I grumbled as I fiddled with the lock on the door to my flat in the Boylston Heights building. While I loved the history of the building itself, being one of the oldest remaining of wizarding kind in the city, the locks were rather pesky, and I had left my wand next to my bed that morning. Accidentally leaving behind my wand should have been the first indication that it was going to be a bad day, and I realised that as I stood cursing at the blasted metal contraption.
Finally, the lock clicked, and I marched into the corridor that was my entryway, dropped my key in a small bowl, and made my way to the kitchen. I sighed, looking through the post that had arrived before I'd gone out for the day. Nothing in particular caught my attention. There was a postcard from my brother who was currently honeymooning with Anna, née Walker, in Southern France. It said the usual: 'Hope all is well now that you're back in Boston. Looking forward to seeing the booklet about Egypt- the show was a laugh, and I maybe learned a thing or two! Anna sends her regards, and I'll have you know that I find this country quite suitable. The Frogs aren't so bad! Cheers, Klaus.'
I had barely been able to attend their wedding, but I managed to take a quick trip from Cairo to our estate outside of Dover and made it just in time for the ceremony. Dateless, might I add, and perhaps only slightly presentable. It had been lovely enough, with plenty of roses scattered about and other frilly things. I did get to see Rose and Fiona, both having somehow managed invitations, and spent a good deal of the reception afterwards talking to them. Rose had found a job working at the Ministry, and Fiona was working as a private tutor.
In addition to two of my former housemates, the Weasley family had been invited. I had received news of Fred's death last year, but had been unable to make it to the funeral because I had been doing research in Australia with my uncle. I felt incredibly guilty when I saw George, and even worse when I saw Mrs Weasley, however both shrugged off any condolences I attempted to offer. So, feeling awkward, I attempted to talk to Fleur but found her accent far too annoying.
I had half-hoped that Oliver would be in attendance, just to see how he was doing. Last I had heard, he'd been bumped up from the Puddlemere United reserve team to play Keeper full-time, not that I was particularly nosey about such things. However, it seemed that after I had left, around half seven, he decided to turn up. Klaus felt the need to inform me of that fact the day after, when I received the happy couple's thank you note.
I slid the new postcard between the latices on the French doors before I went to go skulk in my bedroom after grabbing my copy of Witch Weekly from my coat pocket. When we weren't on assignment somewhere, I found life to be impossibly dull and could barely stand to stay in one room very long. I sat on the edge of my bed, swirling the silver band around my index finger- a habit I had picked up since arriving in the United States five years ago.
I pulled the magazine into my lap and opened it, thumbing through the pages again before landing on a particularly upsetting page. I looked at the moving photo of myself walking beside my mate and former boyfriend. Underneath the photograph, it read:
Rue Von Straussburg, 23, seen walking the streets of New York City hand-in-hand with on-again, off-again beau Clancy Burke, 27. A source says, since Von Straussburg's return from Egypt, they have been particularly close to one another. If these rumors of romance are true, should we finally be expecting a marriage proposal?
l scowled. Marriage proposal, honestly? Clancy and I, at this point, were nothing more than friends. This was utter rubbish.
I squinted at the picture, trying to see if Clancy and I were actually holding hands, but I could see nothing. It just appeared that I was walking very close beside him, which I had indeed been, seeing as New York City is so bloody crowded all the damn time.
After deciding that I would write an anonymous letter to the magazine saying that it was clear that we weren't holding hands, I studied the photograph. I didn't look half bad, for once, and was rather pleased that they had managed to capture my good side this time.
I looked smart, with a kelly green scarf around my neck, a vintage bomber-style jacket, and boots over a pair of black trousers. Surprisingly, I could pull off the "Muggle Look." I was certainly more tan than I had been before departing, and I knew that there were a smattering of freckles across the bridge of my nose from sun exposure. Having spent so much time outdoors also greatly contributed to the fact that my hair had a much more coppery-red tone to it, and my new fringe was brushed to the side across my forehead, framing my face.
I decided to tear out the page and scribbled a quick note on it with my peacock feather quill.
Clancy, didn't know we were dating again. Why aren't we ever informed of this nonsense before publishing? -Rue
I folded up the flimsy paper before giving it to my owl, Sam Adams. Sam was a rather small Elf Owl with the largest eyes I think I had ever seen on a living creature. He came to be named "Sam Adams" for two reasons: one, I bought him when I first moved to Boston, and two, his eyes were golden, much like the muggle Boston Lager. My uncle and I had found it quite amusing, and thus the young Elf Owl was anointed. He chirped before taking off out of the window I held open for him.
I wandered back to the kitchen where my coat hung off a bar chair before I decided I would walk north towards Kings Chapel to visit Lara.
Lara Wolfe ushered me into her flat and had disappeared into her kitchen, her honey blonde curls bouncing. I moved to settle on the sofa when Lara came barreling out of the kitchen and rounded on me.
"You didn't tell me you and Clancy were back together!" she cried.
She waved a copy of Witch Weekly in front of my face and pointed at the photo. "How do you explain this, Rue?"
"Lara, if Clancy and I were dating again, I promise you would be the first to know."
I rolled my eyes, "Yeah, before Toni."
She looked at me suspiciously before she dropped the magazine on the couch and reached for my right hand.
"I must consult The One Ring To Rule Them All."
Again, I rolled my eyes, but let her inspect the claddagh I wore on my ring finger.
She hummed before releasing my hand, "Yeah, I s'pose you weren't lying then."
I smirked, finally dropping unceremoniously onto the sofa.
"Now," Lara settled in a chair next to me, "what can I do for you?"
"This isn't a business transaction," I huffed, brushing my fringe out of my eyes. "Can't I come to visit my mate every now and then?"
"Rue, you saw me just yesterday. We had lunch together."
She stared at me blankly before shaking her head. "I was getting ready for a date with Jack, we were going to go to some lecture up at Harvard-"
I sighed and fixed her with a glare.
"I can't entertain you all the time, girl!"
"What do you propose I do then, girl?" I shot back.
"Why don't you visit Toni?"
"You and I both know that she's visiting her family in New Orleans and won't be back until tomorrow."
"You are a witch, aren't you?"
"Well, yeah, but I don't feel like apparating or flooing..."
Lara nodded, "Therein lies the problem!"
"Exactly! So, how about you postpone that little date of yours, and we could go to the cinema or something? I'm in the mood for a laugh."
"You want to," she regarded me curiously, "do muggle things?"
"Well, I've done just about everything else in this bloody town."
Lara giggled as she always did when I said things that were distinctively "British," as she so eloquently put.
"Sorry, Rue, but-"
I pouted. "Please, Lara?"
"No," she said firmly. "Now, I'm going to ask you to leave. I love you, you're awesome, but sometimes," she said, her hand on my back as she guided me to the door, "you've just got to spread your wings and fly, little bird."
Lara called after me as I dejectedly walked down the corridor and towards the stairs, dreading the cold November air I would soon be facing, "Be free!"
Later that night, I lay on my bed, rolling the familiar silver band between my fingers. I sighed, leaning over to hold it closer to the light of a candle so that I could read the inscription. The reflection of the small flame danced in the even smaller garnet and sapphires. The inscription seemed to glow. "The nightly heavens are not more beautiful than you," it read. I sighed, ridding my mind of the memories that threatened to flood it, and slid the ring back onto my finger before my eyes settled on a framed picture of Lara, Toni, and I standing and waving excitedly in front of Faneuil Hall. I smiled before I blew out the candle and fell asleep.
And so begins the sequel to A Bird in Flight. If you've just stumbled upon this, I suggest you read BiF first- it'll help to clear a lot up and you'll know where Rue's coming from. That being said, I hope you all enjoyed this prologue. If you have any questions at all, feel free to leave them in a review and I will try my best to answer them, if I can. As always, Jo Rowling owns the Harry Potter Universe, I own characters you don't recognize from it and the plot. Sam Adams (the beer company, obviously) owns Boston Lager. And all places mentioned, except for Boylston Heights, are real, should you ever visit Boston. I promise that Oliver will be making an appearance within two chapters! Anyway, please oh please review! Yours.