Chapter 2 : Home
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“Rose Weasley’s a Slytherin!”
“But her parents fought Voldemort!”
“Is she evil?”
“Yes,” I say, poking my head into a carriage of a bunch of them. “I’m evil through and through. If you don’t stop gossiping about me, I’ll Crucio your sorry asses.”
The Hogwarts Express comes to a halt outside Hogsmeade Station and I recruit the assistance of numerous prefects to shepherd the young ‘uns off the train and towards old Hagrid, who is bellowing his age-old “Firs’ years! Firs’ years over here!” and frightening the poor little things witless.
“Rose!” Scorpius yells, leaning out the doorway of one of the carriages lined up to trundle us to the castle. “Move your arse in this general direction or Albus’ll steal your spot!”
“Moving,” I call back, firing a glance back at the train I’m disembarking. There are no kids left on board, only Riordan, still gathering his belongings for a dignified exit. My duties here are done.
“NEWT year, huh,” Alyssa, my best friend in Slytherin, begins.
“Oh, joy,” Scorpius mutters. “Nice knowing you all.”
“Come on, it won’t be that bad,” I point out.
“Says Hermione Weasley’s daughter,” Jeremy comments.
“I’m going to kill you, Jem.”
“I was merely pointing it out.”
“Playing this year, Rose?” Alyssa asks, changing the subject.
“Of course. You?” I ask. For the past two years Alyssa’s been our Seeker, and she’s a good one.
“Yep,” she confirms.
“Uh-uh,” Scorpius interrupts. “You have to get through tryouts first.”
“Oh please, Scorp,” Jeremy says, rolling his eyes. “You going to replace us with first-years?”
“You never know, there could be some kickass first years out there,” he says with a perfectly straight face.
“So when are tryouts?” Alyssa asks, getting down to business.
“We haven’t even entered the castle yet, and you’re pestering me about tryouts?” Scorpius asks. “Hold your Hippogriffs, I’ll have to talk to Mum about booking the pitch.”
If I thought I have it bad with my mum’s election campaign all over the Daily Prophet, it’s nothing compared to Scorpius. His mum, not only his Charms teacher but his Head of House. Poor boy.
“Do we know any of the midgets this year?” Jeremy asks, flitting over to a new subject.
“My brother Ben,” Alyssa offers. “Reckon he’s Hufflepuff material though.”
“That’s not nice,” Jeremy admonishes.
“Neither is insinuating that Hufflepuff is an insult,” I say crisply. “I’m sure there are some lovely people in Hufflepuff. I just don’t know them, is all.”
The carriage comes to a halt outside the Entrance Hall and I drink in the sight of the majestic, stately castle and its towers reaching up to pierce the heavy, rain-laden clouds.
“I’m home,” I say reverently.
“Yes, you are,” Scorpius agrees, taking my hand and towing me into the castle. “And food is waiting.”
We gain a few nondescript kids during the Sorting, and, as predicted, Alyssa’s little brother Ben goes straight to Hufflepuff. Professor McGonagall stands to give her welcome speech; the only part I pay attention to is “I would now like to take the opportunity to make known our Head Boy, Riordan Carter of Gryffindor…” [applause, Riordan stands] “and Head Girl, Rose Weasley of Slytherin…” [applause, I stand.]
McGonagall waves her hands in dismissal and instantly the feast appears on the table.
“Yeah!” Jeremy says enthusiastically, launching forward and piling his plate high.
“Geddoutofit,” Scorpius growls at a fifth-year kid who’s just attacked the bowl of potatoes he was eyeing up.
“Boys and their food,” Alyssa comments, shaking her head.
“Anyone notice the Hat’s song tonight?” Jeremy asks, gulping down pumpkin juice. “Mm, we need to mish it to Hogsmeade sometime for Butterbeer. Anyway, was it just me or was it a little less cheerful than usual?”
“You mean the ‘troubled times are on their way, so listen clearly to what I have to say’ bit?” Scorpius asks.
“Yeah,” Jeremy agrees. “Or the ‘In times of darkness there’s no hope of light, if we fall divided and lose the fight.’ That was a bit negative too.”
“According to my dad the last time it was full of warnings like that was when Voldemort was rising to power,” I comment. “Wonder what’s happening now, we haven’t heard anything about an evil Dark wizard, have we?”
“Not as far as I know,” Scorpius agrees. “’Less Grandad reverts to his old ways.”
Lucius Malfoy was one of the most notorious Death Eaters in his day. Rumour has it, though, that for the most part of the Second Wizarding War he wasn’t actually evil or loyal to Voldemort, he was just backed into a corner. “No excuse,” Scorpius has proclaimed on many occasions, and he generally refuses to talk to Lucius.
“Lily Potter, my star Seeker!” Niall Prewett, Quidditch captain, greets me jovially in the common room after the feast. “Listen, I’ve already talked to Longbottom, and I’ve booked the pitch for Wednesday, five o’clock for tryouts. Can you make it? If you can’t, I don’t care, you’re cancelling everything else and you’re there.”
“I can make it,” I confirm. “What positions do we need to fill?”
“A Beater and two Chasers, that is, providing everyone else keeps their positions, and I don’t see why they wouldn’t.”
“That shouldn’t be too hard,” I comment, nodding. “What do you reckon our chances are of winning the Cup?”
“One hundred percent,” Niall says emphatically. “Because you see, Lily, I’ve been captaining this team since fifth year when your brother left, and it’s my last chance to win the Cup. I should warn you now, kiss goodbye to your grades because you’re going to be living on the pitch.”
“You’re going to have mutiny on your hands about three weeks in,” I point out.
“Mutiny I can deal with,” Niall says confidently. “You a morning person, Lily?”
“At times,” I say cautiously.
“Good. Coz we’re going to be having five o’clock starts in the not too distant future.”
Deciding not to dignify this prospect with anything that could be interpreted as agreement, I walk away and take a seat in front of the fire, reflecting on my parents’ comments about Quidditch.
“Wait till your captain’s in his seventh year. They’re horrible in their seventh year. It’s their last chance, you see.”
Thanks, Dad. Never would have guessed.
“You get up at seven for practice before school? Whoop-de-doo, Lily, in the middle of the season I’m down at the Harpies’ pitch at five and I’m there till nine at night sometimes, count your blessings.”
Yeah, Mum, but you play professionally, this is just the Gryffindor team, for Merlin’s sake. I’m not you.
“Guess what?” Cameron Harper begins, seating himself beside me.
“I’m trying out for the team,” he says, grinning. “Fred just convinced me to.”
“For what position?” I ask, though I already have a feeling I know what it is, if Fred had anything to do with it.
“Beater,” he says, confirming my suspicions. “I played a few games with him over the holidays, got some practice in…reckon I’ll make it?”
“I don’t know, Cam. Never seen you fly. If you do get in, though…hope you like mornings.”
“I’d get up at five every morning if it meant I could be part of the Gryffindor Quidditch team,” Cameron says enthusiastically. “You’re so lucky, having parents who play. Bet you’ve been on a broomstick since you were yay high. Bet they buy you the latest model of broom—”
“Cameron,” I say sharply, cutting him off. “I haven’t had a new broom since I made the team in second year. It’s as much a blessing as a curse, anyway.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
A nervous-looking first-year approaches, eyes alighting on the Prefect badge pinned to my robes.
“Excuse me,” she begins, and I turn to her, dismissing Cameron.
“My friend’s locked out,” she says in a small voice, gesturing towards the portrait hole down the stairs. “And I can’t tell her the password, because I can’t remember it either.”
“The password is Firenze, but remember, if you tell anyone from another house that’s a password reset, twenty house points from us, ten points from the other house and a detention for you, so you better make sure your friend’s a Gryffindor.”
“She is,” the girl says earnestly before bolting down the stairs.
As usual, I’m the first one up the following morning, entering the Great Hall as the first of breakfast is brought out by the house-elves and the early risers are the only students sitting at the various tables.
“Good morning, Lily,” Professor Longbottom greets me, handing me a slip of parchment. “Your timetable. I’m glad to see you’re continuing with Herbology.”
“Of course,” I say, taking my timetable and scanning it.
“I was extremely pleased with your OWL results,” Professor Longbottom continues. “Outstanding for both theory and practical! You’ll do well with NEWT Herbology, I’m sure.”
“Thank you, Professor.” I pull up a seat at the Gryffindor table and reach for a slice of toast. Lysander Scamander is the only other person at the table, and he offers me a cheery good morning.
“Morning,” I return. “What subjects are you taking this year?”
“Charms,” he begins. “Charms, Herbology, Astronomy, History of Magic, Care of Magical Creatures, Muggle Studies and Ancient Runes.”
“I’ll see you in Charms and Herbology then.”
“What else are you taking?”
“Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Potions and Arithmancy. I was taking Muggle Studies as well, but I dropped it.”
Lysander nods. “Lorcan’s doing eight subjects.”
“I know. But he’s a Ravenclaw, and that’s what Ravenclaws do.” Apart from Dom, that is. Last I heard, she only took six subjects last year.
“How did you go for your OWLs?” Lysander continues.
“Um…Outstanding for Herbology, Defence, Charms and Transfiguration. E for Potions, Arithmancy and History of Magic, A for Astronomy and Muggle Studies.”
“You didn’t fail anything?” Lysander seems almost disappointed.
“No. What about you?”
“Outstanding for Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology,” he recites. “Exceeds Expectations for Charms, History of Magic and Muggle Studies. Acceptable for Astronomy, Ancient Runes and Transfiguration. Poor for Potions and Defence Against the Dark Arts.”
Listening to this recital, I feel sorry for Lysander. With both parents and a twin brother in Ravenclaw, Lysander’s always felt inferior, and OWLs would have made matters worse. Like most Ravenclaws, Lorcan was disappointed with his three Exceeds Expectations. I told him to shut up; his results were better than mine.
“Oh well,” Lysander says, suddenly brightening a little. “Your dad failed some of his OWLs, right?”
“I think so.”
This seems to make Lysander feel better and he sits in happy silence, crunching his toast. He’s so sweet and childlike, Lysander. He doesn’t seem to worry about anything, has an almost doglike devotion to his friends and family. Lorcan, on the other hand…There’s a fire inside Lorcan, something that sets him apart from anyone I’ve ever met. He’s brilliant; intelligent, perceptive, with a razor-sharp wit—no trace of the Lovegood dreaminess. He’s his own person. He’s managed to do what I haven’t—break away from the expectations of his parents.
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