Saturday, December 17, Harry and Ginny went to pick up James from the Hogwarts Express. Harry and Ginny were eager to talk to him about Hogwarts. As they walked through the station James was busy talking to what seemed like a huge crowd of students. James seemed to know a lot of the students, or they him.
When they got to the car Harry and Ginny made sure that Lily Luna was sitting between James and Albus in the back seat of the car, as James tried to tell Lily about all the Quidditch plays they were practicing.
The Elves had dinner ready for the family when they got home. At dinner Harry asked James “Are you enjoying living in the dorm? Any special friends?”
James answered, “Hamilton Jordan and Gideon Prewett are both in my dorm room. Hamilton wants to be the Quidditch commentator next year. Almost everybody knows me! Lots of people ask, ‘Is Harry Potter really your father?’ Some want to know if Ginny Potter is my mother. It’s easy to make friends. The only problem is that no one wants to talk about of Quidditch as much as I do. The only one I can always get to talk to about Quidditch is that Hufflepuff girl, Erica Lionheart. She’s a really good chaser, on the team as a first year. Her mum works with Mum on the Quidditch column. I kind of knew who she was, but never paid much attention to her. She’s all right, but she’s not a guy.”
“Is that a problem?” asked Ginny.
James beamed, replying, “Not really. Not at all, really. A lot of girls want to be friends with Harry Potter’s son, but lots of them are all fluttery and silly. Some of them know a little about Quidditch, but Erica knows a lot, and she is really a good flyer! I wish she was on our team.”
Al said, “Do people really ask you all the time if you’re Harry Potter’s son?”
James sort of puffed out his chest and replied, “It’s like I’m some kind of hero! It’s kind of neat.”
“What if you don’t want all that attention?” asked Albus.
“Why would you not want the attention?” asked James. “I think it’s great!”
Al implored, “You’re no big hero, James. Dad did that stuff. Mum n dad.”
“I AM the Seeker of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and as a first year. The last person to do that was Dad. So I am kind of following in his footsteps,” James said.
“What do people want to know?” asked Lily.
“If dad is really brave,” answered James. “I tell them that he is, that he isn’t afraid of anything!”
“Not being afraid is stupid, and dangerous,” Harry quickly interjected. “You’ve been told that. Courage is being afraid and doing something anyway.”
“They want to know if dad really has scars,” said James trying to change the subject. “I tell them you can’t really notice them, except for the one on Dad’s forehead, not that much, except when Dad takes off his shirt. They also want to know if we’re really rich. People keep telling me that I’m lucky, that I got the Firebolt, and can get anything I want. I tell them I don’t know, you make us transplant plants to make money. Lots of the students don’t believe I don’t have all the money I want.”
“What do they ask about Mum?” asked Lily.
“If she’s really as pretty as the pictures of her,” James replied. “I tell everybody that she’s much prettier in real life!”
“Thank you, James,” said Ginny, giggling.
Harry thought that James was smart telling his mother how pretty she was. Harry then asked James, “How are your classes, James?”
“Oh, they’re OK. I’m getting good enough grades,” said James/
“Are you learning anything?” asked Ginny.
“I’m learning enough,” said James. “The classes are all right. So far I have been able to do all the spells.”
“I want to go to Hogwarts to learn magic, not to play Quidditch,” Al interjected.
“You’ll never get to be Gryffindor seeker, not as long as I’m there,” James promptly said.
“There are much more important things than being a Quidditch player,” Al replied.
“Maybe you can be the Ravenclaw seeker, if you’re so smart,” James said. “Na, you’ll be the Slytherin seeker, cause you’re sneaky. I know you sneak down the basement to practice magic.”
This remark left Albus speechless; he did sneak downstairs to practice magic, almost every day. He hoped this sneaking did not mean he was going to be put in Slytherin.
“Did you see pictures of your Uncle Charlie in the Prophet?” asked Ginny of James the next morning. It was Sunday December eighteenth; a week before Christmas, and the family was getting ready to go to the New Burrow.
“Everybody asked me about it,” responded James “but I tell them I don’t know much more than what is in the paper. You haven’t told me anything I haven’t read.”
Ginny said, “You’ll see Charlie this morning. I think you’ll find that he looks worse in person than he does in the paper. He really is in bad shape.”
James shrugged his shoulders. He had more important things to worry about.
Albus noticed as he met Charlie, then watched other members of the family try to talk to him, that Charlie had a very hard time communicating. Albus had been reasonably careful about how often he practiced legilimency, and whose minds he tried to read. It was hard work, not always precise, and sometimes it felt like he was undressing people. But just maybe, Al thought, he could combine legilimency with trying to understand what Charlie was saying to better communicate with him.
Albus went back to Charlie and asked, “Is it hard to talk to people.”
Charley said, “Yea, is reel har o omm,” and kind of gave up in frustration.
Al could read what Charley was thinking and repeated back, “It’s real hard to communicate?”
Charley sort of nodded yes. Al then said, “I have some minor skills in legilimency. Maybe I can interpret for you?”
“Tha wo be fan, al,” said Charlie.
“That would be fantastic! Good” Al replied.
Al spent some time with Charley interpreting for him. From then on, whenever Charlie had a hard time communicating he would ask for Al, and Albus added being Charlie’s interpreter to his responsibilities.
James asked his mother and father at dinner, “Can I invite someone to come over here and fly with me tomorrow?”
“What about your cousins?” asked Ginny?
“None of them want to fly all day,” said James. “Lily will, but no one else will.”
“And what kind of practice can you do with three people? And who do you want to invite over anyway?” asked Ginny.
“Erica Lionheart will fly all day, and her brother Billy wants to fly too. May I invite them over? Please!” James implored. “We can play two on two in the space between the houses, and if anyone wants to join us we can play three on three or whatever.”
“I’ll play seeker, or any position, but not all day!” said Albus.
“Do you want me to call Mrs. Lionheart?” asked Ginny of James.
“Could you, please!” James replied.
Ginny called Donna Lionheart. “Hello Donna.
“James wanted to know if Erica and Billy could come over here and fly.
“You’re right, Donna,” Ginny laughed. “You don’t ask to be invited, you wait to be invited. I’m inviting Erica and Billy to come over, and bring their brooms. How about 9:00 A.M., after breakfast. We’ll feed the children lunch.
“I’ll let you know how it’s going the middle of the afternoon. “
The next morning Donna brought Erica and Billy over. The two children ended up staying until about 8:00 PM, eating lunch and dinner at Potters New Burrow. They even wangled another day out of Ginny and Donna, spending Tuesday flying as well, before both sets of parents put a stop to it.
About half the time Albus and some of the other cousins were flying with them, but the only four to fly all day were James, Erica, Bill and Lily.
Monday December nineteenth Harry and Hermione were among about a dozen trustees of Hogwarts meeting with Minerva McGonagall. She started out saying, “I am pleased to announce that our upper grades Charms teacher, Cinnamon Appleleaf, has delivered another child, their fourth, a daughter Daisy. Both mother and daughter are doing well.”
Wendell Wilkes, a trustee, asked, “Is being a new mother interfering with her duties as a teacher?”
“Not really,” answered Minerva. “I think the baby would be a little more distracting in the lower grades, but Tom Appleleaf does a fantastic job with those. He may be the better teacher, but Cinnamon really knows the advanced charms better, and I could not be happier with the job she is doing.
“Of course they have an Elf to help take care of the young children when one of the parents cannot, and the Appleleaf parents say that their Elf is a big help.”
The same trustee asked, “Is Cinnamon going to have eight children, like Pomona Sprout?”
Harry responded with, “It’s really none of our business. Grandpa Michael Appleleaf did say something about Tom and Cinnamon thinking that four was quite enough, at least for a while.”
“How is the search for a new Potions teacher going?” asked Hermione.
“I have the perfect candidates, I think,” responded Minerva, “Elessar and Arwen Wong. The problem is that she is committed to her current position next year. They are newly married, and don’t want to spent the first year of their marriage apart. I have another Chinese candidate, Dragon Chen, for the early grades, and Slughorn will continue on for the upper grades, but he really is getting old, and a little forgetful, and we need to replace him as soon as possible.”
Wendell Wilks was a Pure Blooded wizard whose family had never been connected to Tom Riddle. He was still very conservative, and he said, “I expect this Wong couple is going to be raising children at Hogwarts too.”
“That’s almost a certainty. It was one of the things that attracted them to Hogwarts,” Minerva said. “We really have a good primary school program at Hogwarts for the students from Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.
“I have another issue. There are ten Elves that have been raised with Magi. Each Elf is associated with two Magi children, some the same age, some one year younger, a couple two years younger. Harry’s son Albus Severus and Hermione’s daughter Rose have been raised with an Elf by the name of Martin. All the Elves would like to be taught here next year; we do have a really good program for teaching Elves. The cost to Hogwarts is minor. The Harry Potter Estates is going to cover the modest increase in cost of food and other minor expenses.
“I have been informed by Magi and Elves who know the whole program that the following year they want all the Magi children raised with Elves here at Hogwarts. The politics in Switzerland make it impossible for all the students to go there, and there are other problems with the other schools.
“We will have enough teachers, but our problem is where to put the extra students.”
“You have foreign students now, and a foreign student house,” Hermione reminded them.
“That’s really for older students, starting third year,” Minerva said. “Usually first and second year students end up in one of the four houses, usually one they chose although some of them want to be sorted, and the sorting hat does its best.”
“Do the houses have enough room,” asked Hermione.
“Only Slytherin,” responded Minerva. “Bennett Davis may be sorted into Slytherin, but I don’t have another student on the list for that year that I think will be sorted into Slytherin.
Hermione asked, “How welcoming would Slytherin be? From what you have said, the non-Pure Blooded students in Slytherin have been having a very hard time.”
“I’m not happy with Slytherin. By tradition the Head of House picks the Prefects, and the Prefects sort of set the standard for the house. I’m not sure how they pick the heads in Slytherin. None of the Professors associated with Slytherin will tell me. I’m not happy with their choices,” Minerva said.
Hermione said, “I know Professor Sanford’s children were sorted into Slytherin. I know that they agreed to be in Slytherin to be change agents. What do they say?”
Minerva said, “They tell their father that changing Slytherin is going to be very difficult. We let them go home some weekends just because living in that House has been so hard on the students. Some other non-Pure Blood students have also spent a little time with the Sanford family, just to get a break from the tension and prejudice.”
Wendell Wilkes said, “Slytherin, like all the houses, has its own proud traditions. I doubt you will change the character of the house easily, and you should not try. There ought to be at least one house for us few true Pure Blooded witches and wizards.”
There was more discussion about Slytherin, but no one had any good ideas how to change the character of the house.
Other than Charlie, there was really nothing too unusual about the Christmas of 2016. Teddy was the only one of the next generation out of school. Fred Weasley would be graduating in the spring. The older children were beginning to talk about what they wanted to do after graduation. Fred was going to start working for Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes, and he was going to be traveling with Lee Jordan, and spending some time in Africa learning some new spells, as soon as possible. Fred had already spent a couple of weeks each of the last two summers in Africa, and this Christmas he had a girl from the African tribe Lee and he had been working with visiting. Her name was Miriam, and she was as short as Ginny, reasonably curvy, and as black as you could be.
Victoire was going to try and become a healer. Molly wasn’t sure, but Roxanne wanted to be either an Auror or a farmer, or maybe both. Frank Longbottom was going to see if he could train as an Auror, but keep working on the farm part time. Even though she was only fifteen, (as her parents kept reminding her), it was hard to get Roxanne to talk about her future without having Frank Longbottom somewhere in the conversation.
James Potter and Erica Lionheart talked their parents into letting them fly a couple more days between Christmas and New Year Day.
Late in the week between Christmas and New Years the Potter family held their usual after Christmas party. Harry, Ginny and their children were in the front hall, waiting for the modest contingent of pediatric patients from St. Mungo’s, plus a few other needy children, along with siblings and parents, plus a couple of healers for a couple of the more seriously sick children.
“I’m glad we got another tree, for the front hall,” Harry said. “The main tree was getting rather overloaded with ornaments.”
“Aunt Fleur’s tree is a lot prettier,” Lily said.
“Each one of these ornaments represents a year, and a needy child that we were able to help in some small way,” Harry said. “They are not all very pretty, but to me they are the most beautiful ornaments you could ever have.”
Ginny gave Harry’s hand a squeeze, to confirm what he said. She was so lucky to be married to this generous, loving man. Life was very good indeed.
In January Witches Weekly started a series on “The Tragedies’ of the Potter and Weasley Families.” They took a couple of weeks to go over the Weasley family history, then the third week went into the tragedies’ of Arthur and Molly’s family, Molly losing her two brothers and then two sons. The fourth week they went over the Potter family tragedies’. Then they spent a week on the post Hogwarts time, going over Ginny’s tragic accident and Charlie’s accident. Somehow the last articles ended up spending a moderate amount of time on Albus Severus Potter; going over the conflicts he had with the Department for the Regulation of Underage Magic, the attacks he and his family had survived, and speculating about what problems he was going to face next.
Albus was mortified. He wanted to be able to hide, very much like his father, and not have to face being ‘royalty’ like James apparently was.
Scorpius read all the articles, but Cleopatra devoured them. “Do you think we’ll meet Albus Potter at Hogwarts?” she asked Scorpius. “Maybe I could room with Rose Weasley?”
Scorpius replied “The Potters and Weasleys’ are the closest thing the Magi community has to royalty, and the Malfoy name is dirt. I don’t expect they’ll even want to speak to us.”
By February it was becoming clear that Charlie was having a harder time talking. The healers told Charlie that trying to talk was putting too much strain on his throat. The Magi in Romania suggested a Muggle computer with a good word processing program, hooked up to a one handed keypad made for totally one handed typing. So Charlie started to use that. There was also a program that spoke what Charlie was saying, and shortcuts that, if you learned them, could make it easier to talk.
One day Albus walked in to Charlie’s room and asked, “How is talking with the keyboard coming?”
F R U Charlie typed, and when Frustrating appeared on the screen he chose that. “Frustrating.”
“Why is it so frustrating?” asked Albus.
I C A “can” T H I N “think” M U “must” F A S “fast” T H “than” T H “this” M A C H “machine,” Charlie typed, as the computer program tried to guess the world Charlie wanted.
“You can think faster than you can type?” Albus asked. “I can understand that. Would it be faster with magic?”
Charlie typed “?”
“Do you have a wand?” Albus asked.
“NO,” appeared on the computer screen.
“Could you use a wand?” Albus asked.
“? Tired” appeared on the computer.
Caroline, Charlie’s nurse, told Albus after Charlie had closed his eyes, “Charlie is working hard on learning how to type and communicate, but after about half an hour and he is exhausted.
Albus thought that you ought to be able to type faster with magic, but he had no idea how. So he started asking people. His parents were no help. So he asked his Aunt Hermione.
“Charlie is having a hard time typing on that one handed keyboard he is using,” Albus said to his Aunt. “Is there some magical way of making it easier for him to type?”
“I would think that would be more in the province of healers,” Hermione said. “Don’t his fingers work very well?”
“I will ask him,” Albus said. “I can listen to him using Legilimency, so it’s not so frustrating for him to talk to me.”
“Technically, you are not to be using Legilimency at your age, so I would be very careful who you told that you are using it to communicate with Charlie,” Hermione said.
Albus responded, “Technically you and Uncle Ron and my Dad should not have been doing what you did to defeat Tom Riddle. If I had not summoned wands when I was underage I might not have done anything illegal, but I would be dead.”
Hermione said, “I am just reminding you to be very careful what you tell people, especially if it might suggest that you are doing something that is not allowed.”
Albus Potter did not need any encouragement to be careful, and more than a little paranoid.
Albus went back to Charlie, and asked, “Uncle Charlie, are you having a hard time moving your fingers, or just a hard time learning to type.”
Charlie typed back, “?”
Albus said, “So you are not sure which it is. Maybe both?”
Charlie nodded, “Yes.”
Albus asked, “Do you still have your wand?”
“Burned,” Charlie thought to Albus.
“All burned up when you were hurt,” Albus said.
“We ought to get you a wand,” Albus said. “I will ask Grandmother about getting you a wand.”
Caroline, Charlie’s nurse, said, “Most healers do not want someone as badly injured as Charlie using a wand. It is too hard to lose control of their magic.”
“There ought to be some way to help you, Charlie,” said Albus. He spent more time with Charlie, but did not make any progress figuring out how to make it easier for Charlie to communicate.
April 8th was the first Quidditch game of 2017 at Hogwarts, between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. James and Erica were going to be flying against each other for the first time. Both teams were good, although Gryffindor was a little better. James again caught the snitch, three games his first year at Hogwarts and he caught the snitch each time. The Quidditch magazines all had a story on James. The only column not to focus on, “the next generation of Potter superstars,” was Ginny’s column, although even she had to have a write-up on the game.
Finally it was the middle of June, and the Hogwarts Express brought all the children home for the summer vacation. Fred Weasley II was one of the first students off the train. He was met by his parents, and another family. The girl, Mariam, kissed Fred, and then he hugged his mother and the other woman, and shook hands with his father and the other man.
Ginny said, “We are having a graduation party tomorrow at the New Burrow, and Mariam and her parents are going to be there. Monday Fred is leaving for about six months of study with Mariam’s tribe, learning some different spells, and trying to get a supply of some hard to procure magical plants.”
“How serious are Fred and Mariam?” asked Harry.
“Too serious, at least per Angelina,” Ginny replied. “She doesn’t want to become a grandmother too quickly. She’s worried about Frank Longbottom and Roxanne as well.”
About this time Frank and Roxanne came out of the train together. There was a large crowd of students with Frank, all children of teachers at Hogwarts. Neville and Perry Sprout were there to meet them.
“Frank has been accepted into Auror training,” Harry said. “Roxanne has two years of school left, so they will not be together all that much for the next two years. Roxanne is taking courses to allow her to join the Aurors as well.”
Roxanne reluctantly parted with Frank, and joined her parents, and the George Weasley family and guests departed via the floo connection.
Neville had a list, and eventually, when all the students were together, he said, “Raise your wand when I read out your name. I need to make sure all the students who are going back to meet their parents at Hogwarts are with me.
“Seventh year, Frank Longbottom, Elisa Williamson,
“Sixth year, Rose Sprout,
“Fifth year, Alice Longbottom,
“Fourth year, Dolly Longbottom, Aster Sprout,
“Third year, Ruth Sanford,
“Second year, Violet Sprout,
“First year, Abraham Sanford.”
Neville led the students through the floo, and Perry Sprout followed behind the students.
James finally came out, along with a small crowd of students. Erica Lionheart was with the group, and Harry was almost sure most of the students played Quidditch for one of the houses.
Victoire was one of the last out of the train. She was a Prefect, and rumor had it that she was going to be Head Girl next year. Harry knew that Teddy wanted to meet the train, but his Auror schedule did not allow it.
The next Tuesday Molly, Andromeda and Narcissa met for lunch again.
“What is Fred Weasley going to do, now that he has graduated from Hogwarts,” Narcissa asked Molly. “Is he still going to Africa?”
Molly said, “Yes, and neither his mother nor I are happy with how close he is to the daughter of the couple with some of the magical plants. She is a couple of years older than he is, and as far as his mother and I are concerned she is far too interested in settling down.”
“Molly,” Narcissa said, “I thought you would be eager for great-grandchildren.”
“I expect they will start coming soon enough, but I hope not for a few years,” Molly said.
“I think I will try to get wands and supplies for Scorpius and Cleo close to the time they leave for Hogwarts. There is still a lot of fighting in the house, and Godiva and Astoria really do not want Scorpe and Cleo going to Hogwarts.” Narcissa said. “My Mum Druella wants Scorpe to go, because that is what Pure Blooded Magi do. She is hoping Scorpe will end up finding a Pure Blooded wife, and not marry Cleo.
“Amazingly enough Draco agrees. He is defying his father, and wants Scorpius to go to Hogwarts too.”
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