Lovely banner by !badwolf @TDA!
As Albus's sixth year at Hogwarts begins, the Ministry is no closer to solving the murders from last year as they were at the end of his fifth year. A new internship program puts Albus closer to the Auror Department and the murder cases than ever before, and discovers how stumped the Aurors really are. Despite the fact that they have two years left at school, Albus and his friends are learning the real world is closer than they think.
Rose didn’t respond. She was staring at the sky, at a small dot drew closer, growing larger until it took the form of a bird. An owl. Rose stood up and pointed at it. “A-Albus?” she said, her voice shaking.
“An owl,” Rose whispered. “It’s my results. It’s got to be!”
“It might not be-“
“It is! I owled Professor Kendrick and asked when they would arrive and he said today!”
The bell rang and Professor Burke stood up slowly. He jerkily grasped his cane and and walked in front of the desk, keeping one hand on the cane and one on the desk the entire time. When he reached the front of the desk, he leaned heavily on it
“Welcome to N.E.W.T. Potions. I want a show of hands. Who is taking this class because it’s a requirement of their intended career path?”
Albus glanced around the room and tentatively raised his hand. So did most everyone else, except for Amanda and Jackson.
“What?” John said as he ladled soup into his bowl. “You look like one of your professors just canceled exams for the year.”
“If that happened, I’d be dancing around the room,” Gemma said. “But I just heard that Professor Burke dropped a cauldron in the second years’ Potions class this afternoon. The potion went everywhere! Half of them are in the hospital wing!”
“How is that exciting?” Albus asked, wincing. “That’s awful.”
Albus, Rose, John, and Amanda took a more leisurely pace to Charms, arriving just in time to see Scorpius Malfoy loudly showing off his brand new watch, which he’d received for his seventeenth birthday.
“It’s pure silver,” Malfoy drawled, his eyes fixed on Albus and his friends. “Very expensive. Mum and Dad sent it on Saturday, just in time for my birthday. I’m of-age now. I could do magic outside of school, if I desired. I could even take my Apparition test if I wanted to.”
“Except you haven’t had any lessons,” John muttered under his breath. “Bloody git.”
They took the lift to level two, where they walked quickly past the Auror Headquarters. A round man with very little hair was ranting to a peeved-looking Auror Johnson in the doorway. Once they were a safe distance away, Albus turned to his dad.
“Who was that?” he asked. “The wizard talking to Johnson?”
“John Dawlish,” Dad answered quietly. “Oldest one in the department. He’s been passed over for promotion to Head Auror three times now."
“Thanks,” James said, “but I still need everyone playing their best. Lisa’s captain, too, so they won’t only be looking at our Seeking skills. They’ll be looking to see how well we bring our players together.”
“We’re going to cream Hufflepuff,” John said. “Stop worrying.”
James nodded. “I’m going to change,” he muttered. He picked up his pile of robes and disappeared into one of the changing stalls.
“It’s strange to see him nervous,” Albus whispered to John.
At precisely nine o’clock, the courtroom door slammed shut. It was opened again with a loud creak thirty seconds later and Dawlish came strolling in, unaware of the fact that every single person had turned to look at him. He slipped into Albus’s row and sat down next to him.
“So, really, all they’ve got is that DNA evidence?” John asked.
Albus nodded. “Dawlish said they’re relying on people’s prejudices and all the publicity. Trial by media, he said.”
“That’s awful,” Kaden said.
“Boone also doesn’t have an alibi. The prosecutor brought that up. Plus they’ve got Elsie, the little liar. They’ll call her to the stand tomorrow or Wednesday and she’ll lie through her teeth about whatever it is she saw that day.”
“I understand you conduct research as well as see patients? Could you please tell the court what you research?”
“I’d be glad to. I research the effects of lycanthropy on the human body, essentially what happens to a person when they have to transform into a werewolf and then back to a human every month. The physical effects, not the mental effects.”
“Interesting,” Watkins said. “Overall, do you find the effects to be positive or negative?”
“You realize Muggles aren’t of age until they’re 18, right?” Amanda asked.
“Damn. I knew I was forgetting something,” James muttered. He looked at Cedric. “Make sure you look a little older, too. Don’t shave between now and then. Maybe add a mustache if you’re handy with appearance charms. Maybe I can have Teddy give Al a beard before we head out.”
Rose and John burst out laughing. “Make sure you get pictures of that, James,” Rose said.
“I’m 132!” Muriel exclaimed. “Can’t you have had this wedding inside somewhere? It’s bloody December! And look, I’m the first one out here. Are you going to make an old woman sit here all by herself in the cold until this thing starts?”
“Don’t worry, Aunt Muriel,” Uncle Bill said. “There are plenty of heating charms. And you won’t be alone-“
“Damn right I won’t,” she said. “You’ll stay out here with me.”
“Apparition,” she began, “the art of disappearing and then reappearing in a different place. It is difficult and it is dangerous. You will splinch yourself. But if you try hard enough and practice enough, you can learn. How, you might ask? The three Ds-“
“What’s the third?” John asked. “She already said difficult and dangerous.”
“Does it even matter?” Amanda asked. “And isn’t it better for people to think he crashed because of the broom instead of his own flying skill?”
“It’s the principle of the thing,” Albus said. “What if James has a TBI and told the team and one of them told a reporter? It’d be all over the Prophet, too. And then he’d have no chance of getting recruited, even if he did make a full recovery. Not to mention the whole world would know his private business.”
“Albus is right,” Matt said. “No one should’ve said anything.”
“Are you still the captain, James?” one of the younger girls asked.
“No,” James said. “Albus is the captain. I’m just here helping.”
Albus turned to James, who gave him a small nod. “All right,” Albus said, turning back to the crowd. “First, we’re only looking for Seekers. Second, if you’re a first year, you can’t try out. Third, if you’re Hugo, you can’t try out.”
“Oh, come on!” Hugo shouted. A few of the first years grumbled similar sentiments.
“Aunt Hermione forbade it,” Albus said. “Go sit down.”
“Well?” Albus prompted, when none of them said anything.
“Show him, James,” Dad said, a small smile appearing on his face.
James lifted his right arm. It was shaking worse than normal and Albus was confused as to why his dad was smiling about this. Confused, he looked at Dad, whose smile had grown. Mum was now smiling as well.
Slowly, and with much concentration, James squeezed his fingers together, until he was halfway to making a fist. It was more movement than Albus had seen him able to do since the accident.
“It’s not your fault the team lost,” James said as he walked into the office and leaned against the desk. Over the past few weeks James had regained a bit of his color and had put on a few of the pounds he’d lost after the accident. He wasn’t back to normal, but it was a start.
“I know it’s not,” Albus said.
“Come on,” James said as he stood up straight again. “I want to go fly.”
Albus snapped his head up and stared at his brother. “You what?”
The seventh years climbed into the boats, taking up much more space than they had as first years. Once they were all in, Hagrid climbed into his own, and raised his pink umbrella just as the sky opened up and the rain poured down in buckets. The boats surged forward, disappearing into the growing fog.