The Sugar Quill
Author: birgit (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Planets, Brains and Curses  Chapter: Chapter Three: Ron
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: This is an Alternate Point of View story, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”. This story contains many direct quotes from aforementioned book. It’s all JKR’s, I’m not making any money of it. I'm just having fun.

Author's Note: Special thanks to Cendrillon, whose constructive criticism made me rewrite part of this chapter. And of course, many thanks to my wonderful beta’s RoarBaby and Arianrhod!

Planets, Brains and Curses

Chapter Three: Ron

Ron was scared. His heart was beating at twice its regular speed. His breathing was quicker than usual. His muscles were all tensed up. But despite all this, he couldn’t give up. He couldn’t run away. He couldn’t back out of this. He was here, and he would stay here, in the middle of a huge, dimly-lit room in the Department of Mysteries. He didn’t really have a choice, but even if he did, he would stay. His friends needed him. He would protect them, especially Hermione and Ginny. Harry didn’t really need protection, and Luna and Neville ... well, Ron couldn’t protect everyone.

The reason Ron was scared was a dozen black-robed and hooded figures, their wands raised, ready to attack. Ron and his friends were surrounded by Death Eaters. But at the moment, there wasn’t really anything Ron could do. Harry was talking to the leader of the Death Eaters, Lucius Malfoy, who seemed to want the glass ball Harry was holding.

The glass ball was a strange thing. They had come all way to London to rescue Sirius, and all they had found in the place where Sirius was supposedly held was a glass ball, labelled with Harry’s name. Harry had picked it up, and that was the moment the adventure had stopped being fun.

For Harry, it hadn’t been fun at all. Harry had believed his godfather was held by You-Know-Who and was being tortured. But Ron had listened to Hermione, and, for once, he had agreed with her. She had reasonably argued that Sirius couldn’t be in the Ministry, and Ron had wholeheartedly agreed. But he hadn’t been stupid enough to try to convince Harry. Hermione really should have learned by now that Harry was extremely stubborn. There was no way Harry would believe Sirius wasn’t in the Ministry unless he had seen it with his own eyes. So Ron had agreed to go. It had seemed to become a nice adventure.

Ron had been in the Ministry before, but only in the Atrium and his father’s office. That hadn’t been much fun. Now they had gone to the Department of Mysteries. A strictly prohibited area, except for the Unspeakables, but somehow Ron and Harry and the others had gained access without any problems. From that moment on, things had become really interesting. Or they had seemed to be. Now, Ron couldn’t understand that he hadn’t become suspicious when all the doors just opened before them.

They had seen various rooms, packed with very strange gadgets. A room with lots of stone benches and an ancient archway in the middle of the floor. That had been rather creepy, because Harry had seemed strangely attracted to the archway and the fluttering veil hanging off it. Luckily Hermione and Ron had been able to pull him out of it.

But Ron had liked the room with brains best. He wished they were still there. There had been brains swimming in a large tank full of green liquid. They had looked really fascinating. Ron had wondered what would happen if he pulled one of the brains out of the tank. He hadn’t tried it, of course. He had enough common sense to know you should never touch unknown magical objects.

They had also been through a room packed with clocks, just before they had entered the Glass Ball Hall. Ron hadn’t had much time to get a good look, but he was almost certain he had spotted an hourglass just like Hermione had had in third year. Apparently, Time-Turners were stored in the Department of Mysteries. A Time-Turner wasn’t really a great mystery, and Ron guessed there were more mysterious mysteries somewhere in this Department. Maybe behind the door that didn’t open. They had only come across one door that didn’t open at first touch. Not even Harry’s knife, which was supposed to open any lock it encountered, had managed to get it open. Surely, behind that door were the really interesting things.

Finally, they had found the hall with glass balls. If only they never had found it, and just had gone home ... But they had found it, and they had run to the row in which, according to Harry’s dream, Sirius should have been. And there, although Sirius hadn’t been there, Ron had found the label with Harry’s name on it.

The Death Eaters had shown themselves as soon as Harry had picked up the glass ball. And they were still here. Because Harry still hadn’t handed them the glass ball. He had even resisted an attempt to Summon the ball, by a female Death Eater, who seemed slightly mad. Once she had pulled off her mask so they could clearly see her face, Ron remembered who she was. She was one of the Death Eaters who had escaped from Azkaban. Her name was Bellatrix Lestrange, although Ron changed that in his head to Mad Bellatrix at once. It seemed a more appropriate name for her.

Mad Bellatrix tried to Stun Harry, but Lucius Malfoy deflected the curse and the two of them had a huge row, while two ghost-like figures that had emerged from a few glass balls, broken by the deflected curse, seemed to be reciting something.

Ron made a mental note to congratulate Harry later at annoying the Death Eaters so much that they started shouting at each other – when they had made it out of this mess alive.

Ron felt Ginny stir beside him. He wondered how she was doing. He was extremely frightened himself, and he had done things like this (although without the Death Eaters) before. She hadn’t. He would have liked to comfort her, but he really couldn’t do that now, in front of the Death Eaters.

He looked at Hermione. He would also have liked to comfort her. Fighting Death Eaters was not really something that could be learned from books, and Hermione had never been very calm under pressure. Luckily she had been in the DA as well. She had been rather good, too. Ron recalled all too well being hit by various hexes.

Ron!” someone whispered. Ron looked around. The sound had come from Ginny’s direction. She wasn’t looking at him, but Ron supposed that was to avoid attracting attention from the Death Eaters.

“What is it?” he muttered.

“The moment Harry says now, we’ll smash the shelves holding the glass balls. Use Reducto. Do you understand?”

Ron nodded almost imperceptibly. Obviously, Harry was planning a distraction. Ron tightened the grip on his wand. His heart started beating even faster, and his breathing was very quick. He was scared, very scared, but Harry, Ginny, and Hermione needed him. He concentrated on what Harry was saying.

“Someone made a prophecy about Voldemort and me? And he’s made me come and get it for him? Why couldn’t he come and get it himself?”

Mad Bellatrix laughed. “Get it himself? The Dark Lord, walk into the Ministry of Magic, when they are so sweetly ignoring his return? The Dark Lord, reveal himself to the Aurors, when at the moment they are wasting their time on my dear cousin?”

“So, he’s got you doing his dirty work for him, has he?” Harry asked. “Like he tried to get Sturgis to steal it – and Bode?”

“Very good, Potter, very good ...” said Lucius Malfoy. Ron tuned out the rest of his words, because he saw Harry straightening his shoulders slightly, and straining the muscles in his right arm – signs Ron recognised immediately. After five years of knowing Harry, he knew exactly what they meant: Harry was preparing to do something unexpected, rash or impressive.

“NOW!” roared Harry.

REDUCTO!” yelled Ron, at exactly the same time as the others.

Shelves collapsed; glass balls crashed; glass, wood, dust and smoke figures were everywhere.

“RUN!” Harry shouted.

It took a moment before Ron had spotted Ginny in the chaos. A Death Eater was near her. Ron jumped forward, seized her arm and ran. He heard footsteps behind him, but he didn’t look back. He didn’t want to know whether it was the Death Eaters or his friends.

At the end of the row, they turned left. A couple of yards ahead was a door. Ron let go of Ginny’s arm and sprinted to the door. Ginny arrived first – Ron had never known she could run so fast – and wrenched the door open. Just before Ron went in, he looked back and saw Luna, but none of the others. Luna closed the door behind them.

They were in a room with lots of desks, placed randomly around the room. One of the desks blocked a door on the other side of the room.

“Not much space for hiding in here,” Luna said dryly.

“Let’s try one of the doors,” said Ginny.

She started to run, and Ron and Luna followed. They zigzagged between the desks, heading for a door on the right. Suddenly there was a noise behind Ron. A door was opened, and there were footsteps –

STUPEFY!” someone shouted.

Ron dived to the floor and saw Ginny doing the same. They hid behind a desk. A flash of light flew over another desk, behind which Luna had ducked. As soon as the Stunner had passed, Ron, Ginny and Luna started moving again. Ron heard the Death Eaters stumbling across the room behind them.

Ron, Ginny and Luna managed to come several feet closer to the door without being seen, but then another door flew open. The newly arrived Death Eaters immediately began to shout curses. Ron straightened up and ran flat out to the door. One jet of light very nearly hit him, and somewhere a huge desk was overturned, making the floor vibrate, but he managed to reach the door without being hurt. Luna was already inside the next room when Ron grabbed Ginny’s arm and pushed her inside. Then he followed both of the girls and closed the door in one swift movement.

There was no floor in this room. For a moment, Ron panicked and thought he had pushed his little sister into a deep hole; but then a hand grabbed hold of his robes and pulled him forward. They made their way towards a floating ball, which emitted dark red light. As they moved closer to the ball, Ron saw it was spinning, and he suddenly recognised it. He had seen pictures of the planets in Astronomy, and this was definitely one of them. He thought it was Jupiter.

The door behind burst open again. They were in the dark, but that didn’t stop the Death Eaters from trying to hex them.

STUPEFY! STUPEFY! STUPEFY!” shouted someone, whose voice Ron recognised as Mad Bellatrix’s.

She was firing curses in random directions, and Ron had to duck to stop one of the curses from hitting him. A few seconds later, another one came in their direction. Ginny’s face lit up when the jet of light flew very close past her. She was further away from Ron than he had supposed she was. He now realised that it wasn’t Ginny who was holding his robes in her hand, but Luna.

“There they are!” shouted one of the Death Eaters.

Ron tried to run a bit faster, dragging Luna along, but walking in space wasn’t easy at all. Then suddenly there was a floor. He now ran as fast as he could, while still holding Luna, because the last thing he wanted was to lose the others. There was another ball ahead, probably Saturn, the next planet, if Ron remembered correctly.

The floor ceased to exist. Ron stumbled. Luna collided with Saturn. Ron tried to stay upright, and flipped around in his attempt to do so. He saw a flash of violet light coming towards him. It hit him straight in the head.


Ron looked around. Everything was dark. He seemed to drift. For a moment, he wondered if he was perhaps dead. Then he felt someone pulling him around. That didn't feel like he was dead. He tried to remember what had happened. They were doing something dangerous, weren’t they? Ron didn’t know.

“Hey, what’s this?” he yelled at the person holding him. “What are you doing?”

He didn’t get an answer. Something hit his head, and then his shoulder. Behind him, people were shouting. Sometimes, there was a flash of light in some colour. He had already seen yellow, red and pink light. Red seemed to be the most popular colour.

Suddenly Ron’s legs made contact with something hard. The unidentified person was pulling harder at him, but he didn’t move. That was of course because the hard thing he was sitting on. It made him stop sliding. He looked around and saw a huge ball, not far ahead. Something clicked in his mind.

“What’s that? Hey, it’s Uranus! Uranus, I can see Uranus!”

Seeing Uranus was funny. He could remember one time before someone had seen Uranus. That had been in class, and it had been very funny. He started to laugh. Uranus was funny.

“Ginny!” someone said. “Help me!”

“I’m right here,” another voice said. “What’s happened to Ron?”

“I don’t know,” the first voice said, “but we need to get out of here, quickly!”

Ron stopped laughing as he recognised the second voice as his sister’s. Why was Ginny here? Did she like it in the dark? Or wasn’t she here voluntary? Was she possibly in danger? He needed to help her!

“Ginny, are you also here?” he asked. “Why is it so dark?”

Ginny didn’t answer. Another hand grabbed Ron and pulled him forwards. His legs dragged on the hard thing Ron now realised was the floor.

The shouting people seemed to get closer. Another red flash of light flew over Ron’s head. He followed the light with his eyes and saw it hit another ball. There were more planets in this room! The one hit by the light was Neptune. It flew through the space and stopped close by another planet. That one was definitely Pluto.

“Do you see the planets? Neptune was moving ... ha ha ha ...”

Stupefy!” someone close shouted, but it wasn’t Ginny.

Ron looked again at Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. He started to laugh again.

“Hey, look!” he said. “Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are in one line ... ha ha ... that means grave danger is coming ... ha ha ha ...”

Instead of laughing with him, the two people holding him pulled him to the ground. Then they pulled him upwards again and moved even faster. They came closer to Pluto.

Expelliarmus!” someone shouted.

Protego!” cried Ginny.

The words were familiar, but Ron didn’t understand what they meant. He concentrated on the planets again. They passed Pluto. Then Ron fell to the floor, but there wasn’t a floor any more. Ginny shouted. Ron looked up. He needed to protect his sister, but he had no idea how.

In the light provided by Pluto, Ron saw Ginny and a hooded man holding Ginny’s ankle. There was also another girl, who Ron recognised as Loony Lovegood. Loony pointed her wand at Pluto and said, “Reducto!

Pluto exploded in the face of the man, who whipped around. Then there was a crack. Ron didn’t have time to think about what he had seen, because Loony grabbed his arm again and pulled him away from Pluto. He drifted in space again, as there was no floor. Only a few seconds later, he fell hard on a floor.

“Ron! Ginny!” someone shouted. “Are you all –?”

Ron looked up and saw Harry dashing towards him. Harry looked funny. His glasses were askew and there was a large bruise on his face. Ron giggled, stood up and grabbed Harry’s robes.

“Harry,” he said, “there you are ... ha ha ha ... you look funny, Harry ... you’re all messed up ...”

His legs weren’t working properly. The Space Room had made them weak. He sat down on the floor and gazed up at Harry. His best friend.

But Harry looked away. “Ginny? What happened?”

Ginny didn’t answer, but Loony did. Ron tuned her out. It was much more important to concentrate on Harry.

“Harry, we saw Uranus up close!” he giggled. “Get it, Harry? We saw Uranus – ha ha ha –”

Harry looked back at Ron, but he didn’t look happy at all. Didn’t he like the joke with Uranus? Ron didn’t understand.

“And what about Ron?” Harry asked Loony.

“I don’t know what they hit him with,” Loony Lovegood said, “but he’s gone a bit funny, I could hardly get him along at all.”

Ron felt it was important to clarify things a bit. “Harry, you know who this girl is, Harry? She’s Loony ... Loony Lovegood ... ha ha ha ...”

Harry didn’t laugh. “We’ve got to get out of here. Luna, can you help Ginny?”

Ron didn’t understand. Why wasn’t Harry laughing? What was wrong? They always had so much fun together, but today it was different.

Harry pulled Ron upright, and laid Ron’s arm over his shoulder. Together, they walked to one of the many doors in this room.

But another door opened and people came in. Ron looked back and saw Mad Bellatrix running towards him.

There they are!” she shrieked.

Ron realised this wasn’t good. He stopped giggling. Why this wasn’t funny, he didn’t really know, but it definitely wasn’t. Maybe because Mad Bellatrix was a Death Eater.

Harry pulled Ron with him through a door and then left him. Ron leaned against the wall. He saw Neville come, carrying Hermione. Hermione was unconscious. Ron now felt a bit afraid.

Harry came in again and slammed the door shut. “Colloportus!”

There was a crash on the other side of the door. People were screaming and shouting. Ron didn’t want to hear it. He tried to walk a few steps, but that was horribly difficult.

He looked around. Harry, Neville and Loony were running across the room. Harry rolled over a table. Ron laughed. Then Loony flew across the room. Ron smiled and felt very happy again.

But now Mad Bellatrix was in the room again. Ron decided to ignore her. He looked somewhere else and saw a tank full of green liquid. White things were swimming in the liquid. Ron knew what they were, Hermione had told him.

“Hey!” he said, walking towards Harry. “Hey, Harry, there are brains in here, ha ha ha, isn’t that weird, Harry?”

“Ron, get out of the way, get down –”

But Ron didn’t want to get out of the way. Those brains were funny! He pointed his wand at the tank.

“Honest, Harry,” he said, “they’re brains – look – Accio Brain!”

One of the brains flew out of the tank. Tentacles were flying from it, unrolling themselves until the brain was about four feet wide.

“Ha ha ha, Harry, look at it –” said Ron happily. “Harry, come and touch it; bet it’s weird –”

“RON, NO!” Harry bellowed, but Ron caught the brain in his hands. The tentacles wrapped themselves around his arms. It was like the brain was trying to hug him.

“Harry, look what’s happen– No – no – I don’t like it – no, stop – stop –”

The tentacles were hugging Ron far too enthusiastically. They had wrapped themselves around his chest, and that didn’t feel nice.

Diffindo!” Harry yelled, pointing his wand at Ron.

But nothing changed. Ron pulled at the tentacles, but they didn’t want to release him. It was getting difficult to breathe.

Ron tried to grab the brain, but he couldn’t move his arm far enough to reach it. He lost his balance and fell over.

“Harry, it’ll suffocate him!” Ginny shouted.

“STUBEFY!” Neville bellowed. “STUBEFY! STUBEFY!”

Ron stopped fighting for a moment and looked up. He saw Neville dodging a jet of light, and then crashing into a desk. Harry was running away, holding a tiny glass ball above his head. The people dressed in black, including Mad Bellatrix, were running after him.

Suddenly, Ron couldn’t breathe any more. One of the tentacles had managed to reach his neck, and was strangling him. Ron didn’t like it at all, and didn’t understand why this was happening. The only thing he knew for sure was that he was dying, and that his best friend had just walked away.

Then two hands grabbed the tentacle around his neck and pulled it away. Ron blinked and focused on Neville’s face, which was just before his eyes, and was covered with red paint. His eyes travelled down to Neville’s hands, which were holding a slimy tentacle.

Just in time, Ron saw another of those slimy things trying to reach his neck. He seized it and pulled it away. He realised with surprise that the tentacles had left his arms, so he could move them again. He was wondering where they had gone, when about three of the tentacles wrapped themselves around his head.

It’s been a long time, but now I’ll live again!

Where did that come from? Ron told himself firmly that he shouldn’t think that kind of things. He wasn’t sure of his life, so thinking that he would live was absurd.

It won’t be much longer now, don’t worry.

What wouldn’t be much longer? Was he going mad? One tentacle obscured Ron’s vision, another was trying to get in his ear.

I’ll finally have a body again. I wonder if the boy’s wand will suit me. Probably not.

Ron caught on. Foreign thoughts were invading his mind!

Don’t struggle so much, boy, it’ll be over in a moment.

“NOOOO!” Ron screamed. He tried to find the brain with his hands.

Another second, maybe two –

After what seemed an eternity, he found it. He pulled at it, but he wasn’t strong enough.

– and I’ll be in your brain. Any moment now; you’d better give up.

More tentacles were wrapping themselves around his head, and they weren’t about to let him go. At the same time, the brain itself was pressing on his chest, making it difficult to breathe.

Then two other hands – probably Neville’s – were also pulling at the brain.

“Hold ob, Ron!” Neville’s voice said from somewhere near.

No, stop struggling, stupid kid! You won’t win anyway.

Together, they managed to pull the brain a few inches away from Ron’s chest, and a few tentacles slipped from his head.

I was almost there! But I will have victory!

Another tentacle left his head, and settled around his shoulder. The two other hands disappeared from the brain, and it came an inch nearer again.

“I have do go and helb Harry, now,” Neville said. “Keeb fighding, Ron!”

And Ron fought. He pulled at the tentacles, punched the brain, rolled over on the ground, trying to crush it, and even bit one of the tentacles. But that was a mistake. Not only did the thing have a horrible taste, it also took advantage from Ron’s open mouth and tried to get in it. Ron had to use both hands to pull it out again and stop it from suffocating him, but at the same time three other tentacles reached his head. During all this, the brain was still invading Ron’s mind with strange thoughts.

Don’t pull that hard, stupid boy, you’re damaging my tentacles!

You don’t need to be afraid, I don’t think you’ll have much pain when I take over.

Think of all the things I could do while impersonating you!

I might be going to Hogwarts, too. You’re a wizard, aren’t you?

Something clicked in Ron’s mind when this thought intruded. He was a wizard. He had been a wizard for all his life. What did wizards do in a fight? They used their wands!

Ron tried to hold the brain off with his left hand, and with his right pulled his wand out. What spell should he use? For a moment, his mind was blank. Then –


He stopped just in time. What if he missed and Stunned himself? He couldn’t risk that. He would need to use some less harming spell.

Expelliarmus!” Ron yelled, carefully pointing his wand at the brain.

One tentacle was forced to let go, but the other ones gripped Ron just as hard. Ron forced himself to think. What had he learned in the DA? The Patronus Charm? That wouldn’t be any help, and besides, he couldn’t even conjure a proper Patronus.

Incendio!” he cried, but the brain was made of soggy material and didn’t catch fire.

I’m not afraid of your wand, you know.

Ron summoned all his strength to pull a tentacle off his head and thought. What if the brain was immune to spells? Ron would be left fighting forever. Even Harry and Neville didn’t care about him any more. No, there had to be a defence. Probably something ... irregular.

Rictusempra!” Ron bellowed. The brain, hit with the Tickling Charm, released Ron and fell to the ground next to him, its tentacles wriggling. With another flick of his wand, Ron Banished the brain to the tank where he belonged.

He was free.

He tried to stand up, but thought better of it. He just slid backwards over the floor and sat with his back against a desk. Then he looked around. Ginny was sitting on the floor not far away from him. She didn’t seem to be able to speak. She looked weird. Her face was white, her mouth half-open. Ron giggled. Another expression crossed Ginny’s face – one Ron didn’t understand. He looked to the left and saw Loony Lovegood lying on the floor. Her mouth was open, too, and she seemed to be gazing to the ceiling.

There was a noise at Ron’s left. He looked at the door. Ginny looked that way too. Then the door burst open, and three people ran in. Ron knew these people. Mad-Eye Moody led the way, followed by Tonks and Kingsley Shacklebolt. The skidded to a halt when they saw all the people on the floor.

“What happened? Ron? Ginny?” asked Tonks, who had bubblegum pink hair. “Are you all right?”

Ron giggled. How could he explain everything? Uranus, the brain, foreign thoughts, Loony Lovegood –

“Never mind us,” said Ginny. “Harry and Neville are fighting about ten Death Eaters somewhere.”

The three adults started running again and disappeared through a door at the opposite side of the room.

Ron felt a bit bettter, so he got to his feet and started walking to the door the adults had come through. He paused beside Ginny.

“What is this room, Ginny?” he asked. “Why are we here? And what are Moody and Tonks and Kingsley doing here?”

Ginny looked up at him, again with a strange expression on her face. She sighed and said, “I don’t know, Ron. Can you remember what happened to you?”

“Oh yes, I can remember lots of things!” Ron said happily. “Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were on one line. Then we met Harry. But he walked away, and a brain attacked me. It was talking to me in my head, it was very strange. I’ve tickled it, and now everything is all right again.”

Ginny averted her eyes and sighed again. Ron didn’t understand. He was telling her about the funny things he had experienced, but she didn’t seem to like it! Maybe she wanted it to have happened to herself. Although the brain trying to take over hadn’t been a very nice experience.

With Ginny still looking another way, Ron walked to the door. He wondered what would happen if he opened it.

But then someone came running out of the door at the other end of the room. Ron recognised her, it was Mad Bellatrix. She pointed her wand over her shoulder and shouted something. The tank with brains rose in the air, and then crashed on the floor. Green liquid flooded the room, and brains were all over the floor. A monster brain came running out of the mess. It was almost as tall Ron, was drenched in green potion and was wearing glasses. It was Harry!

“Harry – what –?” Ginny said.

Ron giggled. Harry looked really funny. But Harry wasn’t laughing. He didn’t even look at Ron. He ran past him and went through the door – just as Mad Bellatrix had done.

Ron sank down on the floor, thoroughly disappointed. Why hadn’t Harry stopped and laughed with Ron about how he was looking, and about the others, and Uranus, and this whole room, this whole building. Why didn’t Harry care about Ron?

Then he caught sight of the brains on the floor. He jumped to his feet and walked towards them. “Rictusempra! Rictusempra!

He bewitched all the brains, until they were scurrying harmless on the floor.

Dumbledore came in. So the Headmaster was also here. But they weren’t at Hogwarts. Ron had never seen such a room at Hogwarts before.

Dumbledore had floated a stretcher into the room. Tonks was lying on the stretcher, sleeping. It was a strange place to be asleep. Maybe it was very late at night. He felt a bit sleepy himself.

Suddenly Dumbledore was in front of Ron. Ron smiled at him.

“Ron,” Dumbledore said kindly, “do you know where Hermione is?”

“She’s lying there,” Ron said, pointing, “but she’s no fun at all, she doesn’t do anything. She didn’t even help when the brain was attacking me.”

“Thank you, Ron,” Dumbledore said. He turned around and pointed his wand at a desk.


The desk glowed blue. Ron stared at it, fascinated. After a few seconds, it stopped glowing, and it looked the same as before.

Kingsley stepped between Ron and the desk.

“Could you lie down on this stretcher, Ron?” he asked.

Ron obeyed. He didn’t see the point, but lying on a stretcher was undoubtedly more comfortable than sitting on the ground.

His stretcher moved slowly towards the desk which had glowed blue before. Kingsley took Ron’s left hand and laid it on the desk. Other hands were joining his.

“There we go,” Kingsley said. “One – two – three –”

Ron felt a jerk behind his navel and the world dissolved around him.

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