Sophie sat in her room, alone. There were many things she could be doing. Sophie could finish her summer homework. She could start applying for internships for next summer. She could answer the letters her friends had sent. But instead, Sophie was sitting quietly, and thinking.
After her mother’s recent revelations last week, Sophie was feeling more than willing to return to her adolescent life. She still wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her information. On the one hand the wizarding world had a right to know that non-wizard persons might have had something to do with the attack. On the other hand, if the Purists got a hold of that information, all hopes of equality in the wizarding world could be given up.
Sophie shook her head—she didn’t know what the right thing to do was. Guiltily, she decided to put off deciding until there was more concrete information. After all, what was the point of getting worried if the information wasn’t even verified yet? It could just be a huge misunderstanding, she reassured herself. But despite the many logical reasons for not shouting her information at the nearest street corner, the decisions still weighed heavy on her heart. Her choice felt uncomfortably like cowardice, an emotion Sophie was altogether unfamiliar with.
At least she wasn’t the only one who didn’t know how to behave with such volatile information. Sophie had met her brother for lunch yesterday, and Chris couldn’t stop chattering. Chris was programmed for truth—it was killing him to keep the secret. His nervous babbling was one of many reasons that Chris would never have a role in Politics.
The other reason was the Christopher Hinds was far to kind and obliging. Her parents and Maddie had simply assumed that Sophie would keep the information concealed. This is what the children of prominent public figures did—there was no question of what Sophie wanted to do. But at lunch, Chris had told Sophie rather seriously that he would support her, whatever decision she made.
“Listen Soph,” he had said. “I know this is a lot for you. Mum shouldn’t have told you. It puts you in an awkward position.”
“I’m not a child,” Sophie had answered, childishly.
“I know,” Chris had responded, sincerely. “ You’re an adult now. You can make your own decisions. And I know you. I know this bothers you. And I want you to know that, whatever you decide to you, I will still love you.”
“Chris!” hissed Sophie, shocked. “Are you saying you think I should tell!”
“No,” Chris replied, simply. “I honestly don’t think you should. But I know you. I know you want to. And I’m not going to try to convince you either way. What I’m saying is, you are old enough to make your own decisions. And if you decide to go against mum and tell, I don’t want you to have to worry that your family will abandon you. It’ll make Christmas’ awkward, but you will still be loved.”
“I know, I know,” Sophie muttered. Chris nodded like he was satisfied, but Sophie continued to pick at her food. She knew her family would eventually forgive her if she told—she just wasn’t sure she could forgive herself if she didn’t tell.
With a sigh, Sophie stood from her spot on the bed. Idly, she walked down the hall and into the kitchen. She had no real objective in mind, but busied herself tidying the counters and putting on a cup of tea. The kettle had just started to whistle when she heard a series of thumps from the living room. Mug in hand, Sophie stuck her head around the door jam and was met with one of her favorite sights in the entire world: the Potter children.
She put down her cup with a squeal and ran to embrace her friends. “It is so good to see you,” she whispered, one arm looped around each sibling.
“Surprise!” Lily giggled.
“It’s only been a week,” laughed Albus, grabbing her around the waist and lifting her off the ground in a bear hug. Lily slapped her brother, offended that he had stolen her friend. Albus set Sophie carefully on the ground with a laugh, and although her feet were on the ground, her head still felt like it was spinning and the left side of her face tingled where it had brushed against his.
Turning to James quickly, she gave him a quick hug and a peck on the cheek. He caught her sad look before she turned away, and sent her a questioning expression. Sophie gave him a discrete shake of her head—this was one secret she could not share with her best friend.
“We are headed to Diagon Ally,” Lily was chattering. “And it wouldn’t do to forget you, Soph. Especially since you have been ignoring my letters recently. Would it kill you to pick of a quill?”
“Ah! Sorry, Lils!” cried Sophie, immediately assuming the role of the busy child of the Minister for Magic. “I’ve read them—I swear! But its like I’ve got a million things to do and no time left for writing back!”
Lily chattered her forgiveness while James helped himself to some of her tea and a biscuit. “How’s your mum doing?” he said, once he could get a word in edgewise.
“Fine, fine. You know her. Works best under pressure. Your parents are the same way.”
“Hurry up, Sophie. We are having a fun day, finally, and you are going to make us late.”
“Its just school shopping,” teased Sophie.
“All the cousins will be there!” announced Lily with a flare as she too snatched a biscuit. “And it will be a chance to finally get you out of this dreary house. You’ve just cooped yourself up in here—don’t lie, I know you haven’t been busy all this time!”
Sophie rolled her eyes, but Lily was right. The girl had a scary way of always knowing everything. Sophie wasn’t sure if Lily was some sort of genius legimens, or just had an extremely accurate information network, but Lily Potter knew absolutely everything about everyone.
“How long are we going to be gone,” Sophie asked. “I need to leave a note for Maddy. Oh, and the Floo powder is in the little jar there, by the bookcase.”
As Sophie scribbled a note to her sister, Albus opened the jar, took a pinch of green powder out, and then disappeared into the fireplace. Lily followed, and but James stalled behind.
“You alright?” He asked, as though he wasn’t quite sure.
“Yeah,” Sophie reassured. “Just family stuff, you know.”
James nodded, stepped into the hearth, and was carried off to Diagon Alley with a whoosh. Sophie took a deep breath, and followed.
Sophie stumbled out of the fireplace at The Leakey Cauldron, bumping into Fred Weasley. “Wotcher, Soph!” He exclaimed, steadying her. Sophie laughed and apologized. Nearly all the Potter-Weasleys were present. Even Victoire was standing next to her sister, Dominique, even though she had graduated the year before.
“Sorry, Sophie held us up,” Lily teased loudly when she saw her friend. Sophie sent Lily a mocking glare and started up a conversation with Fred and Roxy, who were eager to unload the latest gossip—the Potter/Weasely’s were so numerous that it was almost impossible to keep updated unless you were actually there.
Owling, apparently, was not a good enough substituted for face-to-face chats, because although she and Lily had exchanged two letters in the short amount of time, she was still surprised when Fred informed her that Louis had dumped his girlfriend.
“Was he even dating?” Sophie exclaimed. Roxy waved her hand as if to say, who knows. Eventually someone decided that they should make their way outside, rather than clogging up the pub, and the group began heading en mass towards the door.
Somehow, in the hustle and bustle of the exodus, Albus had ended up walking next to her. Sophie found her eyes sliding sideways to glance at him under her lashes. A lock of hair had fallen over his deep, green eyes and Sophie barely restrained herself from brushing it aside. Realizing what she was doing, Sophie gave herself a quick shake and focused, once again, on Roxy.
“He picked her up at Fortesques’ at the end of last school year,” Roxy was saying. “Would you believe he actually proclaimed his undying love to her in French, just to get her to go out with him? Of course his fifteen and he got bored within a few weeks.”
“How many girls has he had in the last year?” marveled Sophie. “I certainly wasn’t like that when I was fifteen.”
Fred snorted. “Of course you weren’t,” he laughed.
“But then again, not everyone is like you and James, Soph,” Chimed in Albus.
He was smiling, so Sophie smiled back, but something near her heart squeezed uncomfortably. There James was again. Sometimes it was hard not to regret the decision to date him—if she hadn’t, maybe the boy she adored would have been on her arm, rather than smiling at her from a distance.
Fortunately, the moment passed without notice from those around her. Roxy continued her rant about Louis’ philandering ways (‘can a 15-year-old philander?’ Sophie questioned), while Al was distracted by new quidditch supplies. No matter that he didn’t play on the team, all Potter/Weasleys were required to have a passion for the sport.
“Look, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes!” Exclaimed Sophie, changing subjects quickly. She wasn’t sure she could take much more talk of other people’s love lives, when her own was so hopeless.
Fred groaned. “I’ve had to work there all week. That’s the last place I want to go!”
There were a few moments of obligatory bickering before they realized that they could split into smaller sets. Of the group at large, there were several who had things to get at WWW, but James, Lily, and Fred decided to disappear into Quality Quidditch Supplies, while Rose, Dominique, Louis, and Molly headed off in the pursuit of books. Other factions left in the direction of Fortesques’ or Madame Malkins, but Sophie, Roxy, and Albus made a beeline for Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.
“I’m meeting Scorpius here,” Albus admitted to Sophie as they entered.
“What?” Sophie gasped in mock horror. “You are ditching your family in favor of some Slytherin?!”
“Ha-Ha,” Albus laughed back, rolling his eyes at her teasing. “So what do you need, Soph? Is the Minister’s daughter even allowed to pull pranks?”
Sophie laughed and shook her head, mournfully. “Alas, no. I come here only to gaze upon the forbidden fruit.”
“How tragic,” said Al, continuing the joke. “That you will never know the delicious pleasure of spiking someone’s pumpkin juice with a mild truth serum.”
“Too true,” commented Sophie, standing near him to examine the item in question. He smelled clean, good. Sophie fixed her eyes on the vial of serum, determined to keep her eyes from straying.
“Or slip a Nosebleed Nougat into the goblet of a certain Ravenclaw keeper on game day…”
“How did you know?” squealed Sophie, giggling. Albus waggled his eyebrows at her, but didn’t reveal his source.
“And,” continued Albus with a grand gesture. “You are surely too good and pure to ever use a Patented Daydream Charm in History of Magic, to avoid being bored.”
Sophie smiled at Albus’ banter and caught the tiny, colourful box that he tossed to her. She traced the edges, more intrigued than she ought to have been. The cover had picture of a man and woman on a pirate ship—not exactly Sophie’s idea of the perfect daydream, but the side of the box held the promise of a perfect daydream for every user.
“Tell me you don’t actually use this in class,” Sophie chastised lightly. Albus made a motion as if to zip his lips.
“Well, I came here for self-inking quills, not any of this…” Sophie gave a dismissive wave, as though the all the fantastic products available in Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes were beneath her interest.
Albus laughed uproariously, knowing that although she wasn’t a hard core prankster, WWW had received considerable patronage from Sophie Hinds over the years.
“Your loss,” he said with a grin. Then someone caught his eye. “Oy, Malfoy! Scorpius!”
Albus left with a farewell and a wave, heading off towards his best friend. Sophie was left standing alone, watching him leave for much longer than she really ought to have. Shaking herself out of her reverie, Sophie busied herself looking at the products on the shelf.
She still had the Patented Daydream Charm in her hand as she browsed the shop, picking up items along the way. Somehow, it was still in her hands when she was ready to check out. Maybe it was because Albus had given it too her, or maybe because she was in desperate need of an escape from reality, but Sophie actually bought the charm, and quickly hid it in the bottom of her purse. Somehow she felt silly buying something so frivolous. It was almost as bad as buying a love potion.
Roxy had only come into the shop to wheedle some money out of her father. Although George Weasley was cunning and shrewd when it came to business, somehow his children could always get what they wanted from him. Roxy had once mentioned, in a rare serious moment, that she believed it was because he had grown up without having a lot of money and wanted his children to have what he couldn’t.
But whatever the reason, Roxy left the story with “book money” safely in hand. She caught Sophie’s eye and nodded towards the exit. “I’m heading to Flourish and Blott’s. Wanna come with?”
“I’m done,” Sophie replied. She turned to Albus, to tell him they were leaving, but he was too absorbed in a conversation with Scorpius and another sixth year to notice her wave.
She and Roxy exited the shop, blinking in the unexpectedly bright sunshine. “So, where too?” Sophie asked her friend.
“No, I really need to go to Flourish’s. So suspicious!”
Sophie rolled her eyes at her friend. Roxy constantly spent book money on things that were definitely not books or even school related. Roxy shrugged, as if to say, so sue me.
“So what NEWTs are you taking?” Sophie asked. The letters from Hogwarts had come a few days previously. Sophie would be taking Muggle Studies, Potions, Transfiguration, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Arithmancy. She wasn’t sure at all what Roxy would be taking—Roxanne Weasley was incredibly smart but did not like to exert herself in the pursuit of an academic career.
Roxy looked away and named her classes: Potions, Transfiguration, Herbology, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Arithmancy. Sophie’e eyebrows raised so high they were in danger of disappearing into her hair line. Roxy stubbornly avoided her gaze.
“I thought,” Sophie said. “That you were going to take as few NEWTs as they allowed. You said there was no point—“
“I know what I said,” Roxy sounded a bit annoyed.
“—in taking lots of classes when you weren’t going to get a job anyway,” Sophie finished, unfazed at her friend’s annoyance.
“Well I changed my mind. My prerogative.” Roxy still wasn’t meeting her eye.
“What, did you parents twist your arm?”
“Are you enjoying this?” Roxy whined.
Sophie giggled. “Of course not. I’m just glad you are living up to your potential.” And she was. Sophie thought Roxy was one of the smartest witches she had ever met, and yet, up until this year, Roxy remained determined to establish herself as a determined party girl. Good for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley for making their daughter challenge herself academically.
Roxy pretended to huff as they entered the shop. Flourish and Blott’s was busiest in the weeks before school started. Luckily, the girls were there fairly early in the season—in another week, the store would be too crowded to take a step without bumping into someone. Since Roxy and Sophie had several of the same classes, they divided the workload: Sophie would find the books for Arithmancy and Potions while Roxy would get the books for Transfiguration and DADA.
“See you in a bit,” Roxy said by way of farewell.
Sophie roamed around the bookstore, half looking for textbooks, but mostly looking at the people. As a game she tried to guess the ages of students, or what books people had come into the store for. For instance, there was a woman browsing the biographies (the ditzy wife of a prominent politician) who Sophie could only presume was looking for the latest juicy tell all on Victor Krum (he had, after all, just gone through yet another nasty divorce—details within!). An older gentleman near the cash register was surely buying the newest mystery novel by Cho Davies for his granddaughter. And the two very giggly, very red faced teenaged girls in the archaic texts sections were undoubtedly only there to attract the attention of the handsome store clerk and had no intention of scholarly endeavors whatsoever.
Sophie smiled to herself as she reached for the Standard Book of Spells (7). Mitchell Cates was two years older than Sophie and heir apparent to the esteemed Flourish and Blott’s franchise. He was a nice lad, very smart, if Sophie remembered correctly, but the girls only seemed interested in other aspects about him. At present, their focus was his bum. Sophie grimaced and hoped that she hadn’t been this silly at sixteen.
Sophie shifted the heavy books in her arms and set about looking for her final text—Charms. She could see the book in question. It was a small, burgundy book, just at her eye level. However, with her hands already full, she couldn’t easily reach it. Sophie wrinkled her nose in annoyance and considered her options. She could set her books down, but the store was so crowded that she was sure they would be knocked over. She could just leave it, pay for what she had, and get the Charms book later. But that would take too long—she would just have to ask someone to get it for her.
“Excuse me,” Sophie tried to get the attention of a group of teenage boys to her right. Unfortunately, they chose just that moment to laugh uproariously at something, and seemed not to hear her. Sophie let out a little frustrated sigh, and opened her mouth to ask again, when a voice to her left stopped her.
“This one?” came a vaguely familiar voice. Turning, Sophie was unsurprised to see none other than Mitchell Cates handing her the very book she needed. Behind him, the two girls glared at Sophie. She looked questioningly at Cates—his face remained bland, but his eyes darted back the teenager girls in a panicked way that made Sophie take pity on him.
“Thanks,” She said. “Actually, I need some help with some other books. Mind lending me a hand?”
Cates nodded politely and even offered to help her with her load. Sophie led him to Roxy with a slight smile as he breathed a sigh of relief to be rid of the younger girls.
“My friend is over here,” Sophie explained. “I didn’t really need anything.”
“Thank you,” said Cates with deep appreciation, glad to have found a polite way to escape the giggling girls.
“Roxy!” shouted Sophie, so as to be heard over the crowd. Roxy waved from over by the register. Once the pair had made their way close enough to be heard, Sophie tried to introduce her helper.
“Roxy, this is Mitchell Cates. He’s a year or two older than us. And this is—“
“Roxanne Weasley,” Cates interrupted with a smile. “We know each other.”
Sophie looked at her friend with mild interest. Roxy shrugged. “He tutored me in Charms and Arithmancy fifth year for OWLs.”
“I’m still not sure why you needed it,” Cates said, with a smile as he began ringing up their purchases. “It only took a few sessions to catch you up to the rest of the class.”
“The homework was boring,” said Roxy, by way of explanation. Sophie laughed. She knew for a fact that Roxy was much better at Charms than Sophie would ever be—it just seemed to come naturally to her. However, Roxy had the tendency to ignore required reading or homework if it interfered with her social plans or happened to be ‘boring.’
“Waste of potential,” commented Cates. Roxy had the decency to blush.
“Look—Lily!” Roxy pointed towards the other side of the store, where Lily, Molly, and Dominique stood browsing through the half-priced books bin. Lily caught the wave and beckoned them over. Roxy left a few coins on the counter to pay for her books and took off. Sophie shrugged at Cates, saying who knows about that girl.
He gave her change and her purchases and she thanked him before heading off towards her friends.
“Its all rubbish,” announced Lily upon her arrival. “Absolutely nothing worth buying.”
“I’m all shopped out for now—anyone up for ice-cream?” asked Molly. All the others nodded enthusiastically.
“Yikes!” Dominique looked at her watch, surprised at the time. “I told Rose we’d meet her there five minutes ago. Hopefully she’s late.”
“Where’s Victoire?” questioned Molly.
“Am I my sister’s keeper?” quipped Dominique.
“Yes,” the others chorused. Dominique rolled her eyes.
“I expect she’s looking at robes or something. If she wants ice-cream, she’ll come.”
The group made their towards the door—a not easily facilitated task. Each girl was weighed down with several bags and there were far too many people in the store to be comfortable. It was a relief when they were finally standing out on the street again.
Sophie began a conversation with Molly, whose father worked closely with Sophie’s mother in the Ministry. She had found a book on the most ridiculous laws in the wizarding world and was telling Sophie some of her favorites when they heard someone shout from behind them.
“Roxy! Sophie! There you two are!” Albus, finally noticing the girls he had escorted into Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes had disappeared, had gone off in pursuit. Scorpius Malfoy followed behind, the tips of his hair slightly singed and smoking. Albus too had burnt a small hole through the sleeve of his shirt. Sophie wasn’t sure she wanted to know how or why.
“We’re going for ice-cream,” Roxy informed him.
“You can come if you promise not to use any of the Wheeze’s products you have stuffed in your pocket,” offered Dominique. The boys glanced at each other, managing to look both sheepish and sly at the same moment. Promises were made and the lively group finally began making its way down the street.
Sophie had gone back to chatting with Molly for some time when they were both distracted by the conversation going on between a very shy Malfoy and the more assertive Dominique.
“I’m just saying, you haven’t dated in ages. People are beginning to talk—“
“You are the only one talking about it—“Scorpius cut in, but Dominique continued.
“You’ve been so down lately—it would do you good to start dating again. You and Al are already friends, I don’t know why this would be a problem.” Roxanne and Lily were laughing at Scorpius’ stunned face as Albus enumerated the many reasons why he and Scorpius could not be in a gay relationship (“First and foremost, neither of us is gay, Dom!”).
Sophie and Molly began snickering with the others.
“Well, fine,” Dominique conceded. “Take one of the girls then. Except not Victoire—she’s already claimed.”
“Or Roxy,” piped in Molly. The others looked at her questioningly. “She’d eat him,” she explained. Everyone nodded in understanding while Roxy hissed,” What do you mean by that, cousin dear?”
Scorpius made a face and tried to shrug off the comments. Sophie giggled to herself; Poor Scorpius really didn’t deserve it. But he knew how the girls got—he ought to just ignore them to deprive them of the pleasure of teasing him.
“Well the obvious choices are Dominique and Rose,” offered Lily. “They are in his year, after all.”
“Not Dominique,” objected Roxy. “Your features are so similar: blond hair, blue eyes, and that bone structure! I’m worried all your traits will cancel out and your children will be bland looking.”
Dominique shoved her cousin playfully—“Our children would be gorgeous!” She announced to the street at large, further embarrassing Scorpius. Sophie could tell he was getting annoyed. She would later wish that she had intervened to stop the conversation here, but she was too occupied with giggling at Scorpius’ expense to bother.
“Rose it is then,” announced Lily as they rounded the corner to arrive at their destination. “What a wonderful choice, Scorpius. She’s so pretty and smart. Your only problem will be Uncle Ron. Say, where do you plan to take her for the first Hogsmead trip?”
“Lay off, guys,” laughed Albus, defending his friend.
“Honeyduke’s, definitely,” concluded Dominique. “He knows how much she likes to try the new candy when it comes in.”
Scorpius was getting slightly red in the face, getting more and more annoyed with their teasing.
“Oh,” sighed Molly. “I just love a good Romeo and Juliet love story. Hope it works out better for you and Rose, Scorpius.”
Scorpius ruffled his hair in agitation as he defended himself.
“There’s nothing going on with me and Rose,” he protested, gaining only knowing looks and more laughter.
“Oh come on, Scorpius!” Dominique teased. “I bet the whole reason you are such good friends with Albus is so you can get closer to Rose: Admit it, Malfoy, you are head over heals!” Still, no one took seriously the annoyance that Scorpius had barely been controlling.
“I am not,” Scorpius all but shouted. “Nor will I ever be, in love with Rose Weasley!”
There was a shocked silence. This worried Sophie—there had not been silence among the Weasley cousins all day. Normally one of the other girls would have jumped in and said, “The lad doth protest too much,” but no one was saying anything.
Then Sophie noticed Roxanne’s horrified look.
It was almost as though time slowed. Sophie felt like it took an eternity to turn her head to see where Roxy’s gaze was fixed, and before she even saw who it was, she knew. She knew without a doubt that Rose Weasley had come around the corner from doing her shopping and had heard nothing else but that last, terrible sentence.
And it was at that moment that Sophie wondered how she had ever missed the fact that Rose Weasley was in love with Scorpius Malfoy.
I am so, so sorry it took so long to update. Its been a busy time in the life of your favorite author. However, the next chapter is mostly done, so it shouldn't take as long to update next time.
But how exciting! I did promise you some Albus-action :) Hope you liked it. There will be more and more in comming chapters. This was mostly a fluff chapter, with some important bits hidden inside. And the next chapter will be really fun haha.
As always, please tell me what you think--was there enough Albus? How is Sophie going to handle the secret her mother told her? And what do you think of the first Rose-Scorpius interaction (as minimal as it was)?
Also: the title is from the musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and the quote is by Mr. William Shakespeare and is found in The Merchant of Venice, Act 4 scene 1.
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