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Chapter 2: 2
“Lipton’s at it again.” Rose muttered. As usual, our esteemed next-door neighbour Jake Lipton was practicing his banshee guitar, which wailed to different plucked sounding notes. He thought himself something of a prodigy, though everyone else thought him something of a nuisance. Scowling, I stood up, leaving my pot noodles balanced precariously on a table which was already overflowing with books, letters and other odds and ends.
“Shut it Lipton! Some of us want a little peace and quiet!” I banged my fist on the wall, causing the thin walls that separated our two flats to shake even more than they already were.
“I’m making music. You don’t have to be such a prude!” Whiny little bugger. I passed my hand over my wand, before deciding that magic was not the answer to my problem. I wasn’t a prude; at least I didn’t think I was.
“Seriously, I am going to complain to Rochester if you don’t shut up.” I spoke sharply and as imperiously as I could manage. To be honest, I was impersonating my mother; after all, it wasn’t like she didn’t seem to get everything she wanted.
“Musicians never get taken seriously, but you wait, I will be rich and famous, and you’ll still be stuck here!” Did I mention I don’t like Lipton? Because I really don’t. I’d gone to school with him, and he’d been in my house, but even when I was a first year, and he was a little older, he’d pratted around like the king of the castle.
“That’s it.” I muttered, before turning to Rose. “What’s the charm for-” I began to ask her how to charm a temporary hole in the wall, before Lipton broke in.
“I can hear you, you know. I’ll just block whatever you do!” Like I said, I’d known him at school, and though he wasn’t the nicest guy, he wasn’t stupid, and could probably block whatever I threw at him. That was, of course, if he knew what was coming.
Smiling to myself, I turned to Rose, and began gesturing. I flicked my wrist as though I was waving a wand, and move my hands in a sort of circle gesture, demonstrating the hole in the wall. Rose nodded, as if she understood what I meant, and mouthed Reducto Grinning, I flicked my wand at the wall, and spoke the charm.
That was a bad idea. Within milliseconds, I was covered in a thick layer of white dust, and the wall was on the floor bellow me, shattered into a million pieces. Nervously, I looked into Lipton’s flat. He was standing there with a look of pure rage on his face.
“What the hell was that for?” He asked, his teeth clenched so tight I could hear them grinding as he spoke. “Well, old Rochester will certainly want to hear about this!” There was a certain look of glee on his face. Of course there was, not only would he not have to pay for the wall, I would never get to complain about his music again. Rochester was a firm believer in revenge, so obviously he would assume I was trying to avenge myself against Lipton if I ever complained.
“Reparo” I muttered, and the wall began to feebly rebuild itself. I had always had a reasonably good grip of repairing charms. That probably had something to do with the fact that I’d never had a problem with destruction charms either. “Well, good luck finding evidence against me.” Lipton hadn’t heard me, he’d already picked his guitar back up, and soon enough I heard the first few notes of his masterpiece ‘I wail for you each night.’
Francis grinned at me as I half-jogged into the meeting room. Everyone was already sat down, and Jacob was explaining something using her wand to point at various sections of a pie chart. Sheepishly, I sat down next to Francis and chucked my bag down on the floor next to me. However, I was not going to get away with being late.
“Grace, can I remind you that it says in your job description that you should be here punctually. Punctually. If you are late again, I’ll have to discipline you. As I was saying, the Wizarding economy is recorded to experience more growth in the Winter, however this is incorrect because...” I tuned out. Economics really wasn’t my area, and although some people were looking at Jacob as though what he was saying was fascinating, I wasn’t so bothered.
“It’s like being in bloody school again” I muttered to Francis, pulling my hair into a ponytail.
“Well if you do insist on being half an hour late...” He teased, punching me lightly on the arm.
“What’s been happening?” I asked, deciding that I might as well learn something whilst I was in the story room.
“Well, another Cursebreaker, Bill Weasley I think his name was-” he began, but I broke in before he could finish.
“Bill Weasley as in Louis Weasley’s dad?” I asked sharply, recognising the name from one of the many times Rose had tried to explain exactly how she was related to Louis.
“I thought he was being a bit funny. Probably. Anyway, he’s been injured by some creepy ghost thing looking for Voldermort’s gold on the Caleuche, and now the ministry is going to call off the search.”
“Nepotism” I muttered. I wasn’t surprised that as soon as a relative of Potter and his lot was injured, the search for Voldermort got called off. Though the favouritism had worn of slightly since Cho Chang had become Assistant Minister, there was still a distinct whiff of it. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the Weasleys and the Potters- my best friend was a Weasley, after all. They were good, brave people who had fought incredibly bravely (more bravely than my family and on the right side) during the War against Voldermort, but they, like everyone else, were flawed.
“Exactly. Anyway, Lilia’s doing an interview with that muggle doctor, to see how he liked his welcome, we’re doing something on anti-purebloodism” Francis continued, glancing down at his notes.
“Excellent” I felt quite strongly about the bad feelings towards purebloods that many people housed. I was from an old pureblood family, interwoven with all the worst families and neither of my parents had been death eaters. People seemed to forget that although some purebloods had been bad, some had also been good. The Weasleys were purebloods, and so was Harry Potter’s almost-as-famous father James Potter. I have a feeling I’m distantly related to him, actually. But most of all, Sirius Black one of the most famous Order of The Phoenix members who is frequently studied in school History of Magic, was the eldest son of the famously dark Black family.
“I thought you’d say that. We also have something on Enid Babbling’s campaign to let students bring Kneazles to school, I’m doing something on how to get tickets for the Quidditch World cup and then Ella Flint’s going to do something on this whole thing about how shops are tweaking the times when they hand their records in to change the Economy. Wait my quill spelled Economy with two I’s. That’s not right, is it?” Francis said, frowning at his notes and looking at his large, navy blue Autonote quill. It was slightly mangy round the edges, and the nib was almost blunt.
“No, it’s not. You’ve had that thing forever, though, isn’t it time to buy a new one? Or can’t you afford one with all your new sporting correspondent money.” I was still whispering, as it seemed Jacob hadn’t finished rambling about the sneaky shops. He had been the Economy correspondent when I’d started at the WWN, but last year the old Head of News Gertie Phillips retired, and he took the job. Ever since then, we’d done about thirty hours a night of Economy. I wasn’t a fan of it, but Francis didn’t mind. Probably because he fancied Ella.
“I thought I did excellently, as per usual.” Tatiana Creevey was standing on one of the rickety chairs in the Dragon’s Tooth, explaining about what a victory she’d had in her amateur Quidditch league. Sighing, I took a sip of my Elf-made Wine. Francis had lost one of our many bets, and he was paying, so I’d decided to treat myself.
“Yeah! I’m sure you did Creevey.” Meggie Bevan hit her playfully on the arm, grinning. Those two were incredibly close, I remember them at school being as tight as a muggle film star’s abdomen, and that’s saying something considering I paid almost no attention to the years above me. Suddenly, Tatiana collapsed, and was only saved from hitting the floor below by some quick charm work from Will Daniels.
“I better take her home; it looks like she’s all out for the night.” Meggie giggled, before pouring a glass of water that’d been left on the table onto her friends face.
“You know, you could’ve done that with magic” Tatiana groaned, before hiccoughing and leaning shakily onto her friends arm.
“Yeah, I know, but it’s more fun that way.” Meggie answered, trying to lead her friend to the door of the tavern that we so often frequented.
“Ah” said Francis, “Journalists, those most noble and diplomatic of people, and are Tatia and Meggie not fine examples of them?”