Chapter 11 : Eleven
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As Told By Lily Evans
“Have you thought about what I asked you?” I asked my best friend. Severus and I were spending the afternoon outside, by the Black Lake. The air was very slowly getting warmer, and we were taking advantage of the small amount of heat.
Severus’s black eyes turned to inspect me. He looked cautious as he answered simply, “I have.”
“Well?” I asked, expectantly.
I was determined to receive an answer. Ever since the encounter Jennifer had with the First Year Hufflepuff, Violet, Severus and I had been having more conflict over our different friendship circles than ever. I had to know what he thought about everything that we were reading about in the Daily Prophet. It seemed as though Voldemort was closing in on every sanctuary of justice, peace, and safety that was out there.
I quite agreed that, sometimes, boys were far too troublesome. Severus, being my best friend, shouldn’t have given me as much trouble as Sirius Black gave Jennifer. Being emotionally open to a boy almost always led to trouble.
Talking to Sev and working out our issues should be as easy as breathing. Yet somehow, whenever I had the courage to voice my opinions, I felt as if my heart was being crushed into a million pieces. It was an aching in my chest that never seemed to stop, even if I could repress it for even a minute.
There was a look in Severus’s eyes that I didn’t want to read, and a hidden meaning in his words that I didn’t want to understand. As long as I denied knowing that I wasn’t the eleven year old who could push away the thought that Sev’s dislike for Muggles had come between Petunia and me, everything would work out fine.
“You know I was actually invited to the ball that Avery’s parents hosted this past Christmas, and I never was before. Do you remember how I told you only the most respectable wizarding families attended? Lucius Malfoy was taking me around for introductions, and I met a lot of important people, and they all know my mother’s family. Lily, you really should reconsider what I’ve been telling you. A war is coming, and we better be at the right side. What Avery, Mulciber, and Selwyn do really is tame in comparison to what the adults are capable of,” Severus said, his eyes gleaming almost madly.
I shot him a look of sadness and anger. “Sev, I’ve said it before and I will say it again. The right side doesn’t murder innocent Muggles and say that Muggleborns have stolen magic. If Avery and Mulciber and Selwyn are considered tame, then I would be horrified to know what the adults are capable of. Besides, I’m a Muggleborn.”
“Lily, don’t you see? I’ve made an impression upon Lucius Malfoy when he was still in school. That is how I managed to land an invitation to the ball. We need to showcase our skills! This is why we have to align ourselves properly! We gain nothing by fighting for the losing side,” Severus insisted.
For a moment, his words gave me hope. If Sev thought that the purebloods were worth fighting for only because we’d survive, then there was a chance to still change his reasoning and logic.
Turning to my best friend, I told him, “Sev, it’s not about whether we gain anything or not. It’s about the choice between doing what’s right and doing what’s easy. Not to mention, the purebloods hate people like me. I have to change that. Do you agree with them? That I stole magic? That my blood is beneath theirs?”
“Of course not I don’t think you stole magic,” Sev looked offended that I would consider the possibility that he believed I stole magic. I chose to ignore how he didn’t answer my second question. “Lily, you are full of such brilliant magic. If only I can teach you- ”
I interrupted sharply, “Teach me the Dark Arts?”
“You haven’t even explored it! How do you know that it is as horrible as you think? It gives you power beyond imaginable! It can do wonders that we won’t be taught here at Hogwarts!” Sev was so passionate in his speech that I remembered why I was his friend in the first place. He really believed in what he was saying. There wasn’t any sort of trick or doubts in the way he talked. What he said what was he thought to his deepest core.
“The Unforgivable Curses are also Dark arts. Are you telling me that what Mulciber did to Mary isn’t horrible?” I countered, feeling far too tired to argue. I couldn’t see why Sev and the rest of his friends were so compelled by the Dark arts. Did they not understand the beauty of magic to begin with?
Sev pulled out his wand and made a sudden slashing movement in the air. A streak of purple flame erupted in front of the pair, and when it faded, Severus looked remarkably pleased with himself.
“It’s one of my favourites. It’s so powerful that if it’s done correctly, it can stop someone’s heart,” Severus explained. I felt disgusted but he powered on before I could talk. “What I’m saying is that the Dark Arts is so powerful it’s almost indestructible. How can you possibly fight against it? They only call it Dark because to fight it is like fighting a wild animal that becomes cleverer by the second. All animals can be tamed for a person’s personal use.”
There was a long pause of silence. I looked at Severus, his face showing off his excitement and his obsession with the Dark arts and what it can achieve.
That aching in my chest returned, stronger than ever. I felt like I was fighting the Dark arts, unable to battle through the evil as I processed just how far I would have to go in convincing my best friend of turning away from his path.
“Look at this, Sev,” I said to my best friend, trying my hardest to put on a bright smile.
Severus’s black eyes focused on me as I pulled out my own wand. Pointing it towards the grass, I muttered a spell and waved my wand.
I smiled, watching as two orange alstroemeria lilies grew out of the grass. I had been waiting to show this spell to Sev for a long time. Taking two flower pots I had stowed in my bag earlier, I carefully and painstakingly dug each of the flowers into a pot, handing one of them to Severus.
“You don’t have to water it, and you don’t have to take care of it. All you need to do is put it where the sun can shine on it so that it can grow,” I said quietly as Sev took the pot from me. “Magic doesn’t have to be about power and about being indestructible. It’s wondrous and beautiful. I wish you will learn to understand that, Sev.”
Severus tried his hardest to hide his sceptical look from me, though the warmth he had in his eyes as he gazed at the flower told me that perhaps the aching feeling in my chest might be relieved one day.
Fourth Year: March 20th, 1974
Gryffindor Tower: 4th Year Boys Dormitory #4
As Told By Peter Pettigrew
“Well, you definitely didn’t show up,” Sirius frowned as he examined the parchment he was holding. “But I can’t tell if that’s because the Room of Requirements is unplottable or because we haven’t exactly figured out how to keep track of everyone.”
“I found Caroline Pace snogging that Ravenclaw where the map said, though. I think it’s working,” I pointed out anxiously. “You and James cast the charm pretty well.”
“And I was the one who found it, thank you,” Remus rolled his eyes. He stretched his legs out on his bed and said, “There’s no way for us to put the Room of Requirement on there. We’re just going to have to remember.”
“How bloody annoying,” James grumbled. He ran his hand through his messy hair, messing it up even more. “It feels incomplete without the Room of Requirement in there.”
“Unless you want to somehow outsmart Hogwarts, Prongs, I don’t think we have much of a choice here,” Sirius grinned, tossing the parchment to James.
I glanced back and forth between James and Sirius, James most likely debating whether he should push the issue of plotting the Room of Requirement.
Giving in, James sighed again. “Fine. I suppose it’s safer anyways to not have it in there. We can’t risk anyone finding out about the Room of Requirement.”
“Speaking of people not finding out, we should finish that protection spell,” Remus said as he held out his hand for the map.
“We should have a clever catchphrase only we would know,” I added my input, glancing at my friends hopefully. They nodded with agreement, murmuring their assent.
“What’s something clever?” Sirius murmured, jumping to his feet and pacing the room. “Can’t be easy to figure out, but if you’re a real lover of mischief like we are, then you should be able to figure it out.”
“Why would we want someone to be able to figure it out?” I asked, puzzled. I had thought the whole point was people not being able to use the map.
Sirius shrugged. “We’re not going to be around forever. The map has to be passed on! I don’t know how but whichever worthy soul gets the map after we do should figure out its secrets by himself.”
“I agree,” James nodded fervently. He gave Sirius a wide grin and said, “Should we have the passwords be related to our name?”
“You mean the Marauders?” Remus raised his eyebrows. “It’s more specific to the four of us, I think, rather than to troublemakers in general.”
“So something with troublemaking and mischief-loving. Something like… Mischief Managed,” Sirius suddenly declared, a triumphant smile on his face.
The brilliance of such a phrase made me clap my hands involuntarily. “That’s brilliant!” I praised. “It would do wonderfully for wiping the map clean.”
“Good thinking, Pads,” James grinned, clapping Sirius on the back. “A rather fitting phrase, don’t you think? Shall we get to working on wiping the map clean first?”
I caught Remus glancing at his watch out of the corner of my eye and saying, “I have to go. Dorcas has been saying how she wanted to work on the Defence essay together.”
I raised my eyebrows, and wanted to ask when he had started to take an interest in Dorcas just as Sirius spoke up.
“Dorcas?” Sirius asked incredibly. “As in Dorcas Meadowes?”
“Do we know any other Dorcas?” Remus rolled his eyes as he got up and began packing his bag. “I’ll be in the library if you need me. You all should be getting to working on it. We can finish up the map later.”
Unable to resist the urge to ask, I asked, “When did you start taking an interest in Dorcas, Remus?”
Remus turned slightly pink and shook his head. James smirked mischievously as Remus answered, “It’s nothing like that. We started chatting more and more, and she asked me to study with her.”
“Does Jennifer know you’re fraternizing with one of her friends?” James grinned. The look he was giving Remus distinctly reminded me of a proud parent.
Remus shrugged. “She probably knows that Dorcas and I are working together, but honestly, I don’t think it’ll amount to much. I’m not going to lead her on if that’s what she’s going for.”
“Why not?!” Sirius asked in an incredulous tone yet again. “Of course that is what she’s after.”
Nodding to show my agreement, I suggested, “Why don’t you go out on a date with her? You can’t get much better than Dorcas Meadowes.”
I chose not to feel disappointed that all of my friends received attention from girls when I didn’t. It would only encourage Remus not to ask Dorcas Meadowes on a date.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Remus frowned. He slung his book bag over his shoulder and said, “I’ll see you all at dinner.”
“Bye,” the three of us chorused, Sirius shaking his head at Remus disappointedly.
As soon as Remus left and closed the door behind him, Sirius immediately said, “Remus is an idiot if he thinks that he’s not going to date because he’s a werewolf.”
“I like how you immediately jump towards that conclusion,” James noted mildly before adding, “How do you know he just isn’t interested?”
“Come off it, James,” Sirius scoffed. “The three of us know that Remus thinks he is dangerous.”
“It’s hard to believe Remus would think that of himself,” I said. I had always found it hard to believe Remus could be so self-defeating. “He is probably the least dangerous person out there.”
“Exactly! Thank you, Pete,” Sirius grinned. “It’s like we’re asking him to get married. It’s just going out on a date.”
James sighed as he got up, stretching his arms high up above his shoulder. “Well, you both got a point. But regardless, we don’t even know if he likes Dorcas or not.”
“What’s wrong with trying to get them together?” Sirius exclaimed. “Prongs, it’s not like you to back down from a challenge.”
“We shouldn’t make a challenge out of Remus’s love life,” James explained, giving Sirius a hard look that told him it wasn’t up for negotiation.
“I’m not making it trivial,” Sirius defended, holding both of his hands up. “I’m just saying that who better for Remus to go on a date with than someone he already knows and is comfortable with? The two of them just need some encouragement.”
“Who needs some encouragement?”
The door flew open, revealing Remus, panting. “I brought the wrong textbook.”
I raised my eyebrows. “And you came all the way back to get it? You could have just borrowed Dorcas’s textbook.”
“I didn’t want to lean over her like a creeper. Anyway, she’s waiting for me downstairs. I hope you three weren’t up to no good,” Remus said, shoving his Defence textbook in his bag and taking out his Transfiguration textbook.
“We always up to no good,” Sirius grinned mischievously. “Now, off you go. Don’t want to keep a lovely young woman waiting.”
“Wait,” I suddenly said, stopping Remus in his tracks. The most wonderful thought had come to my mind. “That’s it.”
“What’s it?” James frowned, puzzled.
“No good,” I explained. “I am up to no good. How about that for a passcode? Or maybe I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
Remus smiled appreciatively whilst James and Sirius looked positively delighted. “That’s brilliant! How’d you come up with that?” James asked brightly.
“Moony and Padfoot were just saying it,” I grinned, feeling extremely accomplished. “I just sort of pieced everything together.”
“I knew you had it in you, Pete. Good job.” Sirius clapped me on my back with a wide grin. “Now, off you go, Remus. You don’t want to keep Dorcas waiting any longer.”
With a roll of his eyes and a grin, Remus was off. As James and Sirius discussed more about the map’s protection spell, I couldn’t help but feel happy.
Happier than I was to receive my Hogwarts letter and happier than I was when I received my first Outstanding. My friends were far smarter, better looking, talented, and funnier than me. To receive praise from them felt like a recognition of self-worth. Nothing could feel better than to have such powerful friends give you their approval.
Fourth Year: April 14th, 1974
Gryffindor Common Room
As Told By Mary Macdonald
As we came back from Easter break, the mood of the entire castle had noticeably changed. Soon, I wasn’t the only Muggleborn whispering distractedly in the hallways or sending more owls home than usual.
All that the Daily Prophet could report about now was more and more unexplainable disappearances, deaths, and chaotic unrest.
A mass Muggle killing in London had occurred over Easter, several homes set on fires, disappearances, deaths that no Muggle authority could explain. As though a mass Muggle-killing wasn’t enough, it had been discovered that the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, who had been missing for three weeks, was discovered in a giant-inhabited mountain, the Dark Mark cast over the body.
The blow of the loss of another magical species for allies was rubbing salt on the wounds of rumours that werewolf packs have been allowed to roam and attack freely under the directions of Voldemort.
Jennifer, who had returned from break looking thoroughly shaken up, sighed heavily as she set down the Daily Prophet at the breakfast table.
“More disappearances, and a family of four had been found dead in their home with the Dark Mark over it when the Aurors arrived,” she reported. Lily pursed her lips, looking extremely concerned.
“Were they Muggles or Wizarding folk?” Lily asked, setting down her fork, completely forgetting about her eggs.
Jennifer glanced back at the article, made a face, and said, “The mum was a Muggle but the dad was a Wizard. Their two kids were two and four.”
Following Lily’s example, Marlene set down her fork and made a noise of disgust. “This is putting me off my breakfast. How horrible could you get, to murder two innocent children in cold blood?”
“Death Eaters don’t differentiate,” Dorcas muttered as she chanced a glance over to the Slytherin table. I followed her gaze and saw her glaring at how supremely unconcerned the lot of them were.
“All of them are gits,” I breathed angrily. “Look at them! Just going about eating their breakfast as if another family hasn’t just been ruined because of Voldemort.”
“If they care, then that would mean they have a heart,” a voice said carelessly from behind me. The four boys in our year had come down to breakfast. It had been Sirius who made the retort. “I don’t think they have one.”
“What do you want?” Jennifer butted in, holding out a hand to stop James before he could get too close to Lily, who looked more concerned about the dead family than about James Potter trying to sit next to her. “There’s plenty of seats nearby.”
Watching the interaction between Jennifer and James was almost odd. Ever since Jennifer gave us the details about how James had a crush of Lily, I couldn’t help but look at him in a different light. What sort of bloke pins after a girl that clearly disliked him? I didn’t know how Lily could handle that sort of knowledge, knowing that a bloke fancied you.
“What, is it a crime to sit down now?” James replied irritably but nevertheless, he decided to choose a seat further down the table with his mates.
As James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter took their seats a distance away from us, I turned to Jennifer and raised my eyebrows. “That was sort of unnecessary. I’m sure we could have dealt with eating one breakfast with them.”
Jennifer glanced at Lily, who was pretending to be reading the Daily Prophet intently, and shrugged.
Changing the subject, Dorcas asked, “Did you all see the notice on the board? About how the extra security given to the castle?”
“Yes, and I don’t think it’s a good sign,” Marlene declared in a matter-of-fact tone. “My brother in the Auror Department said that Dumbledore’s having all sorts of meetings with Moody about Hogwarts. Apparently, Moody was all for cancelling Hogsmeade visits.”
“What? How can he want to cancel Hogsmeade visits?” Jennifer asked, open-mouthed and in shock.
“Wait, who is Moody?” Lily interrupted as Jennifer started to ask Marlene more. She was as perplexed as I was, though I felt secretly grateful I wasn’t the one asking.
Sometimes, it seemed as though Jennifer, Dorcas, and Marlene were speaking their own language with the things that they knew about the workings of the Wizarding society. Even Lily, through Snape or someone else, knew more than me at times, and the two of us were Muggleborns. Though I picked up information from the Daily Prophet and from our friends, I always felt extremely short-handed when it came to being informed.
“Alastor Moody. He’s the Head of the Auror Department because Robards stepped down. Moody is one of the people that Dumbledore trusts most, apparently. He’s one of the best Aurors out there. My brother said that he’s also really fair; you know how the Aurors have been granted with permission to use the Unforgivable Curses? Well, Moody refrains from killing, according to my brother,” Marlene explained to Lily.
I cocked my head sideways and asked, “I thought the Aurors could always use Unforgivable Curses.
“Nah, that’s just our professor not being a good enough teacher when teaching us about them. The Unforgivables were enough to get you a life sentence to Azkaban before,” Jennifer said. “My uncle said that a lot of Ministry people were in favor of giving the Aurors more power to deal with Death Eaters.”
“I see the point in why it would make people feel better that Aurors have more power, but is granting permission to use these horrible curses really the way to defeat Voldemort?” Lily asked, looking around at us. “Surely there must be other ways.”
Dorcas shook her head. “It’s a fine line, though. How far is too far? You know Crouch, our current Department of Magical Law Enforcement Head? Well, I’ve heard my family saying how they think Crouch might be taking it a bit too far.”
“He’s efficient though,” Jennifer shook her head, disagreeing. “I know he’s sort of a git because he can be vicious but if only Crouch wasn’t so set on killing, he’d be the same as Moody. Both of them are the ‘attack first and ask questions later’ type. Only Moody doesn’t kill, if he can’t help it.”
“Aren’t Crouch and Moody bound to get into arguments then?” I said. My breakfast, along with my friends’, was completely abandoned. “If Moody doesn’t like killing, wouldn’t he protest against Crouch?”
“Well, it’s not that he’s against killing as that killing isn’t his first instinct,” Marlene expanded, shrugging her shoulders. “So far there doesn’t really seem to be any issue.”
The conversation carried on until we had walked to Potions class; nearly the entire class was already waiting outside. It was even worse that we had Potions with the Slytherins.
When Professor Slughorn had finally opened the doors to the classroom and let the class follow behind him, I accidentally bumped against Eliana Rosier, knocking down one of the textbooks in her arm.
“Oi! Watch it, you clumsy fool,” she snapped. She pulled out her wand and summoned her book to her. I was about to apologize when she interrupted me by saying, “Don’t you have manners? Learn your place in society and apologize, you filth.”
“Hey, watch your mouth,” Marlene glared at Eliana, purposely squeezing in front of her to walk into the classroom. I smothered a laugh at Eliana’s angry expression.
Eliana turned her anger towards me, and though I wilted slightly under her gaze, I forced myself to hold her gaze. I strode into the classroom and took my seat, but I couldn’t shake the thought of Eliana calling me filth.
The entire Potions class consisted of a blur. The usual (Snape, Lily, and a select other few students earning Slughorn’s praise) happened, but all I could think of was not on my antidote but on Eliana’s words which kept ringing through my head.
I shouldn’t have let the insult affect me so but the truth was that I was scared out of my wits.
My mind drifted back to my sorting three years ago.
“... you would do well in Hufflepuff,” Hat murmured in my head. “Plenty of kind and gentleness all here in your head.”
“Please, make me a Gryffindor,” I begged. I had heard the stories about each of the Houses on the train. I wanted to be put in the House of bravery and courage
If the Hat could sigh, then it would. “Hufflepuff would suit you well, with your sense of fairness. You have a gentleness about you that would suit Hufflepuff very well.”
“Please put me in Gryffindor,” I begged again and again. I wasn’t sure how long I had begged until I finally heard the scream of the Hat yelling, “GRYFFINDOR!”
It hadn’t been a big deal, at the time, that the Hat wanted to put me in Hufflepuff. Jennifer was nearly put in Ravenclaw, after all, but maybe I wasn’t naturally brave or courageous. I had thought that being amongst friends who had no fear would help, but it seemed to have the opposite effect on me.
Perhaps, in another life when Voldemort and Death Eaters didn’t exist, I would be brave.
But as I watched Marlene flirt with a Ravenclaw on our way to Herbology, Dorcas, Jennifer, and Lily discussing which hex would most suit Eliana Rosier, I had never felt less brave and more fearful.
As I immersed myself in thoughts of self-doubt, I completely missed the concerned looks that Jennifer had been shooting at me.
Fourth Year: June 28th, 1974
As Told By Jennifer Potter
The last week of school passed without major drama, though the Slytherins looked more and more haughty as each day’s headlines in the Daily Prophet read of more mysterious disappearances, tortures, and deaths.
I felt glad, for the first time, glad to be going home for the summer. This year had been nothing short of a wreck, in my honest in my opinion.
I missed my aunt and uncle, I missed Potter Manor. I even missed my favorite house-elf, Pinky. The best part about going home for the summer was that there wasn’t any Lily Evans for James to follow around, there wasn’t any Slytherins to hex, and there wasn’t any drama.
“Ready to go home?” Marlene asked bracingly as she pulled her trunk behind her, her owl cage tucked in her other arm.
“I’m more than ready. Two whole months without seeing any Slytherins could not be any better,” I sighed happily. “And Alex and Jane will most likely be back from their honeymoon.”
“I can’t believe your cousin and his girlfriend eloped!” Lily exclaimed as she caught up to us on our way to find Dorcas and Mary, who had boarded the Hogwarts Express before the three of us to find a compartment. Judging by the amount of people scrambling around, I would say that they might have had a hard time finding a compartment.
Marlene shrugged. “It’s to be expected, what with the craziness with Voldemort going on. Were your family happy that they eloped or did they want to see a big wedding?”
“My aunt and uncle didn’t say much in their letter, but Alex hadn’t mentioned too many angry family members. Most of us who had already met Jane have no disapprovals. Aunt Elizabeth was just disappointed that she couldn’t have been there. She dotes on Alex quite a lot compared to anyone else in our family,” I said to my friends as my arm strained to pull my bulky trunk behind me. “I think it’s because Alex always dotes on me and James.”
“Does the Voldemort-supporters at the Ministry know that Alex is married to a Muggleborn?” Lily asked in a significantly lowered voice. “You mentioned how he was doing favors for Dumbledore.”
Glancing around, I made sure I was satisfied no one was listening in before I replied, “Yeah. I don’t know if he’s doing any more because Jane was always extremely worried that he would get himself in trouble, but we’re keeping in hush-hush as much as we can. I’m really not even supposed to say anything, but word will eventually get out. As long as it doesn’t reach any of the Slytherin families for as long as possible,”
I trailed off as a distinctly unpleasant face loomed in the distance. I wasn’t going to lie and say that I had no idea why Selwyn kept showing up everywhere I went. Though Gryffindors and Slytherins always loathed each other, there was far more history to why Gryffindors and Slytherins never got along.
“Potter,” Selwyn said in a smooth voice. “Can I expect the pleasure of your company at the Celebration? It is going to be at my parents’ Manor.”
“Are my aunt and uncle going?” I told him bluntly, choosing to ignore how Marlene had taken to rolling her eyes at him. She and Dorcas knew what he was talking about as Marlene’s parents had their own “get together”. Lily just frowned.
“They might be persuaded,” Selwyn’s eyes glinted dangerously. “I hope you know that we’re reaching a very important milestone in our lives. Your presence is imperative.” I rolled my eyes at his choice of words.
As soon as I had figured out the truth behind why Selwyn had taken to bothered by what Sirius and Marlene had been up to when I was yet unaware of the truth, I could help but feel more disgusted at Selwyn and his entire gang.
“Well, the McKinnons are hosting another Celebration, so I will there instead,” I informed him before pulling out my wand. “Now move before I hex you.”
Selwyn looked unfazed, and it irked me even more. “Avery and Mulciber think that this is a waste of my time to persuade you, but let me tell you something. Black’s parents expect him to be there. If he decides not to show, and Mr. and Mrs. Black find out that he had been at the McKinnons… Well, let’s just say that won’t be pretty. And you don’t want that to happen, do you?” Selwyn taunted before stepping aside and walking away.
I seethed with anger as I came close to screaming my head off. Without saying a word, I marched down the corridor, looking into every compartment angrily before I finally found Dorcas and Mary.
As Marlene, Lily, and I walked into the compartment and set aside our trunks, I sat down, feeling angrier than I had been before. Who did Selwyn think he was anyways?
“Jennifer, you look like you’re going to kill someone,” Dorcas stated simply. “Do I want to know why?”
“Bloody Magnus Selwyn, that’s why. He came up to me and started making a fuss about the Coming-of-Age Celebration,” I huffed, folding my arms. “I don’t know why he bothers to try to get me to convince Sirius anyways.”
“So explain to me again how this thing works,” Lily frowned, looking as lost as Mary was. “Mary and I will still be there, but I don’t quite understand what happens.”
“It’s a longstanding tradition that when a witch or wizard is fifteen, then he or she becomes accountable for his or her actions because fifteen is the age when we’re no longer children,” Marlene explained patiently. “It’s been a long tradition.”
Mary asked, “But I thought that we’re legal at seventeen, instead of eighteen like Muggles.”
“Seventeen is the legal age,” I nodded. “It’s like that Sweet Sixteen phenomenon with in the States. Legal age is a different age than this.”
“Well, why is it such a big deal then? Isn’t it just a celebration? I don’t understand why Selwyn would make such a fuss about this. Even Sev mentioned it several occasions,” Lily said thoughtfully.
“It’s always been a tradition. Over time, families like mine, and the McKinnons, and the Potters take this sort of thing less serious, but with the families like the Malfoys and the Blacks, it’s a big deal,” Dorcas said. “Since we Wizarding folk have always gone to boarding school, it became a tradition over the years to hold one big celebration for everyone who would be turning fifteen in the same school year, even if their birthdays are in the summer.”
“So, let’s assume my birthday is in August. If I’m turning fourteen this August, I would still be a part of this celebration, even though my birthday isn’t for another year, just because my birthday is after the school year ends but before the cut-off date?” Lily clarified, her eyebrows knitted together.
Marlene shrugged. “Sometimes the person would just choose to wait another year, but like I said, it really doesn’t matter. It’s usually just a time to celebrate being in the spotlight with the rest of your friends. Only the families like the Malfoys and Blacks take it very seriously because they discuss betrothals.”
“Like arranged marriages?” Mary asked, startled. Lily looked as shocked as Mary was, though both of them knew that purebloods often arranged marriages for their children.
“We aren’t getting any betrothals, but with the Slytherins, their parents would discuss informal betrothals. It had always been a big deal if something like that, even if it is informal, to be broken,” Marlene explained, putting Mary to ease.
“There’s this whole ceremony for a girl and a boy to choose each other. It’s why Selwyn was trying to convince me to go. If Sirius went to the Slytherins’ then he would have to choose someone. It would be a big deal, and Sirius would hate for his parents to set up some arrangement,” I explained to my friends, sighing. This celebration was far more trouble with those families than it was worth.
With my family, and the Meadowes, and the McKinnons, it was nothing more than a tradition to be celebrated because it was a tradition. There was nothing serious like betrothals to worry about.
Once again, the thought of arranged marriages made me sick, and I wondered whether Sirius had come up with a decision yet.
“I’m glad that your families to set much to store by all this,” Mary frowned, looking troubled. I didn’t blame her.
Dorcas nodded and said, “Most families don’t even do anything nowadays, anyway. The only reason why some of us in this generation still do it is because our parents and our grandparents did it, and they like tradition, even if they don’t agree with current politics. I doubt many of us will do it with our kids as I don’t think we’ll marry Purebloods who really care.”
“Exactly. My parents are only hosting one because the three of us are good friends, and there are a couple others in our year that our parents know. Otherwise, we wouldn’t even be bothering,” Marlene added. “It should just remain a birthday celebration, and nothing more.”
“Well, as much as I don’t like Black, I feel sort of bad for him that he would have to go through this rubbish with his parents.” Lily said with a sigh. I could spot the conflict she was having so plainly on her face. As unhappy as she always was with James and Sirius and as much as she most likely did not want to have this conversation about Sirius, I could tell she meant what she was saying.
Mary asked, “Does Sirius know that Selwyn is persuading you to go?”
I shook my head. “It would just make him all riled up. I want him to make his own decision on what to do because he knew it was coming. We’re all getting older now, and with age comes responsibility.”
“Don’t you sound intelligent,” Marlene teased.
“My aunt and uncle are making a big deal out of this though. They don’t want it to be serious and they hide that it’s a big deal to them, but they owled our family and buggered Alex about coming back from his honeymoon early enough to be there,” I rolled my eyes, though with affection. “If my aunt wants to get me new dress robes for the occasion, then I can only imagine what Orion and Walburga Black expect from Sirius.”
I stared out the window as the Hogwarts Express rolled through the beautiful scenery to meet its destination in London. I never thought the Coming of Age Celebration had been a big deal, but I couldn’t deny that it seemed like the start of a whole new world.
A world in which I was no longer an innocent child.
Author's Note: Hello all! This is the end of the 'snapshots' style of writing for this story and the end of what I would consider "the prequel" or part one. Part two will be the next three years (which won't be told in "snapshot' format), & many more things are to come!
I hope you liked this chapter! The Coming-of-Age Celebration is something I made up. Purebloods have to have their traditions, and this seemed very fitting.
Please leave a review! I love to hear all your thoughts! :)
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