A/N: First off, thank you to everone who has reviewed this story so far. I was quite shocked to see that the story had been up for less that twelve hours and it already had two reviews. Of course, now its been longer than than that and I've only went up one review. C'mon folks! I have nearly a hundred reads, but only three reviews? You can do better than that! If there's something you like about this story, let me know. And if you don't like what I've written? Comment about it anyway.
Update 04/24: Woah! Ask and you shall recieve! Thank you to everyone who has read/commented/added this story to their favorites. I hope you continue reading. The next chapter should be up sometime in the next few weeks. Exams are coming up on me, so you might have to wait a bit. I don't think it'll be a problem, though.
Disclaimer: JKR is the genius, not me. I have only an above average intellect. The only characters that belong to me are the OCs.
totally awesome chapter image by ChoS_sista_gurl @ TDA
Chapter Two: The Last Day
But as, in ethics, evil is a consequence of good, so, in fact, out of joy
is sorrow born. Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-
day, or the agonies which are have their origin in the ecstasies which
might have been.
-"Berenice," E. A. Poe
My first thought when I woke up this morning was, Huh? Then I remember. I pad across the carpeted floor in my slippers to the bathroom. Before taking my medication, I make a quick assessment of myself in the mirror. Skin's pretty clear, always a good sign. I remember a time when I used to judge how my day would go just by how much acne covered my face. A clear face meant a good day.
Teeth are straight, thanks to a stint with braces. I pull my hair back, wondering if I should put it in a ponytail or a bun. Up do or free and flowing? Decisions, decisions, decisions. I decide to plait it and the issue is settled. After brushing my teeth, I step onto the set of bathroom scales I keep handy for just an occasion. Hmm, could probably stand to lose a couple of pounds. That'll be easy. Give me a week and I'll lose seven pounds for you, no problem. For extra measure, I apply a thin layer of lipstick to my lips. It wouldn't hurt getting some good blush, either.
Before I go to meet the Magpies, I have to check up on some of my other patients. Right now, there are only four of them, so my workload has been light. First up is Myra Kilpatrick, a sweet old lady living alone in the house where she raised six children. Myra used to be a member of the Department of Experimental Charms. Years of having various spells backfiring on her have left Myra in quite a state. I have to visit her three times a week to make sure that she's taking each of the potions she has been prescribed. Once, I caught her walking around without a stitch of clothing on. It turns out she hadn't taking her lunacy draught for the past two days.
This morning Myra seems to be in a good mood. She's smiling, which is always good. I ask her if she's had any breakfast yet, to which she responds in the affirmative. I check the sink just to be on the safe side. Past history has taught me that she sometimes forgets that she has to eat by a certain time. As I check her vitals, she chats to me about her eldest son Jonathanís last visit. She got to meet the grandkids finally, which made her deliriously happy. As she talks, I find myself smiling. Working with Myra always puts me in a good mood.
"Looks like everything's in good shape," I say after checking her pulse. "Let me just give you your medicine and I'll be on my way."
Myra tilts her head, reminding me of a cute puppy. "Do you like pie, Miss Anna?"
She often asks me this question when I come to visit. "I love pie, Myra. You know that."
She gets up and heads to the refrigerator, where she removes a pie tin. "When my Johnnie came to visit, I had the kids help me make my famous lemon meringue pie. I still have some left. Would you like to take it home?"
My stomach growls, which reminds me that I've yet to eat anything. I can be such a hypocrite sometimes. "Sure, Myra. I'll bet Fred will be willing to help me eat it if it gets to be too much for me to handle."
"How is Fred? I notice you didn't bring her with you today."
"She's fine," I say as I fish around in my bag for the vials of her medicine. "Right now, she's playing at my next door neighbor's house. They also have a kneazle and Fred's been going over there to visit. We've been starting to organize play dates so they can spend more time with each other."
"That's nice. I hope she has a good time."
"I'm sure she's having a great time. Alright, time for your shot."
This is the latest in medicinal technology for the wizarding world. Healers have discovered that introducing a potion intravenously increases the rate in which the person receives the treatment. To take advantage of this, they have come up with a special type of syringe that won't be corroded by the different types of potions.
Myra scrunches up her face in distaste, but allows me to inject the necessary potions into her body. I wipe the injection site and make sure I didn't damage anything. When I'm all done, I announce, "All done!"
"I hardly even felt it!" she exclaims.
"Good girl," I tell her, even though she's sixty years older than me.
She smiles her toothy grin at me as I pack up my supplies. Before I leave, I hand her a copy of the Quibbler. She claims she likes to do the crossword puzzles in there, even though I've never seen such a puzzle in the Quibbler. But to each her own, I guess.
My other appointments pass with little incident. I go back home to drop off the pie and to get something to eat. Since I have some time to spare, I scramble me up some eggs. As I scrape the eggs around a small skillet, I try to remember when the last time I saw James Potter was.
It wasn't at the Closing Feast -- earlier that day, James had been in a really big fight with some Slytherin bloke and was recovering in the Hospital Wing. That didn't stop Gryffindor from celebrating the fact they won the House Cup for the tenth year in a row. I'm positive the villagers in Hogsmeade heard them.
So it must have been the last day of classes. I didn't actually have a class with James -- after all, he was a seventh year when I was a fifth year. But the professors sometimes recruited me to help them grade last-minute homework assignments, a task I didn't really mind that much. On that day it was Professor Willows, who taught Transfiguration. Kara was in the class, too. We were sitting together -- Kara in front of James, me next to him. On that particular day, it was nearing the end of the period and Willows was trying to cram a few more things in before the students were released on the unsuspecting masses.
James had taken Kara's bag from the back of her seat. It was rather large and bulky, with all sorts of hidden pockets. He went through everything. I remember thinking that Kara was so lucky that someone was that interested in her. It surprised me that she wasn't upset at him either; she knew he had taken her bag, but her eyes remain glued to the professor. He looked at all of her books, started opening a note but at the last moment closed it. It impressed me that he allowed his girlfriend some sort of privacy even though they had been going out for nearly three years and he was going through the rest of her stuff anyway. He looked at all of her pictures, took a piece of gum out of the already opened pack. He opened the two bottles of ink, scribbling something down on a piece of parchment with each type. During all of this, he never noticed that I was watching him when I should have been grading papers.
He took out her pack of sanitary napkins and then put them back. He jangled her chain of paperclips, acted like they were earrings. Then he found her make-up. He tried on one of her lipsticks -- a red so bright it made him look like a vampire after a kill. He tapped Kara on the shoulder, wiggled his eyebrows at her. She rolled her eyes and turned back to the front of the classroom. "Anna!" he whispered. When I looked up, he puckered his lips like a fish and flapped his imaginary gills. I looked down at my desk, smiling. "Do you want some?" he asked, holding the tube out for me. I shook my head. "Come on," he whispered. "It'd look great on you." As he said this, he tilted his head and searched my face in a slow manner. His shaggy dark hair had fallen in his face, making his brown eyes look darker. Unreadable. His robes were unbuttoned, revealing the slacks and white shirt he wore underneath. His tie was askew and he wasn't wearing any socks. Although he didn't know it, he was killing me.
"Mr. Potter!" Professor Willows called -- loudly, which caused me to jump. "Is there something funny that you'd like to share with the rest of us?" But at that moment, the bell rang and all the seventh years rushed out to wreak as much havoc on the rest of the school as they could before they had to leave.
It has been many years since that incident and now I'm a twenty-seven year old mediwitch and he is a thirty-year-old Beater for the Montrose Magpies. In a few short hours, I will meet him again after a twelve-year separation. His eyes will not have changed. His hair just might have.
The headquarters of the Montrose Magpies is located on what used to be an old Victorian estate. The primary building is a pristine white, with†black shutters and trimming---the team's colors. The grounds are immaculately groomed; not a single blade of grass out of place. Flowers native to the area line the drive and wrap around the main house. It would be a nice place to work if not for the dozen or so live magpies watching my every move. Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore,"
I think wryly.
A few feet from the door, I duck behind a statue and reapply my makeup, wondering just how he'll react upon our reunion. Would there be that initial shock of recognition, followed by bitter resentment that I hadn't kept in touch? Would he crack a joke to relieve the tension that always seemed to permeate the air when we're in the same room together? Or would he simply smile that slow 'hey there beautiful' smile that makes my toes want to curl in pleasure? Then I berate myself for thinking beyond reality. Most likely, James won't remember who I am. He'd flirt a little, try to test the boundaries. Once he realized I was plain Annabel Lee Thompson from Hogwarts, he'd back politely off. It'd be like the good old days.
So why was I so nervous?
I fish the small bottle of mouthwash I keep for such occasions out of my purse. I rinse---twice---and spit discreetly into a nearby bush. Then, for an added precaution, I pop a piece of gum in my mouth. Okay, I can do this. No problem.
The woman opens the door on the first knock. At a glance, she reminds me of the sort of woman who'd sell perfume ads in Witch Weekly. She has the exotic features of sea nymph; long blonde hair swept back in a neat bun. Instead of the robes typically worn by wizards, she is dressed in a dark pleated skirt, coral silk blouse, and heels that I would never be caught dead in. Upon closer inspection, the slightly weary look in her eyes tell me she must be an underling to management. A secretary, perhaps.
I hold out my hand. "Good afternoon. I'm Anna Thompson."
"The new Healer." Merlin, even her voice is exotic.
"Yes, that's right."
She gives me the one over, just as I had done her. "I'm Evangeline Paquet, Mr. Berg's secretary. Please, come in. We've been expecting you." She steps aside to allow me room to enter. As I do, I catch a whiff of something flowery. And then I realize the source---a large vase full of colorful gardenias on a round table in the middle of the foyer.
I take another appreciative sniff before I notice Evangeline watching me. I shoot her an apologetic smile. "I've always had a weakness for flowers."
She does not return the smile, but nods. "Then you must have a look at the gardens out back. But that will have to wait. Mr. Berg would like you to meet the team as soon as possible."
"Is Mr. Berg here?" I ask as we begin walking down a long corridor. I want to stop and look at the paintings, but something tells me Evangeline would not appreciate that very much.
"No. He is currently in a meeting with sponsors and won't be back for several hours. He sends his apologies that he could not personally greet you when you arrived, but this is a very important meeting." She sends me a look, clearly wishing me to say something that might indicate that I'm not happy with this arrangement.
"Of course," I tell her. "I wouldn't want to do anything that might upset any of the team's sponsorships. "
"Good." We reach the end of the corridor and she holds open the door for me. Following me out, she continues, "I cannot stress enough to you the importance of what we do here, Ms. Thompson. The Montrose Magpies are in the middle of a winning streak that is sure to send them to the Quidditch finals. We cannot afford for any, you might say, fuck-ups."
I look at her, but say nothing.
"As the Chief Healer for the Magpies, it is absolutely essential for you to make sure that our players are at one-hundred percent. Any injury this close to the semifinals would devastate the team's chances for making finals. You must---"
I interrupt her, "I hope you aren't trying to tell me how to do my job, Ms. Paquet."
"Of course not," she tells me, drawing herself up to even a greater height in those high heels of hers. How she manages to even walk on this soft grass without twisting an ankle is beyond me. "I am simply outlining your duties here. Mr. Berg wants to make sure---"
"Mr. Berg would not have hired me if he didn't think I could do my job properly," I point out. "If you have a problem with my abilities, then you need to take them up with your boss."
I did not intend to sound as rude as I did, but it was really starting to annoy me that she acted as if I had just come out of Hogwarts. I'd been doing my job for over twelve years. If she had a problem with what I did, she could kiss my pasty white bum.
There's a glint in her eye that makes me nervous, but she does not say anything. We walk the rest of the way to the practice pitch at the far end of the property. As we approach the structure, I can see several people zooming around on brooms. They're too far away to make out any real features. Just the thought that one of them could be James causes my heart to speed up.
Dear Merlin, I think, what have I gotten myself into?