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A/N: Hi loves! If you're reading is author's note then you know that HPFF is shutting down. If you'd like to continue reading my stories or to read my new stories, come find me at HPFanficTalk (a whole community for you to befriend and most of us are actually from this site) or check me out over at AO3! Hope to hear from you soon! :)






 

It seemed like every Tuesday afternoon at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, there was a lull in patient care demands for healers-to-be. Some of the healers in training spent it smoking, some grabbed lunch, but others like Madeleine Ellison and Rose Weasley spent it reviewing patient charts and swapping gossip.

“So what you’re telling me is that he won’t let you have your stuff unless you sit down and let him explain it to you?” Rose furrowed her eyebrows sympathetically at her peer.

“Pretty much. What is there to even explain? You don’t just accidentally fall into bed with the next door neighbor.” Madeleine exchanged clipboards with Rose.

“Bloody McLaggen. You know, back at Hogwarts he had a nasty reputation. You should have known better.” Rose chastised her friend.

“I know, I know. I wish I had listened. Merlin, he’s despicable. I don’t even want to look at him.” Madeleine scribbled something illegible into the margin of the chart.

“Maybe you could call the police or something? I mean he is holding your stuff hostage. Not to mention Griswold. Poor kitten. I hope he’s feeding him. Bloody tosspot.”

“To be honest, if it were just my things, I’d leave it all there and buy everything all over again. It’s just that I can’t leave Gris.” Madeleine whined. It had been four days since she saw her cat.

“Well maybe we can form some sort of rescue mission. You have every legal right to go into your apartment. Your name is on the lease.” Rose offered.

“Sure, except that he changed the locks to force me to talk with him. If only we could just use something easy like alohomora.”

“Stupid wizarding protections. You know, it probably isn’t even to win you back. He probably just wants to ‘debrief’ you so you don’t ruin his political career by going public about it!” Rose and Madeleine both laughed.

Liam McLaggen, a recent magical law graduate and slimeball extraordinaire, firmly believed that he would be a viable Minister of Magic candidate if he followed his six-year plan. It consisted of working a certain number of cases pro-bono (ten a year), marrying the respectable healer in training, campaigning to raise the pay of aurors, volunteering part time at the local animal shelter and soup kitchen, and finally, unbeknownst to Madeleine, impregnating Madeleine the year of the election to sway voters. This year he was supposed to propose to her. 

“Go public? That would be just as embarrassing for me as it would be for him. I don’t want people to know that I’ve been dating someone so sleazy all this time!” Madeleine cringed at the thought.

With a snort, Rose started a pot of coffee so she and Madeleine could make it through the last of their clinicals for the day.

“I’m going to go over this evening when we get off and try to get Gris back. If it means having to listen to him, so be it. I just want to be able to move on and that can’t happen until I have my cat!” Madeleine decided as an afterthought.

Rose contemplated as she poured each of them a cup of coffee.

“Don’t do that yet. Let me make some phone calls first. I think I have a solution.” Rose didn’t wait for Madeleine to reply before stalking out of the break area, dialing on her phone.

When Rose came back, fifteen minutes later, she was grinning ear to ear.
 
“When we get off, just go back to your brother’s flat. I’ve got it covered.” Rose smirked mischievously.

“Really?” Madeleine asked skeptically.

“You won’t have to talk to him again, Maddie.” Rose comforted her as they gathered their charts to begin rounds again.

After a grueling day of curing magical maladies, reversing complex curses, and listening to orderlies complain, Madeleine sunk exhaustedly into the armchair in her brother’s living room. She couldn’t stop wondering what in the world Rose could be doing right now. Her brother, Matthew, was in Egypt for the next month for work and told her to just make herself at home. She didn’t feel much at home. She needed to find a place of her own. She wouldn’t feel as lonely with her kitten by her side. Completely drained of all energy and enthusiasm, she decided to order take out rather than cook for herself. Cooking used to be something she enjoyed very much. After dinner, she planned a nice bubble bath. Maybe it could help her piece her life back together. Hot water tends to do that. She flicked through television channels restlessly, waiting for her food to arrive.

The doorbell buzzed loudly, pulling her out of her television trance. Then it buzzed again. And again. And again. The delivery boy sure was in a hurry today.

“I’m coming, I’m coming!” Madeleine called to the impatient buzzer.

When Madeleine opened up the door, she was greeted by a mass of fit men. She thought she must have been dreaming. They were all holding heavy brown boxes.

“’Sup. Louis Weasley.” The foremost boy with messy blond hair pushed by her, sitting a box on the floor in the kitchen.

“Freddie Weasley, at your service.” A caramel skinned boy bowed awkwardly to her before pushing by her into the kitchen as well.

“James Potter.” A dark haired boy winked at her, stacking his box on top of Freddie’s.

“Hello, I’m Al Potter. Is it alright if we come in?” A similarly dark haired boy smiled shyly, glancing apologetically at his friends already inside.

“Uh. I mean—Well I guess.” Madeleine stammered.

“Hi, Teddy Lupin. Pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

“Scorpius Malfoy.” A smirk crossed his face as Madeleine finally realized what was going on. Rose had called her family and boyfriend to get her things from the flat.

“Rose sent you?” Maddie finally found her voice, staring at the piles of boxes and the boys surrounding them.

“Yep. We aren’t done. You stay here. We’ll get the rest!” James Potter grinned, leading the rest of them back down the stairwell.

They already brought six boxes of her things and more was coming! She hadn’t expected anywhere near this much even if she herself had gone to collect it.

“Pot of tea would be lovely. It’s getting mighty chilly out!” Scorpius called, carrying an armoire with the help of Freddie.

“Oh. Right. Sorry." Madeleine called, immediately placing two teakettles on the stove. She was bewildered to say the least.

By the time the tea was done, the entire bedroom set, chaise lounge, her favorite wingback chair, television set, dining room table and chairs, and entertainment center had been brought up, along with ten more boxes.

“Thank Merlin for the feather-light charm!” Freddie panted, sitting down at the new dining room table.

“Thank you guys for getting all of this for me. You obviously didn’t have to.” Maddie served tea to each of them.

“Hey, it’s no problem. Nobody messes with our squad!” Louis fist bumped Freddie across their tea.

“Squad?” Madeleine inquired unsurely.

“It’s like our group. Friends, family, what have you.” James answered with a knowing smirk.

“If we could get them to stop calling us that, we would.” Scorpius shook his head with a laugh.

Madeleine felt overwhelmingly awkward in their presence considering that she had never actually met any of them other than briefly at Hogwarts and really only knew Rose from St. Mungo’s. She had been a shy, quiet Ravenclaw with a propensity for being in the library every waking hour.

Moments later, the delivery boy showed up at her open door with the takeout she had ordered a while ago. She paid gladly, but didn’t eat her food. She hadn’t known they’d be there or she would have ordered more.

“Hey, where is Al with the creature?” Louis suddenly looked up from his tea.

“Oh. He’s taken a weird liking to the thing. A vast improvement from the ferrets he always had though. Ugh, the smell! I think he said he was going to go bring it up. Maybe someone should go check on him.” James answered.

No one moved from their spot, but all looked at Madeleine.

“Okay. Well. I’ll go see if I can find him then.” Madeleine took this as her cue. A pit in her stomach was burning uncomfortably. She as unbelievably thankful for all of this help, but she clearly could never repay them. She was never very good at social situations anyway. That's probably what she liked about Liam. He was charasmatic enough for the both of them.
 
With her brother’s flat invaded by handsome men and an excessive amount of furniture, she was happy to face the crisp December wind. Sitting in the middle of the stoop of her building was Al holding her baby, Griswold.

“Oh! Gris!” she nearly cried, immediately sliding next to Al to pet her long lost friend. Four days without him was much too long. Gris pounced on her excitedly, curling up in her lap.                          

“I’m not sure that he was being fed regularly at your ex’s. We had to stop and get him some cat food on the way over.” Al patted the kitten worriedly.

“I was worried about that very thing myself. He never was very fond of him and definitely couldn’t handle taking care of him.”

“Well, he regrets it now. I’m sure you’re still grieving over your lost relationship, but we had a lot of fun today.” Al grinned mischievously as he watched small snowflakes drift toward the ground. Looks like a snowy winter after all. She thought about what he said. She wasn't really grieving for the loss of the relationship so much as kicking herself for falling for it to begin with.

“Fun?” Madeleine asked disbelievingly. Even the thought of conflict makes her stomach churn.

“Sure, Rosie has been complaining about this guy and how he treats you for months now. We owed him some payback.” Al observed Madeleine fondly.

“But you guys don’t even know me, why would you care? And payback?” Madeleine felt a bit insecure now. Sure, she’d heard stories of them, but they aren't friends with her. They couldn’t really care that much.

“We know you well enough. Rosie thinks very highly of you. Let’s just say he’ll think twice about harassing you again. It’s a bit chilly, care to rejoin the others?” Al smiled warmly, getting up to his feet.

“Definitely.” Madeleine confirmed, Griswold cuddled in her arms. Al helped her up the slippery stoop.

“And the way he got all twitchy when Scorp just stalked him around the apartment. Scorp, make that creepy face again!” Freddie’s boisterous voice filled the hallway outside followed by booming laughter.

“Oh! Maddie, we were just telling the story of us terrorizing McLaggen. Sit! Sit!” James patted to an empty seat beside him at her newly recovered dining room table.

“So—we all show up there and Al goes and rings the doorbell, trying to be polite—“ James started the story.

“But McLaggen is a twat and slams the door in his face. So we all head up to the door and Scorp bangs on the door like he was going to kick it down. I mean really hammering on it! Mind you, James and Freddie are still in their Puddlemere uniforms, Al and Scorp just left the auror’s office lookin’ half mad, Teddy morphed into this big burly Russian looking man, and I was just looking like the handsome devil I am—“ Louis interrupted, continuing the story.

“With all of us scary ass looking men, he couldn’t really deny us access could he? I mean Freddie brought his bleedin’ beaters bat for Merlin’s sake!” James continued his telling of the story.
 
“So Al explained to him why we were there and he looked so peeved but he told us to get whatever you wanted and go. So we did. We had no idea what shit was actually yours though so we just sorta started grabbing everything. Then Freddie started taking batteries and screws out of everything. He took all the toilet paper, all of his underwear, every lightbulb in every damn room BEFORE we even finished, all of the silverware. There was a bunch of food but we donated that box to a homeless guy down the street. The box got soggy because the milk lid wasn’t tight enough. We literally just stripped the place down. He got to keep most of his clothes, the fridge and oven, and all of the pictures of you two!” James and the rest of them were now laughing hysterically. Even Madeleine couldn’t help but laugh. She couldn't stop picturing the affronted look that Liam probably still had stuck on his face.

“James, you forget all the best parts!” Louis whined.

“Yeah, like Al loudly telling the cat what a wanker McLaggen was and McLaggen changing three shades of red and accidentally smashing a glass in his hand!” Teddy chimed in.

“Or how Freddie just decided in the middle of it that he wanted a grilled cheese sandwich and offered a bite to McLaggen. Also, who the hell uses blue cheese for a grilled cheese sandwich?” Louis snorted.

“Never mind how nervous he got when Scorp kept following him around. Scorp, show Maddie the face. Show her!” James was laughing uproariously. Scorpius did, in fact, make a terrifying face.

Even though she was going through one of the hardest times of her life, Madeleine felt cheerful and content with these guys around. She felt like she was, indeed, part of the ‘squad’. If it weren’t for Liam being such a tosspot, she would have never felt this sort of acceptance, so for that, she’d be ever grateful to him.

“Alright, we’ve taken enough of your time. We’ll let you eat your food.” Freddie handed her the takeout box that was suspiciously missing roughly half the food. The boys were halfway out the door by the time she had finished inspecting her food.

“Hey, Maddie?” Al’s quiet voice behind her startled her.

“Al?” she asked.

“I was thinking. If you get bored or something, maybe we could have some butterbeers sometime or something? I mean—no pressure or anything. I just don’t have anything going on and stuff.” Al rushed his words together.

“Al! Come on, man!” James called from the hall.

“I’d like that. Rose has my phone number. You could give me a call when you’re free,” Madeleine smiled shyly.

And just like that, she had started to move on from scummy McLaggen. Regardless of whether or not anything happened with Al, she knew in that moment she would be fine.

 
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