Blood of Birds

Note: Hi! The following is a 2nd generation Harry Potter fanfiction, with main characters being Rose Weasley, Scorpius Malfoy, and Albus Potter. It will be comprised of four parts, the first of which will follow Rose. There will also be seven one-shots (or side-alongs) following other characters at points throughout the series, each uploaded separately. I've also taken the liberty to include a few re-quotes, courtesy of JK Rowling and Steve Kloves of course, to pay homage to the original books and films. So without further ado, here is Chapter 1. Happy reading!

~ Lauren

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2. Lysander Scammander

Platform 9¾ was bustling with families of witches and wizards, all saying their last goodbye to their children who would be gone for the next four months. The Hogwarts Express was a familiar sight for Rose, who was standing on the platform with Hugo, waiting for their parents to come through the magical brick wall behind them. They had told her before that the black and red train was the exact same one that they had once ridden, #5972. This had provided a comfort to Rose in some way, particularly when she was younger. It was as if every time she rode the train, her family was there too, sitting silently in the same cabin as her. Now though, Rose was staring at the train thinking that she no longer needed that comfort. After all, she had a whole other family waiting for her inside the train, and at that moment, the thought of them was all the comfort she needed.

Rose kept this idea in her mind as Ron and Hermione appeared behind her and Hugo. Hermione already looked like she was about to cry, and Ron was holding Hugo back as he tried to run off after a friend who had just boarded the train. The final horn blew then; they only had a minute left to say goodbye.

"Oh, why did we have to get here so late?" Hermione asked. She had always been the prompt one in the family, and it made her very uncomfortable to have so little time to see her kids off.

Nobody answered, though Ron wore a guilty look on his face. He had had to drive them all there, like they did every year on this day. Still, he wasn't quite used to this muggle custom, and along the way he made a number of wrong turns. The confundus charm may have worked to get his license to drive, but it didn't actually help him learn to drive. Unfortunately for the entire family, Ron was just too proud to let Hermione take the wheel instead.

"Oh Mum, does it really matter now?" Rose asked, starting to lose her patience. "The train's going to leave!"

Hearing these words, Hermione snapped right back into focus and said, "Oh of course, Rose, you're right. Well, come on then. Give me a hug." This was of course followed by an extremely tight hug from her mother, from whom Rose had to break apart in order to take a breath.

Rose then turned to her father, who had just given a big old bear hug to Hugo, and looked up at all six feet of him. For some reason, the sadness of leaving sunk in at that moment, as she realized how much she would miss the man she so idolized.

Before Rose began to cry however, Ron pulled her close and kissed the top of her ginger-covered head, which barely reached his chest. He never liked the part when he had to say goodbye to his little girl, this year in particular. Now that Rose was a teenager, and with so much attachment to her friends, Ron felt like she was really growing up. So he stretched out their hug, secretly wishing that he'd never have to let go.

After some time though, Rose broke away, and looked to both of her parents as she gathered up her things. Hugo had already left for the train, but Rose didn't care. "I'll miss you both so much," she said.

Ron and Hermione were now standing together, with Ron's arms around Hermione as she tried desperately to stop her tears from falling. "We'll see you soon," said Hermione.

At that, Rose was reminded of something. "Dad, you and Harry are still planning on coming to DADA soon, right?" she asked. Ever since before any of the kids were born, Ron and Harry had been paying yearly visits to Hogwarts, teaching a special Defense Against the Dark Arts class to fifth years. It was the talk of the school every time the two famous wizards came through, and a class that students looked forward to more than any other.

"Of course!" Ron said. "I wouldn't miss getting to teach my own daughter, plus Harry's got to come and see Al too."

This was reassuring to Rose, and so with the thought that she would be able to see at least one of her parents in the very near future, she said her last goodbye and turned around, just making it onto the train before it started to leave the station.

Though Rose was crying now, she told herself to cheer up, wiped the tear off of her face, and headed through the compartment with her suitcase, looking for Albus and Scorpius.

After she had passed a few rooms, including the one Hugo and Lily were sitting in with some of their other friends, Rose heard the voice of somebody coming from behind her.

"Hey Rose!" the voice called as Rose turned around to see Lucy Weasley running up to her.

"Lucy! It's so good to see you!" Rose replied. Lucy was another of Rose's cousins, the youngest daughter of Ron's older brother, Percy, and his wife Audrey. Lucy, like her mother, had long brown hair that was so dark it was nearly black, the perfect contrast to her pearl white skin and light blue eyes.

"You too! I've missed you all summer," said Lucy. She was now in her fifth year at Hogwarts, like Rose, though she was in Hufflepuff. The two girls had known each other their entire lives, and had always been very close, as Lucy was Rose's best girl friend.

"Yeah, me too. What have you been up to?"

"Oh, well mainly I've been spending a lot of time at the Scamander's. Lorcan and I are…" Lucy trailed off.

"Oh, that's great! How's it going?" Rose knew immediately that this meant that Lucy and Lorcan had become an official couple over the summer. Lorcan, who was Lysander Scamander's twin brother, was also in Hufflepuff, though he was a year older than both Lucy and Rose. Him and Lucy had been friends for years though, and anybody who knew them knew how they had always felt about each other.

"It's… perfect," Lucy explained. "He's amazing. Sometimes I feel like we're the same person, we're just so alike." Lucy had always been sweet and quiet, the exact opposite of most of her fellow Weasleys. From the little time that Rose had spent with Lorcan on the Quidditch pitch (he was a Beater for the Hufflepuff team), he had in fact seemed the same way. Rose had always found it interesting, considering how outgoing and obnoxious his twin brother was.

"Actually," Lucy continued. "I was just headed to his compartment now. Did you want to come? I'd love for you two to meet. Formally, I mean."

"Well, I was on my way to find Al and Scorpius, but I suppose I could spare a minute or two." At that, the two girls headed off until they reached a compartment a few doors down the hall.

As Lucy opened the door to the room, Rose could just make out two light blonde heads of whom she assumed were Lorcan and Lysander, sitting across from someone with a mousy-brown shade of hair whom she would have known anywhere.

"Rose, hi," James said as Rose walked into the compartment, obviously confused as to what she was doing there. He was sprawled across his seat already, clearly only caring about his own comfort.

"Hey, Ginger," somebody said from behind. When Rose turned around, she saw that it was Lysander, and he had suddenly sat up quite straight, looking directly at her. Of the two identical twins, Lysander was the more devious looking. Though physically they were extremely similar, Lysander always had a sly expression on his face, and was extremely arrogant (hence his crude nickname for Rose), which was probably why him and James had so much in common. For a minute though, James wasn't the one Rose was reminded of when she saw the tall, blonde boy with dark green eyes looking at her in a way that she had only seen one person ever look before.

"Hello," Rose said after a long pause. Lysander smirked in response, and then looked down at the floor as Lucy came in and closed the door behind her.

She then walked around to Rose, which took a small amount of maneuvering in the tiny space, and looked toward Lorcan, the nicer looking twin, who was sitting beside his brother.

"Lorcan, this is Rose. Rose, Lorcan," Lucy introduced the two. They both said hello as Rose sat down across from him, James making room for her on his side. Lucy had sat down right next to Lorcan, who put his arm around her shoulder. Lysander, the third wheel on their right, was clearly uncomfortable, but he also didn't seem to feel much like leaving.

"So when did all this happen?" Rose asked, referring to Lucy and Lorcan. "I feel like I really missed something this summer…"

"Oh great, girl talk," James blurted out before Lucy had the chance to answer. "I think I'm going to bow out of this particular conversation, if you don't mind." He then stood up and left the compartment.

With the seat next to Rose now empty, Lysander moved across the room and took James's place. He didn't bother to ask permission to slide closer to Rose, and before she had time to say something, his arm was around her. Rose was slightly surprised by this blunt action, but tried to ignore it, as she figured that Lysander was always like this.

"Actually, it's a funny story," Lucy said, too caught up in her own romance to notice Lysander's behavior.

"Actually, it's really not," Lysander cut in, mimicking Lucy's high-pitched voice. In response to the three looks of disgust he received from Lorcan, Lucy, and Rose, he said, "I mean, come on. We all knew it was bound to happen eventually! You were writing all summer, and after I got sick of hearing everything about it, I convinced Lorcan to get it together and just tell her how he felt."

Lorcan shook his head, clearly disappointed by Lysander, and Lucy tried desperately to hide herself, refusing to say anything as she sunk deeper into her seat. Rose, on the other hand, was just about ready to punch the player in the nose. She would have as well, if it wasn't for Lysander interrupting her thoughts, sitting back and adding, "That's right. Lysander Scamander: the ultimate match-maker."

"Oh come on, Lysander!" Lorcan yelled. "What's your problem?" Though Rose would have loved to add on to the takedown, she decided to leave it to Lorcan. It just wasn't her place.

"Nothing," Lysander answered, shrugging his shoulders. "I'm just making sure Rose here doesn't have to sit through the longest story of all time. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for you mate. But come on, can you not talk about anything else?"

Before Lorcan could reply, Rose decided to finally interject, as she thought it fair to address Lysander after he had mentioned her so matter-of-factly. "Actually, I'd love to hear the story. You can leave if you're not interested. In fact, why don't you go off and find James? After all, he's the only one that can seem to tolerate you."

Lysander snickered in response, nowhere near backing down. Instead, he leaned closer to Rose and said, "Well, I'd rather not leave for a number of reasons. One, Potter's probably off with that Finnigan girl, and I've had enough of people goggling all over each other for one day. And two, how could I possibly leave when I have your pretty face and sassy smirk to look at?"

Rose, who had officially decided that she did not like this particular twin at all, stood from her spot, turned toward Lysander and said, "Well unfortunately, you won't be able to look at me anymore."

To Lorcan and Lucy, she added, "I'm sorry, Lucy. Maybe you could tell me about it later?" Lucy nodded, before Rose opened the door, muttering, "It was nice to finally meet you, Lorcan," before she left the compartment.

Rose had just picked up her suitcase and was about to walk away when Lysander came out of the compartment door behind her. Turning back toward him, she said loudly, "Bloody hell, how much indignity must you spread upon people?"

"Oh, relax," Lysander replied. "I'm sorry for being such a jerk in there. I got a little… nervous." The last word he said seemed to require a lot of force to be let out of his mouth. "I've actually wanted to talk to you about something for a while now."

Suddenly, Rose was reminded of her conversation with James in the Leaky Cauldron the other day, when he had mentioned that Lysander was looking for her. She had forgotten about it before, but now was quite curious as to what Lysander wanted to say. She couldn't imagine it being anything even close to pleasant.

"Let's hear it then," she said, her arms crossed in defiance.

"Well," Lysander started. "Recently I've been thinking about all of the things we have in common. I mean, we both play Quidditch, we're obviously extremely witty, and we have so many mutual friends. I think there's possibility here."

Rose was shocked, especially when she considered how incredibly serious Lysander looked. She had never expected the first time she got asked out to be quite so ridiculous, but decided to just laugh it off and walk away, leaving Lysander standing there with no idea how somebody could turn him down so easily.

A few minutes later, Rose had finally found the compartment that she should have been sitting in all along, with Albus on one side and Scorpius on the other.

As she opened the sliding door and stepped in, both boys looked up at her with expressions full of relief. "Where have you been?" Scorpius asked with concern, as he stood up and took her suitcase, lifting and setting in on the racks above the seats.

Rose sat down next to Scorpius while Albus added, "Yeah, we've been worried sick."

"Oh, I'm sorry. We were late getting here," Rose began to explain.

"Let me guess, your dad was driving?" Albus asked.

"Of course," Scorpius responded for Rose, as he was so used to this happening every year. "But you've been gone for ten minutes since the train left…"

"I ran into Lucy," Rose started to explain, though she didn't go into great detail, since she knew that the boys wouldn't be interested. "Her and Lorcan are together now. But I didn't stay for long, because Lysander was starting to get on my nerves…"

"What did he do?" Scorpius asked, sitting up in interest. Ally, his ferret that had been sitting on his lap, leaped into the air with fright, though Scorpius didn't notice.

"Oh Scorpius, relax. You're scaring Ally. And anyway, it's not even worth telling. Lysander Scamander is just an ass, that's all," Rose replied.

Scorpius swallowed loudly, and Al too looked concerned, but neither decided to push Rose to speak further about it. They had learned long ago that Rose never liked to dwell on the past. She always looked to the future.

After a minute or so of awkward silence between the three, Rose turned toward Scorpius and mentioned, "Scorpius, you've got dirt on your nose by the way. Did you know?" She then pointed to the right side of her own nose and said, "just there".

Scorpius, somewhat flushed, quickly wiped the spot away, and explained, "We had one last game of Quidditch before we left. Unfortunately, Harry's snitch went pretty far into the woods; I must have been hit by a few tree branches along the way. The Potters have some nice land back there though; those woods would make for a wicked camping spot."

"Why in the name of Merlin's beard would you ever want to go camping?" Albus asked. He had never been a big fan of the outdoors, especially when he thought of all the magical creatures that could be lurking around in the dark.

"Yeah, Scorpius. I mean, who knows, there might even be spiders!" Rose said in a teasing way, knowing that Scorpius was afraid of anything that had more than four legs. He had always been great with animals, but insects seemed to get on his nerves.

"Oh, please. I can handle a few spiders," Scorpius replied cockily. "I'd just use a vanishing spell."

"A vanishing spell?" Rose asked, shocked that he could know such a difficult spell so soon. "We're not meant to even begin learning that until midway through this year! McGonagall said so…"

"Yeah, but Scorp's been practicing the incantation all summer," Al explained to Rose. Then, turning back to Scorpius, he added, "Seriously Scorp, I'm beginning to think you're some sort of Transfiguration prodigy."

"Well, it's not like I've actually tried it out yet. I mean, we can't use magic outside of school," Scorpius said, defending himself. "Plus, who are you to talk? You're the Potions master, and Rose here can do just about any spell in the book."

Rose blushed, but Albus merely nodded, saying, "Well that's true. I am the Potions master." Scorpius laughed in response, sitting back in his seat again, and lifting his legs to rest atop the seat next to Al.

"But Scorpius, we're technically in school now. How about you try it?" Rose suggested. "The vanishing spell, I mean."

"Oh, well I suppose I could," Scorpius considered. "I mean, it's not like I could be that bad, right?" He then sat up and looked around the compartment, asking, "What should I get rid of?"

Rose and Albus both looked around as well, and then Rose spotted Ally, whose snow-white fur could be seen hiding behind Witherwings, Albus's owl, in his cage. "How about Ally?" Rose asked Scorpius.

"What? You can't be serious!" Scorpius said, shocked at such an absurd suggestion. Ally had been part of the Malfoy family for a very long time, ever since the Potters had told Scorpius the story of how his father had once been transfigured into a white ferret in his fourth year at school.

"Look, we've already learned how to recover something that's been vanished, so you can get her back. Plus, if you can make an animal disappear, then you'll be able to do it on practically anything," Rose explained. She had never particularly cared for the ferret, but was even more interested in making the spell as difficult as possible for Scorpius.

"That's true," Albus agreed. "After all, McGonagall said that most people can barely get past the slugs."

Scorpius considered it for a minute, looking at his pet with worry. Still, he was never one to pass up a challenge, so he reached his long arms through Witherwings's cage and pulled Ally out, who was happy to be in such familiar hands again.

After Scorpius was back in his seat, with his wand pointed at the middle of Ally's back, he muttered the word, "Evanesco".

Before all of their eyes, the ferret quickly disappeared, so hidden that it could have been covered by James Potter's Invisibility cloak for all they knew.

"Bloody hell," Albus and Scorpius said at once. Rose just stared in amazement, still looking at the place where Ally had vanished.

"Yup, you're officially a prodigy," Albus said, and Scorpius smiled with pride. Rose sat back and crossed her arm. This was meant to be one of the hardest spells in the whole area of Transfiguration, and Scorpius had performed it perfectly.

Realizing that Rose was jealous, Albus said to her, "Oh Rose, come on. We both know that there are plenty of spells that you can do that neither of us would get in a million years. I'm sure you've been learning some over the summer?"

Excited by this, Rose perked up and answered, "Well, as a matter of fact I have. I just recently…"

"Actually, Rose," Scorpius interrupted, knowing that Rose was about to experiment with what was sure to be an endless amount of new charms she had read about on her trip. "If you don't mind, could you maybe recover Ally first?"

"Oh, right, of course," Rose responded. She then performed a revealing charm, which was much simpler than the original vanishing spell that Scorpius had used, and Ally was sitting on Scorpius's lap once again.

This was followed by an array of spells that Rose performed within the compartment, using a simple charms spell to lift everything in the room and then rearrange it in the air, and then providing everybody with cups of water, through two charms spells that weren't to be taught until their sixth year at Hogwarts.

Albus joined in on the magic as well, practicing his patronus charm, which his parents had been telling him about over the holiday. Though he was able to successfully produce a small blue spark that sprouted from his long, sandy wand, he could not yet grasp the full animal patronus.

The three friends continued to practice spells and talk about the year ahead of them throughout the rest of the train ride. Soon, they were pulling into Hogsmeade Station, and Rose, Albus, and Scorpius hopped off the train to find all of their fellow classmates. They were jumbled together into one enormous clump of students waiting to board the carriages that would take them to the castle.

Not too far away, a loud voice could be heard roaring over the students' heads. "ALL FIRST YEARS, FOLLOW ME! WE'RE HEADIN' TER THE BOATS."

Rose, Albus, and Scorpius merely smiled and looked at each other, each happy to be hearing the familiar voice of Rubeus Hagrid, their Care of Magical Creatures professor and very good friend, who happened to be an old half-giant, with a beard that trailed on the ground nearly ten feet below him.

After slowly weaving through the groups of impatient and hungry kids, some of whom waved hello as they passed, the three finally reached Hagrid, who was standing in front of a large group of nervous first years, waiting to lead them down the road to the Black Lake.

"Hagrid!" Rose called up as they reached him.

"Rosie? Is tha' you?" Hagrid asked as he looked down to see his young friends. "Al and Scorpius too? Blimey, it's good ter see yeh three!"

"You too, Hagrid," Albus said. "We've missed you this summer."

"Ah, well, o' course yeh have," Hagrid replied. Then, after clearing his throat, he added, "Look, I'd love ter stay an' chat, but I've got a lake to cross, an' yeh three've betta' get ter the castle!"

In response, Rose, Albus, and Scorpius said goodbye to Hagrid, who yelled back, "I'll see yeh at the feast!"

They then made their way to the main road, where the last carriage had just pulled up. They each climbed aboard the horseless wagon that seemed to pull itself, which had only one other passenger along for the ride.

This other girl, who looked as though she was slightly younger than Rose, had straight, mouse brown hair, light brown eyes, and a childish face covered with freckles.

"Hello," Rose said, looking to the girl, who also happened to be holding an enormous, prickly plant in her lap. "You're Professor Longbottom's daughter, right?" Professor Longbottom was the Herbology teacher, and also happened to be the Head of House for Gryffindor.

"Yes. I'm Holly," the girl said. "Um, fourth year. Hufflepuff."

Rose nodded. "Right. I'm Rose. Fifth year, Gryffindor. This is Albus and Scorpius; they're both in Slytherin. Our parents were in the same year, weren't they?"

"Maybe," Holly said. "I wouldn't know though. Us Hufflepuffs, we aren't very observant. We're great finders though!" she added as she looked in the opposite direction.

"Right," Scorpius replied slowly, looking at Holly with a very confused expression. He then looked back to Rose and Albus and rolled his eyes, only to receive a kick in the knee by Rose.

As the carriage started to move, all three remained completely silent, clearly uncomfortable with the presence of Holly. The stillness was broken quickly though, when somebody leaped onto the carriage from the back, causing Rose, Albus, and Scorpius to all jump in their seats. Holly remained perfectly stagnant, unaware of the new member of the group.

James Potter scooted in next to Rose, and said, "Hey. How's it going?"

Rose laughed at James's surprise visit, none too shocked by her troublemaker cousin. "James, this is Holly Longbottom," she said, motioning to the girl sitting across from her.

"Hi," James said, though Holly didn't reply. Looking to Albus, he whispered, "What's up with her?"

Albus just shook his head, telling his older brother not to bother, and James let it go. Turning back to Rose, he said, "So I heard about what happened with you and Lysander. He feels pretty bad about it."

"What happened? What did he do?" Scorpius asked, suddenly curious.

Ignoring Scorpius, Rose responded sarcastically to her cousin with, "Really? Does he?"

After a moment of consideration, James answered, "No, probably not. But I do. I told him at least twenty times that you were way too clever to fall for his act."

Rose rolled her eyes, not noticing Scorpius's glare on her other side, and said, "Well, there's not much of an act to fall for, quite honestly."

"True," James said. "But as his friend, it is my duty to tell you that he deserves a second chance. He's not all bad. At least not all the time."

"Pshh, yeah right. What a slime," Scorpius complained.

Rose laughed, but didn't have the chance to respond, as Holly stated, "There was a Greek god named Scamander. Did you know that?"

After that comment, nobody spoke for the rest of the ride to the castle. Once their carriage past through the front gates, it lined up with all of the others along the side of the road, and everybody stepped off.

The ride had been very dark, and the trees along the way hadn't provided anything particularly interesting to look at, but now Rose was facing the back of the castle, all lit up under the starry night sky. It had been rebuilt after the infamous battle that had taken place there when her parents were young, but they claimed it looked just the same. Every year, she would admire the enormous walls, and how beautiful the place was, but then she would forget about it over the summer. It really was magnificent, with its semi-gothic style and tall towers at every corner. She had never been anywhere quite like it.

After all the students were directed through the front doors and toward the Great Hall, they were told to divide into their four houses. This was where Rose and James left Albus and Scorpius, heading off to the Gryffindors, who were always the last to enter the Hall. James left Rose shortly afterward, going to find the one of the Finnigan girls.

As Rose came into contact with all of her housemates, she was bombarded with people who were asking how her summer was. They were all pushed aside, however, when Hugo came running through the crowd and right up to Rose, saying, "Rose! Rose! I've been looking for you for ages!"

"Hugo, calm down!" Rose yelled. "What's wrong?" It was normal for Hugo to be in such frenzy, but it wasn't normal for him to be coming up to Rose about it. During the school year, Hugo never did anything other than plan how to make her life miserable, so they weren't exactly the closest siblings.

"Look!" Hugo cried, as he held up his wand in his hands for her to see. It had been broken in half, the dragon heartstring core flopping out of the chestnut wood. "What am I going to do? Mum will kill me…"

"You're right, she will," Rose replied.

"You mean you can't repair it? I thought you were good at charms!"

"Of course I am, Hugo, but this is really far gone. How did it happen anyway?" Rose asked.

"Well, it's sort of a long story. Me and Lily were…"

"Lily and I," Rose corrected, ignoring the face Hugo made at her. "And how about we skip to the part where it actually broke?"

"Fine! It was Cow," Hugo stated.

"Cow?" Rose asked, just to make sure that she had heard correctly. After all, how could a miniature owl break a wand, which is supposed to be awfully strong, completely in half?

"Yes, Cow! He sort of tried to eat it while we were on the train." Hugo now wore a guilty expression, and looked down, swallowing hard.

"Oh, Hugo," Rose exhaled. "Mum never even wanted to get you the owl in the first place!"

"I know," Hugo said, his head still down. He was constantly making trouble, but he knew when he had done something extreme. In this case, he most definitely had, and was just waiting for the punishment.

"Gryffindors, if you could all line up please! We'll be moving into the Great Hall shortly!" yelled Professor Longbottom. He was a stout-looking man, and could act a little strange, but he was lovable at the same time. He was also one of the youngest teachers to be a House Head.

Realizing they had little time left to discuss the matter, Rose came up with a plan for Hugo's wand problem. "Look," she said. "We can't do anything about it right now. Give it to me, and I'll see if I can think of something. But Hugo, I'm warning you that the chances of you being able to use this wand again are very slim, so you have to promise me that you will write to Mum and Dad about this first thing tomorrow morning. Is that a deal?"

"Yes," Hugo said, bobbing his head at the floor. He then handed her the wand.

"Alright then. Now go on back to your friends; I know you don't want to be hanging around me anyway," Rose said, in an effort to cheer up her little brother.

Hugo smiled, and said, "Thanks, Rosie. I'll see you later." He then turned and ran off as fast as lightning, clearly ready to be rid of his disciplinarian older sister. He may have been acting guilty before, but Rose wasn't fooled. She knew that he had just been looking for pity. This one time only, she had been nice enough to show him some.

Before Rose could even speak with anybody else, Longbottom yelled, "Alright, Gryffindor, it's us now!" This was followed by a slow procession into the Great Hall, where all the Gryffindors took their seats along the long table near the far wall, next to Hufflepuff. Rose sat next to James on one side, with Hugo on her other. Across from her was Fred Weasley, her younger cousin, and his best friend, Lila Jordan. They were both in their fourth year.

A few moments after all the Gryffindors had taken their seats and Professor Longbottom had made it to his own at the long, horizontally placed staff table in front of the four vertical ones, the enormous double doors at the opposite end of the Hall opened yet again. In came Professor McGonagall, the Headmistress at Hogwarts, who walked down the middle of the Hall, in between the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff tables. The tall, gray-haired woman was followed by the anxious group of first years, who were all ooing and awing at the floating candles in the ceiling above them.

The eleven year-olds barely noticed when McGonagall stopped walking, cast her wand over an empty stool, and on it appeared a ratty old hat. This was one of Rose's favorite parts of the year. The Sorting Hat would always sing a song about the four houses and the founding fathers of Hogwarts. It was a great opportunity for Rose to learn even more about her school, through the voice of an object that had been there since the very beginning.

The first years stared at the hat in complete wonder, but it was when it opened its brim like a mouth and began to sing that it really caught their interest, and the rest of the school silenced immediately:

"Welcome back to those of you

Whom I have sat upon.

And welcome to all the rest

Whom have yet to try me on.

For those of you who do not know

The story of our school,

It started with four best friends

And ended with a duel.

The fair and beautiful Hufflepuff

Treated all wizards the same.

The frail and clever Ravenclaw

Was best at number games.

But it was the brave hearted Gryffindor

Who made sure to win the fight

Against the enemy Slytherin,

For his beliefs were not quite right.

The serpent house considered

Blood to be most important

In the creation of a brilliant wizard,

And thus was how they sorted.

But now the times have changed

And we all know that mud,

Muggles, and halfs alike

Are no less than the purest blood.

Still, you must be warned

That while recent years have stayed true

A step back will soon be taken

Before we can start anew.

While I do not often speak

Of that with which I am not concerned,

I do think you ought to know

That yet again, the times have turned.

So before I sit upon your head

And decide where you belong

I must urge you all to look to the birds,

For their songs will keep us strong.

But alas, I have gone too far

For I have a job to do.

So bring up all the little ones

While we wait for the feast to brew!"

Once the song was finished, something odd occurred. While many of the younger students burst into applause and cheers, the older ones held their celebration. For all the years that Rose had been at Hogwarts, the hat had never spoken about any danger. From what Rose had heard from others, the hat also never lied. As the first child was called upon to take their spot on the stool, and as the hat roared, "SLYTHERIN!" Rose ignored the cheers from the table on the opposite side of the Hall. What did it mean when it said that, 'yet again, the times have turned'? she thought.

Having no idea where it was all coming from, she asked James, "What d'you reckon that was all about?"

"I dunno," he said, though he was staring curiously at the hat, which had just called out, "RAVENCLAW!" to a scrawny looking boy. "I wouldn't worry about it though. The hat's known to say some wacky things."

"But I thought it never lied? Isn't that what your parents always told you?" Rose asked.

"Yeah," James said reluctantly. "I guess I just don't really want to believe it."

Rose let it go, turning back to the first years and cheering as the hat called, "GRYFFINDOR!" to one of the new students. She decided that she would try and wait to think about it until she could speak with Albus and Scorpius, both of whom also had confused expressions on their faces as Rose spotted them from across the Hall.

After the rest of the first years had been sorted and had taken their seats at the end of their designated house tables, Professor McGonagall stepped forward once more to give a short speech before the banquet would begin.

"Welcome," she announced, as the room was suddenly filled with claps and cheers from every side. "Welcome back to a new year at Hogwarts."

After a slew of more cheers and plenty of smiles from all the students, McGonagall continued, "Now before we begin our feast, I would first like to introduce all first years to the school's staff." She then motioned toward the horizontal table that was sitting just behind her.

McGonagall then named off all the teachers, starting on one side of the table, and ending on the other. First was Professor Patil, a young Indian woman who taught Astrology. Next was Flitwick, the old elf who taught Charms class, and who also served as the Head of Ravenclaw. Rose was one of his favorite students, and she had always loved his endless amount of energy that he brought to every class, never allowing for a dull moment. This was the opposite of Professor Binns, the ghost who taught History of Magic, and tended to make all his students wish that he had stayed dead. Binns was followed by Professor Longbottom, and then came Professor Pontner, a short woman who taught Potions. She was the Head of Hufflepuff. The core class professors were followed by those who taught the options classes, including the extremely odd Divination teacher, Professor Trelawney, Hagrid, and Professor Weasley, Rose's grandfather, who taught Muggle Studies.

However, McGonagall had skipped over a teacher whom Rose didn't recognize, and she quickly realized that her old Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher was missing from the group. "You may have noticed," continued McGonagall, "That Professor Smethley is no longer with us. She is currently with a child, and will therefore not be returning to Hogwarts for at least one year."

All the students starting making noises of surprise, asking each other if they had heard anything about their previous teacher. "However," McGonagall raised her voice, trying to regain the students' attention. "We have found a replacement for Mrs. Smethley. May I introduce Professor Shunpike, your new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and Head of Slytherin House." She then motioned to the pimply man, who looked to be in his mid to late forties, sitting just behind her. Everybody clapped, welcoming the new member of Hogwarts as he waved hello to all.

Rose didn't recognize Shunpike, though she could have sworn that she had heard his name before. Yet again, she didn't have time to think much of it, as McGonagall seemed to have even more to say. "As many of you may be wondering about, the new Head student of each house, along with their fifth year prefects, have not been officially assigned yet." This grabbed Rose's full attention immediately. She had been working to become a prefect for four years now, and so when she had received her letter from Hogwarts at the end of this summer, she had looked through it ravenously, hoping to find a sheet telling her that she would be one of the two new Gryffindor prefects. Unfortunately, it hadn't been there. She hadn't told anybody, especially her parents, since she was too embarrassed to admit that she may not have been chosen after all. Now, though, it sounded as though there was still some hope.

"This is because," McGonagall went on. "We have felt for many years now that the chosen prefects and heads deserve more whole school recognition than one letter can give. Hence we have determined a new policy: from now on, house officials will be announced before the Welcome Feast, at the beginning of every year. A subsequent letter will be sent home to each of those students' parents, explaining their important new role within the school.

As McGonagall then began naming the new Ravenclaw prefects, followed by their Head Girl, Rose's stomach felt as if it were about to fly away without her. Whole school recognition was something she would greatly appreciate, but it would make it even worse if she didn't get recognized.

The Headmistress was now announcing the prefects for Hufflepuff, and Rose cheered loudly when Lucy's name was announced. Next was Gryffindor, and Rose could barely contain herself.

"And the prefects for Gryffindor are Bobby Dormer and Rose Weasley." Rose smiled and slouched back in relief as Hugo whistled and James patted her on the back.

"Congratulations, Rose! You know, being a prefect is a lot of responsibility," James said. He too was a prefect, though most believed that the only reason for this was because of his superior Quidditch skills, as he had never been the responsible type. "Oh, who am I kidding? You'll be perfect."

"This year's Head Boy is Gryffindor's Sam Thomas." Rose cheered for Sam, having regained her composure. Sam, like all Heads, was a seventh year, and had always been very nice to Rose. He was a Beater on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and was dating fellow Chaser and seventh year, Cassidy Finnigan. They had been together for years, and were barely ever seen apart.

"And finally, the new prefects for Slytherin are Scorpius Malfoy and Patty Parkinson," announced McGonagall. Rose cheered the loudest for Scorpius, and looked over at his stunned expression. Like James, he had never been much of the responsible kind. In fact, Rose would have thought that Albus would have been prefect, as he was much more involved with his fellow classmates. Still, Rose was happy that at least one of them had been given the opportunity.

"Now, congratulations to all! Your first meetings will be held after dinner in your house common room. But no more interference; may the feast begin!" As McGonagall finished off her sentence, hundreds of dishes on every table were suddenly filled with food: various different meats, every possible type of cooked potato, piles of peas and carrots, and cauldrons full of gravy. Rose dug in, having eaten barely anything since before she boarded the train. She merely chuckled at the familiar sight of Hugo holding up two drumsticks of chicken, one in each hand, and taking turns biting from each one.

After all had finished eating (including the piles of cake and pudding that was provided for dessert), the plates vanished and students were dismissed to their houses, where their bags were already waiting for them.

As Rose made her way out of the Great Hall, somebody was lurking in the corner, eyeing her. She rolled her eyes, but James reminded her from behind, "Just give him a chance. He really likes you."

Rose looked to James with an expression that said, do I have to?, but decided to do as he said nonetheless. As she turned around to approach Lysander, James whispered, "The password's 'caput leonis'. I'll cover for you at the meeting." Rose nodded in thanks.

"Lysander," she sighed as she neared the boy who was now dressed in his blue and silver school robes. "Look, I…"

"No," Lysander interrupted. "Rose, I know you don't like me very much, but I like you – a lot. And all I'm asking is that you try to get to know me a little better, and that you let me get to know you."

Rose felt guilty, since Lysander's explanation seemed genuinely honest, but she also didn't want to pretend to feel something she didn't, especially when she knew how he could be. "Lysander, I can't. I'm sorry."

Lysander looked down at the floor for a moment, before looking back at Rose, and asking, "It's him, isn't it? You like that other guy you're with all the time?"

Rose blushed, but, in an effort to hide it, blurted out, "Who, Scorpius? Oh, no, no, no. No. No. I mean, I – I – I mean, we're just… friends, i-is what I mean."

"Huh, right," Lysander said, smirking back at Rose. "And how's that goin' for you?"

"What do you mean?" Rose asked.

"It's just that," Lysander started. "He doesn't even seem to have the balls to tell you how he feels. He's a coward."

"He is not a coward! How dare you say something like that!" Rose said. "He's just… he has a lot of other things on his mind, that's all."

"Oh, please. If I were him, I'd do it pretty bloody soon, 'cause with you looking like that, there's no time to waste."

"Alright, that's it," Rose stated, about to turn around and leave.

"No, Rose, wait!" Lysander yelled, grabbing her arm in the process and steering her back to him. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that, even though it's true."

Rose didn't say anything, but she didn't try to leave either. After a minute of silence, she was losing her patience, so she asked, "What is this about, Lysander?"

"Look, it's like I said, I like you. And I realize that you may not like me back. Even so, I'd like to spend some more time with you, and who knows? Maybe seeing you hanging around me all the time might finally give Malfoy the incentive he's been needing to man up, and to come claim you as his own."

"Ugh, you're disgusting!" Rose yelled. "You know, girls aren't just cattle that boys can buy, sell, and trade as they please. We have our own ideas as well!"

Lysander didn't say anything, but just smirked at her retaliation. This was a game for him, and he loved to watch her fluster.

Eventually, Rose sighed and walked away, only to hesitate a moment later when Lysander called after her, "You know, he's never going to tell you! Unless you don't do something about it, you'll just be waiting around for him year after year. And who knows, he might just find a different ginger he likes better!" Lysander than walked away in the opposite direction, leaving Rose staring after him this time.

Rose had never even admitted her feelings for Scorpius to herself, but to hear them from somebody else was somewhat of an eye opener. After all, she did want to be with Scorpius, and she most definitely didn't want to see him with anybody else, especially Lily.

As Rose reached the seventh floor and approached the portrait of the Fat Lady that guarded the entrance into Gryffindor tower, she said the password and was let in.

She had missed the prefect meeting, but knew that James would fill her in tomorrow. As she walked into the common room, she was met with an array of older students, as the younger ones had already been told to go off to bed. The cozy living room was filled with boys and girls who seemed oddly paired off. Sam and Cassidy were lying on the couch in front of the fireplace, James was off in a corner snogging the younger Finnigan girl, and even Fred and Lila were sitting together at the table, Lila laughing hysterically at one of Fred's jokes. Rose had never noticed these things before, but now it was all she could see.

Rose then walked up to her dormitory, where a few other fifth year girls were already unpacking. She joined them, and then put her pajamas on as she climbed into her red and gold colored bed. As she laid there, her head slowly sinking into the puffy pillow, she thought about all that had happened that day. She had only been back at Hogwarts for one afternoon, but already there was so much to think of. What had the Sorting Hat been talking about? Who was this new teacher she thought she recognized? Why hadn't Albus gotten prefect instead of Scorpius? Scorpius… the foremost thought in her mind.

As she wondered if Lysander was right about Scorpius, Rose remembered something else that had happened today, and that was also fairly odd. She slowly turned onto her side, and pulled Hugo's broken wand off the nightstand that sat on her right. The wand was irreparable, she could tell. Curiously, the heartstring core, though snapped in half, still felt as tough as ever. How could something so strong, so perfectly fit, not stay together?

Her and Scorpius had always been friends, he had always been her family, and Rose had promised herself that she would never do anything to break that apart. But perhaps it was in fact possible to make their relationship even stronger? she thought. And perhaps it would in fact require a slight bend if it were to be stretched further, but maybe that was okay? After all, the more pliable the wand, the stronger it was.

Rose continued to think on Lysander's proposition until she had made a final decision. It was then that she began to drift off into perfect, undisturbed slumber, just waiting for the morning birds to sing their song that would signal a brand new day.

 
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