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Did I Make the Most of Loving You by Sarah_Bee

Format: Novella
Chapters: 4
Word Count: 8,750
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

Genres: Drama, Mystery, Romance
Characters: Dumbledore, Pomfrey, OC
Pairings: OC/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 07/07/2013
Last Chapter: 10/25/2013
Last Updated: 10/25/2013

Summary:


In 1940, the wizarding world is in a werewolf outbreak crisis. No one knows the one behind the attacks. Poppy Pomfrey discovers healing takes more than a skillful mind, but a caring heart.  All it took was one man to show her just how exciting and scary love can be.
             A story about the hidden life and love of Madame Pomfrey.


Chapter 1: Only the Beginning
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lovely CI by Prometheus at TDA!

1992. Hogwarts Hospital Wing.

            Madame Pomfrey scurried about the hospital wing. She carried a bone-growing potion towards the bed of a young Harry Potter who looked like he was ready to throw up at any time from his jelly like arm. She handed him the potion, which he drank, but instantly gagged at the horrifying taste, “That stuff is disgusting.

            “It’ll grow those bones back in a jiffy, Mr. Potter,” Madame Pomfrey stated quickly, taking the bottle back.

            She noticed he was reading something and spotted the picture of a werewolf on the cover. Instantly, her heart sped up at the remembrance of forgotten memories. Harry noticed her strange look, almost like she was in a daze, “Madame Pomfrey, are you alright?”

            Instantly, she was brought back to reality, “Yes, of course I am, why wouldn’t I be?”

            “You looked rather pale for a moment,” Harry stated, confused as to why the fit as a fiddle healer suddenly looked rather ill.

            She shook her head, chastising him, “I’m fine. Now turn out that light in a few minutes to get some rest, Mr. Potter.”

            He nodded, “Will do.”

            Madame Pomfrey hurried back to her desk, feeling a sudden urge to sit down, but only for a moment to recollect her composure. Leaning back in a creaky old wooden chair, she noticed the moon was full tonight. Her blood ran cold and her fingers trembled as she reached in the drawer for her calming potion. Once she brought the glass vial to her lips, she tasted the bittersweet recollection of those fateful years from long ago. The screams haunted through the night whenever a full moon would occur. Fifty-two years later, and she still recalled the warmth of his touch, the velvety sound of his voice when he spoke her name, and the chilling moment when she was forced to leave. Her tired gray eyes looked towards the full moon that glowed against a dark sky, and she clasped her fingers around the crescent moon shaped charm on a silver chain around her neck before softly whispering to the night air, “I’m sorry, Garrett.”







Late August. 1940. Hodder Valley, Lancashire.

            The warm August air blew through the trees as the sun started to fade away under a mask of grayish colored clouds looming overhead of a small village in the English countryside. Within seconds, raindrops began descending from above, gently at first, but then pouring in buckets, ravaging the dirt roads into puddles of mud. A lone figure ran across the way through the downpour, dashing from one small building’s porch to the next, not caring about the hemline of her skirts dragging through the muck and filth.

            Upon coming to the last little house, she hastily knocked on the door, clutching a precious envelope in her hands against her wrinkled gray blouse. The door opened, and an elderly woman appeared, aghast at the young lady’s ruddy appearance with her brown locks askew and her skirts drenched with the hemline nearly tearing apart. She spoke, confused, “Poppy, whatever is the matter?”

            Poppy could barely contain her excitement and spoke quickly, thrusting the torn envelope into the lady’s thin hands, “I’ve got an interview, Mrs. Mason! I’m going to London!”

            “An interview, what on earth for, dear?” Mrs. Mason inquired, examining the envelope before taking out the note.

            Poppy smiled proudly, “I’m to be a proper healer, that’s what, or at least I hope I will be.”

            Mrs. Mason scanned the note, adjusting her glasses ever so slightly as she tried to make out the scrawled handwriting, “Seems valid enough I suppose. What about your dream to be the town healer? I’m retiring in a few years time you know.”

            Poppy shook her head, persistent to make this newly found dream come true, “I’m not going to just settle to heal paper cuts and cure a stomach virus. I want to do more, Mrs. Mason. You said yourself that I was the best student you ever had.”

            “I know I did, dear, but-” Mrs. Mason started to object.

            The young girl paid no mind to her former teacher’s tone of protest, “Then give me your blessing to go to London.”

            “My dear girl, you have never been to the city before. You will be lost in a sea of ruffians and hooligans trying to trick you-” Mrs. Mason spoke sternly.

            Poppy smiled a little, “I will be fine.”

            “If your parents were alive, they would surely object-” Mrs. Mason sighed, handing Poppy the letter.

            Poppy hugged her former teacher and said before dashing back into the rain, “I’m twenty years old, Mrs. Mason. I need to stop living on the generosity of others. I’m going to prove you wrong! Wait and see!”

            Mrs. Mason only shook her head, heading back into her living room to finish a cup of herbal tea, “Poor girl has not a clue.”






Early September. 1940. London.

            The thrill and bustle of the city of London was far more than Poppy ever expected. Gazing out the window of her cab, she was in awe at the magnificent architecture surrounding the city streets filled with people and traffic. The cab driver asked as he sped through the lanes, “Where to, miss?”

            “654 Rosling Lane,” She smiled, looking at the address on the note for the hundredth time, as if she wanted to make sure she was getting it right and none of this was a dream.

            The driver seemed a bit confused, but continued nonetheless until they reached a lonely lane with few houses and an abandoned building. Poppy grabbed her handbag, adjusted her hair and grey hat for a final time, before getting out of the cab, paying the driver and lugging her carpetbag full of clothes to the side of the street. She glanced around, hopelessly confused, “This cannot be correct. There is nothing here.”

            Then a well-dressed man appeared, walking down the steps from the brick building that looked like no one had been there for years. He adjusted his coat, put on a hat over his gray locks, and nodded at her, “Good day, miss.”

            She stopped him before he could take more than three steps onto the road, “Excuse me, I’m looking for a Mr. Hacksby about an interview. I was told to come to 654 Rosling Lane.”

            The gentleman quickly peeked around and then looked at her with curiosity for a moment, before speaking quietly, even though no one was around, “Are you applying for a healer position, miss?”

            Poppy nodded, “Yes, I am.”

            “Ah well, just step inside the building then, miss,” The man added, gesturing towards the old looking building before them.

            Poppy thanked him, and she carefully walked up the steps, wondering what she was getting into. But she was determined to make it in this new world and prove everyone that she was worthy of a proper job despite her parentless childhood and penniless upbringing. She opened the door, finding the disarray of the outer shell of the building was a polar opposite to the inside. The richly decorated walls with luxurious paintings, polished floors covered in scarlet rugs and expensive furniture practically put the crumbling red brick and peeling paint of the doorway to shame. Trying to not appear too eager, Poppy stood in the entrance, awaiting any instruction, when a lady at a desk greeted her, “Morning, miss. Might I help you?”

            Poppy walked over, “Yes, I am here to see Mr. Hacksby about a job interview.”

            The receptionist finished typing on her typewriter before glancing at a posted schedule on the cabinet, “Ah yes, Poppy Pomfrey?”

            Poppy nodded, “Yes.”

            The woman instructed, “First door on the right down the hall to your left. Knock before entering.”

            Poppy thanked her before heading down the hallway and knocking on the nearest door to her right. A gentleman dressed in a fine suit and drinking a glass of water opened the door, “Yes?”

            “Sir, you answered my reply about an interview and instructed for me to come here,” Poppy politely spoke, secretly hoping he would not turn her away at the sight of her plain village attire.

            Mr. Hacksby coughed, setting his glass down on his desk that was covered in stacks of papers and books, “Yes, do come in.”

            Poppy sat on a chair across from his, holding onto her bags. He glanced at some papers before looking at her curiously. He bit his lip, “You have a good reference from a Mrs. Mason, however, I am inclined to say that the position for a healer at St. Mungo’s was filled an hour ago.”

            His words took a moment to sink into Poppy’s mind. Filled? She tried to hide her disappointment, only speaking with persistence, “Sir, I would have come earlier, but I could not acquire the money in time for my train ticket.”

            “I’m sorry my dear girl,” Mr. Hacksby sighed, going back to his paperwork.

            “There must be something. I could not come all this way for nothing!” Poppy pleaded with him, desperate for any job she could acquire until another opening would happen at the hospital.

            The man looked astonished at her determination and stubbornness. He turned, grabbing a file from a cabinet drawer, “Well there is a job opening at the Lord of Greydale’s hospital. I am afraid it will not pay much, but it will be a start.”

“I’ll take it,” Poppy nodded, knowing she had to start somewhere.

“Very well, I’ll contact Lord Caldwell. His eldest son Garrett Caldwell will meet you at the station in Greydale. Can you manage the fare?” Mr. Hacksby nodded, scribbling something on a note before attaching it to an owl who sat patiently on the windowsill.

The owl flew off, and Poppy smiled in satisfaction, “I can manage, thank you, Mr. Hacksby.”






 

Early September. 1940. Greydale Train Station

            Poppy smiled in content as she sat in her train car, thrilled with her new prospects. The people next to her jabbered on. Some lady mentioned, “Did you hear about that nasty attack a young lad had over in the lake district?”

“Werewolf, wasn’t it?” One man questioned as he flipped through his newspaper.

“Appears to be,” the lady nodded, “Poor boy too, his father had hopes for him to attend some of the best schools. He’ll never be able to now.”

The talk alerted Poppy only a little, but as they started into playing a game of exploding snap, she paid no more mind to them. Werewolf stories were not her main concern at the moment. She was far to excited and nervous for her first job. She leaned back against the worn leather fabric, gazing out the window at the lush green meadows and spying a village in the distance. This village was already three times the size of her own in Hodder Valley from what she could see. The train came to a halt, nearly lurching Poppy forward out of her seat. She grabbed her bags, following the people ahead of her down the aisle until a man helped her down from the car.

            Clutching her possessions, Poppy looked around in search of whoever might be Garrett Caldwell. Mr. Hacksby had not given a description to her misfortune. She would have to guess, and hope for the best. Families rushed around her, greeting each other with warm hugs and kisses, and the train whistle blew as it was leaving the station with new passengers. Poppy bit her lip, looking for a lone man, but found only couples or people gathered in groups.

            Then a rich velvety voice of a young man seemed to rise above the bustling crowd, “Are you Miss Pomfrey?”

            Turning around, Poppy felt her stomach lurch to her throat upon meeting a pair of ice blue eyes belonging to a young man dressed in a fine suit with his blonde hair covered by a bowler hat. She nodded, at a loss for words. The man gave a smile, “I am Garrett Caldwell.”

            She managed a weak smile, “Pleasure to meet you.”

            He took no time in taking the carpetbag from her hands, “My car is just around front.”

            Poppy nodded, following him, wondering why on earth he would drive a muggle contraption if they could just as easily floo or apparate as this was a wizard and witch based town. Garrett led her to a brand new black Rolls Royce. He added, placing her bag in the back, “I only drive for fun and to annoy Father. He hates muggle things, but I find them quite fascinating.”

            Poppy could only smile at his comment before getting into the car. He started the engine, and he glanced at her for a moment, “I hope you will like it here.”

            “I think I will,” Poppy smiled warmly, before he began to drive down the lane.

            She had no idea this was only the beginning.

 

a/n: so I'm trying something new: writing in 3rd person.... i've rarely written in that point of view so this will be a bit challenging. This is an idea that's been brewing in my head for a while now. Let me know what you think and I am open to suggestions. :)






Chapter 2: Pureblood and Posh
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chapter image by me


Early September. 1940. Greydale Hospital

            Garrett drove at a faster rate than what Poppy had originally thought he would. She clasped her hat with one gloved hand, taking in the view of cheery looking stone houses that sat in the foreground of the gloomy moors containing shrubbery peppered with purple colored heather that draped the vacant countryside. A large estate lay in the background, miles from the village, yet Poppy could still glimpse the towering house that probably belonged to none other than Lord Caldwell.        

            The car sputtered down the road until it came to a halt, the wheels settling in the soft dirt of the road, and Garret removed his black leather driving gloves, before getting out, taking Poppy’s bags in one hand and running around the car to open her door. Poppy was startled by his gentleman like manners, but did not question it as he helped her out. The townspeople seemed to stop for a second to stare at the newcomer dressed in a charcoal colored skirt and matching blouse.

            One elderly lady spoke to her husband as they walked into the teashop, “I heard she’s from another country and that’s why Lord Caldwell’s son is with her, to keep her nose out of trouble. Probably some kind of spy for the war.”

“Well Elvira told me that someone might be coming to inspect the conditions of the hospital for the war office at the Ministry of Magic in London,” Another lady softly spoke to her friend while they stood on the side street, smoking cigarettes during their break from the local clothing factory. Poppy paid no mind to the curious stares or gossiping whispers of the ladies in the town. She spotted the hospital at once that lay before her like a beckoning safe haven. The three story stone building with painted red windowpanes stood like a gallant soldier against the grey skies, awaiting the arrival of a new healer who would instantly take any challenge put upon her.

Upon entering the hospital, the familiar scent of herbs, brewing potions and a desire to be useful aroused Poppy’s interest at once. The hospital was simple on the outer shell, yet still accented inside with hints of a wealthy caretaker and benefactor in the polished wood flooring, a fancy mahogany desk for the receptionist and what appeared to be an owl menagerie in one corner for receiving and sending things. The woman sitting in the desk was busy scribbling away on a file, yet her hazel eyes peered up for a split second before she stood, “Mr. Garrett, forgive my rudeness. Is there something I can do for you?”

“Yes, Katherine,” Garrett nodded, taking off his hat and walking towards her desk, “Father requested a new healer for the hospital, especially since the strange incident with Thomas. Miss Pomfrey has acquired the job, and she needs to be settled in at once.”

“Very well, sir,” Katherine smiled gently, “I’ll get Healer Wilkins then.”

She left only for a moment, to return with a tall older man wearing dark green robes and carrying a file folder. He smiled warmly, “Are you Miss Pomfrey of Hodder Valley?”

“Yes, sir,” Poppy nodded, matching his smile with her own.

Healer Wilkins studied her for a moment, glanced at the thin hands belonging to such a young inexperienced girl. He seemed a bit hesitant at first, but announced, “I’ll see you get settled in then.”

Garret nodded, “Very well, I shall be off then if I am of no use to anyone.”

Before he could take one step and don his hat again, Poppy spoke up, unaware of the social boundaries that separated them so distinctly, “Thank you for driving me. Will I be seeing more of you around here?”

His blue eyes darkened a little, and he bit his lip, unsure of what to say to such an uninformed girl, “I am afraid that I will be busy helping my father on the estate and managing his cases.”

Poppy’s brow furrowed in perplexity. He had been terribly nice earlier with picking her up at the train station and ensuring she arrived to her destination. Suddenly, the warm loving Garrett had transformed before her own eyes into an icy aristocrat who had little cares for anyone else. Yet, Garrett displayed his gentlemanlike manners in tipping his hat to her and the others, before exiting the hospital with quick strides and no more words. The door clanged shut behind his retreating figure, and Katherine’s cool voice sliced into Poppy’s blank stare, “he’s a pureblood, miss. Don’t expect too much from their lot.”

She seemed to be taunting Poppy for her moment of indiscretion, to which Poppy only gave Katherine a cold glare as she picked up her bags, “Thank you for that piece of advice. I’ll consider it in the future.”

Healer Wilkins led Poppy down a long corridor towards what looked to be a set of dormitories. He halted upon the last door, knocking on the wooden door before turning the handle and opening it, allowing a view of a simple healer’s room, complete with a brass bed, dresser and washing basin on a small table in front of a large mirror. Poppy set her bags down upon the worn mattress, causing a creaking from the springs, and Healer Wilkins added, “A set of Healer robes is in the set of drawers. The dining hall is just around the corner, along with the washroom. I suggest a good night’s rest, as you will begin your training at 6 a.m. sharp.”

Poppy nodded, and he left her room without another sound. A chill swept through her bones as she started unpacking the measly amount of clothing she owned into the chest of drawers. This job was not going to be an easy one, especially seeing the manners of the people in the town. But it was a job, and she only had to be grateful for it.




Early September. 1940. Caldwell Estate.

            An older gentleman paced across the floor in his study, his feet nearly digging holes into an ornately sewn rug lain upon the polished wooden floorboards. His eyes gazed in frustration at the wrinkled piece of paper in his fingers, until he finally leaned on the mantle of a marble fireplace, sighing and closing his eyes, wishing everything would just turn back time to when things were simpler and peaceful. Looking up at the clock that chimed upon the wall, he sat on the sofa as the housemaid entered, “Your afternoon tea, sir.”

            “Yes, very well, bring it in then,” He nodded, rubbing his temples, trying to figure out some sort of solution to the problem that had him so confounded.

            The housemaid set a tray upon the table, and looked at him, confused, “Are you alright, sir?”

            “Alright as I can be,” He sighed, taking the teapot and pouring himself a cup of hot, freshly brewed herbal tea.

            She nodded, “I’ll see to dinner then.”

            As soon as she left, he poured himself another cup, leaning back on the cushions, trying to relax when the door suddenly opened, and his young son came bursting in the room. “Father, mother told me you had troubling news.”

            Lord Caldwell nodded, “Yes, Garrett, but do sit down and enjoy some of this wonderful herbal tea first.”

            “I cannot enjoy tea as you pace about the floors ready to have a heart attack,” Garrett stated, grabbing the letter from his father and scanning the words.

            He paused a moment after rereading the notice a second time, ensuring he had understood the words, and a look of worry flashed across his face. His blue eyes stared back at his father’s own worry filled ones, “You’re certain?”

            Lord Caldwell set his teacup down on the table before answering quietly, “Quite sure, my boy. There is not a single doubt in the Minister’s mind.”

            “But the Minister of Magic already ordered several of our town’s men to join the muggles in their battle, surely he cannot mean to have more sent to die in expense for the muggles’ mistakes?” Garrett questioned, pacing across the floor, tossing the letter to the ground.

            “He wants this to end as soon as possible. The war in the muggle world affects us more than you think, Garrett, but as long as we live in this country, I am afraid we must do our duty to support it, no matter how much the cost. We’ll post a notice in the village tomorrow,” Lord Caldwell answered calmly, “That is not the matter that concerns me the most at the moment. You did not read the last part.”

            Garrett snatched the paper from the floor, reading the last part before gazing in shock, “Werewolves? Here? How insane of him to suggest such a notion!”

            Lord Caldwell added, “A healer was attacked two weeks ago and forced to resign. Plus a reporter mysteriously vanished and reappeared with werewolf bites on his leg only four days ago. There is no doubt in my mind that we have some kind of monster lurking about near our village.”

            “But the spells and barriers you put up-” Garrett started to say.

            “Only mild spells and barriers, I’m afraid. I cannot protect these people from everything, but if a werewolf is on the loose, we need to take caution and necessary actions,” Lord Caldwell stated seriously, getting up from his sofa to light his pipe.

            Garrett stared out the nearest window, looking down at the meager village from the second story of the house. The very idea of such a creature wandering about the town day by day and changing not just at full moon, but also at will, made his blood run cold. Yet, this creature needed to be stopped and soon.



September. 1940. Greydale Hospital.

            The hospital was busy as a hive of bees in the early morning. The sun began to peek from the edge of the moors, greeting the cool dawn air with a cheery yellow grin over the horizon line. Meanwhile, healers rushed into the cramped dining hall, grabbing a quick morning meal of porridge, biscuits and a little fruit before rushing up the stairs to the day’s work. Poppy finished her morning meal just as a blonde-haired healer dressed in similar gray skirt, blouse and white apron and cap approached her, “I’m Mary Hastings, I’ll be training you for the next couple of days.”

            Poppy nodded, wiping the crumbs from her skirt before following Mary down the hall to the stairs. Mary handed her a notepad, “Take notes if you wish, but I hope you have a strong stomach, Poppy.”

            Strong stomach for what? The sight Poppy was about to see was not one she had expected at all when considering the possibilities of an official healer position at an established hospital. A strong stench aroused the contents of Poppy’s stomach as they came upon the first corridor of treatment rooms. Sounds of moans and cries of anguish echoed in the hallway, and Mary led her into the first room containing a few cots and patients. One man was sitting up in bed, crying in pain as a healer applied a poultice to his left arm. Another man lay bandaged up on another cot, his face distorted from some kind of war torture and his right hand completely missing. Poppy swallowed hard, trying to remain composed and keep herself from making a scene as Mary started to explain, “This is the war infirmary. Our village has sent several wizards to war to help the muggles, and when they are wounded, a healer in one of the muggle hospitals sends them here.”

            Poppy nodded, unable to find a single word in response as her hazel eyes gazed upon the horrific aftermath of the war going on in the muggle war. Mary began showing Poppy the cabinets for potion supplies, dressings and other necessary items in the infirmary. The excitement of the position as healer started to dwindle within Poppy’s heart as she realized Mrs. Mason was right. This was more than the ordinary paper cut and stomach bug, and she really had no clue. “Poppy, are you listening at all to what I just told you?” Mary spoke rather sharply, trying to gain Poppy’s attention.

            Snapping back to the real world, Poppy started to say nervously, “Of course, something about spells for healing shrapnel wounds-”

            “Yes, now please pay attention. I’m not going to repeat anything,” Mary stated quickly as she crossed the room to demonstrate a proper wound dressing.

            Poppy bit her lip, nearly tasting her own blood as she tried to listen to Mary’s instructions. Yet, nothing seemed to sink in just yet, because Poppy was too horrified and in shock from the realization that being a healer meant a great deal more than being able to brew a proper potion or adjust a bandage. She would need a stronger stomach and whole lot of guts to do this.

a/n: so let me know your thoughts! I'm open to suggestions. Thank you for reading! :)











Chapter 3: Here to Work
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Mid-September 1940. Greydale Hospital


            The days of training were long as Poppy found herself running about the hospital from sun up to sun down. The Head Healer, Healer Wilkins, stood in the dining hall with a clipboard in hand. Poppy stood nearby as he arranged her schedule for the week. He noted, “Mary tells me you have done rather well in your training. No mishaps or excuses or need to leave the room upon sight of the patient.”

            Poppy nodded in confirmation, trying to hide her nerves as well as stop herself from fidgeting too much. Healer Wilkins crossed a few things on the paper before handing her the schedule, “These will be your hours. You will receive your pay at the end of next week, and you are allowed a half day off on Fridays and all day Sunday.”

            Poppy examined the schedule, seeing she would be working at 7 a.m. to  5 p.m. everyday in the war infirmary in the mornings and the sick ward in the afternoons. Healer Wilkins gave her a stern look, sending shivers of fear down her spine as he spoke firmly, “There will be no courting staff members of the opposite sex in this hospital, and I have zero tolerance for secret affairs amongst the healers. You are here to work, Miss Pomfrey, not to fiddle faddle around, understood?”

            “Yes, sir,” Poppy answered, feeling as though she were reporting to a ship captain.

            Healer Wilkins left her with those parting words, and Poppy sat at the table, thinking over everything that was happening. She finally had a job; even if it was not in the hospital she’d hoped for it, it was still a healer position. She was making her own way in the world without the charity or pity of others, and even Mrs. Mason would admit that Poppy had done well for herself so far. Seconds later, Mary rushed into the room, ecstatic about some kind of event as her eyes lit up upon seeing Poppy sitting at the table, “You will never guess what’s going on this Friday!”

            Poppy smiled a little, “I don’t have a clue, Mary.”

            Mary grinned, holding some newspaper article in her fingertips, shaking the paper in front of Poppy’s confused face, “See this? It’s a picture of Louis Murray. He’s only the most handsome Quidditch player in the entire wizarding world! He’s coming here on Friday for a fundraiser for the war effort! There’s to be dancing, games and all sorts of fun things in the village square!”

            Poppy glanced upon the picture of the ‘oh so handsome and dreamy’ Quidditch star. True, in the black and white picture, he seemed almost lifelike with his dark eyes staring back at her and his dark hair perfectly combed back to match his award winning smile. She only sighed, never having been one for Quidditch. Her village friends had always loved a good match, but Poppy would’ve rather spent her time learning about the various herbs and plants in her garden. She tried to hide her less than enthusiastic mind about Quidditch as she looked at Mary with a fake smile, “Wonderful. I hope you have a swell time.”

            “Well I’m not going alone,” Mary stated, “You’re coming along.”

            Sighing in reluctance, Poppy shook her head, “I’m not one for dancing or any of that foolery. I’m best off staying here and patching some blankets or something for the incoming patients.”

            Mary sighed, folding up the article into her pocket, “Fine, but you’ll only miss out on seeing one of the greatest Quidditch players ever.”

            Poppy stood, adjusting her cap and apron, “Fine by me.”

            Poppy walked up the creaky staircase to the infirmary. Another healer was just finishing his shift, signing out his time on the clipboard on the doorway. Poppy grabbed the quill, writing her time on her slot, and immediately she scurried across the floor towards the cabinets. A wounded young man about twenty years old coughed from nearby, his lungs badly damaged from the smoke and gas in the war trenches, and Poppy grabbed a bowl, a couple potion vials, and a few herbs from the stock cupboard before sitting on a stool near the man’s beside. He coughed again, rattling the bedsprings, and Poppy touched his forehead, checking his temperature before uncorking the first potion vial, raising the glass to his chapped lips. The soldier looked at her with his tired hazel eyes, his bandaged left hand reaching up for her cheek as he spoke in a raspy, almost wheezing voice as his lungs were weakened, “so beautiful…”

            Poppy bit her lip, trying to remain composed as the man’s cough worsened within seconds, “Please, you must drink this.”

            He closed his eyes briefly, almost like he was trying to wake himself up from a dream, like he was unsure whether his current state was a nightmare or reality itself. Then Poppy felt his callused fingers touch her wrist, and he spoke quietly, still wheezing, “I’m Terrence.”

            Poppy managed a small smile, once again trying to give him the potion, “I’m Poppy.”

            “Like the flower,” he coughed, as he was smiling just a little, enough that it warmed Poppy’s heart.

            She nodded as he slowly drank down the liquid between coughs, almost coughing up half of what he drank. Tenderly, she wiped the excess drops from his lips, before examining the bandage on his left arm and hand. He winced as she unwrapped the wound, applying the correct herbs where needed before rewrapping it back to its former state. As Poppy stood to care for the next patient on the bed to the right, Terrence’s fingers touch her arm, and he looked up at her with his sleepy gaze, clearing his throat, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate…”

            He did finish as he began drifting to sleep, and Poppy smiled gently, touching his hand, “You will tell me the rest later, Terrence. Sleep for now, alright?”

            Leaving him to his sleep, Poppy moved onto the next soldier, fixing his bandages on his leg and giving him a potion for the pain. As she moved about the room from patient to patient, Poppy still felt the warmth of Terrence’s gentle touch on her arm, and the reciting of a muggle poem made her heart jump just a little.

           

Mid-September. 1940. Caldwell Estate.

            A black spaniel raced across the grass of the estate lawn, chasing after an old rubber ball that her master had thrown as he walked along the groves of trees. Garrett sighed, resting upon a nearby bench as the spaniel trotted back to him with the ball in her mouth. He stroked her silky black fur, “Good girl, Rosie.”

            Rosie barked, pawing his leg for a treat, and Garrett dug in his pocket, handing the dog a small piece of meat that she eagerly snapped up. He leaned back on the bench, staring a the neatly trimmed hedges, the flower bushes blooming the last buds of the season and the entire lawn of the estate looking in tip top fashion. Rubbing his temples, Garrett groaned, “What am I to do, Rosie? Father will murder me for sure.”

            Rosie cocked her head to one side, looking at him expectantly for another game or head rub. Garrett felt the papers in his pocket burning through the brown fabric, the neatly typed words etched in his mind, and he could still feel his stomach rising to his throat every time he thought of the grim contents, or even worse, the near distant future that would result in most likely, the worst of outcomes. Yet, he had gambled with his own life in taking a chance on this. He had no choice but to move forward with the consequences now. Six months ago, he had not fully contemplated that he would actually be selected to go. He had never imagined his name to be drawn among the lot. A sudden bark from Rosie interrupted his darkened mood, and Garrett glanced towards the dog, “There’s nothing out here, Rosie.”

            Rosie seemed determined, barking at the nearby hedges, moving closer, until the sound of a familiar giggle came from up the path, “Rosie, you silly doggie, there’s nothing there but some old twigs and grass.”

            Garrett looked to see his eighteen-year-old sister standing there, and instantly his spirits were lifted as he pulled her into a welcoming hug, “Home from Grandmother’s already, Holly?”

            “Well you know Grandmother,” Holly smiled, “She cannot bear to hear more of those muggle tunes more than a week or two.”

            Garrett laughed, “Still set in her aristocratic ways, is she?”

            “Unfortunately so,” Holly giggled, taking his arm as they walked back to the house.

            Holly mentioned as they walked with Rosie walking behind, “now, father tells me there is to be some kind of event this Friday?”

            “I only invited an old friend to visit and father turned that into some extravaganza,” Garrett sighed.

            Holly shook her blonde curls, grinning, “Course he did. So, you will introduce me to Louis, won’t you?”

            “Not you too,” Garrett groaned, teasing her, “I’ve had enough of these ridiculous fanclubs.”

            Holly laughed, “Fine, but you must at least go with me Friday night to the village square.”

            “I doubt I have much say in the matter,” Garrett grinned.

            The two walked in the front door, unaware of Rosie looking back at a dark shadow crossing from the faraway hedge to the trees. She growled at the lurking imposter for a second before a servant yanked her by the collar into the house.

a/n: i apologize for the long wait. i got busy preparing to go back to college. I'll update soon with a longer, less filler type chapter! 
 


Chapter 4: Misunderstandings and Mistakes
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Friday, September 23. 1940. Greydale Village.

            A soft breeze blew through the trees as the sun began to set over the desolate moors behind the village. Lights, strung across lampposts and various booths, lit up the town as if it were Christmas day and not the end of September. Village children ran through the streets, cheering and hollering about the Quidditch players coming soon along with the game booths set up. Dressed rather casually, but still walking in proper stature of a true gentleman, Garrett led his fair-skinned sister down the road. She adjusted the blue ribbon holding her golden curls away from her face and applied a final coat of red lipstick to her lips. Garrett merely ignored his younger sister’s sudden awareness of her looks, stopping for a brief second upon their arrival at the local hospital. Holly smoothed the wrinkles in her dark blue knee-length dress and gave him a puzzled look, “Why are you stopping?”

            Garrett sighed, “Not sure. I just had a feeling about something is all.”

            Holly smiled, teasing, “You are probably just feeling the indigestion from dinner last night. After all, all you did was argue with father about your sudden interest in going to war.”

            The papers still burned deep inside his coat pocket, and Garrett knew he would not be able to keep the secret hidden much longer from anyone, especially Holly. He was not merely interested in the war; he was to be shipped off. The comfortable days at home were drawing to a close. The inevitable was to come, and he knew he needed the opportune moment to reveal his information. The only question that remained etched in his mind was when.

            Holly impatiently tugged her brother’s arm, “Let’s go already. I want a chance to meet Louis Murray before the rest of the women in the town start ogling him.”

            Garrett held back a laugh, “Alright.”

            They continued walking, but Garrett took a moment to glance back at the hospital. His eye caught the glimpse of a young nurse sitting at the second story window. She was the very nurse who he had brought to the hospital. For whatever reason, her gaze looked rather sad, dejected and torn. She turned away when his eyes captured hers, and he sighed, trying to remove her from his memory. He could not be involved with anyone now.

 

Friday September 23, 1940. Greydale Hospital.

 

            Poppy sighed, looking back out the window. Garrett and a young lady were walking further down the street now, perhaps towards the fundraiser for the war effort. The question of who the beautiful young lady was seemed to stick in Poppy’s mind. The young woman with gorgeous blonde hair, a stylish dark blue dress which was the latest fashion, and a charming smile seemed to be impossible to out do. Poppy shook her head, mumbling to herself, “No. I have to work. Besides, Garrett obviously has someone now. I’m nothing to him now.”       

            The cough of Terrence caught her immediate attention, and she hastily walked to his side. His eyes opened slightly, and she smiled a little, checking his bandages on his left arm. He winced as she applied a poultice, and she looked up at his tired, worn face. His eyes met hers for a second, making her look away in an instant. Poppy asked softly, “Anything I can get you?”

            “No,” he seemed to choke on his own breath, “Just promise..”

            “Promise what?” Poppy inquired, giving him a sip of a potion.

            “Promise once I’m out of here you’ll let me take you dancing,” He mustered enough strength to give a grin.

            Poppy’s cheeks reddened, and she quickly spoke, unsure of what to think, “We’ll see. Just focus on your recovery first, okay?”

            Terrence’s hazel eyes pierced into hers for a moment with flickers of hope, and he slowly fell asleep due to the effects of the potions. Poppy bit her lip. She had gotten acquainted with her patients by now, especially Terrence. For whatever reason, he seemed to know how to charm her. Although she held only feelings of deep friendship for him, she wished his recovery would progress a little faster than what it was. At the moment, he was still getting better, but nearly fast enough. Due to his slow progression, there was concern about infection and the moment he would get ill, the chances of recovering at all would be very slim. Mary’s voice filled the room as she entered, “Poppy! What have you been doing? I wanted to leave half an hour ago!”

            Poppy stated, “I should stay-”

            Another healer entered, taking the clipboard from Poppy’s hands, “All will be fine. I can manage.”

            Poppy looked to Mary, “Do I really need to go? I mean, you know more about this Quidditch player than me anyways and I won’t know anyone there-”

            Mary groaned, grabbing Poppy’s arm, practically yanking it from the socket as she pulled her to the hall, “Let’s just go already. Change into something else and meet me outside.”

            Poppy tried to mask her deep reluctance as she shut the door to her room before searching her drawers for something suitable to wear. After throwing out several skirts and dresses, she settled on a simple knee length red dress that had buttons all down the front with little frills. She took off her nurse cap, brushed her brown curls loose from her bun and applied minimal make up. Once she was set, she grabbed her coin purse and headed outside where Mary was waiting and looking rather eager to go. Once Poppy’s feet hit the cobblestone, Mary pulled her again down the street, nearly in a running pace, forcing Poppy to run behind to keep from tripping. Poppy only prayed she would not run into Garrett and his date.

 

Friday. September 23. Greydale Village.

            The cameras flashed as reporters gathered around the Quidditch team from the Puddlemere United team. The dashing Louis Murray, the highlight of the evening, flashed a dazzling smile, holding onto the latest broomstick – the starcatcher 100. Swooning mobs of fangirls begged for a picture and an autograph. Poppy rolled her eyes in disgust as Mary started pushing her way through the girls, shouting for them to make room. Uninterested in acquiring a moment with a Quidditch star, Poppy walked away from the mob, hearing the sound of a local woman begging for a customer. Turning to the nearby booth, Poppy’s eyes met the weary blue ones of an elderly woman standing behind a table with several baked good.

            The sweet aroma of sticky buns filled the air, and immediately, Poppy found herself drawn to the table. She smiled at the woman who introduced herself, “Penelope Waterworth. My son’s fighting in the war.”

            Poppy nodded, taking a sticky bun from the table, “How much?”

            Penelope Waterworth’s eyes lit up, “Only a sickle.”

            Poppy searched through her coin purse, handing the lady a sickle and a couple of knuts, “I hope your son returns safely.”

            “Thank you, miss,” Penelope nodded, her eyes tearing up at the thought of her son in battle.

            Poppy bit into the sticky bun as she walked, the warm gooey dough tasting like a small slice of heaven in her mouth. Once she finished, she glanced back at the noisy mob around the Quidditch stars and noted Mary was still fighting to get to the front in the middle of the crowd. Knowing she would be here a while, Poppy visited other tables, donating to the children’s hospital in a nearby city as well. Then the velvety sound of Garrett’s voice reached her ears.

Coming around the corner ahead of her was Garret with the beautiful blonde haired woman clinging to his arm, laughing at something he was saying. Upon seeing Poppy, Garrett tipped his cap, saying a quick cordial hello before his date gushed over the Quidditch stars, tearing from him and running towards the crowd. Poppy sighed, knowing he would want to run after his date, so she continued on, but he stopped her, “Miss Pomfrey, how is your work at the hospital?”

“Just fine, thank you,” Poppy politely replied, not wanting to dive into a conversation as she could not forget his coldness towards her earlier in the month.

Garrett looked at her, his blue eyes filled with a bit of confusion as to why she was acting rather distant, “Is something the matter?”

Poppy stated coolly, “Nothing in fact. I suppose you’ll want to go find your date. I’m sure she’s wondering where you are.”

“My date?” Garrett questioned, not understanding what Poppy was talking about.

“The lady you were just with,” Poppy pointed out, “I’m sure she’s looking for you.”

Garrett grinned, amused in the fact that Poppy had misunderstood the situation and perhaps held a tinge of jealousy in her voice. He shook his head, “I highly doubt my own sister would be thinking of me when Louis Murray is thirty feet away.”

            Poppy’s eyebrows rose in confusion and her cheeks turned red once she realized she had been greatly mistaken. His sister? She swallowed hard, wishing she had not made such a blunder, and Garrett instantly reassured her, “It’s fine, really. Holly is usually in London or York for most of the time.”

            Still standing in the bitter chill of a night wind in the middle of the street, Poppy could not help but feel slightly humiliated for her own mistake. Yet, she could not dwell on this. She could not fall for Garrett Caldwell, no matter how charming he seemed to be. Garrett questioned, “Have you enjoyed your time here so far?”

            “Yes, but I have been working a lot lately. The hospital is busy as you know,” Poppy nodded, deeply wishing he would leave and make this all the easier.

            Garrett nodded, fiddling with something in his coat pocket, seeming distracted by something deeper than he was letting on in Poppy’s mind. He inquired, “Have you seen much of the town?”

            “Not much I’m afraid to say,” Poppy sighed.

            “Well you will have to venture to the gingerbread shop sometime if you have a free moment. It’s possibly one of the best around,” Garrett recommended.

            Poppy nodded, biting her lip, desperately trying to think of an excuse to leave, “Yes, I may have to. But I’m afraid I need to-”

            Just then, Holly saved the day in running towards them, “Garrett! You must help me meet Louis Murray! He is your friend of course.”

            Garrett groaned in annoyance, “Must I? I only promised to escort you so father would not fret over you going alone.”

            Holly sighed, and noticed Poppy, “Oh I am terribly rude. I’m Holly Caldwell.”

            “Poppy Pomfrey,” Poppy smiled politely.

            Holly smiled, “Ah so you’re the nurse my brother was talking-”

            “Actually let’s go see if I can get past the mob, Holly,” Garrett interrupted her, grabbing her arm and leading her off, “I’ll see you later, Poppy.”

            Poppy stood there, watching them go off. For a moment, it felt like her heart was torn to pieces. He had attempted conversation just earlier, and all of the sudden, he had no desire to further it. Her heart sank slightly, but she could not think of how this man had suddenly started toying with her emotions like a cat with a ball of string. True she had wanted to escape his company, but for whatever reason now, she was longing for his presence. Feeling conflicted, Poppy kicked at a pebble in the road, groaning, “Why Garrett Caldwell? Why toy with my emotions?”

            She had no explanation. But she knew deep down inside it would never work. Garrett lived a completely different lifestyle from hers, and surely he had someone already.

 

1940. September 23. Greydale Hospital.

            Returning to the hospital an hour or so later, Poppy donned her nurse’s skirt, blouse and the cap, pinning back her long brunette locks again into a bun. After checking her attire, she headed up the creaky staircase, hoping everything would return to normal. Her late shift was to begin momentarily, but she wanted to check on Terrence. As she reached the top of the stairs, voices echoed down the halls. People were scurrying about in the hospital wing where the war patients were kept. What was going on? Poppy rushed to the scene, finding healers gathered around Terrence’s bed. Instantly, Poppy ran across the room, “what’s happening?”

            One of the healers informed her, grabbing some potions from the cupboard, “Terrence. He’s fading on us.”

            “Terrence?” Poppy’s voice was only a fearful whisper as her heart nearly stopped.

            Then she heard the familiar sounds of Terrence’s coughing fits. Someone threw out the words of infection and cold. Terrence’s loud choking coughs made Poppy want to cough herself. She pushed her way towards his bedside, finding Healer Wilkins examining his throat and shouting, “Bring the potion here! Now!”

            Then someone ran with the vial, handing it over and Healer Wilkins tried to get Terrence to drink, but he was feverishly murmuring nonsense, coughing and seemingly in another world. Poppy grabbed the vial from Healer Wilkins. She was nearly shouting at Terrence as she held the vial to his lips, pouring some in his mouth, “Drink this! You have to drink this, Terrence!”

            But it was too late. Within seconds, Terrence collapsed on the bed, his pulse fading into nothing, his eyes closed and his body lying limp on the mattress. Poppy’s eyes filled with tears as Healer Wilkins checked and nodded grimly. Poppy felt the vial slip through her fingers as her heart stopped, her blood ran cold and the vial shattered on the wood floorboards at her feet. Terrence was gone. Poppy instantly fled the room, desperately wishing there could have been something she could have done. She ran down the stairs, tearing off her cap, tears running down her cheeks as she stumbled outside into the cool night air. She could hear Mary crying after her, “Poppy! Come back!”

            Mary grabbed Poppy’s arm, saying, “It’s not your fault. Terrence was not progressing-”

            “I should have stayed with him!” Poppy cried bitterly.

            “You couldn’t have done anything more for him- ” Mary tried to reason with her.

            Poppy shook her head, angrily saying, “I should have never left. He would still be here.”

            “You don’t know that,” Mary sighed.

            Poppy shook her head, not wanting to listen to another word. Breaking free from Mary’s hold, she ran down the lamplit streets, crying until she could run and cry no more. Leaning against a lamppost, she closed her eyes, trying to control herself. But Terrence was gone, and she felt responsible. Her heart felt like a lead weight at the bottom of her chest, and she tried to stop the tears from coming. Then the soft, concerned voice of Garrett Caldwell speaking her name brought her back to reality, “Poppy?”

            Blinking back tears, Poppy looked to see him standing there in his coat and hat, looking rather concerned. He was also alone. Holly was nowhere in sight. He asked quietly, “Are you alright?”

            Poppy bit her lip, “I just lost a patient.”

            His blue eyes searched hers, and he swallowed before saying, “I’m sorry.”

            “I should have been there with him,” She swallowed hard, trying to keep from sobbing.

            Garrett nodded, taking a handkerchief from his pocket and handing it to her. She blew her nose, wiped her eyes and cleared her throat, “I better get back before they start searching for me.”

            “Would you like me to walk you back?” He asked, glancing at the darkened and empty streets.

            Feeling a chill in the air and noting the darkness with the solitariness, Poppy felt her blood run cold. She had no idea where she was at this moment. Nodding in confirmation, she replied, “Yes, if that’s not a problem.”

            “Not at all,” Garrett nodded.

            They began walking down the cobblestone streets, with nothing but the sound of their footsteps echoing into the darkness. Yet, neither saw the shadow cross the glow of the lamplight behind them or heard the low growl of some creature standing in the dark shadows. 

a/n: i apologize profusely for my delay in updating the past two months. I've been extremely busy with university workload and such. Anyway, let me know what you think! :) 










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