And now, the conclusion of the Best Seven Years.
Steam billowed from around the great red engine. All around, families scurried to get their children on board before the train departed.
The young girl looked up at the train apprehensively. This train would lead her to her future – where she would hone her skills in the ways of magic, the idea was exhilarating and frightening all at once.
"Ready, Shannon?" her father asked behind her.
"... I, I think so." the girl responded nervously.
Calvin knelt down to look his daughter in her eyes. "Hey, it's gonna be alright. You'll be a fantastic witch."
"I won't be as great as you were, though." she replied timidly.
"Hey, don't worry about that!" Susie responded. "If you have even half of your dad's talent, you'll undoubtedly carve your own legacy. And no matter what, you'll make us both proud!" at hearing her mother's words, Shannon rushed into her parents, hugging them tightly. They held her close to them, ruffling hands through her hair and reassuring her.
"Hey!" the tender moment was broken up by a brisk shout. "Let's get moving! The train'll be leaving at any moment, there's no time to waste!"
Calvin rolled his eyes, sighing deeply. "Would you relax, Artemis? The Hogwarts Express isn't going to leave without anyone."
"Isn't it?!" the exasperated tigon asked. "It's already five minutes later than it was five minutes ago!"
"Seriously Mis, chill!"
"Do not tell me to chill, Apollo!" Artemis snapped tartly at her brother.
Apollo's reply was cut short with a gruff cough coming from the side. "Calm down kids, there's no need to get all wound up here – really, what would the headmistress think of you two showing all ragged and beaten on your first day on the job?" Hobbes said.
It was true, Apollo had recently been hired as the new caretaker of Hogwarts in the wake of Argus Filch's sudden retirement the previous summer. Hobbes and Ursula were thrilled with the news – then they heard that Artemis would also be joining the Hogwarts staff as an assistant to Professor Hagrid. Hobbes had shared a significant look with his mate and best friend then – having those two at Hogwarts at the same time was a surefire blueprint for disaster.
"Well that's not going to happen if we don't get on the train!" Artemis snapped back. "C'mon, let's go!"
Calvin sighed deeply. Giving his daughter one last pat on the shoulder, he ushered her onto the train with Apollo and Artemis following close behind.
The clock struck eleven and the train began it's voyage. Shannon looked out the window at her waving family. She kept her eyes on them until they and the station were completely out of sight.
Apollo stretched, running his paw through his short mane. Turning to Shannon he said "Why don't you go find a place to sit. I'm gonna go see if there's a bathroom on this thing."
Artemis rolled her eyes exasperatedly. "It didn't occur to you to go before we left?!"
"Can it!" Apollo snapped.
Shannon quietly walked away shrugging her shoulders. It was going to be an interesting year.
At length she found a cabin with only a lone boy sitting in it. "Excuse me," she piped up. "is anyone sitting here?"
The boy looked up "Uh, no, you can sit here."
"Thanks." she said, seating herself on the bench across from him. "Hi," she said, extending her hand. "I'm Shannon Mitchell."
The boy accepted her hand saying "I'm James Potter."
Calvin stared at the fleeing form of the train, carrying his daughter away from him for the next six months. He pulled Susie closer to him as they shared their bitter-sweet moment.
"Ah," Hobbes breathed, his arm wrapped around Ursula as he following their gaze. "They grow up so fast, don't they?"
"Yeah." Calvin agreed.
After a few more moments of watching the train retreat into the distance, Ursula spoke up. "Well,... I suppose we ought to get going."
"Yes." Susie agreed "We really should – " she looked around, realizing something. "Where's Ryan?" she asked.
"He's right – " Calvin looked around the immediate area to see that his son wasn't around. "Oh, great." he grumbled. "Well, he was just here a second ago, so he can't have gotten far."
The four of them split up to cover more ground. Calvin scoured the station, grumbling as he went. One of these days, he was gonna have to put a leash on that boy! Off-handed, he recalled something his father had said the first time this had happened – something to the tune of 'being a parent meant wanting to hug and strangle your child at the same time'. And he sighed, figuring that this had to be his comeuppance for everything he had put his parents through.
As he turned a corner he saw him, standing next to another young boy and talking animatedly.
"There you are!" Calvin bellowed as he strode toward him. "What's the big idea? How many times do we have to tell you not to wander off like that?!"
Ryan turned sharply as his dad barked at him. "Oh, um... Look dad, I made a new friend!" he said gesturing to the boy.
"Good for you. Now let's go!" Calvin said, grabbing Ryan by the arm and pulling him away. "You do realize you just missed your sisters send off, Don't – " he stopped abruptly, sensing eyes on him. As he turned around, he saw the boy looking up at him wearing a look of awe. Feeling understandably awkward about the situation, he coughed nervously. "Er,... did you want something?" he asked the boy who didn't respond.
Then a new voice sounded in the distance. "Albus!" it said as a dark haired, bespectacled man appeared on the scene. "Albus – oh, there you are!" he said as he approached the boy and took his hand. "What were you doin– "
"Dad, look!" the boy cut his father off, gesturing towards Calvin. "Look dad, it's him!"
"Albus, it's not polite to point." the man said.
"No, dad!" Albus said, pulling out a book and showing the back cover to his dad. "It's him, look!" and the man took the book, observing the picture printed on its back cover – a picture depicting the very person his son had pointed to.
Looking up at Calvin, the man said "You're Calvin Mitchell?"
"Uh... yeah." Calvin answered guardedly.
"You wrote the Spaceman Spiff comic books?" the man pressed.
"Graphic novels if you please, but yes."
"Well, how about that." the man said smiling and stepping forward. "My son is quite a fan of your work. Oh, I'm Harry," he said extending his hand.
"Calvin – but you knew that already, didn't you?" Calvin responded, shaking Harry's hand. "So, your kid's read my books, huh?"
"Yeah. I've read a bit of 'em too. Their quite interesting."
At that moment, a woman came up to Harry carrying a small girl in her arm. "Ah, Ginny." Harry said as she approached. "C'mere, look who we just met. This is – "
"Calvin?" Ginny said, seeing Calvin for the first time. "Calvin Mitchell?"
Calvin's eyebrows rose as he recognized the person before him. "Ah, the Weaslett!" he exclaimed.
Harry looked from Ginny to Calvin, perplexity written all over his face. "Wait," he said. "you know him?"
"He was in the Slug Club." Ginny answered, her expression still baffled.
"... But, that was fifteen years ago." Harry said. "You still remember him after so long?"
"One does not easily forget about him." Ginny answered.
"You got that right, Weasley!" Calvin replied
"Actually, it's Potter now." Ginny smiled broadly, wrapping her free arm around her husband.
"Oh, Potter huh? Well that's – whoa wait a minute!" Calvin looked from Ginny to Harry and back and forth. "Potter... Potter, Harry.... wait. You're not the Harry Potter, are you?"
"Er,.. yes." Harry said, a little bashfully.
Calvin barked out a laugh. "Well, this certainly has been an interesting morning, hasn't it?!"
Calvin heard rapid footsteps behind him and turned to see Susie running to where the small group stood. She swooped down grabbing Ryan in her arms and holding him tight. "Oh thank goodness you're alright." she said "Do you have any idea how worried we were?!" she reprimanded. "Don't ever do that again!!"
"Sorry mom." Ryan said, hugging her back. He was genuinely sorry for the distress he caused, but he just couldn't help himself.
"Alright, it's alright now, it's just good that we were able to – " she looked up, seeing the unfamiliar family standing around and quickly straightened up.
"Oh, see you made it." Calvin said. "Honey, these are the Potters."
They all regarded each other for a moment, then Ginny extended her hand. "Hi, I'm Ginny." she said.
"Susie." Susie replied, accepting her hand.
"And this is my husband, Harry."
"Harry?" Susie asked, turning to Calvin. "You mean this is – "
After a time, Hobbes and Ursula joined them and the group all decided to go out for lunch. They sat about eating their meals and sharing stories throughout their time at Hogwarts and various details of their present activities.
"It's really incredible" Harry said. "after all the things we've both done at Hogwarts, that we never once met before now."
"No kidding." Calvin concurred. "It's almost as if someone wrote this big, elaborate story and then somebody else wrote this other story that coincided with the first story, only it was about different characters and it couldn't disrupt the flow of the first story!"
Everyone looked at Calvin incredulously. "I see what you mean by it not easy to forget him." Harry said after a moment.
"Well, Honey, we do have other places we need to go." Susie nudged Calvin.
"Ah yes." Calvin said, standing up. "Well, good day to you all. Nice meeting you. We'll probably never see each other again."
But it turns out they did see each other after that. And the two clans grew to be very close friends. But that is a tale for another time.
Well, I hope you've all enjoyed my story.
So this is how Calvin and Susie's relationship ends up – but, how did it begin? Hmmm...... Join me for the exciting prequel to the Best Seven Years, coming to FanFiction approximately whenever I feel like it.