The Sugar Quill
Author: jncarlin  Story: Smoke and Wind  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

“It’s Love”

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 library?”


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 space.


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.


It’s love.


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 little naïve.


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 round sometime.”


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 at all.


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!



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