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Chapter 21 : xxi. the rest of our lives [or] an epilogue of sorts
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 65|
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“Holly,” I grunt. “It is the arsecrack of dawn.”
“It’s nine thirty, and the owls are here.”
My eyes fly open of their own accord. “The owls?”
“The owls,” she repeats solemnly, before bounding back off my bed and hurrying into the kitchen. Tiny and barefooted as she is, her enthusiastic bolting from one room to another shakes the entire flat.
Heart pounding, I clamber out of bed, entangle myself in my sheets, swear a lot, manage to free myself and hurtle into the kitchen, running smack bang into Lester.
“Morning,” he says mildly.
There’s a loud crack outside the front door, and I open it to find Albus and Scorpius teetering on the edge of the stairs that lead up to our flat.
“You are never allowed to Apparate us here again,” Scorpius is telling Albus. “Oh, morning, Rose.”
They have envelopes clutched in their hands which bear the twin seals of Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic, and my stomach flip-flops horribly.
“Your future,” Holly says once I’ve brought the boys inside, handing me an envelope.
Flat 7, The New Quarter
106-112 Diagon Alley
“I can’t do this!” I wail.
“Yes, you can. I believe in you,” Holly says serenely.
“How can you be so calm?”
“It’s a façade.” She glances around us, and I’m suddenly reminded of the moment nearly a year ago when they all burst through the Floo at my parents’ place yelling about the scholarship. “On three?”
“Hold up!” I yell, because I’m not ready to open the envelope, even though I’ve been waiting for this day for weeks on end – we all have, and virtually every conversation we’ve had for the past three weeks has begun with “So has anyone heard anything about results?”
“Come on, Rose,” Albus says impatiently. “If I’ve failed, I need plenty of time to reconsider my career options.”
“Don’t talk about failing!” Scorpius cries.
“On three!” Lester says loudly. “One – two – three!”
I screw my eyes shut, rip open the envelope, and very, very carefully peer at the contents.
NASTILY EXHAUSTING WIZARDING TESTS
Top Scholar (S)
Exceeds Expectations (E)
ROSE NYMPHADORA WEASLEY HAS RECEIVED:
Ancient Runes: E
Defence Against the Dark Arts: O
A shellshocked silence fills the room.
“Well?” Scorpius asks tentatively.
“I got Top Scholar!” Holly shrieks. “For Arithmancy, I got it! I got it!”
“And I got Potions!” I scream, and it’s only just beginning to sink in. “Top Scholar in Potions, I can’t believe it!”
“I can,” Albus says. “On a related note – guess who’s officially Hogwarts’ best emeritus magical historian?”
“Oh my God, Albus, that’s amazing!”
“And I got Runes!” Scorpius says happily.
We pause in our screaming and hugging and congratulating and turn slowly to Lester.
“Do all right, mate?” Albus asks hesitantly.
Lester wordlessly hands his results letter to Albus, and we all crowd around him.
LESTER DANTE RAINE HAS RECEIVED
Ancient Runes: O
“You got three fucking Top Scholars!” Albus roars, clapping Lester so hard on the back I’m briefly afraid he may have caused permanent damage. “You legend, mate!”
“I don’t even know how – ”
“Don’t be so modest,” Scorpius tells him. “You’ve earned every one of those. And hey – three Top Scholars, isn’t that a reward from the Ministry as well?”
Lester nods. “Five hundred Galleons.”
Another owl comes sailing through the window before we can say anything more.
“Your Prophet’s late,” Scorpius says. “We got ours at like, eight. Not that we were up.”
“Yeah, the owls tend to get lost around here,” Lester says, edging past us to take the Prophet from the owl. “I’m glad the Hogwarts ones made it on time.”
He flicks through the paper as he shuffles around. “Anyone for tea?”
“Please,” Scorpius says.
“Love some,” Holly says.
“Yeah, all right.”
He’s just put the kettle on when he stops dead for the second time this morning, his eyes slowly widening. “Scorp, mate – have you read the Prophet today?”
“Glanced at the headlines, but I haven’t gone through it properly, no. Why?”
He holds the paper aloft, beaming, and there are tears glistening in his eyes. “We fucking won, guys. We won the Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship.”
Albus launches across the kitchen with a holler, snatching the paper from Lester. “The Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship for 2024 is hereby awarded to Holly Holyoake, Scorpius Malfoy, Albus Potter, Lester Raine and Rose Weasley. The recipients are invited to come into Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes’ London premises to claim the award.”
“Oh my God,” I scream. “We did it, we did it – ”
“Rose, Holly, go get dressed,” Lester says, a huge grin on his face. “We need to head down to Wheezes.”
“And go visit our families,” Albus says. “Mum’ll know results are out – Lester, we gotta show her these. And Lily too – ew, she’s gonna be all over you.”
“Brainy’s the new sexy,” Scorpius deadpans.
“C’mon,” Holly says. “Let’s shed the jammies and go get our scholarship.”
Fifteen minutes later we’re standing in Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes (our flat is barely ten minutes’ walk from central Diagon Alley) while George counts out 1,250 Galleons to Lester, Holly, Albus and Scorpius.
“You sure you don’t want in on this, Rose?” Scorpius asks.
“Nah. I have the Fellowship confirmed now.”
I’ll need to send an owl to Professor Llodewick – I’m sure he’s heard my results anyway, but there are a few arrangements to be made and papers to sign now I’ve officially gotten the required grades, and my full acceptance into the teaching programme should be on its way as well – I should open a vault at Gringott’s, now that I’ll be getting my own income from the Fellowship…
“So George,” Albus is saying, “Who was your contact at Hogwarts?”
“I’m half convinced it was Professor Llodewick,” Holly says.
“Professor who?” George asks. “No, no – it was a student. Emily Huntington.”
“Emily was your contact?”
“Of course she was.” George looks confused. “She works for me, has done for about three years now. Market research, a bit of invention sometimes – it’s a shame I’m losing her to the Department of Mysteries, actually.”
“Oh,” I say. “That’s why she wanted to know why we were going for the scholarship, and why she thought Louis and Lucy were so undeserving.”
“The spirit of Fred Weasley,” Albus says. “It’s not just fucking shit up at Hogwarts. It’s also not being a dick to your family.”
“Precisely,” George says, nodding. “She made it clear to me quite early on that Louis in particular was not acting in the spirit of harmless fun – ”
“They were mates, though.”
“They were,” George agrees. “Emphasis on the past tense. The scholarship grew to represent a lot more to Emily than anyone else - she understands what it means to lose a twin, and this was as much in her sister’s name as it was in Fred’s.”
“Does she have other siblings?” I ask slowly. “A younger sister?”
“Just Laura, she was the younger twin. She died when they were six.”
My baby sister’s going to be here in five years.
“Oh,” is all I can say.
George shakes his head a bit, as if trying to clear unpleasant thoughts from his mind, and passes four bags of gold over to Holly and the boys. “There’s a security charm on those,” he adds, “So you’re safe walking down the street with them. Take it straight to Gringott’s, mind.”
“Thanks, Uncle George.”
“Thank you, Mr Weasley.”
“Yeah, thanks so much, Mr Weasley.”
“Not at all.” With a final smile, he waves us out of the shop and we emerge, blinking, into the bright August sunlight.
Diagon Alley is glorious in summer, filled with kids and teenagers and Hogwarts leavers, wandering and roaming and taking in the sights and sounds of the city, and I feel so incredibly privileged to be living here, right in the heart of wizarding London – the New Quarter, where we live, has sprung up in the last twenty-five years and my generation – the post-war baby boom – are the ones bringing it to life. There’s a sort of renaissance going on here, in the new cafes and old pubs where students, interns and apprentices gather by night to share art and literature and performance magic. Albus and Scorpius are right into the poetry scene – Scorpius especially – and Holly’s getting into photography after making some friends at the laundromat across the street in the wee hours of the morning.
As we amble in the direction of Gringott’s, Lester turns to Holly and I with a grin, and I notice he’s stopped outside Magical Menagerie.
“So how about that cat?”
A/N: So this is the end, folks. I've been absolutely blown away by the reception this story has gotten, and how much these five dorky Claws have resonated with you all. I couldn't be more grateful for everyone who has taken the time to read and review this story, especially those who have been there without fail for every chapter.
Thank you again and from the bottom of my heart for reading!
Edit 10/12/15 - The Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship universe has grown exponentially since I posted this final chapter, and now comprises some eight works and several chapters on the last House Cup sitewide collab. The immediate sequel to TFWMS is Pending Further Investigation, which was completed at 21 chapters earlier this year, and I recommend you start with PFI before checking out any one-shots to avoid spoilers. A full list of stories (with links) can be found on my profile on the forums, or just go onto my author page and look for anything labelled "part of the tfwms-verse" in the summary.
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