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Overwhelming News
Wednesday, April 18th ~ Late Afternoon

The sun was still in the sky when Rose lead her friends back to her building. The four women had met for tea and spent some time catching up, and Rose realized how much she missed spending time with them. Daphne had mentioned there was something she wanted to tell them, but would prefer to do it someplace less public. Izabel had spoken up, saying she had news of her own.

Since Daphne lived so far away, there was no way that Rose could go out to Glen Hollow without angering Roman, and Vera and Izabel both lived at the castle, another place Rose couldn't risk visiting, that left only Rose's flat. She offered her place up for a quick visit, saying she had to be somewhere that evening but saying that they were more than welcome to stop by before she had to leave.

As long as the sun was in the sky, then Roman should still be sleeping.

She opened the door to her flat, and hurried in to make sure the living area was clear before turning ask if the other ladies wanted anything to drink.
Vera requested a glass of wine and claimed a spot on the sofa.

"I'm feeling so left out — I have no news to tell in confidence. Oh, there's the arse-pinching thing, but that's more silly than anything. Rose, I do believe we should make something up to share with the other two."
She wrinkled her nose at Vera, knowing that Vera knew exactly what Daphne wanted to share.

Catching Rose's eye, Daphne asked for a glass of water. "The arse-pinching was pretty entertaining."

Daphne joined Vera on the couch. "Rose, do you have anything you want to share? Made up or not."
There were stories she could tell, that's for sure, but Rose didn't think it would be prudent at all.

"I think I'll leave the story telling to the rest of you."

She moved to get drinks, stopping to ask Izabel if there was anything she wanted.
After asking Rose for a glass of wine, Izabel's eyes turned in Vera's direction and she smiled.

"What's all this about arse-pinching and why wasn't I invited?"
Perhaps she should have told the story earlier, but then it was difficult to have a conversation at the staff table in the Great Hall without everyone hearing about it. And possibly wanting in on the action, Assistant Headmaster, which on the whole was best avoided.

"Just as the warmer weather inspires students to the heights of foolish behavior, so can it effect the faculty. Earlier this week Miss Perks inveilged me into a plot to surprise Professor Creevey with some impertinent fingers."

Vector settled back and crossed her legs.

"She claimed it was necessary that I act more impulsively, which is of course nonsense. There's nothing wrong with caution, consideration or a sense of propriety, and I'm perfectly casual ... among the right people and at the proper time.

She mused a bit before adding:

"I suppose the whole encounter did have what could be called therapeutic value for Colin, so well done there. Not a hint of a shriek. Perhaps next time, as she's threatened there will be one, you could go along and see how easily surprised whoever her next target is."

Again, if there was the slightest chance it was going to be Slughorn, Vera was staying well clear.
"Professor Creevey?" Rose asked as she returned with their drinks and a glass of wine for herself. "I think I might have met him the other day. Sort of thin, dark hair, had a camera?"

She sat in her favorite chair. "He seemed nice. Are he and Miss Perks dating, since she's so free with his - hind end?"

Rose wasn't sure why the thought that he might be taken bothered her, perhaps it was because she had thought he might have been flirting with her when they had met. Not that she would have done anything about the flirting, of course, but...
Hind end sort of made Colin Creevey sound like a chunk of venison.

"I thought Anne and Charlie Weasley... ?"
Vera nodded to Rose, confirming she was thinking of the right man — but had no answers for Daphne.

"I didn't ask — I'm always afraid of giving offense by prying too much into personal relationships like that."

She nodded for emphasis.

"Unless of course it's a close friend who's been dragged into a private conference, in which case I wait impatiently for breakfast and the first morning class to be over and track down said friend to demand details."
Izabel laughed and then patted Vera's hand.

"You would have been bored to tears, Vera. We talked about flooring believe it or not and we decided on dark oak."

Izabel wasn't telling Vera what she wanted to know exactly, but she wasn't sure she wanted to share everything. The situation was so delicate in so many ways, but she knew she had to give her friend more than that.

"He took me on a tour of what he's got done on the cottage and asked if I wanted room for an office. And while I don't have the ring back yet, he did tell me if things worked out right - he wants me - and a family, so we are back on track. You'll still be my maid of honor at some point. I promise."

Taking a sip of her wine, she smiled at the other three women.

"So much for my good news, now on to Daphne's?"
Rose was happy for Izabel, but part of her still cast a guilty look down the hall to her room where...

Best to not even think of him. Sometime she thought that he could sense when she was thinking of him, almost like he could read her thoughts.

Instead she turned back to the others with a smile. "It will have to be something big to top that wonderful news."
"Oh, Izabel, that is wonderful news." She was so happy, she was nearly bouncing in her seat.

With a deep breath, Daphne forced herself to calm down. "I have to ask, do you think you and Remus, and you too, Vera, will still be teaching at Hogwarts about twelve years from now?"
Vera discreetly placed her slightly-dampened handkerchief in her clutch and smiled conspiratorially at Daphne.

"I do believe I will be."

Although for her she'd have to wait an extra two years — and oh yes, there would be no taking the easy way out and going through school with no Arithmancy.
"Since we'll have a mortgage, I'm pretty sure you can count on it," Izabel remarked dryly.
"That's good to hear."

Daphne returned Vera's smile, then reached up to pat her own tummy. "It will be a relief for Harry and I to know that this guy will have people we trust looking out for him when he gets to Hogwarts. Or her."
Izabel wasn't sure that knowing they'd have a mortgage was such a good thing to hear or not, but before she could formulate a comeback, Daphne announced her news. It only took a moment for the meaning to penetrate, but having ones mouth hang open wasn't the best way to congratulate a friend. Izabel's opened and closed several times before she found her voice. A squeal sneaked out first and Izabel hastily sat her glass down before jumping up to give Daphne a hug.

"That's wonderful! When?"
"Early December." She hugged Izabel back, then turned to receive the same from a stunned looking Rose.

"I wouldn't have said anything this early, but I received some reassurance that everything will be just fine and I really couldn't wait to tell you all." Daphne reached out to grab Vera's hand in thanks.

"And I just realized, at some point we're going to have to tell Mister Snape, and I'm pretty sure there will be a lecture. Maybe I'll let Harry do that."
When her hand was released and another hug given, Vera got up to refill everyone's glasses for a toast.

"I can only imagine how many lectures and reams of well-meaning advice you're going to be in for, so at the very least I can promise you the same thing I promised my sisters — absolutely no advice or opinions offered at all unless you actually want it. And of course an ear to listen and anything else you might need is yours."
A baby!

Even as the thought echoed in her mind, she felt Him.

Rose felt her blood run cold.

He knew.