Chapter 2 : Chapter 2
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I didn't know the exact location, I wasn’t all that great at Geography.
I looked down at the slip of paper Miranda had given me, the words ‘Edgeston Primary School’ scrawled onto it. I glanced at the wooden sign placed next to the walkway into the school – this was definitely the place.
Tucking the scrap of paper into my pocket, I paced around the school. I couldn’t actually apply for anything this morning, as I had no paperwork from the Ministry, but I wanted to check out the prospective places before I went to them, so I had some idea of where I wanted to work. Unfortunately for me, the only place Miranda’s search had turned up was this one. Everywhere else required a ton of credentials that the Ministry would not be able to create for me.
The school was small, but had a quaint and almost cute vibe about it. It was peaceful in the summertime, with no children cluttering the place up. The town itself seemed to be equally as quiet, though I had apparated into a clump of trees beside the school, so I hadn’t seen much of the town at all.
Sighing to myself, I apparated back into London, deciding that, if nothing else could be found, Edgeston Primary School would do. My appointment at the Ministry, booked at the hasty hour of nine o’clock this morning, wasn’t till two, so I had a few hours to waste.
Sadly, everyone else was working. Miranda was employed part time at the apothecary on Diagon Alley, so I could go bother her at work if absolutely necessary. Albus was starting his job as an Obliviator this week and had a training course today. I personally couldn’t see him as an Obliviator, but I think he took the job just to shut his parents’ up. He was rather like me – he seemed to have no real idea what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. I suppose it was hard to know at eighteen.
My other option was to head to the Daily Prophet offices and bug Scorpius. However, I had a feeling they’d have some sort of security and I wouldn’t be able to get in, so I headed off to the apothecary, bracing myself for its, err, interesting smell, and hoping I’d be able to get Miranda to head to the Leaky Cauldron for lunch in her break.
The Ministry of Magic was an intimidating place. After lunch, I headed in to the public toilets, flushing myself in as I had as a child when I had gone with Mum or Dad to work. I tended to avoid the place as much as possible now. How Albus would manage to work there for the rest of his life, in the same building as half of our family, was beyond me.
The Atrium was fairly quiet, since it was the middle of the afternoon. I presented my wand to the witch at the desk, who turned it back to me after inspecting it, declaring that it was indeed mine and that I was who I said I was.
Sporting my vistor’s badge that read ‘Rose Weasley, Guest’, I headed up to the offices of the Magical Law department.
Hopefully I’d avoid my mother. She was the head of the Department, but I was only dealing with a very small section of it that dealt with the Muggle world, so the likelihood of running into her was slim.
Unless, of course, she’d asked around and had figured out when I was coming in, which, knowing my mother, was entirely possible. I hoped not, however.
The office in question had a small door, with a plaque telling me that it was the office of ‘Edmund Hayes, Muggle Liason’.
I knocked on the door, which swung open without a sound from inside. A man, who I assumed was Edmund Hayes, was crouched over his desk, scribbling furiously onto a piece of parchment, with many other pieces of parchment stacked into piles, many that wobbled dangerously around his desk. He looked up as I took a seat in the faded armchair across from him, and smiled tiredly, running his fingers through his hair as he set down his quill.
“You must be Miss Weasley,” he said, shaking my hand with his own, ink-splattered one.
“Nice to meet you, Mr Hayes,” I said formally, trying to look as mature and responsible as I could. I’d forgone my usual black clothing and studs for the occasion, opting instead for jeans and a t-shirt, casual, but a far cry more mature and boring than my usual attire.
“So, what can I do for you today, Miss Weasley?” Hayes said, scribbling my name down on a new sheet of parchment.
“I want to work in a Muggle primary school,” I said bluntly, hoping I didn’t blush as I did so.
He looked up sharply at my words, his gaze inspecting my outfit, my posture and then my face.
“Do you have a particular institution in mind?” he said finally after an awkward moment’s pause.
I hesitated, hoping I remembered the name correctly. The little scrap of paper was only in my pocket, but it would look sorely unprofessional to pull it out and read the name of it.
“Eg…Edgeston Primary School,” I said finally, nodding in the hopes that it would make me seem more convincing.
He frowned at that.
“Small town, that one, isn’t it?” he said, scribbling away on the parchment once more.
“Yes,” I said, a little confused as to what was actually supposed to be happening in this meeting.
He wrote for several more moments, before laying his quill aside, loosening his spotted tie, and staring at me once more.
“Well, Miss Weasley, I’ll need to create some Muggle education records for you, first of all. I also need to put in a form to the committee that oversees all of this. Not just anybody can get a permit to work in the Muggle work force, you see,” he said, looking down his nose at me as he leant back in his desk chair.
I stared back at him defiantly, refusing to let my doubt show. I would get this permit, I had too.
“I’ll do whatever is necessary, Mr Hayes. I can’t imagine working anywhere else, I’ve always wanted to experience the Muggle world more. My mother’s a Muggle-born, you see,” I rattled off, improvising my way along. Surely I’d be able to convince him I was serious, it couldn’t be that hard.
“That’s nice,” he said blankly, not sounding as if he thought it was nice at all. He pushed several forms my way, picking up his quill once more and handing it to me.
“Fill out these forms, and you should hear by the end of the week about the permit. After that, if you are successful, you’ll need to apply to the school, assuming it has open positions, using its normal procedure,” he said, his tone dry and bored.
I smiled brightly.
“Oh, it does have open positions, I checked,” I said, my voice falsely cheering, about two notes higher than it usual was. I fought back a shudder at this sickly sweet voice, I hated it when other people used it, and it was repulsive to use it myself.
“Hand those back to me when you’re done,” he said, relaxing into his chair as I filled out the forms, the only sound in the room the scratching of the quill on parchment.
The forms were very dull, asking idiotic questions like why I wanted to work in my chosen field, what my dream career was, what experience I had, if any, with Muggles in the past, etc. etc. I worked my way through them, taking around ten minutes to do so, before pushing them back across the desk.
“There you go,” I said, placing the quill on top of them.
Edmund Hayes looked down at them, put them on top of one of the smaller piles of parchment perched around the room, and excused me from his office. I left the Ministry feeling that I’d at least accomplished something that day.
At precisely half six, the four of us - Albus, Scorpius, Miranda and I - met at the Leaky Cauldron to discuss Day Number 1 of the challenge. I was at least confident that I hadn’t failed in any aspects of my side of it today, not that I had really started yet.
Albus was there first, as his training program had been let out at five o’clock.
“How’d the job hunt go?” he said, plopping down in the seat opposite me.
I’d chosen a corner table, with a good view of the bar, so that we could catch Hannah’s eye if we wanted anything. The fireplace was far enough away that we didn’t get showered with soot, but close enough that we wouldn’t have to trample across people to get home.
“Applied for the permit, and found a possible school,” I said, deliberately keeping my tone light.
Albus flagged down Hannah and ordered a butterbeer before turning back to me.
“Where’s the school?” he said, leaning back in his chair to avoid a collision with the drink Hannah had just sent over to our table.
“Some town up north, it’s called Edgeston,” I said, for once managing to remember the name without having to wrack my brains for it.
“Never heard of it,” Albus said, and I wasn’t surprised. I’d never heard of it till today either.
“How was your training?” I asked, turning the focus back onto him.
Albus took a sip of his butterbeer, visibly relaxing.
“Alright. Bit stressful, we’ve got a lot to learn,” he said, and I could understand that. This week, he was a trainee. Next week he’d be out in the field, being an Obliviator on his own. That was a big jump to make in a week.
“You’ll be fine,” I said, ever the supportive cousin.
I got along better with Albus than I did with any of my other cousins. Lily was too young, and even though she was only two years below me, the age difference felt huge. She liked pink, girly things and sugar. We only had one of those three things in common, so I didn’t talk to her much.
Roxanne was alright, I suppose, but she rarely hung around with us lot at Hogwarts, so I didn’t know as much about her as I did the rest of the family. Fred, her older brother, was a complete copy of Uncle Percy. He’d been Head Boy, a Ravenclaw, had recieved Outstandings in every N.E.W.T. class he took, had a passion for ties, no fashion sense at all and was now pursuing a career in the Ministry.
He was the boring cousin.
Molly and Lucy, Uncle Percy’s daughters weren’t half bad. Molly I got on alright with, she was always happy to jump in on a gossiping session, and never turned Albus in on his pranks.
Albus, however, was in the same year as me, so we instantly had a bond. Even though he was a Slytherin, and I a Gryffindor, we still had a lot in common.
“What time does Scorpius get off?” I asked, purely out of curiosity. I had absolutely no idea what his work hours were like. He, like Albus, was starting out this week in a trainee capacity, and would be fully inducted into the fold next week.
“Half six, so he should be along in a minute,” Albus said, and we both returned back to alternating between staring at the door and staring at the fireplace.
Miranda, I knew, also got off at half past, and it would take her a few minutes to get here. I didn’t expect her till twenty to seven, and Scorpius would be much the same. Albus and I sat in a companionable silence while we waited, sipping away at our drinks as the normal after work clientele shuffled in around us.
“Sorry, sorry!” Miranda said, appearing seemingly out of thin air, though I think she’d probably just come in behind the lump of Ministry workers that had tumbled out of the fireplace.
“You’re not late. Well, yes you are, but Scorpius is later,” I said, shrugging. It was true, after all.
It was odd to think of the three of them working. Miranda’s job was less of a shock, as shop jobs were common as summer jobs, so I could easily adjust to her working in the apothecary. Albus as an Obliviator and Scorpius working for the Daily Prophet were bigger stretches, however. In my mind, we were all just students, on summer holidays, and we’d head back to Hogwarts in a month or so.
Of course, that wouldn’t happen, and I’d have a big shock to face come September 1st. We were adults now.
“You know, Rose, we were just here for lunch a few hours again, and now we’re back,” Miranda said, her tone light and observational as she waved down Hannah and ordered her traditional gillywater.
Miranda, for some reason, detested butterbeer. Something about the buttery flavour, but I personally didn’t really understand it. For me, and most of the wizarding world, butterbeer was divine.
“Damn, you’re right,” I said, finding it rather sad that our hangout was now, apparently, the Leaky Cauldron. I suppose it was a better choice than Flourish and Blotts.
“Oh, Rose, by the way, I love the outfit. Colours other than black suit you,” Albus said with a wink, earning him a glare from me.
I wasn’t feeling too uncomfortable in the relatively normal (by Albus’s standards at least) outfit. Despite what Albus might say, I did own and wear clothes that weren’t black, leather and had studs.
“Oh, look, it’s Scorpius,” Miranda said, nodding her head in the direction of the door to the outside courtyard, and the entrance to Diagon Alley.
Just as she’d said, Scorpius had just entered, looking distinctly harassed with a stack of paper in his arms and his hair dishevelled. He fought his way through the crowd, almost dropping the stack of paper several times, which caused his to widen with fear every time he did so, but eventually made it to our table.
“Sorry, they threw over-night reading at us at the last minute,” he said, slightly out of breath as he placed the stack of paper on the table.
I eyed the stack warily; it was almost higher than my head.
“You have to read this in one night?” I said, screwing up my face in distaste at the thought.
Scorpius groaned, and nodded.
Albus smirked, Miranda made a sympathetic face, and I chuckled.
“Good luck,” I said, grinning, as Scorpius ordered a firewhisky; apparently he was in that sort of mood.
He turned to glare at me once he’d given his order.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get it all done,” he said, though the amount of work coupled with the firewhisky and his already haggard appearance didn’t really convince me of the truth in that statement.
“So, Rose," Albus interjected, throwing the focus back onto me, “when will you hear back about the permit?”
“I should hear by the end of the week,” I said lightly, hoping to Merlin that I was granted it, otherwise, well, I’d lose, and it would be mighty embarrassing.
“So you can apply for the job after that?” Miranda put in, lifting her glass to her lips.
I nodded, and Scorpius eyed me carefully.
“Good luck,” he finally said sarcastically, throwing my words back at me.
I glared at him, and he glared back. I could have sworn Albus sighed at our antics.
“Can we talk about something other than work?” he said, waving his palm in our line of sight to stop the impromptu staring contest.
“Like what?” I immediately said, before realising that I couldn’t really answer my own question.
We couldn’t talk about school or House related stuff anymore, because we’d graduated. We could, I suppose, talk about Quidditch, but we talked about that enough already. Talking about work would become hard when we all did different things, especially since some aspects of our jobs couldn’t be shared with others. Gossip was limited to people we all knew, which meant my family, and our Hogwarts peers, yet nothing interesting had happened with them lately.
It was odd to realise that while we did still have some things in common, they were mostly things of the past. Our futures would be different; we were all taking separate paths.
“Anyone hear about the Montrose Magpies latest fallout?” Albus started, and we relaxed into the steady rhythm of Quidditch talk.
A part of me was concerned, however. I wasn’t sure how long we could continue having these half-assed conversations. We didn’t spend all day, every day together like we had in school. When we met up, it would just be to catch up on each other’s news.
Already we’d all been through and talked about our days, which involved us talking at one another, rather than with each other. It was a change, and I didn’t really like it.
It would only get worse, I suppose. In a few years, some people would be married, or getting there. People would have kids, others would move away. It was scary to think how quickly that would all come now that we were adults.
“You alright, Rose?” Miranda said quietly from my side, nudging me gently in the arm with her elbow.
“Yeah, sorry, was just thinking,” I said vaguely, not really in the mood to share my melancholy thoughts. More than likely, they’d tell me I was silly, that we’d all stay close and nothing would change.
However, it would. Change was inevitable.
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