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A Dream Deferred

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Her eyes opened reluctantly, the dried tears sticking her eyelashes together. Usually, when Harry and Archie had a sleepover and Harry woke up first, Harry would leap out of bed and then jump onto the blankets to wake Archie up. But she wasn’t feeling it today. Last night, she’d cried about her magic and the fire and how Neville had reacted and how Archie and Neville had looked dead—today, though, she was also remembering what the portrait had said to start it all.

"You speak of attending Hogwarts with your little friends as though they allow your kind to disgrace those halls."  

She shuddered. It couldn’t be true. It was just the sort of mean thing that the portraits would say just to make her cry. It couldn’t be true.

The words continued echoing in her head until she couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Archie?” she whispered.

Archie yawned, his arms almost bumping into the back of her head as he stretched them. “Yeah?” 

“What if I can’t go to Hogwarts?” she asked, her small body tensing up.

“Of course you can! We’ll go there together and we’ll be just like our dads, pranking all the teachers!” Archie grinned. 

Harry stayed silent. Archie turned towards her, trying to see her face. She stayed turned away. 

“Why would you say that anyways?” Archie demanded. “You know we’ll go there together!”

Harry said nothing for a moment. She didn’t want to talk about last night - the night that Archie had apparently forgotten all about. She said instead, “Well, Mummy didn’t go to Hogwarts. What if I can’t go either?” 

“You think they don’t allow…um…fullbloods to go?” Archie asked, voice uncertain.

“What if they don’t? And then I don’t get to go to Hogwarts and we can’t go to Hogwarts together and I can’t learn from Master Snape?” The words spilled out of her.

Archie frowned. “Well, we’ll just have to go to another school then! I wouldn’t even want to go to a stupid school like that. We go together or we don’t go at all.” He scooted closer to Harry and hugged her.

Harry chuckled weakly. “But what about being the next Marauders and everything?”

“We can do that at any old school! I bet we’ll be able to cause even more trouble if they don’t know what’s coming.” Archie was warming up to this idea. 

Harry was, too, until she remembered about Master Snape. “The other schools won’t have Master Snape, though,” she worried. “He’s brilliant…”

Archie ignored the last comment as usual. “Yeah, but I’m sure other schools have great Potions Masters, too. Then, if you want, you can still apprentice under Master Snape once you’re done with school.”

Harry rolled her eyes. “It’s not the same, Archie. Besides, what if he doesn’t want me as an apprentice? If I go to Hogwarts, I’ll definitely be able to learn from him. If we go somewhere else, I might not.”

Archie pulled back his arms and poked her. “Stop moping, I’m sure it’ll be fine. We don’t even know that you won’t be able to go to Hogwarts.” He paused, and then he exclaimed, “Remus went to Hogwarts, and he’s not a fullblood!” 

This did not reassure Harry. Even though Archie didn’t remember saying the same thing the night before, Harry did. She also remembered what the portrait had said in response. 

“Those days are over.”

“What if things have changed, Archie? What if only fullbloods can go to Hogwarts now?”

Archie bit his lip. He was out of answers.

Both of them lay there, Archie staring at Harry’s mess of black hair and Harry staring at her shelf of potions books. 

Archie shifted, restless. He didn’t like not having answers. “Why don’t we just go ask our parents? They gotta know. And then you’ll see that there’s nothing to worry about.” Archie leaped out of bed and reached out a hand to his cousin.

“Okay. Okay. Let’s go.” She accepted the hand, and Archie pulled her up.

~~~

Harry peeked around the corner. As she’d expected, Lily was there in the kitchen. 

Archie whispered loudly in her ear, “What are you waiting for?”

She glared at him. She counted to ten before creeping forward so that Archie wouldn’t think that it was his question that had gotten her to move—it hadn’t. She was about to start moving anyways.

The portrait’s words popped back into her head.

"You speak of attending Hogwarts with your little friends as though they allow your kind to disgrace those halls."

She shuddered. It couldn’t be true. Surely, once she asked Mummy, she’d set the portrait straight. 

“Mummy? I have a question.”

Lily turned in her chair. “What is it, dear?”

Drawing up to her full 3 foot 6 inches in height, her green eyes gazed into her mother’s green eyes imploringly. “Can- can I go to Hogwarts?” 

Lily’s face fell. She put down her mug and patted the chair next to hers. “Come sit down, you two.” 

Harry and Archie squirmed onto the same seat, sharing it as usual. 

Lily sighed. “You know how I went to AIM? Well, that’s because they didn’t allow muggleborns to attend Hogwarts. They didn’t allow muggleborns to attend. When you two were born, we thought you’d both be able to go to Hogwarts because back then, they still allowed halfbloods like your uncle Remus to attend. A year later, they stopped allowing halfbloods, so now it’s a pureblood-only school.”

Harry’s chest felt tight. 

“You will never set so much as a toe inside the wards, halfblood.”

“No…” Harry said slowly. “No! No, that’s not fair!” She glared at her mother. 

“Oh, Harry…” Lily reached forward and engulfed Harry and Archie in a hug. Archie wrapped his arms around Harry inside the hug. “I know you had your heart set on Hogwarts, but there are other schools. AIM wasn’t my first choice, but I ended up enjoying it a lot. I’m sure you’ll have a good time wherever you end up going.”

Archie’s voice was muffled under the hug. “Don’t worry, Harry, if you have to go to A-I-M-” He tripped over the unfamiliar letters. “-then I’ll go with you.”

Harry sniffled. She shook herself free from the layered hug and got a tissue to blow her nose and discreetly wipe her eyes. Lily looked on helplessly, her own green eyes misty as well. 

Irrepressible, Archie bounded over to her and pulled her away from the kitchen and back into the hallway. He whispered loudly, “Don’t worry, we’ll figure something out.” 

Her eyes glistening once more, Harry nodded.