Queen of Witches
Based entirely on JK Rowling’s Harry
Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
A/N – Thanks to Honeychurch for the beta and to Doctor Aicha for sitting in
a dark cabin with me two summers ago and feeding me Cremos while I wrote
this. You are the One Soda Fairy.
Thanks to everyone who’s actually reading
this again – your reviews are putting the biggest,
stupidest grin on my face.
It’s been way too long. Gwen
missed you too.
And a reminder, because some of you are
saying you’re looking forward to Hermione’s thoughts throughout OotP and I
don’t want anyone to get disappointed: DO NOT expect this 5th diary
to be complete. As Azyne so perfectly
put it, I’m going to scam my way out of this worse than Malfoy playing
Also, if random text is underlined again in
this chapter, I apologize. Something is
up with my HTML.
I don’t know wuzzgoinon with that.
Disclaimer – It's all JKR's.
It's really early, and I'm
exhausted, and my neck hurts. I'm used
What time is it?
It's barely even light
out. Ginny's fast asleep. I wish I could sleep like she does.
I hate this room. I hate being awake in it alone. There are the most hideous shadows, and I'm
just going to pretend I can't see that
clock. I wish I hadn't woken up. It's not even six. No one else will be awake for hours, and I don't want to be
either, I'm so tired.
Try to go back to
I can't. My mind's racing. The things I found out yesterday… I can hardly comprehend all of
it. I never even told you about lunch,
or about who else lives here, or about Percy.
They didn't tell me about it
until late last night when they were sure their parents were in bed. Ron, Ginny and the twins and I sat up in
here, and they told me everything. No
one said a word about it at lunch or dinner, though there was one really
awkward moment. Very awkward, now I
look back on it. I'm glad I didn't know
the whole story at the time, or I would have been mortified.
I went down to the kitchen
with Ron, and ate lunch with the Weasleys, Sirius, and Professor Lupin.
Yes - he's staying here too,
and it was so good to see him - and it was good to see Sirius… sort of. Sirius unnerves me. And I think he hates this house - he didn't
even say hello. He just sort of barked
at me, "Well, Hermione, what's your opinion
of this place?"
I'm glad Ron had already told
me that it was Sirius's house, or I might have said that it was an evil, nasty,
disgusting place. As it was, I only
said that I think it's fascinating the way the house is Unplottable and Secret
Kept. I went on about how we haven't
studied the theory of invisible spatial adjustment in Charms yet. I told him that I hope we'll study it this
year, because it's the most amazing magic.
Taking space that doesn't exist, and filling it up with actual, physical
stuff - or taking actual, physical stuff and shrinking it to allow for more
space - like the way this house ballooned out between the other two. The houses on either side had to adjust to
suit it, but it happened in such a way that the people inside couldn't feel a
thing, or even notice a change. Nothing
physical actually changes. It's
other-dimensional. It's so interesting. It's like the tents we used at the Quidditch
World Cup. I've always wanted to know
precisely how that works, and I really do hope we study it this year, because I
have the basic grasp of it, but I
really need to study the developmental theory -
You said all this to
Sirius? Or are you just this excited
about spatial adjustment?
Oh. Well both. I am excited about it, and I also said
most of those things to Sirius. I
essentially gave a lecture to the whole table - I'm sure I bored most of
them. But Professor Lupin laughed and
said I was just as he remembered. He
told me he'd often wondered about my studies since he'd left Hogwarts. He wanted to know if I was still making top
marks - and then he said he imagined he could guess, based on my speech, and he
grinned. Mrs. Weasley said, "Of
course she makes top marks. Listen to her. You'd think it would be an example for my own children." And
Bill said, "Oh, Mum, they're all doing great - come on, sit down and eat
with us." But then he pointed at me
with his fork and said that imaginary spatial theory is some of the coolest
stuff I'll ever study. I like him.
Bill Weasley's there
Yes, he never went back to
Egypt - he's working at Gringotts here in London. All the Weasleys live here, for the time being, except Charlie
and Percy. Charlie's still in
Romania. He's supposed to be recruiting
new members to the Order.
That's what I asked. I said, "And where's Percy? At the Ministry?"
Mr. Weasley was passing a
plate of sandwiches to Fred when I said it.
He dropped the plate with a crash - and then there was such a
silence. The Weasleys all looked down
at their plates, and then suddenly Mrs. Weasley, who had just sat down, stood
up and mumbled something about needing a different apron. She left the kitchen in a hurry, with her
eyes full of tears.
Is… is Percy all
Yes. But I thought he might be dead. That was the way they all reacted. And then Ginny said, really gently, that
she'd explain later where Percy was, and she asked me to pass the juice. It was really hard not to ask more questions
right then - I was so curious. But all
the Weasleys looked like they were going to be sick, and Professor Lupin caught
my eye and let me know without a word that it was really bad. So I knew better than to press. And then he and Bill got up and pulled their
wands and made more sandwiches really quickly, apologizing that they wouldn't
be anything like Mrs. Weasley's. And
then we all ate and talked a little.
The only one who didn't talk much again after that was Mr. Weasley. He finished his sandwich, got up, patted my
shoulder, and said he was very glad I'd come.
And then he went back to work.
He took the whole morning off in order to pick me up from King's Cross. Ron said that his mum really should have
been the one to go, but that his dad insisted that he take on the
responsibility. But Ginny said that
their dad wasn't worried about the responsibility at all - it was the
underground he was interested in. Though
she admitted she had enjoyed the underground too. She said she was glad she'd been the one allowed to come and get
me, and Ron gave her a dirty look. Ron
apparently tried to convince his parents to let him go to King's Cross, so that he
could be the one to pick me up.
Did he tell you that?
No, it was George. He gave me a sly grin and said that Ron
threw an absolute paddy when their dad said that he was only going to take
Why did it have to be
For the sake of consistency,
simplicity and safety, according to Professor Lupin. Ginny says it's because she's a better actress. And also because I would have wondered why
Ron was there, if I'd seen him, because he doesn't take any extra courses and
I'm clever enough to have thought about it, and to have been too suspicious to
come through the barrier. That was
proved, she said, by the way I reacted on the platform - pulling my wand and
Sirius was interested in
that. He said, "Did you really,
Hermione?" And Ginny said, "Yes
- when she saw there wasn't a train, and that it was just the two of us, she
nearly had a heart attack. She thought
we'd trapped her or something."
The twins thought that was
very funny, but Sirius just said, "Well.
I suppose we're all getting quite paranoid, aren't we. That's all right, though. That's what keeps you alive."
So… Ron threw a fit,
I don't know if he did, I
wasn't here, and the twins are prone to exaggeration. But it's hardly important - the thing is, no one was able to tell
me what had happened with Percy, because just as we finished lunch, there was a
really frightening, cackling noise, and a fire roared up in the kitchen
fireplace and it sort of… ejected the kettle toward all of us. And the kettle was scalding hot. It skidded down the table toward Sirius in
particular, whistling horribly with steam, and then its top came flying off and
some of the water inside it splashed up into Sirius's face and made him clutch
at his eyes and swear up a storm.
Goodness. His own house attacking him - is he all
Some of his skin was
burnt. Professor Lupin patched him up,
but it was very alarming. Bill told us that things in the kitchen have been
attacking his mum ever since they got to this house - apparently we have to
decontaminate the house of Dark arts so that we'll be able to live in it
without getting hurt. Or killed.
Decontaminate… but you
can’t even use your wands.
I know. But we started yesterday. Between lunch and dinner, Ron and I spent
hours clearing out the fireplace. Ron
did a lot of grumbling while we worked.
He told me that his parents said that we'd be allowed to help the Order
while we were here, but that so far all they've asked us kids to do is clean -
and without magic. But we had to do the
fireplace so that Bill could get to the bricks and start breaking whatever
curse is on them.
I had forgotten that
he's a Curse Breaker.
Well, he's doing a desk job
for Gringotts, at the moment. I don't
think he likes it. He took yesterday morning
off to do some sort of guard duty for the Order. I'm not sure exactly what, though. And then he went back to work, and by the time he got home it was
nearly dinner and we had finished clearing out the fireplace. It hadn't been cleaned in a decade, and
there must have been a hundred shriveled salamander corpses in it - and some
things that looked like miniature human arm and leg bones, all charred and
crumbling. It was revolting. Not to mention that it seemed to have a mind
of its own. It coughed soot and bones
all over us. Ron and I were both black
all over by the time we were finished.
We looked ridiculous. And then I
couldn't even have a bath, because
the toilets have murderous ghouls in them and the taps are all spouting brown
water. Mrs. Weasley had to freeze the
taps and make a tubful of uncontaminated water materialize for me so that I
could get myself clean. Don’t even ask
what we have to do to be able to use the toilets.
And then we all ate dinner,
and then… we came back up here and they told me about Percy. And it's horrible.
What is it?
Four nights ago, Percy moved
out of the Burrow. He won't speak to
his family anymore.
Because he was offered a high
position at the Ministry of Magic.
Junior Assistant to the Minister - in Fudge's own office.
And part of the job is
that he has to stop speaking to his family?
I don't quite…
No. The thing is, Percy was very nearly sacked at the end of the
Because he hadn't reported
that there was clearly something wrong with Mr. Crouch, or that anything was
awry in his department. The twins say
that it was because Percy fancied being in charge, but… I don't know. And I'm not standing up for Percy - not
after the sorts of things he said.
What did he say?
I'm getting there. I'm just saying, I'm not standing up for
Percy. But I think I might understand
him a little better than his family - except perhaps for Mrs. Weasley. And I don't think he was trying to take over
Mr. Crouch's department simply because he fancied being in charge. I think he really admired Mr. Crouch, and
that he didn't want to make his boss look bad.
And I think that he was probably afraid that if he did report Mr. Crouch's behavior, he would lose his job - and he'd
always worked so hard to get a position at the Ministry. I think that he probably did want a chance to prove that he could
do things on his own - I mean, his boss never even bothered to learn his name
properly, so I'm sure Percy wanted to prove himself, and gain some real
recognition for his hard work, but I'm not sure that's necessarily a bad
thing. I mean… I don't personally mind it when someone recognizes my hard work. Does that make me horrible?
Of course not. But Percy should have reported that Mr.
Crouch was neglecting his duties. You
would have reported it.
Oh, absolutely. No doubt about it. I'm just saying that I think there are more reasons for his
behavior than just sheer ambition. But anyway,
he was in definite danger of losing his job last week. Ron said there was an inquiry and
everything, and that Percy was incredibly depressed. Their dad was really worried about him, they said. Percy was just going to work and coming home
and shutting himself up in his room, without eating or anything. They were all worried about him.
How on earth did he
get a job in the Minister's office?
Well, that's the
question. It was very, very
sudden. He just came home four days
ago, very pleased with himself, and told Mr. Weasley that he - Percy - had been
promoted. He said it in front of
everyone, and Ginny said he looked like he expected them all to burst into
But instead, their dad really
quietly asked Percy if he thought it was wise to accept a position in Fudge's
office, just at present.
Didn’t take it well. He apparently went very cold and said,
"Wise? And why wouldn't it
"Because Cornelius Fudge
does not believe that You-Know-Who is back.
He has no respect for Dumbledore.
You know very well that Fudge doesn't plan to work with Dumbledore to
Then the Minister
hasn't changed his mind? He still
thinks Harry's experience in the graveyard –
Is a lie. He thinks that Harry's a mad liar, and that
Dumbledore's a mad old fool to listen to Harry. Fudge has been going round the Ministry making sure that no one
has any personal contact with Dumbledore.
He's been telling people that if they do side with Dumbledore, then there is no place for them in the
Ministry of Magic.
I know. And Percy knows it. And he knows that
his dad - his whole family, really - does
side with Dumbledore. He knew they
were preparing to leave home, he knew they were getting ready to join the
fight. And he was still really excited
to have been promoted at the Ministry.
I mean… I do understand. Sort
of. It's the job he's wanted all his
Well, what did Percy
say in return?
He said that just because the
whole world's been bowing down to Dumbledore for years, it doesn't mean that
the Minister of Magic has to do it. He
said that just because Harry Potter's a household name doesn't make him some
kind of god. He said he reckons Harry is mad, and that Dumbledore should consider the adult opinions of
superior wizards, like Cornelius Fudge, over the adolescent ramblings of famous
Wish I were. And then Mr. Weasley said, "Percy, you
are too intelligent not to use your head.
Coming so soon after your inquiry, this promotion is abrupt. Too abrupt. It's suspect."
Ron said that for a minute,
all you could hear in the Burrow was the ticking of the clock and Percy's
breathing. And then his dad continued.
"Fudge must know that
this family is in league with Dumbledore.
And with Harry. It continues to
surprise me that he lets me keep my job
- the only reason I think he does it is that he wants to have an eye on
me. And by bringing you into his
office, I have to wonder if he intends to use you to spy on our family and
Oh, how that must have
stung. Poor Percy - even if he was in
the wrong. To have it suggested to him,
by his own father, that his merit alone was not enough to earn him recognition. That he was only good to the Minister as a
pair of eyes, after all his hard work.
It must have been very, very difficult to hear.
Just wait. You won't say poor Percy in a minute.
They said he went completely
insane, right there in the middle of the front room. They said he rounded on his father and gave an awful laugh, and
then said something like - "Oh, I see. That's right, pretend you're not impressed,
but it's just that you can't feel happy for me, can you? Wish it were you, don't you? But you'll never move ahead at the Ministry
- you've never had an ounce of my ambition,
which is why you've been stuck in that dingy office for half your life, and
we've never had a Knut to spare. Do you
have any idea what it's been like for me, trying to scratch out a career for
myself with your Muggle obsession hanging over my head? Do you have any idea what a horrible reputation you've got with the people who count?"
Ginny said their dad went
white, and then he shouted right back - "The people who count for what,
Percy? How exactly do you determine who
counts? Compare their paychecks?"
And then Percy went on about
how he's tired of being poor and tired of having a father who's a
laughingstock. He said his father has
never made a difference to the Ministry because he's as much a lunatic as
Harry, running around after plugs and nonsense. He said that You-Know-Who is a figment of everyone's imagination
and that if his father believes Harry and wants to run around with Dumbledore,
then he's an imbecile.
He called his father -
Yes. Fred said that Mr. Weasley shouted,
"The way things are right now, anyone who isn't running around with Dumbledore is either a blind fool or a traitor." And Percy shouted back, "There's only one traitor in this
room, and he's going to go down right along with Dumbledore - and drag his
family with him. Mark my words."
Ginny said that Percy accused
their father of dragging her and Ron into it without their consent, because
they're not of age, and everyone else is, Percy thinks that they shouldn't be
exposed to all this lunacy. He said
that they're going to be ruined by it, just like their father, and that if he's
willing to destroy his whole family over something Harry claims is true, then
he's worse than Percy thought.
Percy said he doesn't see how
anyone in their right mind can believe Harry when the Ministry and the Prophet both know that all his stories
are nothing but cock and bull. Mr.
Weasley argued that the Prophet isn't
the ultimate authority, but Percy seems to think it's a better source of
information than "a mad old man and a fourteen-year-old boy."
Is that really what he
thinks of them?
That's what Ron said. Ron looked ready to kill something the whole
time he was talking. He said that Percy
rambled on, at the end of the argument, about how glad he is that he's got this
new position and a new salary, because he can finally escape their "pit of a house" and get far away from all
All of them? His family?
He said that?
I'm sure he did. You should have seen their faces as they
were telling me all this. White and
hard. I've never seen Ginny look so
hurt. I've never seen Ron and the twins
No wonder Mrs. Weasley
cried. No wonder Mr. Weasley dropped
the sandwiches. I'm so sorry I brought
Percy up at the table.
You couldn't have
known. Is… is that really how the
Well, after Percy said that
he wanted to get away from them, Mr. Weasley told Percy that if that was how he
felt about it, then he feared for what would happen to him. He shouted that he'd never expected a son of
his to put his own ambition ahead of his family, and his world, and his
heart. He shouted at Percy that if he
was going to go into his new position blindly, without examining the offer for
what it really was - that if it was more pleasant for Percy to turn himself
into Fudge's lapdog than to clearly view the facts…
Oh… he said that to
Well, what was he to say?
It's true. Percy would rather
suck up to the Minister and believe he's important than consider, for one
second, that there's something really dodgy about all this. He just won't let himself believe it. He's blind - worse, he wants to be blind. He wants
to believe the Prophet, even after he
saw how badly Skeeter skewed… at
least, I thought he must have seen…
because he's so clever. I've always admired him for being so
faithful to his studies and for knowing his priorities and being unafraid to be
different from his brothers, but now… How can someone so clever be so
completely stupid? How… I mean, I know
that a lot of people are blind right now, but I… wouldn't have expected a
Weasley… not even Percy. How… how could
he say those things? Those horrible
I keep remembering how he
marched right out to fight the Death Eaters that night at the Quidditch World
Cup, and came back bleeding like the rest of them. I remember how pale he was when we came up from the bottom of the
lake, during the second task. He loves
Ron. He loves Ginny - he used to fuss
over her so much in her first year, he was the only person who noticed that there was something really amiss with
her. He loves his family, I know he
does. I know he does. He has to.
What happened to him?
I wish I knew.
He packed his things that
night, and moved straight up here, to London.
He hasn't tried to contact his family since. Ron says that, as far as they know, Percy and his dad just ignore
each other at the Ministry, if they see each other at all. And then Ron sort of slumped back in his
chair and looked at his knees and said, "He's our brother. Our brother. He's always been a git, but… how could he?" And Ginny
gave an angry sob, and George cracked his knuckles. Fred was silent for a minute, and then he said, in a hollow sort
of voice, "I hope he pays for all those things he said to Dad. I hope the bastard pays."
He's paying already.
What… do you mean?
Betrayal is the
cruelest crime. Look at the Potters and
Pettigrew. To betray someone you love
is to hurt them deeply - possibly even kill them - but who is it that pays in
But Pettigrew hasn't paid.
Hasn't he? Living twelve years as a rat. Unable to escape from the service of a demon
who forced him to sever his own hand.
Forced to live with the memories of his friends, and to know that in
their last moments on earth, they must have despised him. He's paying all the time.
But Percy… Percy isn't. He came up here, he took a flat -
How on earth did Percy
get a flat of his own so quickly?
I asked the same thing. Apparently the Ministry set it up for him
the morning after he left.
From nearly sacking
him to accommodating him so entirely.
How very convenient.
I know. They probably do want him for a spy. It'll be difficult for him to spy now,
though, won't it. He doesn't live with
his family anymore.
What a fool he was not
to have a moment of doubt at such an abrupt change in status. Though I'm sure he did have doubts. I'm sure he simply refused to acknowledge them. Believe me, Hermione… I know something about
this. You can't knowingly turn on a
person you love without paying for it dearly.
More dearly than you can comprehend at the moment of betrayal. If regret and fear and self-loathing aren't
eating at him already, then my life taught me nothing.
He knows about the
Order, doesn't he?
He must. The Weasleys were preparing to come here
almost from the moment they arrived home, Ron said. They got back to the Burrow and their parents wouldn't even let
them unpack their trunks.
You don't suppose… you
don't suppose that he informed Fudge of the Order, and that it was that
information that earned him his sudden promotion?
Oh. Oh, I don't… I mean, he said horrible things, but they're still
his family, I'm not sure if he could bold-facedly march into the Minister's
office and hand Fudge that kind of information. Though… I suppose…
His own boss didn't
even know his last name. So then, how
on earth would his name have come to the attention of the Minister? Even if Fudge did want a spy, it doesn't
seem the most obvious connection, does it?
No… but perhaps it was
something to do with the inquiry.
Perhaps whoever was investigating Percy's behavior at work had written
up a report and put it in front of the Minister for inspection - you know, for
a final decision as to whether Percy should be sacked. Perhaps Fudge looked at the report and
realized that he had an opportunity there.
Hm. I hadn't thought of that. It's very possible.
I have to think of it that
way. I can't let myself imagine Percy
giving his own family away so totally.
Not even after what he said. I
won't believe it.
Don't block it out
entirely, though. If information is
somehow leaked about the Order, you won't want to put it past Percy. You won't want to be blind.
No. I won't.
I don't… I know I always say
I'm old enough to manage things.
But not all of this. It's too much for me. I don't want to be a part of it. I mean… I do. I wouldn't back out for the world - this is where I belong, and
I'm in it. But it all hurts so
much. And there's no escaping it. There's none of the old… levity. I don't know. There's no laughter.
is. You can't see it now, because
I haven't laughed all
day. A day with the Weasleys, and
nothing was funny. There's something so
wrong about that.
Ginny said that as Percy was
leaving the Burrow, their mother begged him to take it all back, to say he
didn't mean it, to apologize and to stay.
She was telling him she loved him as he was walking out the door. But he told her he did mean it - that he meant all of it - and that she should
consider what she's doing, siding with Mr. Weasley and Dumbledore. And then Percy left - and as soon as he was
out the door, Mrs. Weasley begged Mr. Weasley to go after him and forgive
him. But Ron said their dad wasn't
having any of it. Mr. Weasley said
"No, Molly. If that's what he
really feels - if that's how he sees me, and if he's determined to be
completely blind, then I don't want…"
But Ron said he wouldn't
finish his sentence. He said his dad
started sentences like that over and over for the rest of the night. Saying "I don't want…" or "He'll never be allowed…" or
"He's not one of…" and then just clamping his mouth shut and going
pale, while Mrs. Weasley cried her heart out.
And the next day, Mrs.
Weasley came to London by herself, to beg Percy again to come home. But Percy shut the door in her face.
I can't believe this only
happened four days ago. None of them
have really been able to digest it. The
twins said that when their mum came home from London, three days ago now, she
was such a wreck that she couldn't even speak.
She just locked herself in her bedroom and sobbed for the rest of the
day. And in the meantime, their dad
took the twins aside and very harshly questioned them, regarding their
loyalties. They won't tell us what was
said, but they looked very grim and very… proud about it.
And that night, after Mr.
Weasley had determined that he could trust them, he held a family meeting in
the kitchen of the Burrow. He told Fred
and George and Ron and Ginny that it was time to pack up their things for the
summer and for the year. They all flew
here together in the middle of the night.
They completely abandoned the Burrow, at least for the summer.
That's it, really. That's… the whole story. They all looked like they'd been run over by
a train when they were finished telling it.
Honestly, I can't believe
they told me everything so candidly. It
doesn't surprise me that Ginny did, but the twins have never been very keen on
me - or at least, that was my impression - and Ron's always been very sensitive
about his family's financial status and things, but he only flinched a little
when he was repeating the things Percy said.
It's a terrible thing to be included in, but… it was almost an honor to
be so included? If that makes sense?
It makes me feel I'm really
one of them, which is… such a change, after being at home and knowing that my
parents just couldn't understand.
Anyway. Once the boys went up to bed last night,
Ginny climbed under her covers and covered her face and raged about Percy for a
long time. I thought she might have
been crying, under all the shouting, so I sat beside her and tried to help her,
but she just shouted that she didn't want
to be sad about Percy, that he didn't deserve it, that he was a traitor to
all of them, and that she didn't care if he was
gone. But I know she does. She always laughed at Percy like the rest of
them, and she never liked him fussing over her, but he did take special care of
her, and she loved him. They all loved
him. They're all… hurting. Percy isn't even my brother, and I feel
betrayed, so I can't even imagine what they’re going through.
Ginny told me, right before
she went to sleep, that her dad did give
her and Ron a choice about this. She
said they were questioned, just like the twins. But she was too tired to get into it.
I want to ask Ron about it
And he's knocking. He's awake this early? Wait a minute…
Gwen, I have been writing for
nearly THREE hours. It's almost
nine. No wonder my hand is
cramping. Hang on, would you?
Okay, I'm going down to
breakfast with Ron. We're going to
write letters to Harry and read the paper and start decontaminating the
Sounds like a lovely,
romantic morning to me.
There's some levity
for you. Goodbye.
"supposed" to be my first day back at Hogwarts.
Instead, I just had the most
unsettling experience. Have you… ever
had a moment in which your ideals were challenged and you almost forgot about
them because you felt personally insulted?
I'm afraid you'll have
to put it all in context.
You know the elf I was
telling you about.
Yes. Well, it's Kreacher, actually. Not that that's much better. But Ron and Ginny and the twins and I were
working our way through the pantry, throwing out maggoty food and old rotted stuff
in pickle jars -
- when the twins told Ron
that Kreacher had been in their room last night, and they admitted that he
really was creepy. And Ron said, "I told you to bar your door, didn't I! Hermione, I woke up in the middle of the night, our first night
here, and that bloody elf was prowling around my room, muttering the nastiest
stuff - he's enough to stop your heart, I'm telling you."
But I didn't answer. I was too angry about his name being
"Creature" and I told them all so, and they laughed and told me how
it was really spelled. I asked them how
that was different, when the meaning was the same, and George said I take
things too seriously. And then I heard
this perfectly horrible voice, all low and croaky, right behind me.
"Master has let a new
brat into my Mistress's house, and the brat is friends with the nasty little
blood traitors, she is stealing from my Mistress's kitchen, oh yes…"
And I turned and saw
Kreacher. He's old and withered, and
his flesh is sagging, and he wears nothing but a loincloth - it was all I could
do not to recoil. He was staring right
at me with big, watery, bloodshot eyes.
Because I'm the "new brat", you see.
But I wanted to set an
example for the rest of them, and I didn't want Kreacher to see my
disgust. It's not his fault he's been
ill-used and that he's forced to go about nearly naked. It's not his fault he's angry - I'd be
angry, too, if my ancestors' heads were mounted on the wall and I knew I was
next in line for decapitation. So I
put out my hand to him and said, "You must be Kreacher. It's very nice to meet you - I'm Hermione
But he didn't offer his hand
in return. He stared at mine and said,
"Granger… she says her name is Granger, but Kreacher has never heard that
name in his Mistress's house, oh no… And Kreacher knows the names of all pureblood
wizards, for they are all on the tapestry, all on the tapestry…"
And I smiled and said,
"You wouldn't have heard of me, then.
You would have thought I said
I wanted to spear him and cook him alive.
He took several steps back, breathing heavily, and he pointed at me and
gave a low, garbled sort of screech.
"A Mudblood in my Mistress's house - Master has let a Mudblood into
his mother's house - dirty Mudblood, filthy
Mudblood - oh, how my Mistress would cry, how she would hate to see her
house defiled -"
Well the twins and Ginny were
so shocked that they just stood there with their mouths hanging open. And I was so hurt that I wasn't sure how to
continue. But Ron reacted right
away. He was holding a sack of rice in
his hand, and he started to swing it at Kreacher, shouting, "DON'T YOU
CALL HER A MUDBLOOD, YOU VICIOUS LITTLE -"
But I whirled around in front
of him and got hit with the rice myself, and fought him back and begged him to
leave Kreacher alone, and by the time I turned around again, Kreacher had
disappeared, and he hadn't been hurt.
But in my heart, I wanted Ron
to hit him. In my heart, I was glad
Ron reacted that way.
I feel sick.
No. What kind of person am I?
How can I go on and on about elf rights, and then as soon as I meet one
who's been truly abused - physically and mentally - into believing in the
morals set down for him by his masters - which is only natural, because he didn't have a choice - I want to hit him with a sack of rice for calling me a
Because you're human.
So… you have emotions
that aren't always the ones you would have chosen.
So I'm secretly malicious,
and secretly I believe myself superior to other creatures.
Oh, I don't think
so. Your reaction had nothing to do
with believing yourself superior to other creatures. It had to do with your being very hurt. After all, you've had similar reactions to Malfoy, and he's human.
You know what I
mean. It has nothing to do with species
and everything to do with the fact that Kreacher was in the wrong to say what
But he doesn't know it's wrong. He's been conditioned to believe those
things - and because I haven't, it's
my job, as an educated creature, to behave according to my education. It's my job to defend creatures who haven't
had the same privileges I've had, and to see things from not only my
perspective but also from theirs -
Which is exactly what
you did. You protected him, even though
you were hurt by him.
Yes, but in my heart -
Yes, but you mastered
your heart and behaved according to your ideals. Hermione, don't you realize that to stick to ideals requires
self-mastery of exactly that nature?
What you felt was natural. What
you did was noble. To have ideals - well. That's easy. But to live by them is often excruciating. Or so I'm told.
It's… hard to pity
Kreacher. I know I should, but I'm
still angry. I'm not a brat, I'm not a Mudblood, but if Sirius's whole
family believes in things like that, then I wonder how he…
Don't assume what
Sirius believes. After all, we are not
all exactly like our families. Look at
you. Look at… Percy.
No, I just wonder how he got
away, that’s all. After Kreacher left
the room, I told them all that I needed the loo, and I came up here to sort
myself out. They're waiting for me,
I don't know what to think of
What do you mean?
I mean… part of me wanted him
to defend me the way he was going to.
But part of me is so disappointed that Ron can't be compassionate toward
the elves. I so much want him to
understand their plight. Why can't he?
Well… very much like
you, what Ron felt was natural, and… what he chose to do was also noble, in its
No it wasn't. He hauled off with a sack of rice and tried
to beat an elf over the head.
In defense of
you. Because he doesn't want you
hurt. His show of nobility was not
toward the elf, to be sure. But where
you were concerned?
But he… can't just go round
hitting everyone who tries to hurt me.
Perhaps not. But consider how you would feel if Ron
didn't bat an eye when you were called such a vicious name. What if he had continued throwing maggoty
food away without so much as looking up?
What if you'd been standing there, stunned and hurt, and he'd said,
"Oh, ignore him, Hermione. He's
just a poor, abused elf, he doesn't know any better."
I'd… be proud of him for
I'm not sure.
Go on downstairs then,
and help your friends, and think about it.
All right. Bye.
I've decided how I'm going to
I'm knitting some hats. I asked Mrs. Weasley if she could set me up
with a pair of needles and some wool.
She looked really surprised and pleased, and said that she certainly
would, and that I could knit with her, if I like. She knits with magic, of course, but she said that she could
charm her needles to give me a tutorial.
I said I'd like that, because I learned how to knit when I was ten, but
I haven't done it since, and I think I might've forgotten how. So I'm going to have a knitting lesson as
soon as there's time, and then I'm going to make some hats, and I already feel
much better about everything.
I can see why. Knitting hats purifies the soul.
Don't be ridiculous. I'm not knitting them to purify my soul, I'm
knitting them for the elves at Hogwarts.
The ones who haven’t been freed.
Everyone but Dobby,
And Winky. I wonder how she's doing. Anyway, I plan to make as many as possible,
and then leave them out for the elves to grab.
So that they can be free. Isn't
that a good idea?
Oh never mind. If you don't like my idea, don't tell me,
it'll only exasperate me, and I don't want to be exasperated right now. It was really nice of Mrs. Weasley to say
she'd help me - I wondered if she would.
I still wonder what she thinks of me.
It's only been two months or so since Easter, and she was angry enough
at me then to leave me out of the chocolate eggs. But she must have got over it.
Or else she's really glad that someone wants to learn to knit.
Anyway, you'll never guess
Gwen, please. Although I really should write back to
him. Although what Ron would say about
spending one of our two-owls-per-day on a letter to Viktor, I just don't
I'll bet I can
I suppose I could ask Mr.
Weasley to post an owl for me from the Ministry. I'm sure he would, he's just so nice. Anyway, it's Buckbeak!
That's who's here. He's
upstairs, Sirius is keeping him here at headquarters.
Sirius is keeping a
hippogriff at headquarters.
I know, it's a bit mad. And he's keeping Buckbeak in his dead
mother's bedroom. I said I was really
sorry about his mother, but Sirius just laughed at me and said that, when I meet her, I won't be sorry any
Meet… his dead mother.
He says there's a wizard
portrait of her in the house. I haven't
seen it yet. Sirius said that's a
miracle. He said he's "shocked the
old hag can keep her filthy mouth shut for four days at a stretch." When he said that, Ron and I gave each other the most startled looks. Neither of us would ever talk about our mothers
Well, I should hope
But Sirius really seems to
hate his. I mean, keeping a hippogriff
in your dead mother's bedroom isn't much of a mark of respect, is it?
Not where I come from,
And he's feeding Buckbeak
bags and bags of rats. He says he's
doing us all a favor, clearing the rats out of the basement so that we don't
have to deal with them, along with everything else. But I can't see how he'd get that
many rats out of the basement unless he was Summoning them from the sewer
or something. I think he does it
mostly for his own sake. I think he has
a thing about… seeing rats dead.
Delightful. I seem to remember him chomping them to bits
last year, in Hogsmeade.
That's right. Eurgh.
Well, I can't really blame him.
After what Wormtail did to him and his friends… and after what Wormtail
did just last month, killing Cedric and slicing Harry's arm in that graveyard…
Can that really be just a few weeks
ago? I don't know how that's
possible. It feels like another
world. Time's going so slowly, and
spreading so far, and so much is happening that I can't… Well. I can't even make sense, apparently. I'm not even sure what I just said.
I think I have an
Yes, you should be able to
translate my nonsense by now. Ugh.
Well, a moment ago, I was
really happy. Thinking about helping
the elves, and about seeing Buckbeak again.
But now I'm thinking about Harry, and all he's been through, and how far
away from us he is, and how unfair that is, and the way he sounded in his
letter to Ron this morning. He still
hasn't written back to me. He doesn't
realize that Ron and I are together here.
We're not even allowed to tell him that. I'm finally going to know just how many more letters Ron gets
from Harry than I do. I'm sure it's
about a million.
But it really was nice to see
Buckbeak. Ron and I both bowed to him
and he let us pet him - and Ron said, "Hello there… I spent loads of time
researching to try to get you free, do you remember me?" And I said, "I turned back time to get
you free, you must remember
me." And Ron said, "You don't
have to listen to her, she's always trying to get one-up on people."
Sirius laughed, and Buckbeak
rubbed his head against my shoulder.
He's… still rather scary, really.
He's just so big. But I do like him. And I'm very glad he's all right, and I understand why Sirius is
attached enough to him to keep him here.
Still, I wonder if… I mean, would the Ministry really recognize Buckbeak
now? They can't still be looking for
him. I doubt they'd catch him, if he
were set free - and even if he can't be set completely free, I'm sure there
must be a more humane place to keep him than in a city bedroom, he's so
big. He must really want to stretch his
wings. But when I asked Sirius if he'd
thought about that at all, he really snapped
at me - "Look, Hermione, half the time, Buckbeak's the only company I've
got in this house. So I'm not prepared
to give him up, if you don't mind."
I was really taken
aback. So was Ron, I could tell. He looked rather apprehensively at Sirius,
and then at me.
But I just said,
"Oh. I didn't mean… well, I'm
Sirius looked sort of sorry
too, like he hadn't meant to snap quite so hard. But you know… I don't think he can help it. I thought at first that he hated this house,
and now I'm sure of it. He seems to
despise being kept here. Though perhaps
he'd despise being kept anywhere. It
must all feel like prison, after Azkaban.
He must just want to… to run and shout and fly.
I'd like to see the portrait
of his mother. I wonder how long it's
been since he's lived in this house? I
haven't had a chance to ask. We barely
saw him at all yesterday, he spent most of the day upstairs. He said he was trying to make the bedrooms a
bit more livable.
Has anyone got rid of
Yes. Last night.
Mr. Weasley said he was going on duty. I'm not sure what that's about.
But anyway, he said he'd take the clock, as long as he was going. Another member of the Order helped him -
Kingsley Shacklebolt. He works for the
Ministry too, and he was here for dinner last night - he said he "wouldn't
miss Molly's meatballs for the world".
And they are really good. Mrs.
Weasley's a great cook. Though I don't
think that's any reason for Ron to try and get two whole meatballs in his mouth
at the same time. Honestly.
Anyway, Kingsley Shacklebolt
What a name.
Oh, and you should see
him. He's tall and black and bald and
has an earring. He looks like a film
You said that about
Lockhart. Do I sense a bit of a crush -
Gwen, honestly, no. This is completely different. Lockhart would star in a film called
"Romance in Kensington Gardens," but Kingsley Shacklebolt would star
in "The Vindicator." Do you
know what I mean?
I've never seen a
film, I'm afraid.
There has to be a charm for
that. I'm just saying that he's very
striking. Plus which, he's the first
member of the Order I've met, outside of people whom I already know. And you won't believe what he does for the
He heads up the investigation
of Sirius Black. He's in charge of
trying to catch Sirius. So all he does
at work is plant misinformation, so that no one will ever find Sirius. Isn't it great? I can't believe I'm in a house full of…
Wow. Now I'm
in a film. Or that's how it
I wish Harry were here. He deserves to be. He's the one who's seen… I mean, he might not be of age, and he
might not be eligible to fight in the Order, but he's experienced more battles
than pretty much anyone, I imagine. I
doubt that Sirius or Professor Lupin or Kingsley Shacklebolt have met
You-Know-Who four times and survived.
Harry should be here.
What did his letter to
He demanded to know why Ron
had been keeping so quiet. He wanted to
know if everything was all right. And
then he went on for half a page, wanting information about the Ministry and the
wizarding world. Wanting to know if
anything has changed since we were all in the hospital wing together. Wanting to know if Fudge is "still
being a pompous idiot and refusing to listen to Dumbledore." And then he said that he can't handle being
at the Dursleys', and that if he's ever needed a good busting-out in the flying
car, it's this summer, and that he wants to know when he's going to find out
when he's allowed to leave Privet Drive and come to the Burrow.
He just has no idea. It's killing me, not to be allowed to say
anything. And I'm really good at
keeping secrets. But this doesn't seem
like a fair secret to keep. I don't
believe that Harry, of all people, should be in the dark.
It does seem…
I said as much to Mr. Weasley
at breakfast this morning, but Sirius was the one who jumped in and said that
he agreed a hundred percent, and that Harry should be informed immediately of
the goings on. Mrs. Weasley got a very
sharp look on her face and said that she was sure Dumbledore knew what was best
for Harry, thank you very much, and that Harry would have the necessary
information at the necessary time.
Sirius gave Mrs. Weasley a
really narrow look, and then he thanked her far
too politely for the "excellent breakfast", and went away
upstairs to keep decontaminating the bedrooms.
Speaking of which, I should
really be downstairs. Ron and Ginny and
the twins and I are supposed to be working on kitchenware.
Working on it?
Going through it, seeing if
we can work out what's hexed, and trying to wrestle it into rubbish bags if
Well… no. Fred and George are seventeen now. They can use their wands.
Yes, that's what I
Well, I'm sure I'll write to
you later. Not a moment goes by in this
place that isn't fascinating. Even if