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Restorative Draughts

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There were days when Poppy Pomfrey could swear she was the unsung hero of this dragon-damned school.

Perhaps she should recruit a ghost to immortalize her in song. Nearly Headless Nick would probably do it if she asked—he liked that sort of thing, made him feel important and stately, she thought.

She hummed to herself as she tidied up her office, distorting one of her favorite carols.

Oh Poppy is a righteous healer, fum fum fum.
Savior of the Quidditch beaters, fum fum fum.
When you're in hospital wing, oh her praises you should sing
For she'll never question how you got there, j ust grow your bones, ungrow your cat hair
fum fum fum

It would never do. With her luck, Peeves would be the one to pick it up (and Merlin only knew how bad that could be), she concluded, tucking away the last potions.

Potions, though, they were still a nice thought. Very nice to have such an excellent potions master at hand, she thought smugly. Eat that, St. Mungo's. It was a not infrequent mental taunt for Poppy. She had been top of her class in healer training, and certain people had thought it a waste to become "just a school matron" when she could have been a top mediwizard.

There were times when she was overworked, under-praised, and had handed out just one too many acne potions, when, all right, maybe part of her reluctantly agreed, or at least longed for the recognition she might have gotten, but then of course she reminded herself to be careful what she wished for. Certainly there were times when the job demanded every bit of her medical expertise, like when she’d had to deal with a werewolf—poor dear. Anyway, someone had to keep these children safe!

Thank Merlin today was Thursday. On Thursday she had what was lovingly referred to as Old Maid’s Club with Minerva. It was an old joke they had. Her first Christmas at Hogwarts she had been ever so slightly intoxicated, and sitting up in Minerva's rooms—the two had become fast friends—the talk of the two newest faculty members had turned to work, and subsequently, other people's blasted opinions about said work. Poppy’s parents had worried that she wouldn't be able to find a husband at the school, as if she was interested in that.

"Oh yes," Minerva had said, sipping her wine and raising her eyebrows, "I was asked if I wasn't worried about becoming an old maid." Poppy had downright cackled at that, raising her glass and toasting—to old maids. And so it had become tradition, drinking wine and exchanging the week's horror stories every Thursday. The year that Lockhart had been at Hogwarts was perhaps the most storied in the Club’s history. It was almost a relief that her mother had passed before Lockhart's time - she didn't think she ever would have heard the end of it about the “nice, eligible, handsome teacher.” Ha! Just thinking of him made her blood boil! If there was a worse offender to student safety at this school! Well. There just wasn't.

She was feeling much better now, safely ensconced in Minerva's overstuffed armchair, and under the comforting influence of two glasses of wine.

"And then he picked up Meadows’ teacup rat and sneered, oh yes, this looks perfectly acceptable to drink from, and, and.. it bit him on the lips!" Minerva was choking back all the laughter she had undoubtedly held in in the moment, and Poppy joined her gamely.

"Oh thank you for not sending him to me. I had enough trouble today."

"Do go on."

"It's the youngest Creevy."

"Dennis? Oh no."

"Oh, YES. The poor dear, oh—I mean to say, I really do appreciate some... appreciation of the work I do, and lord knows the purebloods don't ever appreciate how lucky they are that I can just fix them right up, but, but...he keeps hurting himself—minorly I mean—just to come in and watch how everything magically heals! He's so damned excited! He cheered the first time, and now he just keeps coming back!"

Minerva just stared, and covered her mouth with her hand. "Oh d—"

A rapid knock at the door punctuated her response. Poppy looked at Minerva. Minerva looked back. There was a moment of silence. Poppy looked at Minerva as if to say, it’s your door. Minerva looked back—you’re closer.

Poppy sighed, carefully set her wine glass down, and levered herself out of the armchair. On the other side of the door, a small Hufflepuff boy, slightly out of breath, looked wretchedly up at her. "I'm so sorry, Ma'am, but you need to come right away! Acadia was, well, I think she had been trying to brew her own ffii...butterbeer, but it's exploded and we can't clean it off of her! We just can't!"

Poppy looked between the boy, her sadly unfinished glass of wine, and the impressively collected Minerva. "Thank you Humphrey, I'll be right there."

The boy dashed away, back to his poor sticky classmate, she supposed. As she collected her jumper from the armchair, Minerva cracked a smile and sang, ever so softly, "For she's a jolly good fellow..."

“Once more unto the breach.” She smiled and swung her jumper over her shoulder.

Well, it was nice to be needed.