A/N: This story is a request fic written for Darkamy1.
Halina smiled as she walked down the bustling streets of muggle New Orleans. It was a wonderful day, a fact that she was grateful for considering the time of year. She found that she enjoyed walking through the muggle streets, something about their culture was so different to her own. Where the Orleans Wizard community was well spoken and almost uptight in their community,(unless you were to talk about those who hid out in the Bayou, but they were a different class of people entirely), their muggle counterpart was loud, bright, and full of music!
She was walking to a particular shop for her Aunt, Rebecca. The woman had had something of a fight with the Orleans Wizarding community and it was best that they stay out of that place for the meantime. So instead of being able to just floo to Madam Claudette's potion supplies, she instead had to walk through the town to a seemingly un-special shop on the corner of the street.
She stepped around a pair of people admiring some street performers and shook her head- it was one of many times of the year when muggles would flock to New Orleans, tourist time. She then noticed someone sneaking towards some unsuspecting tourists, obviously about to pick pocket the poor unsuspecting couple. Halina's green eyes scrunched into a glare and she muttered a spell, she watched with satisfaction as the thief flipped backwards and smacked his head onto the ground.
She let out a chuckle as the thief stammered something to the people whom he was about to rob before fleeing. She was glad that her Aunt wasn't there, the woman probably would have scolded her for using magic in public, but she was doing the right thing so what was the problem? Halina was constantly hetting told off for even thinking about using her magic when she was out, Aunt Rebecca was constantly worried that someone would 'notice'. How that was possible when they were so careful, Halina didn't know but if nothing else, the worry caused Halina to use her magic more- especially when she was alone, as a girl of eighteen she was an adult! And as such should be able to use her magic at her leisure.
Halina shook her head of her thoughts and carried on down the street her steps slow and relaxed as she headed to her destination. She probably should have been walking faster, her Aunt was waiting for her, but she couldn't really find a reason to care. It was a peaceful day and she wanted to enjoy it. Alas all good things must come to an end, however as she soon found herself in front of the shop. It was a very unassuming shop which looked more like an old shack than anything else. But Halina knew better. She opened the door and walked inside.
Halina walked into the shop and looked into the eyes of an elderly woman. The woman adjusted her thick framed glasses and leaned against the counter. She watched as Halina closed the door behind her and walked into the shop.
"Hello Madam D." Halina replied as she walked through the shop. The shop was very small and cramped. Shelves cluttered with obscure objects coated the walls and hanging from the ceiling was an arraignment of herbs, dried plants and shrunken heads.
"How's your Aunt, dear child?" she asked with an inflection in her voice.
Green eyes rolled as she walked to the counter. "You know her, she's somehow managed to annoy at least 5 ministry higher ups during her last visit."
The old woman chuckled. "That sounds like the old firecracker." She reached under the counter and pulled out a paper bag. She placed the bag on the counter and pushed it towards Halina. "She ordered a big batch today. Something big planned?"
Halina shrugged and took the bag. "I don't pretend to know what goes on in her head." She nodded in thanks to the elderly woman before leaving the shop. As she stepped from the shop's door her glasses slid down she sighed and reached up to adjust the spectacles. Only to find herself smacking into something solid, causing her to drop her bag and fall back into the door.
"Sorry Miss." A smooth, American, voice said and Halina looked up and her green eyes locked with his blue.
"I-I" she stammered.
The blue eyed dusty haired blonde smiled and gestured to the paper bag and its contents on the ground. "Can I help you?"
Halina jumped and scampered to pick up the objects from the ground. The male knelt down and helped her. She panicked as he paused upon looking at the objects. The paper bag had been holding an array of dried, dead animal parts and insects. Nothing that would be considered normal for a girl her age- or any normal person to be holding.
The man didn't say anything, instead opted to just calmly place the objects back in the bag with her. When they were finished he lifted the bag and they rose to stand.
"Here you go Miss." He passed her the bag.
Halina clutched at the bag and stared at him wide eyed for a few moments before snapping out of her stupor. "I- thank you."
He nodded, before putting his hands in his denim pants and walked off. Halina watched his back as he walked away. He looked odd, almost out of place in her little town. Normally she would shrug someone like him off as a tourist, but there was something about him that itched at her- he was not here for vibrancy that was New Orleans.
After a few moments she shook her head and continued her trek down the street. Why did she even worry about the man? It wasn't as though she was going to meet him again.
Long fingers pushed a greying streak behind her ear. Brown eyes narrowed as she gripped the knife. Clutching at meat with her spare hand she bought the knife down to the juicy flesh. She smiled lightly as the knife sliced the meat with ease. She continued to chop at the meat until it was thoroughly diced. She then put the meats into the bubbling pot on the stove. She smiled with satisfaction as the pot sizzled satisfyingly as the addition.
At the click of a door opening the lady smiled and reached over for another ingredient.
"Aunt Rebecca?" a voice floated into the kitchen.
"In here dear." The woman replied as she diced some onions.
Halina walked through the archway leading into the kitchen and smiled. She placed the paper bag on the hardwood table and stepped to the bubbling pot. She picked up the wooden spoon and stirred the pot. She then lifted the spoon to her mouth, only to feel something hard smack her hand before she could taste the food.
"Ouch!" Halina gasped and dropped the spoon into the pot. Her green eyes narrowed and she glared at her Aunt.
Rebecca lifted the onions and added them to the pot. "It's not ready." Her eyes crinkled as she smiled. "Were you able to get the things for me?" her eyes shifted to the paper bag.
Halina grumbled under her breath and clutched her sore hand- that had hurt! She nodded in response to her Aunts question. "Madam D sends her love."
Rebecca smiled and opened the bag to inspect it's contents. When she was satisfied that everything was in order she took the bag and made to leave the room. When she reached the archway leading into other parts of the house she looked back at her niece.
"Give it another twenty minutes, then take it off the heat and call me." With that she was gone.
"Could I have the salt please?" Halina asked as the pair sat at the table.
Rebecca pulled a face and handed her the salt, her lips pursed as her niece took the shaker. Halina smiled warily, she knew that her Aunt hated her using the salt. The Elder always claimed that it was 'blasphemy' to add anything to her cooking. Halina understood, the elder took pride in her potions and her ability in the craft, things she made were always perfect- it was just Halina liked her food with a bit of salt, it wasn't personal.
"You're mother liked to butcher my food as well." Rebecca quipped with a wistful smile.
Halina looked up to the photo near the table. The wall filled with moving photo's and portraits of her ancestors. In the middle were her parents smiling down at her. Lilly and James Potter. She had always wondered how they had died, but whenever Halina had asked, she had received vague answers from her Aunt, or even avoidance of the question all together- it was frustrating, at her age she felt as though she deserved to know!
"What was my mother like?" she asked softly while picking at her food.
Rebecca, who had just shovelled food in her mouth, gestured for her niece to wait. Once she had swallowed her food, she replied to the question. "She was such a bright girl, so clever, she could have been great- such a waste." She shook her head sadly.
Halina touched her forehead, the scar that rested there was a constant reminder of her parent's death. Not a day went by where she did not think about them, but what did she know, really? She knew they had both excelled in school and had loved her. But there are things that she feels that she deserves to know.
"How did they die?"
Rebecca rose from the chair stiffly. She lifted her bowl and turned away from the younger woman. "We have spoken about this before Harry." She used the name 'Harry', a nickname for the girl that had stuck from childhood, before swiftly making her way to the basement.
Halina clenched her knuckles, making them turn white. A nearby mug shattered as rage filled her. Her lips tightened and she rose from the table, the only thing stopping her from stomping down there and demanding answers was her own fears. Her Aunt was scary when she acted this way, the last time she had gotten to this state she ended up flooding the street- how? Halina didn't know, but it had stayed with her and now the fear stayed with her. However rage stayed with her too, she often wondered how long it would take before she completely snapped at her Aunt and demanded on no uncertain terms, to learn the truth.
With a sigh the girl walked to the broken glass and began to clear the broken fragments- if she didn't do it now, someone was going to hurt themselves.
Halina walked towards the park with a book clutched under her arm. Her Aunt had sent her from the house while she experimented with some 'highly volatile' components. Halina had asked to stay and watch, but the elder had shooed her away with the explanation that she wasn't ready to be around such dangerous ingredients and that she didn't want her to loose a hand.
Halina snorted at the idea, it hadn't happened yet, so why did she think that it was going to happen now? The girl had memories of her Aunt allowing her into the basement to help with the potions a number of times when she was a child. Sure Halina had never had the aptitude for the craft that her mother had had, but that shouldn't mean that she was banned altogether from the room.
She eventually reached her destination and sat down at a park bench that was underneath a willow tree. Clutching the book in her hands, she took a few moments to watch her surroundings. It was a peaceful day which bought a smile to her face. Just as she was about to open her book and read, she was distracted by the sound of coughing. She looked over at an old man who was clutching his handkerchief to his mouth. Another cough made her look over to see a lady coughing into their elbow. She shifted uncomfortably and hoped that she didn't catch whatever was going around.
She then went back to reading her book when she heard more people coughing. It was unnerving in its own way and she tried to ignore it. Ignoring the coughing worked for the most part, until someone walked past her and coughed causing blood to splatter on her books pages. Gasping she looked up at the person who began to apologise profusely. The words of apology fell on deaf ears however as Halina stared in shock. The woman who had coughed was a sight to see. Her eyes were red and bloodshot, her skin was greying and there seemed to be a slight tremble in her body.
Halina jumped from her seat and staggered back from the apologising woman. She hastily grabbed her book and fled. There was something about the person that was unnatural, whatever was wrong with her sent chills down the girls spine.
She continued to run until she founder herself crashing to a halt- quite literally, she flopped back to the ground as she bumped into something solid.
"Hello stranger." Halina looked up and gasped, it was the man- the man she had bumped into the day before!