Rowena Potter sighed as she sat on the floor in the Gryffindor Common Room. Papers from various classes were spread out around her haphazardly, and she was slowly making a dent in organizing them by subject. The khakis she wore for her uniform, normally pristinely pressed, were wrinkled and the seams were making indents in her legs. Her crimson-colored shirt, embroidered with a small gold lion on the left pocket, was unbuttoned one too many times to meet school regulations, but it was after curfew anyway, and almost everyone was already asleep. The only people who remained in the Common Room were sixth years, who had mock N.E.W.T.s the next day, and no one but Rhys Finnegan seemed to pay her any attention.
"For being generally considered the smartest in our class, you are certainly disorganized," he was saying, as he set about reviewing his own well-organized notes.
"For generally being the most organized in our class, you sure need a lot of help revising," she shot back. "Remind me your grade on your last Transfiguration exam?" Rowena looked up to her best friend, seated in one of the overstuffed chairs beside her, a twinkle in her eye.
"I would've done just fine except for the practical portion. You know my wand and I don't really get along all too well," he said.
"Sure, blame it on the wand," she said, returning to her piles of notes. "You think you'd be able to tame it some by now. It's been yours for nearly six years."
"Yeah, whatever. Hey, once you've found your History of Magic notes, will you help me revise? Oh, never mind; I'm sure it will be long after our exams by the time you've tracked them all down."
"It's a good thing we have your notes to work from then, isn't it?" She picked up her wand and sent her nearly organized piles to a nearby table then got up to join them. "It's past eleven now; maybe we should actually review something before our exams. Join me?"
Rhys collected his pile of notes and joined her at the table. "Okay, I'm here. Now will you please make your review of 2,000 years of recorded wizarding history quick and coherent? I have to remember at least some of it in the morning."
Rowena sighed at his request, but soon lost herself in the story, hardly relying on notes. History fascinated her, despite being taught by a ghost who had been around for most of the time periods he taught about, one who was far more interested in hearing himself speak than having his students learn. But even though Professor Binns left much to be desired as far as adequate professors went, the material itself was enough to engross her. Especially when she got through the International Statute of Secrecy, skimmed over the next few centuries, and started in the twentieth century.
"Okay, what year did Dumbledore defeat Grindelwald?"
"1945." In response to Rowena's quizzical look at his certainty, he continued, "Vintage Chocolate Frog card collection. I have everyone but Morgana."
"You would get your history from a bunch of old trading cards. By the way, I have about six of Morgana, since my mum was named for her. If you want one, I'll get it to you later. But in the meantime, what year did the First Wizarding War end, and why?"
"The why is easy: Voldemort tried to kill Harry Potter and the killing curse rebounded and split his soul, destroying his original body. As to the year, I can't remember if it was 1985 or 1983."
"Neither; it was 1981, but a good answer for the why."
"Ugh; why do they make us memorize specific years from so long ago? Isn't it good enough that I remembered that it was the end of the twentieth century? I even got the decade right!"
"Professor Binns doesn't think so, and neither do the exams. A trick for remembering the year, though: you remember the year of the Battle of Hogwarts, right?"
"1998. That's easy, since we had the celebration of the thousandth anniversary back in our first year. What's that have to do with anything?"
"Since we know that Harry was nearly eighteen at the Battle of Hogwarts, and his parents were killed when he was one, just subtract seventeen from the year of the Battle."
"Maths? That's almost as bad as memorizing."
"Well, those are your two options. Sorry, mate. Anyway, let's move on to more recent history. Tell me everything you know about the War of the Wand."
"A history lesson I enjoy?! Sure thing. In 2654, Nelson Zabini, having just graduated from Hogwarts, broke into Dumbledore's tomb and stole his wand, widely believed to be the Elder Wand, Deathstick, or whatever it was called back then. However, he apparently didn't grow up reading Beedle the Bard, because he made the same mistake as the first brother, not keeping the wand a secret and claiming it could beat anyone. Since the wand was stolen, it wasn't particularly loyal to him and Helga Krum easily took it. The wand moved from hand to hand faster than ever before, until the Ministry got involved, trying unsuccessfully to confiscate the wand and have it banned. It passed from person to person nearly every six months for about 75 years, but slowed down after that, once people became less certain of the wand's origins. General opinion was that the people claiming to have the Elder Wand were delusional, so it was only another 15 times in 225 years that the wand changed families. A divide was cast between families who believed in the power of the Wand and those who didn't, and like the Pureblood myths of old times, it was belief or not in the wand that determined marital eligibility. But soon, even that myth lost its power. At last, it fell into the hands of Leila Weasley after her father passed away shortly after winning it. That was back in 2895, and no one has heard of it since."
"I forgot how much you liked that part. I should just let you write my essay for the mock N.E.W.T. tomorrow."
"Okay, if you'll do the translation from Modern English for me."
"And you do the practical for Care of Magical Creatures."
"Maybe we should just do our own work and call it good?"
"Fine. But remind me why I'm taking N.E.W.T.-level Care of Magical Creatures again?"
"Because you wanted someone to sit by in Ancient Runes."
"Right. I should've thought that through more; it's just another class where I have to explain the homework to you." She smiled and began to pick up her notes, shoving them haphazardly into her satchel and completely undoing all progress she'd made toward organization. "I'll see you tomorrow for exams, Rhys. Sleep well."
"You too, Ro," he said, still gathering his notes into an organized pile before putting them away.
The next day was full of mock exams for the sixth years. Rowena felt prepared enough for most of them, but was slightly embarrassed at her inability to tame a Hippogriff. Professor Finney had a hard time containing his laughter when the annoyed Hippogriff began to chase her, and waited far too long, in Rowena's opinion, to rein in the beast. Over dinner that evening, she could barely think, let alone keep up with Rhys's commentary on each exam he took. "-after Herbology, I wasn't paying much attention to what I was doing- after all I was exhausted by this point- and I knocked over Professor Smith's collection of magical herbs, and well you know how much she prides herself on having the herbs close at hand- so basically I have detention tonight."
"What?" Rowena said, quickly snapping out of her near-catatonic state. "You managed to earn a detention on a day when we didn't even have formal classes? Well, if anyone would..."
"Yeah, I know, it would be me," he sighed. "Anyway, I have to go out to the Forbidden Forest to gather herbs right after dinner tonight, so we'll have to postpone our chess game."
"That's fine. It'll save you some embarrassment at least," she said. While she was no master at chess, Rhys's own lack of skill meant she won nearly every game.
"If you say so. I'd better get going though; hopefully if I get started soon I'll be back in time for a game or two."
Rowena finished eating in silence; six years and she still had a hard time making friends. Rhys was the exception, and only because she made the mistake of sharing a compartment with him on the outdated Hogwarts Express their first year. He talked nearly unceasingly for the long journey and seemed to find her relative silence agreeable. When he searched her out the next morning during their first lesson, she hesitatingly accepted his friendship. It still took years, though, before she could trust him as blindingly as he trusted her, and it was halfway through third year before she confessed to him anything personal.
They had stayed up late, at least late for being fourteen, and he had asked her far more gently than usual why she never talked about her mother. She swallowed, breathed some and then said plainly, "She's dead."
"Oh," was all he said in reply, but she somehow found release in talking about it and decided to elaborate.
"Papa tells me she died in childbirth. Sometimes, though, I dream of a woman that I think might be her, even though there is no way I would know what she's like. Hey, it's okay, Rhys," she said as he looked at her, apparently still in shock. "Papa and I get along great, and I spent a lot of time with my cousins growing up, so it felt like a normal family- Papa and me, Uncle Arthur and Aunt Helen, and their twins Soren and Augustine. But you know them, at any rate."
Rhys nodded. Her twin cousins were a year ahead of them in school, both in Slytherin, and Soren had a reputation for getting in trouble. Augustine was nicer, at least when he was alone, but he had the tendency to follow his twin into whatever scheme they planned. They weren't bad as far as childhood playmates went, but they were just as likely to leave her out as play with her back then. She never minded the exclusion, or the way they generally ignored her now. She would rather curl up by the fireplace with a history book than join them in a scheme. In fact, in the present as she got up to return to Gryffindor Tower alone, she knew precisely the book she would read and precisely which isolated easy chair she would occupy until Rhys returned.
Upstairs, in the chair she wanted, book in hand, she lost herself in the pages of a mythology book dedicated to Harry Potter. Rowena hardly noticed as the fire had died down nearly to embers. It was nearly midnight by the time Rhys returned, his hands dirty from his work. "Hey, Rhys. How did it go?"
"Smith made me wait for hours to pick the ones that only show themselves in moonlight. But it wasn't bad overall. If I let myself, I might have even enjoyed it." He sat down on the edge of her easy chair, looking over her shoulder. "Reading more about Harry Potter, huh?"
"You would too if you shared a name with him. It's cool to think that we might actually be related."
"There are some thirty generations between you; I don't know if you can really call that relation."
"I don't care what you call it. At the very least you have to admit I look like him." She lifted her face, opening her eyes far beyond necessity and flipping her hair around.
"Okay, so you have black hair and green eyes-"
"When there isn't another wizard alive without at least a trace of red in their hair," she added smartly.
"It was still so long ago. There have to be hundreds of people related to him in one way or another."
He got up from the side of her chair, and as he did so, she noticed that the leather cord that was normally strung around his neck was missing. He looked strange without it; ever since she met him, his lucky ankh was always worn as a necklace. "Um, Rhys?"
"What happened to your ankh?"
His hand went to his chest. "Oh no. I thought I heard something drop in the forest at some point tonight, but I didn't think anything of it. You have to help me go get it!"
"Why can't you just Summon it?"
"Because my great-grandfather got it from an ancient Egyptian tomb and it was his most valuable possession. It's supposed to be lucky, after all. So he set up various measures of protection on it. One of them is that you can't just say 'Accio ankh' if you want it back. It has to be found manually."
"Okay, fine. You have to search for it. But why do I have to help you?"
"Because you have the best invisibility cloak of anyone we know. And better eyesight. Plus, we went all over the forest looking for herbs tonight. It could be anywhere and we can cover more ground with two of us."
"You want to split up? I would have to be in the forest alone? What if something tries to get me?"
"Will you please stop worrying about some sort of deadly animal waiting to attack us? I'm in there all the time and nothing's happened to me."
"Fine. I'll go with you. Tomorrow."
"Please can we go now? You know how much that means to me. I'm not sure I could sleep without it."
Rowena wasn't sure if he was being serious or just trying to make her feel badly about it. But whatever the reason, it was working. "Fine. Five more minutes; I'll change and go grab the cloak." She flew up the stairs to her dormitory, seven levels above the Common Room, and went quietly to the window to open it. The night air was warm for April, and she left behind a coat as she changed out of her uniform into something more comfortable and grabbed her cloak from the bottom of her trunk. The other girls in her room were heavy sleepers, and didn't so much as twitch at her presence, which made her grateful. She wasn't one for sneaking out at night, and didn't want to answer any questions from her inquisitive roommates.
Rhys wasn't in the Common Room, but within a minute he was clambering down the stairs from the male dorms, nearly shouting from across the room. "Ready, Ro?"
She rolled her eyes at him and waited until he was closer to answer. "Will you please be quiet? I really don't like having to do this in the first place. I can't imagine having to go to detention just because of your ankh and your insistence."
"It would be worth it, I think, but fine. I'll be quiet. You have the cloak?"
"No, I left it upstairs and thought we'd just go without it. Honestly, Rhys... of course I have the cloak." She pulled it out of her back pocket and wrapped it around the two of them. They had both grown since the last time they needed it, and had a hard time getting it to cover them both completely. They ended up with shoulders overlapping, Rhys in front of Rowena, since she was slightly taller, and the proximity was enough to throw her concentration. Silently, they climbed out of the portrait hole and began their trek outside with bated breath.
Once they were on school grounds, Rowena began to feel more comfortable. Clouds covered most of the stars, and she knew it was a new moon, so they walked to the Forest in a blackness that was almost palpable. Refusing to light their wands for fear of being seen, Rowena relied on Rhys to guide her, since he spent more time on the grounds than in the castle to begin with. Fumbling in front of her, she clasped his left hand in her own, and he squeezed it lightly as some sort of reassurance.
They made it to the edge of the forest with no incident, and under the cover of trees, they pulled off the invisibility cloak. "See? No issues," Rhys said confidently.
"Yet," Rowena replied. "We still have to find your ankh and get back inside."
"Should be easy enough. I'll take the path to the left here, and you go to the right. We'll use standard forest protocol from when I'm in here with Professor Finney. If you find the ankh, send up green sparks. If you find trouble, send up red sparks. Keep your eyes in the air often, since I'll do the same thing."
She nodded, still completely unsure of herself. She didn't care how often Rhys was in here helping his professors; it wasn't called forbidden for nothing, and she wasn't quite ready to find out what might lurk in the shadows of its gigantic trees. Nevertheless, she set off, looking for patches of herbs that might indicate a place Rhys had stopped to work. She wandered for what felt like ages, noting places here and there where there was freshly turned dirt and kneeling down to feel for his necklace. In the safety of the blackness, she felt secure enough to light her wand, which she kept pointed in front of her scanning for strange creatures. On more than one occasion, she jumped as a small spider crossed her path, then laughed at herself. Spiders were one creature she had never been particularly terrified of. It was creatures with magical history that worried her.
Deep in the forest she found a large patch of overturned dirt, so she sat down to began scanning the area. She didn't see any telltale signs of leather, but a small black rock caught her attention and she picked it up. There were light hatch marks on one side of it, nearly filled in with dirt. The rock was diamond shaped, and it seemed that at one point it had been highly polished. It didn't appear to be the work of nature at all, and she was captivated by it. She kept it in her hand, looking over its various facets, and completely forgot to look up.
"What?" she said, dropping the stone into her pocket and looking around her. "Rhys? How did you get here?"
"I was worried about you! I sent up green sparks more than thirty minutes ago! When you didn't send up sparks back, or find me, I left the path and came to find you." His anger apparently abated for the moment, he pulled her into a hug. "I was worried, you know, since you don't like this place much. I didn't know what happened!"
"I'm sorry, Rhys," she said. "I guess I just lost track of time." She didn't feel like sharing her new discovery with him. At least not until she could find out more about it. It made her heart beat faster, keeping the secret from him, but she couldn't imagine telling him that she forgot about his ankh simply because she was staring at a rock. "I guess we should head back now?" she asked.
"Definitely so. We'll put the cloak on when we get to the edge of the forest."
"Okay. So where did you find your ankh?"
"Just about a quarter mile in from the entrance. It was one of the last places we dug, looking for herbs that were best to pick at night."
"Ah, okay. Well I'm glad you found it."
They wandered through the castle as silently as they could and, still invisible, whispered the password to a very confused Fat Lady. They said goodnight at the bottom of the staircases. "Thanks again," Rhys said through a yawn. "I can't imagine having to search the whole forest alone."
"No problem, Rhys. That's what friends are for."
Grateful that the next morning was Saturday, Rowena slept in and made no attempts to get out of bed until her dorm mates had all gone downstairs for breakfast. Then she sleepily changed her clothes and opened her trunk, where she had hidden the stone the night before. She took it and crawled back up onto her four-poster bed, closed the curtains, and turned the stone over in her hand. "I wonder what it is about you," she said to it, then tossed it up and down a few times like a Quaffle.
Suddenly there was a noise at the door and she hastily hid the stone beneath her covers and drew back the curtains. Expecting to see a fellow student back from breakfast, her jaw dropped open at the woman in front of her. Wearing a traditional dress, she had reddish-brown hair and freckles. She looked to be about thirty-five. What surprised Rowena most was the way the woman didn't feel there properly. It was as if she were out of focus, or in a bit of a fog, though she walked along the floor and came to sit on Jacie Weasley's bed, right next to her own. There was an air of familiarity about her, and then the realization dawned on her in a way that she felt she'd known it all along. Uncrossing her legs and turning to better face her companion, she simply said, "Mum?"
A/N: I'm not JK Rowling, and the world she created belongs to her. All of the characters are my own. By this point, I doubt the English language would be recognizable, but I don't make any attempts at a futuristic world. I do believe that the dress code would remain perpetually 1,000 years behind the Muggle world, so their uniform consists of a modern-day Muggle-y outfit which would look as strange to their contemporary Muggles as robes would to us.
From the last page pre-epilogue of Deathly Hallows, Harry says, "I'm putting the Elder Wand back where it came from. It can stay there." The Harry Potter wikia includes in its Elder Wand article that "where it came from" refers to Dumbledore's grave, which is what I believed prior to reading the article, and the assumption the War of the Wand relies on. Unlike in the movies, there is no reference to the wand being destroyed in any way.
Written for the OC Competition with the theme Memories.