|Cho Chang (formerchinadoll) wrote in after_the_bombs,|
@ 2012-05-12 18:05:00
She woke slowly, sluggishly, which was no like her at all. But as her dream slipped away (warm breezes scented with salt, strong arms around her, and a familiar voice whispered words she did not deserve to hear), she rose up into the waking world with a distinct feeling of loss. Sighing, she hauled herself out of bed.
When Tracey looked at herself in the mirror, she did not like what she saw. She looked tired, which she was, and gaunt. She had been skipping too many meals again but what choice did she have? What little time she had that wasn't given over to either Janus or the Ministry had been spent searching for a place for her parents that was close enough to her father's business, fell within their means and yet would meet her mother's expectations. She was burning her candle at both ends and at the middle.
She had very little left to burn for anyone and nothing left for herself save smoke.
Forcing her eyes away from her mirror, she went to dress for the day. Glamours would hide the the signs of her stress behind a flawless layer of magic. It was bad enough that she knew the truth of how she looked. There was no way that she would allow anyone else to see her weakness.
It was late afternoon by the time she cleared her workload enough to make it to her parents' flat. The echoing emptiness of the building only made it clear that she was doing the right thing in making the arrangements for a new place for them. No matter what William was doing to keep the Davises from being evicted thus far could not last.
Things with her parents went about as she expected it would. Her mother cursed her, literally, with a Dark Arts spell that left a vivid imprint of the hand she refused to lay on her on Tracey's cheek for daring to step in to what was above her station. Her father had been appalled by the casual cruelty.
Tracey had just sighed and continued to describe the new flat as she used Muggle foundation to hide the tender bruise on her face. “It is an easy Tube ride from your garage, Dad, and it is in a better area. It's not affluent by any means but it is safer than this street ever was when I was going up. The owner of the building is a Wizard and has agreed to accept the same rent you are paying for this place in exchange for me doing ward work for him free of charge. It is best option I have found. I can be back here next weekend to move you. With magic, it shouldn't take but a day including dismantling all of the wizarding changes that have been made to this flat.”
“How dare you, you dirty blooded thing?!” screeched Evangeline.
Tracey just looked at her with tired, resigned eyes. “I dare because I must. Even if Dad would take initiative to get you moved, when would he have time between work and catering to you, Mother?” She gave herself one last look in her hand mirror and was satisfied that her mother's curse wouldn't be easily seen even if magic couldn't cover it. “And I know what your solution would be, Mother dearest, and I promise you that I will turn you into Magical Law Enforcement myself if you use Dark Magic on the owners of this building. It is bad enough that I've had to pay William to intimidate the man into letting you stay this long.”
She stood, tired of dealing with Evangeline's madness and prejudice and with John's inability to act against the witch who had literally enchanted him. “Those are your choices, Mother. Stay here and face eviction or Azkaban or graciously accept the larger, safer flat your mudblood daughter has secured for you. Either way, I'll be back next weekend.” She met her father's shamed eyes. “Do not let her tell Will about this. He is going to angry that he will no longer have this,” she said with a wave at the walls of her childhood home, “to blackmail me with.” Without saying goodbye, she apparated back to her tiny flat. Leaning heavily against the nearest wall, she waited for her tears to subside. She really, really wished that she could find it in her to walk away from her parents but she couldn't.
Jock, who was growing like a weed, stretched up to put his front paws on her thighs and whine at her until she petted him softly. “I know, little one,” she whispered, “I know.” She let the puppy sooth away the worst of her upset before going to shower. After she managed to force herself out from under the hot water, she found that she could not make herself stay in the tiny flat. She could not shake the thought that her mother or her cousin might come storming in to make some demand of her pocketbook or of her body that she was not current equipped to handle. Sighing and swallowing the tears that threatened to spill once more, she made a sudden decision. She would go visit Callen. Hopefully, it wouldn't be too hard to convince him that an impromptu date was just the thing. He was another one that she did not want to disappoint for all that he asked of her was her company.
And right now, the thought of keeping company with him was all that was keeping her from shrieking like a mad woman.
Dressed in short, flirty robes and with her exhaustion and her mother's mark hidden beneath Muggle foundation and glamours, she gave herself one more look in the mirror and deemed herself presentable. She hated resorting to either one and would not have touched the gooey Muggle make-up if it had been possible to hide the Dark Arts bruise with magic. Sighing she turned to leave only to find her dog sitting behind her with his lead in his mouth.
Laughing softly, she took the hint. “Alright, pushy boy, you can go visit Callen, too.” She knew that her boyfriend wouldn't mind having the puppy wait for her return in his flat.
She walked Jock long enough to let him stretch his legs and do his business before Apparating to Callen's place. The profiler wasn't home yet, but that didn't stop Tracey from letting herself inside his flat. There were very few places that she'd spent any amount of time in that she couldn't enter at will or break into easily.
Tracey settled on the couch and took off her shoes as Jock wandered around sniffing everything he could get his nose on. She'd not meant to do more than close her eyes for a moment but soon she was fast asleep on the couch. She was curled into as tight a ball as possible with her hands tucked up and hidden beneath her chin. Even in her sleep, she was tense and restless and shivering with the cold that came from over-extending her magic far past what was wise. By the time Callen came home, her glamours had faded away to nothing and Jock was curled up on the couch and pressed against her bare legs in a vane attempt to warm her up.