Friends buy you lunch.

Note: this scene takes place in April of last year, following Harry’s run-in with Mira’s gentleman caller at the Ministry. Sorry for super long delay!

Blaise Zabini had been freed from the MLE holding cells less than twenty-four hours after he’d been put into them. His barrister had worked quickly, as Harry’d assumed he would. Bail wasn’t a problem, and other than an order to stay in Britain and a brewing prohibition, the man was free to go until the trial.

Harry hoped that since the news had already broken and Zabini’s picture was plastered all over every paper in the wizarding world, it would keep the man’s flight risk at a minimum. His vaults at Gringotts were sealed until the trial, and Hannah’s bakery was here. He needed to work on his defense and it would be hard to explain if he disappeared before being given a chance to clear his name.

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Soft expression

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer...

It had been over a week since she and Nate had their almost kiss. If that’s even what it was. Cassie knew she’d been willing, and she’d seen the same desire in her cousin, or she thought she had, but whether they’d have actually gone through with it was something she would never know. Mira’s timely return had broken the moment, and Cassie’d been feeling frustrated and confused ever since. She’d avoided Nate entirely, which was not as difficult as it should have been given how often they generally spent time together, so she suspected he was avoiding her as well. Her twin had tried to suss out the cause of her mood a few times, but she wasn’t ready to share her thoughts with Mira. Her Mira Sophia would never judge her harshly, but Cassie knew her sister didn’t look on the old tendency to intermarry fondly.

No, there was only one person she could go to for advice on such a thing. Her mother was a Rosier, and she understood these things as only someone raised in an old pureblood family could. She’d sent a note earlier in the day, asking her mother to wait for her in her parents’ sitting room after supper. Scarlett Montgomery knew her daughters. She would know if Cassie was asking such a thing, it was important, and she would make sure her husband busied himself elsewhere while they chatted. Much as Cassie loved her papa, and there were few people she adored as much, she didn’t care to discuss her desire to seduce her cousin in front of him.

“Mother?” she called as she stepped into her parents’ private quarters.

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Callum <3

They didn't have you where I come from ...

Reese was a little dazed. Still. Half the afternoon had passed and she was still slightly shocked.

She really should have known. Now that it’d been pointed out to her, it was all so obvious.

And really, she’d been through this before, though before she’d not had to see a healer. She’d just known. But then, Reese reasoned, she’d been in a very dark place. Kiss had literally been a light in the darkness, her colors so bright and cheery, sunlight and pink fire. This time it wasn’t so obvious and she wasn’t so desolate inside. She was full to bursting with colors everywhere, filled with Callum’s blues and ocean greys, and Kiss was always a constant wash of color.

And besides, the little one inside her now wasn’t as conspicuous as Kiss had been. He glowed, but his colors were the palest of blues and lavender. He was more like a twinkling star in the night sky, where Kiss had been the sun in a cloudless one.


The pretty ginger healer hadn’t said as much, but Reese knew. Now that she was aware, she could feel his subtle presence. Even at four months along he was faint and understated, but he was there.

She put her hand over her still-flat tummy. She still couldn’t quite believe it. After she’d had Kiss the healers at Mungos had told her she wouldn’t ever have any more children. Her body hadn’t handled the birthing well.

He wasn’t supposed to be possible.

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Shy Girl

I need a doctor …

The porcelain was cool against the too-warm skin of her cheek. It felt wonderful.

This wasn’t the first time Reese had felt so sick - sick enough to find herself in the loo with her cheek against the seat after expelling the contents of her stomach. Reese had been meaning to tell Callum, but she usually didn’t feel ill until after they’d eaten breakfast together with Kiss, and after he left to go do whatever it was that he did at the office with his father. And then she usually felt just fine within a few hours, and by the time Callum came home again she’d forgotten all about how she hadn’t felt well earlier in the day.

But this was maybe the second week Reese had found herself in the loo feeling pretty awful.

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Stolen moments...

It was to be expected of the holidays, especially given her ever-expanding adopted family, that life would be busy and quite full of suppers, teas, unannounced requests for child-watching and the like, but Regan nearly missed the tiny festivities of her school years alone with her brother given the general state of affairs at present. She adored the warmth of being surrounded by those who genuinely cared for her, and the joyous, if loud, clamor of Gwen's siblings' various children, but at nearly a week since they'd stolen an evening together, all she truly wanted was to see Miles.

He'd insisted that she was welcome to visit both Wellburn and his office, but as yet she'd preferred to be at least announced, if not invited, knowing that he had plenty to keep him occupied despite the overall good cheer of the season. He'd clearly invested much of himself in his career, even planning for the eventuality of a family, and she was loathe to disturb his work toward something he considered important. She missed him, though, and seized upon the opportunity presented to escape Rosebank while Tess finished decorating with Gwen, to locate his practice in Diagon Alley.

The building wasn't difficult to find, and she stepped out of the bitter wind gratefully, scanning the outer office with a curious air until a feminine voice questioned her presence.

Blushing, she turned to the pretty young woman who'd addressed her. "My apologies; is Mr. Bletchley available? He said it would be acceptable for me to stop by, though I haven't an appointment."

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You never know what you'll do... (Rated R for violence.)

After leaving Jared, Lisa ducked into the nearest alleyway and apparated to the overlarge manor house she shared with her husband. It was obvious the moment she saw Xavier that something was very wrong, and when things were wrong at home it generally went very badly for her. She didn’t move as he approached, though all her instincts said to flee. Early on in their marriage Lisa learned that trying to avoid his wrath only made things worse.

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Cold nose

Old friends...

As she stepped out of the healer’s office in the gynecological ward at St. Mungo’s, Lisa’s face betrayed no emotion. The visit had confirmed her suspicions - she was finally fulfilling her sole purpose as a pureblooded society wife. She was six weeks pregnant with the Travers heir.

Though she’d had indications of her condition, a lack of menstruation being the most obvious one, along with a minor bit of morning sickness in the last week or so, she hadn’t said anything to her husband. It seemed prudent to keep quiet until she was certain. Raising his hopes only to dash them would not have been good for her health, and the last batch of bruises had only just faded enough for her to be seen in public.

She hadn’t decided how she felt about this turn of events. In theory, a baby would be one person she could love, someone who might love her back, but it seemed selfish to wish for that knowing the life she’d be bringing him - or her - into. The thought that she might not feel the back of Xavier’s hand as often crossed Lisa’s mind as well, but that too felt like a terrible excuse for having a baby. In any case, she was pregnant and she’d do everything in her limited power to take care of her child.

Stepping out onto the street, London wind buffetted her. Keeping her head down, she walked quickly up the sidewalk. With a bit of luck she might be able to sneak into a sweet shop before she returned home.

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May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early …

“We’re the most pathetic bunch that ever did exist,” Mira declared as she dug into the half-gone carton of blueberry ice cream in hand. “Nate, the heir apparent of the Rosier land and estates, not to mention vaunted British businessman now, Cassiopeia, society darling and future head of the Committee for Experimental Charms, and me, genius and charms virtuoso, all dressed down with nowhere to go.”

“The key, my dear cousin, is that we chose to dress down and keep to ourselves,” Nate pointed out before taking a long drink of his bottled beer. “We’re far from pathetic. I like to think we’re … exclusive,” he added with a smirk.

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