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Phoenix Rising
A Harry Potter RPG
EPILOGUE (Part II): October 31, 2008: Square one 
31st-Oct-2006 04:18 am
Happy
Square one

Lyrics by Tom Petty

Had to find some higher ground
Had some fear to get around
you can’t say what you don’t know
later on won’t work no more

Last time through I hid my tracks
Saw what I could not get back
Yeah my way was hard to find
Can’t sell yourself a piece of mind

Square one my slate is clear
Rest your head on my dear
It took a world of trouble
It took a world of tears
It took a long time
To get back here

Tried so hard to stand alone
Struggled to see past my nose
Always had more dogs than bones
I could never wear those clothes

It’s a dark victory
You won and you also lost
Told us you were satisfied
But it never came across

Square one my slate is clear
Rest your head on my dear
It took a world of trouble
It took a world of tears
It took a long time
To get back here


If the past few years have taught me anything, it’s that teaching is only slightly less dangerous than being an MLE. The position of teacher of Defence Against The Dark Arts is said to have been a cursed one, and history shows this to be true.

Ron and I look at each other as we pick up our quills. We’re sitting in the Great Hall and even the gravity of what we’re about to do hasn’t diminished his appetite one bit. Twin grey owls from the Ministry stand before us regally, legs extended, yet not wavering in their graceful balance.

"Ronald, you’re about to be photographed, stop chewing for one minute," Hermione sighs in exasperation as one of the grey owls finally loses his ingrained formality and leans in to pluck a piece of egg from Ron’s face. I can only imagine what Susan must think about me sitting here in my Halloween costume, Peter Pan, to sign my papers. I think by now she knows how much I love Halloween and being dressed like this kind of flies in the face of the officials who, years back, took away me and Ron’s livelihood, making us prove that we had lived. Yeah, I lived, you can’t kill Peter Pan, I think smugly.

"I can see the headline now. Decorated MLE resigns with egg-on-his-face. Details on page twenty." Susan’s hands are in the air as if writing this statement on a marquee. She’s likely right. Ron and I received the highest honour an MLE officer can get when we were recalled to come back to active duty. It was felt that the threat of violence against the school was now sufficiently contained after the massive roundup of former Death Eaters after the fall of Wormtail, Lucius Malfoy, and most of the subsequent wannabe bad guys who followed them. In short, the school no longer needed security guards. But they did need teachers.

Ron and I had talked with Hermione and Susan for days about what we should do. After agonizing over our decision, and my having drank a lot one evening with Oliver, Wayne, Dean-who’s visiting from Paris- and Ron, I decided to accept Headmistress McGonagall’s offer to become Head of Hufflepuff House. And now we sit poised to sign on the dotted line, having been interviewed about our lives and times as MLE’s. We relived having been killed, only to wake up again, the capture of Peter Pettigrew, and our personal lives throughout the years. None of it was for the first time. Both Ron and I had been besieged by our students to tell and re-tell the tales of our days during the war.

I think the hardest part was having to talk about Ernie. When he died at age twenty two, he looked scarcely older than the seventh year students here at Hogwarts and it was then that I realized that he would never look older to me, nor would Alex. Every time I would look in an old yearbook down in the library, the guys I knew until what seemed like mere weeks ago, stare out at me, yet when I look in the mirror I can see the subtle changes of time on my face.

It’s true, my body aches more than a young man’s should but I have lived a lot more than some, and I’ve died. The cursed position of Defence Against the Dark Arts was no match for me. I don’t think that whatever haunted the position in the past has anything to throw at me that I haven’t already experienced. In fact, since I’ve taken up the job, I haven’t had one single accident. I think the curse and I have cancelled each other out. Well, that and the fact that Professor Flitwick has performed more charms on me than on those poor pillows that are used for practising levitation. Well, if I can charm them to keep their feathers in, I can charm you to keep your inards in, should one of those over-eager students curse you too hard in drills, he had told me. Bless him, it worked.

Just as Ron and I sign our former lives away, camera flashes go off and we are inundated with questions as lights dance in our eyes. Peeves cackles and enjoys the media attention, informing me that now that I am no longer technically an MLE, the curse of the Defence Against the Dark Arts Profession can kick in fully. When the media tries to get a shot of him zooming around, he blows a raspberry and disappears. I know I look slightly unsettled by the stupid words as Ron claps me on the back and tells me that our next mission will be to get rid of that old Peeves once and for all. Something that poor old Mr Filch had never accomplished.

Mr Filch, the old caretaker passed away two years ago, just after Mrs Norris, who was twenty six years old in cat lives, had gone to the litter box in the sky, or so we’d thought. Susan and I often wake to the sound of cats fighting outside our windows to find the old yellow- eyed feline staring in as if to keep me in particular, in line.

We have since found out that Mrs Norris had in fact, been a cook alongside the house-elves over sixty years ago and that she had been an Animagus.. Mr Filch, the then young caretaker and Squibb-wizard-wannabe, had accidentally done something during one of her transformations and she’d never been able to become a human again. It was said that she’d hated her job in the kitchens and that she’d always loved Filch for having set her free and now, every so often, we see the two of them, strolling in the moonlight, transparent, she in a long white dress and he still in his mangy old top hat and suit looking happier than he ever has. The school has never been cleaner as Filch, like old Professor Binns, never gave up his job, and in death, he is more magical than he ever was in life, able to actually still perform his job somehow.

The media leaves the school and as it’s a day off for Halloween, Professor Flitwick kicks into enthusiastic gear with Hagrid to get the Great Hall ready for the Muggle-themed Halloween ball this evening.

"How does it feel to be a civilian?" Susan asks me, looping her arm in mine. I have a lump in my throat at the moment and I just can’t answer. The Great Hall empties, Ron having left with Hermione’s arm around his shoulder, looking a bit lost. I don’t think either of us really knew how we’d feel once the ink dried on those documents. The pin from the medal of Distinguished Service that I’ve just been given by none other than Hopkins, who has regained his position as Head of the Hit Wizard Office.

A rush of emotion washes over me as I remember the day I left Susan standing on Platform Nine and Three Quarters so she could finish her seventh year and I could go join the War Measures Training, leaving school early and never really finishing. Sure, we got our honourarium certificate from Hogwarts but it never did sit well with my parents. They always hoped I’d finish, even through correspondence and here I stand, a full Hogwarts Professor and Head of Hufflepuff House. And feeling sixteen years old at the moment. And not in a good way.

"I’m not sure how to feel," I tell Susan honestly. She knows me so well. She could see this coming from a mile away. She points to the back of the Great Hall where the crowd thins even more. There stands my parents, my grandparents and my sister, Chrystian, who is now nine years old and is excitedly asking my parents when she can come to study here. Kaylee runs into my arms at the same time as my little sister collides with me and I spin them both around.

I look at my wife, grateful for her intuition and her love. My father claps me on the back and I notice the streaks of grey in his hair for the first time as my mother points them out.

"Maybe now you can stop worrying about when he’ll have to go back to the street duties and get some real sleep, Grant," she tells my dad.

I always knew he worried about me, well ever since that time we finally got a chance to talk when I woke up in hospital after Wormtail had cursed Ron and I. I’ve heard a lot of people say that if they had to do something all over again, they wouldn’t change a thing. I can’t say the same thing because that was a hard road back to recovery, but I wouldn’t change the gift my death gave me. When I woke up, I found out that my dad was proud of me, and that my parents didn’t regret what I’d done for a living. Yes, I killed people. But it was war and it had to end somewhere. It was my job, and I’ve only realized lately, that I am not the job.

Ron had told me years ago that he’d seen Snape, in the final raids that were necessary to kill off Lucius Malfoy nearing the end of the war. At first, he’d wanted to hex the old Bat to kingdom-come but had found out that somehow, Snape had managed to score himself the protection of the German Ministerium. I don’t know what Snape’s role in the downfall of Lucius Malfoy was, but for some reason, with all I’ve seen about the delicate intricacies of wartime, I would have liked to have talked to him. I don’t forgive and forget at all, but there is a selfish reason for my wanting to know more.

Outside of the Matron, McGonagall, and the students who were petrified, Snape was the only one who knew of the possible sterility that could be a side-effect of the basilisk stare. I know I’m nuts, and that Snape would think it was a good thing that Collin and especially me, wouldn’t be able to procreate, but he’d mentioned possible potions, and after that we’d never heard a thing. I’ll never know why our Headmaster trusted him so much after what he’d done. But again, the Dark Arts is an odd mistress. Sometimes when I’m doing research for my classes, I’ll stumble on something here and there that Snape had underlined in books before he’d fled, the murderer and cold blooded killer he’d become.

Knowledge is a powerful thing and only now as an adult, do I understand why we have a restricted section in our library. The Dark Arts is intoxicating and powerful, the mere books full of it, pulling at the edges of your own decency.

Several times, late at night, Susan has found me poring over huge volumes, consumed with past grievances that these books seem to awaken. When I’ve returned to study them more, I have noticed that old Madame Pince has ‘sent them out to be rebound or restored’ but somehow they never make it back to me...er, to the school. When I return to our quarters to complain to Susan about this, she seems to avoid the subject. I know I could never be as caught up in the Dark Arts as Snape was but there have been times when I think I’ve sounded overly-enthusiastic about something I’ve learned. I wonder what Snape’s life has brought him and if Dumbledore is in fact on the next great adventure, what he thinks of Snape’s actions in light of what transpired at the end of the war?

A person doesn’t get much more bullied than having been attacked by a basilisk. It is a life altering event if one even survives it. I admit that the Dark Arts appealed to me a little more than I had thought it would and I had begun to scare even myself with my obsession. I remembered how angry I’d been at Oliver for using the basilisk potion during a battle in the war and realized that at the time, he’d felt oppressed and obligated to protect. It was then that I realized that as head of a house now, I was going to do something about bullying within our school and do my best to teach real Defence to these kids so they never have to feel they way we did.

"Will you give me straight O’s because I’m your sister, Justin?" Chrystian giggles, jarring me from my memories, as I set her back down on her feet. I tell her that I certainly will, but I know that the reality is that I will push her and my own children harder than the rest out of the sheer and realistic fear that somewhere, someone lurks, just waiting to rise and challenge the authority that now stands.

Before I learned how to temper my manic desire to make these children into dangerous offensive weapons, I had been told that I was acting like old Mad Eye or worse yet, Snape. I know I pushed the Hufflepuffs harder than any other house because their innocence and the way that I could actually sit at my desk and pick out a Susan, an Ernie, a Wayne, a Megan and a Hannah and to my astonishment and irritation, even a me, filled me with dread. How could they just sit there, wide-eyed, like we had been, believing that the adults had all the answers, that they would do something?

I learned that I could pick out the Deans, Dracos, Olivers, Lavenders, Rons, Harrys, Ginnys and Hermione’s too. Times change but when it comes right down it, children really don’t, until they have to grow up. And I will see to it that the Hannahs and Ernies of this bunch will do just that. They can love me or hate me, but by the time they leave these gates, they can either shake my hand or be able to blast me to the moon with what I will teach them.

I have yet to get permission to have someone like Hope, who was promoted last year to some administrative Ministry-Hogwarts liason, come in as a guest speaker to talk about the benefits of learning Occlumency or other forms of mind control. It is a very specialized and advanced form of magic, just the same as becoming an Animagus but I don’t see why the exceptional students should be held back from this training. As the saying goes, the student shall surpass the master, and I’ve never considered myself a master so that would be just fine with me. Actually, Hope is coming in for an inspection of some sort today. Ron’s been grumbling about it for hours. "Why on Halloween? She’ll ruin the feast!" I know nothing will ruin a meal for Ron if he could eat through signing our resignation papers

"Congratulations, son," My father’s voice brings me out of my reverie as he embraces me and I realize just how much I’ve missed them for the past two months. Dad has to duck as a large owl lands squarely on my shoulder just as he lets go of me. In a spectacular show of bad timing, Thaddeus, the God of Lost Causes, whose postcard still rests on my bureau has sent a message, namely he has ordered Snickety to bring him to me right away.

My parents are still not used to moving pictures, least of all ones that are delivered by owl and when Thaddeus starts talking about sterility, I clear my throat loudly to drown out his stupid advice. For all these years until just recently, I have carried his portrait in miniature around in my pocket. Thaddeus has researched all possible means of reversal of my inability to father a child, while flitting from portrait to portrait of his around the world. I’ve done everything he said, including sitting under a toad enclosed in a large winged dinosaur shell that was pieced back together after a hatching for me. It was thought that since a basilisk was able to be born by similar methods, so to might I be able to father a child after performing the odd ritual. And there was worse stuff. Much worse.

Susan smiles at me knowingly and asks my parents and Chrystian if they would like a tour of the castle since the last time they were here, all they saw was the inside of the hospital wing and me, stiff as a board and unable to show them around all those years ago. I’m prepared to finally tell dear Thaddeus that I have finally accepted my fate, something that my dear wife has accepted many years ago but has supported me in ever since.

"Oh, I’d love a tour, dear but first we want to see our other grandbabies," my mother gushes. Susan and I now have another daughter named Dianna Marie and a nine month old son that we have named Ernie Alexander. Yeah, we know that he’ll hate us when he goes to have to learn how to write out his name in full with the hyphenated last name, but once he learns where his names come from, we know he’ll be proud.

"Liam wanted to babysit his cousins," Susan winks. "So the little ones are with Lavender, Oliver and Olivia. They must have their hands full." She turns to me, winking again. "Join us after you take care of that...er...business that you need to attend to, dear."

"Oh... business, yes. I’ll be up soon," I promise.

I turn to Thaddeus’ portrait on the post card, which is now dog-earred from having been washed accidentally by the school house- elves, who forgot to check pockets on laundry day. Susan and I had always done our own washing but when the elves offered, and with three children and full time jobs, we took them up on it and insisted on wages. We finally settled on giving them Honeydukes sweets since they would not accept a wage. Hermione still doesn’t like the idea of house-elves and in truth it’s always made me a bit uncomfortable but some things change fast and some things change slowly. Spew now includes over three hundred members, Susan and I included, but mostly because Ron pleaded with us to join to get Hermione off his back. And now, because of the sweets, they have dental care.

"I have the answer," Thaddeus announces proudly, his smile cracking and disappearing into a crease of the paper which muffles his voice. "Dis time, I -ave id."

"If I had a Galleon for every time you said that, or better yet some..you know, little swimmers, I’d be rich or a father by now," I hiss. "Look, I appreciate everything you’ve done for me Thad, but I think it’s time to just face facts. I have a beautiful family. I’m happy. I’m finished trying all the rituals and potions and chants that you’ve come up with during these last years."

"Who are you talking to?" Ron asks, sounding oddly tired, stepping from a broom closet as Hermione wipes her chin. He’s dressed as Martin the Mad Muggle now so he must have changed into his costume in the broom closet. It’s pretty obvious Hermione found a way to console him about giving up his MLE status. Hermione is dressed as Einstein and I’m sorely tempted to tease Ron about being in the broom closet with a woman dressed as a man but I know Hermione and she’d curse me for sure. Hermione excuses herself, her cheeks flushed.

"No one," I reply, hastily stuffing the postcard into my pocket. Ron scrutinises my face and I wonder just how mental I really was in the past because he won’t take my answer.

"Thaddeus?" he asks point blank?

"What!?" I automatically take on a defensive stance.

"Look, mate, like it or not, women talk and since Susan and Hermione are friends, Hermione knows things..." my friend admits, much to my horror. "Actually spent weeks in the library looking into your er...situation, she did."

I stand there in stunned silence, my mouth agape, cringing that Hermione knows what I’ve been up to all these years. I mean, I knew that she was aware of the possible sterility for males. She was there when we were all told the possible outcome of our petrification and she knew that for me, the side effect had been realized. What I did not know, was that my lovely bride had been telling people of my efforts to reverse my condition.

I take the postcard from my pocket as Thaddeus hasn’t stopped mumbling despite being stifled in there. I hold up his likeness. Ron gets an earful of just one- twentieth of the embarrassing things I’ve done over the last years.

"So you see my dear boy, the naked dance of fertility atop a tower that has been specifically designed to see the Heavens above at precisely midnight on all Hallows Eve, whist chanting to the big and little dipper of humanity will break the curse forever more," Thaddeus tells me confidently. As confident as he always is when he has me standing on my head reading the scrolls of Babylon, which for the record aren’t even in any one language I’ve ever heard of...

"I’m about to stuff the postcard back into my pocket and I silently vow to never carry it around again. I have to stay grounded from now on. My condition is permanent. I have three beautiful adopted children that I love with my whole heart but I know in my heart that it isn’t the issue of having a child that shares my genes, it’s always been about getting something back that was taken from me. I don’t need to try anymore. Genes don’t make a family, love does, and I haven’t been robbed, I’ve been blessed.

"You have to give it one more shot", Ron snorts. A year ago this would have annoyed me but now it’s just funny. "Although Ernie couldn’t be any more like you, scary really.

It’s true, I seem to have passed on my clumsiness and penchant for trouble making to my children somehow, much to Susan’s chagrin. Only my son could try to eat a bee and end up with jowls the size of grapefruit at only nine months old. Yep, that’s my boy!

"Justin," the muffled voice of Thaddeus entreats from my pocket of my Peter Pan costume. "You must first cleanse and purify in the lake."

That does it, It’s October, the lake is freezing and the giant squid is still mad at me for feeding it the vegetarian chilli that my class wouldn’t eat from when I substitute taught Muggle Studies. How was I to know that Kaylee, who was with me because there was no one to mind her during that class, added more cayenne pepper because she didn’t know I’d already done it? Yep, that’s my daughter! Come to think of it, Hagrid wouldn’t speak to me for a week after the thing vomited on him while he was fishing. Nope, no more potions, no more rituals, no more swimming in the lake until I find something to appease that squid.

"Aw come on Justin, you know you’ll regret it later if you don’t try. I know you better than you do right now. You’re trying to be a grown up. There’s a reason you’re wearing those clothes. Peter Pan, right? I even know that story. Of course it was a spell that kept him young and not just not just defiance, but he ended up with regrets in real life," Ron tells me. "Oh, and by the way, he didn’t stand like that." Ron points at me, and I realize in horror that I’m standing with my hands on my hips like a movie version of Peter Pan.

I’ve done my best to bridge the gap between Muggle-borns and Purebloods when I substitute for the Muggle Studies class in between teaching Defence Against The Dark Arts, but even I didn’t know that Peter Pan actually existed and that the kids in the story were cursed to remain boys. The magic that surrounds us will never cease to amaze me, to touch me, to teach me.

"Here, I’ll go with you, protect you from the giant squid," Ron grins. He runs toward the lake, stripping off his clothes as he goes and I see freckles only Hermione should see. My friends, we who have lived through the last war, Dean, Oliver, Wayne, Lavender, Megan, Luna and so many others, had to grow up over night. Ernie, Hannah, and Alex never got the chance and my best friend, my Susan, the love of my life, grew up alone for a time. Ron and I, were given a second chance. I smile and run toward the lake. I’d say I can’t believe that I’m about to do this, but I’d be lying. The green feathered cap flies off into the wind, the tunic onto the ground. I’ll never grow up, not me!
 
31st-Oct-2006 04:26 am (UTC)
It’s almost November in Scotland. I’m nude and running towards a chilled lake. It’s in this moment I really know that I love Justin like a brother. In the past decade I have lost brothers. I turn my head to see Justin jogging behind me sans clothes.

I’ve lost brothers, I’ve gained them as well.

Sometimes it just takes something stupid to realize what people mean to you, at least, that’s how it’s always been for me.

At the edge of the lake, I jump. The water is so cold it feels like it hurts. I’m diving into knives, not water.

It’s in this moment that I know I’m as nuts as Justin.

I dunk my head, and it doesn’t seem as bad now. Justin jumps just as I did. When he hits the water he yelps in a way that I’ve only heard Hermione do one night when…well, lets just say it’s from a pain you’re not expecting.

Justin surfaces screaming, “Why in Great Hornby’s hockey puck are we doing this?!?”

“Because during the time we’ve known each other we’ve managed to become brain damaged. That, and supposedly you need a swim to help, you know, swim.”

“Shut up, there’s no way this can help.”

“Actually, a splash of cold water helps production.”

Justin looks at me like I’ve grown a third head.

“What?” I ask him, “Hermione had me help by reading a few books too.”

“You…read???

“Shut up and swim.”

Skinny dipping in October…I wonder if any beds are open in Ward 49.

In the time it takes me to eat two pieces of toast and a sausage, Justin screams, his voice breaking high pitched into the chilled night air. He starts swimming as fast as he can towards the shore, I follow.

“What’s the matter?”

“It GRABBED me!”

The bloody hell is he talking about?

“The bloody hell are you talking about? I ask.

“The freaking squid grabbed me!”

I can’t, and don’t want to fight, the laughing escaping me.

“You wouldn’t be laughing if a squid just wrapped its tentacle around you between your legs!”

I feel my face fall into seriousness.

“You were molested by the giant squid?”

“Yes!” Justin screams and I can see his arms are leading in diagonals into the water protecting himself.

“Did you enjoy it?” I feel the muscle in my cheek pulling up the corner of my mouth.

Justin glares at me.

“Ew, did you pollute the lake?”

If he had a wand, I think he’d hex me.

“I can not wait to tell Hermione and Susan!” I say finally not able to contain my laughter.

“You wouldn’t!”

I laugh harder.

Justin groans, “You would…”

My stomach hurts. I’m laughing that hard.

“You will,” Justin says, holding a dripping hand to his face.

With effort, I stop laughing and say, “It could always be worse.”

“How, how can this be worse?” Justin asks throwing his hand down causing twin splashes as the weight of the effort drags his shoulders down.

“We could be dead.”

Justin looks up with a small smile. “There’s always that.”

I walk out of the water, the cool air on wet skin makes things seem like they’re trying to hide. I go to my clothes to get my wand. I can hear the water slosh as Justin moves out of the drink. He makes a sound like, “Erraugh”.

Then he says, “Stand up mate, no one wants to see that!”

I do stand, and cast a drying and warming spell on myself. I then turn to Justin and say, “Well, I’d tell you no one would want to see that,” I point downwards, “but nobody can.”

Justin looks down, then covers himself and looks back up to me. “It’s cold,” he says.

“Excuses, opinions, and assholes, Justin, everyone’s got ‘em.”

“That’s it,” I hear him say, but I’m already running up the astronomy tower.
31st-Oct-2006 04:27 am (UTC)
I’m to the top before I realize my Mad Muggle clothing is still by the lake….

Justin ascends to the top holding a bundle of clothes in his arms like a baby, whether he grabbed mine or not, well, I only hope he did.

Justin looks at me, his neck twists as he gazes around at the night view from the tower, he looks like a five year old looking for his ball that flew over the neighbor’s fence.

I’m picking weeds from the lake out of my hair, it feels like a thick and solid liquid. Disgusting really.

“I think purification was the wrong word.”

“Yeah,” Justin mumbles.

“So you dance now?”

“Yeah.”

“Susan’s disappointed in the bedroom isn’t she?”

“Yeah.”

“Careful what you say when you’re not listening, mate.”

“Yeah,” Justin shakes his head slightly and actually focuses on me. “Ron, I can’t do this.”

“Sure you can. What do you do?”

As an answer Justin shuffles through his clothes and pulls out a worn card.

“Card up!” A voice calls and Justin raises the card from waist level, to his face.

“What do I do?”

“Dance.”

“How?”

“With your feet.”

Justin looks centimeters away from seeing how far the card can fly.

“Any particular dance?”

“Knees up, elbows bent, spin clockwise while going around the tower anti-clockwise. On the third rotation jump and spin.”

Justin’s arm falls back to his side, much to Thaddeus’ chagrin.

“I can’t do this.”

I look at my friend and shake my head. “Yes, you can.”

“I can’t do this dance.”

“Yes, you can. It sounds easy.”

“If it’s so damn easy, you do it.”

The things I do for the people I care about, I’ll never know why. I feel stupid, but I start spinning while almost skipping. I feel dumb, but the cold stone stamps under my feet. I feel ignorant, but I miss when Justin joins in.

I feel good about helping a friend overcome the curse of finally getting common sense, but a cough stops me in my tracks.

We have an uninvited guest.

Justin stops, and when he sees who it is, he does his best to blend into a shadow.

The woman looks down at me, and I can’t help but grin, she coughs again hoping I’ll cover up. But, Merlin, I love taking this witch down a peg any chance I get.

“Good evening, Turner, enjoying the view?”

“I certainly can assure you that this view is the last I had hoped for tonight, Mr Weasley.”

I say, “We worked together how long? And I don’t think you’ve ever tried calling me by my actual name.”

“Some of us, Mr Weasley, strive to uphold proper mannerisms in our conduct, including our method of speaking.”

“Some of us, like to, you know, make friends. Or is that too alien of a concept for you to grasp?”

Her cheeks flush; I think I’ve hit a nerve.

Good.

“I do not need friends of your level and,” I notice her eyes glance down briefly but she blinks twice fast before continuing, “stature.”

“Careful, Turner, my wife is a very skilled witch.” This could probably be easier if I covered up, but not nearly as fun. “I know it’s nice, but you don’t have a camera, though I’m sure you’ll find your pensive useful soon.”
31st-Oct-2006 04:30 am (UTC)
Ronald Weasley. He’s a living, breathing version of puss-producing itch weed – the species that is characterized by those tiny, bulbous hanging pods that are easily smashed under one’s heel. Ones that are not unlike what I’ve been unfortunately exposed to tonight.

I quickly avert my eyes, least I go blind, and tell myself that I will keep my professional demeanor – Weasley won’t goad me into a reaction like last time because there are more pressing matters to attend. Mr Finch-Fletchley harbors tentacle burns that need to be addressed. It would be of no benefit for the students to miss their Defense Class because of a Professor who did not have the sense to look after himself. “Mr Weasley, Mr Finch-Fletchley, your display is inappropriate for a school function. Additionally, I would advise you to –”

“We’re not at the school function, we’re outside of it.” Wesley says.

The rest of my words: seek medical attention die on my tongue. I snap my mouth shut. I don’t know why I continue to try to maintain an air of civility. At every turn, Weasley purposely makes a point to complicate my job and, therefore, my life. Ever since I received my hard-earned promotion to the Minister’s newly appointed Advancement of Educational Endeavors Committee, I’ve had to tolerate his flippant and inappropriate remarks with the evenness expected of a mid-level administrator. It is clear that he doesn’t take well to being evaluated by a woman, much less taking into consideration any constructive remarks on what he considers proper educational techniques. He seems to hold rules in the same regard.

I sigh and press my fingers to my forehead. “Mr Weasley, this is not the time to be difficult.”

Mr Finch-Fletchley, who has been shuffling over to the pile of clothing with his hands strategically placed, (finally a wizard displaying a proper sense of decency in the company of a lady, unlike Weasley who continues to stand there unabashedly) begins to pull on clothes. “Let’s go, Ron,” he says. “We have other things to do.” He yanks on a pair of green tights over his arms. I do the polite thing and try not to stare.

A grin materializes on Weasley’s face.

What are they up to? The haunted hayride debacle was enough to almost get me fired. Suspending Mr Finch-Fletchley from removing the students from the protective eyes of Headmistress McGonagall for two months was the most lenient punishment considering his popularity with students and his non-traditional approach to teaching.

“You both need to remove the water weed before stepping inside. The children do not need another incentive to jump into the lake.”

Weasley makes a face.

Clearly he’s mocking me. My hand clenches, and I place it in my pocket. I try to ignore him, but I find myself suddenly adding, “You should both take more pride in your positions of authority as start acting as positive role models rather than gallivanting around like over-grown seventh-years.”

I turn on my heel and begin to make my way back to the stairs when something lands on the hem of my robes with a wet squish and then slides down, settling heavily onto the toe of my very expensive shoe. It’s a water weed.
31st-Oct-2006 04:30 am (UTC)
“It slipped,” Weasley’s voice echoes behind me.

Unbelieveable. He had the audacity to fling a water weed at me! I didn’t retire my artist’s leads and the long hours at the Mind Evidence Office for a shoe full of water weed and evenings staring at Mr Weasley’s dripping wet, naked form. I spin around and march back toward him, flicking the weed away with a deft kick.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure that you can curse it out of your costume or else pass a Ministry bylaw to make water weed a dangerous weapon.” Wealsey folds his arms over his chest as I approach. “Then maybe you can finally have something to fire me for.” He winks.

I’m careful to keep my eyes trained on his face and ignore his attempt to engage me in another one of his petty arguments. “These are my own robes and shoes that are now ruined. I don’t find it necessary to dress up like some fictitious –”

“Nice. Only you would dress up as yourself for Halloween.” Weasley twists his mouth in what can only be a smirk.

It’s infuriating the way he constantly interrupts me. How rude. Heat creeps up the back of my neck. My eye twitches. He’s so irritating. If I could hex him I would, but administrators don’t resort to violence. We deal with conflict logically and fairly with purpose and for the greater good of all parties present. I’m reminding myself this when Weasley does the thing that always seems to unhinge me – he calls me by my first name.

“Hope, you need to relax – get that pole dislodged. You might have fun if you’re not careful.”

“And I see that you’ve done the same, Mr Weasley, and dressed up as yourself. It’s clear by the way your unsavory behind is the eyesore of the evening that you are an arse!”

Mr Finch-Fletchely snorts and almost falls over where he’s wrestling with his tights. I’m slightly surprised by the venom in my voice, but can’t help but feel slightly vindicated. He had it coming to him. Maybe if he acts decently, he will get an apology.

But Weasley only raises his eyebrows, throws his head back, and laughs.

I clench my jaw. I’d like to know what he finds so amusing about any of this. “Your presence is singularly annoying and has the affect not unlike a Dementor,” I tell him.

“Feeling’s mutual, cupcake. It’s a wonder that frigid rich boy can even put up with you.”

My face burns. I narrow my eyes. How dare he call me names – a disgusting dessert of all things! How dare he insult my Armande! I step forward, pull out my wand, and wave it in his face. “Armande Gautier has things you will never possess, Mr Weasley. You wouldn't recognize class or proper manners if they jumped up and kicked you in your ...” I motion toward his unmentionables and then laugh. “But I suppose that wouldn't matter in the least considering your state of affairs.”

Weasley blinks and steps back, stunned.

Good. I smile. I always get the last word.
31st-Oct-2006 04:32 am (UTC)
I step back, and bring my hand to my chest. I feel my face convert to absolute horror and surprise.

“Wow, sunshine, I knew you could sink low, but I thought lying was below you.”

Hope’s eyes darken slightly as she glares at me, I don’t believe she thought our conversation would be continuing after her big move, but I think I’ll checkmate her in five lines.

"Let me assure you, that I am in no way lying. I have no need to lie or exaggerate."

“Lavender, you remember Lavender right?” Hope’s cheeks flood with red…she remembers…. “Well, she’s not above,” I hold up my hand, pinky extended, “talking about her past.”

“Weasley, you are a base creature…”

I cut her off, “And that’s the third time you’ve glanced down at the goods, sweetheart. I know you’re missing out from what I hear, but this is the property of someone else.”

“I assure you, I have no interest…”

I know she hates to be interrupted. “In being satisfied, I know.” I finish for her. “I even know the rumors are true, I mean, why else would you seem so flustered all the time?”

“I am quite satisfied…”

And she’s too proper to cut me off in return. “My wife, you know, she smiles. Sometimes she glows.” Hopes jaw muscle bulges slightly as I add, “She’s satisfied. You on the other hand must be thankful for vibration charms. Since engorgement charms are still too dangerous to place on living flesh. Too much of a chance of…explosion, and not in any good ways.”

“I am quite done with this…conversation.”

“Good luck on getting the charm to work.”

Hope does even flinch. She acts like she didn’t hear me, but she heard me.

I look over to Justin, he’s blue in the face from trying not to laugh.
31st-Oct-2006 04:33 am (UTC)
Luna is pretty neat. She’s my date. Well, not really. She just came with me because she lost our bet. It was the one about there being a million creatures in a drop of seawater – ones that are tiny and invisible. My favorite is Ditylum Brightwelii – it’s a type of phytoplankton.

We’re walking up to the Astronomy Tower because my Admiral Ackbar suit is hot and I want to show her where I hid my rock collection my last year at Hogwarts. I don’t know what Luna is dressed as, but the Styrofoam tubes and feathers on her head and the salt shaker attached to the end of her wand is pretty unique. I like unique people. I like Luna. A lot.

I’m just about to push open the door when Luna stops me. She holds her finger to her lips. Someone is laughing.

“You are crude and not worth responding to. I refuse to dignify your disgusting insinuations, and furthermore –”

“But you just did, love.”

I turn Luna around and motion for her to go back down the stairs. It’s Hope and Ron. They’re fighting again. I can always tell by the way Hope storms around the Ministry and has trouble talking that she’s just come back from a Hogwarts evaluation. Olga says it’s because of “unresolved sexual tension”, but I think it’s because they just like to yell at each other. I know from Owen Clapmogster who is on the Advancement of Educational Endeavors Committee that Hope calls Ron “The Unfortunate Conception”. But I don’t get how anyone would want to snog someone who was unfortunate. Olga gets confused sometimes – like that time at that Star Wars conference when she drank too much tequila and beer and tried to snog me. Good thing I had my Storm Trooper helmet on. Boy, now I know why quick-collapse mouth guards are handy. I just told Olga later that her face accidentally feel into my helmet so she wouldn’t be too embarrassed.

It’s a good thing that Hope isn’t part of the Unit anymore. Oakes promoted her. But really it was so Hope would go somewhere else. Oakes was having a trouble finding someone to take Dean’s job. Hope kept scaring them away.

I got a promotion, too. But it wasn’t because Oakes wanted to get rid of me because I’m still in the Magical Artifacts sub-unit. Well, I’m in almost in charge of it, the sub-unit that is, not the whole Unit. It’s sort of fun. We haven’t had anything as creepy as Pettigrew’s silver blob and things have slowed down since Lucius Malfoy bit the big one, but there have been some wicked cases mostly involving the underground wand trade. Sometimes I need to go look up old articles of the Quibbler. This is when I get to bump into Luna who’s pretty helpful.

But Luna isn’t being helpful right now because she won’t go back down the stairs. I’m about to lean in to whisper something funny to her when the door opens. Someone yells. I jump. Luna blinks. Hope is standing there looking surprised. Her face is red.

Justin’s face pops up behind Hope. “Tav, Luna! Come up for the show?”

Luna smiles and bolts up the stairs past Hope who rolls her eyes and walks past me down the stairs. I tell Hope, “Hello” and then go up to find Ron and Justin standing there starkers! Well, Justin has his Peter Pan tights half on and is holding his hat over his privates, so technically he’s not, but close enough. I don’t think Luna should see this, but she just laughs and points to Justin’s bum. “Another full moon. Where’s your flying carpet and your kilt?”

Justin grins.

“We’re fixing Justin,” Ron explains.

“Can we help?” Luna bounces on the balls of her feet.

The door bursts open. There’s a flash of white and a yell. Then: “I hate naked blokes and three-pronged salt-eating slugs!” The door slams shut.

“What was that?” asks Ron frowning.

“Grover,” I say, shrugging. He’s still the same. He hates everything.

Justin snorts.

“No, the bit about slugs.”

Luna spins around, shakes some salt from her wand, and says in a sing-song voice, “It’s me. I’m an endangered three-pronged, salt-eating slug.” She taps the feathers in her hair. “But the feathers are mine. Rather decorative, don’t you think? They add a splash of color.”

I smile. I should’ve guessed. She’s so clever.
31st-Oct-2006 04:37 am (UTC)
As Hermione and I head up to the Astronomy Tower where Hope told me I would find Justin sporting tentacle burns and “Mr Weasley” airing himself, I pass Tav and Luna on the stairs.

Luna smiles at me and tells me congratulations. Tav grins and looks at me knowingly. I don’t know what my husband has done now, but if he’s with Ron, there’s no telling what sort of trouble they’ve gotten themselves into, or what they may be conspiring to do. They need to be saved from themselves. Good thing Hermione and I are able to keep our eyes on them most of the time. I can only imagine what havoc the two of them must’ve wreaked at the Ministry. It’s a miracle that they both only died once.

“What is going on up here?” I ask in shock, as I see my husband standing there naked as the day he was born.

“I’d like to know that too, Ronald,” Hermione says walking over to him.

“Susan…I…well…”

“What were you thinking? This is a school! You’re a teacher…”

He kisses me, silencing my rant and says mischievously, “There, much better. Come with me.”

He leads me down the steps and into the main part of the castle.

As we round a corner we see a couple of students snogging. “Ten point from Slytherin,” Justin says. “Now get back to the party.”

“But, sir,” The young Ravenclaw says, “We aren’t from Slytherin House.”

“I know,” he says with a wink as they rush off to the Great Hall.

“Justin, you know you can’t do that,” I tell him.

“Just having a little fun,” he says grabbing my hand again and continuing on.

Walking towards the Hufflepuff Common Room he suddenly stops in front a broom cupboard door. The same broom cupboard we use to snog in.

Justin opens it and looks around. “There is no way we are both fitting in there,” he says sadly.

Justin starts off towards our quarters. I stop him.

“Justin, what is all of this about?”

He begins to tell me about how we have to try and conceive after the dance he did and everything that Thaddeus had told him.

I gently take his face in my hands and say, “Love, what happens, happens.”

“And I want this to happen, Mrs. Finch-Fletchley,” he says kissing me and guiding me to our room.
31st-Oct-2006 04:47 am (UTC)
I don't know what Justin and Ron thought they were doing. It was supposed to be dancing but if you call that dancing... well I don't call it dancing anyway. It was no where near the twist I taught Lassie and the children at Phoenix House years ago.

Plus the image of a naked Ron and Justin spinning around naked up there is just... disturbing. Normally I'd be pulling Lavender away from everyone so she can thoroughly cleanse my memory of evil and nasty things with a happy memory- an enjoyable memory. But I do believe that not all the chocolate sauce and whipped cream in the whole of Scotland will ever be able to erase that memory.

I must be mellowing out as I get older. It really doesn't seem to be that long ago that I would have been on the Tower with Ron and Justin but that was before Ewan changed me and before Olivia.

Just the thought of my children has me looking for them. Liam is running around with his first toy broom in his hand. He's outgrown it but it completes his outfit and it was always his favorite toy. He's always been my boy since the day I met him. It's hard to believe that we'll be sending him off on the Hogwarts Express in just a few years. Maybe we can talk them into waiting until he's twenty to go to school. I'm not being overprotective because he can take care of himself so well now, but I will miss my Little Man.

Beside Liam is his little brother, Ewan. The poor boy looks just like me but Merlin does he have his mother's temper. He was a whole new experience for me and Lavender. It was the first time we'd had a newborn. It's a twenty-four hour job. They depend on you for everything and you can't help but want to give them the world. I gave Ewan brooms and candy. Lavender gave him clothes and advice. He's very much like his mother. Maybe he won't inherit her school love for Divination. If he does... well, I'll still love him and try to steer him back to the right path. He'll have a time with the witches when he gets older. I hope having his mother around will make him less clueless about witches than I was.

31st-Oct-2006 04:48 am (UTC)
Speaking of witches, I remember the day my heart was stolen for good by a beautiful blonde with huge lungs. It happened two months ago. That was the day Olivia Heather entered my life. She turned it upside down almost as quickly as her mother. I have always said Lavender was my world and she continues to be to this day. But if Lavender is my world then Olivia is definitely the light of my world.

Lavender insisted on naming her after me so I returned the favor. It took days of research into some books Lassie sent me to find the right name. Lavender and her mother were both named for flowers and I wanted to continue that but nothing sounded right for Olivia until I actually looked up Lavender. Lavender is also known as Heather and the flower means admiration and solitude. The moment I saw it, I knew it was perfect. Olivia would be admired as the daddy's girl that she was and I'm going to make damn sure that she is in solitude for as long as possible.

No wizard's for my little girl. No way, no how.

At least until her mother forces me to give in.

I look back at my school years and wonder how things changed so much. I had so many plans when I was seventeen. Gryffindor would win the Quidditch Cup and maybe even House Cup. I really wasn't picky about the House Cup as long as we had the Quidditch Cup.

I'd leave school and try out for a professional team and play reserve for a few years before being sent to first string. From there I'd become Captain and pay my dues until I could play in the World Cup and advance my career even farther. By the time I was ready to retire, there would be a coaching position or two offered. Eventually I'd have the nest egg I wanted to buy my own team and be able to enjoy my favorite thing in the world for the rest of my life.

I look at Lavender holding my beautiful little girl with our boys running around her legs.

It's funny how your whole life can change because of one instance.

Lavender was my instance and she continues every day to keep making changes to my once well thought out plans for my life.

But I'm not complaining.

I make my way towards my family. I think it's time I took my beautiful wife in to enjoy the rest of the Halloween party before putting our children to bed for an early night- or letting Cassie put them to bed while I call it an early night with Lavender, and if I'm lucky maybe even a bottle of chocolate sauce.
31st-Oct-2006 04:49 am (UTC)
I press my hand against the stones and feel the hum of magic against my palm. I glance up and feel a tangle of emotions swirl through me. It's the old Divination Tower. If I close my eyes, I can still see the old classroom in my mind the myriad of large pillows strewn around wobbly tables. The heavy smell of incense permeating the cramped room. The dull glint of candlelight reflecting off the dusty crystal balls lined up on the shelf next to blue and pink tea cups.

It makes me smile.

I remove my hand from the wall as I feel a gentle tug on my hand. I smile at Oliver, who has that impatient look in his eyes, as we begin our walk back into the school. Unfortunately, I can't wipe the image of Justin and Ron dancing naked from my mind. Maybe Oliver can Obliviate me later.

It's been wonderful seeing all the children that once lived at Phoenix House doing so well. Ever since the demise of Lucius Malfoy and the end of his reign of terror, there haven't been as many children left orphaned. I'm glad that there's not such a demad of our services, but it's also sad that there aren't as many children in the house anymore. In the last few years I've taken on more responsibility and also donated a good majority of my fortune to make sure the house stays open to help any child in need. It gives me a good feeling to see the children kept fed and clothed and able to take classes to help them prepare for when they're accepted into Hogwarts.

A squeal of laughter catches my attention and I see Liam holding his younger brother's hand as he drags him to the front of the castle. Ewan is giggling with delight as he tries to keep up and I can't help but smile. Oliver insisted on their costumes. Liam is dressed as a Puddlemere United Keeper complete with the toy broom Oliver got him when he was small. Ewan is dressed as a quaffle and has had the time of his life falling down and rolling around on the ground. Of course his father has to help him up then Ewan is off and running again. My two boys are energetic and enough to drive any mother absolutely mad. Ewan is the perfect replica of his father, right down to the same crooked smile that he uses quite frequently to try and get out of any mischief he has caused. I adjust the weight on my arm and gaze down at my sleeping daughter. I found a wonderful Snitch costume for a baby at Madame Malkin's and immediately knew that it was the right choice for her. At only 2 months old, she has managed to completely captivate her father and has Oliver wrapped around her tiny, perfect finger. If Ewan looks like his father, Olivia takes after me. Her downy tuft of hair is gold and her eyes have changed from baby blue to green. Her lips form a perfect bow and she smiles all the time. My mother tells me it's gas, but I know better. I'm her mother aren't I?

Mother and Father are around a lot more now. Even though they were disappointed to have missed our wedding, they have been an active part of our children's lives and make wonderful grandparents. I think that Oliver and my mother have even buried the hatchet so to speak. They're certainly more civil to each other, and I think my mother actually looks at him with affection. Mrs. Portlow happily busies herself baking cookies for the children and she is more than happy to help Cassie watch the children at any time so she can spoil them terribly. I don't complain though, I'm blessed and I wouldn't change a thing.
31st-Oct-2006 04:49 am (UTC)
"Hurry up Mom! Dad! Ewan fell over again!" Liam is eagerly bouncing on his heels as he waits for us to catch up to him. Oliver shakes his head in resignation as he drops my hand to pick up our son who is rolling around on the ground yelling "Wheeeeeee!"

"Up you go sport," Oliver picks Ewan up and sets him on his feet. Ewan gives him a toothy smile and runs around in circles with the shouted encouragement of his older brother. Oliver shrugs helplessly at me and I smother a smile behind my free hand.

"That's enough you two!" I order sharply. "You'll wake your sister." Both boys immediately stop and trudge their way back to my side. They mumble apologies and shoot desperate looks at each other. It's hell to pay if their sister is woken up. They know that all to well.

"It's a good thing you're wearing that costume," Oliver whispers in my ear. He tugs on the sleeve of my black and white striped shirt and gives me an evil grin.

"One way to keep them in line," I retort. I decided to dress as an official World Cup referee. Ron's eyes had widened when he saw all of us and couldn't stop his laughter. Hermione stomped on his foot and we share a conspiring look between the two of us. She certainly knows how to deal well with him.

"You couldn't think of anything more original?" Ron questions. Hermione tuts and squeezes his hand tightly. I just shrug.

"It was all Oliver's idea," I tell him.

"So what are you dressed as?" Justin asks Oliver.

"Myself."

"Huh," Justin scratches his head. "How do you fit in then?"

"I'm still a Quidditch player. It's just my off day." I grin and take hold of his hand again. He smiles back and leans to kiss me. Immediately there are retching sounds. I ignore them and continue to kiss Oliver. Even though we've been married for just over five years, the magic has not dimmed between us.

"That's gross," Liam moans. "They're always kissing and stuff."

Ron opens his mouth and Hermione hisses "shut it" while also jabbing her elbow into his stomach. We all laugh and the bundle in my arms squirms to life. Big green eyes stare up at me and Olivia fidgets more before letting out a whimper. Oliver automatically reaches for his daughter and she stops her fussing and smiles angelically up at him. As far as she's concerned he's hung the sun, moon and the stars.

And she's right.
31st-Oct-2006 04:50 am (UTC)
Well this is one Halloween party I'm sure we won't soon forget.

Leave it to Justin to always entertain.

Back inside the Great Hall where the Halloween Feast is currently taking place, I sit beside my wife and enjoy the delicious foods that only Hogwarts' elves can deliver.

It always did amaze me that even when the noise levels were at it's highest during a meal, they dropped dramatically once the food appeared. It makes you wonder if they were really trying to feed us or to shut us up. Either way, they've had years of experience doing both.

I look over to my side to see Megan enjoying her treacle tart. She's so beautiful. If someone had told me while I was still a student here that one day I'd be sitting beside Megan as her husband, I would have laughed at them and told them not to make divination a career choice.

But I'm here with Megan.

She's my wife.

I'm the luckiest man here.

Sometimes plans just work out the way they're meant to and when they're meant to be. I look around the table and wonder how many of these students will one day be married to the friend across the table from them. It's hard to imagine because they're so small.

Were we ever that small?

I think back and remember all of us- Justin, Susan, Hannah, me, Ian, Megan, and Ernie- sitting around the end of our house table and discussing the latest DADA class, the chances of each Quidditch team making it to the World cup, or in the girl's cases, which wizards really deserved Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award.

Ernie

Even now I can still see my old housemate pulling the drapes around our four posters open and reminding us "breakfast will be served soon and will wait for no wizard."

Even now my friend, Ernie, continues to encourage others with the Ernie Macmillan memorial scholarship. It's given each year to the most proficient and most resourceful student in the seventh year for their job training post Hogwarts. Many witches and wizards owe their career start to him.

"How about we go check out the old Common Room?" I hear whispered in my ear. It causes chills to spread through me and I shiver. Only one woman has the ability to do that to me anymore.

My wife, Megan.

I turn toward her and grab her hand. "Want to take the scenic route?" I ask. My expression must be betraying the mischievous thoughts crossing my mind.

"We might... if you're a good boy," she says in a much too playful tone.

I stand and help her up from her seat. My only thought is to get away from underage eyes and spend some quality time alone with my wife.

My wife

I still can't believe she's been my wife since this past June. After so many years together, it's finally official. I know many of our friends and family wondered if when we would get married but we wanted to be positive to do it when it was the right time. It took us a year of "dating" before we decided to move in together. Having both been in a deeply committed relationship previously, we both took liberal amounts of time with each other. I didn't want Megan being a replacement for Hannah any more than I wanted to be Ian's replacement.

When we did get married, everyone knew it was the right thing. Even my uncle was glad I was marrying Megan. He even offered to pay for the whole thing but we declined the offer. We really didn't want to be indebted to him.

I must admit that my job at the ministry has been much easier since my uncle was given his old job back. I still love working in the Department of Games and Sports and wouldn't trade it for anything. It's what I love... well besides Megan. Quidditch was always a hobby for me because I knew my talent wasn't in playing. Now that hobby is my career. How many wizards get the chance to say they work in a field they're passionate about?

I'm jolted out of my reflections when I realize that Megan and I have turned the last corner to the Hufflepuff corridor. I can't believe I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn't notice the whole walk here.

I look at Megan and she awards me with her secretive smile.

Hogwarts may have been my past and I was caught up in it for a few moments but Megan is my future.

I'm looking forward to every minute of it.
31st-Oct-2006 04:54 am (UTC)
As I walk down the corridor to the Hufflepuff common room with Wayne, I am struck by memories. I had come this way daily for seven years. In some ways, it felt like a life time ago, and other ways it felt like just a few days.

Wayne opens the door and I hold my breath for a moment. I do not know what to expect, but when I think I hear laughter, I glance over my shoulder. No one is there, but I can almost imagine students, dressed in Hufflepuff colors, coming down the hall.

I enter the common room first, Wayne following.

There is a fire in the fireplace, crackling, which is the only sound in the room. It is empty, since all the students are in the Great Hall, enjoying the festivities.

Glancing around, I realize that the room was very much like I remembered it. Some of the furniture looks different, but the overall set up is still the same. I glance over where there is a sofa. It is new, but I could remember sitting in that same place with Susan and Hannah, talking and giggling. Then there is the doorway that led to the dormitories. It was wonderful sharing a room with your best friends, because even if there were fights, they never lasted long. I glance over at a corner where there is a globe of the world. That was where Ian asked me if I would go to the Yule Ball with him.

I still think about him. I know Wayne thinks about Hannah as well. I especially thought of Ian after I found out who his killer was. He had been a part of Greyback’s pack and had been killed shortly after Fenrir died. I sent an owl to his family with the information because I felt they had a right to know. His sisters were glad that it was over, but I never heard from his parents. I didn’t expect it either. However, with that done, any remains of Ian’s ghost were gone.

I slip my hand into Wayne’s and smile slightly seeing the faint sparkle cast by the fire. I glance down at my ring. I still feel giddy. Wayne and I were just married this past summer. Most told us that it was past time for it, but we moved at the pace that was right for us. The wedding was beautiful, and I unlike some brides, I was not nervous at all. However, I did request the help of Susan and Leslie often. They were my matron of honor and maid of honor, respectively, which was fitting as it connected my muggle life to my magical one. It won’t be like that for long, since Leslie is getting married in this winter. She will be marrying Samuel, and while she is not a witch, she enjoys the magical world. Lavender was also in the wedding party and helped me make sure it did not get too out of hand. She pointed out how her wedding had been and while I wanted family and friends there, I did make certain not to make it too large of a production.

I glance over at Wayne, who seems lost in his own thoughts, though his thumb is rubbing over my knuckles gently. Most don’t know how sweet he can be. He still surprises me in little ways. The day of our wedding, my shoes had gone missing. As it turned out, my shoes had been returned and Lavender, always with an eye for fashion, went with him to pick out shoes that were much more comfortable. He included a note where he offered a foot rub if I still wanted one, but wanted me comfortable on our wedding day.

I am not as comfortable in this costume. Wayne and I decided to choose costumes for each other. I should have chosen some else for him, because he chose a wench costume for me, which is something I would never have expected. I also am quite curious because when I protested, he promised to tell me the story behind it. Apparently it involves Vegas and rolling in the clover there.

“Stop tugging on it. You look wonderful,” Wayne remarks as I tug slightly on the skirt.

“You would think so. I should’ve given you something else. Like a kilt.”

“Why? I get a sword and everything. I’m quite an attractive looking pirate,” he boasts and I swat at his arm.

“And so modest too,” I add with a smile as I kiss his cheek.
31st-Oct-2006 04:57 am (UTC)
My eyes fall on something new in the room. Something that wasn’t there when we were students. I release Wayne’s hand and go over to look at it.

It is a small statue, looking like something one might find in Greece.

“Artemis,” Wayne offers from behind me. “The bow gives it away.”

I nod, remembering the little I was told about what happened then. I know there is a lot that I do not know about, but I got the basics of it. Wayne and I do not have such exciting adventures, I think to myself as Wayne wraps his arms around me, resting his chin on the top of my head. I smile to myself, leaning against him. We have had our share of adventures though. I continue working at the Ministry. Though Greyback is gone, there are other cases to handle in the Department of Werewolf Affairs. However, I have started to explore other options since it is clear that the others have it handled quite well. I joke with Wayne I will take his old job, and he laughs at the idea, so I know it will never happen. I have looked into relations between the wizarding world and the muggle world, since I am a half blood and find it sits well with me. I know it might change again in time, but I don’t mind.

I noticed a few other things that remind me of Justin in the room. Two of the chairs there, as well as the rug, just seem like things he would like. I wonder if Susan helped him with any of it. I glance over and see a picture of a crab, moving as it pinches at something I can’t see in the frame. No, it is clear that the redecorating was all done by Justin.

“This place has a lot of memories, doesn’t it?” Wayne asks.

I nod. There is the place I used to study. Then over by the fireplace is where so much happened. I miss Ian, Laura, Ernie and Hannah at times like this. However, the memories are bittersweet now.

“Want to make one?” Wayne suggests and I glance over at him, seeing a mischievous glint in his eye. He sits on one of the sofa and tugs me down, kissing me deeply.

I return it for a moment, arms going around his neck before I pull back. “Someone might come in,” I reply, but can’t help kiss him again.

“So?” he counters. “What’ll Justin do? Give us detention?” he asks.

I can’t help but laugh. “No, but we might scare some of the students if they come back early.”

He looks sad at this so I lean over to whisper, though no one else is there. “Besides, there is something I need to tell you.”

A frown crosses his features as he sees how serious I am. “Is everything alright?”

I nod as his hands take mine. “Yes. Better than alright actually.” I let out a deep breath. “Wayne…” I start, and then I take one of his hands and gently place it over my stomach. For some reason, I can’t find the words to say.

He glances from me to his hand then back up to me, confused. “Yes?”

“Wayne…I…we…” I see that he is still very confused by this. “When I went to the doctor the other day, I got some news.” He frowns a bit at this. “Wayne, we’re going to have a baby,” I tell him and give a small laugh.
31st-Oct-2006 04:58 am (UTC)
We had always talked about kids and knew we would have them. At least two, we had decided. Perhaps three or four.

Wayne looks at me for a moment. “What?” he asks.

“We’re going to have a baby,” I repeat and Wayne looks down at where I have his hand pressed against my stomach.

“You’re pregnant?” he asks, his eyes large.

I nod in response. Perhaps I should have led him into this a bit more carefully.
“Are you sure?” he asks.

“Yes. I am sure,” I nod. And I was sure. It was still a bit early into the pregnancy, but the doctor said the baby seemed to be doing well.

“How? When?” Wayne continues with the questions and I give him an odd look.

“You were there,” I point out.

“A baby…” he whispers and presses his hand against my stomach slightly. Then, his eyes roll back into his head and he falls back on the sofa.

“Wayne!” I shout, going to him and shake his shoulders. I can’t believe this! He passed out! “Wayne!” I shout again. I paused then gently slap at his cheeks, trying to get him to come to.

His eyes open slowly and I stop, and then take one of his hands in mine. “How do you feel?”

“I…I am okay. I just had this dream I think. Where you said…” he trailed off and realized that we were not at home, but where in the Hufflepuff Common Room still. His eyes got large. “It wasn’t a dream?” he asks.

I worry he is going to pass out again. “No. It wasn’t a dream.”

“I’m going to be a father?” he asks, as if he has to be certain about that.

“Well, yes.” I start to say more but all of a sudden Wayne moves faster than I thought possible and I give a small shout as he jumps off the couch and hugs me before picking me up and spinning me around the room.

“We’re going to have a baby!” he shouts, laughing and I can’t help but join in. He spins me around once, twice, three more times

We stumble and land on the floor, me landing over him. Immediately, Wayne looks at me, concerned. “Are you alright? Is the baby okay?” he asks.

“We are both fine. You broke our fall,” I tell him and grin. He is smiling as well and I don’t think either of us could stop even if we wanted to. He reaches one hand up and touches my stomach.

“You’re going to be a great father,” I tell him, one hand going over his.

“And I know you’ll be a great mother,” he replies. We look at our hands for a moment before looking at each other. “I love you.”

I smile, like I do every time I hear those words. “I love you too.”

He kisses the spot on my neck that he knows always makes me shiver, and I have the same reaction. I never used to consider myself much of a romantic, but being married to Wayne is like a dream come true.

“Boy or girl?” he asks.

“I don’t know yet,” I admit. “It’s still too early to tell.

“We should have at least one of each,” he tells me and I smile, nodding in agreement.

I lay my head on his chest and smile as he runs his fingers through my hair. We lay like this for a few minutes and we both glance over as we hear the sound of laughter. There are probably going to be students coming in and out of the Common Room soon and I do not think it would be good if they came across us like this.

I slide off of Wayne and he gets up, and then offers his hand to me, pulling me to my feet. He wraps his arms around me and I put my arms around his neck, linking my fingers together as he kisses me again.

As we pull back I smile. “Tonight.”

“Promise?”

“I promise,” I whisper into his ear, kissing him again as we pull away.

As we go to leave the room, I glance around the common room once more. It is hard to believe so much time has passed. While I have memories here, I know the others do too, and all are a bit different. It seems fitting that Wayne and I created some together now.
31st-Oct-2006 04:59 am (UTC)
I can’t help but smile as Wayne leads me from the room. His arm goes around my waist and I realize that the changes have been for the best. I didn’t expect any of this when I finished Hogwarts and yet it couldn’t have better even if I had planned it.

As we walk down the hallway back to join the party, we pass by where Justin and Susan live and Justin appears, heading in that direction. He looks disheveled, to say the least, but is dressed as Peter Pan. His hat is tilted in an odd angle and the tights look twisted. And is it my imagination or is his shirt inside out? Susan also looks flushed.

“Were you flying?” Wayne asks and Justin grins in response.

“Something like that,” he answers. “You should try it sometime.”

“Maybe I will,” Wayne answers, glancing at me. “What do you think, Mrs. Hopkins?”

“It sounds perfect,” I smile, wrapping my arms around him. Absolutely perfect.
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