The Sugar Quill
Author: Ashtur an'Vangan (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Bones to Bones  Chapter: Chapter 1: Last Train to Hogwarts
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Bones to Bones

Bones to Bones

 Chapter 1: Last Train to Hogwarts




Disclaimer:  Harry Potter, and all aspects of the books and the world they contain are property of JK Rowling.

A/N:  Special thanks to Zsenya for her wonderful beta work.  Also, thanks to George Orwell.  I hope to throw occasional side references in from various books in most chapters.


  “Susan! Someone for you in the fireplace!”


  Susan’s mother’s voice came echoing up the stairs as Susan struggled to close her overstuffed trunk.  There had to be a way to get all of those books in there, but they were being just a tad stubborn.


  “Susan!  I said someone is in the fireplace! Get down here!”


  “All right Mum! I’m on the way down.”  Susan abandoned her open trunk with relief and headed down the stairs.  “Who is it?”


  “It’s your aunt, dear.”


  Susan stooped down in front of the brick fireplace.  “Hello Auntie! How are you doing?”


  “Oh, I’m fine Susan,” Aunt Amelia answered in a harassed sort of voice.  “I don’t have much time, but I need to tell you something.  I just found out who your Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is going to be this year…”


 “Oh? Who is it? Someone good I hope,” Susan said curiously. All of her Dark Arts teachers had been rather odd over the years, and Agatha had carried many messages to her friend Hannah Abbott, speculating on what poor soul would hold that cursed position this year.


  “Susan! I said I only have limited time.  I just want to warn you to be very careful.  I’ll owl you more details, but I’m at the office right now.  Leave Agatha, and I’ll drop by your house later and give her a message to take to you at Hogwarts.”


  “Um, all right Auntie, I guess.”


  “Good Susan, I have to go, but just be very careful at school this year.  I don’t like what I’m seeing here at the Ministry.  Now, so long and keep in touch dear, I have to go,”  Aunt Amelia said in a rush.


  “All right Auntie, goodbye...” Susan hadn’t even finished her sentence before her aunt was gone with a loud ‘pop!’  “Well… that was weird,” Susan mused as she went out to the kitchen.  It wasn’t like her aunt to just leave like that.  Somehow though, Susan had a sinking feeling that this Dark Arts teacher would be worse than any of the ones who had come before.  Even  worse than Professor Quirrell with his stinky turban.


  “So, Susan, what did Amelia want?” asked her mother.


  “Oh, I don’t think Auntie likes this new Dark Arts teacher, she didn’t tell me why though.  She did tell me to leave Agatha here and that she’ll be by later and send a message with her.”


  “That’s fine, dear.  We need to go in a bit, why don’t you go say goodbye to your father.  He’s out checking the wolfsbane.  He said he should be able to harvest it next week and get a good price at market.”


  “All right Mum.”  Susan headed out into the large field behind their house.  There were fields of asphodel, wormwood and wolfsbane, along with other plants hidden away in the nearby woods where her father could harvest them.  Out in the midst of the wolfsbane was a painfully thin man, who was gently checking the roots of one plant that didn’t seem to be doing well.


  “Dad?” Susan said in a soft voice.


  The man turned with a start, his wand already out of its pocket, pointed vaguely in Susan’s direction, but his was hand shaking so badly that it was doubtful he could even manage a shower of sparks.  “Oh, Susan,” he said, trying to catch his breath as he lowered his wand.


  “Dad, it’s time for me to get going back to Hogwarts. I came out to say goodbye.”


  “Susan, I just want you to know, well, I know I’m not much of a…”


  Susan held up a hand.  “Dad, don’t.  We’ve talked about this before.  I love you, don’t worry about it, ok?  I understand.”  With that, she embraced her father in a hug.  “I’ll see you at Christmas, all right Dad?”


  Her father smiled weakly.  “All right Susan, I’ll see you at Christmas.  Have a good time at school.  I’m very proud of you, you know.”


  The rest of the morning was a hectic blur, and soon Susan’s  trunk and Agatha’s empty cage were somehow stuffed into her mother’s battered old Land Rover.  Before they knew it, they had reached King’s Cross Station.


  She had already found a trolley, and lugged her things across the barrier to Platform nine and three quarters when she heard a high-pitched voice behind her.  “Susan!  Over here!”  Susan turned, and there stood her three best friends at Hogwarts: Hannah Abbott, the owner of the high pitched voice, her blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail, Ernie MacMillen and Justin Finch-Fletchley.   Susan quickly hugged each of them, and then stepped back, looking at Hannah and Ernie.


  “Well now, what’s this you’re wearing? Prefect badges?”


  “Yes, Hannah and I were selected prefects this year,” Ernie said, preening noticeably.


  “You aren’t upset are you, Susan?” Hannah asked nervously.


  “Why in the world would I be upset?  To be a decent prefect, you have to be good with all sorts of people.  Now, let me see. You have Susan Bones who would rather be stuffed in a fluffy chair with a book and some tea, or Hannah Abbott who actually likes to meet people.  Who is the prefect material? Hmm?”


  “Susan… you aren’t that bad,”  Hannah choked out between giggles.


  “Maybe not, but you are still much more prefect material than I’ll ever be.”  Susan smiled at Hannah but then grimaced and stiffened as she felt a pair of hands descend on her shoulders and begin to rub her back.


  “Hello Zacharias.  Hands off,” Susan said in a resigned voice.


  “Hey Susan, how was your summer?” Zacharias Smith said, even as he continued to rub Susan’s back.


  Susan sighed and casually pointed her wand back over her shoulder.  "Hands off Zacharias.”


  “Hey! I was just trying to be friendly!” Zacharias protested.


  “Fine, be friendly.  There are lots of ways to be friendly that don’t include pawing people.”


  Flustered, Zacharias turned away and stalked off.   “Oh dear, he’s homing in on poor Eloise now,” Hannah sighed.


  “Well, maybe she’ll use the same spell on him she used on her nose last year,” Justin cut in, causing everyone to break out into laughter.


  “We need to get on the train so that the Hannah and I can go meet the Head Boy and Girl and find out our duties.  Why don’t you two find a car and we’ll join you when we are done?”


  Moments later, Justin and Susan had settled in an empty compartment, and the train was starting the long trek up to Scotland and another year of magic and chaos at Hogwarts. 


  “So, Justin.  How was your summer anyway? We never let you get a word in edgewise out there.”


  “It was all right I guess.  My parents are doing well. It is always kind of strange though, to go back and pretend none of this exists.”


  “So, did you get to spend any time with Emily?”


  “Well, sort of…” Justin said with a grimace.


  “Sort of? Sort of? What is that supposed to mean?  Back in June, she was all you were able to talk about.  She’s the girl next door right?”


  “It’s not that simple Susan. You don’t know what it’s like.”


  “Don’t give me that Justin.  Why didn’t you talk to her?”


  “Well, I tried,” Justin sighed.  “It’s very hard.  We’ve been friends forever.  Even when we were five, we just assumed that when we got older we’d get married and go on with our life. But, I can hardly talk to her now.”


  “Why not?” Susan pressed.


  “You know, you’re getting nosy in your old age Susan.”


  “Old age?  Oh, tragically washed up at fifteen am I? Now, stop trying to change the subject.”


   “Fine, fine.  Just think about it.  She knew I was going to Eton. Suddenly I transfer to some school I can’t talk about.  She asks me questions about what courses I’m taking, how I like them.  Am I supposed to tell her about how annoying Potions is?  Am I supposed to tell her that while she has been studying the anatomy of hedgehogs, I’ve learned how to turn one into a pincushion?  She knows I’m hiding things from her, and she’s not very happy with me right now.”


  After a moment of silence, Susan finally said, “Oh.  I guess I hadn’t thought about that.  My parents didn’t meet until later, so they didn’t have that little problem.  Still though, if this girl is half as special as you keep talking about, you’ll find a way.”


  “Oh, it’s just as well Susan.  You know what it’s like out there.  Muggles and Muggle-borns are in danger.  I spent half a year frozen in bed for goodness sake!  She’s better off without me.”


  “Justin Finch-Fletchley.  You’re in Hufflepuff, not Gryffindor.  Don’t give me this noble, self-sacrificing martyr garbage.  Leave that for the Gryffindors, it’s an art form with them.  We’re patient, but we get what we want in the end.”


  Justin never got the chance to answer that, as the door slid open, and a familiar blond boy, flanked by two large, if cognitively  challenged individuals, walked in.  “Oh, look.  A colony of Huffleduffs.”


  Justin replied in a bored voice, “Hello Draco.  Nice to see that you’ve been working on new material all summer.  You have a reason to be here, or just being your usual self?”


  “Watch it Mudblood!”


  “Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot that I was in the presence of a higher class of ferret, er wizard here,” Justin said, sarcasm dripping from his voice.


  A flush rose in Draco’s pale cheeks, but his voice held its customary sneer. “That goes without saying Finch-Fletchley.”


  “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others,” Susan said, bringing out a snicker from Justin.


  “What are you going on about Bones?”


  Susan never had to answer Draco, as Ernie and Hannah had come up behind Malfoy, and he and his goons were quickly off to find easier prey.  As Draco slipped out the door, Justin called out, “So long Napoleon!”


  “You pig!” Susan added.  Justin and Susan looked at each other, and started laughing, to the confusion of Ernie and Hannah.  “So, who are the other prefects anyway? I saw the badge on the ferret, but who else?”


  “I’ll never understand the two of you, I hope you know that,” Hannah answered.  “Anyway, the Gryffindor prefects are Granger and Weasley.”


  “Weasley? Not Potter?” Susan said, a touch surprised. “After all, he’s the golden boy.  Quidditch, Triwizard, all those special points he’s racked up over the years.”


  “Well, of course not Potter.  After all, as the Daily Prophet has reported, Potter is not stable, and as such is not suited for such a responsible position,”  Ernie pontificated.  “Besides, we still aren’t sure what he had to do with Cedric’s death.”


  “Nothing,” Susan said curtly.


  “How do you know that?” Hannah asked.


  “Auntie Em told me.”


  “Oh? What else did she say?” said Hannah.


  “Not too much really.  Just that she is sure that Harry didn’t enter himself into the tournament, and that she’s sure that Harry didn’t kill Cedric.  She couldn’t say too much more than that.”


  “Of course she couldn’t!  Madam Bones is an important Ministry official.  She can’t go telling secrets like that!” said Ernie.  “Anyway Hannah, we better get back out there and patrol the aisles some more.”


  Hannah rolled her eyes, but followed Ernie out of the compartment.


  “Justin, we’re going to have to do something about Ernie.”


  “Yeah, he is a touch full of himself, isn’t he?”


  “A touch? More than a touch I think.  You know, his birthday is next week, right?”


  “Yeah, what does that have to do with anything?”


  Susan leaned over and whispered into Justin’s ear.   Justin laughed and said, “You know Susan, that is one truly nasty plan; maybe you should have been a Slytherin.”


  Justin winced as Susan punched him in the shoulder.







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