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I'm a girl watcher, I'm a girl watcher...
Here comes one now
Monday, June 26 • Early afternoon

Vera stowed the first two scrolls into her robes and drew out a fresh one.

"If the next two towers are as free of Hagrid's small friends as that one was, we can be done well ahead of tea time."

She'd been uncharacteristically late to begin their rounds; Roger and she weren't quite yet finished with the first flush of celebration and had been ... occupied.

"Although ... did you think the gargoyles overlooking the fifth-floor landing looked unusually plump?"
The end of the year run through of the castle was almost second nature to Izabel now. Vera's tardiness had through them off a touch on the schedule, but they weren't in any hurry. At least Izabel wasn't and she shrugged lightly as she turned to look at the other witch. A flash of light reflected in her eyes for a moment and she realized it came from the direction of her friend's left hand when it passed through a patch of sunlight. When Izabel saw what was on the other woman's left hand, she squealed and was by Vera's side in an instant, pulling the aforementioned hand up to see the ring better.

"When - how long - I can't believe you haven't said anything!"

After a moment, she raised an eyebrow.

"I'm assuming it's from Roger?"
Vera flushed and proudly let Izabel inspect her ring.

She'd been figuring on finishing the start-of-summer routine very quickly in order to have uninterrupted time for planning and celebrating later, but this was also just fine with her.

"He asked me Saturday. I thought he was going to break up with me, and instead ... he gave me this."

She tilted her hand up slightly so she could see it clearly as well.

"I've never in my life been as happy as I've been since then."
Throwing her arms around Vera and giving her a hug, Izabel couldn't contain the smile on her face. Or the happy little dance her feet did. Or the giggles that continued to roll out of her throat. She tried to get herself under control, but then it dawned on her.

The students are gone - to hell with it!

And she squealed again for good measure before releasing Vera and taking one step back.

"So why are we tracking down the residual damage from this last year when we should be somewhere else celebrating with champagne, wine or at least a bloody ale?"

Snatching the new parchment out of Vera's hand, Izabel smiled.

"The rest can wait until tomorrow and why did you think he was going to break up with you?"
"Because if we finish this now, McGonagal will be happy and we can spend the entire rest of the summer celebrating and comparing stories on what it's like being engaged." Vera was misting up again, but it was accompanied by a brilliant grin so she didn't feel too foolish.

Nor did she try to get the parchment back — if they were going to go for a drink, it would be for the best. There might be a spill.

"It was such a shock — he'd been so distant lately, which is very much not like him, so I thought maybe he'd simply tired of me. Turns out, Roger had a 'prank' pulled on him back on his birthday that went wrong and since then," Vera shook her head, remembering, "he was dealing with that and I didn't know. We still have to work on talking with each other sometimes. It left me a complete wreck — and I know Severus has been very badly hurt since then and I do wish he hadn't been, but ... it's going to be some time before I can forgive him for this past month."

If it got too infuriating, biting her tongue and taking the higher ground as she firmly intended to do, there was always the fallback of imagining the satisfying lecture Snape would have for a first-year who attempted the same sort of stunt.

"Anyway, it's all better now" — a fact to which Vera would happily testify in any court in the land if it weren't a private matter — "and I simply won't allow myself to dwell. Not when I have bridesmaids to ask to help me. You will, of course, won't you? Be my maid of honour?"

Vector stopped and corrected herself. "No, matron of honour. You'll have had a change of title by then."
Colin was convinced the castle was taunting him. There shouldn't even be a door in front of him, much less the corridor behind it according to the notes he'd been given.

He had volunteered to stay for the summer during one of the staff meetings, thinking that his dark room space was more than adequate and the rent was right - free - and it would give him a chance to catch up on all the things that didn't quite get finished over the school year. Not to mention a small bonus to his salary for the additional months, and who could argue with extra galleons just for helping to babysit a building once everyone with homes to go to had finally left.

Although if the castle was going to insist on being juvenile about things all summer, he might reconsider. For instance - the bloody door that shouldn't be.

Colin scratched his head and consulted his notes once more. The area he was supposed to be checking so it could be considered closed off for the summer was very clearly... not the area he was in.


A squeal from the other side of the door made him jump, and Colin cautiously cracked it open wider as another squeal echoed through the newly exposed corridor beyond it, wondering what frightening creature might be hiding down the hall.

Vera and Izabel. Not on the "please notify Hagrid for removal (if you are unable to do so yourself)" list, then.
Oh, Merlin. Now didn't that level a large load of guilt on Izabel's shoulders. It had been difficult not to tell Vera they were already married when it had happened. Vera's engagement made it worse.

I should tell her.

Remus and I agreed not to.

But I should tell her.

Remus would understand.

But he might be disappointed I couldn't keep my mouth shut.

And he's had enough of disappointment in his life. I don't need to add to it.

The final thought decided it and Izabel was able to give Vera a brilliant smile.

"I'd be honored to stand up for you, no matter what title I have or haven't by then."

Stuffing the parchment in her pocket, Izabel grabbed Vera's arm and said, "Come on, we have to arrange a celebration tonight. Daphne and Rose have to be given a chance to squeal as well and Minerva will be happy if the inspection gets done by August, believe me."
Vera laughed and allowed herself to be hurried along. "Do you think Daphne would be upset if I used Sonorus to call her here again? Does the Floo system muffle the spell?"

Perhaps the situation had her a little giddy, yet.

"I do hope they'll be available tonight — I haven't been able to get ahold of Rose recently. But I'll need to ask her, and Daphne, if they'll be bridesmaids as well. And my sister, and maybe Roger's sister, and if I don't get ahold of myself this will be completely outsized and I'll have driven everyone nuts."

Speaking of — Vera stopped, waited for Izabel's attention and raised an eyebrow. "You know this will be a perfect chance for vengeance for any seafoam green ruffles."
The portraits on either side of the hall were paying close attention to what they were doing and seemed to be enjoying the spectacle. They seemed to know it was a day for giggling and laughing and - whatever else they could come up with, so Izabel obliged and resisted the urge to stick her tongue out at some of the stuffier ones.

After getting her laughter under control, Izabel held her right hand over her heart.

"Cross my heart and hope to die - no seafoam green - ruffled or otherwise, but if you use Sonorus to call Daphne again - I make no guarantees about standing between the two of you if she has a heart attack. What about Rose? Have you been able to contact her? Every time I go by her flat - she's not home. Maybe she's got a new job we haven't heard about."
Inspite of himself, Colin had been creeping down the hall a fair pace behind them, a hurried disillusionment spell cloaking his movements for the most part.

He'd close enough to hear their conversation, nearly tripping over his feet when they mentioned Rose.

Vera and Roger were getting married. He didn't know if that news would be important to her, but he would most definitely share it. He would also be sure to tell her all about how the witches had been looking for her.

If they grew too concerned, they may do something rash, which would anger her and the Master in turn.

That would be bad. Very, very bad.