Disclaimer: I don't own thewizarding world of Harry Potter.

A/N: This is my Semis entry for QLFC Season 3 as Chaser 3 for the Caerphilly Catapults against the Pride of Portee. Madam Pomfrey's last day is my assigned theme.

Prompts:

(word) ache

(phrase) 'Fingers crossed'

(restriction) No question marks

Special thanks to frustratedstudent for being my sounding board, as well as AmazingGraceless, MyDearProfessorMcGonagall, and thosedarndursleys for being my betareaders. Enjoy the story!

Curtain call and exit

August 31, 2016

Madam Pomfrey begins her last day at Hogwarts by opening the curtains. Her school matron dress is folded for the last time and she opts for a long navy blue flowing skirt and an off-white long sleeve blouse. "Everything is unfolding as it should," she reminds herself, notes all neatly arranged on her desk and potions bubbling at a small lab near it. "At least my potions area is better than the Dungeons."

She smiles fondly at the baby blue walls with portraits of sunflowers and a few commissions by some of her older students. Beside the moving reproduction of Van Gogh's Starry Night, is a quaint window that has the scenic view of Hogwarts grounds and the lake.

The curtain behind her opens and Hannah Abbott-Longbottom comes in, wearing her sanitized white scrubs with a Hogwarts logo on the left chest. It reminds her of a muggle doctor in a hospital.

"It's going to take me a while to get used to you kids at St. Mungo's." Pomfrey remarks with fondness in her eyes, handing her a series of later notes she has. Pointing to a small, neat pile of books and notebooks, she explains, "It is always handy to keep notes. During my time as the matron, I've come across a lot of different things and how different spells interact with each other. I think the kids at the Accidental Magic area have fun with the write-ups I make." She pauses for a moment and gives her last order, "Since you're taking over from my duties now, I have one thing on my list that I haven't quite gotten to write yet. Remember that Bat Bogeys Hexes are always a bother to fix when combined with other curses. I think I'm lacking two more case studies before you can safely publish my solution to that dilemma by applying a boil healing salve to the bridge of the nose and doing three Salvio Hexia charms to the face."

Hannah nods nervously at the stacks of books and notes Poppy has left her with. "I'm not sure how I'll manage with all this much, Madam Pomfrey. You have a regular column at the Hippocrates' Compendium Magus, along with the school healers of Beauxbatons and Mahoutokoro."

"Stop 'll do wonderfully, Hannah. And you can call me Poppy now. You've passed your Hospital wing matron training with me after all." Poppy quips with a subtle twinkle in her eye, 'I've always held on hope you'll be here in the Hospital Wing as a Healer. I'm glad that someone capable is here after all that I've faced during their seventh year.'

"Thank you, Poppy." Hannah replies while straightening out her matron dress. The nervousness disappears from her tone and is replaced by fondness.

"I would best to leave it to you and tell you to keep at watch out for Fred Weasley and James Potter tomorrow. They're here almost every other week for some failed prank or two. At least they've learned to not mess with the Filibuster Fireworks for the time being. They made a toilet explode and they came here covered in soot." Poppy walks away from her office for one last time with a sad smile on her lips, leaving a giggling Hannah in her wake.

Just as she is about to get through the door, Hannah calls out to her and gives her a fond embrace. "I'll miss you, Poppy."

Poppy returns the gesture and the dam within her heart breaks, crying over the shoulder of Hannah. "I'm going to miss you and this place I called home." They both weep for a minute or so, until Poppy composes herself. She sees Hannah's joyful tears and it reminds her of the first day she came here.

"This job wasn't initially my dream, but Minerva has always been persistent. You'll do great in taking care of this place." Poppy reminds her and gives Hannah one last hug before walking out of the Hospital Wing doors, with Hannah closing the stray curtain of the exact bed she places Harry Potter in each and every one of his adventures.

She slows down her pace along the hallways and takes a deep breath, knowing this might be the last time she'll ever see the quiet school. Peeves the Poltergeist passes by with a Dungbomb in hand, but stops just before he can throw it. He gives her a solemn look and salutes her with the same snappy way he gave Flitwick, Pomona, and most especially Minerva when they last walked from these hallowed halls of Hogwarts. Poppy nods briefly at Peeves; all is quiet around her until she steps outside of the castle.

The birds fly overhead and the clouds are light, a perfectly sunny day. "It has been months since I've had tea with Minerva here," Poppy whispers to herself while walking towards the Great Lake. Her trunk is floating and following her around like a tail of sorts.

"I remember this spot," she mutters and sits down on her trunk, underneath a collection of Aspens trees beside the lake. "From here, I realized I wanted to be a healer for St. Mungo's, but Minerva had other plans."

*Flashback*

"Poppy, I've heard you wanted to take an internship at St. Mungo's." Poppy turns around and sees Minerva McGonagall, one of the youngest Transfiguration mistresses in the British Isles, who is also her one of her dearest friends. Minerva smiles approvingly at her and conjures a cushioned chair from a fallen branch.

"Yes Minnie, you've heard correctly. I've always wanted to help people," Poppy replies and tosses a large fish towards one of the tentacles of the giant squid, while the other eight are fending off a flock of overly large crows with emerald green eyes and sickly green hues surrounding them that aim to steal the squid's fish.

One of the birds tries to take it from Poppy, but she gives it a stern glare and it uncharacteristically flies away in a panic, cawing to its members to run away. "That ought to teach those hooligan birds," Poppy mutters.

The giant squid offers one of its tentacles and Poppy gives it a high five, before the cephalopod disappears back into the depths of the lake.

After scourgifying her hand, she looks back to see Minerva's amused smirk at Poppy's antics."I'm actually surprised you're not asking me probing questions about my career choice."

"I'm not because of two things. You have your heart set to be a healer in St. Mungo's. And I know for a fact that you'll run back here after Madam Farley decides to put away her hat."

Poppy shrugs and looks into Minerva's eyes, "Minnie, I'm pushing through my healer training there first. I need to learn as much as I can. In the future, I'll decide."

"I hope you're up to help me and Albus when you've decided to come back to Hogwarts as our school matron a few years down the line. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed of course. I can always use a kindred hellion to lighten up the place." Minerva quips with a grin and walks back to the castle with Poppy beside her.

*End of Flashback*

Poppy stops her trunk from floating behind her and holds one of the handles tightly once she reaches the gate to Hogsmeade. The breeze brings in a comforting wind and she takes one last look at the castle. "I hope to Merlin that war never touches Hogwarts." She goes out of the gate and she whispers, "Goodbye Hogwarts," The engulfing silence within her soul answers all her worries as she disappears with tears streaming down her weary face, "Applaud as I exit."