Chapter 1 : 1. First Day
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Bodies hurriedly made their way through a myriad of cubicles and doors; a stapler whizzed past and in the blink of an eye was caught by a lone hand raised in the air. The shouts and cries between co-workers were deafening and amidst the din, anxious and agitated faces had abrupt conversations between one another. Even the memos appeared to be in a rush.
The hustle and bustle of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement made Lily Potter feel more than a little frightened. Feeling claustrophobic amongst all the people, she flattened herself against the cold curve of the wall to soothe her fraught nerves. It was a hot September day outside, so the black tile felt nice against her flushed skin. She had arrived at her first day as part of the Investigation Department, a subdivision of her father’s Auror department which meant she would be working for him. This terrified Lily – although she did well on her NEWTS and earned her place by doing well in her interview for the position, she knew she would never escape the unfair whispers of how she’d been born with a silver spoon in her mouth.
Somebody bumped into her angrily and she continued her journey through the maze of dividers and noise. Her dad had offered to walk in with her but she furiously refused, demanding that she needed to make her own impression. As it was, she’d never felt so small and insignificant. After consulting a hastily drawn map and a few more twists and turns, she reached the end of a makeshift corridor that read, ‘Investigation Department – Sub Division of the Auror Department’. Pushing her auburn hair that was damp at the nape of her neck to one side, she tentatively walked through to the other side.
The department was no different to the rest of carnage that Lily had just walked through. Instead of being greeted by anybody working within the department, she was met with more commotion and more feelings of insignificance. At least there were less people around so that she could move freely without fear of upsetting someone.
Noticing a small and empty desk amongst the scores of mahogany, Lily headed towards it as if it were her sanctuary amidst all this clamor and business. She plopped herself down on a comfortable-looking leather swivel chair and sat idly, wondering if she was doing the right thing. Lily pushed another sweaty strand of hair out of her face nervously. Perhaps she ought to have taken her dad’s offer up after all...
“Bridget, who’s this lovely young lady sitting there?” boomed a voice from the other side of the room. Lily spun round to attention, eyes wide. She suddenly noticed the lady who had interviewed her for the position had miraculously materialised. Lily distinctly recalled how horrible and impolite the woman was to her for the entire interview, so much so that she was more than a bit incredulous when she got the position. The voice in question belonged to a fat, aging man with a handlebar moustache and very little hair on his head left. His shirt was straining at the seams and had sweat stains under the arms, and his tie was done up loosely and sloppily. He grinned at Lily; she smiled weakly back.
“My name’s Lily Potter, sir,” she started before being cut off by Bridget, who hadn’t bothered to supply Lily with her name when they first met. Lily immediately noticed her expensive-looking outfit and coiffed hair.
“New recruit, here on a trial basis, first day,” she replied in a bored tone, looking at a handful of shiny purple memos as she spoke. She stopped and looked Lily over with a withering glance. “We’ll see how she does.”
Lily must have looked as scared as she felt because the man passed a pitying glance over at her and burst out laughing. His guffaws ringed out across the room, but nobody seemed to bat an eyelid- perhaps he did it often. “Now now, Bridget! No need to be as cool as a cucumber! I’m sure Lily will do just fine.” There was something in the man’s eye when he said this that made Lily uncomfortable, but she pushed the thought to one side. “Potter, I’m Ernest Rumbank and I’m who you’re working for. Of course, we both know who the man is that I’m working for!” he laughed heartily again, and Lily tittered along with him out of politeness. Bridget glared at her and she stopped immediately. “Harry Potter, the man who made this department what it is today. It’s an honour working for him!”
“Thank you, sir. My father –“
“Sir? Nonsense, my dear, just call be Ernie. Everyone else does around here!” At this Ernie gestured round the large room, but nobody looked up. Everyone seemed intent on working on whatever vital task they had to complete before lunch began, or perhaps they were just avoiding looking up. Lily couldn’t be sure.
“Okay... Ernie.” Lily gave him a small smile and he beamed back at her. She was secretly glad that she didn’t have to talk about her dad for any longer than necessary, especially with the looks some people were giving her across their stacks of paperwork and other paraphernalia.
“Excellent!” he cried, and turned his enormous self towards the attention of Bridget. “Bridget, do you have all the forms and whatnot for young Lily here?” Ernie gave Lily a theatrical wink and she wanted nothing more than to disappear under her desk for the rest of the day. She knew Ernie meant well, but his exaggerated act was already playing on her nerves. She felt her cheeks grow red at the scrutiny she was under. Bridget presented a handful of important-looking documents that she had Accio’d from somewhere.
“I have this under control, sir.”
“Good, good, excellent... right, Miss Potter, I’ll leave you in Bridget’s capable hands!” said Ernie as he waddled off to the group of waiting people brandishing wads of paper. She could hear his roaring laughter from way across the room. When she turned back, Bridget was giving her the same unfriendly look as before. Lily gulped.
“You’ll need to sign this for health and safety, this for Magical Business Support and this for Magical Administration,” Bridget sneered as she thrust a pile of paper towards Lily. She barely caught them all. “Your probation period is three months. Just remember, Miss Potter, you were the best of a bad bunch. Not everybody has our famous daddy to get us a job.” Bridget gave Lily a smile laced with poison. “Good luck on your first day.”
The older woman’s heels click-clacked on the polished floor as she walked away, a trail of Ministry memos following her.
Lily relaxed into her chair, glad that the onslaught of bureaucracy was over. As she looked around, nobody seemed to want to make eye contact or say hello. The hopeful look on her features slid off of her face as she stared at her desk once more. With a start she realised that she hadn’t actually been told what to get started on – perhaps Bridget had done it on purpose.
Lily put her head in her hands and groaned; the job she had been so excited for was already turning into a nightmare.
“...so I just sat there like a lemon for an hour before some sod took pity on me and told me I needed to be in the training room!” Lily moaned to her group of cousins at the pub as they all made a range of faces. Lily has just about finished her first day and was grateful that Lucy had organised a small meet up to celebrate her first day, even though it had turned into a pity party. Hugo was the first to sympathise and Lucy was quick to follow; Roxanne just laughed at Lily’s misfortune as she always did and Rose frowned.
“That wasn’t very proactive of you, Lily. You should have gotten up and asked this Bridget woman or your boss what you needed to do.” Rose had always been an example of good behaviour in the family. Right now she was sitting in the Muggle pub with a straight back and looking like she didn’t really want to be hanging out with her younger cousins. Lily knew that Rose had some sort of job in Gringotts finance but never really paid attention when she started droning on about it. She’d started talking about it now, and instead Lily focused on the cosy decorations of the tavern.
“I know,” Lily replied miserably, I was just too scared to move. I just sat there re-reading the forms again and again, like a total idiot. I made a terrible impression!” She put her head on the table and banged her forehead several times.
“At least it looked like you were doing something, Lily,” Hugo said, patting her on the back in a thoughtful way. “It could have been worse.”
“No it couldn’t!” Roxanne sniggered. Lily knew that Roxanne was just joking around but she wasn’t in the mood for being insulted. Perhaps an emergency pub session wasn’t exactly what she needed if they were going to be like this.
“I’ll be fired within the week if Bridget has her way,” she declared solemnly. There were various cries of sympathy and disagreement in reply. Lily couldn’t help but smile at their reactions; at least they had a bit more faith in her than she did.
“You’ll be fine, Lils. Don’t worry about Bridget because your boss seems to like you enough and he’s the one in charge, not her. So what do you get to do for the next three months?” Lucy enquired.
Lily rolled her eyes, exasperated again at the reminder of the briefing she’d been given. “Just paperwork for three solid months. I won’t even be paired up with anyone or go out on the field until after I’ve proven my worth making coffee and writing up cases.” Lily thought about how pessimistic she sounded and corrected herself. “Still, I’m glad I’ve got something.”
“That’s a better attitude,” Rose said with a smile. Sometime Lily found her very superior, but she forced a smile anyway at the older girl.
“Yeah... I just need to stick at it.”
A/N: Yay for new stories! So although this chapter might sound quite lighthearted, it will become much more mystery based and may involved some paranormal activity... anyway, I hope you enjoyed it!