St. Mungo’s Hospital was in its usual early morning havoc. Those patients who had waited all night for help, only to find that their minor injuries could only be assisted to in the morning, were demanding help now at every Healer who entered and exited the Hospital. Rachel must’ve been the only person there who wasn’t sprouting tentacles nor had gown an extra arm.
She ran a hand through her hair and bounced on the balls of her feet, she was anxious to get upstairs, but the waiting line to be assisted to was about a mile long and she knew it would be hours before she got there.
“C’mon…” she muttered under her breath, looking anxiously around for some sort of way to get past quickly.
“Rach! Hey… Rachel!”
Rachel turned around twice before she spotted a tired Remus at the end of the hall towards the elevators. He waved at her, and immediately she moved out of the waiting line and hurried towards him.
“Have you seen him yet?” she asked, as he hugged her in welcome.
“I have… he’s asleep again though. I think the only person who could sleep for six months then be asleep again within the next few hours is Sirius”
Rachel smiled wryly, and nodded,
“I’m going upstairs again now though; did you want to join me? I could show you what ward he’s in and you could drop in and visit-” he paused, and quickly corrected himself on the account that she’d been reluctant to come yesterday, “or not. Whatever you’re planning on doing, of course”
“Sure, show me the way” she followed him into the elevator, and asked, “did you get to talk to him at all?”
“Yes,” Remus nodded, “he’s a little startled… he doesn’t remember much from that day. He can’t believe it’s been six months though, I think that’s the biggest shock”
“Mmmm…” Rachel murmured, nodding, “It would be. So much has happened in that time as well… did he say anything else?”
“Uh…” Remus frowned, thoughtful, “Not really, he was a bit quiet honestly. I suppose he’s just overwhelmed though…”
the sliding doors opened, revealing the 5th floor corridor. It was a dull place to be, for it was usually filled with grieving family’s farewelling a loved one or receiving news of one that had been severely injured.
“This one, here” Remus turned abruptly into the long-term residents ward, and as Remus had told her, Rachel found Sirius sound asleep. He looked just like he had while he was still unconscious.
She frowned, and took a seat beside his bed. She glanced up at Remus, waiting for him to take the seat beside her, but he was instead looking at his watch.
“I’ve got to get going, I just came back up here to make sure he hadn’t escaped” he grinned, “I tell you, if they keep him in here much longer he’ll go crazy”
Rachel nodded, but stood as well,
“Well I suppose there’s not much use in me being here”
“Rach,” Remus stopped her, frowning, “Stay here… really, he’ll want to see you”
Rachel looked back at Sirius again, and asked quietly,
“You really think so?”
“Don’t be silly,” Remus smiled, “of course he will”
“We haven’t really… talked, though” she said unsurely, and Remus shrugged,
“Here’s your perfect chance to… honestly, he should be awake soon, I don’t see how he could stay asleep for too much longer…” she nodded slowly, and hugged him before he left. “Thanks for coming, I didn’t know whether you would, actually” Remus smiled at her before he left, and Rachel frowned again, sitting heavily into the bedside chair.
A persistent tapping awoke Rachel from her sleep, but her eyes were still closed.
“Go away…” she murmured, lazily dragging her arm up to try and bat away the thing that was prodding her.
“Oh, you’re awake”
Rachel’s eyes snapped open immediately, and with her eyes wide, she exclaimed,
Sirius frowned at her sudden outburst,
“Yes… I am. And now you are too”
“How are you feeling?” she ignored his previous comment, and he shrugged,
“Normal… what are you doing here?”
Rachel opened her mouth to speak, but took a long pause, before she instead decided on shrugging. If he was going to be blunt with her, she wasn’t going to satisfy him by looking like she was here because she cared about him- even though she did.
She got the reaction she wanted, Sirius frowned and his shoulders lowered slightly. His ego hadn’t been boosted at all, and Rachel crossed her arms, smug.
“I hear you’re teaching at Hogwarts now” Sirius decided on, finally, and Rachel nodded.
“Yeah, I am”
“Why are you being stubborn?” he snapped, and Rachel leant backwards a little,
“Why were you being an idiot before?”
“Because I’m annoyed!” he exclaimed, and Rachel's face dropped,
“Why?” she demanded.
“You weren’t here when I…” he faltered, and muttered, “you weren’t here when I woke up...”
Rachel sat still for a few moments, her face softening slightly. She sighed,
“It’s been six months, Sirius…”
“And you don’t love me anymore” he muttered, his arms crossed as he looked the other way. He knew what he was doing was childish and stubborn but he couldn’t resist.
“No-” she started,
“-Rachel, will you just admit-”
“-Will you shut up!” she snapped, standing. “It’s not that I don’t love you anymore it’s just that… I needed to move on! I sat here by your beside for a week after that attack… I barely ate or slept because I wouldn’t let anyone else near me, or you… and if you don’t you think that I love you after that then, I don’t know what else there is that I can do” she shrugged, and waited for him to reply.
“We were supposed to be moving on…” he muttered, still facing the other way.
“Oh God, you know what?” she pointed at him, and snapped, “You can forget about it then! If you’re going to sit here and act like a bloody five year old, then be like that! But you’re the one losing here, and if you don’t get your act together soon you’re going to lose everyone you’re close to, because you’ve just about lost me!”
Finally he turned his head, facing the consequences she was giving him.
“You’d really do that?” he asked, “you’d really walk away from all this?”
“All what?” she asked, getting upset, “all what Sirius?”
“Everything we’ve ever… ever had together!”
“It’s not there anymore” she muttered,
“Do you really believe that? Or are you just saying that because it’s what you want”
“I don’t know what I want anymore, Sirius”
“I do…” he said quietly, and she frowned, “Rach,” he sighed, “I just want… what we used to have”
“We can’t, not until you change” he frowned, and she shrugged with finality, “If that’s what you really want, you have to prove to me that you’re still the person I knew before you went away”
“Is it what you want too, though? Because I’m not going to try if it’s on a lost cause”
“It’s what I want more than anything else right now” she nodded slowly, “But if it’s not going to work then I don’t see the point in being hurt like I was before”
he nodded, in understanding,
Smiling a little, she leant down and kissed his cheek,
“I’ve got to get back to the castle… I didn’t even tell Dumbledore I was leaving”
He smiled, and took one of her hands,
“thanks for being here… even though it was the second time I woke up”
She breathed a laugh, and nodded,
“It’s what you did for me when I needed it; I thought I better return the favour” she frowned for a moment, before apologising, “I didn’t come here to get angry at you, I just wanted to know you were alright…”
He grinned, and Rachel found it infectious, so she returned the gesture.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way”
I’ve just been to visit Sirius, I was meant to go and see him yesterday but I thought I should’ve let him have a day to himself for once. I don’t think he’s had anytime to really think about things since he’s been released. I think the guy needed a break.
But he’s in good spirits… too good, for me to not be suspicious. I suspect he’s got a secret but I didn’t push the matter, if it’s important he’ll tell someone soon.
He’s going someone tonight so I wouldn’t bother to try and contact him, but I suppose you still could and he would get the mail in the morning.
Hope Hogwarts is well, and make sure you don’t overwork yourself with all those papers you have to mark.
Rachel quickly turned the sheet of parchment over, and scribbled a reply,
Good to hear from you again! I suppose I’ll just have to contact Sirius tomorrow morning, thanks for the tip. I’ve never known the man to be so sociable all of the sudden, I dropped into St. Mungo’s the day before he left and invited him to Hogwarts for the weekend, but he’s got this whole week full! I suspect there’s something going on as well… only time will tell us though!
I’ll write to you soon, and you should drop in again, it’s always good to catch up.
She attached it to the owl’s leg, and watched as it flew off into the sunset, before quickly checking her watch. Rachel smiled, and ran out of the Owlery towards the Staff Room. She was late for a meeting with all the other staff members, but she couldn’t resist getting mail from Remus. It was always good to hear about what was happening beyond the walls of the school, and he’d been a good news supplier on what Sirius had been up to.
Sirius had only been discharged from St. Mungo’s a day ago, and Rachel was eager to keep in contact with him. As much as she hated it, she was always on edge about any other women he might bump into while she was always away teaching.
Slowing her walk, she strode confidently into the Staff Room, and was glad to see that the meeting hadn’t started yet and people were still conversing. She took the last seat in the room, situated between Professor’s McGonagall and Sprout.
She scanned the room, and found Dumbledore about to start.
“Hogwarts Professors!” he called, and immediately the room feel silent. He smiled, and said, “I have called everyone together tonight to farewell a much loved staff member, our Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Hamlyn has decided to give up her post as a Hogwarts Professor, to concentrate on caring for her family” he smiled warmly at the leaving Professor, who smiled sombrely back. Rachel’s face fell slightly; she had made good friends with Veronica Hamlyn. It was beginning to look like everyone she ever got close to in her life ending up leaving. “But we have some good news to add to this sadness!” Dumbledore went on, taking Rachel from her thoughts, “We can’t have the students of this school without a Defence Against Dark Arts teacher, and I’ve already managed to find a suitable replacement over this past week…” Rachel’s eyes landed on Serevus Snape, almost sure that he’d been given the job. Everyone in the teaching staff knew that he wanted the job more than anything else, but by the scowl on Snapes face, she doubted it very much so. Frowning and interested, she turned back to Dumbledore, but found her eyes landing on the back door to the Staff Room, which was being opened, to reveal their new teacher.
She couldn’t see them all, but she knew that she wasn’t the only one whose eyes had widened at the identity of the newcomer. Dumbledore smiled wide at the teachers, oblivious to their shock,
“I’d like you all to welcome our newest edition to the Hogwarts staff, Professor Sirius Black!”