The following week passed quickly for Rose, who, despite looking forward to starting Hogwarts, was enjoying Hogwarts and not altogether anxious to leave her friends. Diana was the only close friend who would be going with her. She would have to leave both Steve and Jessica behind, although she was sure that Hermione would invite her, James and Michael to come and play with Steve occasionally. Jessica, she certainly wouldn't see until the Christmas holidays.
For this reason, she spent as much as possible of the final week of her holidays at Jessica's house. She was rarely allowed to invite Jessica to her house, because it would immediately give away the fact that the Potter family were not ordinary Muggles. In fact she was only allowed to have her classmates to visit twice a year, and immense preparations had to be made each time. It was just one of the things the kids found weird about her, but most of them liked her all the same.
Jessica occasionally complained about not being allowed to visit her best friend on a regular basis.
"Don't they like me?" she would ask.
"It's not you," Rose replied evasively. "They're just really strict about me having people over. I'm only allowed on my birthday and stuff."
As Jessica could see that none of their other classmates were invited to Rose's house either, she couldn't really argue with that, and Rose's parents did occasionally take both girls to the cinema or McDonalds. It was usually Harry who went with them and bored them senseless, telling them how he had never had the chance to go to McDonalds when he was a kid, because the aunt and uncle who brought him up were so horrible to him.
The morning of the interview with the Daily Prophet, Rose begged to be allowed over to Jessica's one last time.
"There probably won't be time tomorrow; we'll be so busy getting ready for school, so if I don't see her today, it'll be almost Christmas by the time I get to see her. And anyway, I can't wait around the house all day, until the reporters come. I'll be so excited that I don't know what I'll do."
Ginny glanced at her husband.
"If she's going to start getting that excited, it might be as well to have her out of the house. I'm trying to get their school things organised."
Harry looked at his daughter sternly, over his glasses.
"Do you promise me that you'll be sure and be back before four o'clock."
"Oh, I promise, Dad. I swear on the tomb of Merlin."
"You don't need to go that far. Just make sure you're here. After all, you're the whole reason they want to interview us today. They would not be happy to find you weren't here."
"I'll be back," Rose called, as she raced out the door.
Jessica was pleased to see her.
"I'm glad you could come. It'll be so weird not to have you in my class this year. I'll miss you so much."
"Lots of people are going to different schools," Rose muttered awkwardly.
"Yeah, but most of them are at least going to be around on the weekends and after school. They're not going away to boarding schools in the middle of nowhere. Where did you say this school was anyway? Scotland?"
"Yeah," Rose muttered. She supposed it was inevitable that Jessica would want to know about her new school, but it was hard to explain, without giving away things that she was strictly forbidden to mention. And she still didn't understand why she couldn't tell her friend the truth anyway. It wasn't as if Jessica would tell anybody. Not if Rose asked her not to.
Still, there were rules you could break and rules you couldn't, and ridiculous as this one appeared to her, she knew it was one that you couldn't. The Ministry of Magic preformed Memory Charms on any Muggle who learned too much about the Wizarding world, and apparently people could go crazy if Memory Charms were preformed badly. It had happened to a teacher at Hogwarts when her dad was at school. She didn't really think that Ministry trained wizards would perform them badly, but all the same, it was a rule that you really didn't dare break.
So she just agreed that the school was in Scotland, adding that she didn't know the address yet.
"But my mum and dad will pass on any letters you want to send to me."
"Letters?" Jessica scoffed. "Come on Rose, I know your parents live in the Dark Ages, but this school you are going to is bound to be different. They'll have computers and all. They'll have to for IT, anyway. We can e-mail and IM each other. IM is great fun, you'll see."
For a moment, Rose panicked. She knew quite well that Hogwarts would not have computers, but she also knew that there was no way that she would be able to get Jessica to believe that. All schools had computers; well, all Muggle schools did. She had to study computers at her primary school, and was the only kid in her class who hadn't known how to work them when she had started school. She searched anxiously for an explanation.
"Um, I think they only allow you to use the computers in IT classes," she tried. "James says he's never allowed to contact his friends on them."
"WHAT?! That's stupid," Jessica protested. "What do they think you are going to do? Start talking to fifty year old men on them?"
Rose shrugged. "I don't know."
"Couldn't you try IMing me during your IT classes. The teacher probably wouldn't even notice. You know what most of them are like."
"Well, I'll try, but just in case I can't, I'll send you lots of ow.....I mean letters anyway."
"What were you going to say?" Jessica asked.
"You do say strange things sometimes, but that doesn't change the fact that you're my best friend. I really wish your parents weren't insisting on sending you to some freaky boarding school miles and miles away. You'd better promise to tell me every single thing that happens there and everything you do."
Rose promised, knowing that it was a complete lie. When she came to think of it, there was very little she would be able to tell Jessica about her time at Hogwarts, without some very creative lying.
Tears sprang to her eyes. Could they really continue being best friends when she was forbidden from telling Jessica just about anything about her life. She supposed she could tell her vague things, like that Snape was a jerk, but nothing specific. Sometimes she hated...well, not being a witch; she loved that, but she hated being caught between the Muggle and Magical worlds. It was one of the reasons that she couldn't wait to start Hogwarts. At least, she would be able to be completely honest with her friends there.
She would miss Jessica though.
Jessica must have noticed the tears in her friend's eyes, because suddenly she was crying and hugging her.
"I'm going to miss you so much, Rose," she said.
"I'll miss you too. You'll have to write and tell me everything that happens to you too, especially if Roddy is as big an idiot as he was in primary school."
"I'll be sure to tell you."
"And don't forget to tell me how Marcia has her hair done this year."
"I won't," Jessica promised.
Both girls wiped their tears away quickly.
"Come on; we can't waste our last day together blubbering like this," Rose declared. "Let's go and do something fun."
They spent the next few hours messing around together, giggling and chatting and playing on Jessica's computer, until Rose finally looked at the clock and realised that it was almost a quarter to four.
"Oh my gosh, I have to get home," she announced. "My dad told me I absolutely had to be home by four, or I would be in so much trouble. Bye Jessica."
She raced home, thankful to see no sign of the Daily Prophet reporters, when she reached the house. Her father glanced at her significantly, but said nothing. After all, she was only five minutes late. She rushed upstairs to change into her best robes, fumbling as she tried to tie them as quickly as possible. Then she glanced in the mirror.
"Brush your hair," the mirror yelled at her.
Rose rumbled through the mess in her bedroom to find her hairbrush. She could her voices at the door. The reporter must have arrived. Oh, Merlin, where was her hairbrush. With relief, she unearthed it from under a pile of clothes, and brushed her hair quickly, before tying it back in a ponytail. Then she ran downstairs to greet the news crew.
Harry was chatting to the photographer, but he turned to smile at his daughter as she came down the stairs.
"This is Colin Creevy," he told her. "He was at school with me in Hogwarts. Well, he was a year below me. He was keen on photography, even back then."
"I'm sure I must have driven your father crazy. I was always trying to take photographs of him and his friends, and often at the most inappropriate moments. Remember that time you broke your arm."
"Oh, Merlin, will I ever forget it? That Lockhart! Still, your camera probably saved your life that year."
"I know it did."
"Oh, sorry, I never introduced my daughter to you. This is Rose. As I'm sure the whole Wizarding world knows, or at least they will after this article, she's starting Hogwarts on Monday. Just come in here and I'll introduce you to my wife and son."
Colin stepped into the living room, followed by a tall, thin woman, with dark hair, who he introduced as Martina Abbott. She was the reporter who would be interviewing them, he explained, just after he took a few photographs.
Rose's frantic rush upstairs to change turned out to have been a complete waste of time, as Colin looked thoughtfully at both her and James and suggested that they change into their school robes.
"This is an interview about you both setting off for Hogwarts, and particularly about you starting there, young lady. We want our readers to imagine you as Hogwarts' students as soon as they see your photographs, you understand? We are trying to give the impression that you are both just about to set off for school. Hmmm, perhaps you could bring down some of your schoolbooks, and if either of you has an animal..."
James and Rose headed upstairs to do as they were asked. They changed into their school robes and brought down some schoolbooks, James' owl and Rose's cat.
Then Colin started taking what seemed like an endless stream of photographs: James and Rose sitting with a pile of schoolbooks on the table in front of them, both of them sitting, holding their animals, James studying his Transfiguration textbook, Rose holding her new wand, Harry standing protectively behind his children, Harry alone, the entire family gathered together. Some of the photographs were obviously posed; others such as the one of Rose and James putting their books in a suitcase were intended to look natural.
"You're not going to use all of those?" Rose asked incredulously. "There won't be room for anything else in the paper if you do."
Colin laughed. "No, we're not going to use them all. What we'll do is look through them and see which are the nicest and which fit best with our story. Then we'll use those."
"Well, now you know, Miss," Harry commented. Rose wasn't sure what he meant by that. Sometimes her parents didn't like her asking questions, but how was she meant to find anything out if she didn't. It was just one more of the curious rules that grown-ups seemed to expect you to follow.
When the photography was finally finished, the entire family sat down with Martina Abbott and answered the questions that she asked them. Rose and Harry answered most of the questions, with Ginny occasionally chiming in when a question applied to her. James mostly stayed silent.
Unlike her brother, Rose was enjoying herself a good deal. She informed Miss Abbott of how much she was looking forward to starting Hogwarts and how much more exciting it seemed than her present life was.
"You and your brother attended Muggle schools for your primary education, I believe?" Martina asked.
"Yeah, and it was fun. I made a lot of friends there, but it just seems so silly that I can't tell them anything about my family or anything."
Ginny cut her off abruptly.
"Yes, we wanted them to get to know some Muggle children too. My brothers and I were educated by my parents, mostly my mother, before we started Hogwarts. I thought about doing the same with my children, but Harry and I discussed it and we thought it would be good for them to get to know Muggle children. There is still a certain amount of prejudice against Muggles in our world, you know. We didn't want our children believing nonsense like that. Besides, I had six brothers. If Rose and James hadn't been to school, they would only have had each other. It would have been boring for them."
Martina's Quick Quotes Quill flew across the page, as it noted down what Ginny had been saying.
"Perhaps, you could tell us a little bit about Muggle primary schools, Rose," she suggested, once Ginny had finished. "Many of our readers have little experience with the Muggle world and I'm sure they would find that very interesting."
This was something that Rose was used to talking about. Her grandfather constantly questioned her about aspects of school life, so she just told Martina some of the things that she had previously told him. Naturally, she spiced it up a bit. What was the fun in telling the precise truth?
"Now, Rose," Ginny warned. "I'm sorry Miss Abbott. Our daughter has a tendency to exaggerate occasionally. Tell them about what really happens, Rose."
So she had to stick as close to the truth as possible. Pity, she could think of a whole lot of stuff to tell them that would make the article a whole lot more interesting. And it wasn't as if she was actually lying or anything, just, well, stretching the truth a little.
All too soon, the interview was over and Colin and Martina were saying goodbye to the Potter family.
"I hope you have a good time at Hogwarts," Colin said to Rose, as he shook her hand. "I had a great time there, I remember. I was Muggle-born, of course so I knew nothing of Hogwarts before I got my letter. I found it all fantastically exciting."
Rose may have known about Hogwarts all her life, but she was quite sure that she too would find her time at Hogwarts exciting. Before her first year was finished, this assumption would be proven to be true.
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