Lily Potter sat cross-legged on her bed with a large book open in her lap. She had borrowed the book from her aunt Hermione to get a jump on her Transfiguration work for fifth year. Transfiguration was the one thing she struggled with and she wanted an Outstanding in her OWL next year. The trouble was that, try as she might, she couldn’t get beyond the first page.
“Give it a break, will you?” she said irritably as her hair was pulled back and she felt lips on her neck. “I’m trying to read.”
“It’s the first week of holiday for Merlin’s sake,” her boyfriend said between kisses. “Take a break, Lily, You’ve got loads of time to read.”
“In case you’ve forgotten, I might not have that much free time this summer.” He stopped kissing her and flopped down on the pillow. “And besides that, you were supposed to be here so I could help you with your Defence Against the Dark Arts homework, remember. How you still haven’t mastered Boggarts, I’ll never know.”
“Yeah, well, not all of us have dads who run the Auror office,” Tristan replied sulkily.
“What does that have to do with anything? It’s not like he does my homework for me, does he?” Lilly asked, idly turning the page. “If I were you, I’d spend a little less time with those idiots on the pitch, and a little more with your head in a book.”
Tristan said nothing. He reached in his pocket, pulled out a very ragged looking quill and started rolling it between his fingers. Lily, pretending to read a passage on the Inanimatus Conjurus Spell. She, stood up to push it onto her desk and then she lay down on the pillow next to Tristan and pressed her lips to his. She could feel his smile for a moment before he curled his fingers around the back of her neck to draw her close and deepen the kiss. His other hand settled on her hip.
“Lily, could you come down here for a moment please?”
Groaning in disappointment, Lily slowly opened her eyes. Why – of all possible moments – did her dad have to call her now? She looked at Tristan apologetically, expecting to see the same frustration, but he surprised her. He jumped, sat up, and was now looking around in alarm.
“Coming dad. D’you want to meet him?”
“M – meet him?” The colour began to drain from Tristan’s face.
Lily rolled her eyes. She couldn’t say that Tristan’s reaction was that surprising. With few exceptions, people reacted oddly to both her parents, but especially her dad. She knew it was because of all the stuff that happened with the Dark Wizard Voldemort over the previous twenty to thirty years. She was proud of what her dad had done, but it did get a bit old. It was bad enough when they were out shopping and were stopped so a complete stranger could thank Harry again for getting rid of Voldemort, but it was so much worse when her friends reacted in the same manner. Really! Her dad was amazing and all that, and she couldn’t have asked for a better one, but he was just her dad, not Merlin Reincarnate.
“D’you -” Tristan started to say but his throat seemed to have gone dry. He gulped and tried again. “D’you think I should? I mean, after we were just -”
“He’s not a mind reader,” she said. “Come on.”
Lily took his hand and led him out of her room and to the stairs. He was very pale and for a moment she worried that he might faint, but he held up very well in her opinion. Only once or twice did his fingers twitch in hers. The corners of her mouth turned up, but she held in her laugh. Experience had taught her that this was the wisest way to handle these meetings.
“What is it, dad?” she asked when she was only halfway down the stairs.
“I’ve got some good news . . . ” Harry fell silent when both Lily and Tristan came into view, his hand frozen in the act of reaching into his pocket. His eyes narrowed slightly when he saw that they were holding hands. He looked from them to Ginny, who was leaning against the counter with her arms folded, wearing an amused smirk.
Seeing Harry’s reaction, Tristan absolutely refused to budge from the second to last stair, even when Lily tugged his hand encouragingly. She guessed he thought he’d be safer on the stairs, a misconception because he was an easier target on higher ground. Shrugging, she dropped his hand.
“Is it the good news?” she asked, standing on tip-toe to peck her dad on the cheek. He didn’t answer her question, but raised an eyebrow and glanced at Tristan again. “Oh, right. Sorry. Dad, this is my boyfriend, Tristan. Tristan this is my dad, Harry.”
“Your boyfriend?” Harry asked, as though he didn’t understand the word.
“Yes, dad,” Lily said quickly, impatient to get to the important news. She went back to Tristan, seized his hand and pulled him down the stairs, ignoring his ashen color now.
“Nice to meet you, Tristan.” Harry held out his hand at a prompting from Ginny. Despite her impatient excitement, Lily couldn’t fail to notice that he didn’t sound entirely sincere.
“Likewise, M – Mr. P-Potter,” Tristan replied. He wiped his hand surreptitiously on his jeans before taking Harry’s.
“Now you know each other. What was the great news, dad?”
For a moment her father continued to shake Tristan’s hand, a rather fixed expression on his face.
“Harry?” Ginny prompted him. He looked at her. “You had something to tell Lily.”
“Right.” He let go of Tristan’s hand and reached into his pocket, pulling out a scroll with an official looking Ministry seal on it. He handed it over to Lily who unfurled it at once and read:
Dear Miss. Potter,
Thank you for your recent interest for the Ministry of Magic’s annual Summer Auror Internship Program. After reviewing your application, academic standings, and recommendations from your professors at Hogwarts, we are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the program.
Orientation and training begin at nine o’clock on the morning of 1 July. Please present yourself at the Ministry (with signed permission form if underage) prior to that time to register and weigh your wand.
Please note that while underage students will be permitted to use magic during the program, they are otherwise bound by Paragraph C of the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery (1875) and will be considered in breech of said law if found to perform magic outside the Ministry.
Kingsley Shacklebolt Harry Potter Bredan Tougas
Minister for Magic Department Head Programme Coordinator
Magical Law Enforcement Magical Law Enforcement
(Auror Division) (Auror Division)
“I got it,” Lily shouted, waving the parchment in the air and doing a sort of jig. After a few seconds she reread it, just to make sure she hadn’t read it wrong. Harry was smiling, and as she read his name on the parchment, Lily felt slightly suspicious. “You didn’t have anything to do with this, did you dad? Because I told you I didn’t want any special –”
“LIke I explained to you yesterday, Lily, we had three independent people choose based solely on academic performance and recommendations. They didn’t even know who any of the applicants were. We thought it most fair, given that there were a few applicants who had parents in the department,” Harry explained patiently. “You got in on your own merit.”
“OK,” Lily said, her spirits dampened nonetheless. She knew her dad wouldn’t lie to her, and he’d never do something expressly against her wishes, but he’d just reminded her of one of the least pleasant things about it. She knew that of the ten slots they had open, at least one of those people would think that she was only there because her dad was head of the department, and wouldn’t believe how hard she’d worked.
“We all know you’ll do brilliantly, Lily,” Ginny said.
“I suppose,” she replied, staring at the letter, nowhere near as excited as she had just been.
“Don’t worry what any of them think,” Harry said, correctly interpreting her thoughts. “Once you show them what you can do, they’ll stop thinking you don’t deserve to be there.”
“Why don’t you write and tell Nick and Cassie? Hermione said they were dying to know.”
“Yeah,” Lily said again, brightening. “Yeah, I think I will. Thanks, mum. Come on.” She grabbed Tristan’s hand and started heading back upstairs.
“Oi,” Harry said loudly, taking a step towards the stairs, making Tristan flatten himself against the wall.
“What dad?” Lily asked, sighing heavily, stopping on the forth stair.
“We’ve got parchment and quills down here. I think I’d prefer –”
“Let them go, Harry,” Ginny said. She was watching Harry with an oddly triumphant expression on her face. “Don’t take too long though, Lily, I’d like you to help with dinner.”
As she and Tristan climbed the last few stairs back up to her room, Lily heard her mother say, “I thought you weren’t going to be one of those overprotective dads.”
“A boyfriend?” Harry asked. “Blimey, Gin, I dunno if I’m ready for that!”