Emma remembers him, of course, from school. Him and his pack of Hufflepuff friends—Graham, Will, and Ruby, constantly huddled over a mysteriously blank piece of parchment or some Weasley product, or sneaking rum into the Three Broomsticks, or loudly hanging around the Quidditch pitch seemingly exclusively whenever Gryffindor was practicing.
She wasn't sure if it was just for her team, but the last few years, the two houses were always neck and neck for the cup, and she highly doubted that Killian Jones hung around to annoy the Slytherin seeker the way he did her.
Not that she was special, but she was his direct competition. And he never let her forget it, grinning toothily at her, even when she gave him the slightest of reactions. And one day, he went from awkward to handsome, his jaw filling out and his face catching up to his nose. Her stomach would flip at the sight of him, and she hated herself for it—he was annoying and arrogant and—
Then she stopped seeing him around when she started dating Neal, a smooth-talking Ravenclaw from the year ahead, a welcome distraction from Jones and her sexual tension. She got the impression the two boys didn't really get on, something she later got confirmed by Mary Margaret, his fellow Hufflepuff.
Emma never knew why it bothered her so, but when she pressed her friend, the dark-haired girl had hummed something in consideration, passed her a pointed look, and turned back to her pumpkin juice, saying nothing more.
After Neal (god, after Neal), she never went back for her 7th year. Hogwarts was no place for a new baby, and even though her adopted mother Ruth was willing to raise Henry while Emma finished her schooling and take her N.E.W.T.s., Emma knew she couldn't go back.
Couldn't face the rumors, or see any of Neal's old Ravenclaw friends, August and Elsa, who she'd grown so close to and genuinely liked (more than Neal at times, when she looks back on it).
And they'd just ask her questions, questions she wouldn't have the answers to till much later—they would want to know where Neal had gone too, why he was suddenly on the lam just a few months shy of finishing Hogwarts.
(She'd known he had issues with his father, but not to that extent. Apparently, unable to take it anymore, he'd gone to the states, and hadn't come back. His father, the powerful head at the Department of Mysteries, never even knew about her.)
(Neither know about Henry, and she was grateful.)
That year, Emma kept in touch with her friends best she could, but between her baby and balancing a minor secretary job at the Ministry, it was hard to find time to send an owl.
After school, her adopted brother David got his (and her) dream job at the Auror office, and they briefly commuted to work together, leaving Henry with Ruth. Mary Margaret, David's girlfriend, and her good friend Ruby had also gotten jobs with the Ministry (Department of Education and Department of the Regulation & Control of Magical Creatures, respectively), and for a short while, it was nice—she felt normal again, having things to do and people to see.
But she always turned down the offers for a pint at the Leaky Cauldron after work from Ruby, knowing exactly who she'd be meeting up with.
The thought of seeing Killian Jones' face made her stomach twist into knots, and she didn't dare ask herself why. The last time she'd seen him, after all, he'd been glaring daggers at her, with Neal running out onto the pitch to congratulate her on their game, the golden snitch still clutched in her fingers. His eyes had been so blue, and his expression so raw—hurt, if she dares to name it—that she'll never forget it.
That'd been a week before it all went to shit.
Years passed, and things changed. Emma and Henry found their own flat in London, David moved up the Auror ranks and moved in with Mary Margaret, and Ruby finally started dating her old friend and coworker at Magical Creatures Graham, both of whom who finally were in the positions of power to advocate against the treatment of werewolves, something they'd long carried passionate—but hushed—debates over.
Ruby was particularly sensitive to the issue, but got defensive when asked why and the conversation was always effectively shut down.
Her fellow Gryffindor Belle French had come into some money and bought Flourish and Blotts, the bookstore on Diagon Alley, and started seeing Will Scarlet, a bartender at the Leaky Cauldron. August, who she eventually got back in touch with, went to work for his father at Gepetto's, the longtime wand shop rival for Ollivander's.
And when Emma's old Gryffindor friend Robin Locksley offered her a transfer into the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office, she took it. She was just an assistant, but with only her O.W.L.s to go off, it was the best she could do. It paid the bills.
She later learned that Robin was now dating Regina Mills of all people, a Slytherin from Emma's year. She was on the Wizengamot now, but held an obvious eye for the minister's position. Regina had never liked Emma at school (and vice versa), but lately was warming to her, and Emma began to think she might not make such a bad Minister of Magic. It was about time they had a woman in office.
Henry grew up, and she'd nearly broken into tears the day he got his letter. But she hadn't truly cried until he boarded the train for Hogwarts, hoping to become a Gryffindor, just like his mom.
She'd heard Jones's name in passing, of course, over the years—mainly by Ruby, accompanied by a curiously withering look at Emma—but knew he was off on his adventures, having taken a curse-breaking job at Gringott's, and had long shed her irrational fear of running into him.
But it wasn't until the owl from Elsa that Emma's life was sent colliding back into his.
Elsa, also a curse-breaker, had been recently offered a particularly lucrative job halfway across the world, but the dates coincided with her younger sister's wedding in Norway, and she wouldn't be able to go. And she wanted Emma to take her place.
Rather than waste time with an owl, Emma had decided to call Elsa, who picked up on nearly the last ring. Emma was a bit surprised she picked up at all, given Elsa's suspicion with anything muggle, especially their technology.
"Emma! So good to hear from you," She'd said, sounding pleased. "You got my owl, I take it?"
"Yeah, hey," Emma had replied, holding up the parchment in front of her, "I did. Listen, I'm flattered, but, you remember I didn't finish Hogwarts, right? I don't have the qualifications to be a curse-breaker."
Emma had practically heard Elsa pursing her lips on the other line. "I understand, but I took O.W.L.s with you, Emma, and I remember your scores. You did well enough that my contact at Gringotts, Leroy, is willing to take you on. This would be your trial period."
"Elsa, I just can't up and leave my job at the Ministry for something that is only a trial period. I have a kid to support, remember?"
A pause. "Defense against the dark arts, year three."
"We were doing boggarts, and I was in front of you in line. We barely knew each other then. And I was so scared what was going to come out of that wardrobe, that it was going to overpower me—and you helped talk me down, helped me let go of my fears. Without you, I don't know what would've happened, or where I'd be now. I owe you this opportunity, and you owe it to yourself."
Emma had sighed. "Elsa..."
"You've been working to get by, but with Henry at school now, you can afford some change. I remember you wanted to be an auror, as long as I've known you, and this is as close as I can get you. This is your boggart, Emma, and it's time to face it."
For a long while, Emma had been silent, letting Elsa's words settle in her mind. Then, finally, "Okay."
And that's how Emma finds herself now, looking down the dimly lit passage of an emerald-studded tomb, staring into the eyes of Killian Jones.
i really wanted to do a harry potter au that didn't take place at hogwarts—i started playing with the idea of what kind of jobs each of the characters would have in the hp universe it just kinda got out of control from there. there's hopefully going to be a lot of blending of the hp rules and the ouat outline that we are familiar with; this is still an ouat story.
i have 2 or 3 parts planned, though maybe a bit more...we'll see.
p.s. no frankenwolf, you might ask? well we may see victor, but tbh i love graham x ruby (and according to the comics, are actually TL, ugh, pain) and thought i'd spare him for this fic. plus, the idea of him working at the ministry to protect the rights of werewolves and other magical creatures alongside ruby was just too good to pass up.
anyway. yes. review. please!