defense against the dark arts
care of magical creatures
business + economics
"Wow. That's quite the schedule, Heron."
Lily was staring down at the piece of parchment in her son's hand in shock. Surely someone had made a mistake? There was no way that he would be able to keep up with that full time.
"I know, right? Isn't it great! I just couldn't pick which of the electives would be best, so I took them all. I know it looks like it'll be a little much, but only the core courses are three hours long, the rest are one or two, and the way my schedule works out, I only have each class once every week, so that way I've always got seven days to do any homework or practice that I need to before the next class. Awesome, huh?"
Lily smiled down at her son's enthusiastic face. Harry had been aching to go this school ever since she had suggested it two years before and they had researched the alternatives to Hogwarts. She had contemplated getting him private tutors to teach him from home and bypassing the school system altogether, but eventually gave in to Harry's need to make friends that he would actually be allowed to keep. Though he would never say a word, she knew that the constant moving about was hard on him, and she was worried that it was making him a little too used to solitude. He needed regular interaction with his peers in a situation where he knew that he would not be across the world within a few months of meeting them. Not that Harry had a difficult time making loose friends and acquaintances, but she knew how valuable a solid connection with someone outside your family could be. Thinking wistfully of the comfort that there had always been in knowing that the Marauders could be relied upon in her and James' youth, she wanted something similar for Harry. Of course, that didn't end well, but in Harry's case, he would never have revealed his true identity to them, and therefore could disappear in an instant if need be. So, she reasoned to herself, she could give Harry the same wondrous experiences that she had had when she went away to magical boarding school, only without the risk. Speaking of risks...
"Heron, go over your cover story for me one more time, please."
Harry rolled his eyes internally, but knew that his mother was only anxious on his behalf, and with reason, so he did not begrudge her this comfort and good-naturedly went over it for the fourteenth time that morning.
"My name is Heron Evans. I am the eleven-year-old son of Lillian Evans, assistant to Dr. Dubois, physics researcher at the University of Paris. I grew up in the muggle world after Dad was killed in the civil war in England, and we've lived in Quebec, in Canada with your uncle. When Uncle Orion died, we moved back to Europe, and this is where you got a good position. I like football and reading and know about the magical world but nothing about actually performing magic."
Lily's nervous smile caused him to take her hand. "It'll be fine, Mum. It's so close to reality that I can add all kinds of details and still be telling the truth. No one will ever know."
Her face relaxed. "You're right, of course. I just worry."
"I know," he told her understandingly. Searching her face, he examined the faint lines that had started to form around her still youthful eyes. "Will you be alright, Mum? I don't have to go, you know."
She laughed lightly and wiped away a stray tear from her pale cheek. "I'll be just fine, Heron. I'm the one who's supposed to worry about you, remember?"
He grinned back. "I remember. I also remember that I'm the one that makes you your coffee every morning. Whatever will you do without me?"
The last of the reluctance faded from Lily's face as she threw her head back in a full laugh. "I suppose I'll just have to think of something, won't I?" she said, still chuckling, and Harry grinned himself a secret grin, pleased, as always, to have made her happy. With a last squeeze of her hand, he let go and moved to check that his trunk and satchel were securely closed. Morrigan would meet him at Beauxbatons, ravens having no use for cages, being the wild, intelligent birds that they were. Noting that everything was as it should be, he threw himself into his mother's embrace, cherishing the feeling of her slender arms around his firm shoulders one last time.
"I love you, Mum," he whispered into her shirt.
"I love you, my son," she whispered back, and he could hear the tears thick in her voice once more. Releasing him, she stood swiftly and he gathered up his things and handed off his trunk to one of the waiting porter elves before loading himself into one of the carriages pulled by the colossal winged horses that were stamping and snorting all around the magical section of the Charles De Gaulle airport. Inside the carriage were two long rows of single seats, much like a muggle airplane. Being one of the last to board, he got the one by the window and leaned out of it to wave goodbye. He would not see his mother again until christmas and was sure that the next four months would be the longest of his life. Touched with anticipation, however, he also predicted that they would be the most exciting.