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Chapter 14: Buried Paperwork
Snape shifted uncomfortably in his chair and sipped carefully at the hot tea. He waited as the woman to set down the tray of biscuits and poured cups of tea for herself and her grandson. Snape could not help but notice how the boy kept an almost protective eye on his grandmother as she moved stiffly around the room.
“I must admit, Professor, that I was shocked to get your owl requesting a visit. You wanted to discuss my grandson?” Augusta Longbottom said as she sat down.
Snape cleared his throat. “Yes ma’m. Minister Shacklebolt has agreed to allow select students that participated in the battle at Hogwarts, entry into a revised auror training program. Unfortunately there is currently a shortage of aurors after everything that has happened and they desperately need to train up new wizards to take their place. Because of the shortages, the Hogwart’s professors have agreed, under the direction of Minister Shacklebolt of course, to take charge of the training and conditioning of these new recruits. So, I have come here to see if Mr. Longbottom would be interested in joining the program,” he finished.
“Me? You think I should become an auror?” Neville asked in surprise.
“Quiet boy!” He grandmother scolded. “You believe that my Neville could become an auror like his father? I was under the impression that his O.W.L scores would have disqualified him for an auror job. You are also aware, I’m sure, that that he did not have the opportunity to take his N.E.W.T.s with all of the funny business last term.”
“Shacklebolt has agreed to wave testing requirements for anyone who participated in the battle.” Snape said. “And yes, based on what I observed this past year both in school and what I heard about him during the battle, I suspect that Mr. Longbottom would do reasonably well as an auror. While I do believe that the lessons might prove to be much more of a challenge for him in comparison to his classmates, I think that he could excel if he chose to.”
After sitting in an uncomfortable silence for several moments, Augusta said, “Well? What’s it going to be, Neville?”
“Yea! I would be happy to give it a go,” Neville proclaimed. “Thank you, sir.”
Snape bowed his head slightly and said, “Just remember what I said. This will not be easy so you will need to be prepared for a difficult program. I will not tolerate anything less than the best.”
“Yes sir,” Neville said with a gulp.
“Very well. You will need to meet me at the ministry on Monday to begin the registration and clearance processes. I will be owling you copies of the training schedules and materials needed as soon as I hear back from Minister Shacklebolt,” Snape instructed him as he stood up.
“You aren’t leaving without finishing your tea are you, Professor?” Augusta asked.
“I am afraid I do not have the time to linger much longer madam,” Snape said sincerely. “All of the changes at Hogwart’s for this upcoming semester have left me with a small mountain of paperwork to conquer. I do appreciate you allowing me an audience to speak with you both and really enjoyed the tea & biscuits.”
After saying their final goodbyes and leaving the house Snape returned back to his home in Spinner’s End. When he arrived he immediately realized that something was not as it should be. His door was glowing read which could only have meant that some had set of the Intruder Charm that he always kept around his house.
Snape immediately drew his wand and began checking the rest of his defensive charms around the house. Once he was certain that everything was as it should be he concealed his wand under his sleeve and did a thorough check of the outside perimeter of his house. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, Snape retreated back inside of his house and decided that it must have been a muggle salesman or something.
Snape fixed himself a cup of tea and headed into his sitting room to get some work. He first had to finish the letters that needed to be sent out to the Hogwart’s students explaining the changes for the upcoming term. It had been decided that due to the many disruptions and interferences throughout the previous term that the students would be repeating that year. While some of the students might be subjected to repeat assignments and lessons the teachers would make every attempt to change things up.
The increase of students would provide a few logistical issues with class sizes and sleeping arrangements but he had already contacted the freemasons and requested the necessary changes. Since it was only the first year class that would be unnaturally large there had only been a few classes that needed to enlarged. He didn’t think that too much would have to be done to the dormitories since most of them held considerably less students than what they had originally been constructed for. He had asked for additional rooms in all of the houses anyway just to keep the students from overcrowding themselves.
When he had finished with the letters he began sorting through the many owls that he had received from Minister Shacklebolt regarding the auror program. Charms, potions, transfiguration and defense were all within the realm of the teachers currently teaching at the school. While the requirements in all of those areas were well beyond what the professors would normally teach at school he did not think any of it would be too difficult for any of them.
The difficult part would be finding someone that could help with the less familiar things that was required for the program like law, ethics, basic healing & lifesaving. That’s not to mention the physical conditioning. He supposed he was just going to have to address it with his colleagues to see if any of them were willing to step up and help out with the other lessons. He was going to have to ask Kingsley if he had any lessons plans that he could send him. He figured that it would be prudent for him to read up on these subjects as well since he would most likely be the one that got stuck with the extra instruction.
How was it that he got tricked into managing this whole thing again? His life was already being overwhelmed by it all, and he doubted that it was going to get any better. Much to his surprise, however, he realized that he was hardly as irritated by it as he had expected.
Ginny Weasley sat in her room replaying the events of the last week. She felt like such a horrible person for being so happy. She knew that everyone was still trying to deal with Fred’s death and everything else that had happened recently, but the precious moments that she had spent with Harry kept intruding into her thoughts. While she couldn’t help but think that she hadn’t had much time to actually sit and talk with him she was exceptionally grateful that she would now have all the time she wanted to spend with him.
With a shudder she remembered those horrible moments when she had thought that he had been killed. It had been as if someone had reached into her chest about ripped her still beating heart out of her chest. She had never known such pain. She remembered tightness in her chest that had made it so difficult to breath and suddenly she hadn’t been able to see anything clearly. At that moment, nothing else had mattered to Ginny. She remembered thinking that they had lost and that there was nothing else to go on for. She had been utterly and totally defeated and had just wanted to lie down and give up.
Ginny shook her head and forced those thoughts out of her head. Harry was alive. Hurting and damaged, but alive. They all were. There was no place to go but onward towards the future where they could all help each other heal.
“Ginny! Come help with dinner,” her mother yelled from downstairs.
With a sigh Ginny jumped off her bad and headed downstairs. Mealtimes at the Weasley house used to be loud boisterous affairs with lots of laughing and talking. Since Fred’s death it had become a somber depressing affair.
No one had bothered to remove Fred’s chair from the table yet, and her mother continued setting a place setting for him as if she half expected him to come running into the kitchen at any moment. She had tried gently discouraging her from doing this, but was promptly silenced and never brought the issue up again.
Percy’s presence at the table certainly didn’t help things. While everyone had said that they had forgiven Percy for deserting the family, it was obvious, to Ginny at least, that their father continued to hold on to some of his anger towards him. This, she reasoned, could only be expected since he had taken the worst of Percy’s backlash. Some pretty hurtful things had been thrown at her father and she knew that it was going to take time for her father to forget what had been said. More healing and repairing.
When Ginny walked into the kitchen she saw that her mother had already set the table, Fred’s place included. There was also an additional place setting at the table as well.
“Are we having company?” Ginny asked.
Her mother paused in her taste testing. “Huh?”
“There is an extra chair and place setting. I was wondering who was coming to dinner,” she explained.
“Oh. Ron invited Hermione over for dinner, although I was quite surprised by it. I would have thought that she wouldn’t have wanted to spend time with her parents. But it’s no matter,” her mother replied.
This news brightened her mood considerably. If Hermione was here everyone would put on their best “everything is all right with the world” faces for the meal.
Sure enough as soon as Hermione arrived at The Burrow, everyone put on the airs. Everyone chatted nicely throughout dinner and made attempts at humor and lightheartedness. Ginny was sure that Hermione saw right through the ruse much like she did herself.
When dinner was finished, Ginny raced back up to her room. Just as she turned on her wireless to listen to some music and write a letter to Harry, there was a soft knock on her door.
Hermione opened the door and poked her head into the room. “Hey. Are you busy?”
“Not at all. Come on it,” Ginny replied. “I would have thought that you would be hanging around with Ron.”
Hermione shrugged her shoulders. “I will be. I just wanted to talk with you a bit.”
“Is everything ok?” Ginny asked slowly. She truly hoped that this was not relationship issues that she was needed to talk about. As much as she loved her friend and her brother, she really didn’t need to hear about intimate details about their relationship.
“Not really,” Hermione started as she sat down on the bed next to her friend. “You know how I altered my parents’ memories and made them believe they always had wanted to go live in Australia?”
Ginny nodded. “Of course I do. That’s where you and Ron went. To fix their memories and bring them home.”
“Right. Well I am worried that I might have done something wrong when I reversed the spell,” she said sadly.
Ginny studied her friend carefully. “I highly doubt that, Hermione. In all of the years that I have known you I have never known you to incorrectly cast even the most difficult spell. What makes you think that you did something wrong? Ron had told me that they had remembered you and even had been angry at you when they found out what you had done.”
“Well yea. I dunno. They do seem to have all of their memories back. The thing is they seem to have more than their old memories back. They seemed to have memories of things that they hadn’t had before,” she replied.
“Do you mean the ones that you had given them? Isn’t this normal? That book that you read about it had mentioned it right?” Ginny asked in confusion.
“Right. But what if my spell hadn’t been the only that was reversed?” Hermione asked quietly.
“Merlin’s beard, Hermione, what in the world are you talking about?!” Ginny spat.
“When I undid the memory spell on my parent’s they suddenly remembered something else that they had forgotten,” she said as a tear rolled down her cheek. “They told me that I had been adopted.”