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Chapter 8 : Matters At Hand
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Matters at Hand
“Ron, come here,” excitedly called Hermione Granger-Weasley from her ground-floor kitchen. “Rose sent us a letter from Hogwarts!”
“Calm down, Hermione, it’s not that important!” called a disgruntled Ronald Weasley as he trudged in from degnoming the garden with his son Hugo. Wiping the mud from his and Hugo’s hands with an old bathroom towel, he came into the kitchen to meet his quite annoyed wife. She was glaring at him darkly and tapping her foot impatiently.
“I can’t believe you, Ronald! You're so typical! It’s your eldest daughter’s first letter from school and you say it’s not that important?” Shaking her head in somber shame of her husband’s quite pitiful “emotional range”, she took the sheaf of parchment out from the envelope.
“Rosie wrote us a letter?” Hugo asked eagerly, taking the seat between his mother and father. Hermione smiled at her youngest and ruffled his dark red, curly hair playfully. “Read it to us, mum!”
“Dear Mum, Dad, and Hugo,
“I was sorted into Gryffindor! So were Albus and Azalea Longbottom; she’s Professor Neville Longbottom and Professor Luna Lovegood’s daughter. I can’t wait for you to meet her! We’ve been getting along great together.
“We had flying lessons last Saturday, and we flew with the Slytherins. I wish that they would let first years play Quidditch. It’s going to be weird not playing with Dad, Hugo, Albus, Uncle Harry and the rest of them every weekend this year.
“She’s definitely your daughter, Ron,” Hermione joked, pausing in her reading, “just as obsessed with Quidditch.”
Ron looked put out. “It’s not an obsession, it’s a healthy passion.”
Hermione laughed along with her son at her husband’s ridiculous expression and continued to read aloud Rose’s letter.
“But we did go to tryouts. Though disappointed as we were since they sent us into the stands right away, knowing that we were first years, we enjoyed ourselves watching the crummy Chaser hopefuls. Albus and I could whip them any day.
“Schoolwork has been great-” Ron laughed, “Definitely something she got from you!” Hermione scowled and continued-“but hard. None of the Professors are letting up on us, and the essays keep getting longer. We’re keeping up though, by working together in the library and such.
“Write back soon, give everyone my love!”
On the bottom of the letter was her daughter’s signature, much neater than either her own fancy writing or her husband’s untidy scrawl, much simpler and sharper. Ron and Hugo left her to continue in the garden while she cooked dinner for that night. Hugo fed Rose’s owl Sanskrit an owl treat before she hooted and left to rest in Rose’s room where her cage and water were. But there was a post script at the end that caught her attention before she put the letter in the jar on the kitchen counter with the last few letters she had gotten by owl-post.
I have another new friend here at Hogwarts. He was sorted into Gryffindor, too. His name is Scorpius Malfoy.
Hermione felt the color begin to leave her cheeks. Slightly shakily, she put the letter back into the envelope and proceeded to put it securely in her back jean’s pocket. She would discuss this with Ron, Ginny and Harry later.
“Mommy come look, its Imogene, Albus’ owl! He’s got two letters tied on his legs!”
Ginny Weasley-Potter smiled as she watched her youngest daughter jump up and down in glee, reminding herself of another little redhead when she was Lily’s age who was over excited about anything to do with Hogwarts. Opening the bedroom window, she let the graceful eagle owl to land on the dresser before she held out her leg for Ginny.
While untying the bit of string, Ginny motioned for her daughter to come over. “Take her to Albus’ room so she can rest before I send her off with a letter for Albus and James.”
Lily nodded eagerly and clicked her tongue for the owl to follow her out the door. Taking the two letters, one from James and the other from Albus, she went down the hall to her husband’s study. Knocking lightly, she heard as he got up and came over to the door and opened it. Harry Potter slid his glasses back up his nose as they slid down.
“Yes, Ginny?” he said, inviting her into his study lined with bookshelves full of Defense books.
“James and Albus sent us letters from school,” she said, handing him both of the envelopes. “I’ll get Lily; she’ll want to hear what’s going on.”
Harry smiled as he looked at the two envelopes, one with Albus’ not-so-tidy writing and James almost unreadable scrawl, each saying The Potter’s on their faces. He took a silver letter opener from his desk, an exact scale model of the Gryffindor sword he had once pulled out of the Sorting Hat. Deftly, he broke the seal that was on both of the letters and took out the letters, spreading them out on the desk before him and waiting for Ginny and Lily.
Lily settled herself in her father’s lap as Ginny sat in a leather armchair next to them so she could read the words as Harry read them aloud to them.
“Dear Mum, Dad, and Lily
“I made seeker!
“This year’s Quidditch season’s going to be starting soon. I’m so excited for this year; we have a good team put together, Captained by seventh-year Preston Erthart. He’s really starting to whip us into shape. Gryffindor might just steal the House Cup from Ravenclaw this year, so we’ve got to trample everyone in Quidditch just in case someone loses a bunch of house points.
“School’s been fine, I suppose. Just the usual drag, only harder this year. Second years are really getting piled on, but I suppose this isn’t as bad as it’s going to be at exams.
“I hope you get to come see us play on the 17th. It's my first game!
Ginny beamed over her husband’s shoulder. “Looks like we’ve got another Oliver on our hands, dear; this Preston sure seems to act like him.”
Harry grinned as he put the letter back into the envelope and took up the other piece of parchment. This one seemed considerably longer.
“Dear Dad, Mum, and Lily,
“I was sorted into Gryffindor!
“Hogwarts is amazing! I never imagined that it would be like this. Sure, the passageways, trick stairs and stuff have made their fun of us first years. But I finally found my way down to the Great Hall without help from Rose, and without getting lost, yesterday. I think my favorite thing so far is how many portraits there are here.
“Rose and I have made some new friends here. We met up with Azalea Longbottom on the Hogwarts Express and have been together ever since. She was sorted into Gryffindor, too.
“They didn’t let us try out for the House team this year. James made seeker, as if he hasn’t told you yet. He keeps rubbing it into our faces that he’s old enough to play on the House team and we aren’t yet. They did let us fly, though, so now Rose and I are reserve Chasers and Azalea is a reserve Beater. I’m not sure if Professor Neville will let us play though, unless it’s an emergency, what with us being first years still, and all.
“Hagrid sends his regards. He wanted to send some rock cakes over, but I decided not to send them on to you, and disposed of them myself since I didn’t want to weigh Imogene down unnecessarily.
“We also made a new friend on the train. He was sorted into Gryffindor, too! He’s the team’s reserve Keeper, now. Scorpius is really great.
Harry’s voice caught in his throat as he reread the paragraph he had just said aloud, his eyes narrowing at the name Scorpius. Ginny’s hand squeezed his shoulder a bit as she told Lily to go and to and play with their dog, Hammond. She obliged happily as her parents locked the study door after her.
Ginny’s freckles were livid against her pale face as she leveled her gaze with her husband’s, whose face was equally stony and set. Holding onto his shoulder with a vice-like grip, she spoke softly.
“Scorpius, as in Malfoy, right Harry?” she said tentatively.
“I don’t think that there are any more Scorpius’ that it could be, do you? It seems that our son and niece have befriended Draco’s son.” He sat back and ran his hand through his jet black hair, messing it up worse than what it had been. His mouth twitched slightly in a wan smile as he looked over to his wife, who looked at him with bewilderment.
“I wonder how Malfoy’s taking the fact that his only son, his only child, is a Gryffindor.”
I hope this letter finds you as well as I left you. I certainly have been well accommodated for here in the castle. Classes are as you described them, challenging but simple enough. The easiest seems to me to be Transfiguration. A lot of the other students seem to be struggling with it, but I’m having no problems.
The thrill of the upcoming Quidditch season has reached an all-time high here in the castle. It’s as if we’re hosting the World Cup each week. Myself and my new friends here at the school tried our luck at the tryouts. Unfortunately, we were turned away because of our age, but we all made fun of the lackeys that they chose. However, they did let us fly, so now I’m a reserve Keeper.
The next game is on the 17th of November. It’s Slytherin versus Gryffindor; the whole school is wired for it. I can’t wait to watch the teams play!
I hope to hear from you soon.
Scorpius H. M.
I’m a Gryffindor.
A smash reverberated around the shelves of the vast library of Malfoy Manor as a wine glass hit a mirror-like glass above a mantle.
Draco Malfoy stared at his slightly cracked Foe Glass, feeling his pulse heighten as he reread the last word of his son’s letter, his first ever from school. Red wine looked like blood as it dripped down the reflective surface and onto the mahogany mantle to the cobbles in the grate. A vein in his neck and temple throbbed erratically, at two different tempos. Hands shaking, he crumpled the letter into a ball in his fist and made to throw it into the flickering flames in his library. Scorpius’ midnight-black owl watched his immobile silhouette intently from her perch on the back of his high-backed chair.
Frozen in front of the red and gold flames, he found himself sickened. The dancing colors were the same ones that his son was now boldly wearing on his school robes. The colors that he had despised since he had seen the banner hung in the Great Hall those many years ago with the proud lion dancing on its silken form. Turning his face from the flames, he put one hand to his head and massaged his temples with his thumb and forefinger. The veins’ pulsing were relieved a bit as Draco sank back into his chair, despair threatening to engulf him.
“What has he done?” he wondered aloud.
Sitting there and brooding, thought after wild thought entered his mind. He pondered the idea of sending his son a Howler, just to let him feel some of the rage he felt towards him in that moment, but he thought better of it. There was no need to attract any more attention to the Gryffindor House Table than he assumed his son was already attracting.
Lightly fingering the crumpled parchment in his thin hand, he watched the flames with a deepest loathing. Darksky hooted reproachfully, indignant that his master’s father hadn’t properly cared for him yet. Draco sighed and rose from his seat, for once grateful for the annoying distraction the elegant owl posed. Leaving the warm confines of his study, he walked out into the hall unaided by any light but from that of the moon through the high windows. After mulling it over all the way to his son’s room, where the owl’s perch was, he had gotten to once choice in his mind.
Smirking famously, he went to his own suite and pulled open the top drawer in his dresser by the bed. The old fabric felt familiar, fragile and comforting all at once. His Slytherin scarf was faded, but only in the slightest. Wrapping it around his neck, memories of schooldays past washed over him. The smirk never left his face.
It was high time he went to watch a Quidditch game.
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