Easter break couldn't have come quickly enough. I needed a break from studying. All of the professors seemed intent on killing us. My headstone was going to read:
Death by over-studying.
Insert sigh here.
Luckily though, Easter break was finally upon us! The whole gang was super excited of course, but our excitement couldn't even match James' excitement. He had been even more restless than usual, itching to get out of the place he had been in for a month. James was given the go ahead to leave the Hospital Wing the morning we left. He practically shot out of his bed and ran down the stairs to his dorm. He was still a little sore, but he was pretty much healed by now. Although, when you got him laughing, he would beg for us to stop making him laugh as it still hurt his ribs a bit. We wanted to throw him a party in the Common Room but we were all leaving a few hours after he got let out so we decided to do a small celebration at the Burrow and then throw a really great shin-dig once we got back to Hogwarts.
Mrs. Weasley and Mrs. Potter picked us up again. Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley and my Dad were still stuck at the Ministry finishing up paperwork on some old Death Eater they had just caught. Apparently he had been on the run since the end of the war, some jerkface named Travers. I'm not sure if that was some kind of nickname or if it was his first or last. All I know was that he was a part of The War and on the Death Eater's side; ere go he's a jerkface.
"Oi! You lot! Over here!" Mrs. Potter called. We all turned towards her voice and ran to her. Ginny hugged her two youngest first, before pulling James tightly against her and kissing his head.
"Mum...c'mon now, everyone's looking." James said, a bit on the embarrassed side.
"I don't care. I've been so worried!" Ginny cried.
"Mum, I'm fine." James said as he wiggled out of his Mom's hold. Ginny finally released him and went to hug her nieces and nephews. Rose and Hugo went to Hermione and hugged her before switching to Ginny. Starlene and Scorpius went with the rest of the gang without hesitation. I, of course, stayed in the background.
This did not bode well for Ginny and Hermione.
"Is she ever going to accept the fact that she's part of the family now?" Ginny asked Hermione with a sigh.
And of course she said it loud enough for everyone to hear and wasn't really asking Hermione, but making a statement.
"I dunno Ginny...she's pretty stubborn. I believe she'd give Ron a run for his money on stubbornness." Hermione answered with a sly smile on her face. I of course, immediately blushed. This caused everyone to laugh as I dragged myself to Ginny and Hermione, allowing them to envelop me in a hug.
"You do know you are going to have to get over this whole shy thing right?" Ginny asked as she pulled back and held onto my shoulders.
"I'm trying." I whined. Hermione and Ginny laughed. I saw James walk up behind his Mother and smirked at me.
"Yeah American, especially now that you're my girlfriend."
Have I mentioned that James and I haven't told anyone that we're officially dating?
"OH MY GOSH!" The gang shouted all at once. They rushed over to us and soon I was being hugged and grabbed and patted by everyone. There were shouts of 'Yay's' and 'About time' and 'Just think of what their children will look like.'
Oh for the love of Merlin, what did James just do to us?
"How could you not tell us?" Starlene demanded.
"It just happened!" I cried.
"Doesn't matter, we should've been the first to know." Dom added with a scowl.
"Can we fight about this later? I'd like to get to the Burrow and eat. I'm starving!" Al said. Scorpius nodded his agreement.
"Good idea little brother." James said and ruffled Al's hair. Al squawked indignantly and batted at his brother's hand. Hermione and Ginny ushered us to a car and soon we were flying back to the Burrow. The ride was filled with stories and questions about James' health. James answered his Mother's and Aunt's questions diplomatically but eventually changed the subject to Lily's studies for her O.W.L.'s. We finally made it to the Burrow and we all practically ran inside to eat. Mrs. Molly Weasley had a feast prepared for us. We walked to the back though since there were just too many of us to fit in the kitchen.
"When is Dad gonna be here Mum?" Rose asked Hermione.
"I dunno Rosie. It'll be a while, we've been looking for Travers for years." Hermione replied, a frown on her face.
"Glad he finally was caught though." Hugo commented.
"Yes, he was very involved in Voldemort's reign. Had a slight run in with him once, we were disguised and trying to sneak into Gringott's. He followed us there and almost gave us away." Hermione said, her voice taking on a distracted tone.
"You okay Mum?" Hugo asked. Hermione's eyes blinked rapidly before she looked at her son.
"Yes dear, I'm fine. Just reliving old memories." Hermione said with a sad smile.
I frowned. I think sometime's people forget just how life-changing a tragedy like that can affect someone. I mean, seeing my own Mother murdered in front of me screwed me up forever. I still have nightmares about it. And Hermione...well, she actually had to kill people herself. Harry and Ron too. Apparently Ginny had a hand in a few Death Eater's demise as well. Death isn't exactly something you can just get over. My heart ached for them.
"When are Teddy and Vic getting here?" Lily asked.
"Tomorrow. That's the fitting as well, so be sure you're up by 9 alright?" Molly answered. The males of the table groaned.
"Can't we just make sure it fits the day of the wedding?" Freddie asked.
"No." Angelina answered her son.
"No buts Freddie. This is about Teddy and Vic alright? Let's make everything as painless for them as possible." Angelina said.
"Fine..." Freddie grumbled. George elbowed his son in the ribs and winked at him, this made Freddie smile.
The meal went great and soon we were all heading to the back to play Quidditch. It was bittersweet getting back on my broom since the season was over, but I relished the feeling of flying through the air. It was one of the greatest feelings. We weren't really keeping score or anything, just zooming around the field and passing the Quaffle around. We finished playing that game and made our way to the living room to watch Al and Hugo play chess. Freddie and James got bored though and went to their room to 'look at something.' We didn't even ask, scared of what their answer would be. They both had identical wicked grins on their faces which could only mean one thing: they were up to no good.
The girls and I got bored as well and then made our way to mine and Dom's and Roxanne's room.
"Thank Merlin for Easter break!" Dom said as she plopped down on her bed. Starlene sighed in agreement and sat on the floor next to me and Roxanne. Lily climbed on the bed next to Dom, Rose following suit.
"I feel like my head is going to explode." Lily said. "O.W.L year is terrible."
"Just wait till 7th year Lils, you'll want start drinking on a regular basis then." Starlene said. Dom, Starlene, and I all nodded in agreement.
"Was being homeschooled as hard as this?" Dom asked me.
"Kind of, but then again not really. The great thing about being homeschooled was that I choose the hours I studied. I also only had to worry about pleasing my Mom and Dad. They were my only two teachers. At Hogwarts I have to worry about pleasing 7 teachers, plus keep up with extra-curricular activities, and have friends. It's all a bit exhausting." I said with a smile.
"Except the friends part. Because we're a joy to be around, right?" Starlene asked, a slight threatening sound to her voice.
"Oh of course!" I replied exaggeratedly.
"You bint!" Starlene cried with a grin on her face. I smiled impishly back at her.
"What are you lots plans for after school?" Lily asked.
My heart dropped.
I didn't want to talk about this right now. I mean, we had already kinda talked about it when I first got to know them, but now James and I are officially dating and I'm so much closer to them now than I was back then. They probably thought that things had changed by now...and they haven't. Dad had owled me a few days ago saying that I had received a scholarship for Healer's school in Atlanta. It was practically a full ride. They were just waiting on my final grades from Hogwarts.
"I still want to try and become a Healer." Dom said.
"Me too." Starlene added.
"Well, I'd like to work at the Ministry. I'm not a hundred percent sure of which department, I just know that I want to help people keep their rights. Maybe, I'll try for the Wizengamot." Roxanne said.
"Wow Roxanne, high aspirations don't you think?" Dom asked with a smirk.
"What can I say? I may not have my Dad's humor, but I have his determination." Roxanne replied with a fierce smile.
"I think you'll make it." I told her with a smile. She beamed back at me.
"Well, what about you Paislee?" Roxanne asked.
"Er...well, I still plan on being a Healer as well. I'm good at it and I enjoy it." I answered, a bit on the shaky side.
"Why does it sound like there is a 'but' about to spoken?" Starlene asked warily.
"But...I still plan on going back to America..."
The silence was deafening. The girl's eyes were wide with shock and I felt my heart clench violently. I didn't want to hurt them.
"You're still going to leave?" Starlene asked after a few seconds of silence.
"Does James know?" Lily asked.
I shook my head. "And please don't tell him. I'm going to tell him, just...not right now. We just got together and I'd rather not ruin it this soon."
"Paislee...do you have to leave?" Rose asked.
"I'm sorry, but yes. I have to get back home ya know? Plus..." I trailed off.
"Plus what?" Dom asked.
"Well...I kinda got a scholarship to a really good school in Atlanta. It's...well, it's practically a full ride." I said.
"Really? Wow Paislee! That's brilliant!" Dom said, a smile on her face.
"You think?" I asked hesitantly. I didn't want my friends to hurt, to be made at me for leaving. To think that they were excited for me filled me with hope.
"Of course it's brilliant! I mean, we're sad you're still leaving but we want you to succeed! To be happy! But don't think that just because you're going to be in another country means you can just forget about us." Starlene said fiercely.
"Like I could ever forget y'all! You'll just bug the hell outta me until I end up visiting y'all or y'all visiting me!" I said in mock irritation. They laughed.
"We'll always stay in touch. That's never going to change." Rose said with a grin.
"Agreed." Lily replied.
"Thanks guys. It's gonna suck, but I know we'll always be friends." I said with a smile.
At least...I hope so.
The next day we woke up promptly at 8 and ate breakfast. Teddy and Vic had just arrived and soon the house was buzzing with activity. The boys were forced upstairs for their final fittings, while the girls were downstairs for theirs. My Dad, Harry, and Ron still weren't back but had owled us and said they'd be back before dinner today. Victoire was fussing over all of us, trying to make sure everything fit perfectly. My dress still fit quite nicely and I was actually kind of excited about the wedding. It would be really fun to have one final shin-dig with the gang before I left for America. The wedding was scheduled the weekend after graduation. We were all planning on just staying at the Burrow until the wedding and then disapparate to the venue. Dad and I would get a hotel for the night and then leave for America the next morning. Dad had already been told he could have a vacation for that week so he could help me get settled at school.
The fitting was finally over and it was lunch time so we were out back again eating sandwiches when Vic and Teddy came up to me.
"Paislee, we would like to ask you something." Ted told me.
I looked up at him. "Uh...okay. What's up?" I asked.
"Well, we know you're a bit on the shy side." Vic started.
"But we think you're bloody fantastic at singing." Ted continued.
"And we'd love it if you'd sing at our wedding." Vic finished.
"Yes we are. You wouldn't have to sing the whole time, just one song would be lovely." Vic said, her eyes shining with hope.
"W-Why do you w-want me to sing?"
"Because you have a truly wonderful talent and I love to hear you sing. It would be so very nice and I know the guests would just love it and love you. You're special Paislee...even if you don't quite realize it yet." Vic told me.
"I don't know..."
"Please? Please Paislee? It would be the greatest gift of all time." Victoire pleaded.
"Oh Paislee it would be truly wonderful!" Dom added.
"C'mon American, you can do it." James said as he kissed my cheek.
"Um...okay...I guess I could." I finally conceded.
"Oh Paislee! Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Victoire exclaimed as she hugged me so tight I could barely breathe.
"Vic...can't...breathe." I managed through her choke hold. She giggled and finally released me before beaming at me. I smiled back.
"What do you want me to sing?" I asked.
"Oh I don't care and I don't want to know! I want it to be surprise to both me and Teddy."
"Okay...I guess I'll start looking for songs then."
"Wonderful! Thanks again Paislee." Vic said as she kissed my cheek. Teddy winked at me and the two of them went to talk to Bill and Fleur.
I released a breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding.
"You okay?" James asked as he nudged me in the ribs.
"Uh...yeah, I think so. I'm kinda nervous though. And by kinda I mean a lot." I admitted.
"You'll be brilliant." James insisted.
"I think y'all overestimate my abilities."
"I think that's rubbish."
"Well I think you should shut it." I said with a sickly sweet smile. James laughed.
"Well played." He replied with a smile. I smiled back at him and we finished eating. Afterwards we went inside and talked about the final preparations for the wedding. Apparently I was supposed to be singing during the reception. I was trying to find a good song but I kept drawing a blank. I decided to owl Kerianna, Lisa, and Britney, certainly they would know some good songs. No offense to wizard music, but I wanted something more traditional and all about love, not magic. I left the rest of the gang to write my letter. Once I finished I sent Alura to the States. I knew it would take a few weeks before she came back, but I figured I still had about two and a half more months until the wedding anyways.
The day was spent lazily and it was nice to just rest. Finals were coming up and I was up to my ears in homework and essays and studying that I felt like my head was going to explode. I needed to get fantastic grades in order to ensure my full ride to Healer school. I mean, my Dad and I had plenty of gold to pay for it, but I'd rather not have to rely on my Dad's income. My Mom had left me and him a substantial amount of gold, and with him being an Auror we were pretty much set. I didn't want to have to pull from his savings.
After dinner we all went to the field to watch George, Freddie, Bill, and James put on a spectacular firework show. We were right in the middle of it when we heard a loud popping sound.
"Looks like we're missing the party!" My Dad said as he walked towards us.
"Dad!" I yelled and ran to him. I slammed into him, almost making him fall on the floor. Dad laughed and picked me up, spinning me around before finally setting me down.
"How ya doin' kid?" My Dad asked.
"Fine. I miss you though." I told him.
"Awe Paislee, I miss you too honey." My Dad said and pressed a kiss to the top of my forehead.
James, Lily, Al, Hugo, and Rose, all ran to their Dad's as well. After everyone was thoroughly hugged and kissed, the three men joined us on the grassy floor.
"This is spectacular." My Dad said in awe. I nodded and James wrapped his arm around me, then kissed me. I was shocked that he did that right in front of my Dad like that.
"James!" I whispered at him.
"What?" He asked in a normal tone.
"Shh! My Dad is right there! I haven't told him about us yet."
"Well, it's a good thing I owled him days ago then isn't it?" James said with a smirk.
"You what?" I asked in complete surprise.
"I owled you Dad the day before the final Quidditch match, asking his permission to date you." James said. Dad heard us talking because he turned towards us and engaged in the conversation.
"Is that true Dad?" I asked.
"Yes Paislee, it is. James asked me if he could date you. He wanted to ask in person, but couldn't so he asked me through a letter. I was okay with it and told him to go ahead. However, I did warn him that if he hurt you, I'd hurt him. Whether Harry was his father or not." My Dad added with a smile.
James put his hands up in mock surrender. "Don't doubt it for a minute sir."
"Dad...thanks. And James, that's the greatest thing ever. You're so thoughtful." I told him and kissed him on the cheek.
"Yeah well, I try." James said in mock humbleness. I laughed at that and so did my Dad.
Once the firework show was over we went into the living room and had coffee and tea. We sat and chatted idly until Al finally asked the question we were all dying to ask.
"So did you get him Dad?" Al asked.
Harry turned to look at his son, a darkness overcoming his face. "Yeah son...we did."
"Who exactly is Travers? And what happened?" Dom asked.
"Well...Travers was a part of the old regime with Voldemort. He was a big supporter and as far as we can tell wasn't in Voldemort's inner circle, but was just right outside of it. He eluded capture after The Battle at Hogwart's and we've spent many, many years trying to find him." Harry said.
"How did you find him?" Rose asked.
"He was hiding in a small shack right outside London. We caught wind of some Muggle attacks and went to investigate, come to find out Travers was the one doing the attacks. It was a hard battle, but we got him in the end." Ron said.
"Is he dead?" I asked quietly.
"No Paislee, he isn't dead. We want him alive to pay for the crimes he's committed. His trial starts next Monday and then it'll be off to Azkaban with him." My Dad said. I sighed in relief. I didn't like thinking about my Dad killing anyone, even though I knew that he has before.
"Did he hurt any of your friends in the war?" Scorpius asked.
"No he didn't. He ran when the fighting got really tough. Everyone in Voldemort's inner circle has either been killed or is currently in prison." Harry answered.
"Well, everyone except for my Dad and grandparents." Scorpius said, a slight edge to his voice.
"Scor...we've been through this. Your Grandmother saved my life. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for her. I will forever be grateful for that. And while your Dad can be a colossal git at times, he too saved my life. He didn't give me away when he knew full and well who I was at Malfoy Manor." Harry said.
"Besides, when push came to shove, family is what was most important to your grandparents. Draco too...it just took him longer to realize it." Hermione added.
"Yeah, well. It still sucks when everyone at school expects you to be some dark wizard since your Dad was an ex-Death Eater." Scorpius said angrily.
"Scorpius." Rose said gently and ran her fingers through his hair.
"Listen here Scorpius Malfoy. Who your parents are do not dictate who you are alright? You are a perfectly wonderful child and we are so very happy you are in our lives. While we had our differences with Draco, he has come a long way. In all honesty he was more forced into being a Death Eater. It wasn't like he really had a choice." Ginny said. This seemed to help brighten Scorpius' spirit a little bit and he smiled at the group of adults.
"Thanks." He said quietly.
The rest of the night was spent reliving old memories and good times. That was until it was time to go to bed and James asked me what my plans for the summer were. The gang and I were all in Freddie and James' room talking before leaving for bed.
"Uh...well after the wedding I'm going to Healer school. I'm not taking the summer off." I told him.
"Oh. I didn't know that. Where are you going? Same place as Dom and Starlene?" James asked.
"Er...no." I answered.
James looked confused. "Well then, where are you going?"
"To a school in Atlanta. In America." I answered quietly.
James' face morphed from confusion, to hurt, to sad, then back to hurt all in a matter of seconds.
"America huh?" He asked.
"Yeah...I-I got practically a full ride there. It's a really good school too." I added.
"That's...that's great..." James trailed off.
My heart was breaking. This is exactly why I wanted to avoid this conversation with James. I loved him, the last thing in this world that I wanted to do was to hurt him.
"Can you guys give us a minute?" James asked the rest of the crew.
"Of course." Lily said and nodded to the others to leave. Once they were gone, James walked over and sat next to me on his bed.
"Why didn't you say anything earlier?" James asked.
"I didn't want to hurt you."
"And not telling me until now is gonna hurt less?"
Well played sir.
"Maybe?" I asked hesitantly. James chuckled softly.
"Well you know what this means right?" James asked.
"What?" I asked.
James leaned down and grabbed my chin, kissing me softly on the lips.
"I have two months to convince you otherwise." James said.
"James..." I sighed. I wasn't going to change my mind.
"Paislee..." James mocked.
"Jerk." I said as I swatted his arm playfully.
"Next time you have some kind of big secret you're too afraid to tell me, just tell me anyways. You're my girlfriend and I want us to be completely honest with one another alright? You can talk to me about anything Paislee. I'll always be on your side." James said.
I smiled at him. "Okay James, I will. And the same goes for me. I'll always be on your side too."
James smiled and kissed me. After a few minutes of kissing I finally descended the stairs and told the boys they could go back up, before making my way to mine and Dom's room and going to bed after discussing things with the girls.
James thought he could convince me otherwise huh?
I thought he was bonkers, but a small part of me really wished that he could.
A/N: Alright! So do you guys hate me for waiting for so long to write this? I'm sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sorry!!! I went on a mission trip in June and when I came back my grandfather passed away so it hasn't been very easy and writing was put on the back burner. I'm back though and I'm feeling better so I'm going to try and update much quicker now. I promise never to make y'all wait this long again. Let me know what you think of this chapter alright? Is Paislee gonna stick around?! Will James actually be able to convince her to stay?! Tune in! And don't forget to leave a review as they gave me warm and fuzzies!!!! =]]
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