Chapter 2 : Two
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It was another normal day at work for Alicia and, as she sat at her desk, she tried to mentally prepare herself for her last client before lunch. Viktor Krum. Although, for a change, this appointment was one that had been scheduled already. She’d seen him in her office less than two days ago and hopefully he’d be in and out quickly; there wasn’t much to discuss, apart from one very important matter. His mental instability was not something she could deal with alone.
A loud knock echoed around the room, and it was obvious that Viktor had stormed straight past Ruby and on to her office. At least he’d had the courtesy to knock.
‘Come in,’ Alicia called, tucking a few loose strands of hair behind her ears and shuffling through the stack of folders by her desk until she found Krum’s.
‘It feels like I haf not been here in many years,’ Viktor said as he settled himself in the chair that he now considered his own.
‘Oh, trust me, it wasn’t too long ago.’
‘I know this, do you think I do not remember? I am just saying that it feels like it has been a long time.’
As he spoke, Viktor wove his hands maniacally through the drawing Alicia's attention to the object clasped tightly in his right hand: a copy of the newspaper. Alicia was slightly ashamed to admit that she had, for some reason, never pictured Viktor as someone capable of keeping up with current events for his own pleasure.
‘Have you brought something to show me?’ Alicia asked, inclining her head slightly towards the newspaper in his grasp.
‘No. First you must tell me of vot Hermione said.’
Alicia stared, puzzled as to what exactly Victor was talking about. And then he stroked his beard. Ronald Weasley.
‘Unfortunately, I have been unable to contact her at this stage.’
Viktor muttered something rapidly under his breath in Bulgarian, leaving Alicia to stop herself from rolling her eyes. She didn’t believe she had ever been more unprofessional with a client than she was with Viktor Krum, but he didn’t even need to be there. Krum had not once mentioned any sort of quidditch related stress, but he mentioned his personal life during every single session. It was a pain in Alicia’s arse.
‘Fine. Look at this,’ Viktor said, slamming the newspaper on her desk with more force than necessary.
Alicia scanned the front page quickly, but couldn’t see anything that would bother Viktor, ‘What exactly am I looking at?’
‘It is not on that page! Vot do you think you are looking at?’ Viktor cried in exasperation.
‘The page you put in front of me,’ Alicia said.
Viktor merely looked at her and so she proceeded to wave the newspaper at him.
‘It is on page tventy seven.’
‘Ah, obviously,’ Alicia said as she flicked through the bundle of paper to reach page twenty seven.
She had to perform a double take when she reached it, as blaring out at her was a huge picture of Oliver. He was grinning cheekily, a dimple visible on his left cheek and above the picture the headline read ‘World’s Best Player?’ Was it possible that Viktor wanted to talk out some of his quidditch worries?
‘He is not very good. He is just thinking that he is good, and they put him in the paper because he is looking good.’
‘So, your problem is with the unfair treatment of physically attractive players?’ Alicia asked, peering at Viktor over the top of her glasses.
‘No, my problem is that I am looking good also, and I do not see big photographs of myself in a newspaper.’
Alicia merely leaned back in her chair and continued to look at Viktor, causing him to furrow his eyebrows at her.
‘Vot? Do you think that this man is better looking than me?’ Viktor inquired as he unconsciously folded his arms over his chest, tensing his biceps. ‘Oh, I forgot that he is your friend…’
‘Viktor it’s not up to me to decide how attractive people are – I’m a psychologist, a fact which you seem to have forgotten,’ Alicia said through almost gritted teeth.
‘I am not being ungrateful. There is something about me in there too,’ Viktor declared as he swiped the newspaper off of Alicia’s desk and rifled to another page before replacing it.
It was a full page profile on him, although the picture included was considerably smaller. Alicia glanced over it, taking in the words that praised the man before her so completely that it caused her to fall into a silent stupor. When she managed to regain some sense of herself, she looked up to meet his gaze and was surprised to see a downcast man sitting before her. His eyes were diverted away from her and down to his lap, where he was fiddling with his thumbs.
‘Is there something wrong, Viktor?’ Alicia asked, in what may have been the kindest tone she had ever used when addressing Viktor Krum.
‘Yes, if this is the vay people see me, then it is no wonder that I do not haf many pictures of me in magazines.’
Alicia was truly perplexed, both by Viktor’s crestfallen appearance and the fact that the person who had compiled this profile clearly had no idea about his true personality. Viktor was adored the world over as a Quidditch God and a ‘down to earth’ and ‘humble’ person, but, for some bizarre reason, he saw this as something to be frowned upon. Was there a chance that Viktor was more complex than Alicia gave him credit for?
‘What do you mean?’
‘They think that I am some sort of vallflower! I am the nice guy that people like, but that nobody talks to! I think this is vy I do not haf many people to go out vith in England.’
Well, nobody could deny that he was complex, although in a somewhat different respect to what Alicia had been hoping for. People don’t dislike you because you’re nice, and that certainly wasn’t why nobody could stick being around him.
She was about to open her mouth to give her thoughts on the matter when Viktor cut her short, ‘Vy haf you not been taking any notes today? You are alvays taking notes and scribbling things in your little book.’
Viktor had hit on something that Alicia had wanted to get round to right from the start of the session, however, now that the time to act was upon her, Alicia grew more hesitant. She pulled open a drawer in her desk and flicked through it for a second before pulling out an official looking form.
‘The thing is… Well, I’ve been thinking about it for a while and- and I think it’s time that I referred you to a specialist. I don’t feel properly equipped to deal with your issues and Healer Henwick is really very goo-’
‘I do not understand. You are sacking me?’
‘No, no! I’m just providing you with the tools to make you a happier and more rounded person.’
‘Yes, vithout you. You are sacking me. Nobody in the vorld likes me - only Hermione and she is marrying a man who looks like he vas kicked in the face by a troll.’
Viktor was covering his face with his hands and talking through them, but he soon became unintelligible and was babbling incoherently as Alicia gazed on, her mouth agape. Her training had never taught her how to deal with a patient who seemed to have undergone a personality transplant. Well, actually, it had, but not when said patient was Viktor Krum.
‘Look, you’re a lovely man, but I just don’t have the right resources here. I mean, I enjoy our chats immensely and I’ll miss you but I just think that it’s for the best.’
The lies were cascading out of Alicia’s mouth before she could even think about regulating them, and Viktor gradually became more responsive, removing his hands from his face and making eye contact with Alicia.
‘Okay,’ he said.
‘Yes, but I think that now ve are not vorking together anymore we can still keep in contact. The Ministry is haffing an event for all quidditch players, to promote international relations, and maybe you vill come vith me?’
Panic set in, freezing every muscle in Alicia’s body with a mixture of horror and disgust. She brushed some non-existent hairs back behind her ear to buy some time, but it was no use. He was looking at her like a lost puppy and, no matter how much this man got on her nerves, she couldn’t drop him from her books and leave him completely companionless.
‘Alright, Viktor, I’ll get these forms sent off and I’ll go to this party with you.’
‘Good. I thought you vud like to be invited. It is very odd that you do not haf a boyfriend. I vas beginning to think that you liked vimmen,’ Viktor said as he exited the room without excusing himself. ‘I vill owl you.’
It hadn’t taken him long to revert back to his old ways. Alicia ignored the abrasive sound of her office door slamming shut, and hastily packed away her things as she prepared to go for lunch. She threw off the navy robes she wore over a set of muggle clothes, hung them up replaced them with a less formal set in vermilion. She then popped her handbag over her shoulder and headed out the door through which Viktor had exited minutes earlier.
She was barely in the corridor when she heard a loud commotion coming from the reception area, so she scurried a little faster, tucking her hair behind her ears in a business-like manner as she went.
‘To be honest, mate, I don’t think she’ll care too much.’
Ginny Weasley’s voice was familiar to Alicia from her Hogwarts days, and the tone of irritation in it made her even easier to place. She was one of the strongest females Alicia knew and whoever had managed to get on the wrong side of her was obviously in for a shock. Alicia rounded the corner just in time to see the unfortunate person on the receiving end make his retort.
‘You vill just pass the message along, yes?’ Viktor demanded.
Upon seeing Viktor and Ginny locked in an intense staring match with Ruby sitting helplessly behind her desk, Alicia felt that she had to take matters into her own hands if she wanted to eat at all.
‘Get out now before I’m forced to revoke my acceptance to this ridiculous event. Just… Out!’
The idea of turning up alone to this Ministry event was something that Viktor couldn’t quite come to terms with, so he nodded curtly in Ginny’s direction and sprinted out of the office.
‘What took you so long?’ Angelina cried the second Alicia entered the little deli, which had become a firm favourite of theirs over the years.
Angelina Johnson was not a woman famed for her subtlety and tact, unless it was strictly necessary, and the blush that graced Alicia’s face as the whole room turned to look at her was not mirrored on Angelina’s. Alicia deigned not to reply and hurried over to the table Angelina had chosen, shooting her a look of death the whole way.
‘Can you not shout so loud for once?’ Alicia hissed as she slung her bag over the back of her chair and sat down.
‘I wouldn’t be shouting if you were on time. I thought you were dead! You’re about three minutes late.’
Alicia followed Angelina’s gaze and saw that she was in fact late. She was never late. She wasn’t even late to work that time a muggle car ran her over, or when Gwenog took it upon herself to hide outside the office in the mornings and throw things at her.
‘Oh, honestly! What’s three minutes?’ Alicia asked as she nicked the menu out of the other girl’s hands. Angelina merely looked at her, eyebrows pulled into an intimidating stare. ‘Fine, it’s one hundred and eighty whole seconds, which will probably play on my mind for the rest of the day, so let’s not dwell on it now.’
‘At least you’ve admitted it,’ Angelina said, grabbing the menu back and grinning.
The women chattered away for a couple more minutes until the waiter came over to take their orders. Angelina ordered her usual, and Alicia ordered something completely different to anything she’d ever had in there, which was the exact same thing she usually did. However, it was only when Angelina held up her glass to indicate that she wanted some more water, that Alicia noticed the huge difference in her friend.
‘In the name of all that is holy! What the hell is that?!’ Alicia exclaimed.
Angelina looked down at her hand for a second, a look of confusion crossed her features, and then she started grinning like a Cheshire cat.
And then there was a chorus of screaming, which completely lacked the self consciousness Alicia had displayed upon entering the deli to find her friend shrieking across it. In fact, Alicia had jumped up from her chair and hugged Angelina before they stopped screaming. After all, it wasn’t every day that your best friend got engaged.
‘This must have cost a bomb,’ Alicia breathed as she surveyed the rock glistening on her friend’s finger.
‘Yes, it just reminds me that it’s all bought from the amount of dung bombs bought at the shop. Very romantic notion.’
‘Oh, rubbish,’ Alicia said as she sat back down on the opposite side of the table. ‘So, when did this happen? What did he say?’
‘Just last night! And I’m still reeling. I mean, we’ve been going out for a while, but I wasn’t expecting it…’ Alicia, who was sipping her cup of tea at the time almost choked. ‘Okay! Don’t kill yourself over it, you know rightly that I practically had to threaten him into it.’
‘But it was worth it, love,’ Alicia said, a look of pure delight on her face.
The waiter returned with their lunches and Angelina tore a chunk out of her sandwich before replying, ‘What about your love life, then?’
Angelina looked up from her sandwich, which she’d been taking another bite of, only to see Alicia slumped over the table. She glanced at her sandwich once again before slowly lowering it back onto her plate.
‘C’mon, ‘licia, it’s been two months now! You can’t let Roger flaming Davies ruin your whole life.’ Alicia’s only response was another groan. ‘Alright, well, technically you can, but I’m not letting you. There’s this quidditch do at the Ministry on Saturday, you should come.’
‘Oh, Merlin! Are you going to that?’ Alicia said, dragging her head up from where rested on the tabletop.
‘Mmhmm,’ Angelina replied through a mouthful of tea, ‘does that mean you’re going too?’
Alicia gathered the strength to pull herself off the table, but it was only in order to get stuck into her lunch. It was hard to complain on an empty stomach.
Angelina’s face glowed in triumph, ‘Brilliant. And d’you know who else’ll be there?’
‘Oh, you do!’ Angelina declared, slapping her palm down in excitement.
‘Oliver?’ Alicia asked in response.
‘No! ...Actually, he probably will be, but d’you know who else’ll be there?’ Angelina’s eyebrows knitted together at the entirely blank expression on Alicia’s face. ‘Derek Chaffinch!’
‘You’re a bloody great friend, you know that?’ Alicia deadpanned.
‘I know he’s the competition, and he’s got an absolutely despicable name, and he can come across as overly nice, and he stole some of your clients, but he’s fit!’
Alicia ran her hands through her hair and exhaled with great force, ‘Well, that’s all right then isn’t it?’
‘Exactly my point!’ Angelina exclaimed, ignoring her friend's irritation.
‘If you… must know, I’m already, well, I’m going with someone.’
‘You’re not!’ Angelina exclaimed, but babbling on anyway. ‘Oh God, you’re lucky. He must be a quidditch player then. Who does he play for? Is he any good? D’you think he’ll be any good in other departments?’
Alicia shuddered in disgust at the last question.
‘He plays for the bloody Vratsa Vulture and he’s not bad, I suppose. But I couldn’t give a rat’s arse what he’s like in any other ‘department’, as this is a bloody favour and not a bloody date,’ Alicia said.
‘Calm down, dear,’ was Angelina’s only response, as she paused to take another sip of her tea. ‘… It’s not Ivanoff is it?’ She asked after considering it for another moment.
‘I wish. No, it’s… I– It’s- Oh Jesus Christ, I can’t even say it!’
At this moment, Angelina had a minor epiphany as to who Alicia could be accompanying to the Ministry event in two days time, and her mouth visibly dropped about eight inches. If it was Viktor Krum, she would personally shoot Alicia. That bitch could have any man she wanted! When she wasn’t snuggling up with Oliver in a ‘friendly’, she was sending glares, which looked frighteningly like ‘come hither’ looks, at Derek Chaffinch.
However, despite all this, she was attempting to throw herself at Viktor Krum, a complete dickhead no matter how you looked at it him. Alright, he did work the angry caveman look very well, with those brooding eyes and that beard that was wrong in all the right ways, but this did not change the fact that he was a total dickhead.
‘Licia, no - he’s a dickhead. And Merlin, that’s not even allowed! He’s your client! You’re going to be shoved in Azkaban for rigging matches, and seducing prominent quidditch players with prominent noses, and all sorts.’
‘Right, first off, he’s not a client anymore, and second of all he bloody tricked me and, on top of that, I’m the biggest idiot to walk the face of the earth, and it couldn’t be helped. That’s basically the long and short of it.’
‘You’re not kidding me…’ Angelina concluded, her lack of real understanding stamped all over her words.
A/N: I would like to give a HUGE thank you to every single person who read, reviewed and favourited the first chapter of this. It got a much warmer reception than I anticipated and I greatly appreciate all of your feedback!
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