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The Easter holidays passed in a flurry of disbelief and budding panic. How could I have showed James my grandfather’s pendant? It dwindled down to the conversation, well several accounting Victoria’s will to elaborate on it, about my fondness of him.

To not call it a crush would have cast me in denial.

Sure, I had fleeting crushes in the past. One of them even amounted to something in my fourth year: a memorable if not a little awkward afternoon in Hogsmeade with Demetrius Castor, who was a Hufflepuff in my year. But, as I said, it was fleeting.

The uncertainty of my feelings swirled around my body, flaming out when I least expected it to: during breakfast and family Quidditch or even when I brushed my teeth one night. It’s not like I thought that James was the perfect boy or anything. Sometimes I found him overbearing and too unfocused. I knew that there would be other things about him that I wouldn’t like. Perhaps, in my confusion at my feelings towards him, I was determined to find things I didn’t like about him.

But deep down, I did enjoy his company: the way he tried to be funny, the (few) times he actually was, his generally enthusiastic disposition towards life. Not to mention I liked his dark curls and dusted freckles and the way his glasses sat on his nose…

We were nearly finished with the project for Ancient Runes. I wondered what would happen next. Would James even remember to find the book with the triangular eye Rune? And if so, would he even be successful in finding it?

And then there was the population of Hogwarts to consider. Rumors were not guaranteed to be kind, especially since James Potter was quite popular, and I did not have the same social standing as him. I knew that I didn’t need others’ approval to do anything, but I felt like a tiny island with the incoming tide threatening to devour it.

Aunt Susan noticed.

“Amelia, let me plait your hair,” she said the morning Eddie and I were supposed to go back to Hogwarts. Helen, who wasn’t at Hogwarts yet, spent all of breakfast holding back tears.

“Chin up. You’ll be coming with us next time,” Eddie had said. They were now outside playing a final round of one-on-one Quidditch.

Aunt Susan held up a brush. “Sit here,” she told me, pointing to a kitchen chair.

“Er, okay,” I mumbled.

“There, isn’t this nice? I’ll miss being able to do your hair while you’re back at school,” she said as she ran the brush through my dark locks.

“I guess so,” I agreed, shrugging.

“Hold still, dear!” chided Aunt Susan. I could imagine the face she was making while standing behind me. Her lips were pursed and her brow was furrowed.

“Sorry!”

“It’ll be fine.” There was a pause. “Are you excited to go back to Hogwarts?”

“Sure.”

“Are you looking forward to your classes?”

“Yeah.”

“And prefect duty?”

“Even that.”

We laughed. Aunt Susan began weaving my hair at the top of my head. “Is everything okay, though? You seem on edge.”

“I’m in fifth year. Of course I’m on edge! The O.W.L.s are coming up and then there’s--” I stopped myself, feeling a blush blossom across my cheeks.

“And then there’s what?” Aunt Susan asked.

“Well, hormones,” I confessed. That much was definitely true. “Do you know how stifling it can be living with a bunch of teenagers in one small space?”

“Hogwarts is hardly small,” Aunt Susan mused. “But I know the feeling… Is anyone bothering you?”

“Not really.”

“Not really? My, my. Then there’s something. Care to elaborate?”

“There’s not much to elaborate on,” I muttered. Aunt Susan was nearly done with the plait.

“Is someone picking on you?”

“No!”

“Then does someone like you?”

I blinked in surprise, turning my head towards her. “What?”

“Hold still! Gah, now I have to redo this part!” Aunt Susan exclaimed. She unfurled some of the plait and continued to prompt me. “So then there’s a special someone. He likes you, or you like him…”

My blush deepened. I silently cursed Aunt Susan for probing. If anyone other than Victoria at Hogwarts asked such questions, I would have to strengthen my demeanor to remain unflustered. “It’s the latter,” I finally confessed.

“Oh thank Merlin!” she beamed.

“Exactly how is this a happy occasion?”

“Because,” began Aunt Susan as she finished tying the end of my plait. “You’re having a perfectly normal experience. I’ve been worried about you this year, after you mum’s visit--”

“That was ages ago, before Christmas!” I said indignantly.

“But you haven’t fully recovered. You’re still upset about it,” Aunt Susan said as she sat down in the chair next to me. Her brown eyes twinkled. “Now, you’re perking up”

I scrunched my nose. “I don’t need a boy to perk me up!”

Aunt Susan smiled, taking my hands. “I know that, dear, but just the fact that you’ve opened your mind and your heart to like someone else…. It makes me so incredibly happy and proud.”

I rolled my eyes, though a smile was tugging at my lips. “And it’s not really perking up,” I contradicted. “It’s rather forlorning. I don’t know what to do.”

“Does he like you, too?”

I shrugged.

“Are you interested in pursuing him?”

I shrugged.

“Well then,” breathed Aunt Susan, “it seems like you have some soul searching to do. My advice? Go fot it. It’s nice getting to know someone and dating. It can even be fun.”

“And dealing with the others?” I gulped.

“Others? You mean your classmates?” Aunt Susan tapped her chin. “I know teenagers can be brutal. Try to not listen to any judgements or criticisms. It’s perfectly okay for you to like someone. No one has the right to tell you otherwise... Can I know the identity of this mystery boy?”

I shook my head. “Sorry, Aunt Susan. It’s the early stages. No use setting expectations yet.”

To my surprise, she smiled.


--


The knocking on the front door persists as my heart finally slows down after the initial shock of it all. The vibrations from the force below tickle my toes as a I pull a jumper over my head. Uncle Michael swears as he thuds down the steps, and I follow him, clutching my wand.

“Who can it be at half hour in the morning?” yawns Aunt Susan from upstairs.

“Hello?” Uncle Michael asks gruffly at the door. From the banister, Aunt Susan magicks some candles, flooding the foyer with light.

I hear a deep voice answer, but I’m standing at the foot of the stairs, too far away to hear who it is. Uncle Michael nods and faces me.

“Brace yourself,” he tells me.

“What? Who’s there?” Aunt Susan demands as she cascades down the stairs, stopping at my elbow.

Without answering, Uncle Michael opens the door, stepping aside to let our late visitors inside. My breath catches in my throat, and the room tilts sideways.

Harry Potter stops in his tracks when he sees me. An Auror I don’t know limps behind him, and another Auror is still hidden from view, but I know who it is as soon as I hear her ask, “Is she there? Where’s Fortescue?”

Aunt Susan grips onto my shoulder.

“Hello, Amelia,” Harry says grimly as Auror Barrett finally comes inside. Uncle Michael closes the front door and steps in front of me.

“Care for some tea?” Uncle Michael asks.

“We don’t have time--” Auror Barrett begins, but Harry holds up his hand to silence her.

“That would be good, thank you, Michael,” he says. His green eyes return to me, and I find myself unable to maintain eye contact. I can feel Auror Barrett’s scathing look burning at the side of my face.

Oh Merlin, here it is. I’m in heaps of trouble, I think as Uncle Michael leads all of us into the kitchen. Aunt Susan’s grip tightens on my shoulder.

“Why are they here?” she hisses into my ear. I shake my head in answer.

“I’m so sorry we have to intrude like this,” the third Auror says as he limps over to kitchen table. I notice the dust on his robes and a scratch on his cheek. Uncle Michael waves off the apology as he fills the kettle with water.

“Susan, Michael, we need to talk to Amelia,” Harry says solemnly. “You’re welcome to stay in here, as you’re her guardians, but she’s of age, so you’re not required--”

“We’re staying,” interrupts Aunt Susan stiffly. “Please, have a seat at the table.”

Harry and the male Auror sit. Auror Barrett stands behind them and folds her arms. Her gaze hasn’t left me.

“Amelia, why don’t you take a seat?” Harry offers. He gestures to the seat across from him. Without protest, I sit where he indicated. Aunt Susan fills the seat next to me. Harry looks at me from across the table, frowning. His glasses are a tad crooked, and there’s also dust scattered in his hair. I can’t bring myself to look at the legendary lightning scar.

“Hello,” I say rather breathlessly. Goose pimples erupt across my arms and legs.

“Amelia, we need to know if you had information regarding tonight’s attacks.”

My muscles stiffen, and my eyes widen. I hear Uncle Michael and Aunt Susan move in shock, but I can’t see them as my periphery vision becomes fuzzy.

“What attacks?” I finally ask. My voice is muted and rather high-pitched.

“Oh, don’t play dumb with us!” snaps Auror Barrett.

“Barrett, enough. Let Potter do the talking,” the third Auror says.

“Thank you, Peakes,” Harry says without looking at his colleagues. Instead, he continues to study me. “So are you saying that you knew nothing about tonight’s attacks?”

I shake my head. “No… Is everything okay? Is anyone hurt?”

“What happened?” Aunt Susan asks.

Harry ignores our questions and sighs. “You see, Amelia, it seems suspicious that hours before what happened tonight, you showed up at the Auror office.”

And we’ve arrived to what I’ve done, I think.

“Harry, we’ve already spoken to Amelia about this,” Susan says. “I don’t think she had any knowledge about whatever happened tonight.”

The kettle whistles, and Uncle Michael begins to get tea for everyone. He’s the type of person who needs to keep busy when he’s nervous and upset.

“That very well may be,” Harry tells her, “But we need to hear it from her.” He turns back to me. All I can think about is hiding under my covers, wishing everyone and everything away. Finally, I find my voice.

“No. I don’t know anything about what happened tonight.”

“Then why did you come by my office today...er, yesterday?” Harry asks grimly as he checks his watch.

I look to the other two Aurors, who are both staring at me. “I wanted to speak with you about something else,” I say.

“Well, I’m listening now,” Harry says. “What is it?”

I shake my head.

“Amelia!” cries Aunt Susan in exasperation. “Please be cooperative, darling!”

“I want to be, but I can only tell Mr. Potter,” I say quietly. “No one else.” Uncle Michael puts down the tea tray on the table and begins to pour tea for the Aurors.

Auror Barrett starts to open her mouth to say something but catches herself. Harry continues to study me. “Are you sure it has nothing to do with tonight’s attacks?”

“Where were they?” I ask him.

“Two places. Headquarters of The Quibbler and a square in an old Muggle village.”

“Did… that lot do it?” Uncle Michael asks, handing Harry a mug. I know that he’s referring to my mother and her minions.

“We believe so,” Harry answers. “No one’s been killed as far as we know, but several have been injured.”

I don’t find myself sharing the same relief as my aunt and uncle. “No, I don’t believe my information is connected.... But I’ll let you decide,” I say. I stand, and Auror Barrett draws out her wand.

“Where are you going, Amelia?” Aunt Susan asks.

“I need to get my information,” I inform her. “That is… if Mr. Potter is willing to be my sole audience.”

He contemplates me for a moment. “All right then. Where shall we talk?”

“Outside, by the apple trees,” I say. “That way, we won’t be interrupted.” My eyes go to Auror Barrett, whose cheeks redden.

“Sir, I don’t think that’s--”

“Barrett, I’ll share any information I deem fit to be shared,” Harry says. I nod, hoping that won’t be the case. I begin to leave.

“Sir, we should follow--”

“Oh, come on,” I interject, rolling my eyes. “I’m not running away. Let me get what I need. I’ll be right back.”

Without waiting for an answer, I dash upstairs. Nausea gnaws at me. Somehow, doing this here, at my home, makes it worse than if I did this as the Ministry. I enter my room and retrieve the Resurrection Stone. I think of James, and no one appears in my room.

Good. He’s alive. After tonight’s attacks, I was uncertain. But I do know that it’s time to say goodbye. And it’s not going to be easy.

“Hello, Amelia,” my grandfather says. “How are you?” I can barely see him in the darkness.

“No time,” I whisper in a rush. “Harry Potter’s here. I’m telling him about the Stone, and he might take it away from me.”

“Harry Potter? I used to give him ice cream when he came to my shop as a boy,” he says fondly.

“I know,” I reply quietly, pushing back memories that have only now flooded forth.

My grandfather studies my pained expression. “If he’s here, then this is must be goodbye.” He takes a step closer, reaching a hand to me.

My throat tightens. “Yes, it is. For now…”

Our hands meet, or they’re supposed to, anyway. They go through each other, never touching. I will never be able to feel the warmth of my grandfather’s touch.

“I’m proud of you, my dear,” he tells me. “You’ve done so much, and I know you’ll do more great things.”

“Are they great?” I ask thickly. “There are times I’m not sure…”

His dark eyes search mine. “Amelia, we all must live with the choices we make. Know your mind. Know your heart.”

I give a watery smile. “Thank you. I’ll try. They’re waiting for me downstairs.”

He nods. “Go to them. Live your life. I hope you find some peace, my dear girl.”

“Goodbye,” I whisper, as I place the Resurrection Stone into my pocket. Grabbing some parchment, I dash back downstairs. “Got it,” I breathe as I reenter the kitchen. Uncle Michael has laid out some toast for everyone. Auror Peakes is spreading some of Aunt Susan’s homemade strawberry jam onto it.

“Okay. You wanted to talk outside?” Harry gestures to the back door.

“Yes. Let’s go by the apple trees. I’ve been meaning to check for ripe apples.” I take a basket and lead him outside.

“Stay here, Barrett,” Harry says as he follows me. She makes a noise of indignation before shutting the door. “Well?” he asks as we reach the trees.

I can feel Barrett’s glare coming from the window. Taking out my wand, I mutter, “Muffliato.”

Harry tenses for a moment as I quickly put my wand away. “James taught you that, didn’t he?” he muses. I focus on the bits of parchment in my hand. Without looking at him, I say, “Take these and open them like you’re reading something.”

Harry accepts them. “Barrett’s watching?” he asks as he pretends to read through the parchment.

“Yes,” I confirm. I face away from the house, holding the basket in front of me. “Hold on a tic. Let me get everything in place.” Carefully, I place the Stone into it before scanning for a few apples from some of the lower branches.

“Amelia, get to the point,” Harry sighs. “What’s so important that you have to be escorted from the Auror office in such an outrageous manner? Especially after shouting ‘Peverell’ for all the world to hear?”

“I needed to get your attention,” I explain. “Which, clearly, I have now only gotten.” I place a couple apples into the basket and turn around to face him. “You’ll see it in the corner of the basket. This is what I need to show you.”

Harry takes the basket from me; his back is to the house, so no one can see what he’s looking at. He squints down at the Stone before looking back up at me.

“What is this?”

“You know what it is,” I tell him as I pick another apple from the tree. “The Resurrection Stone.”

“That’s impossible,” he says. “This was lost years ago.” He carefully picks it up to examine it.

“Well, it’s found now.” I toss a couple apples into the basket. “And it works. James is alive.”


--


The scenery to Hogwarts rolled by. I was aching to be with Victoria and some of our other friends, but I had prefect duty, which meant I got to weave in and out of excited teenagers on a speeding train. This was not one of my favorite tasks as a prefect, but at least I didn’t have duty again until the very next week.

“Oi, we walk on the train!” I called after a rowdy group, most of whom were redheaded Weasleys. They, of course, ignored me.

Suddenly, a hand grabbed my arm and pulled me inside a compartment.

“Bloody hell!” I exclaimed. Looking up, I saw James. His dark hair was a ruffled mess, and his usual smile was subdued as he got a proper look at me. This was not how I pictured our first encounter after the Easter holidays.

“Amelia, I’m glad to have managed a second alone with you,” he said hurriedly. His hand was still on my arm, and he pulled me closer to him, away from the compartment door. My stomach, betraying me, gave a lurch.

“Yeah. What’s up?” I asked, glancing around an empty train compartment. He and I both know that it wouldn’t be empty for long.

“I found the book,” he told me grimly. “I have it with me.” He drew an old book from his robes. “Please be careful with it. It’s not mine, nor my parents’.”

“Okay,” I said, glancing down at the cover. “Oh, children’s stories…”

“Quick! Put it away before someone sees,” James hissed. I looked back up at him, and he was frowning.

“What’s wrong with it?” I asked as I put it in my robe’s inner pocket. James adjusted his glasses, glancing at the compartment door.

“Nothing! It’s just… are you sure this symbol of yours is a family thing?” he asked solemnly.

“My mother insisted on it,” I replied darkly. “Why? What’s the matter with it?”

James shushed me. “Not here. Take a look through the book. We’ll talk once you do.” He led me back to the door.

“Okay, I will,” I said as he opened the door. I faced him in the threshold. “Thank you for the book.”

James shook his head. “Don’t thank me yet,” he said as he closed the door.



---


A/N: Anything you recognize is JKR's.

Another update! And so soon! I'm updating while I can, but please know that in the coming weeks, they won't be as regular. I'm writing ahead as much as I can now, so I hope to update on a fairly consistent basis.

Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a review! :)

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