At the Moment
A HariPo fanfic
Note: J.K. Rowling's characters are in another companion story to my fics To the Future, From the Past, and In the Present. As usual, there are O.C.s, but duh, because Charlie's with an O.C. Anywho, please enjoy the story and let me know what you think of it in a review. BTW: I don't know how many chapters this'll last, but it will be shorter than the companion stories.
The Fourteenth Insinuation (& the Twenty-Third Hint)
Breakfast was subdued and quiet Sunday morning. The seventh years ate in the Great Hall under the watchful eye of the school ghosts, as the living faculty was setting up things outside. After breakfast, the teens had free time until noon, when graduation would begin.
Mira and Grant found Ginny in the library an hour before the ceremony began. They were already in their black dress robes and pointed caps. Mira's hat also donned a gold badger medal on a black ribbon, and Grant's dangled a silver snake medal on an emerald green ribbon from its rim. The pair of them wondered why their best friend was still wearing her jeans, though.
In answer to their thoughts, Ginny closed the book she had been perusing. "I know I need to change," she stated exasperatedly.
"Well…yes," Grant said. He peeked out a nearby window. "Honestly, you should see how many people are here. There must be just under a thousand out there already."
"If you figure around ten relatives per student, then yeah," Mira calculated. She faced Ginny. "You haven't seen your parents since they found out, have you?"
The redhead ignored the question outright and stood. She stretched her shoulders before giving the other two a bemused grin. "Shall we get going?" It threw them off a bit and she dashed to the door. "I'll go get dressed and meet you outside, guys." Ginny left as Grant opened his mouth, but Miraphina motioned for him to stop, and the brunette took his hand and they exited. Ginny was obviously to anxious about today and getting Sirius back.
"It's already the end."
"Mira, don't be so dramatic."
Miraphina glared at Grant as they joined their fellow seventh years outside. "But it is. I bet you over half of our classmates have no idea what they're doing next. It's the end."
Grant shook his head. "It's an end. But that only opens the door for the innumerous beginnings we'll next see." He nudged her shoulder. "Besides, I can think of at least one person who has several beginnings awaiting her." He jerked his head towards the staff members, where Charlie stood watching her with Grant.
The Hufflepuff reddened, shot Charlie a small smile, and punched Grant in the arm. "Maybe all you'll see is a dragon-filled end."
"Hey! I'm not joking! I really hate dragons!"
Mira laughed. "I'm just teasing… I'll see you later." She went to join her House, but Grant yanked on her hand, drawing her back. She looked up and saw the laughter had left his eyes, replaced by seriousness. Suddenly, her insides squirmed.
"You aren't going to conveniently forget that I still care for you now that…we've seen our end?"
The brunette frowned uncomfortably. She really wished that things hadn't played out as they had, but… "I can't forget, Grant." She tugged her hand away before he could say another word and rushed to Cirdrine's side. Mira pretended to look for Dana with Drina, but her mind was elsewhere as the ceremony was about to begin and people began taking their places.
Just the setup was breathtakingly beautiful. Families and friends sat behind the seventh years. Slytherins waited in their seats on the left, next to them the Gryffindors, the Hufflepuffs, and then the Ravenclaws. Dumbledore stood at a podium right near the edge of the lake, while the faculty lined up on either side of the seventh years. The sunlight glinted off the water, and cast everyone in an ethereal glow.
The headmaster began a very long-winded speech, and Mira took the chance to look around her. The Black Lake was sparkling in the beautiful daylight and the Forbidden Forest looked lush in its bright, summery green hues. What stood out the most, however, was the silhouette of the castle against the vibrant blue sky. Never had Hogwarts Castle incurred so much awe in Miraphina, but now… Everything was different.
There was a round of applause signaling the headmaster's finality, and that was the cue for the other teachers to go and line up next to him. Dumbledore cleared his throat once everyone quieted.
"First, we have awards for our best students. The top three of the class will receive special honors. If you could," he spoke, gesturing to Grant, Ginny, and Feria Harling, "please join me in applauding their studious regiments."
Those three stepped the platform and shook hands with each teacher. Their last stop was Dumbledore, who gave the students gold pins with one, two, or three stars. Once the pins were beside their hats' house medals, they sat back down, accompanied by more applause.
Finally, it began. Each head-of-house called their students, and the seventh years alphabetically had their medals changed to the school crest. Miraphina was extremely nervous, being the sixth person called up, and her hand felt red-hot when it brushed against Charlie's accidentally, but he briefly hooked a finger with one of hers, and she felt the small bit of stage-fright leave her as she went back to her seat. This ceremony would be over soon and everything would be all perfect, it would be all Charlie, and things would be looking Charliely –Oh, crap, I can't even form a coherent thought!!
Several students later… "…Crowley, Raven." Oh, how the blonde walked up the stage without a care in the world. Or not. If anything, she looked stony while McGonagall changed her medal. Mira wondered where Raven's confidence had gone.
"…Dorn, Cara." The girl traipsed up to Flitwick…
"Foigeur, Cirdrine." Drina's smile was as big as ever when she approached Professor Longbottom…
More names later… "Morris, Mavrick." He seemed proud that he'd come this far…
"Oakley, Christopher." Many names later now, the boy met Snape…
"Selwyn, Grant." Mira sadly smiled, knowing Grant had done his best, but… She didn't know if he even had any family left to see him in his greatest moment. But she would watch him. He was someone she still deeply cared for, but those feelings were definitely platonic now. So she would watch over him, like he would with her…
"Stanley, Dana." The tall Hufflepuff rigidly walked up to Professor Longbottom and visibly exhaled a sigh of relief when she got of the platform. Mira and Drina laughed.
"Straumer…" "Syver…" "Tableigh…" "Tavnull…" "Temari…" It seemed to be forever, but Mira knew she'd be up soon, her best friend. "Uzilay…" "Voullier…" "Waelund…" Miraphina sat up; one more, and then a few after and the ceremony would be over… "Wersch…" "Weasley, Ginevra." The redhead stood at McGonagall's clear tone and went up to her head-of-house. Professor McGonagall smiled very warmly before waving her wand and changing Ginny's gold lion medal to that of the lion, the serpent, the badger, and the eagle. Ginny returned to her chair and the last six students met with their teachers in fairly short order. Miraphina's heart was pounding when her last classmate rejoined the class.
Dumbledore approached his podium one more time. The seventh years rose and Mira had never known herself so happy or excited –except with Charlie, of course. "Congratulations!!" He began his hearty clapping, and everyone joined in. And that was it.
"We're so proud of you!!" Mira's mother squealed as she squeezed her daughter in a tight embrace. She smoothed Mira's hair back, the tears obscuring her vision. "God, when that letter came exclaiming about a magic school, I thought I was completely nutters. And now you're an adult witch!!!"
Mira couldn't quell her grin. "I know, I- ACK!" She was hoisted off the ground by her father, who also hugged her as much as possible without breaking her ribs. "DAD!!!" Her face went red. She hadn't known he could still lift her; she wasn't the kid she used to be!!
Gerry had tears in his eyes, too, though, so all three Athertons were sappy. "You are amazing, Miraphina!!"
"A magic school, though…," Mira's Aunt Clarise mumbled. "Who'd have thought? And you still did well, even here."
"Fifth, if I recall correctly, in her class," Mira's Uncle Joey exclaimed. "That's the Atherton intellect, I tell ya!!"
"And it's nice to have another adult magic user around," Mira's great-aunt Thornlea stated with a warm smile. "You're late great-uncle, Aureus, would've loved to see you graduate from his house, too, but I'm sure he's watching."
Mira felt giddy, getting all this acceptance from family outside her parents. Before, her family tried not to say much, not because they were disgusted, but because they didn't know what to say. They didn't know magic. And Auntie Thornlea never really had the time to visit with Mira. And Uncle Aureus had died before Mira had had the chance to meet him. The new graduate looked around. "Where'd Grandpa and Grandma go? We should take pictures, some good old Muggle ones."
Gerry and Laura scanned the crowd. "I dunno… Why don't you go look for them?" her mother suggested. "We'll all wait right here."
The Hufflepuff left her family then and waded through the mounds of people. She didn't see any sign of her grandparents, though. Dammit, senility's going to set in before I find them…
Her ears perked up, and Grant came up behind her. She was surprised to see him still here. "Grant… Um, who are you looking for?"
"Oh, didn't I tell you? I'll be staying with some not-so-distant family members, the Malfoys. My cousins Narcissa, Draco, Lavender, and their new baby."
"Oh…" Mira blinked. Wow. So he did have someone he could lean on. It almost made Mira a little down, but she remembered her original mission. "I'll see you later. I've gotta find someone and then pictures, you know-"
Grant smiled. "Later, Mira."
She left him, also a little giddy from his smile. Yes, Charlie was her life now, but she couldn't deny that Grant was a charmer. Up ahead, she saw Ginny with her family, and it looked like things were getting awkward. Professor Black were there, too…
Mr. Weasley smiled. "That's our Ginny."
Mira didn't like the tension she felt coming off in waves from Ginny and her parents. "No, that's our Ginny," Sirius and Miraphina stated in unison. Sirius placed a hand on Ginny's shoulder and Mira grabbed one of her arms and clutched it to her.
"Ah, you're Miss Atherton," Mr. Weasley recalled. "Ginny mentioned you on the way back from the Selwyn estate." His eyes drifted begrudgingly to Sirius, but he said nothing else.
Luckily, Ginny's twin brothers and their fiancés came up right then and interrupted the awkward moment. Ginny introduced Mira to her family and Harry and Hermione (to which Mira just about died; remember that they're kinda celebrities, folks), but poked her friend in the arm." Where's our resident snake?" Ginny asked.
"I ran into him a few minutes ago. Now that you mention him, that name sounds familiar… Maybe you told me about one of them before. He said something about closest relatives," Mira stated. "You guys know him, I think. Name's Malfoy."
Ginny's attention moved back to Miraphina; how nice –she'd been talking to Ginny and Ginny had mostly tuned her out. But that had gotten hr attention. "Draco?!!" she, Harry, and Hermione all shrieked in unison.
"Yes, me," came a snarky response. The slicked-back hair and clear, sharp eyes of the man standing next to Grant (who gave Mira a 'ta-da' look) belonged to none other than Draco Malfoy. "Still have a problem with me, I see."
"That's in the past, Draco," Harry said. "After all, some helpful info in the Second Great War was divulged by you."
Draco fought down a smirk at the bit of praise. "Yes well, right now I'm not any kind of spy. As it my house wasn't chaotic enough, Dumbledore dropped Grant on us."
"'Us'?" Hermione echoed with raised eyebrows.
"I promise I'll do my bit and baby-sit," Grant cut in. "After I learn how to baby-sit first…"
Molly covered her mouth as she gasped. "Oh, my! Draco, dear, how wonderful!"
Draco's expression was squeamish when Mrs. Weasley kissed his cheek. "Well, it's been a while, but things are pretty steady with Mother being around, too."
"Wait," Harry coughed, stifling his laughter, "you didn't actually marry Pansy Parkinson?"
"I'm nothing like her, Harry," Lavender Brown –well, Malfoy now, Ginny whispered to Mira –corrected, adding an annoying, sarcastic little laugh. There was a bundle in her arms. "That aside, would you like to see Sage Rukh Malfoy?" She folded the blanket down partially and revealed a sleeping baby girl who had wisps of platinum blonde hair on the top of her head. Just like her daddy.
"Oh, Lavender, Draco, she's adorable," Hermione cooed. "Can I hold her?"
Ginny and Mira agreed that Sage was cute, but Mira needed to see her parents. And find her grandparents, of course. "I told them I'd be right back," she said to Ginny over her shoulder, "so maybe I'll see you later, after pictures-"
"Mira, watch out! Charlie-!!" Ginny yelled.
However, that call did not come in time. Mira walked straight into a warm, nice wall –Charlie. Well, it would've been nice if she were just going to be in his arms, but she instead crashed to the ground. Ooh, this was embarrassing and awkward.
"Miraphina! Sorry," Charlie said, forgetting to not use her first name, and he offered her a hand up, which she took. Merlin, his touch was the best thing in the world! "Guess I got distracted." And she had a feeling she had been the distraction.
Grant left Draco and Lavender and rushed over. "Are you okay, Mira?"
The Hufflepuff brushed the grass out of her hair. "Yes, Grant, I'm fine," she muttered shortly, not wanting to be reminded that she had just finally broken up with him to be with the man she was next to right now.
He frowned, a little hurt at her harsh words, but Ginny changed the subject. "Um, Mira, pictures? Your parents?" she reminded her. Her eyes lowered and Mira realized Charlie still held the curvy brunette's hand. And now Ginny had seen that. Ginny coughed.
Mira blinked and withdrew her hand as if nothing was out of the ordinary, forcing her blush down. "Right! I'll try to get back as quickly as I can, so stay here, okay?" She gave Ginny a quick hug and scampered off before the redhead could comment. AGHHH!!!
How could I have been so stupid?!! We're still surrounded by everyone! The only one who knows is Grant, you dummy!! She found her grandparents and dragged them back to her parents, aunts, and uncle. They huddled together around Mira to try to fit in for the picture.
"Miraphina, are you all right?" Auntie Thornlea asked, concern laced with slight amusement in her tone.
Try as she might, the brunette couldn't contain the heat of her cheeks any longer. "I'm just happy, is all." And she was. But she wondered when she wouldn't have to act so shifty about her happiness. Or about Charlie.
Crap. I. Am. An. Idiot. Charlie couldn't stop thinking about what had just happened. Sure, Mira had left just a second ago, but… But-! Mira was just too much. He could never act or think straight when she was around. And then he'd gone and held her hand with everyone else still around. Although, he was fairly sure no one had actually seen… His darting eyes met Laurel's. The look she gave him was scathing. Oh, crap.
"We need to find my mother," Draco stated. "Sage needs a nap, and we should eat, so come on, Grant." He yanked on Grant's collar but switched to ushering the eighteen-year-old along after Lavender nudged him and shook her head.
"So it's back to just family," Charlie stated nervously; he kinda wish there were more witnesses around, though. "Did someone really let Draco spawn?" he inquired incredulously, trying to be lighthearted.
"Love occasionally leads to children, Charles," Laurel remarked. And, once again, things were uncomfortable. Of course. This was going to be a veeeeery long night for him.
"Well, how about a picture?" Fred asked.
"Wait, look! There's Lee!" George exclaimed, so the twins dragged their fiancés off to see an old friend.
Molly smiled, but it was tight. "Ginny, dear, I take it all of your things are ready to go?"
The witch stiffened, and Charlie knew this part of today wasn't going to end well, either. "Um, yes, of course they are…"
"Where are you planning on going?"
Ginny blinked and Charlie couldn't believe what their mother had just said. Was that really Molly Weasley who'd just said that to her baby, her only daughter?! "…What?"
All eyes were on Molly and Arthur. "We know it's been a tough year, Ginny," Arthur softly said, "but your mother and I aren't idiots, you know. You cleared out your room when we asked you to pack for your seventh year. Since you have no intention of coming back, then you can't."
Ginny closed her eyes and deeply inhaled. Charlie honestly thought his little sis was going to let them have it; after all, she was her mother's daughter, but… Opening her eyes, Ginny locked her gaze with Sirius. "I'll stay with Sirius, then." He returned her smile, but her mother turned ashen white. Clearly, they hadn't anticipated that. Neither had Charlie, but he liked it better than Ginny having no place at all to go.
"You most certainly will not!!" Molly shouted. "We never gave permission for this –this fling to happen!" She shook her head and waved a hand at them, dismissing their relationship. "No! Absolutely not!"
It was obvious that Ginny fought to keep from screaming at their mother. "So you want me to be homeless until I work for enough money for an apartment?" she asked through gritted teeth.
"Ginny…," Arthur mumbled. "It's not that we-"
"What if she stays with us?" Hermione interrupted. Ginny looked at her and Harry, who gave her a wink. "Arthur, Molly, would it be acceptable if Ginny stays with us? Until she can get her feet on the ground, that is."
It was obvious that they hadn't anticipated that, either. Arthur looked dumbfounded, and Molly's mouth formed a perfect O. A second later, Molly seemed to regain her composure. "Well, I suppose… Only if Sirius does not see her. If I hear that he visits for midnight trysts-"
Ginny's cheeks matched Gryffindor's maroon image color. "MOTHER!!"
Charlie heaved an inward sigh. Were this many of his family members seriously without tact?
"He won't bother her," Harry replied. "We promise."
Molly smoothed her dress and gave all of them a curt nod. "Well, then. I guess that is all we have to say." Without another word, she sauntered off, heading for McGonagall, Dumbledore, and Remus. At some point, Luna had slipped away and was already chatting with the three professors, and Arthur dashed off to join his wife, the teachers, and the Quibbler reporter.
"That was generous of you," Charlie told Harry and Hermione. "Although, are you sure you can handle living with her?" he added with a teasing grin.
"Are you really going to separate us?" Ginny asked.
"You didn't listen, did you?" Harry said, and he exchanged a conspiratorial grin with Sirius.
Ginny rolled her eyes, and Charlie shot the godson and godfather a look to warn them from doing anything mischievous. Someone nudged Charlie in the back, though. Laurel was frowning and Charlie said nothing.
"Care for a walk?" she asked.
Charlie was surprised he could still hear. Actually, he was really surprised no one else had heard them deep inside the Forbidden Forest. Laurel had been quite shrill. So… Round Two?
"I KNEW IT!! All along, and I'd told you, and you'd denied it, and then I'd confronted you again and you'd accepted it, but this!!! THIS!! Do you realize how humiliating that was?!!"
"Laurel, I'm sorry-"
"What if the others noticed? I wanted to just finish out the school year, but-"
Charlie glared at her. "But what? Then you were going to tear me limb from limb for falling out of love with you?!"
"I was going to end us when things were quiet!!" she snarled. "But you just had to flaunt little Miss Bovine!!!"
"What?!! How dare you!! Mira is NO SUCH THING!!!" He flung his cloak to the ground, his blood boiling. It was too hot to have this infuriating argument. But she- She-!!! Mira was gorgeous and he loved her, and he loved how she could fit in his arms but that she was curvy, like a real woman should be. And Laurel had called her something awful, that…that bitch!!!
"Why the hell are you angry?!! You get the best part of the deal!! I'm the one who's tossed aside like yesteryear's broom!!"
Charlie grabbed Laurel roughly by the arms. "I'm not-!!" He inhaled to try to calm his inner raging storm. "I'm not tossing you aside Laurel. But you smothered me and I wanted to escape. I wasn't looking for anyone to replace you. It just happened. And…" He trailed off, unsure whether he should tell her about Trelawney's reading.
"And…?" she prodded, still angry.
He gave in and told her. So now Laurel new that it wasn't her. Well, he'd hoped that she'd have that reaction. But things just weren't going to go his way today.
"HA!!" Laurel darkly laughed. "You expect me to believe that?!! That you and she were 'predicted' to happen?!" She punched his jaw, every ounce of dragon strength in that right hook. "Don't insult me further, Charles. You and I are over, and I don't think I could be happier." She spat on him before making her way to his hut. Several minutes later, a Tri-Taloned Featherwing flew out from the far side of the forest. Maybe that would be the last time a Featherwing would be seen ever again.
Well. Innit that nice? I ended up making Laurel a crazy bitch here. Whoops. It's okay, I have other plans for her, though we probably won't actively see her again, just hear about her. But I don't think you guys mind, considering how angry she made Charlie and what she called Mira. Even I'M surprised she said what she said. The characters are running away with the story again…
Well, review, and also check out the poll on my bio. Maybe I'll do a Charlie-related one soon… Hmmm….