[I]Lessons for Life[/I], chapter 2, "Hogwarts"
This chapter is a very close match for that on fanfiction.net, with just a handful of retouches.
Meme list (professional): Auror!Harry, Auror!Ron, teaching-professional!Hermione(Arithmancy)
Meme list (relationships): established!relationship(Ron/Hermione, marriage), established!relationship(Dudley/OC, marriage, 5 years), established!relationship(Percy/Penelope, marriage)
Meme list: abusive!Dursleys(emotional), wizarding-kid!Dursleys(daughter, rejected), adoptive-father!Harry(Dudley's daughter)
[You don't scare ME with all this backstory.]
PA = [I]Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban[/I]
PS = [I]Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone[/I]
OP = [I]Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix[/I]
I like the touch of Dumbledore, despite the seriousness of the war - or really, because of it - having yanked Harry's chain continually during the war with a choice of weird Apparition points. This pre-OP Harry was a good sport about it, and took it as it was meant: an affectionate way of giving both of them a laugh, and of keeping things in perspective.
Since the earlier draft was posted on fanfiction.net, the text has been revised a little; Harry is now a little uncomfortable under McGonagall's formidable gaze, after eight years away.
At Hogwarts and inside the classroom, McGonagall always refers to current students by [title] [surname], while with students with whom she's friendly, she reverts to [surname only] outside the classroom. Judging from her referring James and Lily by their given names in SS1, however, I think that with students she's particularly fond of, she might relax and use their given names once they're out of school. I think she'd be calling Harry "Harry", once she'd put aside her mock-annoyance and hugged him.
I'd recommend actually naming the magazine the two boys are carrying, here, not just calling it "a Quidditch magazine". Since this is Harry's POV, and he actually picks it up and gets a good look at it, he'd recognize it (and the magazine title should tell the reader roughly what it's about). Also, "Beater" takes a capital letter. A pity that in this AU Harry never had a chance to play professional Quidditch, but understandable; the war hasn't been over for long, and he has a sense of duty that might keep him from pursuing a career purely for fun anyway.
Dear Harry; the fame has never done him any good, so I'm not surprised that it never went to his head, and that it still embarrasses him. Good call that the students would recognize him instantly, and be a bit star-struck. It's also a good call that Harry is autograph-tolerant around young children; they wouldn't understand why he might not want to.
Incidentally, this makes a nice contrast with Chloe's attitude; to her, Harry is just plain Harry, and even starts out with a black mark in her book.
Good touch of consistent characterization, actually, that Peeves would still rag on Harry with the same songs he used when Harry was a student. That's consistent with Peeves' behaviour toward Lupin in PA.
"Unfortu – [a]hem – well, in Mrs. Norris' case, it certainly seems that way."
[grin] So the general anti-Mrs. Norris sentiment in Gryffindor House starts at the top, I see.
Good call, that Hermione would retain the use of her maiden name professionally.
:) I'm glad that Hermione and Ron are still enjoying their arguments. Families are *supposed* to bait each other like that; that's what they're *for*. :) Wicked, that all it took was a knock at the door to set them off, and they basically forgot about the door itself (Percy had to open it, notice).
[I]"Harry!" he said, overjoyed to see someone not yelling.[/I]
Percy's a nice chap in this pre-OP AU, but he doesn't strike one as having the right attitude about friendly spats, does he? Seems very much in character for him that a free-wheeling argumentative relationship would frazzle his rule-bound soul.
Percy has *no* sense about names, but Penny obviously isn't doing much to stop him, so it's not all his fault, is it? (Good idea to eliminate the baby seat from the scene, by the way; it would make sense only if Percy had just flown in or something.)
The description of the baby could use work, I think. Words like "cute" and "adorable" don't help in visualizing the kid; we don't even know his gender from the description, but only once his name is given. Red-haired like Percy, for instance, or does he take after Penelope at all? Lively like his uncles, or quiet like his papa?
And why the French motif in the child's names? It's not as though his mother were Fleur, for example. Any reason? It calls attention to itself as it is but isn't explained that I can see.
[I]"I hope it doesn't get about what he does with the ill-behaved ones," whispered Ron with a grin.[/I]
If *I* were in Harry's place - unmarried and basically never had a serious relationship - I'd either keep my mouth closed about prodding any married people in the vicinity about having children, or I'd regret the words the instant they left my mouth. Ron and Hermione, certainly Ron, should've cleaned Harry's clock on that subject once he made himself a target by commenting. Percy, on the other hand, *has* got room to talk, so the line would seem better coming from him.
:) Neat, that even the baby is sitting there enjoying the argument, and that Ron and Hermione only just realized that they've been entertaining the audience for the last few minutes.
Incidentally, I'd have found it amusing to see Hermione have to cope with *something* unexpected, such as being pregnant with twins, just to see Ron get the upper hand in the argument sweepstakes for a bit. :)
I'm a bit disappointed in Harry, that he'd seriously consider leaving the child with the Dursleys and just forcing them to treat her better. (Post-OP, I hope he'd never do this.)
Good call, that Percy as a good father would immediately take against what the Dursleys did just as fast as anybody else, albeit expressing himself in a rather stuffy manner. Also good that he countered Harry's hesitation to take the child by pointing out that single parents are common, and that a five-year-old isn't too bad, considering.
"Downfall" should be "downside".
Since Harry is an Auror just after the war, would he really have a lot of free time? The Death Eaters would require mopping up for a long, long time, I imagine, and there are always random criminals roaming the world doing terrible things.
"I'm Chloe, and I don't like you."
[laughs out loud] Well, I like *you*, kid.
Nice touch, that she's a bit of a throwback to Lily physically in terms of eye colour.