Chapter 17 : Birthday Blues
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Kimble wasn’t entirely sure this was a good idea. Helene had already been warned by her head of house about abiding by the rules, but since when did that ever stop her? As per their newly found tradition, they were meeting at midnight for Helene’s birthday by the secret passageway that the twins had shown them before.
As before, Kimble crept out of the Ravenclaw dormitory into the house’s common room. But, this time, instead of the pitch-black darkness for Leon Crowe to hide behind, he was there with a gang of blue and bronze clad friends, still up at this late hour.
“Can’t I go one minute without we land in hell again?” Kimble muttered to herself before confidently striding across the common room on her way out.
“Hey!” Crowe stepped in front of her, “Where are you going?”
“Out,” Kim answered, truthfully and firmly. She held her chin in the air.
“To meet that Hugglepuff friend?” Leon raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms and blocking her path, “She’s a Muggle and a Hufflepuff in one!”
“Yes, I’m meeting Helene, if you must know,” she told him, but this answer was met with boos and hisses from the small crowd that Crowe had assembled.
“We’re not fans of you pair,” A wimpy blonde boy by the name of Sark Julian spoke up. This statement was met by murmurs of agreement in the crowd of first years.
Kimble didn’t like the sound of where this was going, but had to ask the question anyway, or else she’d ever get to see Helene.
“You lose us house points!” One girl piped up, “You break the rules and lose Ravenclaw house points!”
“See, she’s even going out tonight, that’s breaking the rules,” Leon nodded, “She’ll get caught and the house will suffer for it. She’s doing it deliberately.”
“I am doing no such thing!” Kim protested.
“She says mean things about us behind our backs!” Sark added, “She called me 'Sark the weed', didn’t she Leon?”
“I heard it with my own ears,” Crowe smiled down at the helpless Kimble.
The victimized redhead began to see what he was doing, and she didn’t like it. Why was he spreading all these rumors about her? The Ravenclaws hated her enough as it was without his help!
“She called me a greasy, spotty loner with no friends!” A girl with bad skin accused.
“No…” Kim tried to set the record straight, but Crowe had whipped them up into an angry frenzy.
“That Hufflepuff hit Leon! He’s still got the bruise, look!” There was no denying that accusation, Crowe’s face was still bruised with yellow and purple stains.
“She was provoked…” Kimble tried to excuse her fiery-tempered friend.
“You try to get us in trouble with the teachers!”
“You put Doxy Powder in my bed!”
“You put a potion in my drink to make me ill!”
“I saw Goody Proctor with the Devil!”
The common room ascended into uproar. In the hullabaloo, Kimble managed to work her way over to the entrance to the Ravenclaw tower.
“It seems I have outstayed my welcome,” she muttered as she ran through the door, not looking back until she had descended the spiral staircase and was several corridors away from the madding crowd.
“Crowe, you’re not making it any easier for me,” Kimble said to herself, catching her breath before she started off to meet Helene. She wouldn’t be stopped; this was a birthday tradition of course.
- - -
“Kimmy!” Helene greeted her friend with gusto, “Happy birthday to me!” She did a little dance, smiling like she was giddy on Butterbeer.
“Yes,” Kim smirked, “Happy birthday, indeed.”
“Have you got me a present?” Helene grinned cheerily. She wasn’t one to hold back.
“Of course I have!”
Kimble produced a small, but perfectly wrapped package, sealed in gold paper and black ribbon. The Hufflepuff colours.
“Aw! Thank you!” Helene shook the gift against her ear, just in case, “It’s not those scary chocolates is it? I don’t fancy being whizzed around the school again.”
“No, no. Nothing like that,” Kimble grinned to herself, “But the twins may have helped me out a bit.”
The look on Helene’s face was priceless.
“Well I can’t open it now! It might leap out and attack me!”
“If you keep it wrapped in the package for too long it may spontaneously combust.”
“Really?” Helene gulped, hastily unwrapping the gift, ripping at the paper, “Oh wow! What is it?”
“A bum pincher.”
“You’re a genius, Kimmy!”
“I know,” Kim nodded, pleased with her choice of gift. It had 'Helene Colis' written all over it. Actually, it had 'Zonkos Deluxe Edition' written all over it... how one could get a 'deluxe' bum-pincher was beyond Kim, but she made a mental note to thank the twins later.
“Oh, I’m going to get Crowe back with this! His buns will wish they’d never been born!” Helene cackled.
Kim decided not to disrupt Helene's excitement with her new gadget by pointing out that she had made another comment about Leon's rear.
Helene pressed the button on the device, and a gloved hand shot out on a spring, seeking out the nearest bum to give a good squeeze.
“You’ll be sorry, very sorry indeed!” a voice laughed from above them. It was the resident poltergeist of Hogwarts castle, holding a large, fragile looking vase above their heads.
“PEEVES!” Helene and Kimble jumped up.
“Oooh! Filchy will be very displeased to find two first years out of bed, smashing up Hogwarts heir looms!”
“You wouldn’t,” Kimble could see the accusing looks on the Ravenclaws’ faces already.
“Peeves! It’s my birthday!”
“RUN!” Kimble ordered.
The two girls ran for their lives, flitting through the corridors. They seemed to be keeping time in their steps with their pounding heartbeats. They couldn’t get caught again!
“Come here my pretties,” came the creepy voice of Filch the caretaker from behind them, “There’s nowhere to run.”
Oh no, now the voice came from in front of them. Damn Hogwarts castle and it’s secret passageways!
“We’re lost!” Kim hissed as the pair did a U-turn to run the other way.
“There’s nowhere to hide,” it seemed like Filch’s voice was everywhere. They were trapped in a small corridor with no doors or windows.
The two girls panicked, racing back and forth as the voice got louder.
“Where’s a map when you need it?” Kim groaned, but suddenly Helene grabbed her hand and led her through a door that wasn’t there before.
The door closed. And they were inside.
“I am the map,” Helene giggled.
“How do you even do that?” Kim questioned, leaning against the door, out of breath. Helene seemed to have a certain instinct or intuition for these sort of things.
“More to the point – where are we?”
They turned around and took in their surroundings. The room they were in seemed infinitively tall and wide. They were stacks and stack of shelves, filled with random objects. They were all packed in tightly, Helene and Kimble barely had room to wade through it all. All the items were gathering dust; they had been here a while.
“Well,” Kim observed, peering over her glasses at the strange environment, “We’re still trapped. There are no other exits.”
“You sound like an air hostess!” Helene giggled, “This is so cool! We’ve got our very own secret hiding place! No-one can get in!”
“Yeah, but we can’t get out,” Kim told her excitable friend, “And Filch is on the other side of that door.”
“I’m sure he’ll give up in a few minutes anyway. It could be worse.”
“Malfoy and Crowe could be here with us.”
“Oh, what a fun party that would be,” Kim raised an eyebrow as she drawled in sarcasm.
“Well there’s no-one else I’d rather spend my birthday with than you, Kimmy,” Helene sighed, slipping down the wall until she was sat at the bottom. It was pushing one o’clock, and she was feeling tired.
“Oh no! Helene! Where’s your bum-pincher?” Kim noticed that neither of them had the brought the present with them.
“I must have left it on the stairs,” Helene yawned, “Don’t worry – they can’t know for sure that it’s ours.”
“Yeah, apart from the give-away tag that reads ‘To Helene, Love Kim’, perhaps?”
“We have to go back for it, or else we’ll be in trouble regardless of where we hide,” Kim decided, pulling Helene up from her comfy spot on the floor.
“But I want to go to bed! I want a little sleepy!” Helene whined.
“You’ve been hanging around with that Jenny girl too much, she’s rubbing off on you!” Kim shook her head in disbelief.
“She’s bare mint.”
“Shut up, I need to see if anyone’s coming,” Kimble silenced her friend as she creaked the door open a crack, checking up and down the corridor for any stray caretakers that were wandering around. Not to mention the wrath of Mrs Norris.
“Imagine if our gold-toothed friend appeared now – wouldn’t that be a plot-point-and-a-half!”
“Shut it. Now look you, Helene. If you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, I will bring a point reckoning that will shudder you,” Kim pointed at her friend, threateningly.
“Kim, I think you’re the one who needs to stop hanging around with Jenny so much…”
“I said shut it, Mary Warren… I mean, Helene Colis. Damn, point taken,” Kim checked herself.
“I was just going to say that Filch is standing right behind you, because you’ve held that door open for a while now, and he’s heard everything we’ve said,” Helene explained, quite calmly.
“Helene and Kim, I presume?” The caretaker smiled, baring his black toothed smile (not gold, much to the plot point’s disgust), “You’re nicked!”