A/N: Hi guys! I'm completely, completely new to this world, so it may take a few chapters to get everything formatted the way I envision it. I plan on riding out this story to end, so stick with me! And of course, reviews are always welcome ;)
I watched as Mum disappear into the cloud of fog, her hand still raised to wave. Dad's red hair was the last thing I saw before platform 9 3/4 disappeared into white. I sighed, poking my head back into the train carriage. I turned beside me to see my cousin Albus (or Al as he insisted on calling himself, he hated his stuffy old wizard name) standing besides me, clutching the cage where his barn owl Volanti slept, his face contorted with excitement and nerves. I gulped. This was it, the train ride I had been waiting for forever, ever since Teddy started to tell us about his own adventures at Hogwarts.
"Shall we try to find an open compartment?" I said crisply, smoothing down my bushy red hair and picking up the wicker basket where my cat Callidus slept (Dad had insisted on buying me a cat, much to Mum's amusement).
"You don't think we should find James or Freddie first?" Al asked nervously, glancing around for his older brother and his best friend, both of whom happened to be my cousins.
I shook her head and sighed. Al just simply didn't understand that his brother wanted nothing to do with them once they were remotely near Hogwarts. Instead of explaining this to Al for the 10th time that day, I grabbed his hand and dragged him away from the windows.
"Hey! Let go!" Al hissed, yanking his hand away as they made their way through the carriage, furrowing his brow as people stared and whispered excitedly. He grumbled, "James never had to deal with this sort of thing, damn lucky with his red hair. I don't even look that much like him."
I chortled, unable to help myself. "Al, you're a spitting image of Uncle Harry, all the way down to the green eyes!"
Al pouted. "But I don't have the glasses!" He exclaimed, sending a quick glare at a fourth year who had started to approach him with a paper and pen.
I rolled my eyes. Anyone else would kill to have the Harry Potter as their father "Al, come on, I mean he's famous, and you look like him. You just have to get used to it."
Al didn't respond, he simply made a hrmph sound.
I rolled my eyes again, cousins, craning my neck wildly about to look into each compartment only to become slightly more dejected with each full one we passed. It was when we got to the second to last carriage that I finally found a compartment with two open seats. I opened the door and gestured for Albus to follow me in.
"Awww no fair!" Shouted the blond haired boy on the left as the cards came tumbling down with a loud bang.
The other boy smiled smugly before turning his attention to me and Al, waiting expectantly.
I cleared my throat and tucked a curly strand of hair behind my ear. "I'm Rose, Rose Weasley and this is my cousin, …."
"Albus Severus Potter." Al said, cutting me off with a dirty look. I was just trying to be polite!
"Charmed!" Both the boys said simultaneously. They looked at each other. "A Potter and a Weasley. Score!" They exclaimed, high fiving.
As we put our cages up in the luggage racks, the two identical boys cleaned up the cards, with the boy on the right picking up a book as he finished.
I cleared my throat. These two boys were seriously lacking in manners. "And you two are?" I asked, eyeing them warily.
The boy on the left pointed to himself. "I'm Lysander, and this," He gestured at the other boy. "Is my twin brother Lorcan." The boy peeked behind his book with a shy smile.
"Wait…" Al said, shifting beside me. "Lysander, Lorcan? You wouldn't happen to be the sons of Luna Lovegood, would you?" His green eyes sparkled with reverence.
"Sure are!" Lysander chirped.
I gasped. "My Mum and Dad have told us so many stories about your mum, Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny too! They always wanted us to meet her.."
Al butt in. "But they said she was always traveling somewhere exotic looking for holirompikins or something!"
Lorcan set down his book and nodded knowledgably. "Hollyrumpkins. We hardly ever visit England, really just for a few weeks every summer so Da can write down what he's found. Of course, now we'll be attending Hogwarts."
"He wants to publish a book on our eleven year adventure. Too bad all the stuff is fake." Lysander said bitterly, cutting his brother off, paying no heed as Lorcan's face turned a bright red.
He turned to Al. "Our Mum has told us a lot about the Potters too." He glanced warily at me. "She said your Dad wasn't too friendly to her though." He said matter-of-factly.
I felt her ears warm slightly. Dad had always said nice things about Luna. Well, come to think of it, he often started talking about her only to be cut off by Mum. "I'm sorry, I'm sure he didn't mean it."
Lysander shrugged indifferently, gesturing to the two seats across from him.
As I was about to sit in her seat Lorcan glanced up again from his book. "You don't want to sit there. My Mum says Grackles love seats by the windows. They're nasty little buggers. Bright chartreuse."
"I'm sorry," I said, uncertain of what I had just heard. "What are grakamgles?" I tried to finish as politely as possible, I really did, but I didn't remember that creature from any of Mum's old textbooks. And I had read all of them.
Lysander spoke up as Lorcan opened his mouth, covering up whatever his brother was about to say. "Don't listen to him, it's all just a bunch of hogwash."
Lorcan simply glared at his brother, his cheeks red, before burying himself back in his book.
An awkward silence followed in which Al and I exchanged a look; my cat, Calli, meowed sleepily in her basket and Al's owl, Volanti, ruffled her feathers and responded with an equally sleepy hoot from the luggage rack above.
Al broke the silence by clearing his throat and saying, "So, what house do you think you'll be sorted into?"
Lysander jumped on the question. "Mum, thinks that it will be probably be Ravenclaw, seeing that she was in that house, but personally I think Ravenclaw is a bit stupid. I like Gryffindor, much more fun than studious."
Lorcan yawned, looking up from his book. "Well I think Ravenclaw would be amazing!" He exclaimed. "To be smart enough to be put into it- well- I just don't know if I'm that intelligent." He finished modestly, flushing and gazing down at the floor.
"I'm sure you are." I said softly. Me and Lorcan exchanged smiles, and I had the distinct feeling I had just made my first friend. Outside the barrels of cousins that were built in friends.
Lysander rolled his eyes. "Anyways, you two are practically guaranteed Gryffindor, being a Potter and a Weasley."
I grinned proudly, not wanting to reveal how sincerely I wanted to be in Gryffindor. A lot.
I felt rather than saw Al shrug beside me. "I dunno…." He started, I turned sharply towards him. "Dad says we get to choose really, I think maybe I'd like to be in Slytherin. Something different." He glanced warily at me, expecting a reaction.
Huh? Al, Slytherin?
It only took a second before I felt the flash of anger overtake me. "Slytherin?! Why the bloody hell would you want to be in that snake pit?!" I yelped, feeling betrayed. Al shrank away from me. "You, Albus Severus Potter.." I jabbed a finger at his chest. "...Belong in Gryffindor, and if you aren't I swear to god I'll…."
"You'll what?" Said Al quietly, his green eyes narrowed and flashing at me dangerously.
"I'll….. I'll…. I won't talk to you ever again." I spat, instantly regretting it as Al swelled beside me in anger and defiance.
"So you'll refuse to talk to me because of a dumb house?! What, because all Slytherins end up evil and bent on world conquest?! My mum always said good dwells in the heart of all the houses, and dad said the bravest man he ever knew was in Slytherin! For Merlin's sake Rosie, I'm named after him!" I tried to open my mouth to apologize, but Al cut me off with a cold glare. "Maybe I don't want to be like every other Potter or Weasley! Maybe I want to be different for once in my life!" He stood up abruptly and turned towards the door, but I jumped up and grabbed a fistful of his shirt.
"Please, Al," I pleaded, remorse washing over me in waves, "I'm… I'm sorry, really, I didn't mean it like that! I just never thought of you not being in Gryffindor, that's all." I sniffled, tears threatening to spill onto my cheeks.
"You're not going to cry, are you?" Lysander said brusquely, watching our interaction.
I chuckled. "Not know I don't think." I said with one last sniffle. Lysander and Lorcan both looked relieved.
Al spun back around to me, thumping back down into his seat. His face started to relax. He sighed and ran his fingers through his unruly black hair. "I know, I'm sorry too, I'm just… nervous I guess. I'm afraid the family will disown me if I try to do something even a little bit different."
I blew out a breath of relief. I had refused to acknowledge it, but I had been serious in my threat. Al, a Slytherin! The idea itself was so far fetched that I felt like laughing, yet, the image of Al wearing a green tie instead of a red one the next morning at breakfast danced in my mind. It wasn't a pleasant image. Imagine, him and the Malfoy boy that Dad had warned me about at the same table!
The next few hours passed in amicable chatter, we all played a couple of games of Hot Snaps, a new type of card game that our older "cousin" Teddy had invented (The cards could erupt in flames at any moment). Soon, the conversation lagged into the upcoming quidditch season, and, although I was a fierce supporter of the Chudley Cannons and quidditch player hopeful, I decided to take out my copy of Hogwarts: a history. My Mum had given it to me when I turned 5. Thank goodness I turned out to be a witch, imagine the embarrassment if I was a squib!
Soon enough, the lunch cart rolled through their carriage and I bought my weight in cauldron cakes and chocolate frogs. I could almost imagine Uncle George shaking his head with laughter, telling me I was just like Dad.
I stuck one in my mouth as I examined my card. A plump, elderly wizard stared back at me with a small smile, his face lit up with twinkling hazel eyes and short silver hair. "Fide Sapientes, current headmaster of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. He worked closely with the now retired Minerva Mcgonagall and current Minister of Magic Kingsley to outlaw horcruxes. A noted potionist, he discovered the potion cure for werewolf bites." I read, lifting my eyebrows, this guy was seriously impressive. And that's coming for a girl whose uncle was Harry Potter. "I think he comes around the house in the summer a lot." I said, a bit smug despite myself.
"I'f awready got fim," Al said, his mouth crammed full with a pumpkin pasty. He swallowed. "What do you suppose a horcrux is?" He asked, grabbing the card out of my hand.
"Mum said they're really advanced dark magic stuff." Lorcan piped up, having moved on to an upside down magazine as he nibbled on Bott's every flavor beans.
I frowned. I had heard enough snippets of my parents' stories to know dark magic was deplorable. "Well, if it concerns dark magic, it can't possibly be good." I said, voicing my thoughts out loud as I grabbed back the card from Al and threw Professor Sapientes to the side.
Al nudged me. "I think I heard Dad talk about it once when he didn't think I was listening…"
"So you were eavesdropping." I interrupted, my eyes narrowed. Honestly, he was so similar to James sometimes, why did I even bother?
Al dismissed me with an impatient wave of his hand. "James does it all the time!" Because he's a role model Al! He lowered his voice dramatically. "Anyways, he said to Mum, 'I think we've finally tracked them all down.' and Mum lowered her voice a bit and said something like, 'Really, did the horcrux Ron was chasing in Bulgaria finally show up' and then there was some of the conversation I missed and Dad said 'destroyed…. Along with the last book'. Then I think they embraced." Al wrinkled his nose in disgust.
"You mean you haven't heard of horcruxes?" A cold voice said from behind us. Al and I jumped, turning to look at the doorway.
Framed by the setting sun was a willowy boy with hair so blond it appeared white, his steely gray eyes roaming the compartment's contents. His lips curved into a confident smirk as he leaned against the doorframe. He nodded curtly at the Lovegood twins, turning his attention back to us. He had already changed into his new school robes, his pale skin contrasting sharply against the jet black. He twiddled his wand in his slender fingers.
"I'm…" He started with a smile.
"We already know who you are Scorpius Malfoy." I said with distaste, glaring at him as I remembered what Dad had said back on the platform ("Beat him in every test Rosie…").
The grin slid off his face as Scorpius seemed temporarily taken aback. His eyes flashed with something- hurt?- before he continued coldly. "Well, I would know a Weasley anywhere, your red hair is a giveaway, even with its bushiness." Calli hissed from the floor, her luminous green eyes fixed on Scorpius.
Scorpius looked down. "Would you call of your cat?" He said lazily, raising his wand. "If she so much as nips me I'll set her straight with a stunning spell."
I felt my hackles rise (figuratively of course) as I grabbed Calli, hugging her to my chest. How dare he! "Sod off Malfoy, what do you want anyways? I don't want my first day ruined by a Slytherin."
Scorpius's eyes flashed with anger and something else I couldn't quite place. "What makes you so sure I'll be in Slytherin?" He spat. His face softened. "Look, I just heard you two talking about horcruxes as I walked by and I happen to know a lot about them so…."
I interrupted him with an Aunt Ginny patented glare. "Oh, I'm sure your family knows all about them if they have to do with dark magic."
"Rose!" Al said reproachfully. "Let him be!"
I rounded on Albus. Was he defending a Malfoy? Sworn enemy to the golden trio? "Let him be?! He's a Malfoy, they're just a bunch of cold blooded pricks!" I wasn't exactly sure what prick meant, but I had heard Dad use it loads of times when he was exceptionally angry. Al and I glared furiously at each other, both equally stubborn. We both knew each other better than anyone. When I turned back towards the door, Scorpius was gone, and Calli had fallen asleep on my lap. Good.
"So what? He's famous for a reason he didn't get to decide on." Al said bitterly, turning away from me to look out the window.
I blinked and fell silent. I knew Al hated to be constantly compared to his father, just like I didn't like being compared to Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. But still, it wasn't anything like Scorpius being a Malfoy. Bad blood all around.
The scenery beyond the train had turned from flat farmlands to jagged mountains before it had dissolved into the purple light. I carefully changed into my new school robes, trying out several spots before I tucked my wand into an inside pocket. I grinned, swishing around in my black robes. I was about to be a student at Hogwarts! It was a weird feeling as my wand bounced at my side as I made my way back to my seat. I was halfway back when I heard loud voices issuing from one of the compartments. I hesitated, not wanting to interfere on whatever was going on, but…. I sighed, biting my lip before I stuck my head in.
An older black boy was lounging on two of the seats, lazily pointing his wand at a small slender boy with blond hair as three others looked on and watched, laughing and sneering.
One of the onlookers, a rather nasty looking girl with a sallow complexion and short stringy brown hair looked over at me, her eyebrows temporarily raising in shock. The expression quickly vanished, replaced with a facade of haughtiness.
"Looks like we've been graced by the newest Weasley!" She simpered. The four other occupants of the room looked over with bored interest, including the boy. My eyes widened as I saw that it was Scorpius, his face almost unrecognizable, covered with large warts. His eyes were watering slightly, wide with fear. It took all my bravery not to back out of the compartment right then and run the other way.
"Come here darling." Beckoned a boy who greatly resembled an oversized bat, with a greasy dome of black hair.
I stood still, frozen with fear. I needed help. A lot of it.
"I'll...I'll get a perfect!" I mustered with a soft squeak, shriveling inside at my attempt to be fierce. So much for that.
The four Slytherins laughed.
"She thinks we're just going to let her go to run and get a perfect!" The girl howled, flopping over on the seat with laughter.
I glared at her, feeling a bit of anger return to my system.
The boy who was lounging and obviously in charge barely spared me a glance. His attention was still on Scorpius who, I must admit, looked a good deal more like a scared eleven year old boy when he wasn't insulting my bloodline.
"Do the honors Electra." The boy said, his attention not wavering from Scorpius, who seemed to be frozen.
"My pleasure Zabini." Electra cackled, jumping up as a twisted smile rearranged her face. I started back, only feeling the wall behind me. Trapped.
I watched in horror as Electra slowly raised her wand, my own hand scrambling to get mine out from the pocket I had just chosen.
I closed my eyes, trying in vain to remember a spell, any spell. My eyes shot open. I had one.
"Stup…." Electra started casually. I shot out my wand. "STUPEFY!" I yelled, feeling a tingling sensation overcome my body and pulsate down my right arm. A red blast hit Electra square in the chest as she immediately fell to the ground, unable to move, her shocked expression frozen on her face.
My eyes widened and my breathing hitched as I realized what I just did. I had performed a spell, for the first time. Wonker, Dad would be proud.
The two other boys across from me seemed unable to process what had just happened. One had his mouth freely hanging open before he snapped it shut and rummaged around for his own wand.
Zabini held out a hand to stop the two boys from whatever horrible curse they were about to release on me. "Looks like we might have a red-headed Slytherin here." He said appraisingly, looking me up and down as Scorpius was temporarily forgotten.
I swallowed. A Slytherin? Me? "I'll… I'll do it again. Watch me!" I spat, a great deal more fiercely than I felt.
Zabini smiled at me like a predator about to eat his prey. "Again?" He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "No, Weasley, that won't be necessary. You've impressed me."
I stared back at the boy, horrified. Impressed him? No! I didn't want to impress the brute!
"You can leave." Zabini said carelessly, switching his attention back to Scorpius as he waved me out.
I blinked, hardly believing my luck. I turned to walk out, albeit shakily, but before I could take a step towards the door, I heard a whimper come from Scorpius as his warts started to pulsate. I tried to leave. I didn't owe the smug blond anything. But I couldn't. I couldn't leave Scorpius alone and helpless and let Zabini do Merlin knows what to him.
I pursed my lips, taking a deep breath before I turned slowly back around. "Let him go, and then I'll go." I said, crossing my arms over my chest to stop them from shaking.
Zabini turned back towards me. "What did you say?" He asked in a dangerously quiet tone, his lips turning down into a frown.
I bit my lip. Courage, Rose. "I said, let him go."
Zabini gave me a once over before he burst out laughing. After a short pause, the two other boys started to laugh with him. I felt my blood start to boil with anger. Those absolute prats!
"Hear that Malfoy?" Zabini chortled. "You half-blood red-headed savior wants me to let you go!"
I dug my fingernails into my skin to keep from lunging at him. "I did the spell once," I said quietly, gesturing to Electra, whose eyes were shifting wildly about.
Zabini rolled his eyes. "Please, Weasley, that was a fluke. You're not even sorted yet and we're about to be seventh years. We'll win easily. Might even throw in a few unforgivables." He said casually, twirling his long wand.
Any sense of bravery left me as I processed what he said. Unforgivables? I started to tremble wildly all over.
The door banged open besides me. I whipped my head around, my wand still tightly held in my hands, my knuckled long since white. I let out a small breath of relief as my eyes adjusted to my cousin Molly standing in the doorway, her perfect badge gleaming in the lamp light.
"Rose?" Molly asked incredulously. "Why are you in the Slytherin's Carriage…." Her voice trailed off and her eyes widened as she took in the scene in front of her. I wanted to run to her and sob.
"Maverick!" Molly yelped, her eyes flashing at Zabini. "What in Merlin's name are you doing to him? You're an f-ing perfect!"
Zabini grinned good naturedly. "Mols, he insulted my whole family, said his dear daddy Draco told him my father was no good."
Molly's eyes narrowed to slits as she stormed into the room, grabbing Scorpius.
She turned to me, her expression softening as she took in my trembling. "Here, Rosie, take him to the front of the train and ask for Madame Pomfrey." Her eyes narrowed with dislike as she spun to Zabini, her mouth set in a grim line. "I'll take it from here."
I didn't take any time in grabbing Scorpius' cold hand and dragging him out of the compartment, hesitating as I saw Molly raise her wand and Zabini do the same.
"Come'n" I mumbled to Scorpius, tugging him down the hall as I tried to ignore the gasps and stares that accompanied us. I glanced at Scorpius from time to time, his eyes almost sealed shut by the warts as he hung his head shamefully.
Madame Pomfrey gasped softly when she saw Scorpius, I stood uncomfortably by as she ushered him to take a seat and then bustled around with grinding together ingredients. I looked out the window, not seeing much past the shadowed figures of fir trees as we winded our way closer to the mountains Hogwarts was nestled in.
A few minutes and mumbled wand wavings later, Madame Pomfrey bustled back over to Scorpius with a glass steaming purple, ordering him to drink the whole thing. She turned to me, giving me a stern once-over to make sure I had come to her unscathed.
Satisfied, she said, "If you want to stay, he'll be fine in about 15 minutes." Madame Pomfrey shot a look at Scorpius, who hastily began to drink again. "That is, if he follows my directions."
I shook my head fiercely, blushing. "No, no, I don't really…. We don't really get along." To put it mildly, I thought.
Madame Pomfrey regarded me with a raised eyebrow as I stammered to a finish. "I.. I need to get going anyways."
She gave me a knowing smile. "Right then, dear, you may leave."
I nodded, slipping out before Scorpius had a chance to catch my eye. As soon as I stepped out from the health compartment I took a long breath, collecting myself. Despite having to walk to the other end of the train, I felt it was all too soon as I opened the door to my compartment with shaking hands.
"Rose?!" Al's voice, thick with concern, echoed oddly. "Where did you go? Why are you shaking?"
"Is she okay?" Lysander's- no- Loran's voice now, hollow.
I was numb with shock, I realized as I took my seat, smoothing out my robes as I tried to gather myself. With no such luck, one look at the concern written over Al's face and I burst into tears. Bugger.
"There there…" Al said as I fell against his shoulder, his hand reaching to pat my shoulder awkwardly. "No reason to cry." Al said gently, trying to nudge me up. I shook my head, falling to his lap as I buried myself deeper into his robes. They smelled like Aunt Ginny. Lavender and cinnamon. I tried to regroup, to remember every detail of what I had just done. I stupefied a fellow student! What if I was expelled, did they send people to Azkaban because of that? What if…
"Rose…" Al said, taking my shoulders and shaking me gently. "Tell me what happened, Why were you gone so long?" I started, looking into his eyes I could see Uncle Harry staring back out at me.
"I...I….I" I swallowed, trying again. I recounted my story, stopping and starting many times as I let out big gasping breaths. The three boys that surrounded me listened as their expressions grew angrier and angrier.
"Those. Complete. Gits." Al said with gritted teeth once I had finished my narrative. I watched as he clenched his fists. "Those… those…. I have half a mind to go pummel them!"
Feeling marginally better, I rolled my eyes, turning instead to the gobsmacked twins across from me.
"You performed a stupefy spell?" Lysander asked, awe dripping from his voice.
"You'll be in Ravenclaw for sure!" Lorcan exclaimed, shaking his head with wonder.
I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, my insides queasy and wrong. I didn't want to be in Ravenclaw, I only wanted to be Gryffindor. With Al.
I was interrupted from my thoughts as a loud knock sounded in the compartment. A moment later my cousin's curly black hair popped through the door.
Roxy regarded us before she announced, "I've just been talking to the conductor," She swept a curl out of her face, "And he said we would be at the station in five minutes." She looked around expectantly.
Sure enough, I felt the train start to slow noticeably, the chatter in the hall getting louder.
"Dom says we should move more towards the front." Roxy informed us, clearly expecting us to get up.
I huffed. Roxy and I did not have a history of getting along. "We'll be fine." I said shortly, earning a brief look from Al.
"Oh…." Roxy looked slightly flustered. "Yeah, of course, I guess I'll be seeing both of you in Gryffindor for the feast anyways." With a bounce of her perfectly curled hair (as opposed to my mop of a bushy red disaster) Roxy was gone.
The noise level outside the compartment only continued to increase as the Hogwarts Express chugged into Hogsmeade, all around me I watched as children with pointy black hats and sweeping black ropes passed by with cages of various animals. Mum had told me that when she had started at Hogwarts, first years could only bring owls, toads, and rats. That wasn't the case anymore. Thank goodness, I reflected, clutching Calli's basket close to my chest.
The Express came to a stop, the doors magically popping open to let out the stream of students onto the platform, waiting against the sides for their friends, or in my case, trying to see where I was supposed to go.
"First years, first years, 'ver here!" A deep, booming voice called. I squinted in the direction of the voice, seeing a large lantern bob almost comically high over the heads of students as it came closer in the crowd. At second glance, I grinned as the huge outline of Hagrid came into focus, his face almost indistinguishable under a mess of silver and brown hair. Professor Hagrid was a dear friend of Mum and Dad, he often came around for dinner in the summer, and I had always loved his stories about the spectacularly awful creatures he came across and fostered in his cabin. I grabbed Al, ignoring his stuttering as I dragged him towards Hagrid and the lake behind him.
"Hi Professor Hagrid!" I beamed when I had pushed through enough students. Professor Hagrid looked down, his eyes crinkling with a smile when he realized who had addressed him.
"Rose an' Albus! Blimey, you look mor' like yer dad each day!" He boomed in the direction of Al. "Didn't s'pect you two ta be 'ere for a good 'nother year!"
I grinned, accidentally squeezing Calli so tight that she let out a loud angry meow and tried to wiggle out of my arms. Whoops.
"Everyone 'ere?" Professor Hagrid said gruffly, examining the 120 first years that had gathered around him.
"Right then, follow me!" He said loudly, sweeping his ugly fur coat behind him as he made his way back to the lake.
I followed behind him, both Al and I slipping and sliding our way down big tufts of grass as we tried to stay on our feet down the slope. The lake itself was eerily dark, and although common sense dictated that we must be crossing it somehow, I couldn't make out anything but the shadowed outlines of waves crashing onto the rocky shore.
When I finally stood on the shore, gasping for breath, I couldn't help but marvel at the small fleet of captainless rowboats that had seemingly been conjured out of nowhere, their flickering yellow lanterns reflecting in the black surface of the lake. When the boats edged against the shore, I clambered in, followed soon behind by Al and a short, handsome boy with chiseled features and short, jet black hair. Despite his air of eliteness, I thought he had kind chocolate brown eyes.
As soon as Professor Hagrid made sure all the first years were safely onboard a boat, he commanded the fleet forward with a few flicks of his wand, that more closely resembled a tree trunk rather than a wand.
After a few minutes of silence where I was lost staring into the depths of the lake, the boy cleared his throat.
"I'm Altair…. Black." He said, adding on his last last name as an afterthought as he pushed his hair out of his face.
I thought back to the last names of Mum and Dad's colleagues. I swear I had heard that last name before.
"Does your Dad work in the ministry?" I asked abruptly. Might as well just ask the kid.
Altair pinked slightly in the flickering light. "No, my dad isn't really around." He mumbled, staring at his lap.
"You Mum then?" I asked conversationally, earning a filthy glare from Al.
"Why do you want to know?" Altair said defensively, crossing his arms over his chest. His expression softened slightly as he took in the curiosity on my features. "If you must know, she's an ancient runes expert who lives in Egypt. I live with my muggle grandma." He said with a shrug.
"Oh." I said, temporarily taken aback. "I'm sorry. It's just that I swear I've heard your name before." I started, remembering my manners. Mum would be horrified. "I'm Rose Weasley and this is my cousin Al… Albus Potter." I reached out my hand, and Altair only hesitated for a second before he took it with a good-natured grin.
"A Potter, huh?" Altair said with interest, relaxing to lean back and put his hands behind his head. "Does your Dad every talk about Sirius Black?" I studied him, despite his nonchalant air, I could see he had been dying to ask the question.
Then I stopped and something clicked. Sirius Black! He had been Uncle Harry's Godfather who had died during the war! I had grown up to tales about him for bedtime! How could I have forgotten?
Beside me, I could sense Al stiffening. "How are you a Black? That line was wiped out when Sirius died." Al said, his voice oozing suspicion.
Altair's aloof air faltered for a second. "Yes, well…" he ran a couple fingers through his hair. "You see, Sirius is actually my great Uncle. Nobody knew that his brother Regulus married a muggle and got her pregnant before leaving her with hopes that he could end whatever he was doing. But he never came back, and my Grandma gave birth to a little boy, naming him Leo Black. Well, he then married my Mum and ran off the same way his Dad did, and Mum gave birth to me before throwing herself into her work."
I blinked as Altair visibly deflated, obviously ashamed of his family line. I glanced at Al, seeing his mouth open in shock as he looked at me. We were both thinking the same thing. We have to tell Uncle Harry.
Any further discussion was cut off as Altair gasped along with everyone else in the boats, their eyes all trained upwards. I whipped around, desperate to see what they were all so awestruck by before I let out a soft gasp of my own. High above the lake a magnificent sprawling castle loomed, its many towers and walls ablaze with a twinkling yellow light as its windows gleamed merrily with the evening's stars. The whole place positively glowed, standing out in sharp relief against the foggy mountains behind it.
A few students were still craning their necks as the fleet of boats passed under an ivy curtain in the cliff, swallowing the students into a few brief moments of darkness before revealing an underwater grotto, obviously chiseled from the rocks. Crude torches, floating on their own accord, filled the large room with a cheery flickering light.
Our boat bumped against the docks a few minutes later, and I clambered out, followed close behind by Al and Altair. As other first year students behind me got out and wiped off the knees of their robes, a large wooden door creaked open. A middle aged woman, her mouth set in a tiny smile walked out.
"Ah, first years! Right on time!" She exclaimed, surveying the young witches and wizards surrounding her.
She seemed to make a beeline to Hagrid, her velvet blood red robes billowing out behind her. The two conversed quietly for a few minutes, ending abruptly as Hagrid hurried out with a nod. Al and I exchanged a look. I wonder that was all about?
I must have voiced my thought out loud because Altair answered me. "Something about escaped pygmy puffs." He whispered to both Al and I.
"Right then!" The woman clapped, adjusting her half-moon spectacles on the bridge of her nose. "Follow me please students!" She called out sternly, leading us back through the door she came through and up a narrow flight of stairs.
"I'm Professor Wolfheart, the transfiguration professor and head of Ravenclaw." The woman explained as we made our way up the stairs, her voice echoing.
A few minutes later we emerged from the dim staircase, suddenly in the middle of a grand entranceway, a large marble staircase soaring up to one side. A giant set of wooden doors were closed on the opposite wall, but they weren't thick enough to hide the large amounts of noise that were filtering out. Professor Wolfheart, oblivious to (or simply ignoring) the ohhs and ahhs coming from our group at the endless ceilings and shifting staircases, led us away from the noise.
I started to get nervous as we were led into an empty classroom, the sheer number of first years barely cramming into the room.
"Well then, now that we're all here…" Professor Wolfheart started.
"Are we going to have to do some kind of magic?" A boy with dark red hair (miraculously not related to me) interrupted, his pale skin positively pasty in the soft light.
Professor Wolfheart chuckled as we all shuffled nervously. "Magic, dear boy, is what got you here in the first place."
The pale boy lowered his hand, not looking entirely satisfied with that answer.
"Right…" Professor Wolfheart started again.
This time I interrupted. "What about our pets and trunks, we were told to leave them on the train."
Professor Wolfheart studied me. "They're being taken care, of course, by some of our staff. They'll be in your dormitories after you've been sorted."
"Yes, but how?" I pressed, genuinely curious about how Calli was going to end up in my room.
Professor Wolfheart sighed. "If you must know Miss…"
"Weasley. Rose Weasley." I said, mustering all the confidence I could. A rampage of whispering broke out. My parents were almost as famous as Al's Dad was in the wizarding world, each a part of the infamous golden trio.
"Miss Weasley, the house elves will be taking them up to your respective dormitories." She finished with a piercing look.
My mouth fell open in outrage. "House elves! Why that's absurd! My Mum will- OW!" Al elbowed me hard in the side.
At the mention of sorting, the first years had begun to shift around with unease, whispering to each other. "My brother says we have to wrestle a troll" "I hope whatever we do doesn't hurt!" "Is anyone as hungry as I am?"
"Silence please!" Professor Wolfheart boomed. Once we had calmed down enough for her liking she continued, "In a few minutes you will line up alphabetically and walk in an orderly fashion.." here she broke off with a glare at some of the first years who were still mumbling to each other. "... Into the Great Hall, where you'll be sorted into Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, or Slytherin. All of the above have good and noble features and traits."
A few minutes later, after we had tried to get in some semblance of order and fashion, we were led across the hall once again, this time straight through the double doors.
I had begged for years to be told every aspect of Hogwarts, first by Teddy and then by every one of my subsequent older cousins, but none of their stories had prepared me for the magnificence of the Great Hall. Hundreds of candles floated beneath a twinkling ceiling that seemed to not be there at all ("It's enchanted to look like the sky," I heard Roxy tell the pudgy boy behind me. "I read it in Hogwarts: A History. My aunt gave it to me for Christmas last year.") The hall was lined by 4 great wooden tables, the students who had been chatting happily amongst themselves were now whispering and pointing at various students as we walked in. Al was at the center of their pointing, but he wasn't paying attention to any of it, instead he was shuffling in front of me, his eyes locked on the marble flooring.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Roxy wave towards the Gryffindor table, where her 3rd year brother was sitting. He was framed by Al's older brother James and Carter Longbottom. Seeing his sister and cousins, Freddie nudged the two boys and they all waved, James with a slightly sinister grin.
As the line stopped and silence ensued, I found myself peering nervously at all the students that sat at the four tables. They all seemed so old and wise, impossibly older. How could I one day be sitting at those tables as new first year came in? I found myself channeling my annoyance at my last name, not for the first time cursing Weasley. Of course I had to have a surname that was nearly at the end of the alphabet.
In front of me, Professor Wolfheart produced an old stool, and I was suddenly struck with the worry that we would be asked to levitate it. In my mind I thought back to the letter that had come from Hogwarts on my birthday. There hadn't been anything on learning levitation spells, had there been?
I wrinkled my brow, only confused further, as a tattered and worn hat was placed on the stool. Even more mystifying was the effect it had on the chattering that surrounded me, which stopped in an instant. For a long second, all eyes were on the stool.
Then, to my amazement, the hat opened a grimmy flap and began to sing:
To all the young that stand before me
Twisting and nervous in every way
To all the hopefuls with magic in their veins
I am the famed Sorting Hat
Tasked with showing you where you truly belong.
A long time ago,
When dragons roamed freely
And giants scraped the sky
Brave Gryffindor, cunning Slytherin,
Intelligent Ravenclaw and humble Hufflepuff
Gathered around and created me
A tool to use to sift and sort
The future generations.
Whether you are brave at heart
Swords your prefered tool
Or you prefer the quiet of books
Written off as intelligent.
You may be hard working and loyal
Or have cunning streaks running through your veins
It is up to me to peer inside
And see what brews in your heart
What traits you hold
Above all others.
With one final note that resounded through the hall, the Sorting Hat fell silent once again. I blinked in disbelief. All I had to do was sit on a stool and put on a hat? I was so going to murder Uncle Charlie for telling me I had to single handedly bring down a dragon. I mean really!
Professor Wolfheart unraveled a long scroll and called out the first name, "Abbington, Amanda".
After a few seconds, a small girl with curly brown hair stumbled up to the stool, putting on the hat. It sat for a few seconds, then, "HUFFLEPUFF!" One of the middle tables started to clap and cheer.
And so began what felt like the longest line I had even endured in my lifetime, minutes creeping by as more and more of my fellow first years were sorted.
When Professor Wolfheart called out "Black, Altair", the Great Hall fell into a confused silence, most of them having been told about the famed Godfather of Harry Potter, Sirius Black. That is, all except the long table of professors, who were all whispering madly amongst themselves, throwing confounded glances at Altair, who heavily resembled the surname he carried. For his part, I watched as Altair walked up to the front of the hall in a slow, haughty way, his chin sticking up in the air. He had barely sat down, indeed, barely touched the Sorting Hat to his head, when it bellowed out, 'GRYFFINDOR!"
The table on the far right erupted in cheers. As Altair grinned contently and moved to sit with his new house mates, he caught my eye and winked. I grinned back, happy that I would get to know him better. That is, if I actually managed to get in Gryffindor.
If the hall had been quiet when Altair's name was called, it was dead silent when Scorpius Malfoy was called. Scorpius nervously made his way to the stool, his head hung low. A small part of me was glad his face seemed to be back to normal, although a bigger part of me wished he had to wear those warts through the feast. Ah, well, we couldn't get everything we wished for.
The hat was placed on his head, pathetically dropping to cover his eyes and nose. I leaned forward involuntarily, my features contorted into a scowl. Surely this wouldn't take more than a few seconds. However, two minutes passed, then two more, and the hat still stubbornly refused to open its mouth. I pondered what it could be saying to Scorpius, but I shrugged it off as the hat finally spoke, albeit a little quieter, but still with certainty, "SLYTHERIN!"
I rolled my eyes. For a second I had mistakenly thought that Scorpius might be different then what his last name dictated, but once a Malfoy, always a Malfoy.
And so went dozens of young witches and wizards. I was growing more nervous by the second, what if I managed to botch this? Ravenclaw cheered particularly loud when five in a row went to them, and Hufflepuff caused me to go temporarily deaf as seven in a row went to them.
When Al's name was called, there were whispers all around the hall, ("Did she say Potter?" "As in, Harry Potter's son?") I glanced over at the Gryffindor table and saw they were getting ready to jump. As a Potter and a Weasley, Al was practically guaranteed to be in Gryffindor. But, I thought with unease, maybe not. If I had been asked a day ago what house Al would be in, Gryffindor would have been my answer every single time. But now? What if he was right and he could actually choose what house he wanted?
In the few tense moments that followed the hat being placed on Al's head, the professors (especially Professor Longbottom, who was head of Gryffindor and a good friend of Uncle Harry and my parents) watched on with mixed expressions. I chose to spend the time glancing back at James, who had stopped whispering with Freddie and Carter and was instead trained on his younger brother. Although the two were constantly bickering, much to the chagrin of Aunt Ginny, James actually cared a great deal for Al. The brief thought of him being heartbroken if Al was sorted into a different house flickered in my mind.
"What?" I actually said out loud, all my worst fears coming true in an instant. I had forgotten to turn around, forgotten to look at Al. Instead, my eyes were glued to James' face as his features fell into a frown. My mouth was open in shock as the hall started to clap tentatively, everyone flabbergasted at what had just happened.
Then the announcement wore off and the entirety of the Slytherin table stood up and cheered their heads off. They did look significantly less pure blooded than the stories I had heard, but there was still something shifty about the lot. They were clapping and shouting louder than any table before.
"WE HAVE POTTER!" Screamed Maverick Zabini (one of many yelling that), clapping Al hard on the back as he passed him. Al had a small smile on his face, and I had no doubt he had gotten what he wanted. Something that detached him from his famous Dad. I watched as he sat down next to Scorpius, the two of them sharing smiles. Damn.
I wasn't surprised, I was numb with anger at Al, who had been my best friend since as long as I could remember.
My fists clenched, and I looked away, unable to see Al sitting amongst the Slytherins any longer. Something in me had broken a little.
I was so preoccupied with my dark thoughts, namely how to get revenge on Uncle Harry for telling Al that he could choose a house, that I tuned out the next two dozen first years that were sorted. I only snapped out of my daze when I heard Lorcan's name called.
I watched as Lysander gave him what I figured was supposed to be a reassuring slap on the back, but even though I was sitting a ways away from Lorcan I could still see him wince in pain. The hat had barely touched Lorcan's head when it shouted out "Ravenclaw!" and I grinned so wide it hurt, clapping loudly for him.
His name was followed by Lysander's, who swaggered up to the stool and pulled on the hat. I glanced over at Lorcan, who had settled at the far end of the Ravenclaw table. He was watching his brother carefully. I watched as he furrowed his brow, the sorting hat calling out "SLYTHERIN!"
His face crumbled for a few beats, quickly rearranging itself into a more pensive stare as Lysander made his way across the hall and slid in next to Al.
I shook my head. Another unexpected Slytherin, and to think that I had actually befriended him. I decided there and then that I wouldn't talk to either of them for the rest of the year. If I could manage that.
The line of first years was finally starting to thin, but I was still a ways away, something my grumbling stomach did not like. If the start of the line had felt long, nothing compared to the nerves I experienced in the next few minutes. I started to tap my foot impatiently as Walcher, Beatrice was sorted into Ravenclaw.
Then it was my turn. I held my head up as I sat on the stool, the hat covering my view of the hall.
Another Weasley, hmmm? You lot do seem to be in this seat quite often…. You're brave, but I'm not sure that's the dominant trait…. Maybe cunning… My heart stopped. No, not Slytherin. Not loyal enough for Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw perhaps? No, you don't want that. It will be a good fit for you, more so than what you want. But if you insist, "GRYFFINDOR!"
The last word echoed through the hall. I stood up, a grin on my face as I walked to the table on the far right, all of whom were cheering loudly. The rest of the tables (except Slytherin because I absolutely refused to look at Slytherin) clapped politely, no one surprised at all. A Weasley was even more guaranteed to be a Gryffindor than a Potter.
I smiled to my cousins as I slid into a seat beside Altair. He smiled at me, and I returned the gesture. I clapped wildly as Roxy was sorted into Gryffindor a few seconds later, ("That's my non-traitorous sister!" Fred called as he clapped her on the back. He earned a glare from James.) although she certainly wasn't my favorite cousin, at least she knew how to continue traditions and such. Unlike some people.
Finally, the last of my fellow first years was sorted into Hufflepuff and everyone looked expectantly towards the middle seat of the Professors' table, were Headmaster Fides Sapientes sat. He rose and outstretched his arms, his green eyes twinkling merrily. I liked him already, something about him reminded me of the pictures that I had seen of Albus Dumbledore.
"Welcome back to another year at Hogwarts!" His gaze swept over the four full tables in front of him. "Whether this is your first feast or your seventh, I'm sure all will find a home within the great walls of this school. I'll bore you with other details later, for now, let's eat!" He gave a playful flick of his wand and all the golden platters on the tables were filled with heaping piles of steaming food.
I gasped, finally understanding why Dad said his favorite part of Hogwarts was the food (which had promptly gotten an eye roll from Mum). I immediately started to stuff my plate with grilled chicken, meatloaf, a bowl of chile, and as many other meats as I could find, straying far away from any greens. I was my Dad's daughter after all.
Altair watched me with astonishment as I went back for third helpings.
"What?" I asked defensively, stuffing a spoonful of mashed potatoes into my mouth.
Altair chuckled. "Do you always eat so.. Daintily?" He asked, choosing his last word carefully when he saw my expression.
I whipped my mop of red hair at him, my cheeks bulging comically. "Always." I answered, immediately reaching for a goblet of pumpkin juice to wash down the mashed potatoes. I glanced at Altair's plate as I gulped down my drink, shaking my head as I saw the impressive array of vegetables. "I have a lot to teach you." I said.
"Well, you have seven years to do it." Altair said helpfully. "Maybe by sixth year you'll be able to get me to drink pumpkin juice."
"What?" I screeched. "You don't like pumpkin juice?"
He shook his head with a bemused expression. "Hate it with a passion."
"That's gotta be a sin." I mumbled to myself, guzzling another goblet full of juice to make up for Altair.
The a thought occurred to me. "Hey, Altair, do you mind if I tell my parents about you?"
He glanced at me like I had two heads. "I would be flattered?"
I quickly started to explain myself. "It's just they don't know the Black line continued, probably because your grandma is a muggle-born."
He shrugged, putting on a lazy smile. "I s'pose I should be happy to be mentioned to Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger."
I nodded back, feeling a surge of pride for my parents' sake.
"Quidditch tryouts will be held at the end of next week, for second years and up." Professor Sapientes paused, his eyes flitting to the hopeful faces of the first years. I could hardly wait to play with the team, having been raised on stories of glory from Aunt Ginny and Dad.
"And, a reminder to all, the Forbidden Forest is indeed forbidden." This time he looked with amusement towards James, Carter, and Freddie, all of whom both frowned. ("That was one time!" James whisper-shouted with indignity).
I tried to concentrate on what Professor Sapientes was saying, I really did, but my eyes kept moving towards the Slytherin table, where Al was whispering with Scorpius and Lysander, all of them giggling quietly.
Before I knew it, I heard, "Now, off to bed with you all! Welcome to Hogwarts!" My head snapped back towards the headmaster as he raised his arms up, dismissing the Great Hall.
"First years, first years, follow me!" A Gryffindor perfect called, and Altair and I trailed her out of the Hall, with Roxy following close behind. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that Al, who was walking next to Scorpius in the line of Slytherin first years, was trying desperately to catch my eye. Good luck with that so-called cousin. I ignored him, laughing halfheartedly at a lame joke Altair was telling me.
'What's so funny?" Roxy asked, catching up with us. I gave a forced smile in her direction. Of all her cousins, Roxy was one of my least favorite, which was unfortunate considering Roxy considered us best friends.
"You okay Rose?" Altair's voice shook me out of my thoughts. Roxy had moved onto a few of the other first year girls. Ahead the Perfect was explaining the ever shifting staircases and Peeve's trick stairs. It was important information, and usually I would be in the front of the line, asking questions. But right now I couldn't shake the thought that Al should be at my side. Not heading towards the dungeons
"Fine" I said grimly, marching up the stairs, which to my immense surprise started to move when I had gotten halfway up. Perhaps I should have been listening a bit closer.
A few minutes later, the gaggle of first years arrived at the portrait of a fat lady, and the perfect said "Goblin", which made the lady swing open to reveal a hole in the wall. The first years all hauled themselves through the opening, gaping as they entered the Gryffindor tower.
I had already been told what it looked like in detail by all the older cousins, but I still smiled at the massive stone fireplace with its blazing fire, framed by windows and comfy red armchairs. It already felt like home. The perfect directed the boys up to a staircase on the right and the girls to the left, but as I was about to go, someone dragged me away.
"Hey!" I protested, yanking my arm back and turning towards the person.
It was Altair. "Are you alright?" He asked, peering at me suspiciously.
I sighed. "I'll be fine Altair, just give it 1… or 2… or 7 years."
He snorted, brushing a loose strand of black hair from his face. "Look, Rose, maybe it's best just try to forget that he's in Slytherin. He's still your cousin."
My face darkened. "It's not that simple Altair, I feel like he betrayed me…"
I was cut off by another snort by Altair. I mean honestly. So what if I was being a tad melodramatic. "Rose. Come on, it's not like he chose Slytherin, the sorting hat did."
I grimaced at the S-word. "I just need some time before I can accept he was sorted into that- that place!" And with that I turned to head to my dormitory, already looking forward to throwing myself onto my bed.
I spun around to face Altair once again.
A grin crept onto my face and I nodded before racing up the steps to bed. Maybe Albus being in Slytherin wasn't all bad; after all, I still had Altair.
My face was buried in my schedule, so much so I nearly missed the statue of Barry the Conqueror (Not to be confused with the statue of Harry the Conqueror) on my way to trying to find my defense of the dark arts classroom. It was my 2nd week, and thus far I had gotten lost a record breaking amount of times. Seriously, I deserve a trophy. Between classrooms that moved locations, stairs and doors that wouldn't cooperate unless you sang just the right note, and Peeves, I was beyond frazzled.
I was muttering to myself angrily when someone tapped me on the back, causing me to jump and spill all my books over the floor.
"Who in the name of Merlin…!" I swore angrily, turning around. I stopped short when I came face to face with Scorpius, who stood alone in his perfectly tailored dark green robes, twiddling his wand nervously.
He glanced at my things lying on the floor, then nervously brought his eyes back to me, racking his hand through his white hair. "I'm sorry… for that, and for you know thank you…. for the train." He seemed smaller somehow as he apologized, like he wanted to be anywhere else.
I frowned, not sure what to think. Once a Slytherin always a Slytherin, and they weren't ones to apologize.
"Why don't you go back to your snake den?" I hissed harshly, whipping back around. By the time I had gathered my books, he was gone, and I was once again late to a class.
I had been looking forward to Gryffindor's first flying lesson all week, even if she equally dreaded the fact it was with Slytherin of all houses. I had still yet to talk with Albus, and I wasn't really sure what to think of Scorpius after what happened in the hallway earlier in the week. The Friday afternoon was overcast, drizzling rain spitting down every now and again. The 30 first year Gryffindors marched down to the training ground right outside the castle, where 60 used school brooms were lined up in a parallel line.
Altair dragged his feet besides me; he had never flown a broom before and had inherited a rather big fear of heights from his mother. I, on the other hand, was nearly jumping up and down by the time they were assigned brooms, my enthusiasm getting the best of me.
"Look at that, a Weasley excited over this old piece of wood! How predictable!" A cold voice sneered. I looked up to see that the Slytherins had arrived, Scorpius being trailed by an unpleasant looking boy who laughed hysterically at his statement.
I narrowed her eyes, slightly perplexed as I tried to figure out his sudden change in attitude. He had been there when he apologized to me, right? "Cut it out Malfoy!" I said, my face flushed.
"She has that stupid red hair and the bushy hair of her mother!" A girl who stood by Scorpius screeched.
I pulled out my wand, ready at any cost to defend Mum. "You say that again, I dare you!" I said quietly, eyes flashing.
The girl just chuckled as she turned her back, beckoning for Scorpius to follow her. Scorpius gave me an indecipherable look before turning from me towards Lysander and Al. I got a small flash of pleasure that he at least didn't follow the girl.
"Well they aren't one for pleasantries, are they?" Altair said besides me.
"Don't you know who Scorpius is?" I asked incredulously, turning towards him.
Altair shrugged. "A high bred prick by the sounds of it." He said, glancing over at the proud figure of Scorpius.
"He's a Malfoy." I said simply.
A loud whistle cut through the air. "ALRIGHT!" Called Madame Lusio, the quidditch instructor. "Everyone line up at your assigned brooms please, Gryffindors on the left and Slytherins on the right!"
There was a mad scramble as the sixty first years found their brooms. I scowled darkly when she saw that the person across from her was no other than Scorpius, his grey eyes piercing into me.
"On the count of three, say the word 'up' loudly and clearly!" Ordered Madame Lusio, strolling through the line. "One, two, three…!"
"UP!" I said sharply, and immediately my broom jumped into my hand. I smiled as I looked around and realized that only about a quarter of the students had managed the trick, although my grin lessened considerably when I realized both Al and Scorpius had managed it. Altair, on the other hand, had said up in such a shaky voice that his broom had merely flopped once before resting on the ground again.
"Right then, now all please take their broom and situate it between their legs, their wand hand resting in front of their other. When I blow my whistle, kick hard off the ground, and we'll go from there!" Madame Lusio called, marching to her own broom and kicking off into the air. She glanced down at her students, some confidently gripping their brooms and others whimpering with fear. She blew her whistle hard.
Eyes closed, I kicked off as I had done hundreds of times before in the backyard of the Burrow and at my various Aunt and Uncles' houses, relishing in the feeling of the ground leaving my feet, the wind whipping back my hair. I opened my eyes to find most my peers were off the ground, even Altair, who had his eyes firmly closed as he clenching onto his broom as if it would throw him off at any moment.
Scorpius was besides me, lounging and laughing with Al. As if he sensed my gaze, he looked towards me, and we locked eyes for a split second before I turned away, gliding smoothly down towards Altair.
"You're doing it!" I exclaimed, causing Altair to peek below him, his face rapidly whitening.
"So….so…. Height…. Scared…." He stuttered.
I laughed, "Not trying out for the quidditch team next year I take it?"
Altair glanced up at me, trying his best to look angry, but ended up looking quite funny.
"Oi, mate, are you constipated?" I swiveled my head to ten feet above me, where Scorpius was once again hovering.
Altair rolled his eyes, but was unable to answer.
"Sod off Malfoy!" I said, quickly going up to hover face to face with him. He gave me a once over in an infuriatingly calm matter.
A loud whistle cut him off.
"That's enough Malfoy!" Madame Lusio called, managing to turn Scorpius' face a bright red.
She held up a container filled with small balls. "Today we'll be practicing throwing these balls back and forth with a partner. Who knows… we may have the next great quidditch player on our hands." Madame Lusio glanced at Altair as if she severely doubted her statement.
"Partners with the other house boys!" She said sharply as two first year Gryffindors sidled up with each other. A groan escaped me as I peered around the mass of green ties, trying to find a suitable…. "Weasley! You're with me." A infuriatingly familiar voice called beside me. I glanced to my right to see Scorpius lounging on his broom, drawing lazy circles in the air.
"Pick on someone else Malfoy!" I growled, only to find that to my dismay everyone else had already paired together, including Altair with Albus.
"You were saying?" He asked with a smirk as I looked around hopelessly. I just glared.
The two lines assembled themselves so that there was a 5 foot gap between them; I was watching the ball that Scorpius was tossing up and down. Madame Lusio blew her whistle and the air was filled with 30 balls whizzing in the air.
Scorpius tossed the ball at the me as if I was a toddler just learning to catch. I caught it easily, of course. "Well would you look at that Weasley, it seems you can catch!" Scorpius called with a patronizing grin.
I didn't respond, I simply hurdled it back at Scorpius with all the force I could muster, grinning as it landed with a satisfying plonk in the middle of his chest. Scorpius doubled over, narrowly wrapping his fingers around the ball before it plummeted to the ground.
He glanced up at me with an eyebrow raised. "You have quite the arm Weasley, I must admit." He paused with a cough, his arm wrapped protectively around his chest. "But… try catching this!" Scorpius threw the ball with all his might this time, so it sailed far over my head and kept going.
That. Little. Infuriating. Git.
My instincts took over, no way was that ball touching the ground, and before I even realized what was happening I had jerked my broom around and was gaining speed as I sped towards the ground, my eyes locked with the red ball. The world seemed to move in slow motion as I neared the grass and reached my hand out, my fingers barely grasping the ball, my face working itself into a satisfied grin, only to realize too late that I couldn't pull up in time. CRASH!
I groaned, hearing a sickening snap in my ankle as I raised a single hand in the air, my fingers glued around the ball. Splinters of the broom fanned around me on the wet grass.
Shouts erupted around me. "Class! Don't come any closer!" "Is she okay?" "That was spectacular!"
I felt herself being lifted up into a chest, and I opened my eyes to see the stern features of Madame Lusio contorted into concern as she dashed across Hogwarts lawn. I heard a gasp escape myself as my ankle was jostled, and I didn't open my eyes again. Some flying lesson.
My eyes flickered open to a wide expanse of white light. I opened them slightly more, not quite sure where I was.
"You're finally awake." A voice said beside me.
I started, twisting my head to the sound and instantly regretting it as waves of pained rolled through my head. Crap, that hurt like… a thousand swear words filled my head.
The seat next to me was filled by none other than Scorpius, who was examining his fingernails with a bored look fastened on his face.
"I've been waiting ages you know. Had to sit through every member of your family coming, and merlin knows there are dozens of them. Those are from them." He said, gesturing to a table at the end of my bed overflowing with gags from Uncle George's store and bags of sweets, some of which looked suspiciously like they came from Hogsmeade. "They all gave me dirty looks and ignored me, of course. To be expected I guess." Scorpius rambled on bitterly as I squinted at him. Had someone forced him to be here?
"Why…" Oh Merlin my voice was hoarse. "Why are you here Malfoy?" I coughed violently.
Scorpius finally looked at me, his features softening. "I just… I wanted to say…. Ya know…."
"I forgive you Snake Pit." I said, watching him fumble over his words with a small smile.
He frowned dramatically. "Snake Pit? I prefer Malfoy really, if you must."
I grinned mischievously. "All the more reason to call you by your new nickname."
Scorpius opened his mouth to protest, but thought better of it, clamping it shut and averting his eyes. "So the schoolwork is there and I'll just be.."
I shot up from my pillow, ignoring the coursing pain. "Schoolwork?!" I looked wildly about the room, trying gauge what time it was. "But surely I haven't been out that long…"
Scorpius raised a single eyebrow. "Weasley, it's dinner time. That's why I'm in here alone," He rolled his eyes. "Your family thought it was more important to guzzle pumpkin juice than stay here to see you wake up.."
"Dinner time?!" I exclaimed. "But that means I missed potions and charms! In my second week! It's not like I was injured that badly!" There went my perfect attendance! It didn't even last a month into my first year.
Scorpius gaped at me. "Weasley, what else would you call ramming yourself headfirst into the ground to catch a ball? Madame Lusio just about had a stroke."
I pouted. "My Dad would be proud."
Scorpius rolled his eyes. "I'm sure Weasley, now if you excuse me, some of us aren't faking an injury to get out of schoolwork, so I'll just be going to my snake pit." He studied me, smirking as I opened my mouth to protest. "I'm kidding Weasley, I know you did it to prove an idiot wrong."
I shut my mouth, frowning, Scorpius' eyes unreadable in the light. "Something like that."
"Goodnight Ro- Weasley." Scorpius said, not bothering to wait to hear my answer.
I stared after the closed door, not quite sure if I had hallucinated the entire conversation. A Malfoy apologizing twice in two weeks, must be a record. Or, I thought, maybe it was just Scorpius.
"You bumbling idiot!" I forced my eyes open at the shout, seeing Al standing above me, his hair a mess. He hated when his hair was messy
"You idiot!" He repeated, softer this time. "You could have really been hurt!"
I coughed, easing myself up. By my estimations it was Saturday morning. "I thought we weren't talking Al."
He shrugged, green eyes piercing into my own blue ones. "I never agreed to that."
We lapsed into an awkward silence.
"Look Al.." I started just as Al said, "Rose…"
"You first." We said simultaneously, smiling despite themselves.
"Really, you first." I said, looking at Al warily.
"It isn't fair that you refuse to talk to me because I'm a Slytherin. It doesn't change anything Rose, I'm still your best friend." Al burst out.
I sighed, running fingers through my tangled curls. "I know. And I'm sorry."
Al studied her. "That's it?" He said. Merlin, he knew me too well.
"No- look, Al, I'm not going to say I'm happy with you being in Slytherin. But I still want us to be.."
"Best friends?" Al finished, grinning at me.
I grinned back despite myself. "Yeah. Best friends."
Albus let out a sigh of relief as he jumped onto the bed by my feet. "Good, because I have so much to tell you. Some of these older Slytherins are frightening. Must I say, inbred doesn't look good on anyone…"
And we stayed talking like that for hours. Even when Madame Pomfrey complained that our laughter was disturbing others who were healing. Who cared? My best friend was back and all seemed right with the world again.
"Thank you for having me over for Christmas Mrs. Weasley." The boy across from me said, his silvery blond hair combed back with gel.
Grandma smiled. "Please, dear, call me Grandma Weasley, everyone does, there are just too many 'Mrs. Weasleys' running around."
Scorpius smiled slightly, inclining his head.
When Albus had told Rose about writing an owl home about Scorpius coming with him for Christmas break, Rose had thought he had gone utterly mad.
"Rose…" Albus had sighed, clearly vexed.
"Don't 'Rose' me Al, he has his own family of purebloods to go crawling back to!"
"Yah, usually, but this Christmas Mrs and Mr Malfoy were roped into visiting his Grandda. Apparently Mr. Malfoy doesn't like Scorpius to be with him." Albus had explained with a strained expression.
Rose's own expression had been sour. "Well than he can stay here at Hogwarts."
That had gotten Albus angry. "Merlin, Rose. Is it too much to ask my two best friends to at least be able to stand one another? Didn't you say he apologized to you?"
"Like 3 and a half months ago. After forcing me to ram my broom into the ground." Rose had sniffed.
Albus had rolled his eyes. "He's coming. Whether you like it or not." He stalked off before hearing her response.
"Not." She had muttered under her breath. "He's going to ruin Christmas."
"So Scorpius," Aunt Ginny said conversationally from her spot next to Uncle Harry and Uncle Bill. "What are your favorite subjects?"
Scorpius' eyes lit up as he began to talk about Potions.
I rolled my eyes, tuning out of the conversation. Not that it was hard, with Christmas dinner being the only time the whole Weasley clan was together each year, conversations were criss-crossing over each other with surprising speed and volume.
I instead turned my head towards the other end of the table, where Uncle George was discussing business ventures with my cousin James (who looked like he rather be any place else. He kept shooting withering glances at cousin Fred, who was deep in discussion with the rather lovely looking Aunt Gabriel. Never mind she was like 15 years older. Part Veela. Boys.) and cousin Molly. My younger brother Hugo and younger cousin Lily were both dragging their forks, each caught between one of the french speaking aunts of Dominique, Louis, and Victoire.
"Sorry I'm late!" I swiveled my head towards the entrance at the voice, happy to see a pink haired Teddy walk in. I smiled, knowing he wore that hair solely to get a reaction out of his fiance.
"Teddy…" Victoire said dangerously, curling a lock of her long blond hair behind her ear as she stood to give him a quick kiss. "Don't you have a more appropriate hair color for Christmas?"
Teddy smiled. "Well of course Vic," He said mischievously, earning laughter from the whole table as his hair started to change red and green like a neon sign. "Anything for the holidays." He said with a wink to Lily and Hugo, the youngest of the Weasley clan. They were rolling in laughter appreciatively. Even Victoire smiled despite herself.
I sighed happily, my eyes once again roaming the long table, happy to be apart of the Christmas celebration.
"So Rose," Uncle Charlie started conversationally beside me. "You're growing up quite quickly. Already halfway through your first year at Hogwarts?"
I smiled proudly. "And I just turned 12."
Uncle Charlie grinned at me. Of all my Uncles, Uncle Charlie definitely had the coolest job, his work always allowed him to come back with adventure packed stories of illegal dragon hunters and the occasional Razorback Rumond Dragon that left him with another new scar. "And tomorrow you'll be training as an Auror." He said with a wink.
I felt my cheeks warm as half the table turned to listen in to the conversation. "Well, that's the plan. Although, I thinking being a healer would be fun…"
A bit of silence, then, "No, no Rosie." Dad called. "We need all the kids to become Aurors so we can set up a department of just Weasley Aurors. Maybe we'd call it the Wonderfully Wizarding Weasley Aurors." He mused, earning a smack from her Mum ("Ron!"). Uncle Harry laughed from beside her.
I smiled as I heard Mum mutter, "boys!"
I couldn't help but continue to look at the threesome as they engaged in a fearsome battle of who was better: the Chudley Cannons or the Ratchback Razors with Aunt Ginny, Grandpa enthusiastically supporting the Cannons. They were the Golden Trio, and I had the distinct impression that whatever I did wouldn't be enough to catch up to them. Even if I was a star Quidditch player, master healer, and Auror all wrapped up in one. I frowned slightly. Sometimes life was just not fair.
But then again… I glanced across the table at Al as he expertly wiggled his ears and stuck out his tongue, winking across to me as he sent a french fry zooming through the air to end with a whack! on James' head. We barely concealed our fit of laughter as James looked about wildly from where he had been flirting with one of Dom's cousins. Ah yes, airborne foods and all was right in the world. Even as a french fry ended with a plop in my own wild mane of curls, Hugo suspiciously avoiding eye contact with me as the whole table laughed. Soon everyone started to yield the missiles, even Grandma, who sent a fry flying right into Uncle George's drink. From Scorpius' face, I could tell this sort of thing didn't go down during Christmas Dinner with the Malfoy's. Well, I thought as a fry landed with a plonk on his head, shot from Uncle Harry himself, welcome to the family.
Later that night, the clan longued in the much expanded Burrow family room, a roaring fire crackling appreciatively in the corner. I was tucked into a corner of an armchair, my legs wrapped in a knitted blanket, eyes roaming a new book Al had given me, the problem with knickers. I had thanked Merlin that we had been alone when we had exchanged presents, his being some crappy romance novel he had picked up in muggle London. He had snickered when he saw my horrified face at the cover art alone. The prat. But actually, the book had turned out to be quite good, even with the plotline as predictable as a bread roll.
"Oi! Rosie!" I shot my head up, peering around the sea of red heads for the culprit.
"Al…" I sighed as I caught sight of the familiar green eyes.
Al crushed into the armchair beside me, smirking as he saw my choice in books.
"AL! You wonker, get off!" I exclaimed as he sat firmly on both my legs.
"Rosie! Language!" I heard my mum say in the background.
"Fine!" I growled. "Al you overweight mongoose, get the HELL off!" The object of my pain just looked me sweetly in the eyes.
"Takes after her father, she does." My mom sighed as I heard my Dad's laughter in the background.
"Come'n Rose, me and Scorp are going outside, wanna come?" Al said, nudging my shoulder with a grin.
I grunted, trying in vain to dive back into Mary confessing her undying love for Fabio. A beautiful…..
Wonderful, cheesy and sappy…..
Moment. Bugger Al.
"Fine." I grumbled, snapping my book shut and heaving myself out of the armchair. Al smiled as we walked through the family room, parents looking up to give us curious looks as we slipped through the kitchen and out the backdoor.
The blond was sitting on the cold grass in the middle of the lawn, his hand tracing in circles on the ground. He glanced up as we came out, an odd expression settling on his face as he saw who was coming towards him.
"So, Rosie, you've met my mate Scorp before, right?" Al said with a cheesy grin. I stared at him uncomprehendingly, what game was he playing at? Scorpius voiced my thoughts a moment later.
"Al, we know each other." Scorpius said, an eyebrow raised.
"Must be sad." I said, shooting a look at Al.
"What's sad?" Al shot back.
"Losing your mind at 11. You had a good run cuz."
I chortled in response, flopping myself onto the grass.
"Al, what's this all about?" Scorpius piped up, looking mildly afraid.
"Oh well…" Al started to back up towards the burrow. "Just you know…." He eyed a garden gnome that was coming close. "I just wanted to…"
"AL!" "MATE!" Scorpius and I looked at each other with a faint grin.
Al had backed up all the way to the door. "Look, you two are my best mates and quite frankly I'm exhausted of you two ignoring each other like gigantic prats. So if you must know I've lured both of you out here to talk and stuff because Merlin knows that you two haven't said a word since mid October and honestly is it too much for a guy to ask that his two best mates can at least be friends? So I'm gonna lock you out here until you are. Have fun!" Al tumbled out in one breath, shooting us a quick grin before disappearing inside. An audible click from the lock was heard.
I looked at the door for a minute, slightly bewildered. What in Merlin's beard was he playing at?
I glanced back over at Scorpius, seeing the same perplexed look written over his face. I ducked my head, suddenly shy to be alone with him after so many moths where are our only conversations had been calling eachother names.
"This weather huh?"
"Why?" Scorpius sounded genuinely curious.
I finally looked back up at him. "Because Christmas is, I dunno, supposed to have snow… and stuff."
Scorpius stretched out onto his back, his eyes gleaming in the reflection of the stars. "I think so too. If it's warm it reminds me of all the stupid family trips we would make to the south of France during the holidays."
I furrowed my brows. My family had gone on some holidays too, sure, but they were always spectacular. The low resentment in Scorpius' voice was told me his memories weren't quite the same. "But surely they were good. I mean we never went on holiday during Christmas." I said earnestly.
Scorpius was silent for awhile. "Well, all we would do was try to celebrate with just the three of us. On a beach. Mum always wanted a lot of children, but she only got me."
I looked at him with surprise. Somehow I never envisioned Astoria Malfoy as a woman with a lot of children. "But, you have grandparents, right? They must count as family."
Scorpius took his time replying, this time not bothering to hide the bitterness in his tone. "Yah, well, easy for you to say, you have this huge family to go to. Mum's parents disowned her for marrying the dark wizard that was Draco Malfoy. So all I had was Grandmother and Grandfather. Grandmother wasn't too bad, when she was alive, but my Grandfather is awful. "
"Oh? Why?" I asked curiously.
Scorpius gave a low chuckled. "He actually would have hated me being best mates with a Potter, or even talking to a Weasley for that matter. All he cares about is blood purity."
I couldn't stop myself before I blurted out, "But isn't that the same with your father?"
Scorpius sat up as if he had been electrocuted, eyes narrowed. "No Weasley, it is not the BLOODY same with my Dad!"
I recoiled at his barking tone, wrapping my arms around my knees. "I'm sorry." I whispered, my eyes downcast. "I didn't think…"
"No! You didn't think!" Scorpius spat. "No one ever bloody thinks before they say something about the Malfoys." He finished audibly quieter, turning his body away from me.
I scooted over to him, my hand reaching out to tentatively touch his shoulder. "Scorpius… I'm sorry. Really. I didn't know."
He sighed, brushing off my hand but turning around to face me. "I know you're sorry. It's just my father has tried so hard to leave behind everything he did during the Great War. But people don't forget so easily."
I found myself nodding. "I get that Snake Pit," A small smile curled Scorpius' lip at the sound of his nickname. "Everywhere we go, my parents are recognized. Everybody expects me to be just as smart and brave and wonderful as my parents, and I don't think I can be." I confessed, stiffening slightly as a slender hand brushed across my shoulder with the lightest touch.
"Maybe… maybe we aren't so different." Scorpius said quietly. Earnestly.
I laughed. "Except for the obvious facts. Female. Male. Red hair. Bond hair. Quidditch extraordinaire. Not so much for you…" I laughed again as Scorpius shoved me playfully.
"Speak for yourself Weasley. I got private lessons from the England National Team Keepers for 4 years." Scorpius said smugly.
I gaped at him. "Get out You. Rich. Prat."
Scorpius gave a short bark of laughter and I was taken aback.
"You should laugh more, it humanizes you from the albino wall of emotions you usually are." I said with a smirk.
Scorpius rolled his eyes. "Please Weasley. I only laugh with my friends."
I stayed silent, a small smile creeping onto my face. After awhile, Scorpius flopped back onto the grass, and I did the same beside him, both of us unaware of the three adults watching us with a smile from the window.
"Scooch." I yawned as I squished down in between the two Slytherins and grabbed a pastry.
Al regarded me with a smirk. "Really, Rosie, did you even bother to brush your hair before you came down here?"
I glared back at him, instead turning to the blond next to me.
"Tired much?" He said with an equal smirk.
I rolled my eyes and mumbled "slytherins."
After the Great War, the headmaster at Hogwarts had realized that the four houses were as divided as they ever were, and in attempt to foster inter house unity they had started to allow us to eat breakfast at whichever table we wanted. It had stuck over the 20 years since the war, and I usually ate with Scorpius and Al at the Slytherin table. Of course, sometimes they became too Slytherin-y for me to handle, so I would go and have breakfast back over with Altair and the rest of my cousins. Today, the hype for the Gryffindor Ravenclaw match had been too much for me (after James had screamed the entirety of the Lion Chant in my ear while Roxy had simultaneously let out a botched spell that had shattered the glass of orange juice I had been drinking. I had stomped over to the opposite side of the Great Hall after that.).
I recounted this to the boys I was sitting in between, ignoring the fact that both their faces were darkening considerably.
"At least Nott didn't botch your semifinal match for you!" Al grumbled as Scorpius nodded in agreement.
"Honestly." Al said with resentment dripping from his voice. "The wanker was too busy making eyes at Ivy to noticed the snitch was hovering in front of his face!"
"A true tragedy." Scorpius agreed, drowning his sorrows in pumpkin juice.
I sighed. "I know it's the championship match and all, but it isn't the same when I'm not on the team."
"Cocky much?" Scorpius said with his eyebrow raised. "You haven't even tried out yet."
I shrugged with a grin. "I'm just that good."
Scorpius scoffed and rolled his eyes. "Whatever lets you sleep at night Weasley."
"Anyways," I started dramatically, "The whole of the Gryffindor team is basically made up of us. James and Fred are the beaters, Carter is the keeper, and Mols is a chaser."
"Mmmm" Al said, focusing his attention on stuffing his face with bacon.
"Oh! I almost forgot!" I said, smacking my head. "These are for you two." I tossed them both Gryffindor color scarfs that I had charmed so that a lion paced back and forth the whole length of it.
Scorpius gaped at me, looking quickly from the scarf to me multiple times before he attempted to speak. "Rose, how did you…"
"What, get them? I just asked some of my roomates for their extras." I said casually.
Scorpius looked stunned. "But Rose… this charm work is incredibly advanced!"
"Huh?" I asked.
"Rosie, you know what he's talking about." Al said beside me.
I sighed. "Fine. I may be onto the fourth year textbook in charms. I just read it before I sleep each night."
Scorpius continued to gape at me. "Merlin, Rose, why would you subject that to yourself?"
I shrugged. "I like it, I guess."
Al scoffed. "Right, it isn't because your Mum happens to be the brightest Witch in half a century to attend Hogwarts."
I grinned despite myself as I picked up a raspberry tart. "Good genes."
"I'll say." Scorpius muttered besides me, wrapping his Gryffindor scarf around his neck.
"You look nice Rosie!" Altair said, sidling up with me as I made my way down to the lake.
"Hmmm?" I said, breaking out of a trance and looking down to the black dress I was wearing. "Oh, yes, I suppose I do. Thanks Altair."
"Hard day?" Altair asked, blowing a few strands of black hair out of his eyes.
I nodded mutely as we continued to walk side by side. In my first year at Hogwarts, Altair and I had become great friends, sitting by each other in every class. I had yet to tell my Dad about him, not until I actually figured out if he was a true Black, or just a product of a Mom who had stolen their last name. Regardless, he was one of the best mates I had a Hogwarts.
We walked silently to the rows of chairs assembled before the stage, sliding into seats by Al and Scorpius.
Scorpius looked extra anxious, a layer of sweat gleaming on his brow as he shifted uncomfortably in his dress robes. I hesitated for only a second before I took his hand in mine, earning a grateful smile from the blond as he realized who it was. I knew he felt as if the whole school was glaring at him, his Dad's deeds on the losing side of the war not forgotten amongst the wizards and witches.
A formidable Minerva Mcgonagall stood up at the podium, her silver hair pulled back into a loose bun as her sharp eyes roamed over the black waves of students assembled.
"20 years ago, the wizarding world faced the greatest threat we had ever known."
Her voice echoed out amongst us, back to the lines of creatures and parents who were seated silently behind the students.
"The final battle of the Great War took place here at Hogwarts. The night was full of heros. Of losses and consequences."
Scorpius squeezed my hand. I turned to him with my own grateful smile
. "We lost many brave people that night. Heros in every sense of the word. Remus Lupin."
I watched as Teddy Lupin and Uncle Harry slowly made their way to the stage, carrying a bouquet of flowers.
Her parents came forward, hobbled with age but still proud as they laid a bouquet of charmed bright pink flowers next to Remus'.
I stifled a sob as I saw Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Ginny, Dad, Uncle Bill, Uncle Charlie, and Uncle Percy all walk with their hands held together to the stage. Uncle George followed a distance behind, his head down as tears ran down his cheeks. I looked to Al, seeing his emerald eyes piercing into mine as we both let tears well in our eyes.
A second year Gryffindor walked to the stage, grasping his Dad's hands, and I was startled to realize I had seen him sitting in the common room many nights.
Professor Mcgonagall continue to call names, like an endless stream of grief that made tears trickle down my cheeks the whole afternoon. It shouldn't really affect me, I didn't know any of the people she was calling up. All I knew was that for so many people, their lives changed. My entire extended family included.
""May they all rest in peace." Professor Mcgonagall's voice, usual stern, was full of emotion. I looked over at Al to see him mouth 'I didn't know the old bat had emotions'. Really kind Al, really kind. No wonder Aunt Ginny was ecstatic when she found out she was finally having a girl.