he holidays had provided a wealth of free time for Talia without any of her classes to focus on. She had been spending most of her mornings sleeping in and getting a lazy start before having a small breakfast and venturing back to her office. However this morning had been different. Traipsing around her office in an over sized woolen jumper to stave off the chill of the castle and she treated herself to an extra cup of coffee. She had managed to peel herself out of bed far earlier than she originally planned to after a restless night of tossing and turning. Humming Talia plopped herself down into a large plush armchair, book in hand and coffee in the other. Folding her knees to her chest she opened her book and snuggled in for a long day of reading leisurely having finally gotten her order from town.
The crackle of the fire and warmth lulled her into a calm as she flipped from chapter to chapter in the book. She hadn't picked up a regular novel in some time and reading something that didn't involve textbook material for children gave her brain a welcome reprieve. Wiggling deeper into the cushions, Talia's eyes were glued to the pages getting to a good moment between two of the characters, her hand reaching for her mug when the fireplace sputtered. Looking up from her book, a few coals popping up and hissing drew her from her trance. The flames shifted and a voice sounded from the flames, murky and distant. She would have to clean out all the coals that had piled up."Odhrán?"
He was the only person she could see calling her and especially at this hour. She cocked her head to one side curiously and looked to the clock on her desk. Rarely did he call this early, what was going on? Setting her book down on the side table, she began to get up out of the chair when she bumped her mug with the side of the book, spilling coffee onto the table and floor. "Or--Wait, wait a second-"
Panicking as she waved her hand to cast a quick cleaning spell she turned her back to the flames and knelt down."-Please...need help...terrible time....just get here-"
Fussing over the book, Talia turned to the flames just to catch a few words. Help? Her stomach dropped as she tossed the book into the spot she had been sitting in. "Are you okay?"
The vision of his face was blurred and seemed to be fading in and out along with his voice. Had he forgotten to put enough powder in again? Talia repeated herself a little more clearly, leaning closer to the fire but in an instant he was gone. Immediately she sprung up and staggered over a few stacks of books, one hand out waving for her coat- a handful of nonverbal accio's swimming in her brain. Her heart was pounding it's way up from her chest so hard her ears were ringing. What had happened? Was he okay? She was still partially in her sleepwear-kinda, but- he had sounded pretty urgent... what if someone was hurt? What if he was hurt?
Snatching her wand off her desk she hurried across the room to one of the boxes she still hadn't unpacked. Tossing aside the top she let out a small cheer and rummaged around finding some sort of...bottoms-AHA! Yanking the material free from the clutches of a set of overalls she was greeted with a--...a... oh Merlin
.. Was this her box of clothes to donate? No time-Talia huffed and stood up, at least the jumper was long enough to cover most of the pattern. Hopping on one foot then the other she pulled up the skirt
, if it could be considered that... Why had she kept this? Of all days! She used a hand to toss aside some other pieces in the box but the rest was all similar items she had been meaning to get rid of for awhile now.
Her thoughts raced, branching off into a network of various scenarios that were happening or could happen. Running through a mental checklist she stuffed her wand into an inner coat pocket and reached across her desk for the leather square shaped apothecary bag on an upturned trunk. Thankfully she hadn't needed to restock for awhile with no students around getting into trouble so whatever he was going to need she would most likely have... she hoped. Swinging the bag over her shoulder she tucked her feet into some flats, hopping over the same stack of books again and to the fireplace. A hefty amount of green powder filled her hand, spilling between her fingers back into the little container on the hearth. "Meridian Clinic, Knockturn Alley."
Releasing the powder into the flames they roared up and flashed green before Talia stepped in and was engulfed in an instant.
A loud woosh sounded through the office on the top floor of Meridian, Talia emerging from the emerald flames and taking a quick glance around. Tentatively she called out, "Odhrán?"
There was a tense stillness to the room that made her uneasy. He had called so urgently, where was he now? If this was some sort of prank... she might have to really let him have it. Clearing her throat she called his name again but again gained no response. Hmm.. Stepping across the room as softly as she could, she shrugged off the strap to her bag and set it on the floor by the entrance to his office. The pounding in her ears was louder than ever, something prickled at the back of her neck. Sure, it was still early in the morning but why was it so quiet?? Tilting her head she heard music creeping up from downstairs. Oh! Okay.. maybe he was just downstairs getting something while he waited? Anxiety trickled from her chest as she let out a breath. She could've sworn he had said he needed help but maybe it hadn't been an emergency per say. She tossed her coat onto the back of a chair.
Following the Christmas tune that snaked its way upstairs, Talia started down the narrow set of stairs slowly not wanting to interrupt should he have a patient in one of the rooms. She hit the second floor and tried to crane her neck to see if he was on this level or the next. One more step down, as she decided she would check here first but her heel slipped and skidding down the last step. Arms flapping out to try and catch herself, Lia let out a yelp as she landed hard on the landing. What had that been?? Talia pulled herself up shakily, rubbing at her hip and turned to inspect whatever had sent her almost careening down to the first floor. Lifting her feet one at a time she studied the bottom of her shoes, one was fine but the other--was that blood?! "Odhrán?!"
Talia stared down at it, eyes wide and knot almost choking off her voice as it rose through the clinic.
Snatching her shoe from her foot she gave it a sniff and winced away. Her eyes fell to the floor where a small pool of blood sat, a portion of it brushed across the stair she had been on and onto the floor in the shape of her footprint. What was going on? Her heart was in her throat almost making it impossible to draw in any breath. Holding her shoe in her hand not wanting to track anymore blood around she turned hastily and smacked into something, or rather someone. Another yelp, borderline scream, loosened from her lips as she let go of her shoe in shock, grabbing out of instinct at whatever was close by to try and not fall down again. Fingers wrapped around her arm producing a short squeak from her as she jolted to one side, arms up and ready to fend off whatever had grabbed hold of her. Except when Talia blinked her eyes open to see what had grabbed her she calmed and lowered her hands. Odhrán was staring down at her, blue eyes a little wild with concern. "It's you.."
She breathed and used a hand to pull her hair to fall over one side of her neck. That was close... She had no clue who else she expected but after the blood and his message and-and- She blinked taking in the half buttoned shirt and slick hair, droplets still hugging the side of his neck. Talia took a step back and let out a nervous laugh. "Sorry-"
She pulled her eyes from him and stared at the floor. "What happened? I only heard half of your message... I told you, you have to use more than just a little scoop."
Partially scolding him but more concerned about the blood she waved a hand in the direction of the floor where she had slipped, bending over to pick her shoe back up. "Are you alright??"
Standing back up, her eyes frantically scanned over him trying to see if he had been hurt, having to resist the immediate urge to grab him and spin him around to be absolutely positive. He looked fine...physically. She met his gaze and felt as if something was off.