James tucked a nubby piece of pencil behind his ear and nodded gruffly at the man sitting at his counter, nearly drooling over the menu. The dark haired man moved lithely behind the swinging doors and placed the customer’s order quickly, daring a small break by leaning against the wall which creaked under his weight.
“Been sneaking some of the pudding, eh?” called out a voice from James’s side. He chuckled and rubbed his forehead, a sly smile showing underneath his façade of seriousness.
“Only after you leave of course,” he quipped back easily, prying himself away from the wall and ambling towards the hulking figure that was slumped over the only stove.
“Y’know, we’re magical for a reason- to make things like this easier,” James commented as he motioned towards the pieces of meat being slowly cooked on the stovetop.
“’Ave you ever had a magical burger? They taste like someone smashed flobberworm guts all in them,” the giant grumbled as he made a childishly disgusted face at James who just shrugged his shoulders and moved around to the other side of the stove.
“I think I’m going to take some time off,” he tried to get out quickly, taking a quick step back to dodge any kind of flying fists that might be headed towards his pretty face.
“Look, you can be mad and whatever, but I really need this y’know?” James pleaded, knowing that regardless of his convincingness the likelihood of Boris accepting his ‘time off’ was very small.
“You can’t just leave me like this!” Boris immediately shouted, causing a bit of cries of shock from on the other side of the wall. “What am I going to do? Hire another sodding waiter? I can’t afford that and you know it,” the large man grunted, waving around his hand to emphasize every point he was making.
“I know, trust me!” James said as he threw his hands up in surrender, taking another step back just for good measure. “But, mate, I really need this break. My sisters been calling on my every day to help her with everything, and you know about my dad, I just... I need to disappear for a while?” he explained, rubbing the scruff on his beard nervously.
Immediately James could tell he had said something wrong, and considering his streak with doing things right he wasn’t too surprised. The way that Boris’s eyes began to bug out of his pudgy face made James shrink away from the frightful sight. He pulled into himself and tried to give his boss and friend a half-attempted smile.
“This is what you always do!” Boris exploded while his face turned an ugly shade of red and became all blotchy. It nearly hurt James to look at him like that. “You shirk away from any responsibilities you might have! Your work! Your family! Yourself!” he exclaimed, pointing at the scruff that adorned James’s jaw.
“NO!” Boris smacked his hand on the top of the table behind him, silencing James quickly. “You- you get out! Take all the time you need, James. When you decide you need this job, you come back to me. I’m tired of you getting away with the minimum of your responsibilities,” the large man shook his head in disappointment, his temper fizzing out as quickly as it had come. He pointed his finger towards the back entrance and James looked at it, already knowing what he was going to do.
“Fine,” he mumbled, walking to the door and flinging his stubby pencil onto the table and disappearing through the exit and onto the streets of Knockturn Alley.
James crumpled up another piece of paper and threw it at the waste bin, not giving it a second look. This was becoming too much for him. He leaned dangerously back in his chair and began rubbing his forehead again, at odds with himself over what he was supposed to do. If he left a note it would probably make it easier for his family to accept it, if he just took off then it would probably be easier for him.
The selfishness that had nestled itself in him from the very beginning was taking charge.
He set down his quill and pushed the chair away from the desk, standing up in the same instant. After stretching out his cramped hands, James went to his lopsided dresser and began pulling out his meager amount of clothes. Once the man was satisfied with the amount of clothes he had, he grabbed the duffel bag from underneath his bed and began stuffing his clothes into it, preparing for a long trip.
When everything was packed away properly James slung the bag over his shoulder and only paused to grab his wand from the kitchen table before locking up his flat for an undetermined amount of time.
Only a few minutes after he had left his flat James found himself at the entrance of the Hogsmeade Train Station, the place nearly a ghost town since school was already in session.
The emptiness of the place echoed how James was feeling as he walked up to the teller, sliding some galleons under the glass and watching as the teller set down the latest issue of the Prophet.
“Where to?” the soft looking woman asked as she pulled out her wand and pointed it at the ticket slot.
“Wherever the next train is going,” James responded quickly, trying to read what the headline of the Prophet was saying. He could have sworn he saw his last name printed in bolded letters on it, but it wasn’t too surprising considering the name he held.
“Oh, ‘ave you read the latest news?” the elder woman asked as she pushed the Prophet closer to the glass for James to get a good look.
Sure enough, there in giant bolded letters was the name ‘Potter’ strewn across the front of the Prophet. He began craning his neck to see the rest of the headline, but the glass managed to get in the way.
“Terrible story,” the teller said with a shake of her head, a ping being the only thing to break the following silence as James’s ticket appeared underneath the woman’s wand.
This, of course, had James interested and as he reached for his ticket he slid the sickles back underneath the glass. “How much for the Prophet there?” he motioned towards the paper and looked at the woman.
“You can ‘ave it. There’s a whole pile back here. Which reminds me-,” she hopped off her stool, showing just exactly how short she was, and bent over to produce a stack of Prophets. “I need to go set these out!” she laughed before popping open the nearly invisible door and appearing next to James, albeit a few feet below him. “Take one, love,” the woman said sweetly as James reached for one.
Potter Claim to Fame a Forged One
James read the title again before feeling weak in the knees, afraid to read on. He walked slowly over to a bench, dropping his bag next to him with a thud.
“You better get a move on, hun, you’re train’ll be leaving in seven minutes!” the sweet teller called before resuming her position behind the glass.