Chapter 3 : September 2nd
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Hogwarts Memorial revealed to the public.
It had been a while since I hadn’t read the front page of the Prophet. Granted, I had thrown it down in disgust several times, but I had at least attempted to read the first few sentences of the front page. Today, however, I nearly threw the paper down as soon as I glimpsed the headline.
I didn’t want my first sight of the Hogwarts memorial to be some stupid black and white picture when I could see it in the flesh.
The Ministry had kept the Memorial under close wraps for the duration of its construction. They hadn’t allowed the Prophet to take any pictures of it at all, but I supposed they couldn’t hope to keep it a secret when Hogwarts was flooded with students. It made sense to have its grand unveiling be the first day back.
But unfortunately for me, I had Charms in fifteen minutes. At this point, it was either the memorial or breakfast.
I looked to my right, watching Hattie butter a piece of toast. I looked at her pleadingly, knowing she knew exactly what I wanted.
“C’mon, we only have fifteen minutes. You can eat your toast while we walk,” I said. Despite my efforts to sound calm, even I couldn’t deny that I sounded rather whiny.
Instead of leaping up from the table as I had hoped, however, Hattie took a bite of her toast, chewed slowly, and then swallowed, all the while looking straight into my eyes.
“You go,” she said finally. “I want to eat properly.”
I sighed. I shouldn’t have expected her to come, to be honest. Hattie had always said that she couldn’t function without breakfast every morning. I had never known her to skip it.
I instead turned my gaze to across the table, where Ben was sitting with Hugo and one of the other Ravenclaw boys in our year, Matthew.
“Do any of you want to come see the memorial with me?” I knew the answer would most likely be no, but I really didn’t want to go alone. Nothing said outcast like wandering about the grounds completely alone.
The three boys just looked at me like I was crazy. Well, it was worth a try.
“Lily, why don’t you just wait till break?” Ben asked. “It’s only a couple hours away, and then you don’t have to run.”
I looked between him and the door. As much as I wanted to see the Memorial, my stomach was saying otherwise.
“Here,” Hugo said, spreading jam on a piece of toast and holding it out to me. “We have all of break to go and see it.”
I sighed, accepting the toast. I supposed they were right. It would be better to go at a time when I could look at it in peace.
“That’s better,” Ben said with a small smile. “Besides, you remember the last time you went to Charms on an empty stomach. What was it, a week of detention and a very angry Professor Davies.”
I grinned. “I still don’t think I deserved that. I mean, even though I messed up the spell, I used another spell perfectly. It’s not my fault that that spell causes water to shoot out of your wand indefinitely. And it’s even less of my fault that Professor Davies happened to be standing right in the way of it.”
Hattie chuckled. “The look on his face made up for the whole incident. I didn’t think it was possible for someone to go that red.”
“Well, I still don’t want to repeat the incident,” I said, laughing with the others. I glanced at my watch. “And I don’t want to be late, either!” I stuffed the rest of my toast into my mouth, downing it with a gulp of pumpkin juice. I swung my bag over my shoulder, wincing at the sudden weight, and motioned to the others. “We better hurry or Davies will have all our heads.”
We scurried into Charms just as the bell rang, taking our seats three seconds before Davies walked into the room.
“Now class,” he began, “your fifth year is probably the most important. At the end of this year, you will be taking your Ordinary Wizarding Levels.”
I resisted the urge to groan. And so it began.
“Come on!” I said irritably, half dragging Hattie out of Transfiguration. “Damn it, you stopped me this morning and I will not let you stop me again!”
She smirked slightly, but allowed herself to be lead towards the exit.
“Do you even know where exactly the memorial is?” she asked once they had left the Castle.
I blushed. “Well…no…but it can’t be that hard to find! It’s supposed to be huge.”
Hattie rolled her eyes. “So you plan to just walk the ground until you find it?”
“No! Well, er, not really. Sort of. Yes.” I mumbled the last word, averting my eyes.
She laughed. “Thank god you didn’t go this morning then, or Davies would have given you detention on your first night back for being late. Did you never think to just ask?”
“Who would I ask?”
“I don’t know. Anyone! A teacher, another student, your own brother.”
I looked at her coolly. I hated being wrong, even if it was about the smallest thing like this.
“Well, it’s more fun this way.” I didn’t wait for an answer, instead grinning and walking forward quickly. “Let’s try down by the Black Lake!”
She laughed, following me. By now, she knew me well enough to know when I was actually angry.
We followed the path to the top of the hill, and instantly, the crest of the memorial was visible in the distance. It gleamed, a beacon of bright white, among the trees surrounding the black lake. I was momentarily taken aback by the sheer size of the thing, before letting out a small cheer and motioning to Hattie to walk even faster.
By the time we reached the memorial, we were both panting. I straightened up quickly, however, and gazed upon the white marble. A small crowd of students had gathered around it, and I could tell that they were all as amazed as I was.
For being a project the Ministry was loathe to start in the first place, they had made it extravagant in every way possible. Almost subconsciously, I pulled my notebook from my pocket. I had to write about this, even if it seemed like it would be impossible to describe it in words.
I flipped to a new page, sucked the tip of my self-inking quill, and took a step back, thinking about what to say.
The Hogwarts Memorial is a majestic structure, a dome made of white marble. It is topped with a gold sculpture of a phoenix spreading its wings in flight. Engraved in periodic intervals are the names of all those who were lost on the night the Battle of Hogwarts took place. A picture of each person is engraved above their name, depicting a moment in that person’s life. Each name is also accompanied by a quote from a member of his or her family, quotes that remind us of the horrors that took place that night. Though the memorial was built to commemorate those who died to protect so many others, it is about more than just remembering. The memorial reminds us of the sacrifices so many made to give us the lives we have today, but it also reminds us of their strength. It is a beacon of unity and happiness, a symbol of the peace that has settled comfortably over the world since evil was eradicated. The Memorial stands for love, and reminds us all to live each day with courage. It reminds us to love those around us. It reminds us that it is up to us to make the sacrifices of the past worthwhile.
I jumped upon hearing a voice behind me, dropping my quill. I turned to see a girl reading over my shoulder, and my face went bright red.
“Oh, I didn’t know you were reading,” I mumbled.
“I didn’t mean to startle you,” she said apologetically, “but that was really, really good. Like, it made me want to cry. Better than anything the Prophet could do.”
My face got even redder. “Thanks,” I said breathlessly. “I was just writing, I didn’t expect anyone to read it.”
She smiled at me. “I’m Olive, by the way. Olive Ryans. Seventh year Gryffindor.”
“It’s nice to meet you. I’m Li-”
“Lily Potter,” she interrupted. “Yes, I know. Everyone in the school knows you are.”
I smiled uncertainly. I never knew how to respond when people said stuff like that. I didn’t mind the fame brought to me by my father, but I didn’t know how to respond to that. According to Mum, Dad had never really known how to deal with it either, so I supposed that I wasn’t alone.
“I’m sorry for reading your writing,” Olive continued. “I wasn’t kidding when I said it was really good though. You should really publish it or something.”
My smile became genuine. “Yes-I mean, no, you don’t have to be sorry. I don’t mind, really. Do you really think I should publish it?”
“Yeah! Definitely. You’re wasting a talent, keeping it all in a notebook.”
“Wow, um, thanks. A lot. You don’t even know how much that means to me.”
“You’re welcome. I’ve gotta go now, my boyfriend’s waiting for me to meet him in the Great Hall. I’ll see you around though, yeah?”
I nodded. “Definitely! Thanks again.”
She waved, smiling, before setting off.
My grin widened as I looked at her retreating back. I couldn’t believe that someone who had read my writing by chance had actually liked it. I had shown it to my family, of course, but it was their job to encourage me. I had barely even shown it to Hattie, and I didn’t really know what to make of her compliments either. I could hardly believe that she would tell me that my writing was awful, even if it was.
Speaking of Hattie, where was she?
I walked around to the other side of the memorial to find her kneeling by one of the names. I knelt next to her, putting my hand on her shoulder.
She looked up, startled, but her expression softened when she saw it was just me. To my surprise, I found that her eyes were filled with tears.
“Hey,” I said softly. “Who’s name is that?”
She wiped her eyes, sniffling slightly before answering. “It’s your uncle. Well, it would have been your uncle. I don’t know, I just saw all the names and the people and the memories and it was just a lot to take in at once. I never realized just how many people died that night.”
I gave her a sad smile, turning to look at the name.
It was so strange, to see that name carved neatly into white stone. Fred Weasley to me was a living, breathing person, the son of Uncle George. Or forgetting even that, he was a name in old stories, even now spoken of with just a little bit of sadness and regret.
I looked up to see which moment of his life had been depicted in the picture. He seemed to be standing in crowd of people, his brother next to him, their wands both pointed into the air. As I watched, two broomsticks came sailing into the picture, a chain hanging from one of them. The two figures mounted their broomsticks and flew off and out of the picture. I could almost feel the happiness in that piece of stone. The moment had to repeat itself twice before I understood it, however, but once I did I couldn’t help but chuckle softly.
“The moment they chose,” I explained to Hattie, “was during his seventh year at Hogwarts. I’ve heard this story. Once Dumbledore left, and the foul Ministry worker had taken her place, Fred and George started pulling bigger pranks. One day-I think they had turned the school into a swamp, or something like that-they just got on their broomsticks and left. Everyone who was at Hogwarts at that time knows about it. They became famous for pulling that stunt.”
I wondered why that moment had been chosen. I suppose it was at the height of Fred’s life, if your life could have a height when it only lasted twenty years. It must have been one of the happiest memories for him, being so carefree and young in the world. I looked next to the picture, looking the quote that had been chosen to accompany it.
It was no surprise that the quote belonged to his brother, Uncle George.
“I lost more than a brother that night. I lost half of myself. Fred was like a part of me. He was always so bright, so full of life. We were one. And now that he’s gone, I’m only one half. I will never be whole again.”
And then I knew why Hattie had started to cry. I could feel the tears start to bubble in my own eyes, but I had never been one to cry easily. Uncle George’s quote took Fred from being just a name and made him into a person. A real person who had once breathed this same air and walked this same ground. Whoever had come up with the idea of including quotes had made this memorial different from so many others. It was personal now.
I could have knelt in that patch of grass forever, running my fingers over Fred’s name, but I stood, tearing my eyes away and dusting off my robes.
“Come on,” I said quietly, lifting my hand from Hattie’s shoulder. “We need to be in Ancient Runes soon. We don’t want to be late.”
She nodded, wiping her eyes one last time before standing.
“I need to speak with Headmaster Stan.”
Hattie looked at me in surprise. “Now?”
I rolled my eyes. “Yes, Hattie, I’m going to get up in the middle of dinner and speak with him while everyone’s watching. No, obviously not now.”
She shrugged. “Why do you need to speak to him?”
I grinned. “I want to start a school newspaper.”
Hattie looked surprised. “Oh…”
I was slightly taken aback. “What, is that not a good thing?”
“No, no, it’s great. But you’re going to be the only one writing for it, aren’t you?”
“No, of course not. I’m sure I can find someone else who would want to contribute. And students could put in advertisements for clubs and study groups and Quidditch teams. We could have all kinds of sections!” My eyes lit up at the thought of everything I could include. I knew the students of Hogwarts would love it.
“Oh, I see. So it’d be a Hogwarts version of The Daily Prophet?”
I nodded. “Yeah, except our stories will be relevant and accurate.” I couldn’t stop a bit of derision in my tone at my last remark. “I have a name and everything. We can call it The Hogwarts Journal and it’ll be released every two weeks.”
“Did you spend your entire summer planning this out?” Hattie asked with a knowing smile.
“Er, pretty much. When I wasn’t ranting about the Prophet or the Ministry of course. Anyways, I have it all planned out, but I need Professor Stan to give me permission to start it. I figured it would be distributed to all the students, so it’s a bit bigger than just a study group.”
“Good luck,” Hattie said mildly, returning to her dinner.
I sighed. “You’re not going to come with me, are you?”
“Nope,” she answered, calmly spooning pudding into her mouth.
I would have been grateful for the support. Professor Stan wasn’t intimidating, not by any standards, but it was hard to talk to any Professor. I swear, they all practiced being completely emotionless in front of the mirror. You could ask them anything and their face wouldn’t give the slightest hint of an answer. It was like talking to a statue. All except Professor Longbottom, of course. He could never keep his emotions from showing in his face, but that’s why all the students loved him so much.
I pushed the rest of my own pudding away, suddenly feeling rather sick. What if he said no? What if my plans were crushed before I even started? He couldn’t say no, he just couldn’t.
Once the plates had been wiped of all food and the teachers started to leave the High Table, I adjusted my skirt, ran a hand through my hair, and followed them out of the Great Hall.
I saw Professor Stan walking towards his office up ahead. To my relief, he was alone. Passing several students and nearly knocking a first year to the ground in my rush, I caught up to him.
But now what? I didn’t know how to get his attention. I cleared my throat loudly, but if he noticed, he paid no attention.
Fine. I was just going to have to go for it, then.
“Excuse me, Professor Stan?” I said nervously.
He looked down at me. “Yes, Miss Potter?”
“Er, can-can I ask you a question?” I clasped my sweaty palms together behind my back, hoping my face wasn’t going red.
“I have this idea… It’s for a club. Well, no, not a club, but it’s like a club. Except, not a study group or anything. I guess we might be studying, actually, but we wouldn’t really be studying magic. At least not the traditional magic.”
Stan cut me off. “Miss Potter, would you like to tell me exactly what this idea of yours is before my hair goes grey.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled. If my face hadn’t been red before, it most certainly was now. “Well, I wanted to start a school newspaper.”
I looked up, but his expression revealed nothing as predicted. Stupid Professors with their emotionless faces. It’s like they do everything in their power to scare us. Well, it might work on the House Elves, but it wasn’t going to work on me. I held my head higher, refusing to quiver under his gaze.
“Hmm, do you have this planned out?”
I nodded fervently. “Yes, Sir.”
“And you think the students would be interested in reading it?”
“Yes, yes I do, Sir.”
“Well, I see no problem in you starting one. But I must insist that you show each edition to a Professor before handing it out to students. Just to look it over.”
“Of course, Sir. Thank you. Thank you so much!”
I couldn’t believe it. He had said yes. I was about to become editor in chief of Hogwart’s first school newspaper.
“You’re very welcome, Miss Potter, and good luck.”
I grinned, turning around and walking towards Ravenclaw tower.
Tomorrow, I would write a notice for all the Common Rooms. And I would write my first article about Peeves. Oh, we could include times for Quidditch try outs this first issue. And any clubs that were forming up. I would need a photographer, too. And someone who was good with formatting. The newspaper had to look nice.
My plans carried me up all seven flights of stairs and into Ravenclaw tower.
Tomorrow, the true beginning of my career would start.
A/N: Because I had to have one at the end too :D So I lied, we don’t meet HIM in this chapter (we were supposed to, but I have this OCD thing where all my chapters have to be around the same length and this would have been too long had I included that part) but I PROMISE we will meet him next chapter. Thank you for reading as always, and people who review are amawefansudible. Oh yeah.
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