"May I have your attention, please," Professor Kendrick stood up and announced at the End of Year Feast the a couple days later. Albus stopped talking to John and turned to face the Headmaster.
"Thank you," Kendrick continued once the Great Hall was quiet, "What a year, what a year. It is hard to believe that it is now June. The year has ended with quite a shock. I know that you all know by now what transpired on the grounds this past week."
Albus glanced around at his fellow students and saw that they were all turning to stare at him. He sunk down in his seat a little bit and tried to avoid their gaze.
"I want to assure you all that the Aurors are looking for both Professor Washburn and Jarett Willinson, as well as Quinton Willinson. Whether this was an isolated attack, I am not sure. But whether there are more attacks to come or not, I am sure we will all stand strong, and stand as one. Whatever is coming, we will deal with it. We have dealt with evil in the past and chances are we will deal with it in the future." Professor Kendrick paused and looked out at his students. Everyone had returned their gaze to him, and were no longer staring at Albus and his friends.
"Now, onto lighter matters. I have a few announcements, then the House Cup needs awarding. First, O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. results will be mailed partway through the summer, as usual. Second, the graduation ceremony will take place tomorrow, at ten o'clock. And lastly, as usual, I must remind you of the fact that using magic is prohibited while you are not in school over the summer.
"And now, the House Cup. In last place, Hufflepuff with 376 points." Kendrick announced. Albus clapped politely along with everyone else in the Hall. "Next, Gryffindor with 413 points." Albus groaned, as did everyone else sitting at the Gryffindor table. No doubt that the many points Washburn took from all of them helped assure that they did not get the House Cup. "In second place, with 452 points, Slytherin." There was a bit more polite applause, but none of it from the Gryffindor table. "And in first place, Ravenclaw with 563 points! Congratulations, Ravenclaw!" Kendrick waved his wand and the decorations transformed from their usual Hogwarts colors into the Ravenclaw blue.
Albus clapped his hands, while looking glumly at his plate. Oh, well, there was always next year. At least they'd gotten the Quidditch Cup.
"I think that is all that needs to be announced," Kendrick said once the applause died down, "And with that, enjoy the feast!" Kendrick waved his wand once again and food appeared on all the plates.
"We'll win it next year," John announced as he heaped his plate high with chicken, "But you know what, I'm going to miss this food over the summer...."
"'Course we'll win it next year," Albus agreed, "Washburn won't be here anymore to take off unfair points."
"You don't know who Kendrick'll get to replace him, though," Rose warned.
"Good point," Matt said as he buttered a piece of bread. He was still recovering from the full moon and wasn't that hungry. Normally, he wouldn't even be out of the Hospital Wing yet, but he had convinced Madam Pomfrey to let him attend the feast. "Do you know if your dad will be teaching DADA again next year?"
"Dunno," Albus shrugged. He hadn't really thought about it before, but Harry had come to teach DADA at a moment's notice, and maybe Kendrick really didn't have time to get anyone else. But now he'd have the whole summer.
"Hope he does," Matt replied, "Otherwise, we'll be getting two new teachers, and what are the chances that both of them will be nice?"
"Not high," Rose said. "I like having Uncle Harry teach here. I hope he comes back."
"Me, too," Albus agreed. John and Amanda nodded.
"Just hope our next Charms teacher is nicer," Amanda said, "Of course, it won't take much, will it?"
"Nope," Rose replied, "Won't take much at all."
Albus awoke the next morning with just enough time to catch a quick breakfast in the Great Hall before making his way to the grounds for the graduation.
"We'll see you after, when we're getting on the train," Rose said to John and Amanda as she got up from the table.
"Bye," John mumbled, his mouth full of toast.
"Have fun," Amanda waved.
Albus and Matt waved as they followed Rose out of the room. "Good thing it's sunny today," Albus commented, "Remember Teddy's? Last year?"
Rose laughed, "Oh, yeah, how could I forget that?"
"What happened?" Matt asked.
"Worst thunderstorm of the whole year," Albus grinned, "It's funny looking back on it, but it wasn't then. We got soaked, despite the tents Kendrick put up. Not to mention the wind, thunder, and lightning. Scared Lily out of her mind. Mum had to take her into the castle partway through."
"Glad it's not like that this year," Matt agreed. The three of them walked onto the grounds and over towards the chairs that had been set up by the lake. People were already milling about and finding seats. Albus spotted his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, all taking up practically half the seats.
"There's my mum and dad," Matt pointed to two people sitting down near where Albus's Aunt Fleur and Uncle Bill were, "Want to meet them?"
"Sure," Albus said and Rose nodded.
Matt started walking towards them, but once they noticed him, they came running towards the three of them and met them halfway. "Oh, Matthew! How are you? Are you feeling ok?" A tall blond woman with an Australian accent enveloped Matt in a tight hug.
"Mum!" Matt said, his cheeks turning red, "I'm fine! Really, I am."
"Are you sure? You look a bit pale. Did you sleep well last night?" the blond woman asked anxiously, with her arms still wrapped around her son.
"I'm sure! I slept fine, really," Matt assured her.
"Julie, I think he's fine." The man, who Albus guessed was Matt's dad, pulled the woman off of Matt. He also had an Australian accent and was tall, with graying hair.
"Oh, all right," the woman sighed, "I just worry."
"I know, so do I," the man said quietly, then turned to Matt, "How was the end of term?"
"Great, really. Well, with the exception of what happened with Washburn," Matt told them.
"And you wonder why I worry so much," the woman said to the man, "I'm glad everything else was fine."
"Oh, these are my friends," Matt gestured to Albus and Rose, "Well, two of them anyway. Albus Potter and Rose Weasley. They're both Victoire's cousins, like I told you in my letters. Albus, Rose, this is my mum and dad."
"Pleased to meet you," Rose smiled and shook their hands.
"Hi," Albus shook their hands after Rose.
"Hello, dears," the woman gave them a warm smile.
"So you're the ones who set off fireworks in Professor Washburn's class?" Mr. Eckerton asked.
"Er, yeah," Albus answered nervously.
Matt's dad just laughed, "That sounds like something I'd have done in school. Of course, I did plenty of other stuff...." Mrs. Eckerton gave him a stern look. "Not that I'm saying you should pull pranks like that, of course. You should behave yourself in school, son," Mr. Eckerton said quickly to Matt.
Albus stifled a laugh and noticed his own parents, followed by his Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione walking over towards him. "Hi, Mum and Dad!"
Rose grinned and greeted her parents as well, "Hello, Mum, Dad."
"Albus!" Ginny let go of Lily's hand and wrapped her son in a big hug.
"Hi, Mum," Albus replied and rolled his eyes and Ginny finally let him go. He looked over and saw that Rose's parents were doing the same thing with her.
Albus gestured to Matt and his parents, "This is our friend, Matt. Well, you already know him, Dad," Albus laughed, "But anyway, these are his parents. And Matt, Mr. Eckerton, Mrs. Eckerton, those are my parents, and my Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione, who are Rose's parents. And my little sister Lily and Rose's little brother, Hugo."
"Nice to meet you," Matt's dad stuck out his hand. "Walter Eckerton. And my wife, Julie." The adults spent a few minutes exchanging hand shakes and pleasantries, while Albus and Rose introduced Matt to Lily and Hugo.
"How'd you get those cuts?" Hugo asked Matt loudly, gesturing to the partially healed cuts on Matt's arm. Since the full moon was only a couple days ago, they still hadn't completely healed. "Didja get 'em from that duel with Professor Washburn?" Hugo said excitedly, "'Cause that was awesome. Wish I'd been there. I woulda blasted him all the way from here to Hagrid's Hut!"
"Er, yeah, they're from the duel," Matt replied quickly.
"Wicked!" Hugo grinned. "Can't wait until I can come here."
"Just another year, Hugo," Albus smiled at his cousin. "But don't count on getting to duel with evil teachers. I'd rather not have had to do that."
"Me and Lily acted out the duel, didn't we, Lily?" Hugo told them. Lily nodded her head. Hugo continued, "I got to be Washburn, only I won. Lily ran away."
"Did not!" Lily shouted.
"Did too!" Hugo shouted back.
"Kids, calm down," Ginny said sternly.
"Mum, can Matt come stay with us over the summer? John, too, but he's in the castle. They can come for mine and Rose's birthday party," Albus asked.
"I don't see why not," Ginny smiled, "As long as it's ok with his parents."
"Can I go stay with Albus?" Matt asked his parents, "Please?"
"I don't know..." Mrs. Eckerton looked worriedly at her husband.
Mr. Eckerton glanced at his wife and replied, "We'll have to think about it."
"Oh, come on! Please?" Matt pleaded, "I'll be fine. Albus even said they'd have the party at, a, good time."
Harry seemed to catch onto what the Eckertons were worried about and gave them a meaningful gaze, "I understand your worry, but I'm sure Matt will be fine if he stays with us for a few days. And we will schedule the party at a good time."
The Eckertons still didn't look convinced, but Matt's dad said, "He probably will, but I'd still like to talk it over with Julie. We'll get back to you, all right?"
"That's fine," Harry replied.
Matt groaned, "You worry too much."
"Sometimes we have to worry," Matt's mum told him, "You know that."
"I know," Matt sighed.
"I think the ceremony's starting now," Harry announced. "We'll be in touch with the details of the party."
"Sounds good," Mrs. Eckerton replied.
"See you after, Matt," Albus waved. He and Rose followed their families to the chairs that were set up on the lawn. Albus sat down in between Rose and Harry and waited for the ceremony to begin.
There was a large stage set up in front of the chairs, with a tall podium embossed with the Hogwarts crest. Next to the podium was a table piled with Hogwarts diplomas. All the seventh years sat in the first few rows of chairs, dressed in their black Hogwarts robes and a wizard's hat.
After a few minutes, in which everyone who had been milling around and talking came and sat down, Professor Kendrick strode up to the podium and began to speak. "Welcome, friends and family, to the graduation ceremony of the Hogwarts Class of 2017. I remember the first time these students stepped foot into Hogwarts. Many were excited and just as many were scared and nervous. Some thought they knew all of Hogwarts's secrets, and others hardly knew anything about the Wizarding World at all. But that did not matter. Because now, they all stand as one, equally prepared to take on the world around them. I believe that great things will happen to the people in this class and that they will do great things.
"This class is a special one to me. Every class at Hogwarts is special, but the year I became Headmaster was the year this class came to Hogwarts. I think that I was just as nervous as they were, if not more so." Kendrick paused as the audience laughed. "And I remember each one of their sortings. I remember Tyler Pike tripping over his own feet as he made his way to the stool. He's certainly come a long way from that, becoming captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team. I also remember Olivia Kaden's smile as she was sorted into Hufflepuff and ran to join her sister at that table. And who could forget the loud shout of glee from Teddy Lupin as Victoire Weasley was sorted into Gryffindor."
Professor Kendrick continued his speech for another ten minutes. After he was done, each of the Heads of House went up to the podium and gave a speech as well. Albus liked Neville's speech the best. He talked about how proud he was of each and every Gryffindor that was graduating that day, and what made them special. Albus found it a bit difficult to pay attention to Professor Patil's speech about the Ravenclaws because she used such big words that Albus hardly knew what she was saying. He assumed it all meant that Professor Patil knew that all the Ravenclaws would wind up making great contributions to the Wizarding World in the discoveries of various things. Professor Polo gave a good speech about the Hufflepuffs, and then Slughorn gave one, but it didn't focus much on the Slytherins. His speech mainly consisted of listing who he had taught at Hogwarts, and how famous they are now. He spent a good portion of it talking about how he had taught Harry. Albus saw his dad grimace as Slughorn mentioned what a marvelous potions brewer he had been. Albus had to stifle a laugh at that, because he knew the story of Snape's potions book and how Harry had wound up with it in his sixth year.
Professor Kendrick took the podium once Slughorn had finished, "Thank you, Professors Longbottom, Patil, Polo, and Slughorn. Now, two outstanding students shall speak on behalf of their class. First, Head Boy Tyler Pike. And then, Head Girl Victoire Weasley."
Tyler Pike took the podium and began his speech. It was a long-winded speech full of more words Albus didn't understand, much like Professor Patil's had been. Must be a Ravenclaw thing, he thought. Albus glanced at Rose and noticed she was paying rapt attention. Maybe she should have been in Ravenclaw.
Once Tyler concluded his speech, Victoire stepped up to the podium. She waited for the crowd to stop their applause for Tyler's speech and then she began. "Wow, what a crazy seven years it's been!" she paused and smiled at the audience. "I remember our first day here. I was scared, we were all scared. Short first years, lost in a sea of older students, and now we're at the top. Over the past seven years we have not only gotten an education that will serve us throughout our entire lives, but we have forged friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Memories. In the end, that's all we've got. I know I speak for us all in saying that the memories we've made here at Hogwarts are some of the best we have. It hasn't always been easy and not all the memories are good ones. We've all lost the House Cup at least once in the past seven years, we've lost Quidditch matches, failed tests, and had fights with friends. But now isn't the time to dwell on those memories. Right now we should remember the good times. The times we did win the House Cup, the spectacular wins in Quidditch, the tests we've aced, and the fact that our friendships are strong enough to withstand a few rows.
"I'm sure we all have mixed feelings about leaving Hogwarts. I know I do. This castle has been our home away from home for the past seven years. A good portion of our lives have been spent here. It will be sad to leave Hogwarts behind, but this moment is what we've been working towards ever since we stepped off the train when we were 11. Hogwarts has prepared us, not only academically, but socially, for the world before us. We are ready, we can go into the world and make something of ourselves. When you look out at the class behind me, don't just look at us as the Hogwarts Class of 2017. Look at us as the future Healers, Aurors, researchers, and who knows, maybe even the future Minister of Magic. So, in conclusion, we are ready to face the world. Whatever it has in store for us, we will be able to take it on. Using our different talents, we as a group will be able to take whatever the world has to throw at us."
The audience broke out into loud applause. Albus clapped along with them. He thought Victoire's speech had been much better than Tyler's and judging by the applause, everyone else thought so, too. The applause died down as Victoire went back to her seat and Kendrick took up the podium once again.
"Thank you, Tyler and Victoire," he nodded his head in their direction, "Now it is time to present the diplomas." Kendrick waved his wand and the podium moved to the side, while the table with the diplomas moved to the center of the stage. The four heads of houses got up and stood next to the table. Kendrick stood on the other side and picked up the first diploma. "Katelyn Isabelle Asterly," he called out.
A tall, red haired Hufflepuff stood up and walked over to the headmaster. She took her diploma and shook Kendrick's hand. Then she shook all the heads of houses' hands and walked off the stage. She walked the short distance to the lake. Albus watched her and noticed that Hagrid was standing there. The boats they had crossed the lake on earlier in the year were sitting on the calm water.
The headmaster continued to call off names. Albus recognized a few of them, but most of them were people he had just seen occasionally.
"Amy Marie Eckerton," Kendrick called out a short while later. Albus and Rose clapped loudly as Matt's sister accepted her diploma and walked over to the growing group of seventh years near the lake.
Albus watched as Kendrick called out more names. He recognized the two Slytherins that had hexed him earlier in the year. Neither he or Rose clapped for them. They politely clapped for everyone else. Albus also recognized the Quidditch captain, Samantha Meyers and clapped a bit louder for her.
The crowd of seventh years on the stage diminished until there were only two left. "Victoire Fleur Weasley," Kendrick announced. Albus and Rose clapped louder than they had for anyone else as their cousin shook Kendrick's hand. Albus heard Teddy whistle and give a loud shout of 'Go Victoire!' as she shook Neville's hand. Professor Patil shot him a stern look and he quieted down. Albus had to stifle a laugh. Even after you graduate, you still have to listen to the professors, he thought.
"Cameron Alexander Zabino," Kendrick called once Victoire had crossed the stage. A burly looking Slytherin accepted his diploma and joined his class by the lake.
Kendrick waved his wand and the table disappeared. The podium moved back to the center of the stage and Kendrick stood behind it. "In the past seven years, the students in this class have learned a great deal about magic and life in general. These skills will help them as they pursue the careers and dreams of their choosing. It is time for them to journey from Hogwarts, on the same boats they arrived her on seven years ago. The first time they crossed this lake, they were both excited and scared about what Hogwarts had in store for them. As they cross the lake once more, they are more confident, but still excited and a bit scared about what the world has in store for them. I know I speak for us all when I say I'm sure they will do great things."
Kendrick nodded his head towards the group of seventh years. The students climbed into the boats and Hagrid got into the one in front. He brandished his pink umbrella and bellowed, "Forward!" The boats all started moving, taking the seventh years away from Hogwarts and towards the new adventures that awaited them as adults.
A/N: Thanks to my sister and beta, Dancer_of_Starlight, my other sister, and my brother. Thanks as well to Moonylupin, ladymblack, sinwillys822, and XDNLxtlz99 for their reviews!
Also, if anyone picked up on the fact that this took place in 2016/2017, whereas the Harry Potter Lexicon indicates that Albus's first year would have been 2017/2018, I figured out the dates differently than the Lexicon did. I used Victoire's birthday (May 2, 1999) and figured out that her 7th year would hvae been 2016/2017. I know the Lexicon figured it out differently, but I'm sticking with my own calculations.
There's only one chapter left! I'll post it next week and then look for the sequel, which I'll post sometime after Christmas!
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