Chapter 19

When the students had returned from holiday they found a sign posted in the common room, reading 'All fifth years will be required to attend a short meeting with their Head of House during the first week back from holiday, in which they will be given the opportunity to discuss their future careers. Times of individual appointments are listed below.'. Ines looked down the list to find that she was expected in Professor McGonagall's office at half-past two on Monday, which would mean missing most of potions class, not that she minded. She wasn't sure if she could face Oberon. Coming back to the castle was difficult, news had spread that both Ines and Sirius had been kicked from their families, despite nobody knowing why. She suspected Oberon knew, her parents were probably yelling about it for hours. While she was saddened by thinking of what he had to endure over the holiday, she knew that he probably relished in it. She had avoided practically everyone since she had come back, most of all Sirius.

The classes they usually sat together in were quiet and instead if their loud jokes and wild attitudes disrupting the class, they were beside themselves due to their lack of activity. Rumors had gone around about what had happened. A few other Slytherin purebloods had been at the wedding as well and had come to their own conclusions about what had happened. None of them were correct, but neither Ines or Sirius bothered to correct them. Dorcas told her that someone had asked if it was true that she had tried to steal from the Malfoy Manor. Emmeline was asked if Ines had been caught trying to charm the cake to fly into the ballroom with the intent of dropping it over the newlyweds. Marlene was asked by a Ravenclaw 7th year something that was quite frightening, asking if Sirius had gotten her pregnant. Something she shut down with ease, no help to Marlene's persistence.

While others were searching through books and pamphlets for some clue as to what they wanted to do after Hogwarts, Ines was already decided, so she was able to stride into McGonagall's office with full confidence. "Sit down, Avery," said Professor McGonagall tersely. Her hands shook slightly as she shuffled the many pamphlets littering her desk. She looked up at her, and Ines couldn't quite read her expression. She struggled to articulate her sentence before asking "Miss Avery ... How are you?". Ines' face fell, she knew what this was about. "I'm doing fine, thanks" she answered, curtly, hoping to avoid the subject. "Well, Avery, this meeting is to talk over any career ideas you might have, and to help you decide which subjects you should continue into sixth and seventh years," said Professor McGonagall. "Have you had any thoughts about what you would like to do after you leave Hogwarts?".

Ines straightened up proudly, "I'd quite like to be an Auror". She was able to notice a small smile McGonagall spoke, extracting a small, dark leaflet from under the mass on her desk and opening it "You'd need top grades for that, the ministry asks for a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s, and nothing under 'Exceeds Expectations' grade. Then you would be required to undergo a stringent series of character and aptitude tests at the Auror office. It's a difficult career path, Miss Avery; they only take the best. In fact, I don't think anybody has been taken on in the last three years, not since the Prewett twins.". Ines blushed, "I know." she muttered. McGonagall seemed to understand and had probably assumed that the Prewett twins were behind this. "You'll want to know which subjects you ought to take, I suppose?" she went on, talking a little more loudly than before. "Yes," said Ines. "Defense Against the Dark Arts, I suppose?" "Naturally," said Professor McGonagall crisply. "I would also advise Transfiguration because Aurors frequently need to Transfigure or Untransfigure in their work. And I ought to tell you now, Miss Avery, that I do not accept students into my N.E.W.T. classes unless they have achieved 'Exceeds Expectations' or higher at Ordinary Wizarding Level. Then you ought to do Charms, always useful, and Potions. Poisons and antidotes are essential studies for Aurors.". Ines nodded, "I think I can manage that.".

McGonagall continued, hiding a brief nod. "Then you ought to do Charms, always useful, and Potions. Poisons and antidotes are essential studies for Aurors. But from what I've heard from Professor Slughorn, you are quite exceptional in that area, you and Oberon.". She seemed to realize her mistake the second the name left her lips. Ines bowed her head. She had avoided thinking about Oberon for so long and hadn't cried even longer than that. Suddenly, a hand had slipped into hers. McGonagall, with tears in her eyes, squeezed her hand. "I'm sorry, Ines. I can't even imagine.". Ines looked up at her, tears now filling her eyes as well. She struggled to get out even a single word. She just heaved and cried. At some point, McGonagall came around the desk and held her. Letting her grieve for the life that she lost. Ines woke early on Saturday morning and lay for a while thinking about the coming Quidditch match. She had never wanted to beat Slytherin so badly. After half an hour of lying there with her insides churning, she got up, dressed, and went down to breakfast early, where she found the rest of the Gryffindor team huddled at the long, empty table, all looking uptight and not speaking much. They greeted her as she approached, and Gavin pushed a plate of food in front of her. "Eat up! We have a match to win.". She smiled and thanked him, ignoring Sirius' eleven o'clock approached, the whole school started to make its way down to the Quidditch stadium. It was a muggy sort of day with a hint of thunder in the air. Lily and Emmeline came hurrying over to wish Ines good luck as she entered the locker rooms. The team pulled on their scarlet Gryffindor robes, then sat down to listen to Gavin's pre-match pep talk. He had gotten increasingly good at them, gaining much more confidence.

"We've come too far and had too strong a run to be afraid of what some measly Slytherins can do to us," he began. "They're good, no point denying it. But we've got better people on our brooms. We've trained harder than they have, we've been flying in all weathers and we're going to make them rue the dared to step out onto this pitch." Chest heaving with emotion, he slapped them all on the backs in an encouraging manner to get the team out the locker room door. As they walked out onto the field, a roar of noise greeted them; mainly cheers, because Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were anxious to see Slytherin beaten, but the Slytherins in the crowd made their boos and hisses heard, too. Madam Hooch asked the captains to shake hands, which they did, giving each other threatening stares and gripping rather harder than was necessary. With a roar from the crowd to speed them upward, the fourteen players rose toward the leaden sky.

Green and red flitted across the field in a blur of motion. Ines went into complete autopilot, trying to play with no emotion. She couldn't help but find Regulus' eyes at every turn. With every crack of the bat and every goal scored she was brought back to the wedding. The feeling of his stare boring into her when her father had asked if the two of them were acquainted. The way her mother gripped him as she was taken from the Malfoy Manor. Sirius' yelling her name brought her from her thoughts, he was rounding on a bludger. She flew over to him, and he pointed upwards to a small player. "Let's try that Dopplebeater Defence move!" He yelled, over the cheers of the crown. It was something he had come up with before holiday break in which both Beaters strike a Bludger at the same time, to double the force behind a swing. The small player was moving, falling into a dive. They both reared their bats backward, aiming for him. In this moment of concentration, Ines realized who it was. Regulus. She swung early and knocked it towards the goalposts.

The commentator, Pierson Ronan, was blaring into the microphone per usual. "It's a wonderful day for house rivalry! Even more so with the added tension, thanks to our wonderful Gryffindor beaters!". Ines could hear a scuffle but tried to ignore it with all her might. She could hear McGonagall struggling and muttering in an attempt to take the microphone from him, but he persisted. "Ines! Sirius! Is it true that you've gotten kicked from your family?"

Ines had had enough, she soared towards the nearest Bludger, putting herself in harm's way just to get the perfect shot. She knocked it towards the tower, heading straight for Pearson. It was called off by Dumbledore to her dislike, but even more so when the whistle was blown. "Avery!" Madame Hooch called, "Off the field this instant!.". She could hear the blood pumping as she flew to the ground, hopping off her broom feet from the bottom. She stormed off, cracking her beaters bat over her knee before flinging it up towards the jeering Slytherins. Her broom under her arm she stalked her way all the way up to the castle and into her dorm, and let the tears fall yet again.