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Chapter 28 : The Exams
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“As I’ll ever be I suppose,” Melora sighed, closing her Transfiguration textbook.
Beatrice nodded in agreement, but gave her book one more quick scan before closing it with a definitive thump.
The girls stared at one another from across the library table, and then both simultaneously deflated.
“No I can’t do this.”
Their first NEWT exam was in an hour and despite studying nearly all night, Melora and Bea only knew one thing for sure. In the seven years they had spent at Hogwarts, they had not learned one thing.
“If it’s possible to study so much that you actually learn less, I think we’ve just done it,” Bea said with a heavy sigh, standing up to collect their books.
Melora rubbed her neck as she stood. There was a painful crick in it from leaning over books for the past weeks that would not go away.
“I’m just hoping when we get in there I remember something,” she admitted.
And thankfully she did. As soon as she was given her exam, lessons with McGonagall and essays she had written before came flooding back and Melora couldn’t write fast enough.
When the written section was over, she met up with Beatrice who reported a similar experience.
“And to think we were worried!” Melora beamed.
An arm slithered around her waist, and Melora turned to smirk up at Sirius. “How’d you do?” she asked.
“Probably better than you,” he gloated.
“What about you Remus?” Melora asked, peaking over Sirius’s shoulder. The sandy-haired boy was staring determinedly away from Beatrice, who was doing the same on the other side of Melora.
“Alright I think,” He said, “Might have messed up some spelling. I’m going to go find Peter.”
Melora watched Remus hurry away with a frown. “Have you two talked at all?” she asked Bea.
“Not for a while,” Bea said. Melora could tell her friend was attempting to sound nonchalant, but was failing miserably. “I’m going to go meet up with Dorcas and Anna for lunch. I’ll see you before the practical, okay Lora?”
The blonde nodded and sighed as her friend walked away. “They’re making themselves miserable,” she said.
Sirius squeezed her waist. “Not everyone can have a happy ending,” he replied sadly, “Come on, James and Lily should be done snogging by now. I told them we’d meet them in the Great Hall.”
The practical for Transfiguration went just as well as the written portion, although Melora did have some difficulty concentrating with the pointed looks her examiner was sending at her swollen belly.
“If they take points off because I’m pregnant, I will hex someone,” she hissed as she stormed out of the room.
“I’m sure they won’t,” Bea said, patting her shoulder comfortingly.
Melora wasn’t so sure, but as the week went on, she was pleased to see not all of the examiners were so harsh. The old lady for Potions asked her cheerfully when the baby was due, and she was fairly sure the Charms and Defense examiners simply thought she was overweight.
The written exams, although difficult, were nowhere near as bad as she had thought they’d be and like Transfiguration, once she saw the questions, her lessons came flooding back.
By the time of her last test, Melora was feeling quite positive about her NEWTs.
“What have you got left?” she asked Sirius as they finished breakfast.
“Just Divination,” Sirius replied, “Should be a breeze. You?”
“Muggle Studies,” she said, “And then we’re done! How odd is that?”
“Extremely odd,” Sirius chuckled, “Do you want to meet for lunch then?”
“Sure,” Melora said, giving Sirius a quick peck on the cheek as she stood up, “See you then-oh!” She paused and leaned on Sirius for a moment, grabbing her stomach.
“What is it? Are you okay?” he said looking around for a teacher or someone to call for help.
“Yeah,” Melora blinked and stood straight, “Just a little cramp is all.”
Sirius didn’t look satisfied with this answer, but he let her go.
Beatrice met her outside the Great Hall and the two made their way upstairs. Because Muggle Studies only had nine students in it, the exam was given in the classroom.
“It’s strange isn’t it?” Bea mused as they walked, “To think we’ll be going out into the real world after this.”
Melora nodded. “I was just saying the same thing to Sirius.”
Bea bit her lower lip. “Lora, I have to tell you something,” she said softly, “I applied for an internship working in America.”
Melora stopped dead. “What?” she exclaimed.
“Don’t be mad!” Bea begged, “It’s just, America’s Statue of Secrecy is different than ours and they have this whole division that deals with muggle relations in ways besides obliviating them like we do here and I’m really interested in it and the woman I interviewed with said I had a really good chance of getting in cause my dad’s muggle and oh please don’t be mad.”
Melora stared at her friend blankly. “Mad?” she giggled, “Bea, why would I be mad? This is great! I’m so proud of you!”
“Really?” Bea smiled, “I was so worried, I mean, it’s so far.”
“So it’ll be hard,” Melora shrugged, “But we’ll keep in touch. There’s owls and floo and portkeys,” a smirk appeared on her face, “And to be honest, you're not the only one with a secret job interview."
“What do you mean?” Bea asked.
“I have an interview at the Daily Prophet,” Melora said, grinning widely, “They just owled me yesterday confirming it.”
“Oh that’s brilliant,” Bea said, hugging her friend the best she could with Melora’s protruding stomach, “Look at us, all grown up and having jobs and children.” She poked Melora’s stomach and the blonde smacked her fingers away.
“Stop it before you make me cry,” she said sternly, but the smile on her face made it hard for Bea to take her seriously, “Now come on before we’re late for the exam.”
The two girls grabbed hands and hurried to their classroom. Peter was outside, looking over his textbook.
“Ready?” he asked.
“Beyond ready,” Melora replied confidently.
The three made their way into the classroom. Professor Winterberry directed them to their seats and when the last students entered, began passing out the test.
Muggle Studies was a fairly easy class and as was its NEWT. Melora breezed through the first page, but found herself stuck when she had to explain the basic principles of electricity.
It was the one topic in the class she had trouble with, and she began to worry a little as she struggled to properly express the intricacies of flipping a switch to make a light come on. It didn’t help that her cramps were returning. She had felt a small one in the hallway, but had two more since entering the classroom and they were making it rather difficult for her to concentrate.
Suddenly, just when she finally felt she had a grasp on what she was writing, Melora felt something wet slide down her leg.
No, no, no.
Her water did not just break.
Not in the middle of her last exam.
Not a month before she was due.
Panic set in quickly, but Melora shoved those feelings away and focused on sound of her quill scratching against the parchment.
Once she’d finished with the electricity question, she manically scribbled the rest of her answers. The cramps continued and Melora realized they were not cramps at all, they were contractions.
Several of her classmates had finished by now, including Beatrice. Peter two rows over was running a hand through his hair frustrated.
“Miss Jones,” Winterberry said, “Eyes on your own parchment.”
“I’m finished Professor,” she said breathlessly, “Do you think you could call Madame Moffat?”
The remaining students looked up curiously and Beatrice, who was waiting outside peeked in.
“Why Miss Jones?” Winterberry frowned.
“I think I’ve just gone into labor.”
A/N- Oh, cliffhanger! Haven't had one of those in a while. For those who forgot, way back in chapter 8, I believe, it was mentioned that Melora's due date was in July.
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