Chapter 61: Practice
"You're trying to run away from planning your wedding," Michael said grimly.
"I AM not," Erela rolled her eyes and sipped her tea.
"You are. You're putting it off by working," he narrowed his grey eyes at her.
"SORRY that I have a career," the Auror rolled her eyes at him. "I really AM going for this case, like it or not."
Michael huffed and sipped his tea as well. "It's about time . . . I'm curious what happened too. You'll tell me the details, right?" he raised his brows at her.
"It'll be in the papers anyway."
"Oh please," he rolled his eyes. "Knowing you, you won't blab that much to the press and keep a lot of information to yourself. You'll tell me everything anyway?"
"Can we at least try on wedding dresses before you go off on your little journey?"
"I'm not going to be gone that long," she laughed. "I'm just going to ask questions around for a couple of days and then come back," the Auror let out a yawn. "Besides this'll be good for my career."
"I know I know," he rolled his eyes.
"How's the husband by the way?" Erela raised her brows to change the subject.
"Still a pain in my behind. Kind of like you," Michael eyed her.
"Ha ha, think you're so funny."
"I know I'm funny," Michael chuckled then let out a quiet sigh. "He has those days when he feels like being a little needy and then tries to give me the silent treatment from time to time when I throw myself into work and pay little attention to him," he explained.
"So he's being a little over dramatic again," Erela said grimly.
"Yeah," Michael nodded and drank his water. "But, it kind of entertains me when he gets like this. He won't last long," he rolled his eyes. "Give him another day or less and he'll crack."
Erela chuckled lightly at her old friend. He met his husband at one of his old temp jobs at the Ministry a few years back before he quit. In fact, it was his husband's idea to leave the Ministry and pursue in planning weddings. The two got married after two years of dating; Erela was Michael's best man. Shaun was a rather sensitive man, a hopeless romantic, kind of clingy, and confident businessman from the International Magical Office of Law. He was Michael's rock, his (other) best friend, and constant entertainer whom kept Michael on his toes.
"Wedding dresses. Now. Lets go," her old friend said as he hopped on his feet and tried to pull her up from her chair.
"Did I SAY I was ready to leave yet?" she groaned and drained the rest of her tea and got off her chair before the others around them started to look at their strange enthusiasm. "Besides, where would I keep it hidden? Isn't it bad luck for the groom to see the dress before the ceremony?" Erela asked.
"Just keep it at my place. Just be sure to come over to check if you can still fit into it as often as you can," he reminded as he pulled her down the street to wherever he thought the best place was to buy THE dress.
"You make it sound like I'm going to get fat really fast . . ."
"Not fat. I don't think it's possible for your body to gain any. MUSCLE on the other hand . . . just don't gain anymore muscle—"
"No promises. The job requires a lot of work," she interrupted him.
"I mean, seriously. For as long as I've known you, you've been scrawny as hell. You having muscles baffles me."
Erela rolled her eyes at him and picked up her feet so he didn't keep pulling her. "I'll take that as a compliment," she chuckled.
"Avis!" Birds fly and shoot from Erela's wand
With a wave of his wand the birds above Erela burst into flames. "Signature spell, I swear," Markus chuckled.
Erela flicked her and the tip of Erela's wand spits fire toward her fiancé.
"Aguamenti," Markus cast water from his wand to shield himself from the fire and extinguish the flames before it could even touch him.
Erela tried again, that time the flames grew in size and Markus waved his wand seconds before the fire licked his body, but he didn't scream out in pain. Flame-Freezing charm, of course. "Petrificus To—"
A blindfold then appears over her eyes and stopped Erela from seeing where she was aiming.
Erela agreed with Markus that, before she left, she should practice her dueling skill. The possibility of fighting off her "assignment" may occur and she had to be prepared for if or when it would happen. They Apparated out into the forest outside of London to practice so they wouldn't damage their flat or worry the neighbors about the noise. No one would be out there, and even if there would be by se chance the two put up a shield and muffled the noise so they could be unseen and unheard by any wandering muggles.
She pulled the blindfold over her eyes, "Stupefy!" Erela raised her wand up to shield and the blue light died behind a silver wall.
Markus called out the same time Erela did, making it hard to hear what he yelled when the spot he stood on burst into flames. When the fire died, wood stood where Markus stood. Switching spell. Smart and quick, as Aurors should be on the toes at all times.
The flashes of light from their incantations nearly blurred to Erela's vision and her mind went on autopilot mode. She felt like she couldn't see and her body felt numb, like she was having an out-of-body-experience but remained weighed down in her body. The duel in the forest reminded her of . . . then—
And everything flashed before her eyes again. The explosions, the raining dirt, the adrenaline, the acceleration of her heartbeat as she ran, the fear, the green light, Wisenburg and Stacee just running in front of her as they all threw spells behind them at the cultists. Death loomed over them, just waiting for the right moment to take their lives. She should have sensed it . . . she should have—
Green light from a known slug-vomiting charm whizzed by Erela and snapped her out of the past, but her body and mind remained clouded. Without any thought or restraint, she let her walls down and threw the screeching noise toward her opponent with a hard glare. Markus dropped to the ground with his palms pressed to his ears and crying out in pain. His eyes were tightly shut and grit his teeth, as if it would make the pain go away. Erela didn't blink. She wasn't thinking, and—
"Ela! Stop! You're killing him!" his voice rang out. His honey-like voice familiar and somehow comforting to her mind.
Erela blinked, her walls came up and Markus' scream stopped. She backed away and pressed her lids shut before she shook her head and looked toward Markus. Her brown eyes widened as she realized what she did and quickly ran to her fiancé. "Markus!" she cried out and slid to her knees beside him. "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to—"
"What WAS that?" he groaned and massaged his temples.
Erela kept herself from crying for hurting him and pressed her lips into a hard line to keep her emotions in check. "I'm sorry. I just . . . I kind of lost it there . . ." she muttered the last words.
"You used an unforgivable curse . . .?" he asked gravely.
"NO! God no," she shook her head. "No, I would never . . ." She stopped herself to collect her thoughts before she tried again. "That was . . . that pain power thing I told you about it . . . that I could do with my mind . . ." she reminded him. "I didn't mean to use it on you . . . I promise . . ."
"What happened though...?" He asked while Erela helped him up.
She didn't answer him . . . she couldn't bring herself to tell him. "I just . . . remembered something . . ."
Markus watched her carefully and studied the way she held herself and how she moved. "Ela, there's something you're not telling me . . ."
"I—" Erela stopped herself and shook her head. "I have to go," she started and turned away and took her handbag off the ground.
"Ela!" Markus called after her and took her hand. "Can you tell me what's the matter?"
Erela shook her head at him and gently pulled her hand off of him. "I'm sorry . . . I'll explain later . . . just not right now . . ." she answered and backed away from him. "I'll see you in a few days—"
But Erela Disapparated before he could stop her. The young Auror found herself back in Knockturn Alley, she wasn't sure why it was the first place she thought of. She swallowed the lump in her throat and started onward down the street past the shady shops. Witches and wizards eyed her cautiously, no doubt feeling nervous to have an officer of the law around.
But she wasn't thinking of looking for Gregory Fincher or Albert Wroxton at the very moment. Not yet. She had to think of that tragic day again and try to remember properly which one of the boys she had killed and which one escaped . . .