Chapter 78: Start Over
It was a quiet morning when Erela woke up. She didn't hear the man's snoring from upstairs, so she assumed he had left while she was still out cold. Not like she suspected anything to happen. Erela let out a sigh and pushed herself off the couch and went into the kitchen to see what Landon had to eat. Half to near empty. A bachelor's hole, of course. Erela thought about refilling his fridge, but that was too kind of her to do.
Although . . . he DID send her off to the hospital . . .
Then left her alone after their uptenth fight.
Maybe just fill up half his fridge? Or just his cabinets?
Whatever, it wasn't terribly important for her to eat anyway. So she shut the door and went back to the living room, where nothing and no one awaited her. Erela crossed her arms over her chest and looked around the room; small, yet cozy, but not quite welcoming. The man was practically a hermit. She wondered if that was how she was going to live; in hiding from the law, moving wherever so no one would ever look for her, cut any contact with anyone from her life, and having to move from place to place if something were to go wrong.
WAS it going to be like that?
What was even going on in the magical world?
Was anyone worried about her?
Her parents had probably heard that she had gone missing. Maybe they told Michael about it. Was Markus the one that told her parents since her dad long since retired from the Auror department? What was even happening?
Erela ran a hand through her short hair before she stiffly went to retrieve her wand, and Disapparated away. She ground found itself underneath her and she was back in her old flat. It looked just about the same, except for the obvious absence of pictures. Everything else looked was left where it was. She didn't hear any noise throughout the flat, no presence of Markus to be known.
Well, except for Laila.
Erela looked down at the cat meowing at her feet and rubbing against her leg as hard as she could. She bent downwards and picked up Laila before the feline crawled up onto her shoulders and sprawled over her like a scarf. Lazy old thing. She pet her cat gently, hearing her purr loudly in her ear and nuzzle against her cheek. "Sorry for disappearing on you," she said. "I missed you too," Erela mumbled before she looked through a pile of the Daily Prophet left on the coffee table.
Today. Yesterday. Two days ago. Erela went through the papers on any mention on what happened at the Ministry. The day she found out Vuk's identity was worthy enough to be on the front page, a picture of her chasing after Gregory that rose questions on what had happened. They even called Erela 'mad' for chasing after her coworker with no explanation.
She looked through the next day's paper. 'Vuk' and Erela gone missing.
The day after that, while Erela was in the hospital for her second day, they found Gregory's body in Vuk's clothes.
The next day, after autopsy, there was some residue left from the Polyjuice potion. Raising even more suspicion. They eventually identified the body to be the assumed dead student from Hogwarts. The Ministry went to 'Vuk's' flat and discovered the real man locked up in his basement, harvesting his hair to keep posing as the Croatian man. Erela was still deemed missing and Gregory's cause of death was said to be his brain. The Ministry was unsure how, only that the brain had been completely disconnected and fried.
Erela went on, looking through other articles of any other mention of her. All had said that she was missing, and perhaps dead. With a sign that the last incantation used from Gregory's wand was the Sectumsempra curse and her disappearance, they assumed she had bled out and died. There was a search party, but no luck in finding any sign of her.
So she wasn't a suspect . . .
She read on that the cause of death was natural . . .
Erela didn't have to go in hiding.
She pet her cat gently, scratching her ears as she put the Daily Prophet back where she found them before she Apparated into Wisenburg's flat again. "I'll be back. Don't destroy this place," she told her and pulled her pet off her shoulders, then placed her onto the couch.
She was gone with a loud snap and found herself walking amongst other workers of the Ministry toward their departments. Some people took notice of her, realizing it was the supposed missing Auror. She still had cuts on her, obvious that she had been healing for a while but was a long ways away from having her wounds close. Erela made way into the Auror department, passing by everyone's cubicle, and toward Mr. Potter's office.
After some thought in the hospital, it was a decision and a sacrifice she had to make. Besides, her main reason for being an Auror was dead. Originally, it was a stable job she thought she wanted to make a living. And after Stacee's death, working in the Ministry became something she NEEDED to do to find the one responsible for the group falling apart and move on with her life.
It had been five years . . . it was time to move on . . .
Erela knocked on Potter's door, and seconds later, it opened for her. "Come in," he answered. She went in, closing the door behind her and looked toward the grey man. A legend in his seventies and an inch away from retirement when he should have done so a decade ago. Maybe it was because he felt he should be responsible to take care of the Auror department, like leaving it would mean absolute chaos throughout the Ministry. His green eyes looked to Erela and smirked for a moment, "Glad to see you're doing well, Ms. Harris."
She pursed her lips and clasped her hands together. "Thank you, sir," she answered quietly. Erela scratched the back of her head before she dropped her hand to her side and shoved her hands in her pockets, fidgeting terribly in her spot.
"You've been gone a long time. People thought you were dead."
"I understand," she nodded. "I was . . . healing."
Mr. Potter nodded and looked out the window toward the wandering workers of the Ministry going toward their office or leaving it. "So you knew about your coworker being who he was?"
Erela nodded, but his eyes weren't on her anymore. "Not until the day of the incident," she explained.
"How did you know who he was?" he asked and looked back at Erela.
She pursed her lips and exhaled a quiet breath. "I . . . had . . . a dream. I . . . recalled an old memory from when I was a student," Erela began, but even remembering the scene was hard to think about, like her mind was trying to keep her from seeing it again, "I saw Vuk's face."
"You didn't think it was a coincidence?"
She shook her head. "I've had . . . a lot of dreams, or seeings in my life that warned me of events in my future," Erela explained. "They were always in riddles, sometimes they were straight forward."
Mr. Potter blinked at her for a few moments before he leaned back in his chair, his green eyes still on her, like he was trying to read her. "Did you see how Gregory Fincher died?" he asked.
Erela kept her eyes on the man, keeping up her stone face expression to show no sign of the truth, no sign of hesitation. "No . . ." she answered. "I fled before I could bleed out . . ." Erela lied.
"So you weren't a witness."
"Yes . . ." she nodded once.
He didn't know her ability . . . she HOPED Mr. Potter didn't know about her power. Even the Ministry knew when one of the Unforgivable Curses on a wand, everyone was tracked like underaged students. But, there was a look in his eyes that made her believe he knew what she did. But he couldn't possibly know . . .
"So, you're not here to clarify what happened."
"All I can say is that we dueled and he nearly killed me," she nodded. "But being here to tell you what happened isn't why I'm here." Erela paused, "I'm resigning."
He raised his brows at her, although, no surprise was shown in his eyes. It wasn't uncommon for Aurors to leave the department after some experiences or reasons, so it wasn't new to him. "Your reason?"
"Pardon for my reason," she warned, "My intention was to seek out Gregory Fincher. It wasn't before, but it became my reason after graduating Hogwarts."
"So," Potter began, "Because he's dead now, you don't find a reason to stay."
"I don't expect you to empathize," she shook her head, "I also don't want to have to work here anymore when my motivation has been met and not meet your wants if I continue on."
Mr. Potter pursed his lips, looking away from her and nodded after a long pause. "I understand . . ." After a long moment of silence, he turned back to her. "You did well here, Ms. Harris. I hope you do just as well in the future."
Erela lightly and shortly smiled back at the man and shook his hand. "Thank you, sir. It was a pleasure." She then turned away and left the office.
She packed up what few things she had left in her cubicle and left the department without making eye contact with anyone that looked her way, not even Markus. She had to leave things as they were.
And start her life all over again.