Now That Your Rose Is In Bloom

Chapter 24

AN: Thank you all for the support! It is deeply appreciated!

Rose would never take a clear head for granted again.

For the first time all day, spots did not form before her eyes when she stood. Her stomach had settled, though not enough to take an interest in food. Still she could walk, and given a few moments to rest every now and then, she could climb the steps to the Headmaster's Office.

No, she would never take her non-concussed brain for granted again.

"Rose."

She panted and stared at the gargoyle. "Hello."

The gargoyle grinned. "Headmaster Longbottom will be pleased to see you. He was worried that you wouldn't make it."

"I will admit that when we last met, I was somewhat queasy," Rose admitted. "Still, I feel quite refreshed after a day of rest."

"Well, don't overdo anything," the gargoyle replied. "We wouldn't want Headmaster Longbottom to substitute a potions class for an extended period of time, now would we?"

Rose's face drained of color. "No, we would not want him substituting a potions class for so much as five minutes."

The gargoyle winked. "Relax, Headmaster Longbottom knows his limits. Your classes will be safe in Professor Khan's hands."

Rose raised an eyebrow. "Professor Khan?"

"Yes," the gargoyle replied. "She is currently a graduate student at Marduke University. She is substituting for the experience and to earn some side money."

"I see," Rose muttered. "I can only hope that the students do not become too accustomed to her. I would not want them to fall under the impression that my classes are easy."

The gargoyle laughed. "No, we wouldn't want that."

"Indeed."

The gargoyle cleared his throat. "All that being said, we do have a ritual to uphold."

"That we do."

"Password."

"Petunia blossom."

The door opened, and the gargoyle stepped aside. "Have a wonderful meeting."

"Thank you," Rose replied as she stepped inside.

In the center of the office was a long, rectangular, oaken conference table. Seated around the table were Scorpius, Hagrid, Madame Pomfrey, Professor Sweeney, and Professor Vector. At the head of the table in a plush chair was Headmaster Longbottom.

Rose pulled out chair and sat beside Scorpius. "Have I missed anything?"

Scorpius embraced her. "No."

She returned the gesture.

"It is so great to see you out and about again," Scorpius began. "I was so worried for you when I left the dungeons. I would have flooed you this afternoon to check up on you, but I didn't want to disturb you if you were sleeping."

"After taking the proper potions and getting a few hours of sleep, I feel much better."

"Let's hope you remain well."

"I intend to do whatever is necessary to restore my health and resume my teaching duties as soon as possible."

"Even if it means taking it easy for a few days."

Rose sighed. "Yes, even if it means I must relax for longer than I would like."

"Rose!"

She flinched.

Hagrid rushed over and hugged her. "'S so great to see yeh."

"It's great to see you as well," Rose squeaked.

More professors entered and took their seats.

"I was so worried 'bout everyone. I didn' see any jurors on account of my new baby dragon, but I saw the damage they did to the fron' of the school. It looks like everything was jus' awful," Hagrid replied.

"Indeed it was," Rose choked.

Hagrid released her. "Take care of yerself. We wouldn' want you to work yerself to death like your father almost did."

"No," Rose's voice grew softer. "I suppose we would not want that."

Hagrid's eyes lit up. "Aurora! Yeh were able to come."

Rose covered her ears and groaned.

"Yes I was," Aurora began.

Hagrid rushed over to the autonomy professor. "I was so worried 'bout yeh. The Headmaster said yeh took a real beatin'."

Scorpius put a hand on Rose's back. "If you need to leave and get some more rest, then please do so. I can take notes for you."

"No," Rose whispered. "I need to be here. Besides, there is nothing else to do in my quarters other than count the cracks on the walls."

"Surely you can read," Scorpius replied.

She shook her head. "I cannot read or perform any strenuous mental activity. My use of magic is limited to the simplest spells as well."

"Oh," he replied. "Well then, let's hope your brain recovers soon."

"Thanks," Rose groaned. "I am honestly tempted to go to my Grandpa and Grandma's house. At least I would have company there, and there may be a few muggle activities I could engage in which would not cause me too much harm."

"Like what?" Scorpius asked.

Headmaster Longbottom cleared his throat.

Half of the professors, including Rose and Scorpius, turned their attention to him. Others continued their conversations.

Headmaster Longbottom cleared his throat louder.

The conversations continued.

Headmaster Longbottom hit the desk. "This meeting will be called to order!"

Rose flinched.

The other professors grew silent.

"Thank you all for coming on such short notice," Headmaster Longbottom began in a quieter voice. "I believe we all know the reasons for being here, making a formal introduction unnecessary."

Everyone nodded.

"Then allow me to being by saying thank you," Headmaster Longbottom's smile was warm as he looked around the battered and bruised professors. "Thank you for defending our students. Not a single one of them reported a major injury, and all are accounted for. That would not have been possible without your courage and dedication. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for defending our students."

The professors broke into applause. Headmaster Longbottom joined them.

Rose clapped before covering her ears once more.

After the room quieted, Headmaster Longbottom continued, "From the time I sent out my Patronus to the current moment, some new information has come to light."

Rose uncovered her ears.

He turned to Scorpius. "Would you like to share with us what you have learned?"

All eyes turned to him.

He took a deep breath. "This morning, I flooed my sisters and my parents to check up on them. My sisters are well, thankfully. Yet around the same time as the aurors infiltrated Hogwarts, my parents' mansion was attacked."

There were a few gasps and murmurs from the crowd.

"The aurors who attacked them were under the delusion that my mum had been kidnapped by my dad. Their goal was to liberate her," Scorpius continued. "My parents were able to fend them off, but not without significant property damage."

Rose hummed.

"Were the only people who attacked your parents' home aurors?" Headmaster Longbottom asked.

"According to Mum and Dad, yes."

"So that leaves the question of, were only aurors affected by the amnesia?"

"No," Rose answered in a weak voice.

Now the attention turned to her.

"My father believed himself to be the potions master at Hogwarts," Rose continued.

Headmaster Longbottom folded his hands.

"So it isn' only aurors bein' affected by all this then," Hargrid muttered.

"Correct," Rose replied. "Others from the Second Wizarding War are being affected by this amnesia as well."

Headmaster Longbottom tapped his fingers on the table.

"What were the other developments?" Madame Pomfrey asked.

"The Ministry is covering up the entire affair," Headmaster Longbottom replied.

"What?" Professor Sweeney exclaimed.

Headmaster Longbottom pulled out a copy of The Daily Prophet from his pants pocket. He slid it to the center of the table. The professors leaned towards it.

"Nothin'," Hagrid whispered. "There's nothin' abou' any attack here."

"Nope," Headmaster Longbottom answered.

"Could the story have changed?" Professor Sinestra asked.

"That front page story has been the same all day," Headmaster Longbottom replied. "From what I can tell, there is no Evening Prophet."

"What does that mean for us?" Scorpius asked.

Headmaster Longbottom answered, "It means that if another attack occurs, we are alone in defending ourselves."

"How likely is another attack to occur?" Rose asked.

Headmaster Longbottom shook his head. "I wish I knew."

A tense silence suffocated the room.

"We cannot control the information which the Ministry chooses to release, but we can control how we prepare for another attack should one come," Headmaster Longbottom began.

"How?" Professor Vector asked.

"First," Professor Longbottom replied. "I am instituting a curfew which goes into effect at eight in the evening."

A few of the professors nodded.

"Also, we will begin construction on emergency exits."

"Where?" Scorpius asked.

"The Slytherin Dungeon would be my first order of business," Headmaster Longbottom replied.

"Why there?" Professor Vector asked.

"The aurors were all headed for the Slytherin Dungeon. Had they broken through our defenses, then the students would have been trapped under the lake with no viable means of escape. We need the castle to help us build an emergency exit which would be activated by a professor in a situation such as this. That way, the students could have a realistic chance of avoiding getting caught in the crossfire," Headmaster Longbottom proposed.

"That is an excellent idea," Rose replied.

"Agreed," a few others muttered.

"We could stand to build some fire escapes in the upper towers as well. Once again, these would be activated by a professor in a time of crisis. If a student tried to use any of these exits, we would be alerted immediately. There would be severe punishments for trying to enter them when danger is not present," Headmaster Longbottom continued.

"Agreed," the professors replied.

"The castle will of course help us build these features, though it may be wise to have an architect look into them as well," Headmaster Longbottom replied.

"I have a good friend who's an architect," Professor Sinistra offered.

"Thank you," Headmaster Longbottom answered. "We could use that person's services."

"What if there is another attack before these features can be built in?" Scorpius asked.

"You all have proven yourselves capable of holding your own in combat. I hate," he gulped, "I hate to call upon your services again. You should be focused on teaching, not fighting. Still, if the need should arise, I would humbly request that if you are capable of combat at all, please defend the students."

"We will," the professors responded in unison.

"Thank you," Headmaster Longbottom answered. "The students and the school already owe you a debt we cannot repay. A 'thank you' is inadequate, but I fear that's all I can give you at the moment."

"You don' need to thank us for doin' our jobs," Hagrid replied.

"No," Rose added, "you do not."

The others muttered their agreement.

"Very well then," Headmaster Longbottom replied. "Are there any further questions concerning this matter?"

Nobody spoke.

"Then," Headmaster Longbottom concluded. "Meeting adjourned."