His father was a muggle, his mother was a witch and even despite that, they were an odd pairing indeed. John and Alohilani (Lola for the less articulate) were a miss-matched couple drawn to one another one quiet, sunny afternoon in Camden Town, London.
John, a short, stocky sort of fellow with a thicket of auburn hair and a round, welcoming face not unlike a cherub, had stopped to wipe his brow. His hi-vis vest a blinding glimmer in the height of the afternoon sun. His arms were covered in thick dust from the incessant drilling that came from digging the pavement, with a pneumatic drill.
Lola, a tall, slender woman with a tawny complexion and dark hair (that fell just before her backside) had stopped dead in her tracks. Her long obnoxiously bright and floral skirt a compliment to her Polynesian heritage. She’d folded her arms with a curious expression cast to her features as she met John’s gaze.
John was an awkward man who’d had little to no luck with women his entire life (most notably Daisy Summers, who knocked him back in Primary school, by pulling the head of the daisy off that he’d presented her with) looked at Lola with discomfort. Had she thought him a letch? Had she thought he’d winked at her and not because of the blinding sun?
Lola was a confident and often mischievous young witch and had stepped over to John with hands firmly placed to the jut of her hips. She had three words for him.
“Camden Head. Seven-thirty.”
John had looked at her bewildered as she’d continued on her way, only to throw a look over her shoulder half-way down the street and call back.
“I’ll see you there.”
The rest was history.
Eight months later, John was not only aware of the world of witchcraft and wizardry but he was also married to a witch, and she was carrying their son; Solomon.
“Bet I get Hufflepuff.”
“Don’t say it like that, Solly.”
“Bet I do, though.”
“All the Hogwarts Houses are remarkable, isn’t that right, John?”
“Oh, of course, love… remarkable.”
“What would dad know, mum?... he’s not even listening.”
Solomon had been brought up in a home that was a mix of muggle and magic. His dad liked to sit in front of the television whilst he cheered for Arsenal. His mum, a Ravenclaw Alumna, poured over books on Charm work. Everything in the house had been brought to life at some point. Even the footstool had a mind of its own and Solomon had caught the cutlery trying to escape out the back door more than once (just as he’d been trying to, too, when he’d technically been grounded.)
“Whatever House… the Sorting Hat will know what’s best. Now, what did we say?”
“Mum… do we have to go over this again?” Solomon had whined as she finally closed the trunk that held his things for the next year. His first year at Hogwarts. The Screech Owl she’d bought him let out a soft coo from where it hid beneath its wing in the cage on the table.
Sol let out a huff before he repeated “Behave. Don’t spend all my pocket money on Dungbombs. Listen in class.”
In his first year of Hogwarts, Solomon had been sorted into Gryffindor House and it quickly came to fruition, that he had a certain aptitude for Charms just as his mother did. Professor Scrivener quickly became his favourite. By his second year, his interest in Defence Against the Dark Arts equalled his love for his broom and by third year, he was a beater for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. It helped, of course, that Sol had taken after his mother’s side and was nearly an entire foot taller (and wider) than most of his year. He hit the bludger far harder than anyone else…. sometimes purposefully.
He always struggled with Transfiguration, got through by the skin of his teeth with Potions but had a certain love for Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures (mainly because it meant being outside) By the time he left, he’d muddled through passes on his subjects except Ancient Runes and Divination (to which he received a Troll)
His time at Hogwarts was looked upon with fond memories. He’d been a mischievous student but well liked amongst his peers and professors. A big personality that went along with his larger than life physique. There’d been rumours, at one point, that he was part giant (that, of course, had been one of his own.)
It’d been Solomon’s dream to become a famous Quidditch Player just as it was for most young boys overly fond of the sport. He was never that talented though and chose a different path. For the first two years after graduating from Hogwarts, Solomon took time to do a little ‘worldly’ travelling and see more of the wizarding world than just what Britain had to offer. He was wild at heart. A man accustomed to dirt beneath his fingernails. He met a multitude of wizards and magical creatures, alike.
On his return, it was his mother who directed him toward a ‘useful’ career and Sol became an Enforcement Officer for the MLEP. That’s where he’d learnt discipline and slowly, he made a small enough name for himself, from his devotion to his position (and his skilful duelling), to move his way from an Officer to a Hit Wizard.
It had its trials and tribulations; its questionable moments. It was tiring work, often gruelling and though the physicality of it never truly took its toll, the mental side of it surely did. Solomon had always had a bright and bold personality. The danger that was often faced, the safety measures that always needed to be regarded when protecting muggles, slowly but surely, Sol was less playful and painfully serious. A little more detached and guarded than he once has been.
Then… then he met Elaine.
Elaine was a whirlwind. A storm. A total and utter… well, mind fuck. She chewed Solomon up and spat him out, and god, was he smitten. The big bear of a man was practically falling over her every word. She was a Hit Wizard, too. She could run circles around him. She was funnier than he was, smarter than he was, better at magic… she called him out, picked fault when he was wrong and more notably, brought him back from the shell he’d encased around him.
Solomon was no longer withdrawn. In fact, the Great Date Debacle of Level 2, Ministry of Magic, Whitehall, was down to a badly charmed bunch of twelve dozen white roses and some loose, irritable Bowtruckle that’d escaped from Level 4.
He liked to tell everyone, that inevitably, Elaine had fallen for his charm… she liked to add, that it was the fact he was intolerable and she wouldn’t have wished him upon any other. Five years they were married and three months before the turn of their six-year anniversary, they were called to the attacks at Hogsmeade.
He’d sat on an old wooden chair with its back to the wall. They’d dragged him there and forced him to stay. Grief had already struck him. He wouldn’t move. Solomon had stared at one single spot in the room, as the silvery clutch of moonlight cast a beam against the floorboards. As sunrise came, he was only distracted by the wisps of dust that floated within its light. When the door had swung open he’d known the outcome; he’d felt it. He didn’t lift his head from where it hung.
“She… she’s gone, Solomon. There was nothing more that could be done. I’m so very sorry.”
He didn’t feel the weight of the hand that dropped to his shoulder. His heart was already heavy in the way it’d sunk and he swallowed thickly. It wouldn’t do to lash out, Elaine wouldn’t have liked that. She’d have scolded him for it taking four of their fellow friends to have dragged him into the very room he sat in now. A circumstance they’d found themselves in before when visiting Hogsmeade but that time, it’d simply been too much Firewhisky.
What did he have? A handful of memories to clutch onto and a ring that bound his fat finger. He didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye, as shitty as his form of comfort would have been. He’d never been good with words, had he? He’d have simply asked the impossible of her, ‘Please, don’t leave me.’
His tongue lapped the crack of his lips with a bristle to the facial hair that shaped his face. She’d asked him to trim it a thousand times. Complained of beard rash just as much. Who would nag him now? When he returned to their home, she’d be gone; it’d simply be his. He’d catch traces of her perfume in the air and follow it as he always had but he’d never find her. Just a memory.
“I heard you, Jules. She’s gone.”
“Why don’t you come back to ours? Mine and Darcy’s? Hm?”
“I’d rather be alone.”
“Sol, you know Elaine wouldn’t have—”
“Please don’t say her name, Julian. Please don’t.”
Nothing was the same. Nothing felt the same… Solomon didn’t really feel anything at all. It was as if he’d become numb and his existence was simply a tedious routine. He’d grown sloppy with his work, which, inevitably, he saw as a danger, not only to himself but his peers and muggles alike. There was nothing else for it. He couldn’t continue as a Hit Wizard when his ability to function as a man had all but crumbled, never mind a wizard charged with protecting lives from criminals.
“Solomon, please, think about this… give it more time and your feelings will change. Grief blinds even the best of us.”
Solomon simply placed the sealed letter on the polished mahogany desk with obvious resolve.
“It’s too much. It’s better this way.”
“Sol, I know you were---”
“Forgive me, Sir, but you don’t know, right, you don’t. It’s better this way, on my terms. My heart just isn’t in it anymore. I’m growing careless and it’s not worth it, for you, me, or anyone else.
I don’t want to be the cause of another mistake.
I won’t disrespect her memory like that.”
“Elaine would have wanted you at peace, Sol.”
“She would have, you’re right… and that isn’t here. Not anymore.”
“There will always be a place for you here, at the Ministry, if you so choose to return to us… and Sol, I truly hope you do.”
It was with regret that Solomon’s resignation from his duties as a Hit Wizard for the MLES was instated.
“Sol! Sol!... what’re you doing here? It’s been months.”
Solomon turned to the beam of his dear friend Julian but he didn’t share the same delight.
A silence held between them as Julian awkwardly tried to usher Solomon to walk with him. “Come to The Three Broomsticks, Bill’s there and Alwin, too.”
… but Solomon, ever since he’d left the Ministry, had become reclusive; introverted. He’d kept to himself and with it, allowed himself to be enveloped in his grief. He didn’t want to be around people anymore. He didn’t like crowds and fuss. He liked the quiet, he liked vast open spaces, mostly devoid of people.
“I’ll see you around, Jules. Give my best to Bill and Alwin. I hope Darcy’s well, too.”
And that was that.
Solomon had returned to Hogsmeade to pay his respects to his wife. He’d planned to return to wandering Europe like he had those two years before the Ministry. He thought, maybe, whatever he’d lost he might find out there.
It was that night that he lay on a bed far too small for him at the Hog’s Head Inn. He twisted two rings above him that hung from a chain that he kept tucked beneath his clothes around his neck.
He could recall the memory as if it were only yesterday.
“You’re drunk. Again.”
“Don’t love me, Solomon. Was it Firewhisky?”
“Some of it was, yeah.”
“Bloody typical. Go to bed and don’t ruddy fall asleep in the middle of it again.”
“Listen, right, I need to get this done now, otherwise, I doubt I’ll get a word in edgeways.”
“You! Such a nuisance. If you’re not up those stairs in--”
But Elaine had stopped short as soon as the sight of Solomon, a man twice as tall as any regular Englishman, had dropped onto one knee with a wobble. A small ring with a blue gem was presented in the pinch of his calloused fingers.
“It was Dutch courage.”
“What’re you like?”
“Will you marry me, love? Then I’ll let you knock some sense in to me?
Unable to sleep, he’d rolled out of bed and taken himself toward Hogsmeade Station with his belongings, when a curious figure stood ahead of him in the road.
Neither seemed to believe their eyes until they were upon one another and perhaps for the first time in what seemed like forever, Solomon smiled. His old Charms professor stood before him now and Sol felt like a boy again… a young wizard simply trying to find time to study between classes and Quidditch practice (and his general bad behaviour.)
It was there that they talked for what had seemed like hours. The moon had disappeared and the sun had slowly started to creep up from the horizon. Solomon had been pleased to hear of the position that’d been offered to Marlow when Pennington had sadly passed. At the time, he’d thought to send an owl but as with most things back then, Sol rarely found the time.
“…I’ve got a challenge for you.” Scrivener had said as they both stood to shake hands. He’d said it to him so many times as a boy during Charms class, Solomon couldn’t help but be inquisitive.
“I need a Groundskeeper.”
Solomon never made the 8:43am train that day.
The grounds were so vast that Solomon was often lucky enough to not really see another person unless he had to. He did, though, of course. During meals and when one of the professors uncomfortably engaged him in conversation. It was the peace he’d sought. He was often found on an evening sat on the heavy bench he’d built outside his cabin by the Forbidden Forest.
Just as when he’d been a student rumours found their way around and he’d made no attempt to clear his name of them. He particularly favoured the one that he was a werewolf. He’d often wished he’d become an Animagi at least. He had the patience for it now, the time but honestly… he was content with where he was and what he’d become. Private, stoic… a little ill-mannered (but hadn’t that just been his imprudent charm?) but beneath it, he was still warm, protective and truly, he was ever watchful… old habits certainly died hard.