Early morning light brightens the already illustrious colors of Dr. Moore’s office. Karen, her smooth blonde hair twisted up in a small clip, smiles knowingly into her tea cup as she appraises Nautica’s chipper appearance. “Do you feel you have finally opened up not only to yourself, but to your friends?” 




“I don’t think I can really say that,” Nautica murmurs, her eyes narrowed in thought. Can she really say that it was as easy as all that? That having gotten a boyfriend had entirely taken away any and all resolve to keep the worst of her symptoms to herself? “They know I’m in pain, they know I hurt. But, they don’t know every time I’m having a breakdown. I’m not ready to go there yet...” And unfortunately, this was true. In the last month of her and James being together, she had cried at least twice. Having a Meltdown because she felt so damn behind in her classes and also, because her hair had thinned considerably. As much as she cares for James, she’s not ready for it too be so raw. 



“The fact that you have even taken a step in that direction is amazing in itself,” Karen says honestly, “When you first walked in here, I hadn’t expected such a rapid progression. I had expected for you to fight me tooth and nail to even answer the easiest of questions. Maybe, I’m saying too much, but it’s true.” The clock ticks away on the mantel, signifying each second closer to leaving. As much as Nautica has actually progressed, she still wanted it to be over fairly quickly. “Do you like the pace that James and yours relationship is going?” 



“It still feels weird answering questions pertaining to him when I know you’re engaged to his older brother,” Nautica admits with a sigh, tapping her fingers on the armchair on the couch. “But, yes, I am happy with our ‘pace’. He actually wants me to come to the Weasley Family Christmas. And that kind of freaks me out.” 



“Just remember, I would never tell James about anything we talk about,” Karen says with a small smile. “Not only is there patient confidentiality, but I’m just not that kind of person anyway. Why does it freak you out? The Weasley’s are a great family. Nicest and craziest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.” 



“Well, I’m not freaked out about him asking me,” Nautica sighs again. “I am more freaked out at the thought of meeting Harry Potter, you know? The Savior of the Wizarding World.” In all fairness, she has seen him from a distance before. She’s seen him on her way to visit her Dad at the Ministry, but that was totally different for two very important reasons. For starters, she is now the girlfriend of his eldest son and what if he doesn’t like her? What if he hates her because her illness is going to drag James down? And second of all, she had once had the tiniest crush on him. Even now, the thought of meeting him makes her blush. A fact that James had thought disgustingly funny. 



“Harry is just a normal man,” Karen grins. “Just take away every renowned thing you’ve heard about him and there will be no reason to be nervous.” 



“Easy for you to say...” 


Karen ignores the comment, turning her attention to the journal sitting precariously on her knee. “I hear that your tumor has finally shown slight regression. Has that changed your insistence for it to be removed?” 



“Not particularly,” Nautica says quietly. Thinking of that visit. That time she hadn’t had James with her. He had had a detention with one of their Professors for mouthing off in class. She’d gone in with her Dad, her Mum too busy at work to be able to come. The tumor had become slightly smaller, a victory in the eyes of the healers. Not so much for her, but at least the potions had finally succeeded. “It’s hard to see the bigger picture when you’re constantly in pain. When your hair is falling out more and more and when you still cannot mount a broom.” 



“Maybe that’s what you should try to focus on,” Karen puts her cup down, sloshing the tea onto the small table. “Focus on doing your best in school and being a Healer. Let your friends in.” Nautica picks at an imaginary stray thread in her sweater, pondering on her words. It feels like her dream to be a Healer has been put in the back burner. But she can’t be too hard on herself about it. There’s enough going on. “Alright, that’s time. I hope I see you at the Weasley’s Christmas.” 



“Thanks,” Nautica leaves quickly through the fireplace and lands in a tumble of ash onto McGonagall’s rug. The Headmistress is sitting at her desk, clearly in a meeting by the appearance of a tall and wiry man in his own seat across from her. They both turn to Nautica, who scrambles to her feet, her cheeks feeling quite heated. 


“Miss Pheonix,” The man stands, stepping forward to shake her hand briskly. Nautica meets his eye for a half second, horror and embarrassment assailing her senses at whom she is now meeting. “Harry, James’ Dad.” Of course it is. 



“No offense, sir,” Nautica giggles, rather uncharacteristically for herself, ashamed by her reaction. “But I don’t think an introduction is needed on your part.” She can’t believe she had failed something as simple as flooing in, in front of Harry freakin’ Potter. Who, is her boyfriend’s Dad. She needs to get a grip. 



“That may be so,” his eyes twinkle, obviously quite amused by her reaction, “but it’d be rude to assume that everyone knows my name.” He takes a seat in the chair he had previously occupied and pulling out his wand, he conjures a mirror of it beside him. “Please join us.” 



“W-well, I have to get to class,” Nautica says, embarrassed, looking between Professor McGonagall and him. The Headmistress smiles encouragingly and gestures for her to take the seat. “Alright...” She takes the seat slowly, her hip bones yelling at her as she does so. The fall hadn’t been kind on her already aching body. 



“I was just telling Mr. Potter of your plans to get into the Healer Program at St. Mungos,” The Headmistress says, handing Nautica a cup of hot tea. She nods, unsure of what to say. 



“Being a Healer is an admirable ambition,” Harry says with a small smile in her direction. “Have you gotten your letter of recommendation from your Head of House yet?” Nautica gives a shake of her head, her meeting with Professor Corner isn’t until this Friday. “I think it would be very... beneficial if I were to add a letter for you as well.” His words combined with the kind look in his eyes makes her want to cry. Because, it’s true. A letter from Harry Potter recommending her for the Program would be extremely beneficial, to say the least. 



“Sir, I’m very touched by this,” Nautica says carefully, a thought having occurred to her. “But, is this letter only because I am currently dating your son?” She makes eye contact with him, knowing what the answer will be but wishing all the same that it’s not true. What if James decided he didn’t want to be with her? What if she decided the same? Then what? The highest recommendation of her life would be whisked away? “Because, as honored as I am....” A part of her already wants to stop herself from speaking. “...I don’t want that to be the only reason I get into the Program.” The silence following her words seem to stretch for forever. Harry, for the record, looks slightly uncomfortable mixed with amusement. 



“I’m going to be honest with you,” He leans forward and places his elbows on his knees. “That’s partially true, but I also wouldn’t recommend you regardless if I didn’t think you had it in you. The Headmistress here has been telling me how well of a student you are. Prefect. High grades.” He pauses, running a hand through his slightly grey hair. “And of course, I’m well aware of your illness... I think from what I’ve heard, you are handling it well.” She swallows a laugh, knowing he wouldn’t believe that if he’d seen her past meltdowns. “While it’s true that I wouldn’t know much about it if you weren’t with James, that doesn’t mean I’d have given you a letter just for that reason. And I promise you that no matter what happens between my son and you, I will not retract the letter. As far as I’m concerned, you’ve earned it.” 



Hearing that, the tears well up in her eyes. This is by far one of the best surprises that’s come her way all year. With Harry Potter backing her, no Program in the world would turn her away. “Thank you so much!” Before she can stop herself, she launches her arms around his neck and releases him quickly as her mind catches up with her body. Her cheeks redden as she takes a step back. “S-sorry sir...” 



“You’re fine and Harry’s fine,” He chuckles, patting her arm. 



“You may return to class,” McGonagall says fondly. “Your Professor has already been notified of your tardiness.” Nodding vigorously, Nautica leaves the office with a squeal. 





“James!” Nautica catches sight of her boyfriend as he is leaving Defense, his inky black hair visible over most of the other students’ heads. He turns at the sound of her voice, a smile stretching his cheeks. She walks as quickly as her sore muscles will allow her, James meeting her before she made it three steps past saying his name. With a cry of triumph, she wraps her arms around his neck and jumps up and down. 



“What’s going on, love?” 


“I just met your dad,” Nautica leans back, smiling up at him. He returns the smile with a confused look of his own. “He’s giving me a letter of recommendation for the St. Mungos Healer Program.”  



“Wow, holy shit, really?” Excitement morphs his features as he kisses her lightly on the lips. “He mentioned talking to good ole’ Minnie, but I didn’t know if he was actually going to. And I didn’t want to get your hopes up...” Nautica cups his face in her hands and kisses him again. Sweet Merlin, seventh year is halfway over and for the first time, she feels like she’s really going to make it. 



“Hey!” Santiago appears in the throng, waving his hand to catch her attention. James’ face tightens at her friend’s arrival but doesn’t say anything. Frankly, the secret being brought to light has helped For Nautica and Santiago to be better friends. And James doesn’t like him on principle, but he’d put up with his presence for both his cousin and girlfriend. “What’s the news?” 



Nautica relays it quickly and hugs Santiago as he congratulates her on the letter. “You’ll be more than set for after Hogwarts.” 



“I know, it’s crazy to think that we are almost there...” her voice trails off as the short amount of time they have until graduation continues to sink in for her. It’s like she’s been asleep these last few months and this was a splash of cold water on the reality of life. 



“But there’s still time,” James squeezes her shoulder encouragingly. “Do not freak out— let’s focus on the Holidays for right now instead.” At his words, she groans and throws her head back. “Hey! Meeting my family will be a blast.” 



“I’ve just never gone through the whole family and boyfriend and meeting thing,” Nautica mutters as they head towards Herbology. Santiago follows them, his rather dark skin paling at her words. “What’s wrong?” 



“Molly is dragging me to the Christmas dinner too,” he gulps, visibly nervous at the prospect. “She’s already told her Dad, which the whole school knows about.” The Howler had come days after James punching Santiago in the eye. It had been a particularly vicious older woman’s voice and James had quickly explained that it’d been Nana Weasley, the matriarch of the family. 



“It’ll be okay,” James smirks, and exclaims as Nautica jabs her elbow into his ribs. “Well, it will be. Luckily for him, I have already ‘taught him a lesson’ so any sort of fuckery by my uncles and cousins will be at a minimum.” 



“Your family is odd,” Nautica says slowly, squinting up at James with perhaps pity as they all three walk into the Greenhouses. Freddy and Jeremiah are already waiting with gloves and protective glasses on. Beside them, Tess is sitting with a scowl on her face. Santiago goes to take a seat beside her, but she puts a hand on his shoulder to stop him. “Partner with James today.” Neither boy looked happy at the thought, but sit together anyway. 



“What’s going on?” Nautica whispers after Professor Longbottom has given them their assignment and they’ve put their gloves and glasses on. Tess’ scowl deepens as she glances over at Freddy and Jeremiah.



“Those two idiots are what’s going on!” Her voice is a whispered shout as she grabs a pair of shears to attack the branches of a rather nasty Spindula tree. “They think that prancing me is the best way to pass the time and I’m fucking tired of it. You know what color my hair was this morning after I’d washed it? Pink! And not a cute pink, a ghastly fuschia!” She huffs as she breaks off a branch and Nautica catches it quickly before it can hit the ground and release the sap from the inside. 



“I can ask them if they’ll give you a break,” Nautica suggests, trying to be helpful. About a week or so ago, the two had taken it upon themselves to be extra spiteful towards Tess and Nautica had already yelled at them about it. But they refused to cease and desist. But, then again, she hadn’t involved James before. Not wanting to be that kind of girlfriend, but measures had to be taken. It’s getting past the point of ridiculous. 



“No,” Tess says, her voice shaking as she eyes the two idiots with marked disdain. “They have no idea what they’re getting themselves into.” If she wasn’t so irritated by the boys at continually pranking one of her friends, Nautica might have felt an ounce of pity for whatever Tess had planned for them. But... she is thoroughly irritated so oh well. 





Anyone think it believable about Harry writing her a letter of recommendation for the Healer Program? 

And why do you think the boys are pranking Tess so hard?? 

Please leave a review! 






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