Chapter 37 : Homecomings and Campaign Speeches
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Homecomings and Campaign Speeches
"I don't believe it!" Dorian exclaimed. "Pothead's father is actually planning to run for Minister of Magic?"
Apparently so," Severus remarked letting the Prophet fall to the table.
"That would be a disaster of utter proportions!" Reg exclaimed.
"Especially for Slytherin House," Jane pointed out. "He'd probably have his big nose stuck in all over Hogwarts, looking for any excuse to get rid of us."
Jane's right," Emily said. "If he becomes Minister of Magic, there will be no Slytherin House period."
"What can we do?" Tav asked. "We're just kids."
"I don't know that we need to do anything," Severus said. "All we have to do is wait until Potter opens his mouth and something stupid will come out of it."
Dorian chuckled. "That shouldn't take long!"
Over at the Gryffindor table, aside from MacDonald and a few others, the reaction was pretty much the same. "What are his qualifications for being Minister of Magic?" Lily demanded. She'd listened to her dad go on enough about the proper qualifications for being Prime Minister.
"He doesn't have any," Alice answered. "He thinks being a former Gryffindor is the only qualification he needs."
"If he gets in the first thing he'll probably do is appoint all Gryffindors to high positions in the Ministry," Frank said. "It won't matter whether their qualified for the position or not. Most of them will probably as stupid as him."
"If he's working with people who hold the same viewpoints as him; it's not going to be good for anybody who's different," Remus said darkly.
"Nor for anybody who's a Slytherin," Lily added looking at their friends across the room.
After breakfast the students went back to their houses to get their trunks and took them to the Entrance Hall so the elves could take down to the train. Everybody mingled while waiting for the carriages to arrive to take them to Hogsmeade.
Once at the train station in Hogsmeade, the children piled out of the carriage and Dorian and Tav immediately commandeered a compartment they could all sit in together. They watched out the window as Hagrid checked to make sure all the doors were secure and then waved to the engineer. The train whistled loudly and slowly began to pull out of the station.
"What do you think about your cousin running for Minister of Magic, Irene?" Caddaric asked.
Irene snorted. "He won't win in a million years because he's stupid and he can't keep his mouth shut for five seconds!" She shook her head. "I didn't tell you guys, but dad and mum wrote me that the Potters had them over dinner one night just to badmouth my Slytherin friends and warn them that I was hanging out with bad people."
"He's a dick," Tav said. "And that's obviously where Pothead gets it. 'Idiota' as my Nonna would say."
They filled the rest of the journey discussing the electives they would be allowed to take next year. Severus was planning on taking Ancient Runes and Arithmancy. Alice was debating on Divination or Care of Magical Creatures. Remus and Irene had definitely decided to take Ancient Runes and Arithmancy. Peter was thinking about Ancient Runes and Divination rather than Care of Magical Creatures because of his asthma. Caddaric was interested in Care of Magical Creatures and Ancient Runes also. Lily hadn't decided on anything yet and wanted to think about it over vacation. Jane and Emily had both definitely decided on Arithmancy, but were still considering Ancient Runes. Frank remained undecided. He was planning on being an Auror and he didn't see that any of the electives would help him with that.
"Arithmancy is hard, but Ancient Runes is fascinating," Dorian said.
"Professor Vector who teaches Arithmancy is a tough teacher, but she interesting too," Tav said.
"Babbling's not that tough, but she know a lot about Runes," Dorian added.
As the train pulled slowly into Platform 9¾ Severus spotted his grandparents and the Magnussons. He slid down the window and waved at them. When the train came to a complete stop the doors opened and a flood of children and young adults poured out its doors.
Lily couldn't wait to see her family again. Marius and Vesper had given her a magical camera for her birthday and an album to put her pictures in and she had been taking pictures of Hogwarts and the grounds so they could see what it looked like. Professor Slughorn had taught her the proper way of developing her pictures so that they moved. She had a whole album of pictures to show her family.
Severus ran up to his grandparents and gave them a big hug. "Merlin! I've missed you both so much!" Severus exclaimed.
"We've missed you too, Sev," Vesper said giving him a hug and a kiss and Marius a hug. Lily was waiting behind Sev and when Vesper spotted her she also got a hug and a kiss while Marius smiled and winked at her. "Vesper and I consider you part of our family, Lily."
Severus, looking around, spotted Reg greeting his parents and his brother. Sirius caught Severus looking over and tugged on his dad's sleeve to get his attention. Orion looked down at him and Sirius whispered something to him while pointing in Severus' direction. Orion nodded and Sirius slowly made his way over to Severus.
Lily looked up and saw Sirius approaching and tugged on Severus' jacket. "What's he want do you suppose?"
Severus shrugged and whispered, "It looks as if we're going to find out."
Sirius stopped and stood in front of Severus and Lily looking very awkward. "I …I want to apologize to you two for the way I've treated you for the last two years. It was wrong to use my cousin's spells and I was really stupid. I shouldn't have let James lead me around by my nose and not use my brain. I know I don't deserve your forgiveness, but I am really sorry I hurt you and I hope you can forgive me."
"I'll forgive you," Lily replied. "Reg did tell us that you've changed and that you're truly sorry for hurting all of us."
"I'll forgive you also as it does appear you've turned over a new leaf, but you need to apologize to Alice, Frank, Remus, Peter, Caddaric and Irene also," Severus said.
"I will, I promise as soon as I get back to school this fall. Thanks for forgiving me." Sirius returned to his parents and Reg who waved at them.
"Well, I'm glad you were able to forgive him, Sev, Lily," Marius complimented them. "And I'm sure Sirius feels much better too."
Black Leif shrunk Severus' trunk and put it into his pocket while Conor did the same with Lily's. At the guard's all-clear signal they stepped through the barrier. Paul, Cinthy, and Petunia were waiting on the other side of the barrier
"Mum, Dad, Tuney!" Lily shouted running to them and giving each one a hug. "Boy, have I missed you!"
Marius, Vesper, and Severus followed behind her. Cinthy spotted Severus. "Sev, you come over here this instant," she said and when he did; she gave him a big hug. "My! I think you've grown taller every time I see you!"
Paul and Marius shook hands while Vesper talked to Cinthy. They decided that rather than stopping for tea at the Leaky Cauldron, they would have dinner instead. "Oh yes," Vesper agreed. "Tom's cook does a delicious pot roast. I'd love to be able to make it, but she won't give out the recipe to anyone."
They went outside to the parking slots in front of King's Cross where Paul had parked their car. Vesper expanded it so they could all ride comfortably, but there was no change to the outside of the car. Lily and Petunia sat in the front with their parents while Severus, his grandparents, and the Magnussons sat in the backseat. Paul drove to Charing Cross Road and parked two blocks up from the Leaky Cauldron.
They walked in the door and Tom came from the behind the bar to greet them. "I'll set you up in my private dining room." He brought tea, menus and wine. Marius and Vesper had a glass of wine, but Paul declined as he still had a 3-hour drive ahead of him. They all decided to have the pot roast that came with mashed potatoes, side dishes of buttered carrots and green beans and hot rolls. When Tom brought the food in, the smell of it made everyone's mouth water.
Cinthy took a bite of her pot roast. "Oh! This delicious and it's melt-in-your-mouth tender."
Everybody agreed with her. Severus was able to detect by smell and taste some of the herbs the cook used in her seasoning.
Lily told her family about the album of pictures she had to show them and promised she'd take a picture of the Hogwarts Express and Platform 9¾ when she returned to school.
"Lily bought us a subscription to the Daily Prophet and I read the headlines this morning that Charles Potter is running for Minister of Magic. What on earth experience does he have to lead the magical world?" Paul asked.
"None that I can see. He works in the Department of Magical Cooperation, but the only ones he seems able to cooperate with are other Gryffindors," Marius replied. "I can't see that he has any leadership abilities or talent unless you want to count troublemaking and bribery."
"Do you think he can get the votes?"
"I doubt it, Paul. The Potters have a small circle of intimates who would probably vote for him, but I'm certain the wizarding population at large would not find him appealing."
"The first time he makes a speech he'll open his mouth and something idiotic will come out," Severus added.
"That's more than likely," Conor remarked. "I heard his son make several nasty remarks when I was teaching defense for that short time last year. I have no doubt where he learned it."
"Doesn't surprise me a bit seeing how rude he was when we picked Lily up for the holiday," Paul remarked.
"We're planning to go to the beach again for two weeks this summer and I know Lily will ask Sev," Cinthy explained. "So I'll ask you in advance if it's okay for him to come with us."
"Of course, Cinthy," Vesper replied. Marius nodded "Sev told us last year that he had a good time and enjoyed himself tremendously," she replied. "Sev's planning on having all his friends visit Mirrorvale this summer. May Lily come and visit us for two weeks?"
"Yes, of course," both Paul and Cinthy consented.
By the time the Evans' got back home, it was late and Lily decided she'd save her pictures to show her family the next day. She took some of her stuff out of her trunk and got ready for bed. She studied the information the second years had been given about the electives they could take the next year. She really wasn't interested in taking Divination because she thought psychic abilities were something you were born with and not something that could be taught. Arithmancy, the magical properties of numbers, sounded fascinating and she had been good at math before she'd gone to Hogwarts. She didn't think she'd be all that interested in Care of Magical Creatures either, but she didn't know anything about Ancient Runes either. Maybe, she would owl Sev over the holidays and he could tell her more about it.
Lily woke the next morning to the smell of her mother's thin crispy pancakes with fresh blueberries and whipped cream and syrup and her dad's Irish oatmeal with bananas, cinnamon, and brown sugar. By the smell Cinthy had also made one Petunia's favorites, an omelet with bacon, cheddar cheese and diced tomatoes. Lily quickly took a shower, got dressed and came downstairs clutching her photo album. She wondered if they would be able to see the pictures moving, but it didn't really matter if they couldn't since she would need to explain what and who were in the photos anyway.
Petunia came down the stairs behind her. She had turned sixteen last month and had suddenly taken on the appearance of a young woman. They both walked into the kitchen. Cinthy and Paul were just putting the food on the table. Paul poured glasses of orange juice for everybody while Cinthy set the teapot, wrapped in a colorful cozy on the table.
"Mum wrote me last month that you got a part-time job at a dress store, Tuney," Lily said.
"Yes, at La Couture. It's a new dress shop that opened six months ago and all its clothes, shoes, and other accessories come directly from Paris."
"Petunia's always had excellent fashion sense and she'd doing very well there," Cinthy said.
"What time do you need to be at work today?" Paul asked. Usually during the week Petunia took the bus to work from school, but on the weekends her father drove her.
"At noon, Dad, and that reminds me, Mum; Madam Bellefleur asked me if I could work until six today because we've been so busy with spring and Easter shopping."
"That's fine, Petunia. I'll put back dinner an hour so it will be hot when you get home," Cinthy said.
There was a tapping on the kitchen window and Lily got up to let the Daily Prophet owl in. She took some Knuts out of the cup in the cupboard and put them in the money pouch the owl carried. The owl flew off and then Lily closed the window and came back to the table with the Prophet in hand. She opened it to find an announcement that Mr. Potter would be making his first campaign speech that afternoon in front of the Ministry of Magic that afternoon.
She handed the paper to her dad. "I wonder what the idiot's going to say."
"He'll probably open his mouth and stick his foot so far down his throat he'll need help pulling it back out again," Paul remarked.
Lily giggled picturing Mr. Potter hopping around on one foot while the other foot was stuck in his mouth. After breakfast was finished Lily showed them her pictures of Hogwarts she'd taken with her magical camera. The first picture showed a group of kids. "Those are all my friends," Lily explained. "That's Sev in the back of course. I had to have him stand there because he's so much taller than any of the rest of us." She pointed and said. "That's Dorian Andrews and Tav DeLuca in front, Regulus Black who is Sirius' younger brother, Alice, Irene Goshawk who's Pothead's cousin, Emily Dewhurst and Jane Lillibridge, Remus Lupin, Frank Longbottom, Pete Pettigrew, and Caddaric Diggory. Dorian was Sev's first month mentor and Sev was Reg's this year. Tav, Dorian, Reg, Emily, and Jane are all in Slytherin with Sev. Alice, Frank, Pete and Remus are in Gryffindor with me. Irene's in Ravenclaw and Caddaric's in Hufflepuff."
"You have quite a diverse group of friends, Lily," Cinthy remarked.
"He's rather good looking," Petunia remarked pointing at Caddaric.
"And there a lot of girls at Hogwarts that agree with you."
The next picture was of the castle taken from Hogsmeade. Lily had given her camera to an older Gryffindor when they'd gone to Hogsmeade the previous weekend and asked her to take the picture. "The picture had to be taken from a distance so you could see how huge it is. That the Black Lake in front. There's a giant squid named Cicero that lives in the lake, but you rarely see him except for his tentacles. Professor Dumbledore can talk to him."
The next picture was of Hagrid standing next to his cabin. "That's Hagrid. He's Keeper of the Keys and Grounds. He meets the train in September and takes the first years across the lake in small boats to the castle. He also takes care of all the animals at Hogwarts too."
"Is he really that big or is it just the way you took the picture?" Paul asked curiously.
"No, he's eight and a half feet tall and when he walks in the snow, two students can stand in his footprint. Sev thinks he's probably half-giant, but we don't know for sure. We know he's not a full giant because they're twenty feet tall, but he's the gentlest of people that I've ever met and he's been a lot of help to us this year."
The next pictures showed the village of Hogsmeade. "We get to visit Hogsmeade next year all except Reg because he'll only be a second year. You'll get a permission slip by owl at the end of this year that you'll need to sign for me to go. Hogsmeade is the only entire wizarding village in Great Britain too."
Lily had taken various pictures of inside the castle; the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room, her dorm room, some of the classrooms and some of her professors. "That's Professor Slughorn; he teaches Potions and he's the head of Sev's house. This is Professor Flitwick who teaches Charms and he's the head of Irene's house, Professor Fleinhardt who teaches Astronomy, Professor Sprout who teaches Herbology and is the head of Caddaric's house, and this picture of course is Professor McGonagall who's head of my house, standing with our Defense professor, Professor Bones."
Once they were done looking at the album, Petunia went upstairs to get ready for work while Lily helped her mum clean the kitchen. "We were so glad when you wrote us that Potter and his friend had been suspended for the rest of the year for stealing those emeralds," Cinthy said as they were washing and drying the dishes. "It seems something opened your headmaster's eyes."
Lily giggled. "I think it was the threat of losing his job. We heard from the elves he really burned Potter's bum for lying to him and embarrassing him in front of Mr. Crouch, who's head of Magical Law Enforcement."
"I don't usually approve of corporal punishment, but I think in his case it was long overdue."
Paul took Petunia to work and when he returned they had lunch. Lily told them about hers and Sev's encounter with Sirius on Platform 9¾. "Reg told us he'd changed, but we weren't really sure. He actually did apologize to us and we accepted his apology, but Sev told him he'd need to apologize to the rest of our friends too and he said he would when he came back next September."
"What about Potter?" Paul asked. "From that picture in the Prophet yesterday of him and his family; he looks as arrogant and spoiled as ever."
"I imagine they told him that none of it was his fault and pampered their little prince with all kinds of rewards," Cinthy remarked in a somewhat bitter tone.
"I wouldn't doubt it, Mum," Lily replied.
Later in the day Lily received an owl from Sev saying he and his grandparents were going to attend Potter's first speech as a candidate for Minister of Magic. He said he would let her know how it went.
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That afternoon Marius, Vesper and Severus with Black Leif and Conor Apparated within walking distance to the Ministry. There was a large crowd gathered waiting for Potter to appear and began his speech. The Princes took a position in the back of the crowd where they wouldn't be too recognizable.
"There are more people here than I would have expected," Severus remarked in a whisper.
"Curiosity, Sev," Marius remarked. "Most of them are here just to see what he has to say."
Charles Potter followed by Mavis and James appeared at the podium. "Good afternoon, my friends, and thank you for coming," Charles said. "Minister Bagnold has betrayed us! She's done nothing to prevent the rising power of the person calling himself Lord Voldemort or his followers. She appointed untrustworthy Slytherins in high places in our government allowing You-Know-Who access!"
"What are you going to do that's different, Potter?" someone called out.
"For starters I'll banish all the Slytherins from the Aurors because they can't be trusted and I'll have the Aurors pursue You-Know-Who and all his dark followers to the fullest measure. There won't be a place they can hide and I won't stop until all of them are in Azkaban!"
"The fool just placed a big target on his back," Vesper murmured.
"Once he's in prison I'll take steps to make sure there's never again another powerful dark wizard such as him by banishing Slytherin House from Hogwarts and ejecting all the students in that house. Let them attend Durmstrang; we don't want them at Hogwarts! Next I'll wall off an area and that will be the only place Slytherins can live. They're intrinsically evil and we can't trust them so they can't live among us and we'll be able to keep a close watch on their activities that way. I'll charge them higher taxes to pay for all the damage their leader has done and I'll allow people who have lost loved ones to sue them for damages! I'm also planning to eject all Muggleborns from Hogwarts, but it's only because the poor things struggle so badly to keep up with their studies because they just aren't magically powerful enough to compete with full-blooded wizards. I'm also planning to get rid of all the Slytherins on the Board of Governors because their influence has been prevalent and has dragged Hogwarts down from the fine school it used to be under Headmaster Dippet."
A few people clapped enthusiastically at the end of his speech, but Marius and Vesper saw they were close friends of the Potters.
"Merlin!" Severus exclaimed, his face paler than normal. "He sounds just like what I've read about Gellert Grindelwald."
"Don't worry, Sev," Vesper said. "The only ones clapping were the Potters like-minded acquaintances."
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Lily was shocked when she got Sev's owl about Potter's speech, but he had assured her that none of Potter's campaign promises had any chance of being realized. The Sunday morning Prophet told the tale with the headline, 'Potter Too Extreme?'
"Too extreme?" Paul exclaimed thoroughly disgusted. "My God, the man sounds as if he was raised at Adolf Hitler's knee!"
"He's a bigot, Dad pure and simple!" Petunia declared.
"It sounds as if he's rotten with envy and hatred," Cinthy added.
"Sev said his grandparents are planning to put a spoke in Potter's wheel before it has a chance to start rolling. I wonder if this article is their idea because it isn't written by Rita Skeeter who usually writes the headline articles," Lily said.
"I swear if a candidate for Prime Minister ever voiced stuff like this; he'd be run out of London by a crowd of people carrying axes and pitchforks!" Paul remarked.
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Orion was having breakfast with his partner, Alastor Moody, who was reading the Prophet with a disgusted look on his face. "If anybody sounds like You-Know-Who it's Potter!"
"Potter always was prejudiced starting from his first year at Hogwarts. He always thought all Slytherins should automatically be in Azkaban," Orion remarked.
"What say you to us taking a peek into Mr. Potter's background?" Alastor asked.
"I say I'm glad somebody besides me is concerned about him."
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