The Sugar Quill
Author: Violet Azure (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: High Spirits: A Hogsmeade Tale  Chapter: Chapter 1: "On the House"
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: This story is for personal distribution

Disclaimer: This story is for personal distribution.  I don’t own, nor am I making any money off of, the wonderful creations of J.K. Rowling.  It’s her world and I’m just visiting.  All original characters are of my own creation.

 A/N: Thank you to my awesome beta Doctor Aicha!!!

 

 Chapter 1: On the House

 

“Last call, Ladies and Gentleman!  Last call at the bar!” 

 

Rosmerta’s voice cut through the chatter and smoke in the Three Broomsticks and she tapped the bell behind the bar with her wand.  The rowdy Saturday night crowd paid her little head and continued to drink, laugh and shout.  Hands on her hips, she eyed the crowd from where she stood behind the bar, waiting a few seconds to see if someone would approach with the last drink orders of the night.  Surprisingly, no customers seemed to want one last mug of Butterbeer or glass of her red currant rum.

 

Good, Rosmerta thought.  I can’t wait to get out of these shoes. 

 

Even with the modified Cushioning Charm, her glittery fuchsia heels had seemed to slowly shrink as the night progressed, strangling her toes in the process.  For the past two hours the only thing Rosmerta wanted to do was slip off the shoes and into her bed.  She quickly began putting away glasses and charming the taps shut before anyone changed their minds.  A young warlock ambled up to the bar and Rosmerta groaned inwardly.

 

“One last pint of the house mead,” he flashed a too toothy smile at her.  His cheeks were slightly flushed, but that could be chalked up to the heat in the tavern, the mead, or some combination of the two. 

 

Forcing a smile, Rosmerta pulled the handle of the tap she hadn’t yet shut, filling the pewter tankard.  She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye.  The young warlock was giving her that look, that special, certain gaze that was inevitably bestowed upon her before the tavern closed for the night.  The regulars had long ago ceased trying it out on her, but whenever a new customer stopped by her tavern, looks more often than not came her way and were of two varieties: a look and the look.

 

A look, or more accurately looks, consisted of darting snatches, as if the owner had to double and triple check to make sure what they were seeing was real.  Eyes lingered, almost against their owner’s will, a little too long on the more rounded parts of her curvy figure.  The men pretended that they weren’t staring and blushed or became flustered whenever she let on that no one could be that interested in the pouring of mead.  She didn’t mind those looks, and at sixty-five she was slightly flattered that she still evoked them from wizards more than half her age.  No, what made a look the look was when the eyes went from sheepishly apologizing for admiring how her robes flattered her figure to the eyes’ owners relishing the idea of her robes being completely absent from their mental picture.  That’s when she felt she had to burst their reverie before her imaged self engaged in something her real self would never approve of doing.

 

It always amused her how her admirers thought they were being so stealthy with their looks, but their attraction was as obvious as an open book with the passages underlined in bright yellow ink.  As long as the men were respectful and kept the leering to a minimum, she treated the ogling with a mixture of flattery and feigned ignorance.  Goes with the territory, she had told herself on more than one occasion.  She had learned early on that customers who ordered another round of drinks or a dessert after a large meal that might not have done so without gentle persuasion-and much smiling and fluttering of eyelashes-on her part.  Whenever the looks of interest morphed into verbal territory, especially around closing time, was when she got annoyed.  This young warlock appeared to be mustering up the nerve to cross that line.

 

Honestly she thought, turning off the tap and handing the young man his drink.  One would think I ran a house of… of… ill repute and not a respectable restaurant!  If they’d like something other than mead and a meal then they had better march themselves down to Lorelei’s Lair!  I’m sure Maddie would appreciate the business.

 

In addition to the Three Broomsticks, there were two other taverns in the village: the Hog’s Head and Lorelei’s Lair.  The Hog’s Head was a small inn located on the outskirts of town and it catered to rather dodgy customers who preferred to do their drinking away from prying eyes.  Lorelei’s Lair, like the Hog’s Head, was located on the outskirts of the town and had a cliental who preferred to remain as anonymous as possible.  However, unlike the Hog’s Head, Lorelei’s Lair was a bright and colorful place featuring nightly entertainment and gambling.  And unlike the Three Broomsticks, which was a family tavern, Lorelei’s Lair also had a bevy of beautiful employees who made sure that customers ended the night with considerably less gold than when the night began.  Rosmerta’s friend, Madeline Harrison, was the Lair’s proprietress.

 

“Eleven Sickles,” Rosmerta handed the tankard to, she hoped, her last customer of the night.

 

He placed twelve silver coins on the bar.  Murmuring her thanks, Rosmerta turned her attention back to the taps.  Shoot.  He wasn’t going back to his seat.

 

“So, what time do you finish up here?” he asked in a forced casual sounding tone.  He leaned sideways against the bar, his back facing the table where he had been sitting with his friends. 

 

“Way past your bedtime,” she teased, charming shut the last tap.  She hoped that would deter him from making any further inquiries into her after work plans.

 

“I don’t mind waiting up,” he said, a hopeful note in his voice.  He smiled and took a gulp of the mead.  He continued to stare pointedly at her. 

 

If he were any more of a puppy he’d be wagging his tail!  He’s not bad looking- but for Merlin’s sake! I could be his…much older sister! 

 

He seemed harmless enough, but one could never quite tell.  She flicked her wand and began washing mugs in the in the small sink behind the bar.  Sizing him up, she decided he wasn’t threatening or aggressive, just a little too eager and emboldened by the mead.  She relaxed slightly and gave him one of her sweet, patient smiles.  It was a look that often appeared when listening to some rambling story patrons seated at the bar would launch into after their fourth round.  She glanced over to the table where his friends were sitting.  Thankfully, they weren’t watching their friend strike out with the pretty landlady.  Rosmerta hated being treated like some bet at the end of the night and she knew all too well the repercussions of a bruised male ego. 

 

“Well, it would be a long wait.  And I’m sure a nice young lad like yourself has better things to do on a Saturday night than wait around for a woman like myself to finish tending to her business,” she said pleasantly, but firmly.   

 

She held his gaze with her bright blue eyes while she said this, paused and then turned her attention to gathering up the remaining mugs on the bar and wiping it down.  Most men got the gentle hint that the conversation was over.  If they were too thick headed or too drunk to pick up on her cues she could usually rely on a regular patron to help her out.  Hagrid, her normal champion, was uncharacteristically absent.  Well, the students were set to arrive the next day and she assumed Hagrid wouldn’t want to greet the new first years hung over.  She was indebted to Hagrid’s chivalry on more than one occasion; she hadn’t forgotten that one wizard, most likely a Death Eater, twenty years ago who hadn’t taken too kindly to her brush off at the end of the night.  If Hagrid hadn’t forgotten his umbrella-well, she didn’t like to think about it. 

 

The young warlock gave her one last lingering look before ambling back over to his friends. 

 

“Looks like you’ve got a new member of your fan club.  Pretty soon you’ll have to put up an age line!”

 

Rosmerta glanced up from her dishes to Hester Moon, her very amused waitress, who had just brought a tray full of empty glasses and tankards up to the bar.  Hester’s deep brown eyes danced with merriment under thin arched brows.  Although teasing, her tone still maintained a level of respectfulness and, Rosmerta frowned inwardly, her voice was also tinged with just a tiny a bit of envy at the attention her boss received.  Rosmerta felt that this envy, imagined or not, was highly unwarranted on Hester’s part.  Hester in no way matched the ample, er charms of her boss, but she was attractive in her own right.  She had deep brown eyes and often wore her thin, mahogany colored hair pulled back in a short ponytail or with a headband to keep it out of her eyes.  Of average height and weight, she easily weaved around the tables, delivering and taking orders as unobtrusively as a house elf.   

 

It’s a shame, Rosmerta thought, so many young women waste their youth worrying about what’s below their necks instead of what’s between their ears!  All the attention looks like fun until boundaries are crossed and someone ends up covered in boils…or worse.  At least the men keep their wands in their robes with that one!

 

The regular patrons felt a sort of paternal instinct toward the polite young waitress and watched their language and manners when she brought over drinks and food.  Respectful but serious around the customers, Hester hadn’t quite mastered the flirty banter and social ease Rosmerta had developed over the years.  Hester greeted customers with a polite hello and a shy smile.  She would then write down the drink orders, or inquire if one wanted their steak medium rare or well done.  Hester was quiet and watchful, preferring to blend into the background and observe her customers.  She would then treat Rosmerta to wicked impressions of the patrons after hours.  Over the past month Rosmerta had grown to respect the younger witch’s sharp mind and drive. 

 

Hester was new to the Three Broomsticks, at least as an employee.  Having recently left Hogwarts that June after finishing her seventh year at the school, she had been a customer from her Hogsmeade weekends.  The middle child of three, Hester’s younger sister, Mary, was beginning her fourth year at the school, and her older brother, Samuel, had just gotten married and worked for the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures at the Ministry of Magic.  Hester wanted to gain some first hand experience in the running of a restaurant before she headed to cooking school in France.  After completing cooking school and an apprenticeship as a chef at the Golden Goblet, a fine wizard bistro in London, she planned to open her own restaurant.  She had detailed her plan in a very orderly, business-like tone to Rosmerta when she applied for the job that past spring on a Hogsmeade weekend, (even though Rosmerta had not advertised for help).  Well, Slytherins were nothing if not ambitious. 

 

Rosmerta had been so impressed by the poised young woman that, even though she usually managed the tavern just fine, she had hired her for the year.  She was anticipating a busy one with the Tri-Wizard Tournament taking place at Hogwarts in two months.  Hagrid had given her advanced warning and Rosmerta was doing all she could to prepare for it.  Rosmerta was hoping to do good business this year to make up for the dismal previous year.  Those horrid Dementors had scared off most of her regular customers and she had been forced, for her own and other’s safety of course, to cut down the number of hours she could remain open.   

 

Rosmerta merely rolled her eyes at the young waitress’s jest and finished wiping down the bar.  Hester gave her a sweet, if tired smile, and set off to collect the last of the rapidly emptying glasses.  “Leave them, Madam Rosmerta, I’ll wash up,” she called over her retreating shoulder. 

 

She doesn’t have to tell me twice. 

 

“Thanks, dear.  I’ll be downstairs,” she called to Hester.  Wiping her hands, she took the till and her ledger with the drink and food orders with her to the “office” in the cellar.  Her heels (which she mentally cursed with each step) clacked on the hardwood floor. 

 

“’Night fellas!”

 

“G’night Rosie!” came a chorus of male voices.

 

Floating the till and ledger, Rosmerta tapped at the door to the cellar.  It had been charmed to recognize only her wand and it opened for her.  Sending her book and cash drawer ahead of her, Rosmerta carefully made her way down the creaky wooden steps to the cellar.  The air in the cellar was moist and infused with the scent of oak from the barrels and casks.  It was cooler down there than in the tavern, a relief in the summer but necessitating brief warming charms in the winter.  Her office consisted of a wooden desk, a filing cabinet and a very comfortable chair- all of which were nestled against the wall opposite the kegs of Butterbeer and the casks of her homemade wine. 

 

She sank into her chair with a groan.  Vehemently kicking off her heels under the desk, she stretched and wiggled her toes around a bit.  Not wanting to face the ledger just yet, she opened her desk drawer and took out a bag of peppermint tea from the small tin in the first drawer.  Placing the tea bag in the mug on her desk, she shot a stream of boiling water out of her wand and into the mug.  She looked at the tea and shook her head.  Boiling water.  I can’t believe there was a time when I actually had difficulty with that spell! 

 

The thin wooden door muffled the slowly waning noise from the bar upstairs.  She raised the steaming mug to her nose and inhaled deeply.  The odor of peppermint wafted up through her nostrils and the fresh smell of mint revived her the way a brisk walk or flight always did.  Having gotten her second wind, Rosmerta began her nightly task of adding columns and checking receipts.  Rosmerta liked to balance the books before turning in for the night, a task that usually took about an hour.  She normally had time to do part of the books after the bulk of the dinner crowd had left at seven and before the drinking crowd arrived at nine.  When she was really tired and the peppermint tea didn’t do its trick, she left it for the next morning.  It had been an average crowd that night so she didn’t have too much to do.  I can sleep in tomorrow guilt free, she told herself.  With the promise of sleep and the fresh feeling of the tea reviving her, Rosmerta tackled the ledger with renewed vigor.

 

Half an hour later, every Vampire Vodka and glass of strawberry wine was accounted for and her mug was drained.  She performed a quick cleaning charm on her mug and put it back in her desk.  Rosmerta reluctantly put her shoes back on, convinced they had shrunk even more under her desk in retaliation for having been kicked off so forcefully, and headed up the stairs.  She had locked up the day’s haul in her safe.  The tavern was closed on Mondays, which allowed her to travel to Diagon Alley and make a deposit at Gringott’s bank.  Charming the door shut with her wand, she found the tavern empty and Hester sweeping the floor.   

 

“Good night, dear.  You’ll be all right getting home by yourself?” Rosmerta was glad the Dementors had been removed in June and people could walk or fly home after hours in safety.  She usually enjoyed a leisurely flight home, especially in the summer. 

 

Hester finished sweeping and banished the dust into the trash.  “Sure.  I’ve got my broom and it’s not too far.” 

 

Hester rented a room from the Porter family who lived a several blocks away from the tavern.  When their children had grown up and moved out, they had made some renovations and now took in boarders.  The Porters, Rosemary and her husband Herbert, were a sweet elderly couple that had lived in Hogsmeade their entire lives.  Rosemary was the town librarian and Herb was officially retired now but had served two terms as mayor.  He was still active in local politics, currently serving on the city council and often writing editorial letters to The Hogsmeade Herald about keeping the flying speed limit below 25 km/hr in school zones and how the rampant jarvey problem was ruining the town’s park.   Locals affectionately referred to Mrs. Porter, and the Porter children—Ginger, Basil, and Pepper—as “Herb’s garden.”   

 

“All that’s missing is cumin and they have a whole spice rack,” was Hester’s comment to Rosmerta after she first moved into the Porter House, sending Rosmerta into a fit of giggles. 

 

“Don’t laugh dear,” Rosmerta told her, “they were actually considering Tarragon before settling on Basil.”  The look of horror on Hester’s face in response to her reply had made Rosmerta laugh even harder.     

 

At first, Hester had been very shy around the Porters.  Living by herself for the first time was very much like her first few weeks at Hogwarts, only without the classes or a dorm full of girls her own age.  Without realizing how terribly homesick she was, she spent her first few weeks in Hogsmeade alone, going for long walks or reading her The Enchanted Cauldron cookbook and Witch Weekly magazine and writing to her family.  Having raised three children, Mr. and Mrs. Porter had acquired that parental sixth sense that alerted them to when some well-meaning meddling was needed. 

 

The Porters talked her into sitting with them in the sunny kitchen on her days off and have cup after endless cup of tea.  Mrs. Porter wanted to hear all about culinary school and Mr. Porter liked hearing Hester recount her brother’s stories about rogue hippogriffs and rebellious house elves and goblins.  They reminded her very much of her own grandparents, so Hester, haltingly at first, talked to the couple.  She in turn listened to Mr. Porter’s tales of fighting in the Great War against Grindewald, or let him read his latest editorial to her.  Mrs. Porter had started teaching her how to bake the world’s best Chocolate Camelot Cake and Mr. Porter and the grandchildren were more than happy to eat her mistakes.  By the end of August, after just over a month in the village, Hester began to relax and come out of her shell.     

 

Ginger still lived in Hogsmeade with her husband and eight-year old twins, William and Margaret (to the disappointment of her mother, Ginger had sensibly refused to name her children Saffron and Sage).    Ginger just had another baby, Henry, that past June and was extremely busy keeping up with the demands of an infant and two rambunctious eight year olds, so the twins were often at the Porter house.  When Mr. Porter needed a nap, Hester would take over.  Billy and Maggie (as they twins were called) could greatly amuse themselves (and make a spectacular mess) with the homemade flour clay Hester made.  Hester shared the kitchen with the Porters (who provided meals in her boarding fee) and Mrs. Porter told her she was welcome to practice cooking anytime.  Much to the delight of the twins, Hester would often “practice” making her homemade shortbread biscuits, which the children would then decorate with icing and bits of candy and eat with a glass of pumpkinaid.  Ginger would always slip Hester a few Galleons as a thank you, so Hester didn’t mind occupying the children too much.

 

“Well, you fly safe, dear.  I’ll see you on Wednesday at ten.”  Hester worked Wednesday through Saturday.  The Three Broomsticks opened late Sunday afternoon for dinner, was closed Monday and usually had slow business Tuesdays.  Rosmerta covered those days fine by herself and she didn’t want to work the poor girl to death, even though she was still perky at the end of the day whereas Rosmerta had to hold herself back from hexing people to get them to leave hours before it was closing time.   

 

“Thanks! Goodnight!” Hester slung her broom over her shoulder, waved and headed out the door. 

 

Rosmerta put the till back under the register and the ledger back under the bar.  She doused the fire in the hearth, double-checking to ensure it was really out.  Rosmerta had no desire to have an ashwinder ruin her livelihood.  The Three Broomsticks had been in Hogsmeade long before she had bid to be proprietor and she planned on selling it for a tidy profit to the next would-be owner.  Maybe I can interest Hester she thought before dismissing the idea.  Hester’s ambitions stretched beyond the quaint village Rosmerta had called home for the past forty years.   

 

Forty years.  Rosmerta had become such a fixture in Hogsmeade that she could almost forget she hadn’t spent the first quarter century of her life here.  Most of younger residents of the village, and certainly the students, assumed she was a local.  There was a lot of curiosity when she first arrived.  The pretty young blonde with the blue silk robes and tastefully expensive gold earrings had just appeared by herself one day and set up house in the outskirts of the village not too far from the mountain overlooking the town.  She repainted the house white, put a bronze sundial in the front yard and mounted a weathervane in the shape of a unicorn on top of the roof.  She grew beautiful roses; wine and rubies decorated in her front yard, offset by blooms of milk and pearl.   

 

She had bid on the Three Broomsticks at the end of the summer when the old owners, Oliver and Julia Puck, had decided to retire.  Residents were very curious about the dazzling new witch with blue eyes and a fondness for the raspberry mouse balls at Honeydukes.  Inquiries into her house at school were met with the surprising news that she hadn’t attended Hogwarts.  Those questions were followed up with the inevitable asking as to where she actually had gone to school.  She usually gave the vague answer that the school was small and the inquirer most likely would not have heard of it.  That answer was usually enough to deter them from any further probing, and since she really hadn’t given an answer, it made the asking of the question rather pointless in the first place.  For those who pressed for a more specific answer, Rosmerta told them the name of her old school.  Most of the time she was met with a shrug and a “never heard of it”, which again made the asking of the original question a fruitless endeavor.  The very few who recognized the name eyed her with much skepticism and raising of eyebrows, suspecting her of lying or at the very least, playing a really good joke on them.  She could practically see them quite literally biting their tongues, holding back the question of, if she really did attend that school, how on earth had she ended up the village beer wench?

 

Wurtzanhall Academy.  Her old school.  “Where witches become ladies.”  The very private, very exclusive boarding school in Switzerland, serving the daughters of prominent witches and wizards all over the world.  Families who sent their daughters there knew who was who and did not concern themselves with those members of the wizarding world who did not “know”.  Once upon a time, when Rosmerta had been Elizabeth Anne Ogden, Rosmerta knew.  She knew Hellaine Snodgrass, the future wife of Augustus Malfoy and mother of Lucius.  Colette de la Boursdor, daughter of the French ambassador, was her first year roommate and Rosmerta was in the same Fellowship house as the German heiress, Hilda Guttenhexen.  She knew Jacquelyn and Catherine Wildwood, of the Salem Massachusetts Wildwoods and their cousin Daphne Greenleaf.  She knew Lauren Cabbott, the daughter of the Minister of Magic and Tabitha Katzenberg, whose father was on the board of directors for the company that owned several publishing houses, including Obscurus and Whizz Hard.  Oh, she knew all right-but it was not until after graduation that she would learn.   

 

Satisfied she could close down the pub, Rosmerta got her broom and headed out into the warm summer night.  Knotting her pouch around her waist, Rosmerta mounted her broom and lifted off.  She loved flying home after work.  She didn’t have to worry about the wind messing her hair and would push her Comet 1040 faster than the speed limit.  Sitting down was also a pleasure after being on her feet all day.  Flying, she had decided a long time ago, was one of the best things about being a witch. 

 

The crickets were serenading each other, socializing until they had to hide from the early birds in the morning.  The moon glowed as if lit from behind by a singular giant candle and stars stood out in brilliant contrast to the endless black of the night sky.  At quarter past one in the morning, the village streets were deserted.  Leaning forward and gripping the handle, Rosmerta urged the broom faster- mentally crossed her fingers that an officer of the village’s Magical Law Enforcing Squad was not patrolling in those early morning hours.  Furtively looking left and right and deciding the coast was clear, Rosmerta put on a burst of speed and executed a loop. 

 

Whoa!  She thought as the blood rushed back to her head.  Save the theatrics for when you become the oldest rookie player for the Harpies, all right?  Rosmerta kept up the speed but remained on a straight course the rest of the way home.

 

Home.  As soon as she got off her broom and in the front door, she yanked her shoes off and padded barefoot across the living room.  She charmed a few torches on as she crossed the room.  Queenie, her bright pink Fwooper, hopped up and down on her perch, happy to see that her mistress was home.  Queenie took off, swooping around the living room, opening and closing her beak.  The Silencing Charm Rosmerta placed on Queenie every month prevented her from hooting and chirping, but she was sure the bird was singing her a song to welcome her home. 

 

Rosmerta went to her bedroom where she stripped out of her work robes (Bet Mr. Flirtatious wishes he was here right now!), put her shoes in the closet, removed her gold hoop earrings and slipped into a long silk nightshirt.  Queenie had swooped into the bedroom and was now strutting up and down on the pale pink comforter on the bed.

 

“Hi, pretty girl.  Hey sweetie,” she cooed, stroking her pet’s brilliant plumage.  Queenie allowed Rosmerta to admire her.  “Who’s the prettiest birdie in the world?”  Queenie gave her wings an impressive flap and clicked her beak as if to say, “Why, it’s me, you silly witch!” 

 

“Did you bring me any mail today or are you just going to get by on your good looks?” 

 

Queenie gave a haughty shake of her tail feathers and flew off.

 

Rosmerta often sent Queenie to pick up and deliver her personal correspondences in and around the village.  If she needed to send a letter beyond the village, she used a post owl.  She felt guilty that the bird was cooped up in her house most of the time and her pet certainly made an impression when it arrived for pickups and deliveries.  All homes were equipped with an owl door, so Queenie could come and go as she pleased and other owls could make deliveries when she was not at home.  She preferred that mail deliveries at the Three Broomsticks be kept to a minimum after a particularly ill-mannered owl made off with an entire steak one time.  She and the customer were furious at the time, but now she found it made for a good story so she just laughed about it and kept a close eye out whenever an owl came by the tavern. 

 

Rosmerta went into her bathroom and flicked on the torches with her wand.  The ocean waves on her shower curtain rolled and dolphins leaped in and out of the waves.  Rosmerta set to work washing her face and applying various creams to her face, neck, and legs.  Deciding on one last cup of tea before bed, she held off on brushing her teeth. 

 

Leaving the torches in the bathroom on, she padded to the kitchen where Queenie was waiting for her, perched on the back of her chair, a letter in her golden beak.  Rosmerta wasn’t sure if Fwoopers were capable of looking smug, but Queenie somehow managed to pull it off. 

 

“Thank you, my dear,” Rosmerta retrieved her letter and gave Queenie an affectionate pat.  She rummaged in the cupboard for the tea bags and after finding the one she wanted, passed Queenie an owl treat.   

 

Queenie looked at her for a moment as if to say, “I’m a Fwooper, you silly woman, which is a rather exotic bird and not a common owl.  I deserve only the finest bird cuisine, but if that’s all you’re offering, far be it for me to be rude to my host, ” before consenting to eat the owl chow.  She took the treat delicately with her beak.   

 

“Oh, you’re such a lady, aren’t you?”  Queenie finished her treat and stuck her beak in the air.  “Well, you had a good teacher.”  Rosmerta returned her pet’s smug expression with some exaggeration.  Rosmerta glanced at her letter and recognized Hagrid’s scrawl.  She put the letter on the table and finished making her tea.  Steaming mug of chamomile in hand, she sat down at the table and proceeded to read her letter.  Queenie perched on her shoulder as if to read it as well.

 

Dear Rosie,

How are you?  Sorry I aint bin at the Broomsticks this week, got a lot to do before classes begin.  I still can’t believe I’m a professor!  I’m hoping this year’s classes will go better then last year’s.  Got some interesting new creatures  (Rosmerta rolled her eyes in an affectionate way for Hagrid’s love of all things big and hairy) but I’ll tell you about them later.  Looking forward to the Tri-Wizard Tournament, should be right interesting to see what the champions are gonna be doing!  I bet you’re excited for all the business, should be a fair lot gathering to see the Tournament.  Glad them ruddy Dementors are gone.  If nothing goes wrong, I’ll be down Friday.  Say hi to Queenie, she’s almost as pretty as you (but don’t tell her I said that!). 

 

Hagrid 

 

Wondering about his “intersting creatures” and feeling buoyed by Hagrid’s compliment, Rosmerta finished her tea and looked over the rest of the mail.  Nothing looked pressing so she saved it for the morning.  Her clock chimed two in the morning, and with a sigh Rosmerta began the task of shutting off the torches in her house and coaxing Queenie into her cage for the night.  She brushed her teeth and set her alarm for ten.  Crawling into bed, the coolness of satin against her cheek and the warmness of the tea in her stomach, Rosmerta sighed.  For the past forty years she had a good, simple, but a tad boring, life.  She earned an honest living, made her own decisions and wasn’t that what she had wanted?  Over the past forty years she had cultivated roots in this village and the fruits of her labors were rewarded.  If it was such a good life, why did she feel she had to justify it to herself? 

 

I just need a little bit of a change, she told herself, a good sort of change, not like the awful year this past one was. 

 

Looking forward to the start of the Tournament and the excitement it was sure to bring Rosmerta drifted off to sleep, forgetting an old wizarding proverb: You may soon wish you had never found what you had thought was missing from your life. 

//
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