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Chapter 14 : Planning
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"Hannah!" Neville smiled at me, seeming slightly relieved that I hadn't forgotten or something. "Right, er... well, we could probably use some..." As he turned to glance at Ginny, he faltered. I followed his gaze to see that four plush armchairs had appeared. "...seats."
"You've changed your hair back, Hannah," Luna noted as we sat down, seeming slightly disappointed.
"Er, yeah, I... couldn't find any nice enough leaves on the ground and I didn't want to take any from the tree, so..." I muttered vaguely, ignoring the confused expressions of Ginny and Neville.
"Well, it looks nice anyway," Luna sighed, tipping her head to the side as if to admire my hair from a better angle. "I just thought that the added touch of nature made it a little more... contemporary."
"I think Hannah's got lovely hair." input Ginny.
"Erm, thanks, but... if we could... get back to the, er..." I mumbled, feeling my cheeks begin to heat up considerably under Neville's gaze. The chairs were laid out in a sort of square shape so that we could all see each other properly, but he had taken the seat directly opposite mine, and I could feel his gaze relentlessly focused on me, no matter how much I stared at my hands.
"Right," Ginny said, re-adopting the business-like tone of voice she had used while making the detention break-out plan. "So, I guess you noticed how little we gave you to do tomorrow night?"
"As little as we gave ourselves," Neville added, almost sounding uncharacteristically grumpy about it.
Ginny shot him a warning glare. Clearly they had discussed this before and come to a conclusion that Neville wasn't too happy about. Whatever 'this' was.
"It's because we need to do something else." Luna announced abruptly.
"Wait," I frowned. "So... you're just using the others as bait?"
"No, no, it's not like that!" Neville insisted quickly.
"It's just that... well, we're going to start doing this more anyway," Ginny explained. "And they need to do it without us. Almost like... not a test, but... Well, Neville, Luna, and I have done this kind of thing before; last year and the year before. We're still going to help them as much as we can, but we really need to focus on this... other thing."
"But then why am I not going with the others?" I asked. "I wasn't even in school last year..."
Ginny frowned, and exchanged a glance with Neville as if I had just asked a completely stupid question.
"We need you." answered Neville.
"You're our fourth in command now," Ginny added brightly, grinning at me. "Neville told you that we'd be bringing you in on things, didn't he?"
"Yeah, he did," I said quickly, before Neville could jump to his own defence. "I just... I don't know, I didn't think you'd really need me like this. I mean, I'd be happy to, but I really don't think I'd be much use to you."
"But don't you remember, Hannah?" Luna asked pleasantly. "We figured out ourselves what a great team we are."
I nodded hesitantly, remembering my conversation with her two nights before - Merlin, that seemed to long ago now. The three of them watched me for a moment, apparently waiting for me to understand. But I didn't. I just didn't understand how I was any more trustworthy than anyone else in the DA.
"What's going on, then?" I finally asked.
"Here's where it gets a little bit confusing," Neville confessed, shifting in his seat. "Because it's only really based on guesswork. Well, informed guesswork."
"Before he died- before he was killed," Ginny explained. "Scrimgeour came to my house to read Dumbledore's will. He left things for Harry, Ron, and Hermione, you see. Only, Harry didn't get one of his things. Apparently, the Sword of Godric Gryffindor wasn't Dumbledore's to give away."
"Dumbledore left Harry Gryffindor's sword?" I checked, confused.
"Precisely our reaction." Neville nodded.
"Hermione didn't know why either, when she told me," said Ginny. "But, we figure, since Dumbledore left it, it must be important."
"But it's lost." added Neville.
"Apparently. That's what Scrimgeour said, and Luna's dad has heard rumours about that too," Neville explained, to enthusiastic nods from the Ravenclaw next to him.
"Daddy's been printing stuff supporting Harry," Luna informed me. "In The Quibbler. More people are reading it these days, because the Daily Prophet is under His control."
"But something that they couldn't keep under wraps was Harry, Ron, and Hermione's break into the Ministry." Ginny smirked, not even trying to hide her pride.
"I heard about that on the wireless, yeah," I nodded. "But- so, do you think they went to look for the sword?"
Neville clicked his fingers and grinned at me. "I knew she'd be on the same page as us!" he told Ginny importantly.
"It's only a theory, of course," Ginny pointed out. "But it's the only clue we've got right now, if it can even be classed as that. All we know is that Harry's going to need Gryffindor's Sword, and we think it's in this school."
"You see this?" Neville indicated the bruise on his chin. "Well, apparently I went a step too far, and Filch decided that Snape needed to get involved."
"What did you do?" I gasped.
"Oh, I hexed Blaise Zabini," Neville responded dismissively. "Normally Filch would've sent me to the Carrows, but apparently this was just one strike too many, and so I ended up in the Headmaster's office. But when I got up there, all Snape did was shout abuse at me and give me a bit of a bash with a book." He shrugged, "Anyway, I saw it in there. At least, I'm pretty sure I did - that rubied hilt is pretty unmistakable."
"So..." I looked slowly around at all three of them, my face creasing with suspicion. "Hold on, you're not going to...?"
"Precisely." Neville grinned, pleased that I'd caught on so quickly.
"And you are too, if you'll help us." added Ginny.
"Of course she will," Luna's tone was almost chastising of Ginny for doubting me. "It's not like we'll be putting her in much danger anyway."
"You see, as far as we've got it planned," Ginny explained. "You'll be a look-out. Both you and I will, only I'll be in a different place. We didn't want to leave anybody on their own, but it'd be too risky if you got anybody else in on this-"
"No," I said quickly. "No, don't worry about it; I've got this covered."
"We figured that you could say you're doing Prefect duties," Neville suggested. "So you're not suspicious."
"Except... you might be slightly suspicious," Ginny corrected hesitantly. "Since you'll be patrolling just one area. With Filch and the Carrows distracted by the detention break out-"
"And we're banking on Snape getting caught up in it too." interjected Luna. This made sense, as part of the break-out plan involved luring Snape from his office. In fact, that part made a lot more sense now.
"You'll be down at one end of the corridor, watching out for other teachers - mainly McGonagall, she's usually around," Ginny continued. "And I'll be down the other end, by the stone gargoyle."
"We're so sorry about only telling you about this last minute," Neville said quickly, sitting forward slightly. "We didn't want too many people involved - you know, it's not fair on them to have that on their heads unnecessarily - and we had thought that we might be able to do it with just the three of us, but..."
"It turned out that our team wasn't complete yet." Luna finished pleasantly, smiling around at the rest of us.
There was a small moment of silence in which I blushed slightly at Luna's comment, and only felt my cheeks heat up further when I looked up to see Neville watching me intently. I knew he was waiting for me to say something.
"It's no problem at all," I eventually said, smiling at him. "You know that I'm only too happy to help. I just..." I faltered slightly, looking down at my hands, "I only wish that I could help the others, too."
"Trust me, if this sword is as important as we think it might be," Ginny informed. "Then we'll be helping everyone."
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