Chapter 1 : Chapter 1
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“Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect.” - Margaret Mitchell
Story Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter Universe. It's JKR's playground, and I'm just on the merry-go-round for funsies.
A/N: This fic will likely be a novella with over 20 chapters. However, it is meant to be an outtake from their lives, not an overall viewing. It will seem much more like a television drama, that captures little moments, rather than a film that looks at the big picture. It is also rated Mature. Please consider this your in-story warning for language, references to sexual conduct, personal attack triggers, and other such topics.
To give you some perspective, Al, Rose, and Scorpius are approximately 20-21 in this fic. It takes place 9 years after the Epilogue, or 28 years after Harry defeats Voldemort.
Albus Potter stepped onto the handsome mahogany platform, the stagelights above him lit brightly, and saw several flashes of cameras from the wings of the low-rise stage. The platform looked much like it had at every other Auror Certification Ceremony he'd attended, which was quite a fair few, due to the many ties his family had with Magical Law and Law Enforcement. He almost questioned whether the festive green and purple floral wreaths were truly comprised of live flowers, as they looked remarkably the same each year when it came time for the September ceremony.
At the front of the stage was his father, the famous Harry Potter, standing with his shoulders squared, looking almost regal in nature. Even twenty-eight years after defeating the most terrible wizard of all time, Albus still thought that his father looked the part of the strong-willed, resilient savior of the wizarding world.
As his name was called, Al stepped forward to receive his plaque of recognition and shook his father's hand stiffly, though he noticed that the corners of the Head Auror's green eyes were glistening.
Several other names were called, including his cousin and dear friend, Rose Weasley, and her fiancé, Scorpius Malfoy. At the end of the receiving of the plaques, Al sat with his fellow new Junior Aurors in the first two rows of stiff-backed chairs before the stage. His father, sporting his official Auror robes, gold medals, and a tie that Albus himself had bought for him many Christmases prior, cleared his throat and gripped the sides of the oak podium.
"Each year, when we gather in this esteemed hall," he began, gesturing around the elaborate Atrium of the Ministry of Magic, "I reflect on the words of wisdom that were bestowed upon me from several important members of wizarding society. Today, newly awarded Junior Aurors, I share with you some of the most helpful and insightful wisdom I have ever been given."
The Head Auror's eyes twinkled as he continued, and Al watched his father unwaveringly. The Atrium was so quiet that he felt his own breathing might interrupt his father's speech.
"Former Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore once said, 'We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.' To you, Junior Aurors, I ask that you remember that while our task to protect the magical world is of the utmost importance, it cannot be done well without remaining united in all circumstances - no matter the mission."
Albus could have guessed that his father would quote his old mentor, Al's namesake. Each year it seemed his father would share words of wisdom from the deceased headmaster, and each year Al looked forward to hearing which quotation would be shared.
"Former distinguished Auror Alastor Moody, who taught me more than he ever realized, used to shout - at the top of his lungs - that we all ought to have 'constant vigilance.'" Al watched his father smile fondly at the memory. "As you begin your career in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, I not only request, but I also require that you exercise constant vigilance in every effort. From filing incident reports to mapping out crime scenes, from reading case files to dueling dangerous offenders, I will expect nothing short of constant awareness and constant preparedness."
The Head Auror unceremoniously shifted his weight and regripped the podium. He was suddenly looking at a very specific point in the crowd. When a familiar grin graced the man's face, Albus knew his father was looking at his mother, Ginny Potter - there were some smiles that were only meant to be shared between a man and his wife, and, after living with the pair for 20 years, Albus knew that his parents were still as in love as they were on their wedding day. He almost felt as though the ceremony were interrupting a rather fond memory shared between the two.
"The final spot of wisdom I wish to share is from my maddeningly insightful wife. Years ago, when we were in Hogwarts, Ginny said to me, after clarifying that her troublesome twin brothers had taught her this, that anything is possible, if only you have enough nerve." Harry smiled at the spot Albus understood to be where his family was sitting. "Junior Aurors, your gut will serve you well in this position. You know what you are capable of, you know what you are tasked with, and now you just have to have the nerve to do it. Anything is possible."
A rousing round of applause was heard around the Atrium as Harry nodded, stepped back, and allowed the Minister for Magic, an aged but still fiercely intelligent Kingsley Shacklebolt, to address the crowd.
"It is my distinct pleasure to congratulate the Junior Auror Class of 2026. Newly awarded Aurors, we welcome you to the noble profession and congratulate you on your high achievement. You may don your badges."
Albus joined his fellow Junior Aurors in pinning his silver DMLE badge to his chest. As the Minister stepped back, the Atrium erupted into shouts of excitement and praise. Suddenly, the crowd was rushing from their seats to greet and congratulate their awarded family members and friends.
There was a tap on his shoulder, and Al turned to see his best friend, Riley Finnegan, beaming at him. "Congratulations, Junior Auror Potter!"
Riley, a pretty witch with long brunette ringlets down her back and big hazel doe eyes, was Al's closest friend at Hogwarts. She and Albus had been through a lot together - from winning Quidditch Cups for Gryffindor to choosing their future career paths - and he was overjoyed to see her.
"I thought you had to work," he exclaimed, hugging her.
She gestured to her robes. "I took a half day - that's why I look like this, came straight from the apothecary."
Before Al could reply, his mother spoke up from behind him. "You look lovely no matter what you're wearing, Riley," Ginny Potter said kindly. "Al, are you going to hug your mother or what?"
Al grinned and embraced his mum. He laughed as his older brother, James, punched him good-naturedly on the arm and his blue-haired god-brother, Teddy Lupin, ruffled his messy hair affectionately.
"Well done, Al," James said as their sister Lily shoved everyone else away.
"I want to hug the new Auror," she cried, smiling and shoving her way toward Albus.
Ginny Potter laughed at her children and smiled encouragingly at Albus. "Your gran has a cake ready to go at the Burrow. She's already headed back to put up the party banner - we shouldn't keep her waiting."
Roxanne Hardwick was staring around at her family in the back garden behind the Burrow. Although she was a Hardwick by marriage, she was, through and through, a Weasley at heart. From her love for pranking to her fierce sense of familial loyalty, Roxie was, in all senses, a typical Weasley child. Of course, that's why she was so afraid that her family would notice her aloof nature.
"Kneazle got your tongue, Rox?" her older brother, Freddie, asked, grabbing a bottle of cider off of the picnic table beside her.
Roxie shrugged. "Nah, just tired," she lied easily. Now wasn't the time to share bad news - not when two of her cousins and a future cousin-in-law had just finished their Junior Auror ceremony. No, this was a happy occasion, and Roxanne Louise Hardwick was determined to keep it as such.
Freddie raised his eyebrows in disbelief. "You're not sharing tonight, are you?" he asked.
She shook her head. "Maybe tomorrow, Fred-o."
He pursed his lips but nodded, obviously not satisfied with her response, but accepting. "I'll make sure of it, sister dearest. Be ready to spill the Bertie Bott's beans tomorrow at the shop."
She shrugged again. "Fair enough." She watched as her brother plodded off, joining in an animated conversation with their cousins James, Al, and Hugo about the Chudley Cannons. Her three-year-old son, Trevor, was off playing with Teddy and Vic's children a few metres away, and she watched as they swung sticks at each other, playing as though they had wands, and chasing garden gnomes from Gran's pansies.
The mocha-skinned woman crossed her arms over her middle as she thought about the empty drawers in her bedroom chest, the unsigned Ministry form on her kitchen table, and the solid gold ring on her nightstand - the ring that weighed heavily on her heart but had an apparent lack of significance for the husband that used to wear it.
It was five till midnight, and James Potter didn't want to leave the party, but he was due for a shift in just a few minutes. He kissed his mum on the cheek and winked at his little sister, Lily.
"Off to get the baddies," he said, his voice light and joking.
His mother, Ginny, smiled at him and patted his face tenderly. "Okay, Jamie," she said, using his childhood nickname. "Be careful."
He nodded, placating his mother as he so often did. "Always am, Mum. Say bye to Al and Dad for me, eh?" he asked Lily, who nodded and grinned at him.
After he'd Disapparated to the street outside of the Ministry, James pinned his bronze Hit Wizard badge to his chest and stepped into the men's restroom, where he entered the Ministry and immediately went to Level Two. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement (or the DMLE as the staff often called it) was a bit creepy at night, but James was used to it by now. He'd done tons of midnight shifts in his years in the department. The shadows, while still creepy, didn't grip him with fear anymore.
James had worked his way from Junior Auror to Hit Wizard in record time. Some of the other Aurors in his training class were jealous and said nasty things about preferential treatment for the children of The Chosen One, but James knew that the orders for his promotion had come at the request of the Captain of the Hit Wizard team, Captain Anthony Goldstein, and the approval of both his father and the Minister for Magic himself.
It was unusual, of course, to move from the Auror team to the Hit Wizard squad so early in one's career, but with James' quick skills in defense and his ability to think strategically on the spot, he had been a natural fit. It was something that he was quite proud of, no matter what some of the goons in the department thought.
He did get a bigger cubicle - one much nearer to the DMLE coffee room - which was quite nice.
As he waited for his partner, James plopped down at his cubicle and looked at the pile of paperwork in his inbox. Several reports to sign off on, a request for time off to take to Goldstein, and a copy of the recent crime report from The Daily Prophet. Beside his inbox, a few photographs were pinned up haphazardly. In one, he was receiving his plaque at his own Auror Certification Ceremony; in another, he was hoisting up the Quidditch Cup with his teammates: his brother Al, his friend Franki Longbottom, and his cousins Freddie, Roxanne, Dominique, and Hugo.
His eyes strayed for a moment too long on Franki Longbottom. Francesca Alice Longbottom was the only child of Hogwarts Herbology Professor Neville Longbottom and his wife, Hannah, who ran the Leaky Cauldron. Franki, as Francesca preferred to be called, had been one of James' best friends in Hogwarts. In fact, Franki, Freddie, and James were almost inseparable in their school days. Thinking back on it, James was sure that there were current Hogwarts students still finding the initials FJF carved into school desks throughout the castle.
James sighed guiltily. It had been months since he'd last seen Franki. The fun-loving, sassy blonde girl was hard at work at the Leaky Cauldron with her mum, and he had more than a full plate of work in the DMLE - at least, that's how he justified it.
The truth was that Franki rocked the boat with Matilda, James' girlfriend, one too many times. Matilda Cornfoot was a very pretty, very particular woman who had little patience for anything that occupied James' attention when she wanted it. James knew this about her, but he loved her; one shortcoming wasn't enough to deter his feelings for her.
Of course, he'd distanced himself because of the affair, if he were being completely honest.
After trying to hide their friendship from Matilda, James had ended up throwing Franki into his kitchen cupboard when Matilda appeared one night, wanting to stay over. James had made a quick excuse about late shifts and sent her on her way, and then Franki was laughing loudly, and they were suddenly snogging heatedly against his kitchen table.
It had ended rather spectacularly that night, as had all of their run-ins afterward. James had ended it though, when Matilda had almost caught them, totally starkers and wound together, in a broom closet at Hogwarts during this year's May 2 Victory Banquet.
"Potter," said a familiar curt voice.
James looked up and nodded. "Hey, Jenkins," he replied, looking at his partner, Robbie Jenkins, as the dark-skinned bloke pinned on his own badge. "Ready to patrol Knockturn again?"
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