“What?!” yelped Albus, surprised. Sophie opened her mouth to repeat the sentence, but before she had even uttered the first syllable, Albus leaped across the room and shut the door, an almost frantic look in his eyes.
Sophie shut her mouth in surprise.
“Please tell me,” began Al slowly. “That I misheard you and completely overreacted to your saying something perfectly normal.”
“Like about how I’m excited for the Malfoy’s Summer Ball?” Asked Sophie, playing along with his charade.
“Yes. Please Merlin tell me you said something about their ball and I flipped out unnecessarily. “
“You know I didn’t,” Sophie’s voice was sad. “I’m sorry I dumped this on you.”
“I’m trying not to be irritated, Soph, but that’s a lot to tell me all of a sudden,” Al looked sad and unhappy, but not angry. He ran a hand over his face and absentmindedly ruffled his hair, a mannerism he had adopted from James.
“I’m so, so sorry. Its just that I’ve been not saying it for so long. I ask Roxy where we are going for lunch, and I want to tell her. I went into Diagon Ally to buy a pair of shoes and wanted to shout it from the street corners. Its bursting out all over the place and I hate keeping secrets.”
“I suppose we can’t say anything. Of course we can’t.”
“Nobody has sworn me to secrecy or anything,” offered Sophie, hesitantly.
Al smiled ruefully. “Even so, we couldn’t. It would cause so much more harm than good.”
Sophie looked into his eyes and knew in that moment that he felt exactly the same way she did. He struggled with the decision as she had, and for the same reason. There was a moment where Sophie felt completely in tune with Albus, and never before had she wanted to kiss him so badly as now. It is an incredibly powerful feeling, to find someone who shares your ideals, with whom you feel so in tune.
But then Sophie remembered who she was and what Albus thought of her, and just barely prevented herself from doing something extremely embarrassing that would have deeply threatened their friendship.
Albus Potter was blissfully unaware of the turmoil going on in his friend’s heart. Instead, he was focusing on the problem at hand. In one short sentence, Sophie had caused an issue he believed in firmly—the Equality Act—to look very different to him. He was not rethinking his stance on the fact that all magical creatures should have the same basic rights. It was simply that up until this point, he had only seen the good, the downtrodden, put-upon side of the fight. Now he was seeing that even the “right” side had bad components.
It was disconcerting to be sixteen and be reminded that good and evil are rather hazy and overlapping descriptions. Life would be so much easier if they weren’t. Albus groaned in frustration, wondering what this information would mean for the future of the bill, for magical kind.
Suddenly Sophie was beside him, an arm around his shoulders and her head resting near his own. “They aren’t bad, just confused and tired of waiting to be treated like equals.”
Albus smiled. “I know.”
And Sophie knew that he did. “Do you remember when you were a second year?”
“Vaguely,” replied Albus, dryly, wondering where this was going.
“Its just that, all those years ago I asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up. Do you remember what you told me?”
“Quidditch player,” Albus said with some confidence. There had been a brief period in his life where he wanted to do anything and everything that James did.
“No,” answered Sophie.
“You told me you wanted to be Headmaster of Hogwarts and I laughed at you.”
Albus grew quiet. “I remember,” he replied slowly, because now he did.
“I thought, what a silly thing to want to be when you are twelve. Especially when there are so many more interesting things to want to be. Rose wanted to be a Dragon Tamer. James wanted to be a quidditch player. But you wanted to be a teacher.”
Sophie was smoothing his jumper in a distracted way that was distracting him. He had forgotten that he had ever told her, and was not sure how he felt that she remembered something so silly.
“And I asked you why on earth you wanted to do that, and you replied that you wanted to change things. Big things. Like Gryffindors and Slytherins. You told me, at eleven, that having everyone divided into houses only kept the old hatred alive, and that if you were going to change the world you needed to change the people. And if you want to change people, you change how you teach them. Slytherin, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw—those labels didn’t matter. You wanted to show that what mattered was who each person was.”
“I’m sure I don’t remember it sounding nearly that eloquent,” mumbled Al, embarrassed.
“Well I do. And it really made an impression on me. I’ve always remembered it. Its why I thought. Well. I thought that if I told you, you wouldn’t run off making assumptions and judging. You would know that that there are good and bad people on both sides of the argument.”
There were a few long moments of silence, before Al said with a smile,” I can’t believe you remember that. It was years ago and I was just a kid.”
“Of course I remember it,” laughed Sophie. “That was the moment I first…realized you were going to grow up to be something special.”
Sophie gave his shoulders a final squeeze and rolled to the end of the bed where her shoes where. The real end to that sentence was the moment I first realized I loved you. But Sophie would never say that sentence aloud. Instead, she smiled over the familiar memory of an eleven year old standing out in the December snow, promising her that he would change the world one day.
“I’m not mad, you know. That you told me. Its just a lot. Actually, I’m kind of flattered.”
“Well, you should be flattered, me being so important and all,” Sophie drawled, trying to figure out how the strappy shoes went back on.
“Our world is really changing, isn’t it.”
“Maybe it always was, and we just didn’t see it until now. Makes me wonder what all I missed.” The shoes were on and her purse was located. It was time to go back to the club. As she had promised Maddy, it had taken no more than five minutes. Well, twenty. But Mads had been busy with the Italian, and surely had not noticed her prolonged absence.
“You off?” Asked Albus.
“Yeah, the night is still young. You know me, party animal and all that.”
“You come here, deliver earth shaking new information, and then just abandon me?” teased Al. Sophie spun around, apologetic. She really had done that.
“I’ll stay if you want me too,” she offered. And for three heart breakingly exciting seconds, she thought he would ask her too, but instead he smiled and told her to go finish her night.
“In all honesty, the more I think about it, the less surprised I am. It was only a matter of time before something like this happened.”
“To be fair, they really don’t know who did it,” Sophie elaborated. “They just suspect. But even a suspicion is enough to give the Purists a boost and change the feelings of the public towards the law. If they had something more substantial, they would say something.”
“Knowing my father, of course they would. He can’t stand for government to lie to the people. He probably can’t even stand this white lie.”
“Some times you have to, in order to keep people safe. Imagine all the riots that would occur if it came out that non-wizard magical creatures could break into the Ministry and do all that damage. There would be a public outcry to put everything that wasn’t human in a cage. And I can’t imagine that would go over well.”
“We’d be three seconds from an interspecies magical war,” answered Albus gravely. Sophie looked at him, again seeing a glimpse of the amazing man she was sure he would become. She shook herself out of the solemn moment and smiled.
“On that happy note,” she laughed. “I will take my leave.”
Albus managed a smile in return and ushered her towards the door. “Oh, now that we are friends again, am I going to see you at the Malfoy’s Ball?”
“Of course, good sir! It is only the social event of the season—I would never miss it!” Sophie teased. The first hour was always fun—seeing people she had not seen in months, the excitement, the food. But as the evening wore on, making small talk with the adults and dancing with the children of her mother’s friends occupied her time. It was an event she both looked forward to and dreaded.
“Yeah, well, I’ll be the handsome one in the fancy dress robes,” teased Albus.
“He’s lying of course—that will be me.” James sauntered in from the den, having heard then come down the hall. “Alls well?” He questioned.
“Right as rain,” sang Sophie, and she stepped into his arms for a goodbye hug. She had not seen him in days. It was odd, missing someone who had been such and important part of your life. Sophie was reminded that seventh year would be quite an adjustment, if only because James would not be around as much.
“Sure you don’t want to hang around? Mum and Dad are out at an event and Lily’s at a friend’s. Really, Al and I are just tearing the house apart we’re so bored.”
“Its practically in ruins,” lamented Albus as he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek in farewell.
“Yeah, yeah. I can tell,” Sophie smiled. “But if I stay any longer Maddy will get worried.”
Sophie waved a cheerful goodbye and walked off towards the apparition site. Just before she popped off she heard James ask Albus, “So what did you talk about for so long?” but she apparated before she could hear Al’s reply.
Back at the club, Sophie was able to lose herself in the music. She danced with Dom and Victoire, chatted with a cute boy at the bar, and played a never-have-I-ever-esque drinking game with Maddy and her Italian suitor. For the first time in weeks, she felt completely free—no one was mad at her, nobody thought she was dating James, and she had Al to talk to about the Magical Equality Act. For a brief, glorious moment, her life seemed normal, open, and guilt free.
I know its been forever--in my defense, this has been a really difficult semester. And I know that this is a bit shorter than normal, but if I added any more it would have been too long, so I decided to end it where it is. Also, if you see any typos, please tell me--I edited this very late at night and I am prone to miss things.
The quote in the summary is from Henry IV by W. Shakespeare. I chose it because there is an underappreciated side of boldness and valor that requires you to put aside your personal beliefs to bring about the greater good. In my mind, this is something that a Slytherin or Ravenclaw might understand better than a Gryffindor (one reason why Albus understands better than James might).
Have a lovely holiday and expect more updates now that the semester is over. Cheers!