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Monday, September 13, 2040

 It was eight forty-three in the morning, and Rose was fidgeting.

“I hope it goes well,” she said anxiously, eyes fixed on the towering building in front of her and the red ribbon fluttering in the gentle breeze.

“You’ll be fine,” Albus told her. “You’re Rose Weasley.”

“Right,” she said determinedly.

“Right,” Albus repeated. “Now get up there.”

She nodded, throwing her shoulders back, chin raised, and strode through the parting crowds.

“She doesn’t look nervous,” Scorpius commented quietly, coming to stand beside him and slipping an arm around his waist.

“She never does. Where are the boys?”

“Left them with their cousins,” Scorpius replied. “They know where we are. I told them they’re not allowed to miss Aunty Rose’s speech.”

“I can’t believe she pulled this off,” Albus said, taking a moment to appreciate the sight before him. The front building loomed ahead, sleek and modern, steel lettering standing out against tinted windows. People milled in the courtyard, forming a crowd in front of the steps Rose was now climbing.

“It’s Rose,” Scorpius reminded him. “There are so many people here, I wasn’t expecting such a turnout.”

“She said she’s had three thousand enrolments,” Albus said.

“Three thousand?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s double the roll of Hogwarts.”

“I know. Nadir, Salim!” he called, spotting his sons in the crowd and waving. “تعال هنا. اسرع وقت”

The boys came running over, chatting away in Arabic about what their cousins were up to, while Scorpius leaned over and murmured in Albus’s ear, “We need to start speaking English more at home, or they’re going to struggle at Hogwarts.”

They had been officially back in England for barely six months after nearly twelve years in Syria, when the Hopping Pot Foundation had grown from their tiny clinic in Damascus to spanning thirteen cities in five countries, attracting Healers from all over the world. Scorpius’s role had slowly become less and less hands-on, his official title morphing into International Director, and he was spending so much time in London liaising with the Ministry over the Patronus Act and St Mungo’s, their official partner, that they decided it made more sense to move back.

Not to mention the fact that Nadir, now ten years old, was determined to go to Hogwarts after hearing so much about it from his fathers. He seemed to change his mind every week about what house he wanted to be in, though because of Holly and Brodie he only ever considered Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff.

“They’re bilingual,” Albus murmured in response to Scorpius.

“Mostly bilingual,” Scorpius said.

“Bilingual enough,” Albus conceded. “They’re immersed in English now, though, and they’re picking it up quickly enough. Nadir’s got another year before he goes.”

Their twelve years in Syria had been filled with surprises (Nadir and Salim being but two examples) but one of the biggest had been that it was Albus who took to Arabic like a fish to water, while his linguist husband struggled with it for years. Scorpius was a scholar of languages rather than a speaker of them, and his Arabic was stiff and formal, meticulously composed and dictionary-defined. Albus learnt his through conversation, refusing the help of interpreters after six months, and could switch easily between half a dozen different dialects. He was the one who got to know the boys, back when they were just two tiny and terrified patients and the question of adoption had never crossed his mind, and who later wrestled with the Syrian Ministry of Magic when they wanted to put the boys in an orphanage until they were old enough for school. The boys’ guardian, a Muggle aunt in a refugee camp with seven other mouths to feed, had begged Albus to take them the moment she learnt he was a wizard.

Seven years later and Salim was tugging impatiently on the hem of his shirt, telling him he couldn’t see Aunty Rose, and Albus hoisted him up to ride on his shoulders. Scorpius had conjured a little stool for Nadir.

It was nine o’clock, and Rose stepped onto a makeshift podium, cast sonorous, and even from a distance Albus could see her brimming with pride.

“Good morning,” she called, and a hush descended across the courtyard, “To students, staff, press – ” here, she nodded at the knot of reporters at the base of the steps – “and members of the public. My name is Rose Weasley, the Vice-Chancellor, and I’d like to extend a warm welcome to you all to the official opening of the Llodewick Institute.”

There was a chorus of applause, and Rose’s smile grew as she waited for it to die down. “The Llodewick Institute is the first of its kind,” she continued. “A state-of-the-art magical research and tertiary education facility, modelled on the universities of the Muggle world. We are proud to claim among our lecturers and research staff a number of world-leading experts, including former Hogwarts headmistress Septima Vector in the School of Arithmancy and Numerology, entrepreneur Ella Forbes-Martin in Magical Engineering, attorney Lillian Raine in the School of Law, and co-founder of the Hopping Pot Foundation, Albus Potter, in the Department of Psychology.”

“Dad!” Salim said excitedly from above, and Albus patted his knee absently.

“The Llodewick Institute is named for my long-time mentor, teacher and friend, Professor Herbert Llodewick. Many of you will have known him as the Potions Master of Beauxbatons Academy of Magic from 1985 to 2002, or as Potions Master and Head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 2002 to 2031. His final request to me before he passed away last year was that I name one of the buildings at my new university after him. I think it’s fair to say that I went above and beyond his request, as he so often went above and beyond for his students.”

There was a brief smattering of applause, and Rose continued. “It is my fervent wish that the Llodewick Institute, like its namesake, will inspire and educate generations of sorcerers across all fields to achieve greater things, chase after new discoveries, and push the very limits of possibility. To all of you, but particularly to our new students, I invite you to share in our vision with us. Thank you.”

She turned away, severing the giant red ribbon with one quick wave of her wand, and stepped down from the podium to raucous applause.

The crowd began to disperse almost immediately, and Albus and his family made a beeline for Rose. They weren’t the only ones – the second Rose was finished shaking hands with various officials, her friends and family converged upon her and she promptly burst into tears.

“I can’t believe it’s actually happening,” she cried into Holly’s hair. “I founded a university.”

“Yes, you did,” Holly said patiently, patting her on the back. “Okay, Vice-Chancellor, chin up.”

Albus offered her tissues.

“Since when are you so good at conjuring?” Rose asked, taking them and dabbing her eyes.

“Since I became a dad,” he replied matter-of-factly. “What’s the schedule for the morning, then? I’m teaching PSYC101 at eleven.”

“I’ve got a department meeting then too,” Rose said. “And a class at one. God, I never thought I’d be back teaching Potions again.”

“Different kind of first years,” Albus commented. “Oh God, don’t cry again.”

“She’s done,” Holly assured him. “Shall we get coffee? I need to see this cafe you named after me.

“I’m not directly responsible for the naming of that,” Rose told her. “I just mentioned to the vendor that I’d really like to honour my friend Holly, if I could, and I...er, said that you were really sweet.”

They were striding through the main building now in a loud, wide phalanx down the spacious hallway, before Rose veered off in a sharp left and they found themselves in the aforementioned cafe.

“Milk and Holly,” Albus read slowly.

“Yeah,” Rose said sheepishly. “I think they were going for milk and honey, you know – ”

“I love it,” Holly said. “Do I get free coffee here because it’s named after me? I hope so. Sit down, sit down, let’s catch up. It’s been ages.”

“Only because a couple of certain someones never leave Hogsmeade,” Scorpius pointed out.

“Try being Headmaster of Hogwarts and see how often you make it down to the New Quarter for a beer,” Brodie shot back.

“Before you boys get into a pissing contest about your commitments,” Rose interrupted, “I think we should – ”

“Dad,” Salim said, “What is pissing?”

“A rude word,” Albus replied, “That your Aunty Rose shouldn’t have said.”

“Oh.” Salim nodded to himself, and Rose looked sheepish.

“Anyway, I think we should – where are the Raines? We lost the Raines.”

The Raines arrived a few moments later, Lily plopping into the seat next to Albus.

“Hi, Albutt,” she said cheerfully, and handed him an infant.

“You’re thirty-three,” he reminded her. “You’re a mother, you’re a lawyer, and now you’re a lecturer. You can stop calling me Albutt.”

“Never,” she said, and leaned over to grin at the boys. “Hi Salim, Hi Nadir.”

“Hello, Aunty Lily,” they chorused.

“James and Julia are coming too, by the way,” she added to Albus.

“Will Aroha and Rawiri be also coming?” Nadir asked eagerly.

Also be coming,” Scorpius corrected.

“Will Aroha and Rawiri also be coming?”

“Aroha’s at school, remember?” Lily asked. “We all saw her leave on the train. But Rawiri’s coming.”

Albus zoned out of the conversation briefly to pull faces at his delighted niece. Alice was Lester and Lily’s youngest, a chubby, cheerful thirteen-month-old with her grandad’s green eyes, and she was Albus’s favourite of his nieces and nephews. Mainly because she was too young to talk.

“You’re going to kidnap her one day,” Lily commented, breaking into Albus’s reverie.

“It’s not kidnapping if she’s family.”

“Don’t kidnap my daughter,” Lester called from a few seats down.

In the chaos surrounding the Raines’ arrival, Holly and Brodie had apparently ordered a round of coffees for everyone.

“She didn’t get a discount for being the eponymous Holly,” Brodie informed them, passing out the coffee. “Disappointing.”

“Very disappointing,” Holly agreed, sitting across from Albus and holding out her arms. “Pass the baby?”

“Get your own,” Albus said, handing her over.

“We don’t need our own, we just steal everybody else’s. Don’t we, Alice?”

“Don’t steal my daughter,” Lester said, not even bothering to look over. It struck Albus that he had probably been saying that for a long time to various friends and family, considering he had four of them.

The birth of the Raine twins six years earlier gave truth to the maxim “Don’t let Potters name your kids” (first uttered by Ron Weasley after Albus himself was born) when an exhausted Lily apparently saw no problem in calling them Summer and Autumn Raine. Albus, safe in the knowledge that he a) was very much a victim of Potter Naming Syndrome and b) did not actually have to name his own children, mocked Lily relentlessly with a series of weather-related puns. To her credit, she had spent a lot more time naming Darcy and Alice, seeking input from everyone she spoke to, and Albus was very proud to claim responsibility for both the girls’ middle names (after, of course, a bunch of ridiculous suggestions that included Winter, Spring and Torrential).

“Nobody’s stealing anyone’s daughter,” Rose said. “Anyway. A toast. To new beginnings.”

“We have had so many of those,” Scorpius commented, but raised his coffee mug anyway. “To the newest of the new beginnings.”

“To the Llodewick Institute,” Holly summarised, and they clinked mugs cautiously.

“It’s not the same with coffee,” Scorpius said.

“Nobody’s drinking on campus at nine thirty in the morning,” Rose pointed out. “Not on the first day, anyway.”

“That’d be a good start to the semester,” Albus grinned. “But seriously, Rose, you’ve achieved so much here. I’m really proud of you.”

“Oh, stop,” she said, and hid behind her cappuccino.

To say that Rose had had a varied career would be something of an understatement. She had taught at Durmstrang for three years, becoming fluent in German and Norwegian, before spending a year liaising with the Norwegian Ministry to develop their Auror training programme. From there she had moved back to England, entering the Department of Education within the British Ministry, and with her unique blend of efficiency, audacity and plain stubbornness had forced reforms through the Hogwarts board regarding the provision of sexual and mental health services within the school, working in tandem with Holly. She completed her Potioneering ethics programme, made friends with her tutors, and began freelance Potions research on the side the moment her five-year ban period lifted. She stayed at the Ministry for another three years, becoming increasingly disillusioned with the education system and particularly the lack of opportunities for further study, and had quit the Ministry four years ago to pursue full-time Potions research and start looking into the possibility of a magical university.

Now here she was – and here Albus was, with the opportunity to pursue Psychology on an academic level, liaise with Muggle universities, get in touch with Muggle research, and teach a new, multi-faceted approach to mental health to students at St Mungo’s School of Healing, which had attached itself to the Llodewick Institute. His time in Syria had felt like things were finally, slowly falling into place after a lifetime of trying to make himself fit where he didn’t, taking subjects and finding a career that seemed to come close enough to his true passions while never quite aligning with them. His work in Syria had been based around trauma, PTSD; creating systems of support and recovery that were not reliant on Muggles having constant access to potions, and he thrived on the challenges presented by combining magical and Muggle epistemologies. Coming back to England after a decade of dreaming in Arabic had cast him adrift, facing his old, thankless job on the Janus Thickey Ward, when Rose approached him asking if he would like to head up the new Department of Psychology at Llodewick.

“That depends,” he’d began, old insecurities rearing their ugly heads, “On whether you actually think I’d be any good at it, or you’re just asking because we’re family.”

“I’m asking you,” she’d said, hands on hips, “Because I want this university to be a world leader in innovation and research, and because you’re apparently the only damn Healer in the world willing to explore Muggle theories and approaches to mental health. Which makes you the best man for the job, so get your head out of your arse and come work for me.”

“Only if you never call yourself my boss,” he’d said, knowing she would anyway.

“Weasleys!” a loud voice called, and moments later a jovial James pulled up chairs for himself, Julia and Rawiri. “And Raines, and Pottfoys – ”

“That is not our name,” Scorpius said.

“And Halls,” James concluded, ignoring him.

“Holyoake-Hall,” Holly corrected.

“I still don’t understand why you did that,” Albus said. “Holly Helen Holyoake-Hall.”

Holly shrugged. “I saw the opportunity and I took it.”

“She gets some weird looks every time she has to fill out forms though,” Brodie conceded. “The first article she sent into Arithmancy Annual she had to send a copy of her ID with it because they thought she was using a really bad pseudonym.”

“Which I still find offensive, by the way,” Holly said huffily. “Not least because they were perfectly aware the professor of Arithmancy at Hogwarts is an H. Holyoake.”

“Speaking of professors and Hogwarts and all the rest of it,” James began casually, “How’s my daughter doing?”

“Well, I haven’t seen her in my office yet, so apparently she’s behaving herself,” Brodie said.

Holly elbowed him. “Don’t be mean. She’s fine, James, we’ve been keeping an eye on her for you. She’s made tonnes of friends already and she has a real aptitude for Transfiguration according to Teddy.”

“She’s said as much in her letters,” Julia agreed. “But we wanted to make sure she’s not just telling fibs so we don’t worry about her.”

“Aroha’s a happy kid,” Brodie said firmly. “And if she wasn’t, we’d tell you.”

“Is Aroha a Hufflepuff?” Nadir asked.

“Yes, she is.”

“I would like to be Hufflepuff,” he decided. “May I be Hufflepuff please?”

“Not Ravenclaw like your dads?” Holly asked.

Nadir twisted in his seat to look Albus and Scorpius over. “No. انا اسفة.”

“I don’t like that look,” Albus murmured.

“I don’t like that apology,” Scorpius whispered back. “That’s Nadir-speak for ‘I no longer look up to you, I don’t want to be in your Hogwarts house, and you’re both dead to me.’”

Hufflepuff, though.”

“I know.”

“Do you think he is a Hufflepuff?”

They fell into silence, considering this.

“Well,” Scorpius whispered, “He did apologise for not wanting to be in our house.”

“That wasn’t kindness, that was sass. Bet you he’s a Slytherin.”

“Hmm,” Scorpius said. “Lester seems to think he’s a Hufflepuff too, because he’s polite.”

“He’s only polite in English.”

“That’s what I told Lester.”

Nadir and Salim were now engrossed in conversation with Rawiri.

“Say ‘butt’ in Arabic,” Albus heard Rawiri say.

Rawiri,” Julia hissed, but Nadir had already told him how to say ‘I am an idiot’ instead. Rawiri repeated it in delight, and all three boys fell about laughing.

“Slytherin,” Albus decided.

“Slytherin,” Scorpius agreed.

“We’re still watching the boys today, right?” Julia asked.

“I’d hope so,” Albus replied. “I think they’d get terribly bored in my lecture.”

“Good,” James said. “Because Rawiri hasn’t shut up about it all day. He’s got a science project he needs their help with, apparently. I’ve put an anti-explosive ward on his bedroom.”

“I’m surprised you didn’t have one on there already.”

“It wore off.”

“Oh, shoot,” Lily muttered suddenly beside him. “I’m teaching LAWS101 at ten – who’s got Alice? Brodie? Good. I’ll see you at home,” she added to Lester, giving him a swift peck on the lips as she shrugged on her coat. “Wish me luck.”

“Good luck!” the table chorused as she hurried away, and Albus took the opportunity to catch up with Lester.

“Take this,” he said first, and dumped three-year-old Darcy into Albus’s lap. “Don’t let her eat the sugar packets.”

“So how’s work?” Albus asked, taking Darcy’s chubby little hands in his own and holding them by her sides.

“Good, good. We’re having to adjust a bit to not having Ella around, but we’re managing. Waiting on the patent for what’s essentially a 3D printer for people who aren’t very good at conjuring.”

“What are you working on next?”

Lester shrugged. “We always take a bit of a break when we first file a patent, there’s a lot of marketing work to be done and none of us really have any ideas. Get back to me in two weeks and I’ll probably have half a dozen.”

“Well, you haven’t run out yet.”

“Long may that continue. Looking forward to your first lecture?”

“I’m looking forward to about six weeks from now when I find my feet, but yeah.”

“It’ll take you less than six weeks,” Lester said. “But your students are probably thinking exactly the same thing, if that helps. None of them have a clue what university is like, unless they’re Muggleborns and have siblings.”

“True,” Albus conceded. “I should probably go over my notes, I dashed them out in a bit of a rush last night because I got distracted by Muggle journals. Have you heard of JSTOR?”

“Nope.”

“Don’t get him started,” Scorpius advised, tuning into the conversation. “Are we off, then?”

“Reckon so.” Albus stood, setting Darcy on the ground behind Lester. “It was good catching up with you all. Nadir, Salim, be good.”

“We should probably be off too,” Brodie said reluctantly. “I don’t like leaving Hogwarts unsupervised for too long, a lot can happen in two hours.”

They parted ways after a chorus of goodbyes, Albus finding the still-unfamiliar path to his new office and unlocking the door. Scorpius followed him inside.

“Don’t you have to go to work?”

“I told them I wouldn’t be in till eleven thirty,” Scorpius replied, tugging him closer. “Have to wish my husband good luck on his first day as a lecturer.”

“I definitely need luck,” Albus agreed. “As much luck as you can give me, really.”

Scorpius kissed him, soft and slow and intoxicating, one hand drifting to his waist and the other tilting his chin upwards. “That the luck you were looking for?”

“Mmm,” Albus agreed. “Bit more, though.”

He lost track of the time they spent there, whispering nonsense to each other with the smell of wet paint and new wood in their nostrils, exchanging kisses and caresses like the lovestruck teenagers they had once been, until Scorpius looked up and asked, “Do you ever look around and realise that you’ve made it?”

“By ‘ever’ you mean right now?”

“Yeah. Here you are in an office with your name on it, and the dream job you never thought you would have, a devoted father to our perfect sons. You made it.”

We made it,” Albus corrected. “I appreciate the flattery, but we very definitely both made it.”

“I suppose Rose made it as well,” Scorpius said thoughtfully. “Just because I’m feeling generous.”

“And Holly,” Albus conceded. “Not that there was ever any doubt. And Brodie, too.”

“Lester and Lily,” Scorpius added.

“Naming mishaps aside,” he agreed. “Yeah, them too.”

“We all made it,” Scorpius summarised. “Unless we haven’t stopped making it yet and shit just keeps getting better.”

“We’ve made it for now,” Albus decided. “Pending further investigation.”








A/N: تعال هنا. اسرع وقت: Come here, quickly
انا اسفة: I'm sorry
(I got both of these from Google Translate so I apologise in advance if they're wrong)


This chapter marks the end of Pending Further Investigation and, in many ways, the journey I began a year ago with The Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship. I am so incredibly grateful for every review I've received on either of them, and for the way you all have fallen in love with these characters alongside me. I can't express how much your support, enthusiasm, theories and capslock protestations have meant to me, and there are far too many of you to thank individually. Having said that, though, I'd like to give a few special shout-outs to Emily, Joseph, Katie and Jess for your unwavering enthusiasm in the latter stages of this story.

For those of you who are interested, I am now (properly) beginning work on One of a Kind, the third and final novel in the tfwms-verse which follows Lucy and Emily. I also have a Stories Offered thread on the forums, and am happy to write any "missing moments" one-shots for this universe you'd like as a thank you - just head over and place a request.

I'm sorry for the lengthy Author's Note, and thank you so so much for joining me, Rose, Albus, Scorpius, Holly, Lester and Lily on this journey.

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