi,” she tried to smile, so as to hide her anxiety.
“You just graduated from Hogwarts, right?” asked a familiar-looking blond guy. “You dated Sirius Black?”
“Yeah, I’m Rhiannon Clark,” said Rhian, wondering if everyone just thought of her as Sirius’s girlfriend. “You were in Ravenclaw, right?”
“Yep, the name’s Proudfoot,” said Proudfoot.
“I’m Williamson,” said a guy Rhian recognized from Hufflepuff. “Played you in Quidditch a few times.”
“Dawlish,” said the tall freckled one. “I was just explaining to these guys that I’ve been researching wand theory with my great-uncle for the past five years, which is why I haven’t been able to start Auror training until now.”
“Do you think it will be difficult to transition from solely Charms work to more Defense oriented subjects?” asked Proudfoot, very interested.
“Well, I did receive all Outstandings on my N.E.W.T.s. so I don’t forsee a problem,” boasted Dawlish. Rhian noted that he certainly thought highly of himself, and with good reason.
“I’m so mad at myself that I couldn’t get better than an Exceeds Expectations in Charms!” said Williamson.
“My vice was History of Magic. Os all around except for a stupid EE on that exam,” grumbled Proudfoot.
“All Os for you, I expect, Clark,” said Dawlish, very interested in Rhian’s grades.
“Um, well, actually, I got Os in everything but Potions and Herbology,” Rhian felt ashamed to admit, though earlier that summer she had been elated that she had done so well.
“Ooh, tough luck with that. You must have had some pretty hard examiners, I suppose,” drawled Dawlish. Rhian felt her face turn red.
“Fat lot of good grades’ll do you in the field, boy!” shouted an angry, gruff voice. Rhian spun around to see a scowling middle-aged wizard, with one very curious blue eye that kept spinning around.
“You’re…you’re Alastor Moody!” said Proudfoot, in awe. Rhian remembered now. Alastor Moody was one of the most legendary Aurors in history, having captured over half of the Death Eaters now in Azkaban.
“I must be doing a pretty terrible job if YOU can recognize me,” said Moody. Rhian wondered how he thought he could be indistinguishable with his weird eye.
“Now you lot, why are you standing here wasting time? Follow me,” Moody led them past a number of cubicles to a door labeled “Training.” Behind the door, there was a very ordinary-looking classroom with several student desks, a teacher’s desk, a chalkboard, and a number of educational posters on the walls. One that caught Rhian’s eye had the slogan “Murdering a Muggle man will earn you a one-way trip to Azkaban!” and pictured a very defeated-looking wizard behind bars. “Obviously, this is where you’ll be doing a lot of your learning. Each one of us Aurors is assigned to be in charge of each incoming class, and I’m in charge of you. Depending on the lesson, we’ll rotate teachers so that you get someone who’s an expert in that particular field and you’ll get to know all of the Aurors. Well?” asked Moody, staring at his new group of students standing in the doorway. “Sit down!”
The four newest Auror trainees scrambled to sit down as quickly as they could. “I’m not going to stand here and tell you all that you’re here because you’re the best and the brightest,” Moody continued. “The best and the brightest should already know that. What’s more important is that you’re the most ambitious and slightly nutty. When you’re a member of the Auror department, you put your life on the line everyday to save wizards and Muggles alike. This isn’t the damn Muggle military; you don’t risk your neck to save a fellow Auror. You’re no good to us dead. The priority is to save Muggles, magical children, witches, and wizards from Dark forces. It’s not about being a hero. You’re here to do your job. Got that straight?”
His four students nodded vigorously. ‘How cute,’ Moody thought. ‘The sycophants want to impress me with their attentiveness.’
“The first few months will be in the classroom—yes, I know you want to move on to the fun stuff, but that will come later. Finally, after three years, if you’ve made it that far, you will take the final examination that will determine whether or not you will become an Auror. This ride isn’t going to be easy, and it’s definitely not going to be fun. This is also probably the first thing you aren’t doing for yourself. Growing up, your sole priority was yourself. In school, you battled with your classmates for the highest grades,” Moody looked at Dawlish and Proudfoot, “but as an Auror, other people, complete strangers become your priority. You have to put others before yourself. You all understand?”
They all nodded.
“Well, we’ll start lesson one then. Take out a quill and parchment, I’ll probably give you a pop test on it when you least expect it.”
“Good lord! Is that your textbook?” Lily asked, in awe of the enormous, leather-bound book lying on the table in front of Rhian. It was the size of several Walter Nizz books combined.
“Yeah, isn’t it cool?” said Rhian excitedly. “It has the most amazing glossary with every Dark word you could think of!”
“Oh, wicked,” Lily said, trying to muster some enthusiasm. She simply did not share Rhian’s zeal for fighting the Dark Arts. “You’ve got Order duty tonight, right?”
“Me too. I’m actually starting my first day of fieldwork.”
“I’ve got intelligence and administrative duty.”
“Cool, we can go together.”
Lily sat down at the table and opened a can of soda. “I still don’t understand why Dumbledore won’t let you go after Death Eaters. I mean, you’re studying to be an Auror. You would probably be more competent than me or any of the guys.”
“I don’t mind desk work, Lily,” said Rhian calmly. “Besides, somebody’s got to do it.” It was obvious that Lily knew something was up, but Rhian had to keep her mouth shut. She’d be going to missions soon enough, but they had to be covert. If any of her friends found out, they could be in danger.
“Well, if it doesn’t bother you, I guess it’s fine. What do you want for dinner?”
“Hm, I’m kind of in the mood for Mexican.”
“Does José’s deliver?”
“I’ll call them.” Rhian stood up and picked up the phone. Their apartment was registered as a magical household with the Ministry of Magic, so they were free to use their wands, but since both girls grew up in Muggle households, they didn’t want to be without such comforts as telephones and delivered ethnic food.
“Hola,” Rhian spoke into the telephone. “I’d like to put in an order for delivery…you don’t deliver? Alright, takeout then…let’s see, four hard shell tacos with no cheese or tomatoes, one burrito supreme, and one order of nachos…Lily, what do you want?” The employee on the other end seemed very surprised at the amount of food ordered for what seemed to be one person. “Okay,” Rhian continued, “one taco salad. When will it be ready? Fifteen minutes, okay. Thanks.”
Twenty minutes later, Rhian exited José’s Taco Emporium with two large bags filled with Mexican food. She had to walk half a mile to the flat, because there was no place where she could disappear out of sight to Apparate. Besides, Rhian doubted she could hold the bags tightly enough during Apparition.
The London streets were full of commuters returning home after a long day of work, and Rhian nearly got killed trying to cross a few intersections, despite the fact that the pedestrian walk sign was lit.
“Need some help?” Rhian heard a familiar voice behind her.
“Will!” she said, turning around.
“Quite a load you’ve got there…here, let me help you,” the coffee guy said, taking one of her bags.
“Wow, thanks…but if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, I can manage on my own.”
“No, I’m just coming home from practice. Where are you going with all this,” Will sniffed the bag, “Mexican food?”
“I’m bringing it home for me and my roommate. Hey, you can meet Lily!”
“Ah, the famous Lily. I’ve certainly heard enough about her.”
“Oh, she’ll live up to your expectations, I guarantee that.”
“How was your first day of your new crime fighting job?”
“Ha, I don’t even have to wait until tomorrow morning to tell you about it. It was good. Really hard, but good. I actually have homework.”
“Did they give you a gun? If they did, they should issue a warning to all Londoners.”
“No, Mr. Smart Alec, I did not get a gun. Yet.” Rhian grinned. “You had practice today?”
“They’re starting really early this year. I don’t even have classes for another two weeks.”
“How’d it go?”
Rhian and Will chatted for the remainder of the trip to Rhian’s flat. Even though they saw each other every day, they never ran out of things to talk about. Rhian liked having a friend who didn’t know her when she was eleven and had no idea the magical world existed. It wasn’t that she didn’t love her friends from school, but because of their history, Rhian felt somewhat trapped in how she should act or what she should say. But with Will, Rhian was a little freer. If they ever got into an argument, she could find another coffee shop and never see him again. Rhian felt that her relationship with Will was simpler, and thus easier.
“Oh, here it is,” said Rhian, motioning to her building with her bag. “It’s up a few flights of stairs, we don’t have a lift.” Rhian felt strange referencing an elevator. She hadn’t even thought of the Muggle invention for seven years.
“Not a problem,” said Will goodheartedly. They climbed the steps and Rhian led him to her door.
“Lucy, I’m home!” Rhian called into the flat after she unlocked the door, à la “I Love Lucy.” She dropped her bag on the counter and Will did the same.
“James and Sirius’ll be here in ten minutes,” Lily called from another room.
“Sirius your boyfriend?” Will asked.
“Um, yeah.” Rhian suddenly felt uncomfortable. “Oh, would you like to stay for dinner? I ordered way too much, as usual.”
“No thanks, I probably should be getting home,” Will answered.
“Rhi, did you use my toothpaste?” asked Lily, entering the kitchen. “Oh!” she exclaimed. “Hello.”
“I’m Will,” smiled Will.
“Right, the coffee guy. And I’m Lily.”
“The best friend and roommate.”
“Well, I see you two have taken care of introductions,” Rhian remarked.
“Nice to meet you, but I ought to be going,” Will said, turning toward the door.
“Oh no, stay for dinner,” Lily said politely, with a hint of hesitation. She knew Sirius would not be pleased to find Rhian having a guy friend over for dinner.
“Thanks, but I really should be getting home before it gets too dark. I live above and Italian restaurant and the alley next to it tends to become infested with ‘legitimate businessmen’ after eight o’clock.”
Lily looked a little horrified, but Rhian laughed. “You would rent a flat from the mafia!”
“They’re not the mafia, they’re ‘legitimate businessmen,’” Will chuckled. “Again, nice to meet you, Lily.”
“Likewise,” Lily replied, finally understanding Will’s sense of humor.
“See you bright and early, Rhian,” Will opened the door and waved.
“Don’t cross the Godfather’s path!” she continued mocking him.
After Will exited the flat and the door swung shut, Lily said, “You’ve found yourself a very cute coffee guy, Rhi.”
“I know,” said Rhian sheepishly.
“An easy 9.5 out of 10.”
“I’ve known him for a little over a month and I haven’t really found any faults. Well, he has some daddy issues, which might knock him down to a 9.8 out of 10.”
“You’re lucky Sirius didn’t get here before you.”
“I know, he’d be really jealous. But I can’t tell him about Will, he’ll just mad over nothing. He’d want to meet him and think it’s stupid that I have a Muggle friend.”
“Will knows nothing about the wizarding world?”
“As far as I know, he’s an oarsman from Eton who’s starting at the University of London this year who thinks that the last witches in Britain were burned at the stake five hundred years ago.”
“Well, you two seem to get on really well.”
“Yeah, it’s nice to have a friend separate from the Order and Auror training and all that.”
“Just be careful with what you do and don’t tell Sirius. If he finds out, he’ll be really hurt. He screwed everything up with you the first time, and he never really stopped loving you.”
“Of course I’ll be careful, Lils. Sirius and I have loved each other for a really long time, considering how short our lives have been. I can still be friends with Will, right?”
“I guess. Don’t keep it a total secret from Sirius, you remember how well it turned out when Remus wouldn’t tell you about his lycanthropy. But, I guess you can’t really tell him either, because he is the jealous type.”
“There’s no point telling him now, because there’s really nothing controversial about what I’m doing now. I mean, I buy coffee from this guy every day, and he helped me bring dinner home when I couldn’t carry the bags. No problem, right?”
Lily didn’t think that there was a problem with the situation, but that the problem might be in Rhian and Will’s obvious compatibility.
In case you're wondering, I do listen to PotterCast! I mean, I couldn't write an Auror story without including Dawlish...
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