Chapter 7 : D-Day
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“Voldemort is not a victim!” Rose says, leaping to her feet. “Voldemort is evil, he chose to torture and kill—”
“He was psychologically damaged!” Sophie argues. “You’ve heard the story, he was abandoned in an orphanage, he was alone and unloved, of course he was messed up!”
“What about my uncle Harry?” Rose shoots back. “He was orphaned as a baby, raised by Muggles who didn’t give a stuff about him – he saved the bloody wizarding world!”
“That’s different, people still loved him! Nobody loved Voldemort—”
“He couldn’t know love!”
“Of course he couldn’t, because he never got any! Can you say that if Tom Riddle had been born to loving parents who looked after him, he would have still turned out the way he did? If he’d had friends at school, maybe a girlfriend—”
“Oh, sure!” Rose barks. “Because all Voldemort really needed was a good snog!”
“Woulda fixed me,” Josh calls. “If I was a Dark wizard.”
“Yeah, but nobody in their right mind would hook up with you, Josh Durham,” Brianna shoots back. Georgia nudges me and I grin; Josh and Brianna have been flirting like nobody’s business since Year 10.
“Nobody in their right mind would hook up with Voldemort either,” Rose says.
“He was hot though!” Amanda calls. “He obviously had no interest in girls when he was at school, otherwise he’d have dated half of Hogwarts.”
“This was the 1940s, I think they were a bit more refined back then,” Clara Nicholson points out.
“If he had no interest in girls…” Josh muses, “He might have been interested in boys…Voldy was gay!”
“Stop it,” Rose says quietly. “Just stop it. You don’t know what it was like, you don’t know anything. You don’t have parents who fought in the war and if you did, you wouldn’t be making fun of Voldemort like you are now. He destroyed the wizarding world. Show some respect.”
A long silence falls across the classroom, and Rose grabs her bag and strides out of the classroom. On impulse, I follow her into the corridor.
“I’m sorry about that,” I say awkwardly. “We don’t really take anything seriously, nobody was trying to offend you.”
“That’s the problem,” Rose says heavily. “At Hogwarts, talking about the war…it’s like walking on hallowed ground. All the teachers were alive during it, a lot of them fought during it, most of us have parents who fought in the Battle of Hogwarts. To you guys it’s just a subject, something that happened thirty years ago on the other side of the world. It’s reality at Hogwarts. There’s a massive memorial in the Entrance Hall, it’s literally the first thing you see when you walk into the castle. Kids lay flowers there on Memorial Day for family. Some of the teachers lost parents. Some of them lost friends, some of them lost partners. Some of them even lost kids. It’s real.”
I don’t know what to say. Luckily, while I’m floundering for words, Rose comes to my rescue.
“I don’t blame you guys,” she continues, giving me a small smile. “It’s beyond your experience, I could tell with your teacher’s reaction to our Boggarts. And sometimes it’s good, you know, talking about the war and not having to worry about dredging up bad memories for your teacher. But I’m just warning you, if you do come to Hogwarts…don’t go round calling Voldemort gay, okay?”
“I won’t,” I assure her.
“Oh, and be careful when we get onto Death Eaters,” Rose continues. “Scorpius’s father and grandfather were Death Eaters, and it’s kind of a sensitive topic. He gets a lot of crap for it at Hogwarts, people hate him because he’s a Malfoy. Don’t make a big deal about it, but just spread the word, yeah?”
And we don’t have History of Magic until last period. Life sucks.
We have double Defence Against the Dark Arts first, and most people who take Defence also take History, so Hogwarts dominates our discussions until Mr McMahon informs us that because he knows we’re distracted by ‘a certain important decision for certain History of Magic students’ we’re going to have two hours of pyromania.
“Because I have to link it back to the curriculum somehow,” he says, “I thought I’d tell you that fire is the best form of defence against Inferi, which are rather ghastly things—”
“And something you’ll no doubt never see in New Zealand?” Scorpius asks.
“Precisely. Inferi are, for your information, corpses bewitched by Dark wizards. If you were to ever come across them – not that you would – any form of fire would repel them. Except Fiendfyre, which I’ve no doubt would do the job, but would also probably kill you in the process.”
I only wish our other subjects were that interesting. Georgia and I sit through an hour of Herbology, questioning why we’d even taken it, then I go to Potions where I receive a Poor on my last essay and Mr Sullivan gives me the ‘I’m disappointed’ look.
Even lunchtime is infuriatingly long, though it’s slightly redeemed when Henry offers to come with me to the canteen for some lunch and we spend ten minutes wandering round the school talking and eating mince and cheese pies instead of the sandwiches served in the Dining Hall. I nearly hex Georgia when she winks at me though.
Finally, the bell goes and Henry and I more or less bolt to Mr Muller’s classroom. Despite our haste about half the class is already there; Mr Muller saunters in as the second bell rings.
“Anyone would think there’s something exciting going on,” he observes.
“Keep us in suspense and you die,” Amanda growls.
He looks slightly alarmed at this, clears his throat, takes the roll and surveys us with a look of apprehension.
“The standard of applications was extremely high, and it was very difficult to decide—” He cuts himself off when he sees that half the class has drawn their wands.
“Right. Without any further ado, the boy who will be travelling to Hogwarts in August, and staying with Scorpius for the first week of the exchange is…Henry Greenfield.”
There’s a burst of applause and high-fives, and Georgia squeals excitedly. “Go Henry!”
I offer Henry a grin and a thumbs up, but my stomach sinks. He’ll be gone for three months, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like him more than I’d originally thought.
“And the girl who will be travelling to Hogwarts, and staying with Rose for the first week…”
“…Is Adelaide Crosby!”
“What?” I splutter.
“Congratulations, Henry and Adelaide,” Mr Muller continues, grinning. “And twenty points each to Kemp House.”
“Ohmygod you got in!” Georgia shrieks, high-fiving me. “And you won us twenty points! And you’re going to Hogwarts! Ohmygod! You have to send me POSTCARDS!”
“I got in,” I repeat blankly. “I’m going to Hogwarts.”
“Hey Adelaide, we’re going to Hogwarts!” Henry calls, turning to me with a massive grin on his face.
“We’re going to Hogwarts!” I shriek as it slowly sinks in.
“You’re coming to stay with me!” Rose says excitedly.
“I’m coming to stay with you!”
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