Chapter 12 : Michael the Traitor.
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“It’s not as much fun as it sounds in books,” Rose admitted disappointedly.
Diana shrugged. “I guess that’s because they don’t do it all the time. They seem to get their answer almost straight away. All Snape seems to do is teach, talk to the rest of the staff, eat and boring stuff like that.”
“Well, he is a teacher. They all have boring lives. Not that helping prisoners escape is particularly boring.”
“Maybe we should just give up. If he is still helping him, he’s obviously doing it when we’re asleep or something. He probably wouldn’t do it any time there could be anybody around anyway.”
Rose didn’t answer. Diana had a point. Snape certainly didn’t seem to be giving anything away, and the truth was that she was getting as bored watching him as Diana was, but she didn’t want to give it up until they could come up with a better idea, and as it stood, they didn’t really have anything.
If only George would answer their owl and let them know how to get into the Shrieking Shack, it’d be a help, but until then she wanted to continue doing something.
It was Michael who made up their minds.
He raced up to Rose after Quidditch practice the next day.
“Rose, you’re probably going to kill me for this, but I can’t keep up watching Snape.”
“Why not?” she snapped.
Admittedly, she and Diana had already been considering the possibility of giving up, but it should have been an agreement between the three of them. By simply dropping out without asking anybody, Michael was letting them down.
“Quidditch practice,” he muttered. “We’ve our match with Slytherin just after Christmas, you know, and Joshua wants us to get in as much practice as possible before that. We really have to beat them!”
“Well, if Joshua wants it.”
“Ah, Rose, don’t be like that. Come on, what am I supposed to do. You want Gryffindor to win the Quidditch Cup, don’t you?”
“Well of course I do, but, you know, I do think that the idea of Malfoy hiding somewhere near here is a little more serious than a Quidditch match.”
“No, you don’t. You just like the idea of capturing him and being congratulated by everybody and having them admit we were right all along, that’s all!”
“So? What’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing really. Just don’t try to pretend you’re doing this for the good of the world or anything. You’re doing it for fun, that’s all, so you might as well admit it.”
Rose didn’t reply. She simply turned around and stormed off down the corridor.
“Rose, Rose,” Michael called after her, but she ignored him and went to look for Diana
She wasn’t too difficult to find, as it was her turn to keep an eye on Snape and she was hanging around at the end of the corridor, waiting to see if he came out of the staffroom.
“I don’t know if you should be here,” she muttered to Rose, as soon as she found her. “McGonagall’s already asked me what I’m doing hanging around the corridors like this. Two of us would be even more noticeable.”
“We can pretend we’re just chatting. Michael says he can’t help any more. He has Quidditch practice.”
“Well, I suppose he would have,” Diana said. “He does have less time than we do, after all.”
“But don’t you think this is a bit more important than Quidditch.” Rose lowered her voice, remembering that they didn’t exactly want the whole school to hear their conversation. “These are Death Eaters we are talking about. Who knows what they are planning. And we are the only people who know about it. We have to do something, don’t you think so?”
“I guess, but you have to admit, we’re not getting very far with this. And if Michael can’t help any more, I think we are going to have to give up, Rose. There is no way the two of us can do it all by ourselves.”
“I know,” Rose muttered in annoyance. “Merlin, I could kill Michael.”
“We were thinking about it anyway,” Diana pointed out. “Maybe he’s done us a favour.”
Rose had no intention of admitting that, even if she did find that she had far more time to enjoy her time at Hogwarts over the next few days. She had not quite realised just how much they had been missing over the past week until she was free to spend her free time as she liked again. It was fun to sit chatting with Diana when both of them had finished their homework, knowing that neither of them would have to slip of to spy on the Potions Master within minutes. And it was nice to have some time to slip down to the edge of the Forbidden Forest or to practice duelling in the corridors while keeping a close eye out for the appearance of Filch or any of the teachers.
“But that’s not the point,” she replied when Diana pointed out how much more fun they were having since giving up their surveillance. “For all we know, Snape could be off with Malfoy right now. They could be doing anything.”
“We could go watch him now if you like,” Diana said with a sigh.
“There’s no point. Not unless we can do it all the time. Otherwise, he can just go off to him when there’s nobody looking.”
Diana rolled her eyes.
“Well, there’s no point in blaming Michael like this. You know we’d have had to give up eventually anyway. We weren’t getting anywhere.”
“But we should have all agreed! He shouldn’t have just decided to stop by himself.”
“What choice had he? He has to go to Quidditch practices if Joshua tells him to. Rose, you are getting kind of...I don’t know…obsessed with this or something. You haven’t even played any tricks on Theodora in ages. When she and Ceri swapped your caterpillars for those fake ones from Weasleys in Potions the other day, you didn’t even notice, until I said it. And you never even bothered to get them back.
“Yeah, well, I was watching Snape, wasn’t I? You’d never know when he might say something that would give us a clue.”
“Rose, he was talking about a laughing potion. What did you expect him to say? ‘Then you add the fish liver. Oh, and by the way, Lucius Malfoy is hiding in the Shrieking Shack.’”
“Don’t be stupid.”
“Well, we can find out what’s going on without watching him twenty-four hours of the day. I’m sure we can. There’s only another two weeks or so to the next Hogsmeade weekend. Michael is going to see what he can find out about the Shrieking Shack then.”
“If he can be bothered,” Rose muttered.
“Of course he can. Just because he’s too busy to spend all his time on this doesn’t mean he doesn’t care at all. He’s looking forward to investigating in Hogsmeade.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“Well, maybe if you’d actually talk to him. Come on, come and watch Quidditch practice with me tomorrow. Michael’s getting really good.
Rose shook her head. She had no intention of going to watch him after the way he’d let them down. So Diana went on her own, and Rose sulked in the common room.
“What’s the matter with you?” Anthea asked.
“Who said anything is the matter?” she snapped.
“Well, you just don’t really seem in that good a mood lately.”
“As if I’d tell you anyway. I know all about your family, you know.”
“Leave her alone,” Niamh said. “It’s not fair. You always give out about people insulting Diana’s dad, but you go around insulting Anthea’s parents. That’s not on.”
Rose glared at her and walked out of the room. How could Niamh compare Remus Lupin to those Death Eaters? Well, ok, so she didn’t actually know if Anthea’s parents were Death Eaters or not, but even if they weren’t, they probably supported them, so it was all the same really.
Theodora was taking full advantage of Rose’s preoccupation and hardly a day went by without her making some attempt to get Rose in trouble or play a joke on her.
She hid Rose’s wand before Charms one day and it was only when the class began that Rose noticed it missing.
“I know I had it before class,” she muttered in exasperation. “Oh, where could I have put it?”
“You didn’t put it anywhere,” Diana said. “I think Theodora had it. And it’s time she learned a learned a lesson.”
Diana raised her hand. “Professor?”
“Somebody has taken Rose’s wand.”
A worried look crossed Theodora’s face and she tried frantically to replace the wand on Rose’s desk. Unfortunately for her, Professor Flitwick noticed her attempt.
“Excuse me, Theodora. What is that in your hand?”
“Um, my wand, Professor.”
“Give it a wave for us, there,” the Professor said.
Theodora paled, but she waved the wand.
“As you did in Ollivanders.”
No spark came from the wand.
“Now perhaps you would pass it over to Rose.”
Theodora did so, without a word.
“Give it a wave, Rose, just as you did in Ollivanders.”
Rose did as she was asked and sparks immediately flew out of the wand, just as they had done when she had picked it up in the shop.
“Well, I think that proves it,” Flitwick said. “Now, I don’t know what is going on between you two, but I would ask you to keep your feuds out of my classroom in future.”
“That’s not fair, Professor,” Diana protested. “Rose didn’t do anything.”
“I realise that…this time. But I am not quite as foolish as you all may think. This hasn’t been the first incident which has happened between you. Just keep it out of your Charms lessons, ok?”
“Yes, Professor,” Rose and Diana said.
Theodora mumbled something which the Professor appeared to take as agreement from her too.
Once class finished, Diana again pointed out Rose’s preoccupation with their mystery.
“It’s not like you to miss something like that,” she said.
“I am trying to think of a way to prove what’s going on,” Rose replied testily.
Diana sighed, but didn’t bother to continue the argument. It had all been said already.
Towards the end of November, James stopped Rose in the corridor, as she and Diana hurried out to their Herbology class.
“Have you got a second, Rose?”
“Sure,” she agreed. “It’s only Herbology. Professor Sprout never says much to you. What is it?”
“I’d Defence Against the Dark Arts just now, and after class Hermione said that she was going to ask us over to her house this weekend.”
“Is Michael going?”
“Yeah, but not Harriet. She went home last weekend, so this time it’s just going to be us and Michael. And Steve of course.”
“If he’s going, then I’m not!”
“Oh, come on Rose. I don’t know what this is all about, but you’re just cutting off your nose to spite your face. I know you miss Steve. You were saying all summer about how much you’d miss him and Jessica once you started Hogwarts and you’ve hardly seen him since the year started. This is just silly.”
Realising that the argument could go on for a while, Diana slipped out to her next class.
“You don’t understand.”
“You’re quite right. I don’t! Whatever row you two have had, it can’t be all that serious. You never even went to watch him practice with the Quidditch team. Even I’ve gone to watch him and I’m not even a Gryffindor.”
“So?” Rose said rudely. “Anyway, I’ve got to go to class.”
She shoved past him and headed out to Glasshouse One.
“Sorry I’m late, Professor. I got delayed.”
“That’s all right. Just get to work quickly now.”
Though she had managed to escape him that time, James continued to annoy her about coming to Hermione’s with him and Michael, and Hermione also wanted to know what was going on, when Rose told her that she wasn’t coming.
They were in Hermione’s office and the Professor rose to close the door.
“What is this about, Rose? You and Michael were together quite a lot, earlier this year. I was quite surprised at how much time you were spending together, actually, as he is two years older than you. But for the last two weeks, you appear to be totally avoiding him. I’ve asked him what it’s about, but all he said is that you were annoyed at the amount of time he’s been spending practicing Quidditch.”
“It’s not as simple as that.”
“No, I didn’t think it would be. I know you are a sensible girl, Rose, usually anyway, and that would be a very silly thing to do. So could you tell me what it is about.”
“No,” Rose said bluntly. “Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but I really can’t tell you.
“Well, ok, I don’t want to pry into your secrets, but whatever it is, can’t you try and make up with him? It’s a pity to see the two of you not talking like this.”
“Can I go now?”
“Hermione stood up again and opened the door.
“Of course you can. But, please, think about what I’ve said.”
She thought about it, but had no intention of changing her mind.
On Saturday morning, James came into the Gryffindor common room with Michael and they both headed over to her.
“You’re not supposed to be in here,” she said to James, ignoring Michael completely.
“Come with us, Rose. We’re just about to head over to Michael’s house now. Come on, it won’t be the same without you.”
Rose simply folded her arms and shook her head.
James and Michael exchanged looks.
“Last chance, Rose,” James said, before both boys left the room.
Rose was in a bad mood for the rest of the day. Although, she tried to behave as normal and enjoy herself with Diana, she couldn’t help wondering what the boys were getting up to. If she’d been there, the four of them could have played two-a-side Quidditch. Maybe Ron was teaching the boys Quidditch tips right now and she was missing out. It wasn’t fair. James didn’t even like Quidditch much.
“Well, why don’t you just make up with him?” Diana asked, getting fed up with Rose’s complaints.
“I’m not going to make the first move. It’s all his fault.”
Diana rolled her eyes.
“Well, stop complaining, then.”
A part of Rose did want to make up, but she had no intention of being the one to apologise. She had no intention of even asking James what they had done that day, she decided, when she saw Michael return to the common room that evening.
For the next couple of days, she and Michael continued to avoid one another.
“Why couldn’t he just apologise?” she wondered. She was about ready to forgive him now, if he only said he was sorry.
Finally, he came over to her, in the common room.
“I got a letter,” he whispered.
“So?” she asked. She had no intention of making this easy for him.
All her grievances were forgotten in the excitement of the moment.
“Does it tell us….?”
Without another word, Rose snatched the letter from him and began to read.
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