Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all his world belong to J.K.Rowling. I’m just grateful she lets me play with them.
Prologue: A Strong and Independent Woman
The rain was coming down harder now. Christy wondered if the bucket was still in the right place under the leak in the attic. She was certain Mike wouldn’t have remembered to empty it. Perhaps she should get a builder in to take a look.
‘So that’s it then? We’re through?’
With an effort, she dragged her mind back to the man sitting across the table from her. There had been a time when Mike effortlessly attracted her attention. Christy remembered parties where, no matter who she was talking to, she’d always known exactly where Mike was. She didn’t even know she was doing it until someone would ask if she’d seen him and she’d unerringly point straight to the corner where he was deep in conversation with a friend, or to the bar where he was pouring a drink, or the hallway where he was fighting through the pile to find her wrap and sneak them away early. Her friends had laughed at first, telling her she’d got it bad.
Now it seemed she couldn’t even concentrate when they were breaking up. Christy just wasn’t interested any more. There were no tears to shed. She couldn’t even manage a sigh of disappointment as Mike confirmed their new status. Ever since she’d found out he was having an affair with one of the younger witches at his office she’d known they were over. Not because he’d cheated on her, but because she’d realised she didn’t even care.
He seemed to be waiting for a response, so Christy nodded wearily. ‘Yes. I’ve decided to take up that invitation from London. I’ll be gone for a month. When I come back, I’ll expect you to have gone, okay?’
It was more than fair and he knew it. They’d talked once, briefly, about buying a larger place together, but neither had really been enthusiastic about the idea. She got up to leave the room.
‘Chris? Christy.’ She rested an arm on the doorframe and waited but didn’t look back at him. ‘I just thought you should know… the girl… Janet… she didn’t mean anything. It wasn’t anything special.’
Christy paused for a moment, trying to decide whether he honestly thought she’d be interested.
‘I didn’t love her,’ Mike concluded.
Christy shook her head, abandoning her attempt to decipher his thought processes. She had a letter to write to London. Hermione Weasley had sent her three requests in the last few months, each more urgent than the last. Not many wizards or witches had the kind of specialist knowledge of Voodoo Defense that Christy had gained over her time at the Pentagram and the British Ministry of Magic were working on a top secret project that they needed her help for. It would be a good chance to get away from things. Reassess her priorities. Maybe even have some fun.
Christy smiled at that. There hadn’t been a whole lot of fun in her life lately. Not just this whole thing with Mike. Work had been tense after the Department of Magic had refused to continue funding for their research. Everybody’s job was on the line and they all knew each day could be their last in paid employment. There weren’t a whole lot of openings for researchers and technicians in the obscure kinds of Defense they studied. She was lucky to have this chance in England.
Since her mom had passed last month, there was no reason not to go. Even with international portkeys and Apparition, London was a long way from Idaho. At least here in New York she had been able to get home every weekend. But now…
Mom would have been glad, she thought, as she swung round the banister at the top of the stairs. She always wanted me to travel and have adventures.
Christy laughed out loud, remembering the conversation she’d once had with her Mom about Mike.
‘I don’t say he won’t make something of himself, Christy-love, I just don’t know what he’ll make out of you in the process.’
She’d protested, saying that she didn’t need any man to make her.
Mom had just smiled, in that way she had, and patted Christy’s hand. ‘When you meet the right man, love, you’ll find he can make you whatever your heart wants.’
‘What if I want to be a strong, independent woman?’
‘Then you’ll have to find a man who can make you stronger and more independent, Christy-girl.’
No, Mom, she vowed. I can do that on my own.
She reached for pen and paper and began to compose letters to Hermione Weasley, the Pentagram, and the International Travel Agency.
Author’s Note: Originally written for St Margaret’s Project Crumpet challenge.