Who: Hannah Abbott, Michael Corner
Where: Club on Knockturn Alley
When: 15 September 2001, evening
Hannah had had very specific plans for this evening. Goals, you might even say. The first being to get as drunk as humanly possible. The second, to dance and sweat and generally attempt to fucking enjoy herself. And the third, to find someone pointless and beautiful and bereft of meaning to go home with because she just couldn’t shake the memory of having sex with Humphrey and how much she had loved him.
Even if the feelings hadn’t been real, sex like that, feelings like that, marriage, they were meant to be sacred. They were for Justin and nobody else and she’d promised herself that long ago. And having broken that promise made her feel ill. Actually ill.
But now she was so tired of feeling sad and wretched and guilty. She just wanted to, to break something. She wanted to punish herself. But, more than that, she wanted to replace the memories of that fucking love potion induced madness with something empty.
She was already several drinks in when she ran into Michael at the bar. She’d sort of ditched her friends when they’d arrived, not wanting to listen to Wayne moan about how awful it was to have a family who wanted to meet your girlfriend. “Having fun?”
“Evening,” Michael said, sliding back onto his stool at the bar. He stared ruefully at his empty glass, trying to decide if he really did want another. If Hannah had been serious about needing to be carried home, he probably at least needed to be less drunk than she was.
Question was, how drunk was she?
“I’m doing all right. And yourself?” he asked, focusing on her instead. “You look lovely.” A lot of times, when he said it, that was just a line, but he’d always held a particular fondness for Hannah and her eyes. Merlin, he’d gone to school with a lot of attractive girls.
“Thanks,” Hannah said, ignoring his question about how she was. It had been quite a while since she’d seen Michael in person and she didn’t think that jumping right back in with ‘I’m fucking wretched and a complete mess because my life is a hideous farce and I’m still in love with a boy who died almost four years ago’ was probably the best way to go.
Instead, she signaled for the bartender and smiled at him tipsily. “My friend needs another drink. And so do I.”
“What she said,” Michael echoed. “When I said I hit a literal wall, I was serious.” He held up a hand to show her his bruised knuckles. “Impressive, hm? I mean, not really, not at all, but maybe if it had been a supervillain or something. Ignore me. I’m not drunk, but I’m definitely at the talk-y stage of tipsy.”
The bartender delivered their new drinks, and he firmly told himself to take this one more slowly.
“How has your evening been? Who all else came, anyway?”
“Ouch,” Hannah said, tilting her head to the side and examining his hand. “What hacked you off so badly?”
She’d much rather talk about whatever had upset Michael than what was going on in her life. She took her drink from the barkeep gratefully and knocked back a good amount of it. Normally she was a white wine kind of girl, but on nights like these she loved the burn of firewhiskey.
“Susan, Wayne, a few others,” she said, waving her free hand. “Astoria Greengrass, of all people.”
“The metaphorical wall I hit when I was trying to figure out how to get through the physical one.” Michael shrugged. “It’s not bad. Got our mediwitch onsite to set the bones. Just frustrating.” He gave her his most winning smile. “Plus, the ladies love the bruises. Makes my job appear more manly and whatnot.”
“Greengrass? That’s an odd combination.” But why not? The more the merrier and all that. Or maybe he was just feeling overly generous after the drinks he’d had. “You know, that’s impressive. Took me a while to be able to knock Firewhiskey back like that without flinching.”
A “while” of long nights running away from the aftermath of the war.
Hannah rolled her eyes. She’d seen enough boys with bruises during the war, Michael included, to not find them remotely thrilling. He was cute though, with his winning smile. “Appear? Are you letting me in on a secret here, Mick? Is treasure hunting really quite a tame pursuit? Don’t dash my delusions.”
She stared at the remaining amber liquid in her glass as she swirled it around lazily before finishing it off and slamming it down on the bar.
“Yeah?” she asked with a shrug and a half smile that didn’t come close to reaching her eyes. “I’ve had a fair amount of practice myself.”