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Two Alleys - Life After Hogwarts
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July 2006
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Paul E. Graves [userpic]

The Helpful Herbs and Practical Plants Symposium for 1999 was being held on the grounds of Kelmscott Manor, a Gloucestershire estate situated on the River Thames. The setting was lush, with thick lawn surrounding an old manor built of local limestone. Normally, the site was open to Muggle visitors, but on this date it had been reserved for the Symposium, and the collection of wizards and witches animatedly discussing all manner of plants and potions would surely have raised more than a few Muggle eyebrows.

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By Chantal and Sarah

Paul E. Graves [userpic]

Paul sighed as he pored through the last pages of Sir Justin Vyntor's Compendium of Unique Magical Artifacts, Vol LV. The Compendium was the most exhaustive listing of known magical artifacts that Paul was aware of, and it listed new ones each year. The annual compendia were updated with additions of new artifacts created that year and with deletions of artifacts known to have been destroyed.

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By Chantal and Sarah

Timestamp: Prior to most recent post, after Anders' mother's funeral - my bad for not posting it up quicker.

Anders was late out of bed the morning after his mother's funeral, which wasn't that much of a surprise, given that it had been the wee small hours until he'd finally been so tired he'd fallen asleep in the chair next to the fire. At some point he'd woken and removed himself to his room, where he had slept fitfully.

It hadn't even been the funeral itself that had sent him into thoughtful melancholy; it had been the shock he'd felt at the number of people who had turned up to support him. Minerva McGonagall, of course, Bill and Fleur...even Paul Graves. He'd shed a few tears when the simple, plain casket containing his mother's body had been lowered into the damp earth - but he had shed a lot more later when he realised just how many people were prepared to ignore the Daily Prophet and be there to support him through this.

When he emerged into the kitchen, his hair was a mess, he was unshaven, but he seemed happy enough as he greeted Wilf.

"Morning, son." Wilf was sitting in his usual seat by the fire, patiently combing the Old English Sheepdog.

Anders glanced up at the clock. "Only just. Another fifteen minutes and it'd have been afternoon." He stuck his head in the fridge and emerged with a carton of orange juice. He placed some bread in the toaster and sliced himself up some cheese. "Can I get you anything?"

Wilf had not been with him last night when he had finally let go of his grief. It had been too personal; something he needed to do alone.

"You could pour me a glass of the apple juice if you're by the fridge." The old wizard was patiently combing burrs out of the dog's fur.

Anders did so and ferried the drink across to his mentor. "One glass of apple juice," he said, plunking himself down in the chair opposite with his toasted cheese sandwich and orange juice, which he ate with a healthy appetite - definitely a good sign. "I hope I didn't wake you up when I came up to bed last night, I dozed off in the chair. Brain was working a lot, you know."

"Thank you kindly," Wilf paused to sip at the juice. "No, you didn't bother me in the slightest."

"Good." Anders fell silent again and ate his food. "I was thinking...I might send an owl to Sylvie. She did say she'd come to Mam's funeral. I was bit worried that she didn't turn up, the message she sent was a bit cryptic. Said she wasn't too well again. I feel sort of responsible, y'know?"

"Sounds like a good plan to me," Wilf nodded. "I was concerned she didn't make it, knowing how stubborn she is about things."

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Anders was doing the only thing he knew to do to block out how awful he was feeling over the situation with Sylvie.

He was losing himself in his work.

Bill had provided him several scrolls that needed painstakingly slow translation and he had set himself up at the table in Wilf's sitting room and let himself sink into the mind-numbing glory of work.

Mid-morning, Wilf brought him in a teatray with a cafetiere, some mugs, and a plate of sandwiches.

The young man barely looked up from his work. When he did, he almost did a double-take. "Thank you," he said, setting down his quill and stretching out the ache in his shoulders.

"How are things going? Did the house clearing go alright?"

"I got most of it done," was the reply. "I had a friend come over and take my mind off it for a while. I never realised just how little stuff Mam really had." He took a bite of the sandwich and realised how hungry he was. Wilf had also thoughtfully brought his potion down as well and he took a swig of it.

"The translation's going well," he said, tapping at the scroll he was currently working on. "Feels good to be doing it again."

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Paul E. Graves [userpic]

(Late afternoon, the day after "A Book Burning." Expertly warded)

Dear Professor Bradshaw,

I took your advice and attempted to destroy the book but met with minimal success. The book is now, unsurprisingly, in a raging temper, and I have lost a fair quantity of blood.

I am currently at home recuperating whilst I take a step back and assess the situation. The book remains under heavy wards.

Should you have any further advice or questions, I would be interested to speak with you. I remain,

Respectfully yours,

Paul E. Graves

Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted

The room was tiny. It also stank of damp that wasn't so much rising, but more risen. It was cold, dark and there was the occasional scrabbling sound as though it was rat infested.

It probably was.

The ferret stayed very firmly on the young man's shoulder, with claws rooted in the soft dark fabric of his jumper in a manner that said it wasn't getting down any time soon. Nathan didn't push the issue; merely stood very still for a long minute or so and let his eyes adjust.

It seemed, to all intents and purposes, that Nathan was the only occupant in the room. But with a lot of concentration and effort, if you looked at the shadows just ... so ... and perhaps tipped your head ... slightly to one side ... yes. There it was. A very definite figure, crouched as if ready to spring. So still as to be almost a statue.

Nathan smiled and crouched down himself, dropping to a hunkered down position though his gaze rested steadily on the other poised figure. Apart from that, he made no other movement.

It was evident, after some time, that the darkly shadowed figure was probably capable of maintaining its pose for a considerable length of time but - as predicted - impatience got the better of it. The voice, when it came, was almost snarled.

"What do you want?"

"Hello," the young wizard said politely - there was very rarely any call not to be polite, he found. "I was wondering if you'd like to chat."

"No. Get out."

The shadow uncurled to reveal itself to be a fairly tall, lean figure - no, not lean - thin. Painfully thin. Ill. Undernourished. "I have no wish to talk to you." There was the faintest hint of an accent - Russian. "You are intruding upon my privacy and I do not take very kindly to that. So unless you want your throat ripping out, I suggest you take that piece of vermin and get out."

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Paul E. Graves [userpic]

The house felt uncomfortably quiet with Seth gone. Paul almost wished he had asked his son to stay but chided himself for such foolishness. Seth was a grown man now--and admittedly, the sudden feeling of needing his son made Paul grimace. He could not remember feeling such need for Seth since his wife's murder, when Seth had been, for a few weeks, his sole reason to continue living.

Warp from WeftCollapse )

By Chantal

Paul E. Graves [userpic]

Paul said little during the animated discussion among the aurors that followed his talk with Piotr and Sergei. Usually, he would have joined in, to contribute his own hypotheses and opinions to the mix, but today, he could think of nothing to add.

Silence and FuryCollapse )

By Chantal

Paul E. Graves [userpic]

Author's Note: This post occurs immediately following Paul's visit with Wilfred Bradshaw and occurs well before he sees Piotr/Sergei. To read Paul's posts in chronological order, please visit his journal.

Paul departed the offices of the Ordo Ravus around 5pm and apparated home to Arbour Grove. He appeared in the tool shed, his usual apparation point, and made his way into the back of the house.

He changed out of business attire into a comfortable robe and fixed himself a salad. Paul was capable of cooking rather decent meals for other people, such as his son, but he rarely cooked for himself--there were so many more interesting things to do in life than cook his own meals.

Tonight, for instance, he was thinking.

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(OOC: This SHOULD have been posted before Anders' last entry, but like a muppet, I didn't. I haven't backdated it, because it might just vanish off the face of the Earth!)

"Thank you for agreeing to meet me, Bill."

Anders was wearing his smartest clothes (which meant a t-shirt that
didn't have the logo of some Quidditch team or Muggle band on it and a
pair of jeans with no holes in the knees) and had agreed to meet Bill
in Diagon Alley.

"That's alright, Anders." Bill put out his hand to shake Anders', a
little formally but in a friendly way none the less. "It's been a
while. How are you, ah, doing?"

"A lot better. I'm down to three doses of potion a day instead of
six. I've been eating and sleeping like a normal person. I'm on the
road to recovery." Indeed, the young Curse Breaker looked much more
healthy than he had done in months if not years. "But I need to get
back to doing something before my brain melts."

"Look, Anders... I have to apologise."

He was genuinely surprised.

"For what?"

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Paul E. Graves [userpic]

Trepidation and curiosity warred in Paul as the portkey deposited him in the DMLE's maximum-security isolation suite. He found himself amid a small set of offices ranged about a glassed-in room that could be entered only by a secured and warded door.

The place smelled antiseptic and dry, sort of a grey scent, Paul thought. In addition to that and the offices, he found himself surrounded by the DMLE's elite security staff. These wizards had seen it all, dealt with it all, and lived to talk about it. A couple of them, Paul remembered from their days at Hogwarts, and he greeted them quietly. Gathered in this small collection of rooms was the cream of the country's crop of defenders against the Dark Arts.

Into the DMLECollapse )

(By Chantal and Sarah)

Paul E. Graves [userpic]

Seth Graves banged the heavy brass knocker against the front door of Arbour Grove and tried to quell the nervous ache in his innards. His last visit with his father had not gone well, and he wasn't here to apologise for it.

Maybe I should be, Seth thought. But the idea of that book...Cripes, if he were anyone but my Dad, I'd have reported him to Lanistan straightaway. If Lanistan ever finds out I didn't report it, it'll mean my job. I wish I could just tear the damned book up and toss it in the fire!

He sighed. But I really need to talk to him about Piotr. We're getting nowhere-- His train of thought derailed as his father opened the door.

A Visit with DadCollapse )

(By Chantal)

Anders went from his meeting to Bill to Gringotts, where he spent a boring hour shifting money around his two or three accounts. He then proceeded to talk a walk down Diagon Alley, drawing more than one or two stares as he did so, but still managing to hold his head up high.

He slid into the apothecary to get his potion supply renewed and was served by an old man who was so wizened and bent that it was near impossible to make out his face. He left that place with the faint impression that he knew the man, but that was impossible.

He was hungry by this time, so he slid into the Leaky Cauldron to grab a bite to eat, ensconsing himself quietly at a corner table with a copy of the Daily Prophet and a plate of sandwiches.

"Good God," a well cultured male voice said from not too far away. "Oh, I'm terribly sorry, I'm intruding."

Anders wasn't sure if the voice was directed at him, but he looked up briefly from his newspaper to see what was happening anyway.

The owner of the voice was young, a tall man younger than Anders, with black messy hair shaken back from his face; in purple robes so dark they were almost shimmer-black. He was indeed poised halfway between Anders and the empty table to which he had been clearly heading, a butterbeer in his hand.

"It is you. Sir, I'm terribly sorry for interrupting but I just have to ask... can I buy you a butterbeer?"

"Er...I could go for a pumpkin juice, I'm off the butterbeer just now, but...whatever for?" Anders didn't recognise the man at all.

"I'm going to sound like a terrible fanboy." A wry smile. "Let's just say I don't approve all that much of the slander that's been in the press lately."

Anders was caught for a moment between the need to distance himself from recognition and the urge to find out what the young man meant. Curiosity won out.

"I'd love a pumpkin juice," he said, eventually, smiling hesitantly. "Pull up a chair and introduce yourself. I'm guessing you know who I am."

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After an hour or so, he curled himself into a tight ball which she gently extracted him from. This woke him up and he gazed around himself blearily.

"Did I fall asleep? God, I'm sorry."

"Don't be. I was happy to just watch you. I dozed a little myself."

"Fancy a walk outside? I could kill for some fresh air, and Wilf's garden is lovely."

"I've been lazy enough for one day, a walk would be lovely." She kissed his nose lightly and rolled over to stretch. "Let me get dressed."

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Pickle followed him up the stairs, slipping into the room between his ankles and only narrowly avoiding tripping him, scrambling up onto the bed by means of clambering with great determination onto the low chest at the end and then launching herself over the footboard.

Sylvie was half curled up, half spread out under the sheets on his side of the bed, dark curls in utter disarray over his pillow.

Anders set the tray down on the dressing table and sat down on the bed, placing himself between Pickle and Sylvie and then leaning down to kiss her curls affectionately.

Pickle squirmed past and planted a big wet lick on the end of the young woman's nose.

"Morning," he said, in as cheerful a voice as he could muster. "Sleep well?"

"Urk," Sylvie said eloquently as Pickle pushed her wet nose into her ear and sneezed. A moment later her brown eyes met those of the puppy in some startlement, a hand coming up to gently fuss the pup, and then she smiled at Anders. "Morning, you."

"I made you breakfast," said Anders, bursting with the same sort of pride as a seven year old. "Look." He pointed at the tray.

"Gosh." She lifted her head from the pillow, looked at the tray, looked back at Anders, at the puppy, and then back to him. "Anders Grimalkin, you romantic devil. Puppies and roses and breakfast in bed."

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He slept the almost dead sleep of the truly weary. By the time he woke, he'd missed dawn and it was morning.

With wakefulness came awareness, one thing after the other.

It had been a very long time since Anders Grimalkin had woken up and not ached from being scrunched up in a defensive curl all night. It had been even longer since the second thing he was aware of was the fact that there was another presence in his bed. The third thing was the fact that the other presence was soft and warm, smelled undeniably and deliciously female and was sleeping with her head on his chest, his arm around her.


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"Anders." Sylvie said his name softly. "Oh, Anders."

He remained where he was for a few moments, before he rolled carefully off her. "Hey, baby," he said, softly.

She kept an arm around him, touching his face with one hand, looking deep into his eyes. "Hey, lover."

He pulled her into the circle of his arms and kissed the top of her head with great tenderness.

Sylvie pressed her head in against his shoulder and said something incomprehensible on a half-sob.

"Oh, baby, I'm so sorry," he said, clearly near tears himself, and he just held her close to him. "I'm so sorry."
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Less than five minutes later, they were stepping out of the fireplace in Wilf's parlour.

Anders glanced over at the clock. It was only six thirty. They'd only been gone an hour and a half, less than that. "I feel...empty," he said, hollowly. "But she had a smile on her face, Sylvie."

"She's free of a lot of sadness now. Come upstairs and lie down."

He nodded, too tired and emotionally exhausted to argue.

His room was indeed a mess.

He sat down on the (unmade) bed and put his head in his hands.
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Sylvie waited in the kitchen, finishing her coffee and idly playing with the six yellow labrador puppies who came in to investigate the new person.

The young Curse Breaker appeared about ten minutes later, as cleanly shaven as he could manage with his still-unsteady hands. He'd changed into a pair of dark grey combats and a black t-shirt that were cleaner than the jeans and t-shirt he'd had on before, and he had his boots on but not yet laced. "Will I do?" he said as he reached the kitchen door.

"You'll do just fine."

"Let me just get something," he said, and headed out towards the lounge and the bookcase where Wilf kept the photograph album. He selected the one of Sirius and Astrid pictured against the mountains and tucked it into his pocket.

Sylvie stood up and put the mugs in the sink. "We'll go by floo."

He nodded. He'd gone quiet, but she'd anticipated that.

She held his hand in the fireplace, dropping the powder and speaking the address clearly.

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Anders was not having one of his better days.

He'd woken up with a headache, which had refused to go away and his mood had grown blacker and blacker as the day had passed until he was quite literally throwing things around his room in fury.

At some point, Wilf had come up to offer him breakfast.

Breakfast had followed Wilf out the door.

Much later in the afternoon, there was another gentle knock at his door.

His mood was less violent now, but he was still bad-tempered as he shouted words to the effect of 'I'm not hungry, thanks for asking', only far less politely and with a lot more swearing.
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Wilf put the photo album away safely, taking out one of the precious few photographs of Astrid and Sirius together and putting it in his pocket. The healers had warned him that as Anders went through the various potions, they could easily stimulate wild emotional swings in the young man. The potions were after all designed to ease him down gently from the initial "cold turkey" state of shock his body and mind had been left in after the addiction.

He let the boy sleep while he sorted out dinner.

When Anders woke, it was with a start, dislodging the small dog on his chest.

The puppy slid down to his lap, sleepy-eyed and whimpering for its mother.

More automatic than anything else, he stood up, picked the dog up and dropped it gently back into the box where it had come from. The light had gone from the day - how long had he slept? There was no sign of Wilf anywhere.

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Anders pulled the hood up over his face and slipped out of her room, feeling desperately miserable. He wandered over to where Wilf was still chatting to the nurse.

"Anyway," Wilf said to the nurse, completely ignoring Anders, "I have to get going now. You take care of yourself, Poll, and I'll see you soon."

"Absolutely, Wilf." The middle-aged woman smiled at the old man, also completely ignoring Anders. "You watch out for that back now."

"I will, I will." Wilf nodded and smiled and ushered Anders out of the ward swiftly. He looked over at the young man as they walked down to the nearest Floo point. "You alright, lad?"

"Yes. No. I don't know." Anders replied, doubt in his voice. "I feel better knowing I didn't...y'know. Kill her or anything. But I put her in that bed because I'm too weak. I knew it was a mistake, using that Charm, but...it got me, Professor."

"Lessons learned and all that stuff, eh." Wilf patted Anders on the shoulder. "Facing up to what happened is the big step out of it. Longer you'd have left it, the harder it would have been to go see her, trust me."

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"He needs to come back in twice a week for evaluation," said Zeke, as he filled in the paperwork that would release Anders into Wilf's care. "If you find that you can't cope, then as his caseworker, you can contact me twenty-four hours a day." The young Healer smiled nervously. "Sign here, Uncle Wilf."

"I don't think coping will be a problem." Wilf signed his name very precisely in the space on the form. "Is that it? Can I take him out of here now?"

"Here are the potions he needs - he must continue taking them if he is going to get through the next week or two. And here is a form that you need to fill in on a daily basis to record his progress..." Zeke handed a neatly packed case of potion bottles over to Wilf. "I understand that you will be taking him to see his mother?"
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Heavily wardedCollapse )

Paul E. Graves [userpic]

Anders Grimalkin's name was the last thing Paul Graves expected to see in the Daily Prophet at breakfast.

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By Chantal and Suse

The next morning, Wilf was back, just before nine o'clock, and this time without the dogs. It appeared, however, that he never travelled anywhere without a minimum of several dozen magical items, and it took fifteen minutes for the receptionist to write the receipt out for him.

Zeke positively beamed at his arrival. "He's awake," he greeted. "And a lot brighter. You must have said some good stuff to him."

Indeed, Anders was awake and was sitting on his bed eating a bowl of cornflakes.

Wilf just gave Zeke a brief smile and went in to see Anders, a small overnight bag (the contents of which had already been checked) in his hand. Today Wilf wasn't wearing shabby velvet, but slightly well worn linen robes.

"Morning, son." he said as casually as if he'd just walked into the office of a morning.

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Two floors up above Sylvie, Zeke the healer was looking faintly anxious. He smiled when he saw Bill, however. "Morning, Mister Weasley," he said, cheerfully.

"Hello, Zeke." Bill said, cautious in the face of such bright cheer after the terrible sight of Sylvie's upset. She was usually such a brave young woman that to see her reduced to tears like that really struck a sympathetic note.

It was in Zeke's nature to remain cheerful and optimistic, but the expression in his eyes right now gave away far more than his words. "Very little change in young Professor Grimalkin today, I'm afraid. He had a particularly bad night."

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It had been a week since the terrible events at the Guild offices in which Anders Grimalkin's wand had caused such terribly injuries to Sylvie Redfearn. Bill was tired of staving off the Daily Prophet and, in fact, on day five, Cedric told them everything anyway.

Thus it was with an air of irritation that he took his daily trip to St. Mungo's to check on both his staff. He started, as always, with Sylvie, feeling reluctant to visit the deeply disturbed Anders who, it seemed, was making very little in the way of progress.

Sylvie had had a rougher time of it than the admitting doctors had anticipated. Her initial injury - the neat little hole the hex had punched in her breastbone bare centimeters above her heart - had been quickly treated. The copious amounts of blood she'd lost had been due to a nicked artery and though she could have easily bled to death, the quick actions of everyone involved had prevented that possibility becoming a reality.

In short, the doctors had her stable within a day, treating both the physical injury and the haemorrhagic shock expertly.
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This directly precedes the post, "Through a Scotch, Darkly.

Seth Graves sighed as he made his way into the lobby of St. Mungo's Hospital. The place was packed with patients suffering from all sorts of ailments.

In the waiting area, he passed a woman who was blue--not from cyanosis--a deep, cobalt blue that would have looked lovely on a dress but looked absolutely horried on her skin. The man sitting in the chair beside her was speaking animatedly in nonsense. Seth might hve suspected damage to Wernicke's Area, except that the man also had a bouquet of orchids growing out of his shouder.

Seth went to the admitting nurse's desk. "I'm looking for a Mr. Anders Grimalkin," he said.

In St. Mungo'sCollapse )

By Chantal and Sarah

Piotr Rachinov had been Seth's friend since the first year. He was half-Russian, with those impossibly high-cheekboned Slavic good looks - and he had the confidence and personality to match. He was intelligent, artistic, articulate, charming and a good friend. It had been at the beginning of year Six that things had gone horribly wrong.

In the space of a month he'd gone from being the Piotr that Seth had known to being withdrawn, snappy and irritable.

MemoriesCollapse )

By Sarah and Chantal

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