So, as a true writing-blocked author, I pulled my old work from the ever-growing dead-plotbunnies folder, polished it up, deleted and added some bits here and there, and posted it under the fabulous name of "Slip of The Tongue" as a one-shot. Now, having had some time on my hand the last few weeks, I decided to do finish the second chapter. And here it is, under the cut.
A note, though; aside from a Theo/Millie, this fic was also meant to be a Katie/Marcus fic. Hence the reference to Marcus. The tiny bit of K/M will be posted as a separate Plotbunny Graveyard outtake.
“You look horrible.”
Millicent looked up from her plate she had been studying for the last ten minutes. She must have zoned out while she was trying to figure out what was wrong with her salmon. There had to be, it smelled and tasted awful. Which was a bummer really, The Warlock was known for its excellent, mouthwatering food. Now she had saved up enough money to join her friends for dinner at the posh restaurant, she had to order the nastiest dish on the menu. How lucky was she?
“What?” Millicent snapped her head up, blinking rapidly; she had zoned out again. Pansy and Daphne were staring at her, the former worried and the latter uninterested as always. What was it they were saying? “Uh, yeah, thanks,” she answered absentmindedly and turned her attention back to her plate. Maybe the chef used some exotic herbs and spices?
“Are you alright?” Pansy asked carefully, “You look like something the Kneazle dragged in.”
‘Oh, that again. Did mum put them up to this?’
“I’m fine,” Millicent grumbled and pushed her peas around on the plate, she had already eaten the ones that hadn't come in contact with rotten salmon. The truth was that she didn't feel all that great, but at the same time, she was starving. It was all very contradictory. “I woke up a bit under the weather this morning.”
“Are you sure that’s all? You look like you can vomit any second now,” Pansy commented and took a bite of her salmon.
Millicent frowned, there was apparently nothing wrong with Pansy’s portion. Just her luck, she reckoned and pushed her plate away from her. “It's the food. There’s something wrong with the fish.”
“It tastes okay to me,” Pansy said with a shrug. “It’s really delicious.” She reached over and took a piece from Millicent’s plate. “Nope. Yours is fine too. Eat before it gets cold.”
“It smells like rotten eggs,” Millicent replied a bit unsure. Her stomach churned at the thought of taking a bite of the fish as Pansy had. To be honest, she’d rather die than put any of it near her mouth. “And tastes like it as well.”
“Whatever,” Daphne harshly interrupted both women. “Look, we really need to talk about more pressing matters. Have you heard-”
“Anything about Marcus yet?” Pansy rushed to complete Daphne’s question. If Millicent had been paying attention to her friends, she would have noticed the scathing glares and painful kicks to the shins exchanged between the girls.
“No, nothing,” Millicent answered, shaking her head in sadness as she thought about her cousin, Marcus Flint, who disappeared during his stag do the night before his wedding to Katie Bell. “The Aurors managed to locate Warrington in Siberia and Montague in Toronto. But as long as the wizard Pucey bought the illegal Portkeys off is not found, it’s anyone’s guess where Marcus and Bletchley are.”
She was worried for her cousin and wished she had some more information on the investigation, but as long as Uncle Aurelius refused to have any contact with her mum and her, all they had to go on were the rumours and gossips.
“I still don’t understand why those idiots didn’t contact the Ministry for official ones.” Daphne shook her head, surprised by her own surprise at the stupidity of some wizards. “It takes an hour at most.”
Millicent shrugged. “Missus Higgs told mum that the boys got bored in London and wanted to move the stag party to somewhere exotic. Someone heard them talk and they had a cousin whose brother-in-law knew someone whose neighbour's granddaughter could get them a few to Hawaii and back. And voila, here were are. I don’t think that they overthought the plan. As usual.”
“Figures. How’s Bell holding up? I heard she nearly killed Higgs yesterday in the middle of Diagon Alley,” Pansy asked and took another bite of her food.
Millicent watched in growing disgust how Pansy shovelled the food into her mouth. How could she eat that smelly stuff? She was about to question Pansy’s taste buds when a familiar laugh from the other side of the restaurant distracted her. She knew that voice, was quite familiar with that melodious sound. She craned her neck to see if she wasn’t mistaken. And she wasn’t.
Of course not.
Theo was here, laughing and chatting with someone. Millicent couldn’t see who it was, but it was clearly a woman. A woman with brown wavy hair who had her hands on him. A woman he didn’t mind to be seen in public with.
It had been more than a month since Millicent had last seen Theo. Since that morning in her flat, he hadn’t owled her or had come by as he had promised. He obviously hadn’t forgiven her for breaking the rules and now, he was done with her. Did he even miss her like she missed him? By the looks of it, he didn’t. Millicent dropped her gaze to her plate in disappointment. Her chest felt heavy as she tried to swallow down the growing lump in her throat.
“Huh, would you look at that. What a small world, eh Pans?” Daphne commented when noticed the little drama unfold. A vicious kick to the shins was her answer. “Watch it, your foot slipped again.”
“Have another drink, Daph, you look dehydrated,” Pansy hissed before she turned to Millicent, debating on the best way to break the news.
As a welcome witch a St. Mungo’s, Pansy knew all the ins and outs of the private lives of all the Healers working there, Theo being one of them. He was quite popular with the Mediwitches and the female Healers, and with some male ones too. He had never acted on the daily advances before, not until the ‘unmentionable’ happened between him and Millie and he'd gone running into Granger's waiting arms. It was still a mystery to Pansy what the big deal was; he and Millie been shagging for a year, some emotions were inevitable.
“I… Mills… Oh, Merlin. Look, if I’d know they’d be here, I would have made reservations somewhere else.”
“Now you’ve done it,” Daphne muttered. For a minute, it looked as if she was going to keep her opinions to herself. , “First, you cut me off and now-”
“Shut up,” Pansy hissed.
“Is it a work thing?” Millicent asked without looking up. It had to be a work thing, Theo couldn’t have possibly found someone else this quickly, could he? Was she that easy to replace?
“It’s a thing, all right.” Daphne snorted at Millicent’s naïveté. She was a seamstress at Madam Malkin’s for Circe’s sake, the cesspool of cesspools with regards to gossip and backbiting. Was she working with earplugs in the whole day? It was the talk of Diagon Alley, and even the hags in Knockturn Alley yapped about it on the regular. Well, that and the Marcus Flint’s unsolved disappearance, of course. “But, Pans, explain. Is it a work thing?”
Pansy narrowed her eyes at her blonde friend and moved her finger across her throat - a promise for a scolding later, before she turned her attention back to a miserable looking Millicent. She was about to add to that misery. Why oh why had she pushed those two together last year? “They are in the same programme. You know her. Granger with that ridiculous first name.”
“Oh,” was all that Millicent said softly. The constriction in her chest eased a bit. “Just dinner between colleagues, then.”
‘Please, please, please, lie to me.’
“For heaven’s sake,” Daphne said in exasperation as she threw her hands up in the air. “They’re dating, you bint, have been for a few weeks now. I hear they’re going at it like rabbits on Wide-Eyed Potion.”
“Fuck! Daphne!” Pansy exclaimed a bit too loudly as she slammed her fist on the table. The noise of rattling cutlery and glasses attracted the attention of the other patrons to their table. Theo and his date being two of them.
“What? It was bound to come out sooner or later,” said Daphne innocently. “Better that she learns it now than when the wedding invitation falls on her doormat.”
“For Gods’ sake, shut up already,” Pansy hissed and waved her butter knife in Daphne’s face. Of course, she just rolled her eyes and batted the knife away.
Whilst it would've been satisfying to kick Daphne's arse for being an unbearable bitch, there were more pressing matters to attend to. From the corner of her eyes, Pansy could see that Millicent looked like she wanted to disappear into thin air. Her heart broke for her friend. “Look, Millie-”
“When?” Millicent interrupted her. “When did they start dating?”
“Does it real-”
Again, it was Daphne who gave her an honest answer. “I saw them the night of Marcus’ supposed wedding, actually. He told you he had to work that night, didn't he? Anyway, they were having drinks at the Imp, looking too chummy to be 'just two colleagues having a drink' like he wanted me to believe. Oh, and they left together that night, too. No good sodding bastard, thinking he’s Merlin’s gift to witches. I hope his bollocks shrivel up and fall off.”
Daphne leaned back in her chair to give Theo the finger. As usual, good manners were lost on her to her parents’ great despair. Not that she cared one bit; it was quite satisfactory to see Theo turn red at her gesture and look away.
“Just kill me now,” Pansy muttered and cradled her head in desperation. This was not the evening she had in mind. All she wanted was a girls’ night out to share her own good news. It looked like that would have to wait. The bints hadn’t even noticed the shiny ring on her finger.
“You know what, I do feel sick,” Millicent stated abruptly as she pushed her chair back. She had enough for one night. “I think it’s time that I went home and crawled into bed. A good night’s sleep ought to do me some good.”
‘First, I need to buy a pint of ice-cream and play Celestina Warbeck the whole night.’
“No, no, no, don’t go. We’ll go somewhere else and start the evening over,” Pansy begged. “We can go to The Dainty Dragon. Yeah, let's do that. You like it there, don’t you?”
“No, the food’s better here,” Daphne muttered defiantly and stuck a piece of bread in her mouth. “Let her go, Pans. She looks sick, you said it yourself,” she said, half chewing. “I’m not having my appetite ruined or my shoes ruined because she vomits under the table. No offense, Mills, but I don't think you can afford to buy me new ones. These are Horntail hide, you know.”
“For the love of… Just shut your gob for once,” Pansy retorted angrily.
“She’s right.” Millicent chewed on her bottom lip, her gaze fixed on the worn-out noses of her own shoes. She did not dare look up; afraid to see Theo and Granger all cosied up in a way he had refused to do with her in public. “I owl you and we’ll plan another night out, yeah?”
Without waiting for a reply, Millicent stalked away from the table without paying any attention to Pansy’s calls for her to come back. Somehow, she also managed to avoid walking past Theo’s and Granger’s table. She was feeling a bit sick, true, had been for a few days now. But, it had been manageable. Finding out how foolish she had been about Theo, had really done the trick tonight, though. She had been lovesick; she could admit that now. Pining and crying and whishing over some bloke, well, Theo. But what good had it brought her? What a cow had she been to believe that things between her and Theo would work out in the end.
“Time to face the facts and move on,” she muttered to herself as she waited for her turn to collect her cloak. She wanted to take a long walk by the river to clear her head and the buy some ice-cream before she headed home.
Deep in thought on how she was supposed to move on now that she was hit in the face with reality with the ferocity of a stray Bludger, Millicent didn’t notice the couple nearing behind her. Nor, did she hear the woman excuse herself to the toilet. It was the gentle tap on her shoulder that eventually pulled Millicent from her musings on which flavour ice-cream to buy. When she turned around, she was faced with Theo.
As usual, he was dressed sharply in woollen trousers and expensive shirt. His brown hair was neatly combed, and the fashionable stubble made him look exceptionally rugged. In other words, he was as handsome as ever. Damn that fluttering of her broken heart. Then another thought hit her; of course, he would not have wanted to be seen with her in public. Compared to him, she was nothing more than an overweight, sorry-looking ragamuffin pretending to be a lady.
“Theo, hi, I didn’t know you were here.” A nervous giggle escaped her. She cringed inwardly at the shrill sound, but it was far better than what she really wanted to do; cry her heart out over a pint of raspberry ice-cream.
“Sure you didn’t,” Theo muttered in annoyance with a slight shake of his head. “Daphne was a pleasant harpy as always.”
“Was there something you needed? It’ll be my turn soon, so…” Millicent trailed off nervously, ignoring his jab at her friend for his own goodwill. She was sick to her stomach and sad at the same time. She blamed him for all of it. Not the best situation to conduct a conversation without anyone getting hurt. His eyes travelled up and down her body before he answered her. And that only pissed her off even more; she knew that expression. He had worn all the times he had tugged the clothes off her body.
“Theo,” she bit out, startling him. “What do you want?”
“Right. We need to talk, about what happened last time…” he said quietly, looking intently at her. “You know, about what you said.”
Millicent felt another piece of her heart die, and tears stung in her eyes. He wanted to let her down gently, she was sure of it. For the sake of what was left of her dignity, she spoke up before he could say more. “No, we don’t, s'okay. It was just stupid in the heat of the moment thing. So, there’s need to worry about it, honestly. I didn’t mean a word of it. I mean… you know me…”
Another nervous giggle escaped her again, and all Millicent wanted was for the ground to open and swallow her whole to end her misery.
“Come on,” Theo started unbelievingly. “You never say things you don’t mean.”
“Shows how little you know me, then,” Millicent said softly, turning her back on him. To her relief, that it was her turn to collect her cloak. The torture could finally come to an end. “I have to go.”
“Can I come by later? We need to talk about this.” Theo moved closer to wipe a strand of hair from her cheek. “It’s been too long.”
For a minute, she was lost in those dark eyes again and leaned into his hand. He always had the softest touch. It would be easy to pretend that the last few weeks did not happen and pick things up where they’d left off. It wouldn’t be what she wanted for herself, but having some of Theo was better than not having him in her life at all.
Then Millicent saw Granger nearing, looking as uncomfortable as she felt, and common sense hit her over the head. She took a step back and uttered the most painful word known to mankind at that moment.
“Millie, come on…” Theo pleaded barely audible.
It would be so easy to give in, wouldn’t it? Then Granger awkwardly smiled at her from across the room, and a burning fury rose high inside Millicent.
“Sod off, Nott,” she hissed with a venom she had not used since her early Hogwarts years. “No means no. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”
Millicent was very proud of herself when she collected her cloak and marched out of the restaurant without hurting someone or shedding a tear. On her way out even, when she saw dainty looking Granger put her arm around a crestfallen Theo and whisper something in his ear -a little gesture that irked her more than it should have, Millicent stayed calm.
She preferred to break down in private.