Chapter 5 : Simply Learning a Lesson
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"Don't read too many books now, alright?"
I stifle an eye roll, fidgeting with the asymmetrical hem of my high-waisted floral skirt. "Yes, Mum."
"And don't focus too much on your studies," advises Mum, smoothing my hair fondly. "It makes you a bit of a wet blanket."
This time, I allow my eyes free rein. "Cheers, Mum."
"You know your mother only means well," says Dad, his emerald eyes twinkling beneath his sandy fringe and glasses. "It's your final year, and we just ― "
"Want me to have fun, I know," I finish for him, grinning as I politely refrain from mentioning that I overheard them practising this very speech in the kitchen weeks ago. From what I (innocently) heard floating down the corridor to my room, they had cue cards, projector slides, fancy pens, and everything. "Honestly, I'm not that swotty."
Mum and Dad exchange meaningful glances.
Yes, I may enjoy doing Arithmancy homework on a Friday night, organising prefect rounds on weekends, baking cat treats for Mrs. Norris, reading Muggle storybooks to Moaning Myrtle (alright, that one's a bit of a stretch), and learning orchestral instruments in my spare time, but I am definitely not what you'd call a swot.
Well, maybe I am. But honestly, I'd save that endearing term for Dom's older cousin Molly ― she's as swotty as they come.
In fact, if she were any more of a swot, we'd probably call her "Gussie Fink-Nottle", although, come to think of it, her face is distinctly un-fishlike. That, and her dad's the one with the horn-rimmed spectacles and newt obsession.
Mum's forehead wrinkles as she pats my cheek, her features softening. "Oh, sweetheart, we were never suggesting that!" Cue inner snort. "It's brilliant you care so much about getting good marks, it really is, but we just don't want you to miss out on any opportunities. You know, you're ― "
"Only a seventh year once." Briefly grasping her hand, I smile sincerely, yielding to a rare moment that will undoubtedly be forgotten in a few seconds' time by the next completely absurd thing that comes out of Mum's mouth ― probably some waffle about finding myself a decent lad and a good pair of stiletto heels, both of which are sure to be mutually exclusive. "I know, Mum."
Suddenly, she squeezes my fingers and gives me a watery smile, her hazel eyes too bright in the gleaming, cloudless sunlight surrounding the noisy bustle of King's Cross. "Oh, Rory..."
"Mum, please," I mutter, a dull flush saturating my cheeks as I warily take a step back. "Don't start crying, not now. You were doing so well, the speech was going swimmingly and everything...."
Flinging her arms around my neck, Mum sniffs loudly, "Oh, my darling, it seems like it was just yesterday that I was baking you fresh scones and trying to ring up the petting zoo for you ― "
"Actually," I point out awkwardly, disentangling myself from Mum's arms, which are still knotted about my neck, "that was about a month ago."
She blinks, utterly nonplussed. "Good Lord, was it really?"
"You tried to organise a catered visit from the petting zoo after hearing I'd made Head Girl," I remind her slowly, embarrassedly tucking a strand of dark red hair behind my ear. "A petting zoo, Mum."
A small throng of chattering parents and students, who have been busily milling about the platform, now stop dead in their tracks to stare curiously at us at the mention of petting zoos.
Yeah, we'd all like one, I'm sure. Stare a little longer and you lot will get yourselves a bit more than just a mum who'll ring the petting zoo for you as well. Honestly.
I clear my throat emphatically. "Nothing to see here, folks. Budge along." Almost instantaneously, the tiny, murmuring crowd dissipates, a few of them casting us peculiar glances as they scatter.
That's right. You better run.
"Right, then," Mum offers uncertainly, still snuffling as she toys with her silver bracelet. "Well, time certainly flies, doesn't it? I can't believe the holidays are already over, and now you're leaving us...."
Pulling Mum into a one-armed hug, I tease half-heartedly, "Oh, you're only sore that you won't have anyone to gossip with while I'm gone."
"Fair point," agrees Mum, dabbing at her eyes with a white handkerchief. "Mrs. Johnson next door is too toffee-nosed to be bothered talking about anything other than her precious runner beans."
Clearly, my mother loves me to bits. It's good to know I serve a purpose in her life.
Dad, obviously at a loss for words for all of us, whips out a small, meticulously wrapped parcel from the inner pocket of his ever-so-stylish tartan Mac ― to his credit, anoraks are probably still in vogue somewhere round the Isle of Wight ― and declares cheerily, "Here, Rory, we got you these as a bit of a going-away treat!"
An involuntary smile stretching across my face, I happily accept the parcel from Dad and begin to unwrap it, a fair idea of what lies inside already forming in my mind. Generally, we Ponds follow the same tradition at King's Cross every year, and the ceremonial gift-giving from my parents ― the parcels always contain yummy treats ― typically precedes my sentimental send-off on the Hogwarts Express. "Aww, Mum, Dad, you didn't have to!"
But the pudgy, naughty, biscuit-nicking little girl in me is quite glad they did.
Dad positively beams, throwing his arm affectionately around Mum's shoulders. "We know how much you adore your chocolate digestives, and seeing as this is the last time we'll get to ― " He breaks off hesitantly, and for the first time all morning, his smile begins to tremble slightly. "Ah, well. At any rate, I suppose you'll enjoy them on the train, won't you? Blimey, I can't believe this is really the last time we'll do this...."
Beside him, a strange mixture between a snort and a sob escapes Mum. "Really, has there ever been a year when we didn't get you a packet of your favourite biscuits? If you hadn't inherited my good genes, you would've been a tubby little thing by now...."
Without warning or preamble, we're all suddenly crying ― not weeping or anything overly sappy, mind you ― and clutching each other as though David Tennant has just announced a keen romantic interest in men, and it takes nearly all the energy I have to extract myself from our cosy embrace.
I love my parents. I really do.
"Now Rory, if you don't provide me with grandchildren in the next ten years with that Potter boy, I swear to Cumberbatch I will die of a broken heart."
I spoke too soon.
How was my mother not a Slytherin? She's too crafty a lass to really be a Muggle.
Oh, I've got my eye on you, Mum.
"Well, we can't have that, now can we?" remarks Dad, circling his arms around Mum's waist and giving her a peck on the forehead. "What can I possibly do to prevent this?"
Emitting a girlish giggle, Mum brings her hand lovingly to Dad's cheek and says coyly, "I'm sure you'll manage something...."
Oh, for the love of all things Paddy Moloney, why must my parents be so irritatingly sappy in public places? Yes, clearly we've established you're still in love, and true, you both obviously contributed to the effort of giving me life ― don't think about it, Rory,don't think about it ― but is it absolutely necessary for you to actively display your spiciness as a couple in front of everyone and their grandmother in platform nine-and-three-quarters?
"Oh, cut the dramatic face," drawls Mum, jolting me from my teenage angst-ridden inner monologue. I hadn't realised I'd been picturesquely mime-vomiting. "We're barely even holding hands, Aurora, at least your father doesn't have his hands in my back pocket ― "
"Olivia," warns Dad, the corners of his lips twitching with subdued laughter.
"God save our gracious Queen," I begin singing, stuffing my fingers in my ears immaturely.
"What?" says Mum puckishly, rounding on Dad. "I'm only being honest. At least I didn't mention the time we were in King's Cross and you ― "
" ― long to reign over us, God save the ― "
"Don't flatter yourself, Rory," Mum interrupts peevishly. "You're not doing yourself any favours right now, singing in the middle of the blooming platform."
I snort humourously, folding my arms across my chest. "Like you're one to talk. You and Dad can't keep from making googly eyes at each other for more than five seconds."
"True," agrees Mum sagely, intertwining her hand with Dad's, "but we did give you life, darling. I think we're fully entitled to making googly eyes at this stage in our relationship, don't you?"
Jamming my fingers in my ears once more, in the event that Mum and Dad begin snogging ― or worse, begin exchanging sweet nothings in between snogging ― I prepare to launch back into another rousing verse of "God Save the Queen", when I am thankfully interrupted by a non-familial distraction in the form of my best mate.
"Hullo, everyone!" I hear Dom say brightly, flouncing happily toward our merry little caravan-slash-lovefest, her pale denim dress rustling in the slight breeze.
Withdrawing my fingers from my ears and completely ignoring my cloyingly sweet parents, I reply casually, "Hi, Dom! Where's the rest of your humongous family?"
Like it never even happened.
I've got 99 problems, but a Snitch ain't one.
Dom pulls her trunk to a halt, tossing her strawberry blonde hair over her shoulder nonchalantly. "They're over there ― " she twitches her head in the direction of a swarm of redheads, smattered sparsely with raven-haired individuals " ― making a fuss over James and Albus. You know, the Head Boy and the family prefect." Her eyes flicker briefly to my amourous parents and, with a tiny smirk, she adds, "Alright, Mr. and Mrs. Pond?"
Somehow, they manage to unglue themselves from each other's lips long enough to chorus, "Hello, Dominique!"
"Listen, Mum, Dad," I begin, fiddling with the sleeves of my top, "d'you think you could ― "
No, never mind. It seems they've already recommenced their spirited snogfest.
"Er, sorry about that," I apologise to Dom, jerking my head toward my parents, who are now giving a spot-on, G-rated impersonation of a pair of eels thrashing about on the platform.
Well, no. Really, they're only gazing adoringly into each other's eyes and grinning like absolute loons.
"No worries," replies Dom easily, her response punctuated by the shrill warning whistle of the Hogwarts Express. "You ready to find a compartment?"
I nod eagerly. "Let me say goodbye to David and Victoria over there and I'll meet you with the rest of the Wotters, yeah?"
"But I thought your parents' names were Charles and Olivia," says Dom blankly, appearing puzzled.
I grimace, waving a hand dismissively. "Er, Muggle reference. Never mind. I'll see you in a moment, alright?"
"Just don't take too long," Dom calls over her shoulder with a wink as she strolls off. "I'm sure James will want to see you as soon as possible ― "
"Oh, sod off," I retort, suppressing a grin and turning back to my parents, who are now surveying me rather contritely, their hands merely clasped together and faces curiously detached of each other.
"Ready to go, sweets?" asks Mum kindly, reaching out to ruffle my hair.
Oh, yes, right after I spend a tidy sum on therapy for the pash-a-palooza I've just witnessed between you two.
"I reckon so," I instead choose to say, hiding a smile. So my parents are crazily in love with each other. Truth be told, it's possibly the best thing I could ask for them to be.
Wait, am I having a mature moment here? Quick ― must ruin shining moment of insight with sarcastic, immature comment ―
I've got nothing.
I really am turning into a swot.
"I love you, Aurora," whispers Mum fiercely, wrapping her arms around me and planting a kiss on the top of my head. "Really, sweetheart, I'm just so ― " Mum tightens her clasp on me " ― bloody ― " she sniffs theatrically " ― proud of you ― "
"Mum!" I cry, scandalised as I pull away to look at her. "You just swore in public!"
She merely swipes at her eyes, flicking her hair over her shoulder. "Let this be a lesson to you, Rory: swearing in train stations is fair game if it's the last time you're sending off your only child to school. Remember that."
She laughs, giving me one last squeeze. "Really, love, your father and I couldn't be more chuffed at how beautiful, clever, brave, and kind our favourite daughter's turned out to be."
"I'm your only daughter," I comment dryly, swatting away her hands.
"Nuances," says Mum breezily.
I roll my eyes and turn to Dad. "Well, I s'pose this is it, isn't it?"
He only laughs shakily and closes the gap between us, folding me in his arms. "Couldn't be prouder of you, Rorybird."
Astonishingly, I blink back tears at the use of his affectionate pet name for me. "Thanks, Dad. I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you as well," he murmurs into my hair, and I hug him firmly one last time before ending the embrace. The train's penultimate warning whistle rents the air, denoting a short time frame of five minutes before the Hogwarts Express emits its final whistle and departs.
"Oh!" Mum suddenly rummages around in her leather handbag. "I nearly forgot, we brought you a little something else." At last, she manages to procure a rather large, nondescript package from its depths ― how can something that large fit in her purse without an Undetectable Extension charm? She's a Slytherin, I tell you ― and hands it to me, beaming. "I hope you don't mind, I took the liberty of baking a few of your favourite treats."
My eyes widen, along with the grin that spreads across my face. "Of course I don't mind! Thanks, Mum! That's really sweet of you."
"Your father helped," she adds, still smiling.
I raise an eyebrow sceptically. "Is this true, Dad?"
On multiple occasions in which oddly burnt biscuits have been mysteriously chucked in the rubbish bin, Dad has been cited saying primly, "I wouldn't touch your mother's baking utensils with a fifty-foot barge pole."
"Well, you know," says Dad gruffly, "I just wanted to chip in. I only broke a few eggs and stirred things a bit, but yeah, I suppose I helped."
Touched, I fiddle with the string wrapped around the parcel and say warmly, "Thank you. Really."
"Not at all," replies Mum cheerfully. "Now, you'd best get on the train before it leaves and you're stuck here with us for the term."
You only wish, Mum.
"Alright, alright." I clutch the handle of my trunk with one hand and lift Marigold's cage with the other, blinking back at them hesitantly. "I promise I'll write often."
Dad nods, smiling as he takes Mum's hand. "Go on, Rory. I think your friends are waiting."
Sure enough, my gaze lands on the Wotter clan ― just saying that makes them sound like some sort of vegetable-grazing, river-dwelling family of otters ― and a few of them are waving in my direction.
"Come along, Pond!" yells Dom, grinning madly next to Rose and Albus. Strangely, James ― I wonder if I'll ever get used to calling him by his first name ― is missing in action.
I smile sheepishly at my parents and nod. "See you at Christmas. I love you!"
"Love you more!" Mum and Dad say simultaneously as I begin to walk away, my eyes still trained on the pair of them. "Tell the Potters hello for us!"
"Don't worry, I wi ― "
"Here, let me get that for you," cuts across a deep, musical voice with a slight West Country lilt. As I whirl around to meet the sparkling eyes of James, he simply leans down and grabs the handle of my trunk from my grasp, striding along with it as though it weighs no more than a kitten and acting as if he does chivalrous stuff like this all the blooming time (which he does).
Hang on. I think our hands just brushed. Why did our hands just brush? WHY am I freaking out about our hands possibly just brushing?
The holidays have turned me into a hypochondriac.
"Alright, Rory?" He stops a few paces ahead and glances back at me, smiling.
Something's different about him. Granted, I haven't seen him since his birthday party at the end of July ― dare I say it, a fun affair; he only asked me for a birthday snog once (I kissed him cautiously on the cheek instead, and he said he wouldn't wash the spot for weeks) ― and while I doubt one month is enough time for his appearance to change drastically, there's just something about him I can't quite put my finger on.
"Did you get a hair cut?" I ask curiously, eyeing his dark, predictably windswept hair as I catch up to him and we continue walking.
He shakes his head, still sporting that sunny smile of his. "Afraid not. Do I look as though I need one?"
"No!" I say hastily, a blush colouring my cheeks for some reason. "No, I just thought something about you looked different, and ― are you sure you didn't get your hair cut?"
James appears vastly amused, running a hand through his hair. "Quite certain."
"New glasses, then?" I say hopefully.
"I've never worn glasses, Rory."
"Right. Of course. Forget I said anything." Stupid, stupid. I knew that. I shouldn't badger him further, I really shouldn't. It's all about self-control and restraining my curiosity and ―
"D'you think maybe you've grown taller or something? Only, you just look ― "
I'm cut off by James laughing uproariously, throwing his head back and placing his hand over his heart as he does so. The sound that resonates from his throat is loud, happy, and infectious enough that several passersby ― mostly simpering Hogwarts girls and a few adults ― simply stop and marvel at him.
It takes me a second to work out why, but then it hits me ― he's rather handsome when he laughs. Not that he isn't already handsome ― he's the firstborn of Harry and Ginny Potter, and I'm pretty sure he's got a Witch Weekly fan club named after him, not to mention a regular top spot in Cosmowitch's "25 Most Bewitching Bachelors" list ― but it startles me just how much his laugh utterly transforms him.
He's kind of dashing.
And I'm having a rough time looking away from him as well.
Peer pressure. It'll get to you faster than an overnight owl delivery, guaranteed or your money back.
"Rory? Rory, are you alright?"
"What?" I ask, jerking out of my foggy state. "Sorry, I, erm...what was the question?"
James regards me carefully, his gaze inscrutable. "I just asked if you were alright. You went a bit funny there for a minute."
I laugh weakly, feeling my cheeks suffuse with heat. "Oh, sorry about that. I don't know what came over me. Is it hot out here or what?" I tug uncomfortably at the neckline of my top and compel my ankle booted-feet to keep moving. "It feels awfully hot today, doesn't it? Oh, look! There's Dom...."
As quickly as I can without looking entirely suspicious, I scurry over to where the Potters and Weasleys are clustered, Marigold's cage swinging at my side, the owl within hooting reproachfully at me.
Being friends with this boy is turning out to be more troublesome than I thought it'd be.
"Finally!" says Dom exasperatedly, hugging me momentarily. "We thought you'd never make it over here. What kept you?"
"You know, just catching up with James," I respond evasively, looking round at everyone but Dom. "Hi, Rose!"
Rose flashes me her typical Rose Weasley Beam™ in return, as per usual. "Wotcher, Rory! Your badge looks amazing."
"Oh, right. Thanks!" In all the hubbub with my parents and James, I'd nearly forgotten I'd pinned my shiny new Head Girl badge to my blouse earlier.
swot: noun (pl. swots), 1. Aurora Pond : Beyond thrilled, Rory Pond pinned her Head Badge to her blouse before she even boarded the Hogwarts Express, the swot.
Rather covertly, Ginny Potter slips through the knot of Wotters and over to us. "What's this I hear about you and James?" The look of pure, unadulterated glee on her freckled face tells me she's thinking of one thing and one thing only: grandchildren.
"Rory and James were just catching up, Aunt Ginny," Dom chimes in helpfully, catching my eye. Treacherous bint. She can join my mum in Slytherin. "That's what took them so long in getting over here."
"Oh, really now?" Ginny observes me mischievously, a smirk dancing upon her lips. "Were you two talking of anything particularly interesting, Rory?"
Why are my parents, the Wotters, and the universe so bloody determined to shove James and me together in a broom cupboard?
Pulling as innocent a face I can muster, I merely dimple at Ginny. "We were only exchanging hellos, Mrs. Potter. Nothing too terribly exciting."
Go on, then, put me in Slytherin as well.
"Of course, dear," echoes Ginny, winking slyly and turning away to engulf Albus and Lily in goodbye hugs. I narrow my eyes at Dom, who inconspicuously whips around to chat with her parents.
"Are you sure you're alright?" James murmurs in my ear, appearing at my side and nearly giving me a heart attack. "You all but deserted me back there."
I flash him my most convincing grin, attempting to keep my voice from rising a few octaves in discomfort. "Of course I'm alright, are you alright?"
I'm rubber; you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and completely distracts you from the original question.
"I'm fine, thanks," replies James politely, albeit perplexedly. "You know, if you want me to leave you alone for a bit, all you have to do is ask and I'll go. I don't mind ― "
"No!" I manage to squeak in protest. The baffled, slightly hurt expression on his face is enough to make me want to watch a Desperate Housewitches marathon with Argus Filch. Coughing hurriedly, I amend, "I mean, no. It's not you. Honest."
His eyes crinkling at the corners, James offers me a small smile. "Promise?"
"I promise," I assure him, mirroring his contagious smile. I think I've temporarily turned into a large, fluffy pillow. "Sorry, I'm just feeling a bit strange today, is all. Let's just find a compartment, shall we?"
James shoots me a smirk. "Just the two of us?"
"Don't push your luck there, Potter," I counter easily, shoving his sneaky arm off my shoulder.
He shrugs and grins, not bothered in the slightest. "Thought it was worth a try."
"You really are the limit," I say sarcastically, but today, I can't even seem to work up any genuine frustration.
"I know," retorts James cheekily, raking a hand through his hair. "You like it." Before I can even open my mouth to waspishly retaliate, he struts over to Ginny and pulls her into a hug. "Love you, Mum."
She pats his cheek clumsily. "Love you, too. Now, you behave yourself, James Sirius. Try not to pester Rory to death, alright?"
Rolling his eyes, he kisses her cheek and steps back, his hand flying to the back of his extremely flushed neck. "Thanks for not embarrassing me in public, Mum. Really."
Ginny's gaze meets mine for a moment, and a wry grin twists the corners of her mouth. "You're such a girl sometimes, James."
"Bye, Rory," says Ginny cheerily, hugging me. "If he annoys the hippogriffs out of you, feel free to hex him. Only joking!" she adds at James' pronounced scowl. "But not really," she whispers conspiratorially to me, as James exchanges a manly goodbye with Harry. "Merlin knows he could use a good Bat Bogey hex to deflate that pretty head of his."
I snort as I begin to drift away from her. "I'll keep that in mind, Mrs. Potter. See you around!"
"Take care, love," she says sincerely, her lovely face stretched into a wide grin as Harry slips his arm around her waist. "And please keep that son of ours sorted!"
"Bye, Rory!" calls Harry, waving. "Have a good term." As he turns to Ginny, I hear him ask quietly, "You did tell her she can hex him, right?"
"I don't want to talk about it," mutters James as he breezes past me, towing my trunk and his as the train blows its final whistle and belches copious amounts of grey steam, its pistons raring. "Just grab Dom and let's scarper."
"I had no idea you were so sensitive, James," I call laughingly as we make to collect Dom. "No need to be poncey about it."
In response, he merely casts me a withering glance and brushes past me, onto the Hogwarts Express.
"Aunt Ginny's right," reflects Dom, boarding the train with me. "He is such a girl sometimes."
"Sometimes?" scoffs Albus derisively, adjusting his black-framed glasses and trailing down the corridor after us. "James is such a girl all the time."
Well said, Albus. Well said.
"For such a girl, though, you must admit," states Rose logically, keeping equal strides with Albus, "he's got an entire fan club out there who's convinced he's about as manly as chopped liver."
"Hmmmm" seems to be the thoughtful consensus as we finally reach the compartment accommodating one James Sirius Potter.
"Come on, James," I say spiritedly, setting down Marigold's cage and standing in front of him. "Get up. We've got to go start the prefect meeting down in the Heads' compartment."
He nods, the corners of his lips curving upward in a smile. "Alright. See you in a few, Albus. Later, Rose. Dom."
As we stroll out of the compartment and down the corridor, we end up chatting easily along the way and ― true to his word ― he doesn't even ask me out once. Instead, we sort of make up for some of the time we lost when we refused to be friends (okay, for the time I caused us to lose by refusing to be friends), and in the ten minutes we wait for the rest of the prefects to show up, our friendship progresses nicely.
You know, I reckon he's not half bad. This could work. I honestly think this newfound, slightly uncomfortable, mostly amiable friendship with James Potter could really work.
And you can quote me on that.
I hate him. I absolutely despise him. I want to take that stupid wand of his and shove it right up his arrogant little ―
"POTTER, YOU CANNOT CHUCK THE FIRST YEARS INTO THE BLACK LAKE TO TEST IF THEY'RE GRYFFINDORS! THIS IS WHY WE HAVE A BLOODY SORTING HAT!"
"Oh, calm down, Pond," he says dismissively from the other side of our shared boat, as two terrified first years flounder about helplessly in the Black Lake and the rest of the unSorted students (and Hagrid) look on in trepidation. "I'm just seeing if they're brave enough to swim!"
"How does levitating them into the lake and forcing them to float have anything to do with bravery?" I snap angrily, jabbing him in the chest with my wand.
"But that's what makes all the difference, though, isn't it?" he replies excitedly, as though it's the most brilliant, obvious thing in the world. How McGonagall made him Head Boy, I'll never know. "If they float, they're Ravenclaws; if they sink, they're Hufflepuffs; Gryffindors can swim, clearly, and Slytherins ― well, they just ― "
"Get them out now," I snarl, my eyes blazing.
Holding his hands up placatingly, James eyes me warily. "Honestly, Rory, I think you're entirely overreacting."
"Overreacting? What on earth gave you that impression?"
"There's no need for sarcasm," huffs James, crossing his arms. "Don't get your knickers in a twist ― "
I laugh hysterically. "Oh, my knickers aren't going to be the only things in a twist here in a moment if you don't get the first years out of the sodding water ― "
Raising an eyebrow, James ruffles his hair and proffers me a signature Smug Smile™. I swear, I sometimes think he has split personalities. "Is that a promise, Rory?"
"Your mum gave me permission to hex you, James. I'd really not test the waters right now, if I were you."
"Look, you made a joke! See, it's not all that bad ― "
"Honestly, Rory, nothing bad's going to happen, they're simply learning a lesson in survival and ― OH MY GOD, IT'S THE GIANT SQUID!"
Case in point.
Author's Note: Hello, again! I'm alive. Can you believe it took me this long to post this? In addition to my 18 credit hours and multiple 0 hour music ensembles at university, I've had massive writer's block, so I apologize profusely for taking so long and for this chapter being less than awesome. Clichéd train station scene, anyone? At least I can safely say that the next chapter will be quicker-paced and more action-packed with James/Rory fluff, Hogwarts adventures, witty banter, and an actual plotline!
For all you parent-lovers out there, I hope I did Mrs. Pond and Ginny justice, since that's the last you'll be seeing of them for a while. As for Rory, she's sort of finally coming around, and James is...well, James. Anyway, favorite quotes? Anything you'd like to see more of? I really hope you liked it. Let me know in a warm, fuzzy review. (And I'm still working on responding to all the lovely ones I've received - you guys are so good to me!) Thanks for reading!
- emma (:
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