Chapter 53: Five Years Later
She was always convinced that her future lied in the Dark Arts. She applied for Divinations so she could see where she was going and if the choices she had made were the right decisions. Those visions . . . the same dream she have had for years were always decisions on which road to take. For a while, her interest was in the smooth and easy looking road, what she believed to be the right path to take. But soon, Landon was in her dreams. Her choice on the road changed. Her interest took her to the crooked and difficult looking road ahead of her. And every time that dream reoccurred, Landon and Erela were getting farther and farther away from each other, taking their own path.
The crooked and difficult looking road Erela was so afraid of going near in the beginning was the right path. Life wasn't meant to be easy. Taking the easy path was what led to the wrong. And it was already too late for Erela to turn back and pull Landon away from the easy path, the wrong path.
He had already made his choice . . .
And Erela had made hers . . .
What if . . . Landon and I had never dated?
It was up until they shared their first kiss that he started to appear in her dream, when the choice was offered before them. Erela had changed her mind on where to go when Landon became a part of her life. What if they had never dated? Would she have taken that easy road? The Dark Arts road? Would Stacee still be alive? Would Landon have gone on the right path without everything that had pushed him off the edge?
Perhaps . . . We never should have dated . . .
Erela looked up at the voice to one of her co-workers, Nero Vuk. A Croatian that was transferred to the British Ministry of Magic and had been working with Erela for the past three years. A rather tall and built man with a buzz cut and a thick accent, but after years of education of the English language, it was manageable to understand him.
"Yes?" she yawned and pinched the bridge of her nose.
"You've been staring at that picture for a long time. You have an idea where to find him?" he asked.
Erela looked back down at a photo of one of the most wanted criminals in England thus far. Wanted for murder, thievery, and untold wrongdoings. The man stood up tall in his photo, rather scruffy and untrimmed, sullen eyes that once had promise and light in them, added scars to his face, and lots of freckles . . . just as she remembered him . . .
The reserved twenty-two year old woman was utterly heartbroken at the sight of Landon's photo in the wanted folder on her desk of the Auror department. He did it . . . he completely lost it . . . Erela remembered their seventh year when Landon left the school in anger toward her for everything. She didn't think he would actually leave and avenge Stacee in any way he could.
Wonder if he succeeded in finding that person . . .
Erela shook her head in response. "No . . . no, I'm just thinking . . ." she mumbled.
Landon had been on the Ministry's radar for the past three years, around the same exact time Erela had finished her Auror training. It almost felt like he had known. But he couldn't have . . . it was just a mere coincidence after all.
How could five years go by so fast and so much had changed in that short span of time . . .?
Erela ran her fingers through her pixie cut of hair and excused herself from her desk. "You'll message me when you hear something?" she asked while she shrugged her sweatshirt on.
"Yeah. Don't get too comfortable," he called after her.
"Relaxation isn't something I do," she called back as she exited the office. After the Second Wizarding War ended back in 1998, ways of entering and exiting the Ministry had resumed back before Lord Voldemort's reign of the Ministry. Visitors went back to the use of telephone booth, but had to change the entrance code in fear of the Death Eaters trying to break in once more. Everyone could Apparate and Disapparate like before or use the Floo Network, whichever fancied the witch or wizard.
Erela let out a sigh and put her earbuds in before she Disapparated out of the Ministry. She Apparated outside a couple blocks away from her flat in an alleyway. Just wait a couple minutes for the muggles to forget that odd loud snap sound and then she could appear. She let out a yawn as she stretched her arms and legs, cracked her knuckles, and jogged out of the alleyway. Ever since she was accepted into the program, Erela had exercised more to gain more muscles to catch up with the other Aurors.
After all, everyone had to be in shape and run around chasing after wanted witches and wizards. It was their job. She had gone through a large transformation from lanky to athletically built to become a true Auror. Erela had the determination to push herself to match the other Aurors that were chosen with her and she was grateful that she was chosen alongside with the others. But that didn't mean she got off easy and could relax since being accepted into the program.
No, she had to keep getting stronger at everything . . .
Erela jogged back to her flat an hour later without stopping to catch her breath. Once she locked the door behind her, she took in deep breaths while sweat rolled down her face. She kicked off her shoes and made way to the kitchen to grab a glass of water to quench her thirst and some ice to cool her heated head.
"Ela?" a voice called from upstairs when Erela put some ice cubes in a plastic bag.
"I'm back," she called.
She heard his weight bound down the stairs and entered the kitchen with a big smile on his face. "Anything new?" Markus asked. He applied for the Auror program the same time Erela did. Much like Michael Hughes back in school, he pushed and shoved socially to become friends with Erela. To get him to stop poking at her ribs, she agreed to train with him and become partners with him. Markus was the one that got her to train hard to become athletically built like she had become and she tested him academically to prove he was what the Auror department wanted. Much like Erela, he was also chosen for the job.
Erela shook her head and took large gulps of water. "I told them to send me some kind of message if something comes up."
"Something? As in anything?" She shrugged at Markus. "What about what happened last time you said that?"
Of course he had to remind her. During one of their first assignments, they had to take down trolls that were wrecking a small village toward the mountains. Erela didn't react fast enough and was thrown hard into a wall and dislocated her shoulder. While it did heal, the injury resulted in her right arm not being able to be lifted past her shoulder. Some spells that required more movement, she had to switch hands to be able to conjure them.
"That was when we first started," she reminded him and gulped down the rest of her water. Erela liked that Markus was caring for her wellbeing. But, he knew that she would still do what she had to to get the job done. Markus didn't need a reminder on what their job was and that what they did for a living was dangerous.
Markus pursed his lips and took long steps to Erela, brushed his fingertips against the long scars down her left arm she had gotten her sixth year, and pressed his forehead to hers. "I know . . ." Markus quietly whispered. Erela lightly closed her eyes while Markus' fingers lightly slid up her arm and hooked his finger around the gold chain around her neck that held a diamond ring. "Why don't you wear this on your finger?" he asked under his breath.
Erela lightly smiled for a moment and slightly opened her eyes, her dark lashes tickled his cheeks when his hand cupped around her neck. "Because—"
But Markus stopped her with a deep kiss on the lips. He lifted her off the ground, his hands clasped under her cheeks while she wrapped her legs just around his waist as Markus took her up to their room.
Markus and Erela had been dating since the beginning of their training days and he proposed months after they were accepted into the program. Erela had moved on . . .