Chapter 23 : Return To Hogwarts
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Ron and Hermione Weasley & family,
You are invited to attend the 30th Anniversary celebration of the Battle of Hogwarts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, on 2nd May 2028.
Ceremony to take place in the grounds at 5pm, with dinner in the Great Hall to follow.
Professor F. Flitwick
“You’re going,” Mum tells me as soon as she hands me the invitation. She’s sitting at the dining room table doing some work and doesn’t even look up from the piece of parchment she’s writing on.
“Ok,” I say, knowing it’s pointless to argue. I hadn’t considered not going anyway. After all, it’s not like I have anything better to do with my life now that Scorpius has Aidan, and since I won’t have work that day on account of it being a national holiday in the wizarding community, I might as well return to Hogwarts for an evening.
“Everybody’s going,” Mum continues, as if I’ve told her I’m not. “The Potters, Uncle George, Aunt Angelina, Uncle Charlie –”
“Yes Mum, I know what ‘everybody’ means,” I tell her. It means the entire crew – fun.
“And I believe the Malfoys are going,” Mum adds.
“The Malfoys?” I scoff. “As in the ones who fought on Voldemort’s side?”
“Honestly Rose, after having a baby with one of them you’d think you’d be more forgiving.”
“That’s exactly why I’m not forgiving.”
“Draco and Astoria are quite well respected in the Ministry,” Mum tells me. “And they changed over to our side when it really mattered, so we should all forgive and forget I think.”
“Not bloody likely,” says Dad, who has wandered in from the living room after waking up from his afternoon nap. I think by the time he hits eighty all he’ll do is sleep.
“I’m with Dad,” I agree.
“Nothing new there,” Mum mumbles to herself, clearly agitated. Hugo’s not here to take her side.
I’ve found myself spending more time at Mum and Dad’s since Aidan went to Scorpius’s, and at the Burrow too. Staying at the empty flat just depresses and angers me, and since I’m already an angry person in general, I don’t think it’ll be too long before I snap and murder somebody. I hope it’s Molly.
The following week on the morning of the anniversary, Scorpius allows me to take Aidan for the whole day. We both know it’s best for our son to be associated more with the Weasleys than the Malfoys on a day like today. We apparate together to Hogsmeade village, where Al and Jenny are waiting for us in The Three Broomsticks. This really takes me back; Aidan, this is where Evil Grandad Draco offered Mummy money to have you aborted.
“Sweets!” Aidan screeches as soon as he sees Honeydukes. Passers-by look at him and smile, but I know they’re all secretly judging me, thinking I don’t feed my child. He ate three slices of bread and two bananas before we left the bloody flat!
“Not now,” I tell him and lead him into the pub. Al, Jenny and Lily are sitting at a table right inside the door and beckon us over.
Sitting in the pub, I see some familiar faces from the Ministry, along with some friends of Mum and Dad’s; Seamus Finnegan, who’s the father of a bloke who was in my year at school; Dean Thomas, who used to go out with Aunt Ginny; Lavender Brown, who used to go out with Dad. It’s only half three, so they’re clearly all getting a few pints in before the ceremony. I can see others stealing glances at us, knowing full well that they are looking at Harry Potter’s son, daughter and niece. It would be hard to mistake Al for anyone else other than Harry – just slap a scar on his forehead and he could be The Chosen One.
“Ever feel like you’re in a zoo?” Al mumbles, almost trying to hide himself.
“You have to be used to people gawping at you by now,” Jenny rolls her eyes. “Every year at school the first years would fall over themselves to get a look at Harry Potter’s kids.”
“James used to bask in the attention,” Lily agrees. “That was his favourite part of going back to Hogwarts after the summer holidays.”
“Speaking of,” I look around, “Where is your waste of space brother?” I haven’t seen or been speaking with James since our argument, and I’m not sure if he’s been speaking to anybody else either. I know Scorpius hasn’t heard much from him.
“No idea,” Al says darkly. “Mum was round at his flat last week, said she heard him inside but he wouldn’t open the door. And Dad was there yesterday, but James just shouted at him to piss off.” Jenny nudges him and points to Aidan, clearly annoyed that Al has cursed in front of him.
“Dad was so annoyed,” Lily adds, though she really doesn’t need to. I can just imagine how angry Harry is with him.
“I don’t understand why he’s being so ridiculous,” I say. “Isn't his suspension nearly over?”
“He’ll be playing the next match,” Al nods. “That’s if Mum doesn’t kill him first.”
Shortly afterwards, we make our way up to the school, Aidan buzzing with excitement to see Hogwarts for the first time. He was there before when he was a baby, when Scorpius was in seventh year and I brought him up to visit. But of course he doesn’t remember that.
“It’s amazing!” he squeals when he first sees the castle. He loves the word ‘amazing’ recently. “Look, Mum, it’s amazing!”
“I know, it’s amazing,” I agree, and he seems very happy with this response.
“I can’t wait to go here! It’s amazing!”
Lily and Jenny smile at him. I can’t believe that in just five and a half short years, my son will be starting at Hogwarts. It really doesn’t feel that long ago since I went here.
There are hundreds of chairs set up near the lake and a stage right beside the memorial statue, which holds the names of all who died during the wars against Voldemort. Albus Dumbledore’s tomb is to the right of the stage. The chairs are already starting to fill up, but there are seats actually reserved for us near the front. The very front row is reserved for the leading figures in the Order of the Phoenix – Harry, Ginny, Mum, Dad, Nana Molly, Grandad, Minerva McGonagall, Luna Scamander, Neville Longbottom and so on – so we sit in the second row. So far, there is no sign of James, but I do catch a glimpse of Scorpius and Daisy, who are sitting with Draco and Astoria quite a few rows back. I nod in acknowledgement of them.
Dom arrives with Victoire and Teddy. It’s Victoire’s 28th birthday today, though she insists she’s twenty-five, so Dom has been threatened not to mention her actual age to anyone.
“Look at Audrey talking to all those Ministry officials,” Jenny mumbles to me. Sure enough, Audrey is practically flirting with some of the senior Ministry officials on behalf of her husband – Uncle Percy has taken his seat with his family and has thankfully decided to forget about the campaign for today. “She really has some nerve...”
“Mum! Look, it’s Hagrid!” Aidan squeals when he sees our giant friend. Hagrid waves over at us – despite the fact that he’s quite a bit away from us, he has heard my son’s shouts.
The ceremony consists of many speeches from many different people. The students of Hogwarts are made sit on the grass beside the lake, each of them craning their necks to look at Harry and Mum and Dad. Despite the fact that my family really are very embarrassing, I’m strangely proud of them at the same time. Minerva McGonagall, who has to be at least one hundred years old, talks for ten minutes about Albus Dumbledore in a speech that is actually very emotional. I notice a tear running down Hagrid’s cheek.
There are speeches from Professor Flitwick, Mum, Kingsley Shacklebolt and finally, Harry. Any murmurs that were coming from the students completely cease once Harry takes the stage. He talks about bravery, how he couldn’t have done what he did without his friends. He mentions how many battles were lost before the war was won. He seems nervous talking to so many people, but I don’t think anybody who doesn’t know him as well as we do would notice. He denies he is a hero, something we all disagree with. He mentions Dumbledore and Severus Snape, and declares them the true heroes.
“...Finally, I just want to thank my family; my wife, Ginny and my kids James –” he looks into the crowd and realises James has still not arrived, but continues anyway. “Albus and Lily. I grew up with no family, and now I am blessed with brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, sons and daughters. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Weasley family, and I’d like to take a moment to mention the Weasley who was lost during the war – Fred.” Nana Molly is openly crying, while Angelina clings to Uncle George’s hand. “So many families were torn apart in the fight against Voldemort. So many lives were lost. We need to keep them in mind today, and every day. I’m not a hero – they’re the heroes.”
There is a minute-long silence for the dead. It’s surreal; even the birds don’t chirp for that moment. Even Aidan doesn’t talk or fidget.
After the ceremony, we are ushered inside to the Great Hall for dinner. The students are sent to their common rooms, where the food will be sent up to them. There isn't enough room in the Great Hall for everyone.
“I want to be in Gryffindor like you!” Aidan decides (to my utter delight) as we walk towards the castle.
“You tell Grandad Ron that,” I tell him. “And Grandad Draco,” I add as an afterthought.
The whole Potter-Weasley family decide to sit at the Gryffindor table, while I notice the Malfoys take their seats at Slytherin. It’s ridiculous how segregated the Wizarding community still is.
“Aren’t you going to sit with your Slytherin buddies?” Fred asks Al, grinning.
“Leave it out,” Al grumbles. “Where the hell is James?”
“I really thought he’d make the effort to come,” I say.
“Dad’s furious,” says Lily, although you’d never guess it. “Oh Merlin!”
Jenny, Dom and I both spin around to see what has made Lily cry out. I see them before Jenny does, so I nudge her in the right direction. The Scamander twins.
Lily’s history with the Scamander twins is highly amusing, starting with her going out with Lorcan and cheating with Lysander, and ending with a very public brawl in the middle of a Slytherin versus Gryffindor Quidditch match.
“Oh come on Lily,” I say to her in my reasonable voice, “It’s been years since all that kiddie drama!”
“Did Lorcan ever find out you and Lysander went out in your sixth year?” Jenny asks.
“Shh! Of course not!” Lily whispers fiercely.
“You haven’t gone out with Lorcan since you were fourteen, I think he’s over it,” I tell her.
“Why did you and Lysander break up?” Dom asks, but I give her a look indicating that she really shouldn’t ask. I don’t even know the full story.
Dinner consists of seven courses and really takes me back to my school days. There is no food that can match the Hogwarts meals, except maybe those cooked by Nana Molly. During dessert, Al is in deep conversation with Professor Flitwick, and when I ask Jenny why she simply shrugs. Aidan sits on Dad’s knee most of the time, telling him how he’s going to be a Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Dad has never looked so proud. It’s always astounded me how people are much more proud of their grandchildren then their own kids. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they don’t have to worry about screwing up the grandkids – that’s my job.
When tea and coffee is served, I feel a tap on my shoulder, and Tom slips in beside me at the table. Jenny and Lily look on in interest, not aware that this man is in fact my lawyer.
“Evening, Rose,” he says casually, as if we’re friends or something. We are not friends.
“Hello,” I greet him. “Can I help you with something?”
He smirks and rolls his eyes. “Does everything have to mean business with you?”
“When I’m speaking with my lawyer, yes,” I reply. I suppose on some level I blame him for the outcome of the hearing, even though I know he did everything he could. Still, I have to blame someone, and blaming Daisy has become a bit stale.
“You really don’t like me, do you?”
“Not as such,” I shrug. “You’re a bit big headed.”
“Thank you,” he takes it as a compliment.
“Why are you even here?”
“I was at the Ravenclaw table, but I thought I’d come over and say hello –”
“I mean in the larger sense,” I cut him off. “You were invited here?”
“Was every Tom, Dick and Harry invited from the Ministry?”
“Well, every Tom and Harry anyway,” he grins.
“So you’re funny now?” I ask, not at all amused.
“I’ve always been funny, haven’t you noticed?”
Lily edges closer to us, clearly interested. “Who’s your friend, Rose?”
“He’s not my f–”
“Tom Fox,” he shakes Lily’s hand. “You’re Lily Potter?”
“I am. So how do you know Rose?”
“Lorcan’s coming this way!” I exclaim suddenly, and Lily jumps up from the table and rushes away before she realises I’m lying. “How are things coming along for the second hearing?”
“Are you going to let me use –”
“No,” I tell him firmly.
“Has anyone ever told you you’re very uptight?”
“Yes, but they’re dead now.”
Tom sighs and shakes his head. “You really are a pisser. I must get back to my girlfriend, it was nice talking to you, friend!”
“I’m not your friend!” I snap as he walks away.
I decide to go for a short wander into the entrance hall, recalling the times I patrolled around the entrance hall on prefect duty during my fifth year at Hogwarts. I did it during my first half of sixth year too, but once I found out I was pregnant, all of my prefect duties completely went from my brain.
I notice the broom cupboard in the entrance hall, the same cupboard I had some stolen moments with Scorpius in. Not in a raunchy way. Well, not usually. It was a nice place to sit and think and worry and cry. I’ve done all of the above with Scorpius in this very broom cupboard. I look around to make sure nobody is watching me and open the door, and nearly leap from my skin when I find Scorpius sitting on an old trunk. Great minds think alike, but so do stupid ones.
“What are you doing in here?”
“Same as you,” Scorpius replies. “Getting away.”
I don’t know what makes me do it, but I enter the cupboard and close the door behind me. It’s smaller than I remember, which is strange because I am thinner than the last time I was in here. When I sit down on the floor facing Scorpius, it occurs to me that it could be five years ago. We could be two sixteen year olds hiding from the outside world, from Scorpius’s girlfriend and from all of my problems.
“Doesn’t seem long ago, does it?” Scorpius muses.
“We really have messed stuff up since then.”
“Stuff was already messed up back then,” I remind him. “We’ve just messed up the new stuff.”
“Aidan’s turning out good, though,” says Scorpius. “I think you’ve done really well.”
“I do too. Today he’s decided he wants to be in Gryffindor.”
Scorpius pauses. “Damn. I spoke too soon.”
“You’re going to take him to yours tonight?” I ask.
“Yeah, I think so. Rose, I hope you know I didn’t apply for custody to hurt you. I mean, I never wanted full custody, I still don’t, I want us to share it –”
“I know, Scorp,” I interrupt him. I really don’t want to hear it all again, it’ll just make me angry. “Have you heard from James?”
Scorpius shakes his head, looking slightly elevated at the change of subject. Talking about custody of Aidan always ends in an argument, and I’m really not in the mood to argue. The cupboard is a happy place, we shouldn’t tarnish its atmosphere.
“Remember the time we came in here to hide from Molly?” Scorpius grins. “We’d used her ink to write ‘Mrs Molly Library Man’ all over her schoolbag.”
“Oh God, yeah!” I laugh. “She knew it was us and all!”
“Of course she knew, she bloody saw us!”
“We weren’t so subtle, were we?” I giggle. Scorpius shakes his head. “Remember the time I found you crying in here?”
“I wasn’t crying!” Scorpius protests, as he did at the time. “I wasn’t!”
“Why were your eyes red?”
“I’m allergic to cleaning potions!”
“Bullshit, your eyes are fine now and you’re sitting next to them. Were you drinking them last time?”
“Maybe,” he says childishly. “I really miss being friends with you.”
It cuts me and flatters me at the same time. I miss being his friend, but I miss being his girlfriend more. I never thought I would at the time, but I miss being pregnant. I miss him constantly worrying if I’m alright. Now that he has Aidan, what does he really care about me? Aidan comes first with him, as he does with me, but Daisy now comes second.
“Well then we should start being friends again,” I tell him.
“I thought you hated me?”
I sigh. “I hate that you have Aidan. I don’t hate you. I think you know that.”
“It’s just until the next hearing. I promise, I’m just going to ask for a few days a week.”
I still hate that, but again, I’m not going to argue. I’m leaving that to Tom because in the end it will reflect better on me.
“Scorpius, can I ask you something?” I can feel my heart beating faster.
“Sure.” He looks nervous.
“Why did you say you need me to stop loving you? After you came to take Aidan...you said you need me to stop loving you.”
He frowns. I’ve wanted to ask him since he said it, but I don’t know if I really need to know the answer, just like he doesn’t really want to give it.
“If you stop loving me, I can stop loving you.”
And there it is.
The door of the broom cupboard swings open – it’s Daisy. It was bound to be Daisy to catch us in a compromising position at some point. It can’t always be Jenny.
“Am I interrupting something?” she asks, clearly annoyed.
“No!” Scorpius jumps up and bangs his head off the low ceiling. I’d laugh if I weren’t so embarrassed.
“We were just talking!” I insist.
“I’m going to get Aidan,” Daisy says flatly, not looking at me at all. “We’re going home.”
Scorpius, like a scolded child, follows his wife out of the cupboard and into the Great Hall. He looks back once and smiles weakly at me. But at least it’s a smile.
A/N - Apologies for the wait again! There was alot of issues stopping me from updating including exams, a death in my family and computer trouble. I don't think I'll get another chapter up before the queue closure. I hope you liked this chapter, as always, I appreciate feedback!
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