Lisa didn’t think she would hear from Roger for a few weeks at the earliest. From what limited knowledge she had of the legal process, she gathered that the wheels moved fairly slowly. So on Monday afternoon, she was very surprised when Janice sidled over to her desk in the back of the Charms department and slyly announced that there was a wizard waiting for her in the visitor’s lobby.
“Who?” Lisa asked. She had been so absorbed in an ancient Latin text on Purging Charms that she hadn’t quite heard what Janice was saying.
“The handsome bloke you brought to the wedding,” Janice answered impatiently. “And you’d better hurry. You’re a little dull to keep one like that interested for very long, if you don’t mind my saying.”
“I do mind you saying,” Lisa said without heat, since her stomach was too busy doing summersaults. What was Roger doing at St. Mungo’s? He would barely have had time to research – or maybe…? Then she smirked at her own schoolgirl thoughts brought on by the memory of that very brief, very chaste kiss. Right, Roger couldn’t wait to see me again. Still, she thought, as she hurried to the lobby, that one little kiss was more exciting than any kiss she had received from Barry.
She was right to deride her hopes, since Roger was all business once he greeted her. “I spoke to your supervisor at the Department of Mysteries.”
“Mr. Johnson?” Lisa smiled warmly, remembering her kindly, intelligent boss.
Roger smiled back. “Yes, Mr. Johnson – who was quite taken aback that you had been gone for so long, now that it was pointed out to him.”
Lisa chuckled. Her colleagues at the Department of Mysteries were in a world apart sometimes.
“He wrote a letter on the spot to St. Mungo’s demanding that you be sent back.”
“He did?” She must have looked like a child on Christmas morning, but she didn’t care. She was going to leave the boring world of Charms research behind forever!
Roger’s smile broadened. “He did and here are your orders to go back forthwith to the Ministry.” He handed her a scroll with the Ministry seal.
“Forthwith,” Lisa murmured in a daze.
“I think you should gather any documents that you have before you leave today,” Roger warned. “I don’t think Mr. Anderson is going to like the fact that the Ministry took away his free employee.”
“The Ministry has been paying me?”
“Yes, Lisa.” He slouched against the wall. “Do you even know how much you earn?”
She tossed her head, stalling for time. “Of course I do.”
“Since when have you been a Legilimens?”
He smiled. “You’re not that hard to read, sweetheart.”
She wished he’d stop calling her that, since she was obviously not his sweetheart. But she was too happy to argue. She looked at her watch. “The day is over in ten minutes, I can clear out my desk now!”
“Excellent.” He stood up straight. “I’ll wait for you.”
“You will?” The day was getting better and better.
“I have more to tell you,” he said simply.
The smile had been in his eyes too, Lisa decided, as she quickly cleared out her desk. The news must be good, then. How different Roger looked today; he was looking a bit rumpled and dusty, like he had been around some dusty shelves. And he looked happy – not so cynical and on guard like he had at the wedding.
When she rejoined him, he was talking to the new Healer, Candace somebody. Phillip had been drooling over her for a month now. She was blonde and gorgeous. Lisa was never so conscious that the navy blue robes she had on were faded and ill-fitting and that her decision to forgo makeup this morning was not a wise one. But she forgot all of that when Roger caught sight of her and immediately turned away from the blonde to take the box of parchments out of her hands.
“Shall we Floo these to your flat, so we don’t have to lug them to the pub?”
”Oh, I forgot to ask if you had plans,” he said. “I wanted you to come out for a meal with me so I could tell you some of the other things I found out today.”
Of course Lisa didn’t have any other plans.
He took her to the Call to Ales Pub just around the corner from the Ministry. It was a crowded, smoky place full of wizards talking loudly about Quidditch.
Everyone seemed to know Roger, so it took him several minutes to weave his way to a table in the back. Once they were settled and had ordered their food, Roger gave her a careless smile that did something unexpected to Lisa’s heart rate.
“I have good news,” he said.
Lisa thought that it really wasn’t fair for a man to have such a gorgeous smile. Maybe it was his teeth, or maybe it was the way his eyes sparkled with intelligence. Whatever it was, it was making her nervous. “Oh?” She clasped her hands in front of her on the table. “What is it?”
“That look should be reserved for bad news,” Roger said. “Relax. It’s all taken care of with the cottage. It should be yours again in about three weeks.”
She stared at him.
“Lisa?” He put his hand on top of the tight knot she had made of her hands.
She swallowed hard, fighting sudden tears. “I just didn’t think I would ever see The Aerie again.”
“So this place was special?”
Lisa nodded and cleared her throat. “We moved around a lot and that was the one place we always returned to.”
“It’s been in your father’s family a long time,” Roger said.
“How did you know that?”
“I saw the deed.” He was watching her carefully. “And I saw your father’s will and your mother’s. Have you ever seen any of those documents?”
“I didn’t think so.” He patted her hands reassuringly. “The land was entailed to a blood relative. It was never your mother’s to will in the first place.”
Lisa felt a familiar stab of pain. “I reckon that’s why Mum never tried to sell it after my father died. She hated the place.”
“Why didn’t you know about your father’s will?”
“Dad died while I was in Africa – in the desert. I didn’t find out until a month after the funeral.” At his surprise, she added. “I think two or three owls died before one finally reached me. I was in a very isolated spot.”
“What were you doing in the desert?”
“Gathering magical sand for the Time-Turners I was repairing. It was my first assignment at the Department of Mysteries,” she answered. It was so much easier to talk about work than personal matters.
Roger seemed to realize this. “So, how many Time-Turners were broken?”
“All of them,” Lisa answered.
They were interrupted by their waitress with two steaming plates of food. “Thanks, Blanche,” Roger said, sending her the same charming smile he had given Lisa not ten minutes before.
It was a deflating thought to think that she was on par with the waitress.
Roger picked up the thread of their conversation. “All of the Time-Turners? How did that happen?”
“Remember when Harry Potter and his friends battled the Death Eaters at the Ministry?” Lisa asked. “There was a lot of damage to the Department of Mysteries – including the Bell-jar of accelerated time.”
“A beautiful device with a bird and an egg….” Lisa trailed off, thinking of the diamond brightness of the light it emitted. She grinned suddenly. “Do you know that one of the Death Eaters actually fell into it?”
“What happened to him?”
She shuddered. “His head went from a baby’s to an adult’s in about sixty seconds and then back again. Of course, all the blokes at the Department were so proud because at least one of their devices fought back.”
“Indeed,” he murmured.
“The Bell-jar was fixed by the time I stared working, but the man who was in charge of the Time-Turners had died, and no one knew how to fix them.”
“Should have saved one of them back, so the chap could relive his last hour and let someone else in on the secret,” Roger said with a grin.
“There were many days I thought the same thing,” she said, thinking of the two years she had spent researching. She smiled and started to eat the roast beef dinner she had ordered. Her eyes grew wide. “Wow, this is really good.”
“Best pub in London,” Roger replied, buttering a bun. “It doesn’t look like much – but it’s home.”
Lisa looked around at the smoky interior. The tables were scratched, the floor was sticky and most of the clientele were men. “You don’t seem the type to spend all of your free time with your mates in a pub.”
“I do have to eat, and since I don’t cook, I come here.” He smiled. “Besides, they let me play for the pub’s Midnight Quidditch team.”
“It’s an amateur league. We play only in the winter. The nights are so long, the Muggles are less likely to detect us.”
“You still play Chaser then?”
He shot her a pleased smile. “You remembered.”
She blushed, feeling tongue-tied yet again. They ate in silence for a few minutes. “I don’t know if I thanked you,” Lisa said primly to her plate. “For straightening out the details of the cottage.”
“Richard did the deed search, and I found the will on file.” Roger shrugged.
“That was nice of Richard.”
“Richard liked you,” he told her.
“He did?” She felt a warm glow of pleasure at this news. “But –”
Roger smirked at her. “Why shouldn’t he like you? You’ve very sweet, and you can dance, and it doesn’t hurt that you have lovely blue eyes.”
Lisa didn’t quite know how to take this listing of compliments. Roger hardly sounded lover-like, but he wasn’t being sarcastic either. “So he liked me as a dance partner?” She really was trying to understand.
“Right – simple as that.”
“Oh.” She tilted her head in thought. “Is Richard married?”
“Are you interested in Richard?” he countered swiftly.
“No! He’s too old for me. I was just wondering since I didn’t see him with anyone.”
“Richard was engaged to be married to a very nice lady named Emmeline Vance and she was killed by Death Eaters twelve years ago.”
“That’s awful,” Lisa whispered. She didn’t recognize the witch’s name but she remembered the fear of that last year at Hogwarts when You-Know-Who was on the loose. Then after Professor Dumbledore died…. She shuddered.
“Richard was never serious about another woman after that,” he said.
“But it’s been a long time….”
“He’s had other women in his life,” Roger said, leaning back as Blanche took their plates.
“Can’t say.” Roger grinned. “It’s the law of brotherly love.”
Lisa frowned and fiddled with her placemat. “You mean, do unto others?”
He laughed. “I misspoke. It’s the law of brother love.”
“Don’t ask, don’t tell me what to do, and cover my back,” he answered.
“Not too many loop holes in that one,” she remarked.
“A good law is always practical.” He grinned.
“Coffee, Roger?” Blanche asked. “I’m about to close the kitchen. But the bar is still open.”
He looked at his watch in astonishment. “It’s that late already? Lisa?”
“Um. I’d like coffee.” She might as well enjoy his company as long as she could.
“Make it two, Blanche, darling.”
Blanche rewarded him with a swipe at this shoulder and a “go on with you.”
Roger smiled back and then at Lisa. “So where did you learn to dance well enough to impress Richard?”
Lisa suddenly giggled. “You’ll never guess.”
“Try me,” he said, propping his elbows on the table.
“When the Ministry first sent me out to gather sand –”
“For the Time-Turners,” Lisa answered. “They wanted to save money on travel expenses–”
“Right.” She laughed again. “So they booked me on a Golden Age Cruise.”
His lips twitched. “Which is?”
“A cruise for retired witches and wizards who wish to see the world in comfort.”
“All the Golden Age Ships cruise along the coasts of warm places – like Africa or South America or Australia. There are ports of call every few days, which was perfect for my sand search.”
He raised his eyebrows.
“On the nights we were out at sea, there were dances.”
“Right.” He smiled. “So the old gents wanted to dance with the youngest lady on board.”
“They did.” She giggled. “Of course I didn’t know how to fox-trot or waltz or any of those dances, but I learned.”
“I reckon you were quite popular.”
“I was,” she said, pretending to preen. “For the first time in my life.” Then she sobered, not wanting to seem conceited. “Anyway.” She cleared her throat. “I wish I could have taken Golden Age Cruises to Antarctica and Mongolia and some of the other more hostile spots.”
“You went to all of those dangerous places – on your own?” he asked as Blanche set mugs of coffee in front of them.
“I did.” She nodded proudly at the incredulous look on his face.
“But – how did you manage the language barriers and the fact that you were a witch alone in a strange place?”
“I hired guides, and I dressed as inconspicuously as possible.” Lisa waved those difficulties away. “As long as I just wanted sand and not precious gems or minerals, I was tolerated.”
“Ah,” he said as if that answered some question in his mind. Then he smiled indulgently. “How long did it take you to find all the magical sand?”
“Five years,” she answered, pouring cream in her coffee.
“So that’s why I never saw you around in London.” His eyes narrowed. “Did you leave a bloke in every port or sand dune or whatever?”
She laughed. “Hardly. All my beaus were on the Golden Age Cruises.”
At his skeptical look, she blushed. “No, really, I was very single-minded. And I had to count all the sand once I was back.”
“You can’t count grains of sand.”
“I thought that too.” She sighed, remembering the frustration of those years. “But it didn’t work to proportion the sand by volume or by weight. Time is precise.”
“But –” He spread his hands. “How did you keep track? How did you have the patience?”
“Oh, there are ways.” She smiled at his bewilderment. “You count in groups of a thousand.”
“It’s a magical number.”
“Something about limits?” he asked.
“Right.” She smiled in delight to be discussing Arithmancy, all nervousness forgotten. “One thousand sums up the limits of comprehension.”
He laughed. “I feel like McGonagall just praised me.”
“I’ve always wondered this,” she said, feeling a little giddy, “but have you ever actually used Transfiguration since you left Hogwarts?”
“But of course. Let me demonstrate.” He flicked his wand at the salt and pepper shakers causing them to waltz around their small table. The pepper ended the dance with a flourish by dipping the salt. “As you can see, that particular skill has been the secret to my success.”
She giggled. “Your secret’s safe with me.”
“Ah, we come back to the law of brother love,” Roger said. “You seem to have an instinctive flair for it since you are already volunteering to not tell.”
“But I’m not to ask, right?” Lisa snapped, nettled that he was categorizing himself as her brother.
He didn’t answer right away but regarded her steadily. “You can ask, but it’s a good rule of thumb to never ask questions unless you know the answers first.”
“You don’t want any surprises in court.”
“Oh.” She pondered this for a moment. “You know, at the Department of Mysteries, we’re always surprised.”
He laughed. “So – surprise me and answer this question: is there a law of Déjà vu?”
Lisa gazed at him a moment, wondering if he was joking. “You mean like things repeating? Reliving the same experience?”
Frowning, she worked through her thoughts out loud. “It’s certainly a feeling that many people have reported… But I don’t know if it’s ever been replicated at the Department. You know, that’s a very interesting question.” She took another sip of coffee. “There was a wizard in the eighteenth century who researched the perception of time versus actual time.”
“What do you mean?” He was listening carefully.
“I mean the feeling when time speeds up when you’re having fun or how time drags when your are bored – that sort of thing.” She smiled. “Tomorrow, when I’m finally back at the Ministry, I’ll look it up for you.”
“Good – because I really want to know.”
He did look sincere, Lisa decided. And Déjà vu was an interesting phenomenon – maybe he was stuck in a rut or something.
“So – what else do you study at the Department of Mysteries – or can you tell me?”
“Oh, I can tell you,” Lisa said. “I think the aura around the Department came about because when people do ask – they usually don’t understand the answer. I’m not trying to be conceited or anything,” she added anxiously. “It’s just that our work is so abstract and most people want the two minute answer.”
Roger suddenly looked at his watch. “I don’t think we have two minutes. Blanche is about to close up.”
Lisa looked in astonishment at the chairs on top of the tables and the mop wringing itself over a bucket. They were the only patrons in the place.
Blanche chuckled at them. “Don’t let me disturb you, Roger, love.”
Roger looked around sheepishly. “Well, I suppose we should get going?”
He walked her the short distance back to her flat. London was quiet at that time of night, the Muggle traffic practically non-existent.
As Lisa turned to go up the stairs to her building, she wondered what she should say – what she could say – about everything he had done for her. “Roger,” she began in a small voice. She was standing on the first step, so her eyes were almost level with his.
“What?” His smile was white and mocking in the dim light.
“Tomorrow will be a much better day since I’m going back to the Ministry,” she said. She didn’t recognize the huskiness of her voice. “But I’m sorry it was you who had to do that for me.”
He put his hand on the railing next to her elbow. “Oh?”
“I should have challenged Mr. Anderson when he said I made mistakes,” she said passionately. “And I should have contacted Mr. Johnson long ago.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“Because –” She didn’t know how to tell him about being in over her head – about the sinister undercurrent that she always felt while working for Mr. Anderson.
“Because Nigel Anderson and Phillip Goyle maintained an atmosphere of intimidation and coercion,” Roger said softly, staring up at her intently. “They stole your research and – if I’m not mistaken – they will probably try to pass it off as their own somewhere down the line. If someone like you, intelligent and independent, who has traveled the world on her own can’t stand up to them –”
“I can’t prove it,” she said.
“People like that –” he bit out.
“They misuse their authority.” He took a deep breath. “But nothing can happen until –”
“Someone speaks up,” Lisa said, her heart hammering. It was the last thing she wanted to do – she just wanted to go back to the Department of Mysteries and forget all about St. Mungo’s. But Nigel Anderson had her research – research that could do harm as well as good. She sighed. “How do I even begin?”
“You start with a polite letter to Mr. Anderson from your lawyer.” He sounded pleased.
“And are you my lawyer?”
“You know I am, sweetheart.”
The next morning Lisa bounced out of bed feeling happier than she had in a long time. The sun was shining and the sky had the fresh blue of early June and all the possibilities of a long, golden day. She looked in her wardrobe trying to find something to match her mood. Obviously her mood had been sober and conservative and middle-aged for far too long, since there was nothing appropriate for a happy witch in her twenties amongst the respectable robes in navy, brown, and black.
Having had the experience of wearing new stylish robes at the wedding, she wanted that feeling again. She was no longer traveling in foreign countries looking for sand and she was no longer at St. Mungo’s with Phillip leering at her, so she would be perfectly safe wearing something a little more daring at the Department of Mysteries. She smirked at her reflection in the mirror. Her colleagues wouldn’t notice if she paraded through the Hall of Prophecies in her birthday suit.
“What do you think?” she asked the mirror. “Should I make a change?”
“Honey,” the mirror drawled. “I thought you’d never ask.”
After her first frustrating morning back at the Department of Mysteries going through a huge pile of paper airplane memos on her desk (some still flapping feebly after being buried for a year), she decided to use her lunch hour to shop at Lady Du Sult’s Little Black Robes. Luckily, Lady Du Sult herself was able to advise her.
“Hmm,” she said, looking at Lisa’s dowdy work robes. “You want something a bit smart for work and….?” She raised one delicate eyebrow questioningly.
“And maybe for after work,” Lisa mumbled, thinking she might see Roger a few more times.
“Ah.” Lady Du Sult wore a satisfied smile. “I seem to recall that I sold you a set of Little Black Robes for a wedding.” Her eyes gleamed. “I sew magic into those robes.”
“You do?” Now it made sense why Roger was so kind to her that night.
“It’s called confidence,” Lady DuSult said, straightening to her impressive height. “That’s the real magic of attraction. Forget the love potions.” She turned and flicked her wand at a rack of robes. “Forget the Beauty Charms. If a woman is quietly confident in her beauty, then a man cannot help but notice.”
“Then what?” Lisa asked breathlessly.
Lady Du Sult turned her attention from the robes that were presenting themselves and stared at Lisa as if she had never seen anyone quite like her. “Then,” she said with a growing smile. “The Quaffle, as they say, is in his possession.”
“It’s the man’s move,” she added bluntly, flicking her wand. A set of cornflower blue robes in a muted print sailed into Lady Du Sult’s arms. “If he is attracted to you, all you have to do is make up your mind to take what he is offering.” She handed the robes to Lisa. “I take it you have made up your mind?”
Lisa looked into the dressmaker’s dark, knowing eyes and blushed. She had been skirting around the issue, but now it was out in the open. She didn’t just want new robes to match the sunny day. She wanted to go out with Roger, pure and simple.
“Yes, but he hasn’t offered anything –” Then she stopped. Roger was helping her get the cottage back. He had already helped her with her job. “Well, that’s not true – nothing romantic, though.”
“Are you seeing him again?”
“Excellent. Try those robes on. You’ll look like an English rose with that complexion.”
“And get used to the compliments, darling,” Lady Du Sult said. “In my robes you’ll be receiving a lot of them.”
As part of her confidence boosting, Lisa also splashed out on lingerie and shoes. She rationalized the spending of most of her afternoon and who knew how much of her salary on this particular brand of magic by the comforting thought that this was expanding her knowledge. She had never in all of her years tried to gain a man’s attention – and it was high time she should have such an experience.
Her fledging confidence took a blow however, when, true to form, her elderly colleagues didn’t notice the new pink robes she was wearing or the fact that she had been absent for most of the afternoon.
Lisa didn’t let that bother her for very long. She was so excited about her new clothes that she decided to pop in on Padma after dinner and show her everything.
She Apparated to the Weasley’s front door, her hands full of shopping bags. Since Lisa knew that the doorknocker was rigged to squirt the unwary visitor in the eye, she just shouted into the key hole.
“Mummy!” Lisa could hear Padma and George’s twins stampeding to their mother to tell her that someone was at the door.
Padma opened the door and broke into a delighted smile. “Lisa! You didn’t have to shout. I made George fix the knocker. It was most unwelcoming.” She glanced at Lisa’s shopping bags. “Ooo, what did you buy?”
“This dress, for one,” Lisa began before Padma’s twin daughters, Amy and Annette, interrupted.
“For us?” one of them asked hopefully, pointing to the bag. They both had Padma’s dark, liquid eyes.
“Oh, darlings.” Lisa felt very guilty. She usually brought sweets at the very least whenever she visited. “I was at a grown up store and I didn’t see anything you would like.”
“Amy!” Padma said sharply. “That’s bad manners! You can’t expect Lisa to bring you something every time she visits.”
Amy’s bottom lip stuck out. Her twin took her hand and tugged it.
“George!” Padma called. “The girls need their bath.”
“Coming, my queen,” he called back in a falsetto voice.
Padma rolled her eyes and ushered Lisa into the sitting room. Lisa hesitated, not knowing which armchair was safe to sit on.
“Take the blue one, Lisa. The girls have all of their My Little Porlocks under the cushions of the settee,” Padma said. “Honestly, I only work at Gringotts two days a week – but still the house gets away from me.” She sat down with a tired sigh. “So, I want to hear all about the wedding. And your shopping.”
Over the shrieks and giggles of the girls – who sounded as if they were trying to escape their father and the inevitable bath – Lisa told Padma all about meeting a handsome relative of Melinda’s; how he had sat with her at dinner and had danced with her and had seen her home.
“Oh, Lisa, that’s wonderful.” Padma beamed. “You’ve had a hard time of it lately. That Barry was such a creep, and your mum wasn’t the easiest to deal with before she died.”
“Yeah.” Lisa swallowed. It seemed so disloyal – but her mother’s illness had made a cranky disposition even worse.
“So is this fellow is the reason why you’re suddenly interested in clothes?” Padma asked.
Lisa sat up straight. She might as well own what she was doing. “Yes.”
“You’re not smiling,” Padma pointed out.
“Oh. Should I be?” Lisa asked worriedly.
“Usually when you’re in love, you’re smiling.”
“I don’t know if I’m in love,” Lisa said, feeling a little shocked. “I mean, I’m attracted to him of course – and –”
“And you’re lonely.” Padma nodded. “I can understand that. But I don’t think you should be offering yourself up as a fling. I mean – you’re not getting any younger. You should be looking for marriage material.”
Lisa stared at her oldest friend, wondering how Padma could have forgotten. “I’m not exactly marriage material,” she answered quietly. “Remember?”
“Oh Lisa,” Padma said quickly. “Not every bloke cares about having children.”
The squeals of the Weasley girls and George’s deep chuckles seemed to echo through the room.
“Be that as it may,” Lisa said, standing up. “I decided that I still deserve to be happy. That I deserve the man I want.” She smiled, remembering how they had lost all track of time the night before. She may not be in love with Roger, but she liked him – very much. Now if she could only get over her nervousness around him….
“You’ll land him looking like that,” said Padma loyally.
“What about my mind,” Lisa teased. “Shouldn’t he just be interested in me for my mind?”
Padma blushed. “Okay – so I was stupid when we were at Hogwarts.”
“Idealistic then.” Padma giggled. “Think of all the blokes I could have gone out with.”
“Think of how jealous George would be if knew how many boys used to ask you out,” Lisa said fondly.
Padma smiled. “He has a good idea. Boys gossip, too, you know – not like girls do. But they keep tabs on who is winning the game.”
“Do they do that now?”
“I have no idea,” Padma said wearily as she noticed the puddles of bathwater in the corridor. “The game is long over for us.” She smiled and shook her head. “I forgot to ask. Who is this bloke?”
Lisa had hoped that she could make it out of the house before this point in the conversation. “Roger Davies,” she answered in a would-be-casual voice.
“Roger Davies.” Padma stared at Lisa in shock. “Was at the wedding?”
“He’s Melinda’s cousin.”
“That fits,” Padma said. “She was evil stealing your fiancé. I’m sure two-timing runs in the family.”
“Actually, I stole her fiancé and two-timing runs in Barry’s family,” Lisa replied as calmly as she could.
“Okay,” Padma said with her arms folded. “Barry’s a cad, too. Isn’t that enough warning to stay away from Roger?”
“He’s not interested in me that way – yet,” Lisa said. “He’s going to help me get my research back from Nigel Anderson.”
“Right. Roger is only interested in one thing, and he’s not doing this out of kindness,” Padma declared. “He always fancied you and now he sees that you’re on the rebound and an easy target.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Lisa, this is Roger Davies – the Captain who couldn’t win a match because he kept his girlfriend Cho Chang as Seeker even when she didn’t deserve it.”
“She wasn’t his girlfriend,” Lisa interrupted.
“He wanted her to be,” Padma answered coldly. “He was more interested in his personal scoring than in Quidditch scoring, I’ll tell you that.”
“I think that is very old evidence, Padma,” Lisa answered with equal coldness. “We’ve all changed since then. You wouldn’t have touched a trouble-maker like George Weasley with a ten foot broomstick when we were at Hogwarts.”
Padma clenched her fists. “Okay, Lisa. Roger isn’t notorious just for his exploits at Hogwarts. You were out of the country when he petitioned the Wizengamot to prosecute that Healer.”
Lisa stomach turned. “What Healer?”
“There was a Healer at St. Mungo’s who was hired by a man to create Horcruxes – you know – those objects that hold parts of your soul until you can find a new body?”
Lisa stared at her, wide-eyed. “Phillip Goyle?”
“I’m not sure of the name,” Padma said impatiently. “Anyway, Roger mucked it up and the Healer walked away, scot-free. That man could be making Horcruxes for people right now! Witches and wizards could be killing each other as we speak in the hopes that they could live forever.”
“If that Healer was Phillip Goyle,” Lisa said calmly, although her heart was beating rapidly. “He spends most of his days drinking or recovering from drinking. He is not allowed to perform Charms on people. I know, because I was stuck in the same department with him at St. Mungo’s. He’s no threat.”
“Roger never should have petitioned the Wizengamot to begin with,” Padma said, changing tactics. “Because of him, instructions for making a Horcrux are a matter of public record.”
“Wizengamot records are sealed, Padma.”
“Rita Skeeter got her hands on them and published them in The Daily Prophet.” Padma moved closer to her. “You weren’t here, Lisa. People were panicked, thinking a new Dark Lord was going to rise again from the remnants of the Death Eaters. And Roger was responsible for that.”
“What about the man who was killing everyone? At least he was put away.”
“The Ministry already had him,” Padma waved that aside. “Roger was the one who overreached and tried to unearth a conspiracy.”
Lisa sighed and clutched at her shopping bags full of her pretty new clothes.
“I don’t trust him as a person or as a lawyer,” Padma said flatly.
“If you ladies would take off your robes, it would be a lot more entertaining to watch you argue,” George said. “Maybe wrestle?” he added hopefully. His shirt was soaking wet and he had a rubber duck in one hand.
“George!” Padma swatted at his arm. “Honestly.” Her eyes narrowed. “And where are the girls?”
“The girls are trying to decide which pajamas to wear,” he replied, rolling his eyes. “I don’t get why it matters if they dress alike – especially if they never agree.”
“It’s a twin thing,” Padma said automatically.
Even though Lisa was upset that Padma still thought poorly of Roger, she couldn’t help but hide a smile at the irony.
“I’m a twin – remember?”
“Okay, it’s a girl thing,” Padma said impatiently. “George, tell Lisa what a rubbish lawyer Roger Davies is.”
“Roger Davies is an excellent lawyer,” George answered, frowning. “Remember? Percy couldn’t represent us against the Ministry when we had that copyright infringement on our Charmed Body Armor. Roger did it – and his brother – What’s his name?”
“Richard,” Lisa supplied.
“Right,” George said. “Older bloke. Anyway – they both did a brilliant job. Roger also wrote the contract for us the last time we negotiated with the Ministry.” He nodded. “No loopholes in that one.” He looked at Lisa. “Is Roger going to do some legal work for you?”
Lisa had never liked George Weasley as much as she did then. “Yeah.”
“Okay,” Padma said, not giving in easily. “He might be an adequate lawyer – but he still isn’t boyfriend material.”
George smirked at her.
Padma tossed her head and blushed.
Lisa realized that she was seeing another mysterious twin moment – but this time it was between a husband and a wife. “Um, I suppose I should be going.”
Padma tried one last time. “George, tell Lisa not to go out with Roger Davies.”
“Lisa, don’t go out with Roger Davies,” he repeated with a smile.
“That was effective,” Padma huffed. “Would you want one of your daughters to go out with Roger Davies?”
George stopped smiling. “I don’t want my daughters to go out with anyone – ever.”
Padma threw up her hands.
“Lisa’s a big girl,” George said, winking at Lisa. “And looking mighty fetching.”
Finally, a man noticed, Lisa thought, smiling back at him.
“Roger was a Ravenclaw,” George said with mock thoughtfulness. “Ravenclaws are a bit dim to begin with, but they eventually come around.”