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Be Alright

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"Ilvermorny is still better."

The air remained slightly warm as summer faded away. Golden rays of sunlight beat down on the station, causing all the pedestrians to squint as they strolled around the station. A few odd glances were thrown toward the family that walked together, rolling a cart loaded with luggage and a screeching owl. The Scamanders walked slowly, happy yet sad smiles on the older two's faces, an excited light in the young boy's eyes.

"Tina, dear, I find your claim to be invalid. Theo clearly chose Hogwarts," Newt replied to her.

"He did not choose Hogwarts! We just live here. I assure you, had he had the choice, he would've chosen Ilvermorny."

Theo abruptly stopped in front of the pillar between platforms 9 and 10. "Are you sure this is... safe?" He asked, looking upwards at his father. Tina looked a bit weary as well, having never gone on the platform herself. A tidal wave of people surrounded them, chatter filling the quiet spaces so the entire station was enveloped in noise.

"Theo, I assure you it's safe. I've gone through this platform six times, and every time I was safe," Newt reassured, leaning down and placing his hand on his son's arm. A proud smile spread across his face as he looked into his son's eyes. Theo was a straight copy of Tina, but he had his father's eyes. Newt always felt an amazed thrill go through him when he looked into them. Theo was his son, his creation, something he'd created with Tina, and the beauty of that always brought tears to his eyes. "You're going to absolutely adore Hogwarts."

Tina was poised, her mouth open, ready to deliver a retort about how Ilvermorny would always be better, but stopped short when she saw the look on her son's face. He was clearly still excited, but there was a nervous aura surrounding him that tensed the air. So she leaned down next to Newt and Theo and took Theo's hand in her own. "Hey, it's not going to be that bad. It's not gonna hurt you. You'll go right through and you'll be on the platform, ready to go to Hogwas- Hogwarts. I’m sure Aunt Queenie and Uncle Jacob are already there, waiting for us. You can have Anthony answer any questions you have about Hogwarts, he’ll know them.”

 

Newt glanced back at her, the question in his eyes. The question that asked “Are you ready?” To Tina, it was so much more than that. It wasn’t just “Are you ready to go on the platform?” It was “Are you ready to say goodbye to your son for an irrefutably long time?” She simply nodded, although she wasn’t quite sure if she was ready herself. It would be a full three and a half months Theo would be gone, and the most she’d ever spent away from her son was a week. It was a dismal way to think, but she couldn’t imagine going back home without him. Newt stood up and whispered something to Theo. “Now, you just run straight toward the pillar and you’ll be transported to the station. Mum and I will be right behind you, so there’s no need to worry about getting lost. But if you do somehow get lost, I am a particularly good finder.” His voice dropped to a lively whisper. “All Hufflepuffs are.”

“I hope I’m a Hufflepuff,” Theo mused, his voice growing small. “Anything but Slytherin. I heard all the Slytherins are bad guys, and I’m not a bad guy!”

Newt chuckled at Theo’s observation. “Not all Slytherins are bad. In fact, one of my best friends was a Slytherin. She wasn’t... necessarily bad. The only bad thing she ever did was an accident, an accident caused by me. Perhaps we’ll see her today, she can prove to you that they’re not bad. Though I doubt you’ll be in Slytherin anyway, you’re much more Hufflepuff or Gryffindor. Now, let’s get onto the platform. We don’t want to run late or keep the others waiting.”

Muggles passed by left and right, but all were too oblivious to see the small family preparing to enter the hidden platform. Theo gripped his cart tightly, and a warm smile teased at the corners of Tina’s lips. “When I say go, we’re going to run as quickly as we can toward the pillar. You may close your eyes if you please, but I don’t recommend it. It’s much more exhilarating to be aware of your surroundings,” Newt said, placing his hands next to Theo’s. A slight breeze picked up, something Newt subconsciously took as a sign to go. “One... two... go!”

Together the two of them pushed the cart and crossed the barrier between the two stations. Theo tried his hardest to keep his eyes open, but he gave up and ducked his head down when he saw how quickly the pillar was approaching. His mind was screaming at him to stop, to slow down as the pillar that was approaching would most certainly cause him to crash and hurt himself. However, there was a brief moment when he stomach dropped and suddenly the loud sounds of children and parents filled the air. He opened his eyes to find himself on Platform 9 3/4. It wasn’t hard to differentiate this platform from the regular muggle ones. Platform 9 3/4 was much more eccentric and filled with an ambience of nostalgia and joy. Theo didn’t feel the constraint he had before to act normal, to act muggle-like. It wasn’t hard, considering he’d grown up around muggles, but there was always a consistent feeling of being the anamoly of the group when he’s been with muggles his age, however rarely it may be.

Tina crossed into the station a moment later and was immediately mesmerized by the elaborate details of the Platform. Newt chuckled at the stunned look that mirrored Theo’s as they both gaped at the train in awe. He simply entwined his hand into Tina’s and led her, along with Theo, throughout the station to find Queenie and Jacob. However, something caught him in the corner of the eye.

A wisp of chocolate-brown hair. An enchanting laugh.

Leta Lestrange.

Newt hadn’t seen her for years, ever since 1930, when he left England to move to America and marry Tina. He was no longer in love with Leta, he knew, but he couldn’t help but feel a pang of sentiment at her sight. She seemed to notice at the same time he did, and a flash of recognition glinted across her face. “Newt?” She said loudly, making his entire family turn to face her. There was an uncompromising tenseness between her and Tina, so the moment Tina laid eyes on her she grew lethargic about the situation. It seemed to be cohesive, considering Leta shrunk back at the look Tina gave her.

“Who’s that?” Theo asked, tugging on his mother’s arm. The serene feeling that’d been present only a minute earlier had faltered, belittled by the distaste between the two women.

“That... is the Slytherin I was telling you about,” Newt answered slowly. He knew about the grudge between Tina and Leta, however unnecessary he found it. “How about we go and have a chat with her?”

Newt tried to ignore the look Tina gave him. Instead, he grabbed Theo’s hand and led his family toward Leta. She stood with a single boy, clearly a fifth year. Leta shuffled nervously at the sight of Tina with them, but she seemed to be advocating to what Newt had told her the last time they’d encountered her. “Stay calm, dear. She’s just a friend. I love you and only you.”

“Theo, this is Leta, my friend from Hogwarts. She’s the Slytherin I told you about. And she’s not bad- see?” A hopeful look was in Newt’s eyes as Leta greeted Theo. Tina clutched Theo’s hand tightly, a feeling of protectiveness washing over her.

“I’m Leta,” Leta said warmly, shaking Theo’s hand. “This is my son Lydon. He’s in Gryffindor, so I’m sure you’ll see him a lot if you’re sorted into that house. Anyway, Newt is correct- I am a Slytherin. A proud one at that But can assure you I’m not bad. In fact, I was a head girl. You can’t be bad if you’re a head girl.”

Theo didn’t need anymore convincing. It was perfectly clear that his father trusted this woman, and his father never had bad judgement (with people). He thanked Leta tentatively, his mother’s tense aura becoming slightly more obvious. Theo figured Leta was one of Newt’s old girlfriends. He didn’t quite understand why everything was so tense, but he accepted it and went on his way.

There was a sense of longing in Leta’s eyes as she stared at Newt. Tina noted this and desperately racked her mind for something to talk about. Her only thoughts were of Theo and how melancholic she felt about him leaving off to Hogwarts. “So...” she started, trailing off as she searched for the words to say. “I think Theo will make a great Gryffindor, if he’s in the house. Although he’s much like Newt, so possibly Hufflepuff.”

“Well, Tina, he does seem more like you than me. Perhaps Ravenclaw? I’d always thought you’d be a Ravenclaw. I’m sure he’ll be just fine in any house, though. But I would definitely love to have another Hufflepuff in the family.”

Newt’s remark was completely harmless, but Leta still felt a pang of hurt when Tina was mentioned. She’d noticed earlier that Theo looked like both of them, there was no doubt about it. However, from what she’d seen of his personality he was more like Newt. Tentative and reserved. Disregarding her feelings, Leta smiled brightly and looked at Newt. “He does seem like you, Newt. Maybe Hufflepuff is the right choice. But we won’t know until tonight.”

“Or a few days, when the letters arrive,” Tina said, obviously trying to correct Leta, but only subtly. “Theo will know by tonight. You’ll write to us, won’t you Theo?”

Theo glanced around, searching for the rest of his family. “Every day,” he answered nervously. Tina laughed and shook her head, telling him he didn’t need to write to them every day. Once or twice a week would be just fine.

Soon Theo caught sight of his aunt, Queenie, and pulled his parents along. Newt was mid-conversation with Leta, so he was a bit startled at the sudden tug. He waved goodbye to her, and Leta looked on yearningly. The truth was, she still loved Newt, even though he didn’t love her back. It was undeniably unrequited, and it tore her heart to shreds.

“Tina! I’m so happy you’re finally here! Oh, Theo’s going to absolutely love Hogwarts. Anthony does, and although I’m not a fan of the school I’m glad he does. Jacob and I was wondering if maybe Theo and Anthony could be in the same house.

“I’m sure Theo would love to be in Gryffindor. But I’ll be happy whatever house he gets.”

A horn blared, a sign that it was time to start boarding the train, and Theo looked panickedly at his parents. Tina felt her heart break at the look on Theo’s face. “Hey, it’ll be alright. You’ll see us at Christmas. That’s only three months away, and then you can show us all the magic you learned! And I promise we’ll write to you every week, even if you don’t send us a reply, but I’m sure you will. I love you,” Tina said, wrapping her arms around Theo tightly. In all honesty, she didn’t want him to go. He was still her baby, in a way. She’d only had one child, so to send him off made her feel utterly lonely. For the first time in eleven years it’d be just her and Newt.

She was teary-eyed by the time she let go to let Newt say his goodbyes.

“Oh, don’t think like that Teen. He’ll be alright, Anthony will watch over him. Charlotte’s already in the train, but I’m sure she will too. They care about him, more than they show. Now you and Newt have some alone time,” Queenie reassured Tina, giving her a half hug.

Tina watched Newt stand up and walk toward her. He too seemed a bit sad that Theo was leaving, but he tried not to show it as he squeezed her hand. They both watched as Anthony and Theo clambered onto the train, excited smiles spread across their faces. Everyone glanced around, looking for their children. Queenie rapped Tina’s shoulder and pointed toward a close window, where Theo and Anthony were leaning out. Both waved out the window, looking entirely joyful. Tina couldn’t help but laugh, their joy spreading from themselves and radiating onto their families.

“He’ll be alright.”