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The Quiet Outcast by Kira
Chapter 19: Connie Bishop: Part II
Connie Bishop: Part II
They were all looking at me. I tried desperately to remember what Glen had told me before we had left.
“You just have to stay calm,” he had insisted as we left the warmth and coziness of the Hufflepuff common room behind and made our way down to the dungeons. Professor Ramsay had offered up his classroom for our meeting and even though I could think of at least a hundred places more welcoming than the a damp dungeon, the offer had been too nice to refuse. Besides, he had stepped up for us in the Great Hall when we were making our proposal to Headmaster Nolan.
“Remember,” Glen had gone on, though I was fearing I would have trouble remembering my own name let alone any advice from Glen Saunders. “They're all coming because they are interested in our idea. And, more importantly, they're coming because they saw your name on the posters and like you.”
I had nodded dumbly at the advice, clutching harder at the stack of paper in my hands and mentally checking that a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard was still in the left pocket of my robes. A tiny, pathetic part of my mind wanted no one to show up. Yes, Glen had posted close to eighty posters around the school, but that didn't mean that anyone would actually be interested enough to give up study or relaxation time to come. The other part of my brain knew I was doing it for Connie; doing it because I knew that it would make her happy. Every time I thought of our last discussion and the expression on her face, my stomach would twist uncomfortably.
But when we arrived down in our Potion's classroom after dinner, my jaw dropped and even Glen looked a little dumbfounded. The first thing I thought of was that we were going to need more seats. There were only twenty or so stools in the classroom to begin with, and the number of people now crammed together within far exceeded that number. Glen had to push me through the door, and he kept a hand on my right shoulder as he steered me, not ungently, all the way to the head of the classroom. I was suddenly very sympathetic to my Professors for getting up in front of all of us everyday and, not only forming full sentences, but actually teaching us valuable information. It was in my position at the head of the classroom that I finally looked at all the people who were in attendance.
Rose and Scorpius were sitting at a table together, Albus leaning against it, bending his head to listen to whatever Rose was telling him. A few Slytherins were huddled together nearby. Charlie and Lily hadn't gotten seats, but were standing close to each other near a crowd of other Gryffindors. Connie was at the table closest to the front, making me feel hot and even more nervous than I already was, with some of her Ravenclaw friends which included Pamela Macy. A gaggle of Hufflepuffs I recognized from the common room and classes were taking up the left side of the classroom, making me feel bad as I was realizing that I hadn't even had conversations with them beyond, “Could you pass the flobberworm mucus, please?”
When the talking ceased as I tried to gulp down my fear and listen to Glen's advice which was still circling in my mind. “They're here because they like you.” They were all staring at me. Connie, in particular, had her bright green eyes trained on me. Was she even blinking? I had started writing out a speech earlier in the afternoon, but Glen said I didn't need a speech and stole my parchment away. So, really it was his fault that I was standing here like an idiot with nothing to say.
“So,” I started brilliantly, trying to remember how I had started my speech out. I had thanked them for coming. “Thanks for coming down here. I know you're all very busy, so it really means a lot.” Their smiles and nods encouraged me.
“So, I'm assuming as you've all seen the posters, you know why we're here. Glen and I have been thinking...”
“Hugo more than me!” Glen sang brightly from where he was standing behind me, leaning against Professor Ramsay's desk. I pressed on, breathing deep through my nose.
“We've been thinking its about time Hogwarts did a bit more with the arts.”
“Hear, hear!” Connie said happily, making me flush. Our last interaction had been so awkward, but she was still supporting me. She smiled warmly, reminding me how much I did actually love her. I took out the battered library copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and held it up.
“A long time ago they tried turning one of theses stories into a show for Christmas. In the notes of Albus Dumbledore, he explains how the show didn't go well and the idea of having an annual theatrical event were abandoned.”
“Just to be clear,” Glen chimed in once more. “The show failed because of a ridiculous worm and a very messy love triangle.” I turned, giving him an exasperated look.
“What?” he asked, shrugging his shoulders. “They should know!”
“I think what Glen's trying to say,” I said hurriedly, watching as eyebrows were raised all around the room. “Is that the things that crippled the performance last time are easily avoidable.”
“That's right! So keep your love triangles to yourself! The show will go on!”
I turned to look at Glen once more and he put his hands up.
“Sorry, mate. You go.”
“So, we have quite a few legs up on the last theatrical performance that was put on here,” I said, unable to suppress a smile. He was ridiculous, but my desperate need to correct and amend his statements had gotten me talking. Glen could be a very, very weird counselor when he grew up. One that would probably get sued a lot.
“Instead of just doing one of the stories, we are going to perform all five. That way it will be a longer show and then there will be more parts for everyone. We already have Saturday, May 26th picked out for a date so that means we have a little less than a month to pull this altogether.”
Lily raised her hand and I, feeling more like a teacher than ever, pointed at her.
“I don't mean this as a discouraging comment, I really don't,” she started, clearly avoiding looking at Glen. “But do you really think we have enough time to pull this altogether?” I could tell she felt a little bad about putting me on the spot in front of everyone, but I had been prepared for questions like this. They were the very things I had to keep asking myself all the time.
“I can't say that I'm sure about any of this,” I admitted honestly. “I don't really know what I'm doing, and I can't promise that we won't find our own ways to mess this up. But, the stories aren't that long which means that there aren't many lines to memorize if you're only responsible for one role. And, when it comes to sets and such, luckily we have magic.”
One of the Hufflepuffs at the back of the room put his hand up, so I called on him, still feeling strange. I hadn't known everyone was going to behave so formally.
“Do you really think that other students will really come and see this?”
That was probably my greatest fear. Well, it doesn't quite pass up spiders or needles, but, when it came to this show, it was really the worst thing that could happen. That we actually managed to pull all this together, got everyone's hopes up, and then we had no one to perform for.
“I'm not going to lie to you,” I explained as gently as I could. “There is always a chance that this might be a flop, but this shouldn't cost us much of anything to put on so we really don't have to charge everybody to come and see it.”
The boy who asked the question folded his arms across his chest, not looking exactly reassured by my answer, though I could hardly blame him. Just because there was a good chance the show wouldn't cost anything to see didn't mean we'd fill the house. Glen took over.
“Don't worry about it,” he said, sounding confident. “It won't just be students who are coming to see this.”
“What do you mean?” Connie asked from the front row, still watching me.
“I mean that as this show's promotion adviser I'm working on getting parents and other adults involved as well.”
“You're what?” I asked, turning once more to look at him with utter confusion. But, then again, its rare that Glen shares any of his grand schemes with me. He's more of a “just go for it” type of person.
“I think that not only should we put on a show, we can have a dinner as well! We'll feed them in the Great Hall beforehand and then move on to the show.”
“Do you really think...” I started, but Glen barreled on.
“I just figured that the House Elves are used to whipping up dinner for hundreds of people every night. This shouldn't set them back too badly. Plus, parents love visiting the school they went to and it will give Muggle parents a chance to see it as well.”
“This actually isn't that bad of an idea,” Rose offered from the corner. “Our parents are always going on about how they would like a school visit.” It was true, though it confused me as to why. They had gone here for years, after all, and it wasn't as though much had changed.
“I agree that its one of my better ones,” Glen answered happily with a wink. “But, the bigger the idea, the faster we have to work.”
“I agree,” I said simply, nodding. “We were thinking about having casting Tuesday of this week after dinner. We've made copies of all the stories as there weren't enough in the library for anyone. If you'd like a speaking part, we'll just have you read a few lines of the character you're interested in. It would be best if we could do it in the Great Hall, as that's the only place where the show could take place, but I don't think dinner will clear out quite fast enough. We'll probably have to do it down here.” A few people shifted nervously where they stood, making it clear that not everyone present had acting prospects. “But we're going to need lots of people who don't necessarily have to speak as well.” I had been re-reading the tales just last night. “We need party guests and lots of other stuff as well. We also need people to handle stuff like sets and backdrops.”
I put my hands together. I had intended to clap them together efficiently, but found that I just didn't have it in me. “Its a risk trying to do something different, and I'm the first one to admit that we've got our work cut out for us. I don't blame anyone if this meeting has done little to bolster your confidence, and by being here you haven't agreed to anything. But, if you're interested please show up for casting on Tuesday and if you have artistic talents that will help our efforts, please let us know.”
Glen gave me a thumbs up and I couldn't help but smile. Somehow, amazingly enough, I had for once managed to say exactly the words I meant to say. And, judging by the faces in the crowd in front of me, they had had the effect I'd intended.
If I had thought that my schedule was hectic before, it was nothing compared to what I was dealing with now. When I wasn't in classes or doing homework, I was dealing with the show. Things were moving faster than I would have liked if we had the time, but we just didn't have it. The first thing I did, under Glen's insistence, was send a letter to Mum and Dad.
“Your parents are famous!” Glen said, as if I needed a reminder. “If they go and tell other people to go, people will be interested!”
“Alright,” I finally relented, as I had no idea if my parents would even enjoy such a thing. Mum would probably, but I had a hazy memory that told me Dad fell asleep when we saw The Nutcracker and there was no way our play could be better than that. Though, we needed all the help and possibilities we could get. First, I asked Rose if she would be willing to be the one to ask them, but she told me rather firmly that this was “my thing” and I absolutely needed to be the one asking them. So, a letter was what I sent.
Thank you for the study planner; its really helping me keep track of things. I've been quite busy lately and was actually curious about something.
I know you were saying at the beginning of the year that you thought it would be helpful if I got involved in some of Hogwarts' extracurricular activities. This year we're putting on a theatrical production of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and I'm directing it. Its on May 26th at 7:30, but dinner will be served at 6:00 in the Great Hall. I think that other parents are going to come as well, but I do know how busy you are.
Hope to see you soon!
I had sent the letter around breakfast time on Monday and found a response being delivered to me by dinner time. Something about the swiftness of the reply made me smile. I tore the letter open, Glen looking over my shoulder.
Your father and I were so excited to hear about your play! That is such fantastic news! I am so glad that you found something you're interested in, though I had no idea that that something was theater. Your father and I will be there on May 26th, without a doubt! Also, someone will have to physically restrain me from telling absolutely everyone at the Ministry about this as well! I would expect quite a few guests! I have some strings to pull over at the Prophet as well; there's a good chance I could score you some primo advertising!
See you soon!
All my love,
Glen was thrilled about the response as he continued to go on about his role as promotion adviser, but I had my trepidations. Though this would definitely make the evening more exciting, it really weighed us down with pressure. If my parents and the rest of the family ended up coming, there was a good chance the rest of the Ministry would show up as well. That meant every high-ranking official in the entire government. There was still a very good chance that our show would suck.
Though I had to admit I felt a bit better after our casting session on Tuesday; finally deciding upon people to fill certain parts made the show actually feel real. Professor Ramsay showed up at the tryouts to watch as well and it was really nice to have someone else in the room with me. Glen was absent as he was going to be trying out himself. It was still difficult to really judge anyone who came through the door as I had no idea what I was really looking for. In the end, I picked people who were able to get through the lines without laughing and who just gave me a good feeling. Professor Ramsay was really great and helped me narrow things down. I cast Pamela Macy and two of her Ravenclaw friends as Asha, Altheda, and Amata from “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” as well as Charlie for Sir Luckless. The girls were graceful and strong personalities, and Charlie just really had a genuine feel when he read his lines. I cast Scorpius as the warlock from “The Warlock's Hairy Heart” and Rose as the maiden he kills. I still wasn't sure if Dad knew about the two of them yet but I couldn't deny that they had chemistry. I cast Albus as the third brother from “The Tale of the Three Brothers” feeling that it was very appropriate and very cool as well. Glen was fantastic in his reading for the charlatan from “Babbity Rabbity” and, even though I thought I would feel guilty about giving a part to my best friend, he really did nail it. Connie really surprised me. Originally, I thought she would like to play one of the ladies from “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” but, in the end, she tried out for none other than Babbity Rabbity herself and was amazing. The rest of the parts were filled with with people I had no prior knowledge of and, luckily, I also had many leftover who seemed happy to be crowd members and other parts of that nature.
It was by far the most I had ever had to work to complete my mission of helping someone out. I was not used to having extracurricular activities to deal with on top of school work and found that with having rehearsals three nights a week, plus on Saturdays, the days and then weeks began to blur together and move at an alarming pace. Though, there were definitely a huge handful of positive memories glowing through the tornado of work.
For example, I had to spend practically an entire evening with Hagrid, making sure that there was absolutely no way he was going to use an Ashwinder for our worm in “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” and why we just needed a normal bunny for “Babbity Rabbity.” He had been giddy with excitement when I had asked him for help with the “creature” part of the show. It really was a blessing as most of the creatures in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them make it onto my list of fears and have likely given me a nightmare sometime in my life.
I also remember the way that Mipsy's eyes filled up with tears when I asked if she wouldn't mind heading up all the planning when it came to the meal we would be serving to everyone before the show. When I told her that I “trusted her completely” she hugged me for ten minutes. I also suggested that she and the other house elves stay for the show once dinner was complete. Another ten minute hug.
Once I had finally found out what had happened to Myrtle Cummings (apparently she had vacated the bathroom completely and was now mostly hanging around Ravenclaw tower, not crying I might add) I asked if she would like to play a part in “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” See, the second brother in the story uses the Resurrection Stone to bring the girl he loved back to life. Though I know the girl in the story was something between a ghost and actually being alive, I thought it would be more chilling and effective to have a ghost play her. Plus, I thought it was high time the rest of the school saw that Moaning Myrtle was no more. Myrtle agreed enthusiastically and gave me what I think was supposed to be a kiss on the cheek. I spent the rest of the spring day with my sweater on.
I also found that there were hidden talents among the people who had showed up for our initial meeting; not everyone wanted to act after all. Lily was our great cheerleader, always encouraging and upbeat. I put her in charge of props, and she really seemed to enjoy collecting and organizing them. Anna Ryerson, a fourth year Slytherin girl, mentioned how her Aunt was the manager at a clothing store at Hogsmeade and would likely let us rent a few pieces that we needed for costumes and help us with sewing and other things I had no clue how to do. A seventh year Ravenclaw boy named Daniel, who was a wiz at non-verbal charms and really most types of magic, was responsible for all the “magical effects” in the show. He was the one who was going to charm the Hopping Pot for our opening story and transfigure it to have a boot coming out of the bottom. He was also going to be doing all of the magic that Babbity Rabbity does in her story like making the lady's hat disappear and the horse fly. While Connie was quite capable of doing that type of magic on her own, we found that it was difficult to act and perform perfect magic at the same time. Besides, our actors already had enough to do. Finally, a Hufflepuff first year named Theresa, our youngest contributor, stunned us all by using magic to paint us a magnificent backdrop. The trees and grass and Daniel ended up charming it so the blades and branches looked like they were waving in a slight breeze. It was so perfect and beautiful that I decided to use it for all the stories. The additions of such things as the hopping pot, the fountain, and tables and chairs for the different stories. would help distinguish them from one another.
Professor Ramsay was better than his word. He came to at least two rehearsals a week if not more, and always had helpful suggestions. I couldn't help feeling terribly pleased that he always came to ask me about them first to get my opinion. Since we were going to be performing in the Great Hall on the raised platform where the staff table was usually situated, he talked the rest of the Professors into moving their table off to the side for the week before the show so we could set up and practice for real. He even helped us set up two giant curtains so what we were planning was still hidden from the rest of the school. It was a really brilliant idea as it got everyone else talking about and noticing the show. Also, when pulled open the curtain would still block the sides of the platform which we needed to store things and people when they weren't on stage during the show.
Headmaster Nolan checked in every once in awhile and when I asked him if he wouldn't mind being our narrator for “The Tale of the Three Brothers” he accepted instantly and even had a little twinkle in his eye. After all, I had always admired his speaking voice.
As hectic as it all was, I found that I loved being the director. I found it amazing that people asked me things and cleared things with me before doing them. Everyone always seemed so interested in my opinion and actually took it to heart when I gave it. I had never had that before. I was usually certain that no one cared what I thought and that my opinion was far from mattering. And, not only did they ask me things, people listened to me as well. When I started saying something anybody within earshot would stop what they were doing to listen. It still made me nervous to have such undivided attention, but it also gave me the good kind of goosebumps as well.
My other favorite part of being involved in the show was that I had an excuse to watch Connie without seeming like a weirdo. She lit up the whole room when she acted, and she and Glen working off one another was hilarious. She developed this positively perfect Babbity Rabbity cackle that was somehow really creepy and really funny at the same time. Connie was so invested in her character that she came up with her own costume and even designed her own makeup. She was perfect.
We still hadn't spoken privately since our painful conversation, and we avoided awkwardness during rehearsals as there was always people around and a million things going on. I hoped she knew that it wasn't because I didn't care. I hoped the show was enough to make her happy. Really, how much happiness could dating a quiet, nervous Hufflepuff really give her? However, when Glen saw that I was serious about not doing anything because of James, he took matters into his own hands.
Lily and I had been working in the Great Hall on props one particular evening after dinner. It wasn't a rehearsal night, but Professor Longbottom had spared us from any Herbology homework, so we decided to use the free time making the hearts from “The Warlock's Hairy Heart.” It took rather longer than I expected (most things did), and by the time I decided I no longer could glue one more strand of hair to the heart, the sun was pretty much down. We left everything behind the curtain as usual and started out of the Great Hall when I heard two voices conversing. The fact that these two individuals were talking without killing each other was unbelievable. Lily and I paused by the door, shocked and listening intently.
“I'm not really interested in your opinion, Saunders,” James was saying, sounding tired. Since they had run into each other in the Entrance Hall, James was probably coming in from Quidditch practice.
“I can't say that I care if you're interested or not,” Glen answered and though I couldn't see them from where Lily and I were hiding behind the door, I imagined James with his broomstick over his shoulder and Glen in front of him, blocking his route up the stairs to Gryffindor Tower. “But, this is important and you need to hear it from somebody.”
“This doesn't have anything to do with you,” James said next, and I pictured him rolling his eyes.
“No, it doesn't exactly,” Glen admitted and I could feel prickles forming all over my body. “But Hugo would never say anything about it.”
“Why not?” James asked gruffly though not angrily. It was almost as if he was curious.
“Because he's too nice for his own good!” Glen exclaimed and I could feel my ears get hot. I knew Glen better than anybody, and somehow the kid was still a mystery to me. “Hugo cares about everybody. I can't understand most of it, but he does. He cares about everybody and goes above and beyond his duty as a person to be nice to them. For example, he came up with the idea for this whole show because of her. Because it would make her happy.” Glen paused and, for once, it seemed like James was stunned into silence. But, Glen wasn't even finished. “She likes him. She likes him and he would do anything for her. But, he's not doing anything because of you. Because it might make you feel bad.”
“It would be kind of weird,” James finally managed to say, sounding weaker than I had ever heard him. “He's my cousin and she's my ex-girlfriend.”
I imagined Glen shrugging.
“Maybe it would be,” Glen answered. “But I want you to think about if the roles were reversed. If Connie was Hugo's girlfriend and you liked her. If they broke up would you wait around because it would make Hugo feel better?”
James had no answer, and the next thing I heard was the sound of Glen's departing stride. I jumped when I heard Lily whispering in my ear; I had completely forgotten that she was standing next to me.
“He's really something, your friend,” she murmured gently.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “He sure is.”
There's a good chance I might throw up my stomach. The dinner selections that Mipsy had come up with were beyond wonderful (Dad was on third helpings) but everything at the moment was making my stomach churn. I had taken items on my plate but had yet to take a single bite. I was busy concentrating on keeping the water I was drinking down.
“You're not eating,” Mum observed for the fourth time, but on this occasion pushing my bangs out of the way so she could feel my forehead.
“I'm alright,” I insisted, leaning away as we were in the Great Hall in front of everybody. “Just a little nervous.”
“You'll be fine, sweetheart,” Mum said swiftly, before leaning over to tell Dad to stop eating so fast. If I wasn't so mind-numbingly nervous, I would have really been able to appreciate the scene in the Great Hall at that moment.
Somehow, the house tables had been extended so they could fit not only all of Hogwarts' students, but their parents as well. It truly was something to see all of the houses mix together as there was quite a bit of sibling crossover, and many parents wanted to sit at the table of the house they had been in when they attended Hogwarts. For example, I was currently sitting at the Gryffindor table where the entire Potter/Weasley/Etc clan was taking up almost half of the surface. Rose was sitting on my left, Lily on my right, both rather quiet as well. I knew they were both thinking about what was to come.
We had had our last dress rehearsal the night before and performed for Headmaster Nolan and a few of the other Professors and the response had been quite positive. They gave us a long round of applause and truly did see impressed by our efforts. I tried to keep reminding myself of this fact, and continued to look around the Great Hall to stay calm and keep from fixating on my fears. Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny were a few seats down and it seemed that every couple of minutes someone would come by to shake his hand. I think Uncle Harry would have been happier if he could eat his pudding in peace. Uncle Percy had yet to actually take a seat as every time he thought about it, he would see someone he had to go speak with. Grandma Weasley kept telling him to sit and eat his dinner. Glen's mum had managed to get off from the pub that night and was sitting with him over at the Hufflepuff table with his two younger siblings. Connie was at the Ravenclaw table, looking poised and collected as she sat with her father at her side. Charlie's Mum was apparently a muggle and she kept exclaiming with excitement every time something magical would happen. I thought it was rather endearing, but Charlie's cheeks flushed with embarrassment every time she did so. Rose kept glancing over at the Slytherin table so she could meet Scorpius' gaze and watch him with his parents. I asked Professor Longbottom if he wouldn't mind helping Ramona Weathers down from her room so she could join us. He agreed and then they were sitting nearby at the Gryffindor Table.
At 6:45, I looked over at Glen and he held up his watch and tapped his finger on the face. It was time.
“We should really start getting ready,” I said, glad that it was time to start doing things, but worried all the same. I slid out of my seat, Lily and Rose getting to their feet as well. Mum reached out and grasped my hand gently in hers.
“We'll see you after,” she said giving me a smile.
I couldn't find words and, despite all the water I had been drinking, my mouth was dry. So, I smiled the best I could and made my way towards the front of the hall where the curtain was set up. Everyone else involved in the show, saw that I was on the move and followed. The second we were side by side, Glen started chattering in my ear.
“We're right on schedule,” he told me confidently. “Mipsy and the rest will handle clean up. The Professors will handle setting up the chairs and, yes, they'll remember to have seats for the elves. I also think that you should say something to everybody before we go on.”
“Like what?” I squeaked, having never considered this before. Everyone around us was bustling around finding their costumes or starting makeup. “Like say “good luck” or something?”
“No!” Glen gasped, putting a hand on his chest. I jumped in surprise. “You're not supposed to tell people in plays “good luck” before a show.”
“Why not?” I asked, watching as Myrtle floated by to join the rest.
“I'm not really sure,” Glen admitted, running a hand through his floppy hair. “I think it puts a curse on the show or something.”
“A curse?” I asked, bewildered. Sure, I knew nothing about theater, but this was ridiculous. “Well, what can I say?”
Glen thought hard. “I think you have to tell them to break an arm or something.”
“Break an arm?” I demanded, exasperated. “I can't say that! Its awful.”
“Exactly,” Glen asserted happily. “You tell them something bad, so that something good will happen instead.”
“That makes no sense,” I answered shaking my head.
“Theater is weird, mate,” Glen explained. “Its just how it is.” He looked down at his watch again. “Look, I've got to get into my costume, but I'm telling you.”
I put a hand over my eyes and let out a quiet groan as he disappeared into the crowd of preparing performers. Glen was such a strange person, but he had seemed very sure. And he had stuck his neck our for me with James. He deserved my trust. Plus, if the show tanked because I didn't tell everyone to break an arm, I'd never forgive myself. I was about to start considering what else I would tell everyone when Albus came rushing over, holding something in his arms.
“Check it out!” he said happily, unrolling the garment in his hands and throwing it over his shoulders. Immediately his body below his neck disappeared. An Invisibility Cloak? Not just a Invisibility Cloak, but the Invisibility Cloak. So far I had just had Daniel casting a Disillusionment charm on Al for our last story, but it was difficult as Daniel actually had to touch him with his wand to do it. It had always been awkward that Al had to go offstage for a few seconds and then reappear. This really would solve a lot of problems. When I first thought through the story, I had thought about the cloak, but had never had the nerve to ask for it. It was so special.
“How'd you get this?” I asked, in awe of our luck.
“James let me borrow it!” Al answered, his floating head grinning. “I didn't even have to ask.”
Even though I really wanted to take time and think about what that meant, I was, from that moment on, bombarded with problems on every front. Connie was frantic for a moment because she couldn't find her wig. She was so devoted she was considering using her wand to dye her hair gray. Luckily we found that the bunny Hagrid had gotten us was using it to sleep in. I had to calm one of Pamela Macy's friends as she was claiming she no longer remembered her lines. One of the party guests for “The Wizard's Hairy Heart” had put on her friend's costume instead of her own and they were bickering about it. And the whole time this was going on, every few seconds someone would ask what time it was. 7:00, 7:01, 7:02, 7:02.
Finally, by the will of Merlin himself, it was 7:25 and they were all dressed and ready as they were ever going to be. They were all standing in a circle around me, waiting for me to speak. I knew my time was ticking, and that, amazingly enough, they all wanted and needed to hear from me. Daniel cast a muffliato charm over the stage so the audience wouldn't hear me.
“Well...” I started, trying to drink in the encouraging smiles of my friends. It was strange to think that at the beginning of the year, I felt that I hadn't had many. “This is it. We've all worked really hard and, as someone who has seen this show at least sixty times, I can safely tell you that its really good.” A few people laughed, possibly out of nerves.
“Look,” I went on as honestly as I could. “Even if the worst should happen out there, we've all still done something that has only been tried once in the whole history of Hogwarts. We've come a long way in a really short amount of time. I'm really grateful to all of you for working this hard.”
My eye's met Glen's and he winked and pointed at his arm.
“And, I just wanted to say, get out there and...break an arm.”
I got mostly clueless looks in response, but Glen started whooping and cheering that soon everyone was joining in. Connie, all dressed up as Babbity Rabbity, was looking right at me as she cheered and clapped.
It was showtime.
The show was perfect. Well, alright it wasn't perfect. Who knew that the engorged flobberworm that Hagrid had bred for “Fountain” would end up biting the Ravenclaw playing Asha on the finger. I didn't think they had teeth. She kept on going like a pro, though I think some of the tears she was meant to be crying were actually real. Glen made up some of his lines, but that only made it funnier. I think Scorpius might have inhaled one of the hairs from the heart when he was supposed to be “licking” it and had a coughing fit right before he “died.”
It really did have its moments though. There was genuine laughter from the audience, and there were gasps of true horror. Connie stole the show in my opinion, though there was a very heavy silence in the room throughout the whole “Tale of the Three Brothers” and the effect of having Myrtle in the show was really amazing.
Everyone got to take their bows, while the audience cheered their approval. The image of Connie's beaming smile will probably always be with me. They ended up giving me a standing ovation and though I would have been happy flitting near the curtain as I was, Glen seized me by the arm and pulled me out to stand with the rest. I felt shaky, but light and happy at the same time. It was another name; another person taken care of.
Little did I know that the next name, my last, would be the most unexpected of them all.
AN: Yes, yes, you read correctly. Hugo's year is coming to an end, as is this story. Two more chapters will wrap up his tale rather nicely I should think. Once again, your patience is astounding, and I am always so grateful that you guys give me the time to make the chapters what I want them to be instead of rushing them out when I'm not satisfied. I've always wanted them to do a play at Hogwarts and I've always envisioned how they would go about it, so you get a special little visit to one of the Harry Potter daydreams I've had quite a few times. I am, as always, in awe of your support and so grateful to you guys for everything. If you have time, I'd love to hear from you! =)
All my love,