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No Solid Ground by RoxyRose
Chapter 8 : So Full Of Doubt And Needing Proof
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 20


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SEVEN 
One day later
14th May 2023
 




It was a close, humid night but Cassie Cooper was cold. 


She stood in front of the statue of the one-eyed crone, her eyes on the hump-back that she now knew would open at the utterance of a password. But she couldn’t bring herself to say it. 


All she could recall was the last time she’d been on this corridor. All she could see was the intensity in the vivid green eyes - desperation, even - as her friend tried to convey to her what he was planning. 


The friend that she was now betraying. 


For the thousandth time, she cursed her stupidity. It was so obvious. But then again, it would have been no use even if she had understood, even if she had gone with him. That would have just meant there were two of them in danger instead of one. And Ryan… there’d be no chance of saving Ryan. 


That was why she was doing this, she told herself, sternly. Nothing else mattered. Just Ryan. 


And Al… 


She shook her head. This was ridiculous. She hadn’t even made it out of the castle yet and her guilt was delaying her. This mission could only get worse. 


“Dissendium.” Cassie whispered, tapping the stone witch in the exact same place that Al had slapped it. 


The witch’s hump opened. A bit. Cassie eyed it doubtfully. Would she even fit in there? Should she go back to Professor Cole now and tell him she was ever so sorry but he’d have to find someone else to go because she was too big for the passageway? 


To her annoyance, she fit through the opening pretty easily. For a moment she held herself up by her arms against the stone statue. She couldn’t feel the bottom of the passage beneath her. She was going to have to drop. 


With one last look down the silent, dark corridor, Cassie sighed. So, this was goodbye to Hogwarts for now. Goodbye to predictability. Goodbye to comfort. 


It was adventure, Cole had said. Maybe if she wasn’t guilt-ridden, she’d actually be excited about this. Sure beat climbing walls to get thrills, or even flying. 


One thing was for sure, Cassie was glad she’d thought to pick up her broomstick. Al’s broomstick. She picked it up along with the half-empty satchel, the only piece of luggage she was taking with her. She ran her thumb along the smooth wood, shiny from so much use from her and Al. It probably wasn’t great, having something to take with her to remind her of him. And of what she was doing to him. Maybe she could have asked Cole for a new one… 


Cassie sighed again. She still hadn’t even left the castle. She was putting this off, she knew it. 


Freshly determined, she pulled her broomstick and bag close to her chest and let herself drop into the unknown. 


It took a few seconds for her to realise that she wasn’t free-falling, but skimming down some sort of steep slide. After a few more moments it levelled out and Cassie found herself tumbling onto cold, damp earth. 


She took a deep, shaking breath to steady herself before illuminating her wand. The silvery light showed that she was in a very long, narrow, muddy passageway, cold enough that her breath came out in a misty fog. With a shiver that could have been due to the sudden drop in temperature or the eerie passage, Cassie figured she should get moving. Now that she was officially on her way, there was no going back. 


Literally, she grimly noted, looking above her to see the distant opening close up. 


It didn’t take long for the underground chill to get to her. After only about ten minutes Cassie had fished her hooded sweatshirt out of her bag and shaken the long sleeves over her frozen fingers. She’d thought that her hammering heart and nervousness would have been enough to keep her warm, but even though she broke out into a nervous sweat with each turn of the winding, uneven corridor, she couldn’t stop shaking. 


Cassie started off counting each sharp turn of the passageway. She soon gave up. It had been a long time since she’d started down the corridor. Or she thought so, anyway. She couldn’t be certain, not having a watch to check. There had been so many curious turns that she was beginning to suspect that the passageway lead round and round in never-ending circles, and Cole was just punishing her. 


Just when she though her feet were becoming too numb to continue, the dim glow from her wand fell upon something that stood out against the dark earth of the tunnel.
Some dusty, stone steps. 


Cassie’s heart now seemed to be thumping nauseatingly in her throat. These would be the steps leading to the abandoned flat. The Potter’s flat. 


She climbed them silently, trying not to make a sound even though she was sure she was alone. Even so, a small, irrational part of her couldn’t help but hope that Al had done what he’d said he would, and was waiting for her. 


But that was ridiculous. He’d been gone over a week. And she was absolutely certain that the first thing that Cole had done when he’d heard the news was sent someone to check on the Potter’s flat. They must have guessed he’d leave this way. 


The stairs went on and on. Cassie counted them, all the way up past one hundred, two hundred - she hadn’t realised just how far underground the passage had taken her. 


Then on one of the topmost steps, she completely lost her count. A muddy footprint caught her eye next to her own feet, clad in a pair of now filthy plimsolls. Another shiver ran through her, though she was certain that this one wasn’t because of the cold. This one brought with it a prickling sense of fear. This footprint could belong to her best friend running away or the person pursuing him. The person that she was now working for. 


Now, she supposed, she was the one pursuing him. 


She quickly took the next step, leaving the footprint behind her, but hit her head sharply and painfully on something hard. 


A trapdoor. 


Cassie scowled up at it, her face screwed up against the throbbing pain in her head. They could have at least left a notice - ‘low ceilings’ or something along those lines… 


Something caught her eye. A small piece of bright colour in the corner of the dull, mucky stair. A sweet paper, scrunched as if it had been screwed up and flung aside in a hurry. 


She picked it up. She didn’t know why. Cole had told her that the passageway had lead to a sweetshop in the old days. It made sense that students would make the trek to get some supplies. It made sense that they’d have gotten hungry on the journey and been lazy enough to discard the paper. 


But she still picked it up. It was still crisp in her hands, it didn’t feel old. 


Unfolding it gently, her eyes took in the scrawled words before her mind could keep up. 


A smile spread across her face. 


Mind your head Cooper, it read. 


Despite the chill of the passage, a warmth spread through Cassie and she felt that same feeling that Albus Potter had instilled in her from their very first meeting. 


Hope. 


It didn’t last long. The smile faded when she thought ahead. She wasn’t the first to come here after him. Someone else had read it and flung it aside. They’d known then, probably, that they’d send her. 


Her comforting sense of warm hope extinguished, Cassie reached gingerly over her head to push at the trapdoor. 


The room was dark. The sort of pitch black so deep that the glow from her wand didn’t seem to penetrate the corners. But maybe that was just because she really was out in the unknown. Far enough from Hogwarts that she was all alone in this now. 


She held her wand high above her head and swept it around so she could see the entire room. Nothing particularly impressive. It hadn’t even been decorated; just plain off-white plaster on the walls and bare, dusty floorboards. 


Another chill ran up her spine as she saw the footsteps in the dust. A heavy cluster around the trapdoor just where she was standing. Then, if she could make it out properly, two sets leading towards the door. She crouched to look at the two different prints, one set clearly from some unmarked, plain shoes and the other from a pair of trainers that she could picture very clearly. 


For a second Cassie’s mind leapt at the idea that Al had been here with someone, but she quickly was struck by more rational thought. Of course. Buchanan had send someone else before her. They’d followed his footprints just as she was about to. In fact, she could see where they returned to the trapdoor, presumably empty-handed. 


The door lead out into a narrow hallway, undecorated just as the hall had been. It only had two more doors leading from it, both of which - according to the footprints - hadn’t been ventured into. Cassie paused at the first door and pushed it open on an impulse. Nothing. Just another bare room as before. She didn’t know what she’d been hoping or expecting to find anyway. She paused again, at the other door and swung it open. Nothing again. 


She followed the footprints up a set of bare concrete stairs and reached another hallway, though this time with pale silvery moonlight thrown across the carpeted floor from the glass panes in the front door. The footprints were no more. There was no dust to see them in. 


Cassie glanced up to where the stairs would lead. To another flat. Probably with someone sleeping in it right now, unaware that she was the second teenager to pass underneath them in as many weeks. 


They were trusting, the people who lived here. The key was in the door. They had no idea that their basement hid the entrance to a secret passageway that lead to a school full of teenagers. 


Cassie was able to slip out of the front door silently and stood out in the moonlight. Instinctively she was glad of the true, pure light after the underground darkness, but then another feeling crept over her. An overwhelming sense of inferiority - she felt small. Small physically, compared to the whole world out there. The whole world her friend and brother could be in somewhere, and she was supposed to work out where. 


And now she’d reached the end of her trail. The end of the known. Now it was up to her. 


“What now?” She muttered to herself, fidgeting with her bag and broomstick. She felt eager to fly, at least then she might feel she was heading somewhere. But where. “What now, what now, what now?” 


The door she’d just exited lead out onto some sort of High Street. Shop windows with their usually bright merchandise and posters still displayed, silvery in the moonlight. 


“Come on, Al,” Cassie looked up and down the street, “’Help me whenever you can‘, my arse…” 


Across the road and slightly to Cassie’s left a sign read ‘The Three Broomsticks’. To it’s right, a grocers. To the right of that… 


Cassie’s eyes snapped back to between the Three Broomsticks and the grocers. A pathway. An alley, maybe. Between them. 


Directly opposite her. 


“I’ll help as much as I can but the main thing you need to understand is… when you don’t understand, it’s straight-forward. All the time.” 


“Straight forward.” Cassie said the words aloud. “Not 'easy'. Straight. Straight ahead.” 


Could it be? Could his ‘code’ really be that simple? She went over and over his other words in her head. It couldn’t be that, right? 


What if it wasn’t? What if she set off in the completely wrong direction and went on for miles and miles, getting nowhere? Cole had given her some shrunken food, all she had to go was Engorgio it. But how much? How long would it last? 


Thinking of food made her stomach growl, even though she’d only eaten about four hours ago at dinner. She dug absent-mindedly into her bag and came up with a tiny apple. Tapping it with her wand, she stepped out in to the middle of the street, her eyes on the alleyway. 


“Straight forward.” She took a bit out of the apple. It was surprisingly good. 


It was all she had to go on. With a sigh, she swung the bag over her shoulder and mounted her broom. 


“Straight forward it is, then.” She kicked off gently, barely rising above the pavement enough for her toes to be off the floor and moving at just over a walking pace. “There’s no turning back.” 


The alley went straight through a small estate of old-fashioned looking houses. It opened straight onto a more deserted lane. The lane was lined with fewer houses, each becoming more cottage-like as they spread out further into the countryside. 


Cassie came to a halt at a wide wooden gate, blocking the end of the lane, landing lightly on the smooth wood and swinging her broomstick over her shoulder. She eyed the dark expanse of hillside beyond the gate warily. This really was the unknown. But, strangely, she felt a lot better at the thought of being away from this dark, almost deserted village and into the wilderness. 


Beyond the gate was a path, veering off to the left. Just a footpath - a dirt track really - rough and worn. Logically, that would have been the way she ought to have gone. The safest, the easiest way to find her way back if she went wrong… 


The easy route. 


“You strike me as someone who dislikes taking the easy route as much as me,” 

One of the first things Albus had said to her. A running joke that they’d kept up over the last few months. 


Too much of a coincidence? 


Cassie took out her wand, lit it and held it as high as she could. Not very far. The path was a winding but safe one; it looked like it would take her back past the village, around into the flatter hillside to the west. 


She looked around straight ahead. 


Straight forward. 


The land in front of her was, the was no other word for it, full. The dusty path looked like the only place she’d be able to stand easily or walk without breaking her ankle. The land ahead was thick and full of scrub, bush and undergrowth of varying shades of grey from the moon, littered with clumps of vine, trees, weeds, nettles… 


Impossible, in other words, to navigate. 


Most definitely not the easy route. 


But straight forward. 


But how was she supposed to know where she was going, what she was doing


Cassie screwed up her exhausted eyes and cursed Albus Potter for the millionth time. She was tired and alone and quite possibly about to wander out and lose herself in the mountains and right now she really felt like she was going to cry. 


She shook her head. Well she couldn’t stay here. And she couldn’t go back. Not with out Ryan, not without Al. 


“If you choose to prolong his suffering…” 
“Alright. I’m going, I’m going.” Cassie muttered to herself, only slightly worried by the fact that she was actually talking to herself. More worried at the way that her head seemed full to the brim of other peoples words. It seemed that no decision she made was based on her own judgement. 


With a deep lungful of chilling air, Cassie made her decision. And with that, she pulled a grim smile and leapt from the gate, swinging her broomstick around from her shoulder and underneath her, landing heavily on it but managing to keep it airborne… her toes just skimming the rough undergrowth before she pulled up sharply to a safer height. 


It brought with it the familiar rush of adrenaline from pulling off a stunt. The type of rush she liked. The type of rush that was controlled, rather than forced upon her in fear. With that, she could ignore the bad stuff. 


Rising higher into the air, Cassie squinted into the overgrown hillside. She didn’t know what she was looking for, didn’t know what she expected to see in the dark. But there was no use waiting, she though. Had to go for it. 


Stowing her wand safely in her bag, she swooped away into the darkness, the cold air on her face the only thing keeping the fear at bay. 




** 




On that first day, the grim sort of optimism may have been able to dull down the anxiety. 


By day three, it was getting a little hopeless. 


Cassie was panicked. 


She’d flown for almost twenty-four hours straight. Straight through the night, and all through out that day, not wanting to stop. Not wanting to have to address the fact that she was going to have to sleep at some point. 


Eventually exhaustion had beaten her. Halfway into the second night she’d slipped into a micro sleep midair. For less than a second, but long enough for her grip to loosen, arms to slip and narrowly avoid hitting a tree. That particular rush of adrenaline hadn’t been a good one. 


Immediately she’d scanned the area for somewhere remotely flat for her to camp out. She’d landed with trepidation on a relatively flat area of something like moss and quickly dug out her wand and the tangled pile of cloth that was the tent. 


It hadn’t been a good night. Although the moss underneath the tent was soft and spongy, it wasn’t a good feeling. It wasn’t even and it was just… wild. There could have been anything underneath her and around her. Cassie felt extremely vulnerable, hidden in her tent in exhaustion. Anything could have been around her and she wouldn’t have had a clue. Not that there was anyone in particular around here. She was alone. And with such absolute loneliness came paranoia. 


She hadn’t slept long. Just until the sun rose before she could get on her way again. Feel like she was actually getting somewhere again. 


But where, she didn’t know. With each day getting further and further into the mountains, the doubt and worry grew more and more. She didn’t know what she’d been hoping for. Some incredible obvious clues as to where she was aiming for? That wasn’t like Al. As she’d flown she’d gone over and over everything he’d said, and couldn’t find anything at all helpful. 


On day three she’d considered turning back. With every passing hour she told herself that she’d just give it one more. One more hour, and if there was no clue, no idea, then she’d turn back. 


It got to the early hours of the morning and she found herself assembling the tent for the third time. 


One more day, then, she allowed herself. One more day and she’d go back. Without Ryan. Without Al. 


She didn’t even believe herself. 


Waking up in the mornings, Cassie had gotten a little used to it. Her tent wasn’t spacious, and despite the coolness of the evenings she always woke up sweltering, so to escape the confines of the tent into fresh air and mountain dew was always refreshing. Almost gave her hope. 


But the fourth morning, Cassie’s skin prickled with that odd sense of paranoia as she automatically scanned her environment in the early morning light. 


She couldn’t put her finger on what it was. The immediate surroundings seemed the same as ever; the mountains were becoming increasingly more wild and forest-like as she progressed but that wasn’t what was intimidating her. 


She’d been wary as she packed away her small camp and took to the skies. Rising above tree level, she’d looked around again. 


Again, nothing out of the ordinary. She was used to the way the treetops rustled, even without a breeze, as woodland creatures went about their business below. She was used to seeing movement out of the corner of her eye, so that it didn’t even make her jump that much any more when an eagle rose from the trees in the distant peaks. 


Same as always. 


Again, once on her way, the hopelessness washed over Cassie. 


One more day, she told herself again. One more day and that was it. 


Maybe if she said it enough times she’d believe it. It wouldn’t be long until she was out of food, she reasoned with herself. Maybe a week or so. It wasn’t a matter of choice - she had to go back. It was, melodramatically enough, go back or die. 


One more day. 


The hopelessness and the paranoia didn’t leave. They were like unwelcome companions weighing her broomstick down. Constant reminders. Making her jump every time there was some sort of movement in the forest below her. 


It was a particularly slow day. Cassie didn’t feel like she was getting anywhere. A bad day, she concluded. She couldn’t go any further, not feeling like this. Maybe she hadn’t been getting enough sleep. Sure. That was likely to be it. She’d been sleeping less than four hours a night - it wasn’t normal. 


So she found herself landing to make camp considerably earlier that evening. It was only just dark. Going about her routine of setting up the tent, illuminating her wand, planning to wash, to eat… it was even a little comforting. It scared Cassie how quickly she’d adjusted to surviving out here. If the paranoia didn’t cause her a premature heart attack. And the loneliness didn’t drive her insane. 


For Ryan, she told herself, casting the comforting silvery glow around her. For Ryan and Al. 


She could picture their faces. It helped a little. And she had her photograph on her person, as always. She could never forget her brother’s face. Never. That eternally twelve-year-old face was the one image she was sure she’d always, always remember. 


Al was a little more difficult, she considered, shaking out the bundle of fabric that was the tent. She had no photograph, and no photographic memory. Even though it had been less than three weeks since Al had left, Cassie found that the only image she could conjure of him was the eerie, solid smoke image from the pensieve. 


But the eyes. The vivid green eyes. Those too she could remember. 


The tent was more or less flat. Cassie stood up straight, reaching high and stretching her spine so the joints popped. She squeezed her eyes shut. And opened them. 


And froze. 


She blinked a few times, peering into the surrounding undergrowth. She couldn’t have seen… 


No


Wow, she really must have been tired. 


And she’d just been thinking about him… so it was natural that she’d picture the… 


Green


Again. 


Just a glimmer, like a reflection from her wand. 


Not the deep, dark, mysterious green of the forest. A lighter green, almost too bright to be natural. 


A familiar green. 


Cassie blinked one more time, forcefully. She gingerly picked up her wand from where she’d laid it on a flat rock and stepped warily towards the closest trees. 


This was ridiculous, she told herself, it couldn’t be him. It was more bloody likely to be a bear or something, and she was about to get herself killed. 


But the tiny flicker of hope wouldn’t go away. 


“Al?” She called, barely above a whisper. Her voice was shaky and uncertain. From tiredness, from hope, from preparing her hopes to be dashed. She really needed sleep. 


The fingers of her free hand were nervously tugging on the fine golden chain around her neck. If it was a bear, and she was going to die, how long would it take Cole and the rest to reach her? Quick enough to save her? Would they save her, if it was a false alarm? 


There was no answer. Cassie held her wand high, peering almost desperately into the trees before sighing. 


Definitely needed sleep. 


She dropped her hand to her side and turned to make her way back to the tent. Maybe after a good, long night’s sleep she wouldn’t be seeing things, hearing voices. Maybe she’d think clearly and - 


Now!” 


Before Cassie even had the time to whirl around, something hit her back with enough impact to knock her to the floor. She struggled to roll over from her stomach, to see what it was… to get up… but she was pinned. A person, she realised, as her resisting arms were wrenched tightly back and held together in a large, firm grip. 


Her wand was plucked out of her grip. The alarm was too much for her to speak to demand to know what was happening or even to scream. Within a couple of seconds she was yanked upwards on to her feet unsteadily. She staggered a little but whoever had a hold of her hands held her upright. 


Before she could even twist her head someone stepped in front of her and a piece of cloth was tied around her eyes. All she had time to see before her vision was obscured was a brief flash of flame-red hair before the second assailant had secured the blindfold. 


Instinctively Cassie kicked out with her feet and felt the satisfying thud of hitting shins. 


“Holy fu -” 


Shut up.” 


Cassie held her breath as the two spoke. Trying desperately to interpret the voices. She didn’t recognise them, either of them. 


“It doesn’t matter what she hears, we’ve got her haven’t we?” The first voice said again. 


“I don’t know. Is it her?” The second voice was less commanding this time, a little unsure. 


“I should bloody hope it’s her, and not some other Hogwarts kid with mad flying skills out for an impromptu camping trip. If not then it sure as hell is a waste of a day -” 


“Back to camp.” Another voice. The same voice that had said ‘Now’ she realised. The one carried more authority even than the second voice. “Apparate straight to the back tent. There’s no need to create a fuss right away.” 


“And you don’t want a certain someone to see -” The first voice added. 


“Now.” 


“Done.” 


There was a loud crack like a whip that Cassie recognised as someone disapparating from when her parents did it. She’d never done it… they didn’t do it at Hogwarts anymore. You had to do a special course once you’d left and - 


“You’re ok taking her?” 


“Yeah.” 


“Back tent, then. Nice job, Son.” 


Another crack as another person disappeared. 


Cassie found herself automatically wondering whether she could wriggle her way out now that she was left with just one person. Her heart was hammering enough for her to be sure that there was a boost of adrenaline in her system to enhance her strength… but not that much. Not enough to counter the strong grip on her wrists. 


“Who are you?” She asked, not really expecting a reply. Her stomach was twisting in dread. This was exactly the sort of danger she should have been expecting. Should have been on the look out for. Not ignored. “Al? Is Al here? I -” 


“Shut up.” The voice repeated gruffly. 


Dread filled Cassie’s stomach like ice. Cole had been right. If these were the people - if this was where Al was - he was in danger. Only bad people would attack her, right? 


Tugging her roughly along, her captor sounded like he was scooping up her belongings into his free hand. 


“Who are you?” Cassie repeated, “I came to find Al, what are you… why are you -” 


“For the last time. Shut. Up.” The voice said, shortly. His grip on her wrists tightened and he added, “You might want to hold your breath.” 


Before Cassie could even respond to ask why, it felt like both arms were being wrenched out of their sockets. All the air was squeezed out of her for a few long seconds, something compressing tightly on her ribs before - 


Crack. 


It stopped. She took in a large gasping breath, feeling extremely disorientated from the combination of what she assumed must have been side-along apparition and the blind fold. 


Another realisation filled her with fear. There was no way back now. Thanks to the apparition she had no idea where she was. The only way back was to unclasp the necklace. To betray her friend. 


Even though she was positive that Al was in danger - if he’d even made it here - her stomach still twisted painfully at the thought of how she’d let him down. 


“Bollocks.” Her captor swore under his breath, tugged Cassie’s hood up over her head and yanked her quickly along. She couldn’t tell why he was annoyed. All she could concentrate on was picking up her feet so she didn’t trip on what felt like loose earth littered with twigs, bark and gravel. 


She tried to control her breathing as a technique of keeping calm, but it was impossible. She was caught. No way to activate the necklace with her hands seized like this, no wand, no Al, no Ryan. Nothing. 


“James!” 


Cassie stiffened. James. Al’s brother. Her captor was… 


Hey. James.” The voice called again. Another boy’s voice. That was all she’d heard. They all sounded so similar, so deep and just… so male. 


She was still a little stunned. Her captor was James Potter. This was it. They were the Potters. But again, her heart sank at how different this James Potter was to the one Al had described. Al had definitely gotten the wrong idea. 


“Go away, buddy.” James shoved her roughly in front of him. “If my Dad sees you around here…” 


“What are you doing? Who’s that? Where are you -” 


“Leave it, mate. Go find Lily or -“ 


“Is that a girl? I want to know what’s going on.” The voice demanded, “Ever since -” 


“Go.” James’ voice was almost a growl. The other voice didn’t respond, and Cassie found herself hauled into a tent - she could sense the environment darkening around the edges of her blindfold - and forced swiftly into a sitting position on some kind of chair. 


The hands released her wrists finally. Cassie hadn’t realised how tightly they’d been held, and even before the painful sensation of blood returning to them had fully kicked in she’d reached up and wrenched off the blindfold. 


The light in the tent was dim. But Cassie’s eyes were drawn immediately to the four - no, five - wands pointed in her direction before anything else. 


She froze. 


And no one else moved. 


Five men stood half-circled around her. As well as the similarity in their positions with wands drawn, there were similarities in their faces as well. 


Two of them were more obviously father and son than anyone Cassie had ever seen before, sharing a face full of freckles, large nose and the flame-red hair. Weasleys. She could tell that right away. 


Two others were less similar in features but the grim, guarded expressions on their faces were almost identical. She recognised one of them with a trill of both awe and fear. This was Harry Potter. The Harry Potter. And the other could only be James. 


The one remaining person, Cassie didn’t recognise. The only way she could describe him was as indescribably. Absolutely nothing stood out about his appearance, from the mouse-brown hair of medium length, to his non-descript eyes, to his average build. Almost too plain. 


It seemed like a long time that they just regarded her warily. As if she were the dangerous one; wandless, female and outnumbered. 


Cassie barely dared breathe, let alone move. Let alone fight. 


“Do you know who I am?” Harry Potter was the first to speak. 


Cassie took a moment before she could even think of answering. A combination of anxiety and incredulity that he would even ask her that. He was Harry Potter. 


“Right,” He nodded to himself, “Stupid question.” He seemed to be debating what to say next. 


“Where’s Al?” Cassie asked, internally praying that that question wasn’t about to get her killed or something. She needed to know if her friend was here. If he wasn’t, there was a good chance she was about to die for nothing. 


The younger redhead lowered his wand a fraction and a look of relief crossed his face. 


“No, Hugh,” His father nudged his elbow, “Of course she’d say that. It doesn’t mean it’s her. And even if -” 


Doesn’t mean it’s her? Who else was it meant to be? 


“My name is Cassie Cooper,” She said, just to clarify. “I’m looking for Albus. Is he here?” That seemed fair to her. But the distrust didn’t budge from their faces. 


“Here’s the thing,” The Weasley Father said, “You can claim to be my nephew’s little mate as much as you like. Doesn’t mean you’re telling the truth. Ever heard of a thing called Polyjuice Potion?” 


Cassie scowled at the condescending tone. “Yes. We made it this term…” Then she realised what that insinuated and hastily corrected herself, “I’m not using it. You think I’m using it?” 


“For all we know, you could be.” Weasley Father said, “It would be a bit of an obvious plan, but see Cole can be a bit of an obvious bloke. It’s a risk you take when you dumb down the school. Anyway, my apologies if you really are Cassie Cooper, but we’re going to have to kind of ask you to prove it.” 


“Prove it? What, you want to wait an hour?” Cassie recalled that particular potions lesson. Polyjuice potion only worked for an hour before the effects wore off. 


“Smart kid,” Weasley Father commented, “Well, no. Not really. We learnt that in our second year. But you’re smart for this generation, I’ll give you that.” 


Hermione learnt that it our second year,” Harry corrected him. 


“And what’s hers is now mine,” Weasley Father grinned for a second. 


Cassie felt the atmosphere in the tent loosen up a little. But the wands were still pointed in her direction. 


They wanted her to wait an hour. Couldn't they just do that legilimency thing? Surely they could just take her memories and know it was her...


She only considered it for a second. Then was incredibly thankful that they hadn't thought to do that. If they could take her memories they'd know. Everything.


“Where’s Al?” Cassie asked, for what felt like the hundredth time, “I just want to know if he’s here…” 


“An hour.” Harry Potter cut her off. “An hour, and then you can get some answers.” 


An hour. 


Something told Cassie that this particular hour was going to last an extremely long time. 













A.N. Hey! Ok, I'll be honest. The only good thing about this chapter is that it gets us to where we want to be in the story. I don't like it. But it's necessary. I didn't want to write a great deal about Cassie travelling because it would be boring and there's only so many times I can ramble on about how guilty/bored/scared she is. BUT I didn't want it to feel too rushed (which it did anyway) so I tried to pad it out a little. But yeah. I don't particularly like it so I won't be too offended if you don't either!

Please let me know anyway, if you did think there were ANY good parts or anything... any comments that would even vaguely encourage me would be much appreciated! And I hope you're suitable confused about the Potters... as you probably have been for much of the story, but I mean now they're actually in it. Think Al's going to be there? And Ryan? 

Thanks for reading!
Rx.


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No Solid Ground: So Full Of Doubt And Needing Proof

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