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Chapter 32 : The Beginning of the End
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She seemed a little more chilled out today, I guess because she was just about to start announcing which of us would be graduating. Of course, we already knew, they didn’t want poor souls turning up for graduation when they knew they wouldn’t graduate, so we’d been given our exam results this morning. There were three failures in our year, which was pretty good considering... and you know what I WASN’T ONE OF THEM!
I was completely elated when I found out I’d passed DADA and Care of Magical Creatures with O’s... at NEWTs, that’s pretty damn difficult! Potions I just scraped an E and Charms I’d managed an A. They were pretty damn good results if you ask me!
Of course, Charla being the genius she was, got O’s and E’s for all her exams and Sisi got straight E’s. Fred was almost as good but got no O’s and one A.
‘Well, we are very proud to announce the following students as Hogwarts Graduates this year,’ McGonagall began calling out names, handing out certificates and shaking hands. When it was my turn, I almost saw the glee in her eyes, probably because she was finally getting rid of me.
I walked down the stage and practically jumped with joy (except I didn’t, only girls do that) when I met the greeting arms of my parents.
‘We’re so proud of you Jamesie!’ My mother told me, kissing my cheek and ruffling my hair.
‘Of course, I mean, look at those results, everything you need to become a Quidditch player,’ my dad joked, he gave me a brief one armed hug, ‘well done Jam!’
‘James!’ Lily squealed, she leapt into my arms and hugged me tight, ‘oh my Merlin, did you see those results, you did so well!’ she cried, ‘honestly you are amazing!’
‘I know,’ I grinned down at her, chuffed.
‘Well done James,’ Al nodded, beaming, ‘now I’ve finally got rid of you.’
‘What happened to me being the best brother?’ I asked, sticking my tongue out.
‘You are,’ he agreed, ‘from a distance.’
‘Jim Jam,’ Charla raced off the stage into my arms first, ‘I can’t believe, this is it, no more Hogwarts!’
I kissed her cheek and hugged her tight.
‘Well done Charlie,’ Lily took her turn to hug Char, before she was bombarded by Rory and her dad.
‘Sweetie you did amazingly,’ Oliver told his daughter, just as I turned away to let her be with her family for a moment. Across the room I caught sight of a familiar red head, cradling a few week old baby.
‘Domi,’ I yelled, fighting my way through the crowd to meet her, and hugging her gently, careful not to squash Isabelle.
‘Hey, how’s my favourite Goddaughter,’ I winked, kissing baby Isabelle lightly on the cheek.
‘She’s a pain in the butt, want to hold her?’ Dominique said sceptically, as she placed the baby in my arms without waiting for a reply, ‘anyway this evening is about you lot, congrats Jim Jam, you’re finally a free person!’ Dominique kissed my cheek and hugged Freddie, who had appeared to my left.
‘How come James got to hold her?’ Fred asked neglected, as he spied Izzy in my arms.
‘Because I don’t trust you not to drop my baby,’ Dom replied simply, ‘Charla sweetheart, congratulations, you’ve graduated!’
‘I know, Domi, I can’t believe I did it!’ Char squealed, approaching Dom and throwing her arms around her, whatever tantrums Dominique had thrown during her pregnancy had long been forgotten!
‘Hey Jam,’ Sisi appeared smiling shyly at my shoulder, ‘is this Isabelle!’
‘Yeah, she’s adorable,’ I beamed, kissing Isabelle again on the forehead, the baby she looked up at me blankly. ‘And congrats Roisia, graduating,’ I gave Sisi an awkward one armed hug with baby between us, ‘I can’t believe we’ve got this far and none of us have died yet!’
‘Don’t say that,’ she warned with a laugh, ‘we’ve still got a few more days before the express leaves.
‘And then you’ll be free to join me all the time,’ Dominique declared, we all laughed.
~ ~ ~
The next few days passed very uneventfully; we returned all our books and packed all our stuff and even wandered through the castle finding more of the rubbish we had left here for the past seven years. A group of us Seventh years even hung out in the in the room of requirements for a bit, where we came across several old school books and a pensieve, funnily enough, which contained all the most hilarious memories our school had ever seen.
Many seventh years received letters about their future; from parents, possible bosses, and even employees that were willing to try and pull some strings for friends and family members.
Sisi immediately got a note from her father, asking her to go and work alongside them in the Ministry, which she instantly tore up and set fire to, then she got several more, from other work places that she stashed away and tried not to look at.
Freddie had decided to go and work at the Joke Shop. Roxy had come up to him one morning and declared if he didn’t take over she would shut it down (much to the dismay of Uncle George) and so that was exactly what he planned to do.
Char got a letter from the Harpies, which I urged her to tryout for, though she seemed set on working with Dragons, and she got a letter with a strange postage stamp that she kept well hidden from the eyes of everyone.
I knew already I was going to tryout for the Tornadoes; if that fell through I’d follow Charla into Dragons, which had been our plan all along.
The morning that the express would leave was cold, but bright, and the sun was shining. I got up early to chuck the last few things into my trunk before heading downstairs to breakfast, where I found Fred, Sisi and Charla already waiting.
‘Does anyone else find it a little strange that this will be the last meal we ever have at Hogwarts?’ Char asked softly, finishing a her last mouthful of Cheery-Owls and helping herself to toast.
‘It’s weird,’ Sisi agreed, taking a mouthful out of an apple. ‘I mean, this has been my home, it’ll be strange not coming back.’
‘If you get lonely, you can always come and visit me,’ I promised. Charla didn’t respond to any of this, she was wearing some distant look and any fool could tell her mind was far away from here.
We took the Horse-less carriages down to the station and forced our way through the crowds to the gleaming red express that was standing there, ready to take us home. Sisi and Fred forced forward, going off to find a compartment, but I grabbed Char’s hand to stop her.
‘You ok?’ I asked quietly, kissing her lightly.
‘Of course,’ her brightness was too fake and forced, ‘why wouldn’t I be?’
‘Yeah,’ she replied, ‘just nervous!’
We found Fred and Roisia in a compartment towards the back, after passing almost all my family along the way. It was bizarre to think that this would be the last ever time I would ride the Hogwarts Express home from school.
This was the last time I would feel like a school kid... but I wasn’t a school kid anymore. I’d graduated and now, I just wasn’t a school child.
We watched, a little solemnly, as the Castle disappeared and the train moved out of the station. It was kinda like watching an old enemy walk away and then you suddenly realise you have no idea what your life is like without them because they’ve always been there to give you loads of homework.
‘I might even miss the teachers,’ Fred said forlornly. We looked at each other... ‘Nah!’
The compartment’s silence broke out into laughter and we settled into chattering and joking and playing a large round of exploding snap. It was really just like every time we headed home from Hogwarts, although, in the back of our minds, we knew that there was no coming back this time.
This was the end of our reign of terror at Hogwarts!
~ ~ ~
The Hogwarts express pulled neatly into Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Out the window we could see it was teeming with parents and siblings waiting to collect family and friend. I was going home first, to Godric’s Hollow, for a week, before I headed out to spend some of the Summer at the Burrow. Fred was going to the Joke shop to meet his dad, and Sisi was going home with her sister. Charla was coming with me.
Which meant I wasn’t waiting for any family members; I saw Lily, and gave her a big hug as a goodbye, and ruffled Albie’s hair as I passed by him. Teddy, who was picking up the rest of the Weasley/Potter’s, was waiting for them by the barrier. He gave me a brief nod and held a struggling Sofia back in his arms.
Fred carried Sisi’s trunk as well as his own and I pushed Char and my on a trolley.
‘Are you alright?’ I asked Char, again she looked off with the fairies, ‘you look a little out of it.’
‘James,’ she started, her voice a little on edge, she was fumbling with a flick of paper that was poking out of her pocket, ‘I have to-’
‘Jim Jam, you ready to go?’ Sisi approached from behind, cutting Charla off, ‘we’re just about to head out, Sophie’s here.’
‘Of course,’ I reached out and took Char’s hand, she squeezed it tentatively. ‘Tell me when we get home, yeah?’ I confirmed, leaning over and kissing the side of her head.
‘Yeah,’ she whispered.
Together, Fred, Sisi, Charla, Sophie and I fell through the barrier onto the other side as inconspicuously as we could muster, blending in with a crowd of tourists that bustled along hastily. Fred had to put down the trunks, but Sisi wound her arm around his and laughed a little at something he said. Charla remained very quiet.
We were halfway along the platform when she stopped, turned, and stared back to where we had come from.
‘Char,’ grabbed her hand, ‘we’re all going to miss it.’
‘It’s not that,’ she muttered. I caught sight of a giggling Rory in the background with Lily and her other friends. ‘It’s that I’m leaving without saying goodbye...’
‘Yeah, but Char, we’re just around the corner from Rory, it’s not like it’s forever, she’ll have time to stop by this afternoon,’ I said, confused. Char looked back to me, her expression read hurt and confused.
By this time Fred and Sisi had stopped too.
‘No...’ Char said, a little louder, ‘Jam, I love you, I always will... but I can’t live the same life forever and ever.’
‘What do you mean?’ I asked, panicking, this was not going the way it was planned. She was supposed to want to come and live with me. This was meant to be our happy ever after.
‘I mean,’ she handed me the slip of paper, ‘I got an apprenticeship offer to work with dragons, and I’m going to take it.’
I read the letter, and my eyes settled on one word that practically broke my heart, ‘Scotland?’ I choked out. ‘You’re leaving?’
‘Yes, I have to leave James,’ she said, ‘and you can’t stop me.’
She didn’t say another word, she turned her back on me, took her trunk and walked away. And just like that, she walked out of my life, just as quickly as she’d come dancing in that day we were born.
I turned back, broken, verging on tears, no, I’m James Potter, I will not cry here! And then noticed something, a back, jogging away, dark hair dancing around her. Fred was looking forlornly in the other direction, and when our eyes met, I noticed his were just as filled with hurt as mine.
Two of my best friends left us that day... and I was never the same since.
I hate happy endings!
PLEASE NOTE: this is not the end!!!
OH NO!!! I CANNOT BELIEVE THE GIRLS WOULD BE SO STUPID!?!? In case you hadn’t gathered, Sisi also walked away... I do not mean to make you cry, I hope you didn’t, and don’t worry, it’s not over yet! There are five more chapter’s after this and the countdown begins!
JK Rowling owns Harry Potter and anything recognisable isn’t mine. I hope you enjoyed, and please please review, even to tell me you hate those two girls as much as I do at the moment!
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