[England] We Shall Conquer

Location: Quidditch Pitch • Date: January 2003
Time of Day: Evening • Weather: Overcast

"We won?" Anna squealed in disbelief as a knot of orange robes tangled in congratulations in the middle of the pitch. "We won!" She jumped up and down, a rush of adrenaline coursing through her. They never won! The Healer smiled widely, congratulating the various players as they eventually joined them on the team's stand.

The celebrations had started as soon as the players had reached the changing rooms and Anna was confident they would last for the better part of the night. After she had gathered her healing kit and had congratulated the players one last time, she had taken her cloak with the intention of going home to her family.

As she approached the exit she noticed a figure hunched over as if squirming in pain. "Are you okay?" The Healer inquired, ready to treat yet another supporter's state of shock over the team's victory.
Tasha had definitely tied a few on during the match, so she was almost surprised by the voice behind her as she was bent over re-tying her shoes. She practically jumped to her feet and whipped around into a defensive stance before immediately relaxing.

“No. I’m fine,” she smiled. “Just fumbling with tying a knot with freezing cold fingers and a few drinks in me. Hell of a game, right?” asked the young woman in a Cannons sweater and streaks of paint in team colors on her face.
Realizing the younger woman had merely been tying her shoe, Anna let out a small sigh of relief. "Sounds like quite the challenge," the healer chuckled as she tried to look if the shoe had been tied properly.

"Quite the game indeed." She had to admit that the players had given it their all and then some. "You seem to be a devoted fan. Would you mind telling me what makes you stay loyal the team?" There was no judgement in her tone whatsoever. While she was employed by the team and thus owed it loyalty, she had always loved the Cannons, perhaps because she had always been intrigued by the underdogs. Yet, the fanbase's devotion fascinated her. Despite the team's constant defeats, the fan's support did not seem to waver.
Tasha's American accent probably made her devotion seem even stranger. (The shoe was still not tied.)

She chuckled, "I've always had a soft spot for teams perennially down on their luck. I'm from Chicago, and my baseball team, the Cubs lose a lot, but I still love them. So...I suppose when I was young and first learned about Quidditch I looked for a similar team to cheer for. And now that I live here? Hard to resist tickets that are usually pretty reasonable."
"Let me help," she dismissed any potential resistance with a small brush of her hand and she knelt before the redhead. Untying the knots in the shoelace she listened to the younger woman's explanation.

"I see," the explanation was sweet and made Anna smile. "Does it make you feel a little closer to home?" She finished tying the shoe and got back to her feet. "If you still consider it to be home." She added quickly, realizing she was making an assumption.
Tasha was more intoxicated than she cared to admit so she wasn't about to stop the woman from helping her get her shoe tied, since she'd clearly not done a great job of it the first time.

"Thank you," she smiled. "Yes and no...I came here for a change of scenery. And it has been. Not sure I'd want to go back at this point, though I know my mom misses me...but yes. Still a home."
Having just watched her oldest daughter board the Hogwarts express to go finish her first year, Anna could easily relate with the younger woman's mother. Compelled by the maternal instinct that seemed to be taking over her, Anna made a quick decision. "The team is about to go out for a few drinks to celebrate. I'm the team's healer," she added to explain her ties to the Cannons, "you should come with us. Maybe have a coffee before you go home?" The thought of letting the inebriated woman go home on her own was not something she was willing to consider at this point.

She had intended on going home to her family, but it seemed as though her plans might be about to change.
The healer would know enough about the human body to know that Tasha wasn't in immediate danger from alcohol, but she probably wasn't in any shape to drive or apparate, so her invitation wasn't an instant ticket to holding a strangers hair back later in the toilets.

Tasha took a moment to process what just happened--being asked out to a professional team's post-match celebration was a pretty once-in-a-lifetime sort of event.

"I...oh my god, really?" she stammered as she collected her thoughts. "That would be incredible...if it's alright to tag along to that sort of thing."
"It is." Anna hardly ever participated in post-game celebrations, mostly because the team hardly ever won, but she knew she was free to invite a guest.

"We can walk there," Anna pointed towards the stadium's exit. "I'm Anna," she introduced herself as she started walking towards the exit.
"That's extremely kind of you," she beamed, gathering herself and following the woman out of the stadium. "Thank you," she continued, "Natasha Porter. But call me Tasha."

"How did you get into such a cool job, working with a professional team as a healer?"
While there was kindness in her invitation, it had been motivated by a sudden maternal impulse. Would she mention that to the young woman? No, but it was what she was pondering when she said, "nice to meet you, Tasha."

A warm smile was on her lips, before the first word of her story left her lips. "I have to admit that sports' medicine was not a field that caught my interest until I met my husband. He used to play for the Wimbourne Wasps." It was when she had started spending more time in a Quidditch stadium that she had started to garner interest in the field. "It is a cool job isn't it?" She sometimes forgot how privileged she was. "What do you do?"
"I'd tell, but I'd have to Obliviate you," she said with mock seriousness for a moment before chuckling "I'm an Auror, actually."

"Did it for a few years in the States and came here...almost two years ago now? Needed a change of scenery. There was an incident and my partner died...too hard not to blame myself when everything about the Bureau reminded me of him. So...I applied for a transfer to the Ministry and the rest is history."
For a brief moment Anna wondered if she had been reckless by inviting a complete stranger to celebrate with the players. What kind of job could the young woman have that would require her to obliviate when mentioned? Of course, the worries dissipated once Anna realized that Natasha had only been joking. "Thank you for your service," the mother of four voiced conscious of the risk taken by those who chose to dedicate their life to such an important career.

It suddenly seemed trivial to celebrate a quidditch victory and those who had worked hard to attain it. Why they chose to celebrate sports and athletes so passionately when young people like Natasha risked so much to protect them without much recognition, Anna would never understand.

"I am sorry for your loss, I can't imagine how hard that was." She was sincere yet couldn't help, but feel like she was sharing platitudes. "I admire your determination to remain an auror." She added though not quite satisfied with the compliment.
“Thank you,” she smiled politely. “Hard to imagine doing anything else. It’s a family business, almost. My mom was an Ordinary...Muggle... cop back in Chicago. Dad was a firefighter. Grandfather was a cop though he died before I was born. There’s some evidence my great great grandfather may have been an Auror.”

The two walked in silence for a moment.

“Don’t mean to bring down the evening with old war stories,” she said, clearing the air. “You said your husband used to play for the Wasps? What is his name?”
"It's in your blood," she observed, impressed by the young woman's family history. "Don't worry about that, love." Anna waved off the young woman's concern. While it was true that their conversation had taken a sombre turn, Anna would never be angry at someone for feeling comfortable enough to confide in her.

"Henry Cresswell." The blonde smiled proudly despite knowing that the odds of the young woman recognizing her husband's name were low. Henry had been a great beater, but living in Ludo Bagman's boisterous shadow had been his curse.