A/N: This was first
composed for the "Love Hearts" challenge in February 2007 at the Metamorfic_Moon LiveJournal
community. This is set in my "Rookie" fic-verse,
and takes place during August of OotP.
Smoke and Wind
She takes a long drag on her cigarette, and then slowly
blows the smoke out—adding it to the perpetual haze that permeates her home. Her
son has been trying for years to get her to quit; he seems to fear that she’ll
succumb to cancer someday. But when he raises the subject again, she merely
waves her fag at him like a wand and tells him that if she does he can do some
sort of charm or get one of those fancy potions for her. What good is magic, if
it can’t cure cancer?
What good indeed? She
thinks to herself, taking another drag. It
couldn’t cure my boy.
He sighs, and returns his attention to the roast beef
sandwich she made for him. Her wind chimes begin to tinkle outside. She decides
that turnabout is fair play—if he can bring up her least favorite subject, then
she can bring up his. She asks him about his love life.
She expects his usual evasions or, at the most, a brief
description of the latest victim of her son—the serial monogamist. Instead, he
says, “Do you remember the friend that I told you about a few months ago?”
She ponders for a moment, listening to the sound of her
collection of chimes singing in the wind. “You mean the one you met at the
He nods. “Yes. That’s the one.” He flicks his eyes away from
her for a moment before looking back up with a strange little smile on his
face. “We’ve started seeing each other.”
This news is wholly unexpected. For nearly two decades her
son has been drifting from one casual relationship to the next, and she’s sure
that she’s heard of less than half of them. He begins to describe what a
vibrant, funny, intelligent, fascinating woman she is. She doesn’t know why he
suddenly feels like sharing. Whenever
she managed to get him talking about girlfriends in the past, he never once had
a look on his face like the one he is wearing now.
What is that look?
She takes another puff of her cigarette and then taps the
ashes into the ashtray while listening to his description of his new
girlfriend. It seems that she works in some sort of specialized wizarding law-enforcement. She never would have thought
that a lady police officer would be her son’s type—but then, she doesn’t know
her son nearly as well as she would like.
A gust of wind sets the chimes jangling, and he’s talking
about his new girlfriend’s taste for classic romance literature and rock and
roll music, and that new look on his face is getting even more pronounced. “The
most amazing thing is,” he says, “she’s known what I am from the start. From
the very start—even before we were friends. And she doesn’t seem to care. Not
one bit. I’m almost tempted to start caring in her behalf—one of us has to,
after all.” He continues to smile as he shakes his head and stares off into
She studies him through the haze of smoke and the metallic
ringing of the chimes, and for the first time in years she notices how much he
really does look like her—not just like his father.
He glances back up at her with a mysterious brightness in
his eyes, and his smile—which usually fades not long after it appears—is still
etched into his face.
It finally hits her. She knows what that look is.
After all these years, her son has finally fallen in love.
With a shaking hand she deposits the dog-end in the ashtray,
and lights another cigarette. She has dozens of questions dancing around in her
head, most of which she knows better than to ask. If she says the wrong thing
now, he’ll clam up and that will be the last she hears of this new girlfriend
for another month—or more.
But she can’t resist asking the most important question.
“Will I actually get to meet this one?” As soon as she sees the way he stares
at her in reply, she regrets asking. After all, he hasn’t brought a girl home
since he was nineteen, back when he was still idealistic, and more than a
He manages to shock her yet again. After a moment’s solemn
consideration, he purses his lips and says, “Maybe. Maybe I will bring her
She swallows hard, and smiles—trying not to look as nervous
and excited as she feels. Any woman who has managed to capture her son’s heart
after all these years is one she is very keen to meet. But she’ll just have to
be patient. She needs to let him do this at his own pace, or he might not do it
She nods, and says simply, “Good. That would be nice.”
They sit in silence for a few moments, the smoke wafting out
of her nostrils to swirl in the air between them.
He’s said as much on the subject as he’s willing to, for
today. She can see it in his face, and the set of his jaw. So she breaks the
ice by putting on a goofy smile and asking how the latest season of that
broom-game he likes so much is going.
He let’s out a bemused snort. “It’s called Quidditch, Mother.”
He makes another one of his jokes on how, after all these
years, she really ought to know these terms by now. She just sits back and
listens. Her mind is a million miles away, wondering about the woman who’s won
her son’s heart, and hoping that he really will bring her to visit.
The wind picks up again and they both lapse into silence,
listening to the chimes.
A/N: Thanks for
reading—I love reviews!