Charlie sat in the empty Gryffindor common
room, scratching his neck irritably. He was tired – he’d been tired for the
best part of five years – and his brother’s never ceasing habit of turning up
late was wearing thin. On top of everything else, he had a Quidditch match
tomorrow morning. Groaning, he stretched out across one of the sofas.
on the job?’ came his brother’s voice, as Bill Weasley stepped through the
Portrait Hole. ‘Sorry I’m late,’ he added, brushing dust off his robes and
rubbing his Head Boy badge. ‘Last rounds, and all that. You’re not going to
believe what I caught Jeremy and Becca doing in the Prefects’ Bathroom…’ He
trailed off, catching a glimpse of the look on Charlie’s face.
this,’ Charlie said, yawning and reaching into his pocket. He pulled out a
sheet of paper that Bill took and read aloud.
Bill and Charlie,” he read. “I
hope that this letter reaches you safely, and that you are changing your socks
regularly. Don’t think I don’t know you, Charles Weasley – given half the
chance you’d wear the same underwear day in, day out for a year. Just like your
father, the both of you. I haven’t seen
him for three days! And no owls for
socks, although he did say that he was all right for the moment…although I
doubt he keeps his socks at work.” Charlie wasn’t sure whether to laugh or
cry. His mother’s brave front, whilst
hilarious, was just that.
afraid I have bad news about Uncle Bilius,” Bill continued. “He was
helping Sirius Black track down Remus Lupin – he hasn’t been seen for months –
when he saw a Grim. I’m sad to say he died yesterday morning.” Bill tensed,
and Charlie put a consoling arm on his shoulder. Bill had been very close to
their uncle, who had made a success of himself, despite the connotations that
came with being a Weasley.
bloody stupid,’ Bill swore suddenly, dropping the letter for a minute.
‘Hundreds of Dark Wizards everywhere, and Uncle Bill manages to avoid them, but
then he sees a Grim, of all things…and he didn’t even believe in
though he denied it, was actually very superstitious, and a great believer in
the divining arts. The fate of his uncle only confirmed his beliefs. He placed a consoling hand on his brother’s
he had the satisfaction of not being forced out of this world by the forces of
evil,’ he said. Bilius Weasley had always sworn that there was no fate worse
than death at the hand of the Dark Lord’s minions. He resisted the urge to add
‘Luke, I am your father,’ in the manner of his father’s favourite Muggle
film villain. He was pretty sure that
to do so would be inappropriate.
a more pleasant note,’ Bill
continued, shrugging. ‘Ron said his first word last Wednesday – ‘wand’-’
Charlie said, spluttering. ‘Wishful thinking on Mum’s part, I think. Far more
likely to have been ‘Ron’. Bill smiled
and shushed him, before continuing.
hope this is an indication of his magical prowess, but then Fred’s first word
was ‘quiet’, and he is anything but. The twins blew up the kitchen last week,
and Ginny is now teething on your father’s chess set – best not to mention that
to him though, he might be a little irritated’ - well that’s the understatement of the century,’
Bill said, commenting on their father’s great affection for the game. ‘Percy
is helping out as much as he possibly can – and he’s started reading your Standard
Book of Spells, Grade 1, Bill. He seems very eager to get down to learning
like poor old Mum’s been running herself ragged,’ Bill commented, giving
Charlie a sideward glance. Charlie gave a slight nod, and gazed at the glowing
embers in the fireplace. Bill read the rest of the letter to himself, only
reading out the last paragraph.
looks as though Ginny will turn out looking very similar to – ” Bill halted and showed Charlie the parchment.
Charlie saw that his mother had scribbled out the word ‘Ellie’, and had
instead written ‘your sister’. “We all miss you here, and hope to see
you before too long. All our love, Mum and Dad.’ Bill folded up the note
and passed it back to Charlie, who smiled somewhat sadly at the way his mother
had signed the note. He knew Bill would understand why he seemed so morose.
Their mother had come very close to mentioning Ellie’s name, something which
neither Bill nor Charlie could really take. They had been nine and twelve at
the time – not really old enough to understand why Ellie had been killed, but
not young enough to have forgotten what their sister had been like.
Weasley had been delighted when, just over five years after losing Ellie, she
had given birth to another daughter. Charlie, though, after being fraught with
guilt over Ellie’s death (despite Bill’s assurances that he had nothing to do
with it), had refused to go near Ginny when she was born. Fortunately, he had
returned to school the next morning and had been able to get away from her. He
was scared that if he got too attached to Ginny, she would die as well.
Bill put an
arm around his brother’s shoulder.
worry, mate,’ he said, with a small smile. ‘It’ll sort itself out. And it’s not
like we’re in any danger here at Hogwarts…’
didn’t reply for a few moments. ‘It’s not us I’m worried about, Bill,’ he said,
sighing. ‘It’s Dad, and Mum, and Percy – everyone. We may be safe, but they
aren’t, not really.’
stood up and walked over to the corner of the room, where a large circular mirror
hung on the wall. He looked at his reflection sadly – there were dark circles
under his eyes and his chin was flecked with stubble. He had far too many cares
for a fifteen-year-old boy. He should’ve been playing Quidditch, chatting up
girls, skiving Charms lessons. Instead, he was faced with this miserable
anxiety. He felt stifled.
want a game of Quidditch?’ he said suddenly, turning to Bill. ‘Just near the
Castle, I mean, in case…’ He trailed off, realising how ridiculous his
couldn’t help but laugh at the glint in his brother’s eye. ‘You’re terrible,’
he chuckled. ‘‘Do you want a game of Quidditch?’ indeed. You’re such a plonker.’
smiled nervously. ‘Sorry,’ he said. ‘I’m a bit preoccupied, to tell you the
truth. We’ve got our first game tomorrow and I really want to win. Just
to prove that we can still retain a bit of normalcy, y’know? I’ll need to be up
first thing to check the pitch.’
tinker with your own delusions, because I’m off to bed.’
‘I can’t interest
you in a nice cuppa before bed, Grandpa?’ Charlie asked, innocently.
or I’ll hang you from the torch bracket.’’ Bill grinned lopsidedly. ‘Head Boy
‘Go on, off
with you,’ said Charlie, giving his brother a friendly smack on the arm.
winced. ‘Well, if it ever comes to a boxing match between you and You-Know-Who,
strike one for the Weasleys.’
at each other, and laughed. In fact, they got so lost in a fit of
uncontrollable chortles that Charlie had to slap Bill on the back to stop him
choking. They looked at each other again – both of them knew it wasn’t really
funny. And they knew it was getting worse. But if they couldn’t laugh, what
could they do?
Charlie,’ Bill called, sauntering over to the door to the stairs and retreating
night,’ replied Charlie, as the door shut with a snap. He retreated to the
couch and lay on it. He didn’t want to go back to his own dorm – Adrian tended
to wake up screaming in the middle of the night about his parents. Charlie
himself slept like a log, and had never been troubled by nightmares or
premonitions, but the ghastly screaming was more than he could bear. And there
was a fair bit of it around Hogwarts.
lay on the couch looking up at the ceiling. He wondered what his time at
Hogwarts would have been like if You-Know-Who hadn’t been around. He
knew it was selfish, but sometimes he felt very jealous of the older
generations, who had grown up in safety and happiness. Charlie was just
relieved that he had Bill. Out of the seven siblings, Bill and Charlie were
easily the closest, closer even than the twins. Then again, they’d been through
a lot together. Charlie would’ve been a superhero to get through some of his
experiences without a reassuring hand from his older brother. Bill was possibly
the calmest person he knew, and that was just the sort of person that one
needed in the current climate.
could expand on this thought, Charlie fell asleep.
jerked awake several hours later. It was light by now – bright sunshine
streamed into the common room and lit up the portraits on the wall. However, it
was bitterly cold. Shivering, Charlie rolled off the couch and pointed his wand
at the grate. A roaring fire sprang up, and Charlie relaxed into another chair
as it warmed him from head to toe.
after a few minutes that he noticed he wasn’t alone. A short second-year he
recognised as Becca Rutherford’s younger sister was sitting in front of him,
looking pale and worn. She had a simple blue dressing gown on top of her white
early,’ he said, checking his watch. ‘It’s Ria, isn’t it?’ She nodded. ‘It’s a
good time to get your thoughts in order, isn’t it?’ he said, looking out of the
window. ‘I quite often get up early and sit down here to clear my thoughts.
Couldn’t you sleep?’
very slightly, but still said nothing. Charlie smiled.
matter? Cat got your tongue?’ She shook her head, looking up at him
quizzically. Charlie was reminded of someone, but couldn’t think for the life
of him who it was.
mind, kiddo,’ he said, smiling. Becca Rutherford was a Ravenclaw and a fairly
close friend of Bill’s. She was like Bill in a way – funny, loyal – but also
had quite the temper. Until she had
started dating Jeremy Little several months ago – Jeremy was a Beater on the
Gryffindor Quidditch team - Charlie had been sure Bill was sleeping with her on
the sly. But she was a lovely girl, and Charlie was fairly sure her younger
sister would be no different. Funnily, though, they didn’t look a bit alike.
Ria suddenly said, breaking her silence, ‘is Ariadne.’ She narrowed her eyes at
Weasley,’ he replied in a friendly tone. ‘That wasn’t so hard, was it?’ He had
a nasty feeling he could be coming across as condescending, and so quickly
added: ‘Ariadne. That’s a pretty name. Unusual.’
was the Greek Goddess of Holiness,’ Ria said, bristling, as though she herself
was a Greek Goddess.
you,’ said Charlie, amused. ‘Well, your Holiness,’ he continued, with a slight
grin, ‘much as I’d love to stay and chat, I need to go and check the Quidditch
Pitch – we might have to change our tactics if it’s foggy.’ He stood up and
smiled. ‘Nice meeting you. So long!’
cheerfully, before exiting the Common Room from the portrait hole. As he walked
passed the Great Hall, he came across Niamh Finnigan, one of the Chasers on the
Gryffindor Quidditch team.
said cheerfully. ‘Looks like it’ll be a good day for Quidditch.’
and smiled at him.
good. Do you have a Plan, Hallowed Captain?’
and tossed an arm around her shoulder, dragging her out into the cool sunshine
with him. ‘It’s gonna be bloody marvellous,’ he said, as they headed, laughing,
towards the Quidditch pitch.
glanced around at the six nervous players of his team. They had all donned
scarlet and gold Gryffindor Quidditch uniforms, and each of them was holding a
then, boys and girls,’ he said, grinning slightly to hide his nerves. ‘I’m not
going to trouble you with the classic, ‘This is it. This is The Big One’
speech. We all know that we can beat Ravenclaw, good Chasers or no. We
just have to concentrate.’
to his Chasers.
Jamie, Perry – just try and get us an early lead, OK? I know how good their
Chasers are, but frankly, you’re better. They’ve got new Beaters this
year as well… just try and keep on top of things, yeah?’ Niamh smiled
reassuringly at Charlie, and Jamie gave the captain a brief slap on the back.
Peregrine (or Perry) Williams, however, looked nothing short of terrified. It
was his first game in a Gryffindor shirt, as he was only a Second Year. Charlie
knew he had a lot of potential, though.
turned to the Beaters. Jeremy looked confident, as usual. He and Mark were
speaking to each other briefly. They looked up at Charlie. ‘Just keep it legal,
The Beaters laughed.
They were known for being unduly aggressive when the thrill of a Quidditch
victory was in their sights.
turned to their Keeper, Alison – the second most experienced player in the
Al,’ he said, touching her shoulder briefly.
then,’ he said, addressing the whole team. ‘Let’s go!’
applause in the stadium was a little more subdued than Charlie had known it in
the past. However, it was still loud enough to warrant sticking his fingers in
his ears. He raced to the centre of the pitch, the familiar surge of excitement
returning to him, and felt relieved when he noticed Albus Dumbledore sitting
high up in the stands.
Jeffries strode into the centre of the pitch clutching a large wooden box.
Behind her swooped the Ravenclaw team in their blue robes. The Gryffindor team
clapped along politely as the Slytherins and Ravenclaws in the crowd roared
appreciatively, about half of the Hufflepuffs joining in. There was a lot more
noise for the Ravenclaw team, that was for sure, but Charlie was unfazed. The
Slytherin lot had never really taken to him – bar half a dozen, perhaps – no
matter how diplomatic he tried to be when dealing with them. However, he
thought, the way in which some narrow-minded idiots thought of them, a sort of
‘Slytherin = Evil’ formula, made him understand why some of them were quite
He shrugged. It wasn’t time to consider
inter-house relationships. Both teams sprang into the air to do a quick lap of
the pitch, waving enthusiastically at the supporters. When they returned to the
ground, the Gryffindor team huddled in a circle, as was their custom, heads
bent. They remained in that position until the whistle was blown, at which
point Charlie flew straight upwards, Alison hovered back towards the Gryffindor
goal, the Chasers sprang towards the Quaffle, and the Beaters followed, holding
their clubs at arm’s length.
Quidditch, Charlie thought
vaguely, as he headed for the clouds.
started well. Gryffindor managed to take an early lead as Niamh slotted the
Quaffle through the Ravenclaw goal twice. However, some good Beating from the
Ravenclaws prevented her third goal.
It was a
very close first half an hour. Charlie realised soon enough that the new
Ravenclaw Beaters were excellent. They managed to force the Bludgers right at
the Gryffindor Chasers, causing them to peel off from their attacks. Perry,
however, had come into his own in the last ten minutes. He appeared to have
overcome his nerves, and managed to dodge the Chasers deftly to score a hat
trick. However, by this time the Ravenclaw Chasers had notched up forty points.
Jeremy and Mark were doing their jobs admirably, but the Chasers were
good. It was a damn close match, and Charlie had a feeling it was going to come
down to whoever caught the Golden Snitch first.
quickly, and then swooped down so he was opposite Jeremy. ‘Switch to
defensive,’ he called thickly, as a Bludger narrowly missed his head. ‘Try and
deter their attacks!’ He swooped away before Jeremy had the chance to reply,
but saw that the two Beaters headed towards the Gryffindor goal.
didn’t believe in time out. Besides, just shouting orders to his players from
mid-air allowed him to get a good view of the whole pitch. He whistled past
Niamh just slowly enough to say, ‘Hang back, but keep possession.’
Charlie hadn’t considered the Ravenclaw counter-attack. They immediately piled
on the pressure. Their Beaters came forward and started whisking the Bludgers towards
the Gryffindor Beaters. Charlie would have laughed if it hadn’t been so successful.
It distracted Mark and Jeremy from defending and allowed the Ravenclaw Chasers
to sail past Alison and knock in two more goals.
Charlie said to himself, before motioning to his Chasers to resume attacking
play. ‘So much for being Hallowed Captain.’
He span in
mid-air, again narrowly missing a Bludger, and soared skywards, hoping for an
aerial view of the pitch. He was just about to call to Perry when something
gold streaked past him, heading for the ground.
swooped after it, knowing that the Ravenclaw Seeker, the somewhat sluttish
Sophie Redman, was nowhere near him. If he got the Snitch, Gryffindor would win
by two-hundred points to sixty, putting them easily on top of the standings. So
they might get away with a draw against Slytherin…
Charlie was forced to do a half-spin and a Weasley Twist to avoid the Bludger
that came whooshing at him. He cursed himself – he’d been too busy thinking
about winning to notice the large iron menace sweeping towards him. As for the
Weasley Twist, it was a name the rest of the team had dubbed for Charlie’s best
move – he would literally twist on his broom so that he was riding on the
underside of it, looking up at the sky, and wait for a Bludger to pass over
him. He would then perform an incredible one-hundred-and-eighty degree spin,
forcing himself downwards so that he could fly off in the other direction. It
often took him hours trying to explain this to anyone.
He had an
idea. He swooped down close to Perry and whispered something into his ear.
Perry nodded and sped off towards the player holding the Quaffle.
meanwhile, headed straight for the far end of the field, where the Ravenclaw
Beaters were causing havoc for the Gryffindor attack. He raced right between
them, grinning, and then whooshed away. It was not what he did, but the manner
in which he did it. It worked like a charm. The Beaters swept after him, clubs
in hand. Charlie had to perform several Weasley Twists and all sorts of dips,
spins and dives to avoid being brained by the Bludgers for the next several
minutes. They had taken the bait, though.
other end, Perry and Jamie were scoring goal after goal, because the Ravenclaw
defence had fallen apart without the two Beaters. Charlie silently thanked
Brutus Scrimgeour’s blessed dictum in The Beaters’ Bible – ‘Take out the
Seeker’. Charlie had known the Beaters would chase him with the intent to
injure, and it had worked beautifully, because Gryffindor were again ahead.
his Nimbus 1000 around and sped off towards the Gryffindor end. Alison had just
made a nice save and lofted the Quaffle forward to Jamie. Jamie juggled it
about a bit, passing it around his back and playing a square pass to Perry.
Perry sprinted up the left side of the field, ducking a Bludger and avoiding
the tackle by Ravenclaw’s right-hand Chaser. He looked over for Niamh on the
far side and sent a beautiful weighted pass her way. Niamh drew closer to the
goal from the right hand side, coaxing the Keeper towards her. She drew her arm
back to shoot but completed the dummy, floating it square for Jamie, who had
flown down the centre of the pitch, to put the Quaffle through the unguarded
couldn’t help but grin. Like a knife through butter.
the Snitch appeared again. Charlie hesitated, noticing that Sophie was much
closer to it than he was. Keeping his left eye on the Snitch, he just managed
to catch Mark with his right eye, and indicated the Ravenclaw Chaser. Mark gave
the briefest of nods, and then Charlie dived.
Charlie dive and then saw the Snitch, glittering in the air about thirty metres
away from her. She was much closer than him. Feeling a surge of excitement at
the prospect of beating Charlie Weasley, she spun her broom around quickly. She
was about to dive when a Bludger came out of nowhere and almost sent her flying
from her broom.
shrieked, but managed to cling on. She sped downwards. She could still make it!
Bludger sealed Ravenclaw’s fate. It came from below her, and forced her to turn
ninety degrees to the left. She raced after Charlie anyway, but knew that the
Snitch was his. She swore under her breath. Typical of him to pull a stunt like
the Gryffindor fans were on their feet as Charlie hovered in mid-air, the
Snitch clasped firmly in his hand. The final score was two-hundred-and-seventy
to sixty, meaning Gryffindor were in first place for the Quidditch Cup with a
goal difference of plus two-hundred-and-ten. Charlie grinned broadly as the
team hugged lopsidedly in mid-air, floating down to the ground.
Gryffindors swamped around them, as did many of the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs.
Charlie had really turned the game around with his tactics – nobody could argue
with that. Charlie himself couldn’t stop laughing and smiling as student after
student slapped him on the back.
It was the
best feeling, however, when Bill sidled up to him and snuck an arm around his
brother’s shoulder. ‘That’ll do, mate,’ he said, smiling. Charlie jumped from
Head Boy even allowed to touch younger students?’ he joked wickedly, patting
his brother on the back.
It was odd.
With everything that was going on in the world outside, Hogwarts was sometimes
in the thick of it, and sometimes a million miles away from it all. At that
particular moment, Charlie wasn’t thinking about Voldemort, or his Dad, or the
countless thousands who had died under the flaming Dark Mark. He ate, slept and
breathed Quidditch, and no matter what the circumstances he would always love
it. It was the start of a good weekend that was to change the wizarding world
for years to come.
a haze of scarlet and gold, Charlie and the team found themselves back in the
Gryffindor common room. Almost the entire house was crammed into it, laughing,
joking and swigging Butterbeer. After the game, Bill had obtained Professor
McGonagall’s ‘permission’ to get food from the school kitchens. People were
also fervently discussing the match, and how Charlie’s excellent tactics had
paid off. In one corner, a group of Second Years including Perry Williams were
prodding a figure of the England National Squad’s Seeker, trying to make him
perform the Weasley Twist.
meanwhile, was caught in the thick of everything. His time was divided between
discussing future tactics with his Beaters, being slapped on the back by anyone
who walked past, drinking from a bottle of Butterbeer and flirting with
Felicity Moore’s – she kept glancing over at him and winking seductively.
However, much as Charlie liked girls’ company (and indeed, liked to flirt with
them), after the incident with Ellie he was somewhat reluctant to form romantic
attachments. In fact, he kept his number of close friends to a minimum. The
fewer people who were targeted, the better. In these times, it was impossible
to know who to trust. For a fairly normal fifteen-year-old boy, this was not
resistance of girls was made equally difficult due to the fact that he was not
overly unpopular with most of them at Hogwarts.
the tension in the room was milder than usual. Conversations occasionally
lilted when people were reminded of the goings-on outside Hogwarts, but
generally people were sitting back and enjoying themselves.
afternoon passed quickly. At about eight o’ clock, Charlie was sitting by the
fire in the common room, playing chess with Felicity. Sometimes he actually
enjoyed the verbal picnics they shared. Bill and Jeremy were discussing some
Defence Against the Dark Arts work, though most of the Gryffindors had either
retreated to their dorms or headed for a late supper in the Great Hall.
Cap’n,’ said Felicity, having moved her knight. Charlie grinned.
like I’m going to be able to take your piece,’ he said. His queen was lined up
to take one of Felicity’s rooks. Felicity smirked.
which piece you’re talking about,’ she said, ever so slightly adjusting her
robes. Charlie just about managed to keep his eyes on her face.
he said, as his queen dragged her rook from the board.
yawned. ‘You’re too good at this. Do you want to come upstairs and practise
taking my pieces there?’
smirked. ‘Sorry,’ he said. ‘Prior engagement.’
looked wounded. ‘Charlie,’ she drawled. ‘You won’t get a chance to checkmate me
with that sort of attitude.’
gorgeous,’ he said, standing up. ‘You'll have to wait for someone else to
checkmate your pieces.’
to laugh at the mixed expression of amusement and offence on Felicity’s face
(few boys turned her down), Charlie headed for the portrait hole. He decided
that he might as well finish some of the Tranfiguration work he’d been doing.
They hadn’t started human Transfiguration yet – they were working mostly with
small animals. Charlie needed to research Interspecies Transfiguration.
He was just
about to leave when Becca Rutherford stormed through the portrait hole looking
distressed. She had even forgotten to put her Head Girl badge on, which Charlie
was sure was a first.
What’s the problem?’
Charlie! It’s terrible. Come over here, I’ll explain.’ Puzzled, Charlie
followed her into the corner where Bill and Jeremy were doing their work. Both
of them jumped up at the look on Becca’s face.
you all right?’ Bill said, and he and Jeremy helped her into a chair. Jeremy
put a comforting arm around her shoulder.
happened?’ Charlie said, lowering his voice – a group of Third Years was
looking at the group of them curiously.
Dumbledore,’ said Becca, frowning. ‘My sister said she saw him receive an owl
at the Quidditch game earlier and leave immediately. So I followed it up – and
he’s gone. He’s left the school.’
This took a
few minutes to sink in. ‘He’s… gone?’ said Charlie in disbelief. ‘Where? Why?’
‘I don’t know,’
said Becca agitatedly, wringing her hands. ‘But it must be something serious.
Dumbledore hasn’t left the school for ages.’
wouldn’t,’ Bill intoned, ‘unless it was something very serious.’
must’ve been,’ agreed Charlie. ‘Or else he’d have told you and Becca about it.’
Bill nodded. Dumbledore liked to keep them up-to-speed on proceedings outside
of Hogwarts. They had probably faced far more dangers than Head Students
are the possibilities?’ Jeremy said. Charlie noticed Becca’s younger sister
enter the common room as Bill answered.
may have been from You-Know-Who – that’s unlikely, however, because
Dumbledore would never leave the school prone to attack. Alternatively, it
could have been from someone like the Longbottoms, or James and Lily, asking
for Dumbledore’s immediate help.’
just come here, wouldn’t they?’
replied. ‘It’d be too risky.’
sighed. ‘Whatever it is, I hope Dumbledore returns safe and sound. Powerful as
some of the other teachers are, they’d be no match against You-Know-Who and his
followers. You-Know-Who has never even considered attacking the castle,
let alone tried to. I guess a lot of people don’t realise how safe we are under
Bill said darkly, glancing out into the night.
spent a while that night pondering Dumbledore’s reason for leaving. He dreaded
to think what might come to pass if Dumbledore was defeated…but no, that
wouldn’t happen. For one thing, You-Know-Who was afraid of Dumbledore,
or so everybody said. Secondly, Dumbledore wouldn’t accept a duel from
You-Know-Who under any circumstances, as it would leave Hogwarts at risk.
It was a
puzzler. Obviously, Dumbledore thought that Hogwarts would be completely safe
in his absence. He would certainly not leave if it were otherwise.
Dumbledore may simply have increased the complexity of the spells protecting
Hogwarts. Maybe he had tried to sneak away without Voldemort realising he had
gone… no, that would be very unDumbledorish. Besides, Charlie was fairly sure
that Voldemort had his contact within Hogwarts, even if their identities were
that appeased Charlie enough to allow him sleep was that Dumbledore had been
gone nearly half a day, and there had been no hint of an attack. For the
moment, he had the impression that they were safe. All the same, he hoped
Dumbledore would return soon.
awoke as usual the next morning, though many others in the wizarding world did
not. He showered and changed, and decided to head to the library before
breakfast to do some research. He was able enough in practical subjects –
Flying and Care of Magical Creatures came naturally – but his academics needed
a bit of work. Perry, who was keen to discuss the Gryffindor team’s future
prospects, accompanied him as far as the library. They spoke about the upcoming
Hufflepuff vs. Slytherin game, and what would be the best outcome for them.
Charlie was happy to see someone just as enthralled by Quidditch as he was.
Perry had a lot of potential, that was for sure.
the library and headed to the back to find a Transfiguarion volume. He
eventually opted for Advanced Transfiguration: You’re Going to Wish Your
Friend Had Left You as a Tortoise by Furry Peterson.
He found a
seat in the corner, and started reading, pulling his essay out of his bag.
However, a little later on he was beginning to worry. He had come to the library intent on studying Advanced
Transfiguration. And had been followed
by Becca's younger sister, for reasons he couldn't fathom. The dark haired girl, who bore no
resemblance to any of the other Rutherfords, had seated herself at the table
opposite his and was engrossed in some text or other. He’d been about to return his attention to his work, which was
still eight inches too short, when another Rutherford girl - the middle one who
was in Ravenclaw...what was her name...Emily?
Emma? Gemma...that was it, Gemma
- sat down at the same table as her sister.
later, Becca herself stormed into the library.
Charlie closed his book with a thump...was he wearing a Rutherford
magnet today, or something? It seemed
that everywhere he went, they followed.
It was soon
apparent that Becca was not in the library to work. She matched the librarian’s
glare with one of her own and called the attention of everyone in the library.
She had made sure that her Head Girl badge was easily visible.
she said, in her ‘Don’t Mess With Me I’m Head Girl’ voice, ‘is required to
report to the Great Hall immediately. There is a matter of some urgency that
Professor McGonagall wishes to address.’
moment or two, nobody moved. They were too stunned by this pronouncement. Since
when had Professor McGonagall called emergency assemblies?
not hear me?’ said Becca impatiently. ‘The Great Hall, now!’
Bill was issuing the same message – though a good deal more politely, it must
mind was reeling as he followed Gemma and Ria Rutherford to the Great Hall.
They were chatting to one another about what this all might mean. Gemma kept
shooting backward glances at him, as though he was eavesdropping on their
Hall was teeming with confused students when Charlie arrived. He was surprised
to see that it was not just students, but everybody involved in school life.
Even the ghosts were huddled in one corner – even Moaning Myrtle had
abandoned her toilet (Felicity had once asked if it was illegal to kill a
ghost). Not only that, but the hundreds of portraits around the castle had
attempted to squash themselves into the Great Hall’s many frames. Agrippa,
Godric Gryffindor, the Fat Lady and Newt Scamander had found themselves sharing
a frame with a rather vicious Manticore. The House Elves had even been forced
from the Kitchens and skittered nervously in the Hall, avoiding the students’
eyes were drawn away from this amazing sight when the door at the far end of
the Hall opened and Albus Dumbledore stepped through.
was instantaneous. Every eye turned to Dumbledore, who smiled briefly.
appreciate how inconvenient this little meeting is, but I feel it is my duty to
pass on the news that has settled on the wizarding world.’
began to feel apprehensive, even though Dumbledore was back. Somehow, he got
the feeling that this wasn’t good news.
you in the Sixth and Seventh Year may remember Lily and James Potter, who were
Head Girl and Boy here several years ago.’ Charlie saw Bill stiffen. ‘Lord
Voldemort attacked the Potters’ house in Godric Hollow yesterday evening, and I
am sad to say that Lily and James Potter were both killed.’
looked very weary all of a sudden. Meanwhile, there was some sad whispering
amongst Sixth and Seventh Years. (‘Lily and James – I don’t believe it.’ ‘They
were always so nice to us.’ ‘When will it end?’). Bill, meanwhile, had sunk
down in his chair. Charlie knew that he had known James and Lily vaguely in his
first two years at Hogwarts.
were common these days. Why call a huge assembly?
Charlie realised that Dumbledore had not finished speaking.