"What do you think it was, Aurora?"
She looked up from the papers in front of her — papers, not parchment, and pencils and pens instead of quills, and a million other little daily adjustments — to look at her coworkers in confusion. “Sorry?”
Dinner was an uncharacteristically last minute affair. Aurora hadn’t had the heart to send Dirk an owl to try and talk him into coming along, not after his reaction the last time. Although if she needed him, she had no doubt he would be there for her. But that was almost all the more reason to let him skip this one. Add to it that she had plans to see him the next day anyway, and she saw no reason to bother him.
“Professor Flitwick, may I speak with you?”
“Ah, Miss Sinistra! Of course, come in, come in!”
Aurora smiled, relieved by the enthusiastic greeting of her Head of House. Aside from interactions in the corridors or necessary timetable issues that could be solved within moments, she hadn’t had any real reason to speak with him since informing him that she would be dropping his class. Although she had feared that his reaction to her presence would be less than friendly, it seemed those fears were unfounded as she moved further into the room to take a seat at the desk he directed her towards. She should have known better; she had never heard of Flitwick turning away a Ravenclaw who wanted to talk.
It had started innocently enough. Her brother had told her all about how, without any decently sized department to deal with them, a lot of Muggle things just ended up in a catch all area of the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes. This particular item had been charmed by a well-meaning Muggleborn to help out his younger sibling on tests. Once the spell was removed, it was just an ordinary Muggle textbook on natural sciences. Adam had given it to her while she was home for Christmas, claiming that it would have just been thrown in the rubbish pile after they did their quarterly cleaning. If she didn’t get any use out of it, it didn’t really matter. He’d just seen an entire chapter devoted to Astronomy when he flipped through and thought she might enjoy it.
Something felt different when Aurora woke up that morning. Not good or bad necessarily, just… different. She took a moment to listen to the quiet snuffling coming from Dirk. The peaceful silence and half glaring light peeking in the windows hinted at new snow, something she was well attuned to recognizing, even if it was kind of late in the year for snow. But there was something else.
"Mummy," a voice stage whispered over the rain. When Aurora didn’t immediately move, the voice got slightly louder and more annoyed. "Mummy!"
"She’s calling for you," Dirk mumbled against her hair.
"I know," Aurora said just as incessant poking started against her shoulder. She sighed before rolling over and looking at her youngest. "What is it, darling?"
“What are you doing?”
On the one hand, Aurora thought she probably shouldn’t complain that her mother was taking enough interest in her boyfriend to take her out to lunch so that she could learn more about him before he came over for dinner. On the other hand, of course, she should have known it would come to this.
“Have you decided what specialty you want to join?”
Because what did they really have to talk about, once Aurora was finished telling her everything that mothers needed to know about their daughters’ boyfriends?
Aurora barely bit back a sigh at the futility of the conversation and where it would undoubtedly go. She had tried to explain her position and she had tried giving it a chance like she had promised she would. Nothing. Nothing had helped. It only made her more firm in her resolve that she wouldn’t ever want to be a Healer.
"Mum, I don’t want to be a Healer."
"This again, Aurora?” her mother asked, making an exasperated noise.
"I’ve tried each of the departments. I gave them a chance, I really did, but I didn’t enjoy it. I want to try something else." She tried to keep the pleading out of her tone as much as possible, considering they were in a public place, but it was hard.
"But they said you were doing so well! I heard you did a particularly fantastic job in the Potions and Plant Poisoning ward the other day."
That was because that was the day Aurora worked with Hestia and had been much more open to doing things with a partner, particularly one that she knew and liked. She didn’t think bringing that up would help though. She opened her mouth to inform her mother that that fact didn’t change her mind when her mother continued.
"It isn’t as if you can be successful on your own, darling."
Aurora stopped, her mouth opening and closing for a few moments without saying anything before she managed, “What?”
"Don’t say it like that, it’s very impolite."
The thought of getting an etiquette lesson after a statement like that was absurd. When she didn’t repeat her question in a more polite way, her mother sighed, shaking her head slightly. “You see? You’re very stubborn sometimes, which might be a good quality if you were ambitious as well. But stubbornness without ambition is simply mule headed, and that will get you absolutely nowhere. However, in Healing, you have me as well as a long line of Healers on both sides to recommend you. What do you have without that?”
"Intelligence," Aurora said, mentally forming a list in her head, but her mother cut her off.
"That’s all well and good, but plenty of people are intelligent. There’s an entire house of them. But that won’t get you very far, will it? I don’t see how you could do anything else. You would just fail at it, and I don’t want you wasting time trying to figure out that Healing is the career you should have had all along.”
Aurora gaped at her, feeling as if she had been slapped. After a moment, she pushed her chair back as calmly as she could and stood up. Her mother raised an eyebrow. “Where do you think you’re going?”
"Thank you for lunch, but I won’t be darkening your doorstep with my confusion anymore, so I’m leaving until I can figure it out. You can let Adam know dinner is cancelled because I don’t think I’ll be home tonight. I’ll see you at Christmas. And give my regards at St. Mungo’s."
She turned to walk out of the room, but her mother’s voice stopped her. “Don’t throw away this opportunity, Aurora. I can’t get it back for you.”
"Good," Aurora said shortly. "Maybe you’ll finally see that I don’t want it." She didn’t bother waiting for her mother’s reaction before continuing out of the tea shop, hoping she could hold it together long enough to get somewhere relatively private.
Aurora’s first kiss was Michael Devereaux the summer before her sixth year. Although Michael’s older brother Daniel had attended Hogwarts and become close friends with Aurora’s brother Adam, Michael had decided to go to Beauxbaton’s, their father’s alma mater. Michael and Aurora had run into each other many times over the years as they tagged along after their older brothers during the summer on the days when both of the older boys were left in charge of their younger siblings. Although they had talked, at a year older and different gender, Michael had never seemed to have much interest in her. At a year younger and more interested in books than in boys, Aurora had never much cared either.
The night started normally enough. Or the normal of after the war, which was similar to the normal of a year ago but not quite the same. She made sure the boys had cleaned up. She helped Everleigh get ready for bed. She turned off the lights and locked the doors while reinforcing the wards out of habit. And then she climbed into the large bed she was still thinking of replacing for a smaller one and went to sleep.