Chapter 58: Personal Business
For about a month, Erela kept seeing Stacee in the corner of her eye or within reflections . . .
She was just tired . . . she had been having difficulty getting some sleep for a while and seeing a dead friend stand just behind her was just her hallucinating. There was no way that Stacee would be haunting her, not when there had been no sign of his wandering spirit for five years. At least she hadn't seen or sensed anything as of yet.
There was just . . . no way that Stacee was still around . . . he wasn't the kind of person to just sit around and wallow in his emotions and sort of hand around the living when dead . . . at least she thought he wasn't . . .
It was around seven in the morning in the Ministry of Magic, a normal working hour for Erela and Markus and close to clocking out for them. With the Aurors, all hours are working hours and some are assigned hours to fill the office in case anything were to happen. If anything were too dangerous and difficult for the new recruits like the engaged couple, then they would have to call the best of the best out instead.
Erela sat in her cubicle with her eyes closed, trying her best to listen and feel for the world beyond. When everything happened back in seventh year, suddenly tapping into the spirit world was easier and looking into the future was easier. Her clouded future suddenly became clear. She was aware that some time around seventh year was when she couldn't see where she would go and what she would do for the longest time. And then . . . suddenly everything made sense. Erela tried to make out why that would happen all of a sudden.
Then again, she hadn't made a prediction of her own future since her sixth year, so it might have been different before then.
She had guessed before, but it didn't become clear until she was accepted into the Auror program and Wisenburg made a name of himself in the most wanted list. Anyone involved with Erela would be guaranteed a different future than what they were promised. Like, she was walking bad luck to anyone that became close to her. Wisenburg wasn't in her dreams until she had kissed him the first time their sixth year and he became a criminal since he was in front of the clean and easy road in her dreams. Erela got the job she wanted for being involved with Wisenburg and she had changed her fate to the worn out path to indicate that life wasn't meant to be easy whatsoever. Stacee probably would have lived if he were never involved with her either. He would have become minister if he never became friends with Erela. They boys would have had an easier life . . .
And Erela would have ended up a criminal like Wisenburg . . .
There was no doubt about it . . .
Erela searched for the familiar feeling of the metamorphmagus, in search of his ghost. But nothing came into focus. It was definitely a hallucination, she was tired out of her mind and her past haunted her.
She opened her eyes and stared at the picture of Wisenburg tacked onto her wall beside other criminals that were out on the run. The werewolf wasn't someone she was assigned to find and send to Azkaban, she just . . . had to have his picture up to remind her what had happened to the young man that led him to the path he chose. Erela ran her fingers through her hair and looked at the rest of her desk. Files of her assignments and their information in one corner, pictures of wanted witches and wizards tacked on the wall with red string tied around and tacked to different parts of a map she had on her largest wall of her cubicle. One wall was solely for Daily Prophetclips to keep up what was going around the world and another wall, although a small portion of it, had pictures of Erela with Markus.
Erela fingered her engagement ring that hung on a golden chain as she stared at her Daily Prophet wall at a specific clip. "Students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry sent to Azkaban for use of Unforgivable Curses. Four students dead." It was all over the papers five years ago. The headmistress made sure to protect Erela from the press since she was a witness of all that happened and Wisenburg hid in his room, so he was protected as well. As much as reporters demanded for more of the story, they had to give up since the headmistress never told them the names of the witnesses.
Erela got closer and read the names of the deceased:
Stacee EitheridgeGregory FincherTrisha WeatherwaxAlbert Wroxton
She pursed her lips and balled her hands into hard fists, so hard that her knuckles went completely white. They were wrong . . . only three of them were dead . . . Erela had killed two of them with her shield charm and Stacee was the third death. The fourth one went missing and only assumed the only other missing student in the whole school was also dead . . . He or she was out there somewhere . . .
Seeing Stacee's figure reminded her that his murderer hadn't been caught yet. At least, she hadn't seen the same name in the daily prophet in the last couple of years. Then again, they would have changed their name and identity to hide from the law. Then finding the student would be pretty hard. Erela let out a sigh and dismissed herself from her cubicle toward Markus' cubicle.
"Feel like leaving?" she asked.
"Will Mr. Potter be fine with us leaving a little early?" Markus raised a brow at her.
"You're playing with a little flame in a jar," she pointed out and nodded to her fiancé's current toy for the time being. "We haven't heard anything and we're not assigned to any major witches and wizards. I think he'll forgive us for skipping out from doing nothing."
Markus pursed his lips for a couple moments before he took his coat and scarf. "We'll then, why don't we taste test some cakes while we're at it?"
"Pffffft, fine. Wasn't expecting sugar to be the first thing you would want for breakfast," she chuckled and hooked her arm around his.
"We'll we haven't tried out which cake we would want for the wedding. And I don't know about you, but I've been looking forward to planning out the food for the reception more than anything," Markus smiled.
"Well it IS better than having to decide on everything else. And we get to eat during this," Erela mused as the exited the office onto the main floor when they Disapparated.
"Too hard to choose," Markus said.
Erela chuckled as she took another bite of one of three cakes they took home to decide on. The two sat on the floor of their kitchen with the cakes in between them and reaching for different bites through their conversations. The three were their favorite, it was just deciding on which one was better that was the issue. "We still have time to choose. And we can always say that we need another one of these since we've been taste testing them all weekend and ran out of cake," she smiled.
"You Hufflepuffs have a weird thing for food," he raised a teasing brow at her.
"I think I have the most normal thing for food compared to my fellow badgers, good sir," she mocked. "I just know you. And I know once all this is gone your mouth will be watering and giving me pouty eyes for permission to get another batch."
Markus looked down and took another bite, avoiding her eyes and the fact that she was right. "Not pouty eyes . . ."
"Pouty lips then?" she raised her brows. "Should I prepare myself to call you "sad frog"?" Erela teased.
Markus rolled his eyes at her. " You're in a bit of a sassy mood today."
"I kind of feel like it," she smirked. But he already noticed for sure. She had become as playful as him and teased him back whenever he poked fun at her, then she would revert back to calm and collected as usual. If she were something like sassy, something was on her mind and tried to play it off cool. "I was looking through one of the article clippings from a few years ago and it only reminded me of the incident . . ." she started.
"The . . . dead students back at Hogwarts . . ." Erela answered.
"Right . . . I read that when it happened. It was your last year at the school, wasn't it?" The green eyes Auror asked and took another bite.
"Yeah . . ." she nodded. He still had no idea that Erela knew of one of the dead students. In fact, Erela hardly talked about Wisenburg or Stacee. Remembering them had been hard on her, even uncomfortable to talk about it with others. She just . . . never mentioned them. "I just . . . want to go back to the school to ask some questions . . ." she said.
"I can come with you if you want."
"It's okay . . ." Erela shook her head. "It's kind of a personal thing . . ."
Markus stared at her in silence while Erela forked one of the desserts they had eaten more than the other. "You knew one of the dead students . . ."
Erela blinked a couple times before she nodded in response. "May I be excused to leave and do this little errand?"
He merely rolled her eyes at her, leaned across from the half eaten desserts, and planted a kiss on her nose. "You don't need to ask me."
"Thank you, Markus," Erela lightly smiled at him and kissed him on the lips. "I'll be back soon." It was the afternoon anyway, everyone at Hogwarts would be awake and she would come back from questioning while Markus slept.
"Don't keep me waiting, love," he whispered sweetly.
Erela lightly smiled and kissed him again and Disapparated. The Auror Apparated in a loud snap in Hogsmeade and nearly scared some civilians that lived in the small village. It wasn't very often that people outside of Hogwarts came to visit, so it was fine for some of the people to get a bit of a fright. The young Auror shoved her hands into her pockets as she made way toward the castle.
When she made it, Erela went straight toward the Haxel's office. The headmstress' office required a password and it often changed and only the professors around Hogwarts knew what it was. Students whom walked by her stared idly, and to her surprise she didn't feel uncomfortable in the least. Suppose that was what happened when you left the school and grew up a bit, the small things like a large group of people staring didn't bother her anymore.
Erela was never close to any of her professors, but she felt a little bit closer to the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor since she did extremely well in his class during her academic years. Not only that, but he was close to Stacee and Wisenburg when they attended school. He would most likely cooperate with her on the small list of students that were presumed dead five years ago.
Erela looked down the corridor and couldn't help but half expect Stacee and Wisenburg to come around the corner messing each others' hair with big smiles on their faces. But that only bummed her out even more. Those happy times were over. The two boys were either dead or in hiding from the law, not among the sea of students she had to maneuver around.
Erela ran her fingers through her hair and under the arch of the door when she collided into someone exiting the classroom. The Auror fell back when an arm wrapped around her waist to keep her from falling. "Sorry . . ." she apologized. "I wasn't watching where I was—?"
"Shit!" he cursed under his breath.
She looked up at him in question and her face immediately went pale the moment she saw the freckled man. "Landon . . ." his name whispered and slipped past her lips.