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Chapter 11 : 3rd Year Changes
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“Good-bye, Scorpius, you were a lovely guest and we hope to see you again soon.” Mrs. Fairbotham leaned over and hugged the blonde boy. She barely reached his shoulder.
“Good-bye, young Mr. Malfoy,” Mr. Fairbotham said, shaking Scorpius’ hand. “Good luck with school this year.”
Scorpius stood back discretely while Cornelius took his leave. Presently both boys entered the station and made their way to the brick wall between platforms 9 and 10. As unobtrusively as possible, they walked through the gateway to Platform 9 ¾.
At the sight of the scarlet Hogwart’s Express, Scorpius smiled. Turning to Cornelius, “Ready to go back, mate?”
“Ready, another year of Quidditch, Magic, and this year—Hogsmeade trips!”
Shortly they found a compartment where all their friends were congregated. As the train pulled out of King’s Cross, everyone was happily sharing their escapades of the summer holiday.
“How was your break, Scorpius?” Tarani asked sweetly.
“The last month I’ve been with Cornelius. It was a blast.”
“What did you do?”
“Oh, you know, this and that…”
Tarani laughed at his vagueness. “What about the first part?”
Scorpius’ face darkened. “I was just in London with Father.”
“Is he still out of work?” At his nod Justine looked at him with sympathy.
Draco had been without a job since being let go from Quality Quidditch Supplies in the Spring of Scorpius’ first year. At first he’d been hopeful of finding gainful employment through one of his many contacts. As the days turned into weeks, the weeks turned into months, and the months into years, with no sign of change, he’d fallen farther and farther into depression.
Scorpius hardly recognized his father these days. His once light blonde hair was prematurely gray. His skin was paler than ever, with dark shadows under his eyes. For a man of 37 years he looked to be 60.
“How’s your mum?” Justine asked hopefully.
“She’s wonderful,” he answered brightly. She’s been in New York this summer.”
“Does it look like anything will change for your father?” The question came from Kavi and in response Scorpius shrugged his shoulders.
“I don’t know. I hope so. Some solicitor came to see Father right before I left for the Fairbothams’ house, but I don’t know what it was about.”
“Why was your mum in New York?” Justine asked.
Scorpius was saved from answering by the arrival of the food trolley. Once they had all made their selections, the talk changed to happier matters and the subject of Scorpius’ parents didn’t come up again.
Entering the Great Hall they said good-bye to Tarani and the remaining sat together at the Hufflepuff table.
“I wonder how many Weasleys and Potters we get this year?”
“Does it matter, Jussy? Why are you so obsessed with them?”
“I am NOT obsessed!”
“Does it matter how many there are?” Questioned Cornelius.
“They breed like rabbits. I just don’t want them taking over the entire school.”
“It just might be a bit late for that,” responded Kavi.
They all became silent as the sorting began. They clapped politely whenever a new Hufflepuff was mentioned.
“Maybe there won’t be anymore,” whispered Jussy.
“Lily Potter.” Called out Professor Longbottom.
“I guess that answers that,” Scorpius whispered back.
He watched, with interest, as the newest Potter made her way to the stool. She was short and slender, with the signature fiery red hair. Unlike the others of her family, it was tame by comparison. She wore it in a chin length bob, with a single hair clip holding it back from her face. She also didn’t seem to have the Weasley freckles.
As to be expected, she was sorted into Gryffindor.
“I wonder if a Weasley or Potter will ever be sorted into any other house?” Justine wondered.
Cornelius and Scorpius exchanged a glance. Would she ever stop wondering about the Potter/Weasleys?
The sorting dragged on and the boys were soon squirming in their chairs. Scorpius heard Cornelius’ stomach growl.
“He’s the last one,” murmured Kavi.
“Good, because I’m starving.” Scorpius responded.
“I think he really is the last one.” Justine stated.
“Kavi already said that,” answered Scorpius.
“No, that’s not what I meant. I think he’s the last Weasley. There won’t be anymore until this generation starts having kids.” She shuddered, “What a frightening thought—can you imagine James Potter, a father.”
“This may surprise you, Jussy, but I try not to think of James Potter.”
During this interchange Hugo was sorted into Gryffindor (no surprise) and Professor Sprout began her welcoming speech.
“Why in the world do you keep track of how many Potters and Weasleys are running around the school?”
“I do not!”
The banter continued until the appearance of the food. Whatever Professor Sprout said was lost on them.
The morning of the first classes of their 3rd year, the foursome sat together at breakfast awaiting their timetables. Oddly enough, it was Professor Sprout who was handing them out to the Hufflepuffs.
“Oh good, Cornelius and I have Arithmancy and Ancient Runes together. What did you two decide to take?” Asked Justine.
“I am taking Arithmancy, but I’m also taking Divination.” Kavi answered. “My mother loved Divination.”
“I’m with you and Cornelius,” said Scorpius, not bothering to look at his timetable. “I wrote ahead to Professor Chatsworth what I wanted.”
“I wonder why he wasn’t at the welcome feast last night?” Changing the subject she went on, I can’t wait for the first Hogsmeade weekend! It will be fun to leave the school!”
“Do you have a date yet?” Asked Kavi.
The three of them looked at Kavi as if he had suddenly grown three heads.
“What a stupid question,” snorted Justine. “As if I’d have a date—we’re all going together, right?”
Scorpius and Cornelius nodded with enthusiasm. “Of Course!”
Kavi smiled smugly, “as it just so happens, I have a date.”
“What stupid girl said yes to you?” Justine blurted out. Kavi looked offended.
“I was asked out by a girl and I said yes.”
“Who?” Cornelius and Scorpius asked in unison.
Puffing his chest out, he said, “Antonella Vanessi.”
“The Fourth year Ravenclaw?” Scorpius asked. Automatically, the trio turned their heads towards the Ravenclaw table, seeking out Antonella. She was a tall and curvy blue-eyed blonde and very pretty and popular. At the sight of Kavi, she smiled, waved, and winked at him.
“Yes,” Kavi said, waving back. “Although,” he said with a frown, “Rumor has it that James Potter broke up with her on the train. I could very well be a rebound date.”
“Just show her a good time, mate.” Said Scorpius. “Sweep her off her feet and show her what a good bloke is all about.”
“That’s right,” chimed in Justine. “James Potter is such a git, I doubt she ever saw much of a good time.”
“Thanks guys,” said Kavi. “So what about you Justine? Is there anyone you fancy?”
“Whatever do you mean?”
“C’mon, surely you’ve seen how all the guys are looking at you?”
To the shock of the three boys, Justine’s eyes welled up with tears and she stormed off without a word.
Kavi looked confused. “What did I do?” They heard soft laughter behind them.
Turning around they saw Tarani, who was shaking her head at her cousin. “This was not the time to bring up Justine’s looks to her.”
“Why ever not?” He asked.
“Didn’t you hear what happened at the platform?” They all shook their heads no.
“Justine arrived at the platform wearing jeans and a t-shirt.”
“So…” they said. Scorpius unconsciously began to squirm and out of the corner of his eye noticed that Cornelius’ face turned slightly pink.
“Well,” she said, blushing, “James really noticed her budding assets and whistled at her.”
“Bugger...” said Cornelius.
“She was so mortified, she ran to the loo and immediately changed into robes. She’s been glaring at him ever since.”
Scorpius felt uncomfortable. Earlier he and Cornelius couldn’t help noticing how pretty Justine had become. She’d grown taller than both of them, developed curves that weren’t there before, and had very pretty, long, dark, wavy hair. He didn’t have romantic feelings for her, but, Merlin, he wasn’t blind.
“So why did she run away?” Scorpius wondered aloud.
“She’s embarrassed.” Tarani said, simply.
“What do we do?” Scorpius asked with concern.
“Just be her friend. Ignore what happened just now, never mention James Potter to her face, unless it’s to curse his name, and don’t ever mention her looks.”
“Right, got it,” said Cornelius. “Let’s go, Scorpius.”
“Thanks for your help, Tarani.” Scorpius called back.
“You’re coming with us to Hogsmeade, right? Or do you have other plans?”
“I’d love to come with you!”
“Great, it’s settled then.”
It was in the middle of Herbology with Professor Longbottom that Scorpius spotted the mistake in his timetable. Ancient Runes and Muggle Studies were listed as his electives. He had specifically written to Professor Chatsworth, his Head of House, and requested Ancient Runes and Arithmancy.
He finished his assignment a little before the end of class and approached Professor Longbottom.
“Professor, I think there is a mistake with my timetable. May I be excused to see Professor Chatsworth for correction?”
“Professor Chatsworth is no longer at Hogwarts.” He replied. “He retired last year and you have a new Head of House. Didn’t you hear Professor Sprout talking about this last night during the welcoming speech?”
Scorpius turned red in response. He must have missed that bit of information while talking with his friends. “Who is it, sir?” He asked politely.
Professor Longbottom paused for a moment, “This might not be the right time to tell you. You may go to the Headmistress about your timetable.”
Scorpius exited the Greenhouse.
Once in the Headmistress’s office, Scorpius was in for the surprise of his life.
“What do you mean there is no mistake?” He asked incredulously.
“I mean that I believe taking Muggle Studies would be a good thing for you, Scorpius. It would show the student population that you are not like your…that you don’t have a problem with muggles.”
“I don’t have a problem with Muggles,” he answered. “I spent most of the summer with Cornelius’ family.
“Well then, you’re all set.”
“No!” He replied emphatically, but softened his next tone at the look on Professor Sprout’s face. “Forgive me, Professor. I just think that Muggle Studies will be a waste of time for me. I really want to take Ancient Runes and Arithmancy.” He put on his most earnest looking face.
Professor Sprout smiled, “I understand your interest in those two subjects. I tell you what, I’ll approve you taking both those AND Muggle Studies.”
Scorpius felt his jaw drop to the floor.
“You certainly are the best in your year, you and Miss Weasley, so I don’t think you’d have any trouble with the extra work. Plus, you’ll be moving forward with clearing the Malfoy name.”
Scorpius felt utterly defeated. What could he do? He only knew that once again, Draco would be storming to the Headmistress’s office. In light of his father’s continued depression, he didn’t want to imagine how that scene would play out.
“I have other news for you, Scorpius.”
He waited, wondering what it could be now.
“Mr. Fellowes is unable to continue with Quidditch this year, due to his grades. Therefore, as the one with the most experience, you are now Captain of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team.”
Scorpius was dumbfounded. A third year as captain? He felt thrilled and intimidated.
A knock on the door interrupted them.
As the Professor answered the door, Scorpius gathered his books. He could hear the Headmistress greet someone cordially and invite them in.
“Mr. Malfoy, you shall be the first student to officially meet the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and your new Head of House.”
Scorpius looked at the young man with bright turquoise hair with interest.
“Scorpius Malfoy, may I introduce Professor Ted Lupin.”
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