The Right Subject
She wanted to avenge her sister. Parvati was gone and her quiet rage rose like a storm. She wanted to have a quiet job, a job more suited to her bookish disposition but that was before. Many of her housemates were feeling a similar way. Sitting in the Auror office waiting for her trainee interview, she was seeing a lot of people from Ravenclaw offering services to the Ministry in some sort of intellectual capacity. Padma did not want to spy. She wanted blood on her hands.
"Padma Patil," The clerk stepped out of the main office, a short grey-haired woman with a rather large hairy mole under her left eye. "The Admittance Auror is ready to speak with you."
Padma stood and clenched her fist. It was an important moment. She followed the clerk into the main row of bustling offices.
"Door at the end of the very end of the hall. Good luck."
"Thank you." Padma walked towards the door and stopped outside of it to fix her newly bobbed hair. She felt confident and assured. Then she opened the door softly to reveal an elderly man sitting behind the desk. She straightened her spine and looked him evenly in the eyes. "Padma Patil, sir. I'm here for my interview for the auror corps combat division."
It was a well lit, but plain, office with a large cabinet behind the desk where the instructor was sitting. He was a scruffy looking man in Auror regalia with a cane propped against the arm of his chair. The man stood up and reached across the desk to shake her hand.
"I'm Septimus Lowell, I am temporarily in charge of this madhouse. " He motioned for her to sit down.
Padma took the seat across from him and met his gaze evenly. This was for Parvati.
"The first question I ask these days is why do you want to join the Aurors?"
"I wish to be of service to my country and its people." It was a semi-honest answer.
The man looked her evenly in the eyes and was silent. She felt like he knew all her secrets by looking into her eyes. Wait, was he… Oh, bullocks.
"I don't like liars Patil. In this line of work, subordinates need to be honest with their superiors. Like the fact they have a dead twin sister."
Padma winced; Lowell was a Legilimens, and a talented one if he had picked that up in such a short amount of time. She had been screwed the moment she walked in the room. She made far to much eye contact in order to appear strong and certain.
Honesty would help now.
"I want every Death Eater and co-conspirator to pay for what they have done." Her voice was disturbingly flat and cold. "I do not want others to feel the pain that I feel at the loss of a loved one. I am here to honor the memory of my sister and my friends who have fallen in this war."
Lowell leaned forward in his seat and shifted some of the files on his desk. The room had grown quiet; the only noise was that of rustling and shifting papers. Padma looked down at her hands, they were folded and shaking visibly in her lap. She tried to keep her face composed.
"When the hell did I become a therapist?"
It was a quiet whisper, but it echoed through the room.
"Excuse me sir?"
Lowell sighed and took a drink from the flask he had next to the folders. He set it down and gave her a look that was almost gentle. "Look here Patil, it's admirable that you want to do this. But if you are going to join the Aurors, I want it to be for the right reasons. Revenge and anger are not the right reasons. Anger blinds you, revenge will end you and in the end you accomplish nothing for you or anyone else in the field with you. It's for the safety of yourself and those who would serve with you that I decline your offer to join the corps until such time that you can separate the death of your sister from the work you could do with us here." He paused, "I don't think this is what you wanted from you life to begin with."
Padma did not know how to respond to this failure. She stood up slowly on knocking knees. "Thank you for your time." She walked out of the room, her face like stone.
She sat in the Leaky Cauldron with a glass of butterbeer and her hollowed shell of self. It had been so hard since this war ended. It was hard to be so alone.
Padma downed the rest of her butterbeer in five seconds and put her forehead down on the table to mope some more. She had gotten really good at moping these past few months.
Parvati would be able to press on if she had died; she was the stronger of the two. If Padma had been the one to die, Parvati would grieve and slowly but steadily press on with her life. Why was she so weak? She closed her eyes, Hannah would be glad to throw her out in a couple of hours when closing time came and she was to depressed to move at the moment. She felt her body relax and sleep beginning to pull the barest edges of her senses.
This whole damn world sucked.
Her eyes flew open and her face began to heat up like somebody had lit it on fire. Padma turned her head slowly and looked the man from shoes to face as slowly as she could manage without looking like a creep but long enough to regain some composure.
Dean Thomas seemed to have grown another inch, or maybe that was the angle that she was looking at him. Same dark skin and laughing eyes. Those eyes were not laughing at the moment and were now examining her with worry while playing with the strap of his art supply bag.
"Are you doing okay?"
She wasn't, but that seemed a rude thing to dump on some poor unsuspecting person.
"I've been better." The comment came out sounding very low and tired, almost mumbled.
"Oh," He was quiet for about fifteen seconds. Yes, Padma counted. "Mind if I sit down?"
She brought her head off the table so fast she felt lightheaded. She was now sitting straight as a rod against the back of her chair.
"Go right ahead, it would be nice to have company."
Why did she say that?
Dean smiled and took the empty seat across from her and pulled out a sketchbook and a pencil and started to draw. They were quiet for a few minutes; Padma feeling confused and a little dejected, Dean off in his own little bubble where the only thing that existed was the soft scratching of a pencil on paper.
"So, how is everything going? Have you taken over the Library of Merlin yet?"
She shook her head; "I had an interview with the Aurors today."
Dean stopped drawing and put his pencil down next to his sketchbook. He leaned forward and folded his hands on the table. Padma could see the vague sketch of herself and the people at the bar behind her on the paper between his arms.
"How did that go?"
Padma pushed her hair back behind her ears and shrugged, "It didn't. The man in charge didn't like my reasons for wanting to join the force."
Dean smiled knowingly, "I know what you mean. I'm working as a sketch artist for the Enforcers and I have some stories from the Auror offices." He paused and picked up his pencil and started to draw again. "They're all weird." He looked at her face for a moment before turning his attention back to his drawing. "I never pegged you as the type to want a job that brutal."
"I didn't, but… things changed."
Dean looked at her sadly. "Lowell's had to turn a lot of people down, some of the ones who got past his interview were tossed for problems during training. He thought they were to enthusiastic is what I heard he said. He and Shacklebolt had a real row about it about a week ago, half the floor heard them."
"Oh, that sounds…"
Dean shrugged and Padma rested her chin on her hand.
"Hold still," Dean said quickly. The sound of his voice caused Padma to shoot up in surprise. "You have a nice nose, I want to get it right."
Not quite most conventional compliment every girl dreams of hearing, but it was nice to hear something nice about her appearance for the first time in ages. Padma sat still and let Dean continue to draw.
She had always liked him; he was very nice to her and her sister. Maybe she should just take the bull by the horns and ask him to dinner sometime next week.
"Alright, finished!" Dean held up his sketch proudly.
Padma smiled as she took it from him for a better look. It was shaded and showed her looking contemplative and… grief-stricken. Was this how she really looked to others? It might not have been her thoughts that played a part in her not getting into Auror training. It might have been that dead look in her eyes.
"I've known you were a really good artist, Dean, but I think you've gotten a lot better since the last time I saw your sketchbook." Padma returned the book to him, noting the way their fingers touched in the process.
Dean shrugged humbly, "Sometimes it helps to have the right subject."
Padma felt her face grow warm. "Yeah, maybe it's that way for everything else in life too." She stood up and smiled, a genuine one for the first time in weeks. "I need to get home, it's been a long day.
Dean followed her lead and started packing up his supplies, "Yeah, I need to get back to my flat too. I'm worried Seamus will burn the place down in my absence." He zipped his bag closed and adjusted the straps before putting it on. "Say Padma, I was wondering if we could do this again sometime? Maybe do an activity?"
"I'm free this Saturday. I heard there's an art exhibit at the Library of Merlin if you want to go?"
"That would be great! I'll send you an owl."
Tonight had gone better then Padma hoped.
Entry for Round 3 of the Quidditch Fanfiction Competition.