Chapter 1 : The Time-Turner
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Weasley. There are more than twenty-seven of us currently breathing.
Well apart from Aunt Muriel. She dosnt breathe. She wheezes.
My point is that in such a big family, its hard to be an individual.
Your smart – just like Percy.
Your stubborn – just like Ginny.
Your observant – just like Bill.
What if I want to be just like Rose?
I attempted to fegin concentration by squinting at the page in front of me.
Slowly, I drew my eyes away from the page and up to the face peering round the door.
James Potter was a dick. There was no other description more perfect.
“I need you to do something for me”, he said, checking the corridor before sliding into the empty compartment.
I considered him briefly before resuming my paragraph. “No”.
“Rose. In fact it's always been Rose.”
“Rose”, he corrected himself, “just do this one thing and I swear I will never ask you for anything ever again”.
His hair didn't even look like it had met a hairbrush. Dark strands drooped shambolically over his face, concealing one of his tawny eyes. Ordinarily, his expression would be tipped with an insolent grin, but today it was missing.
There was no denying he was dick, but he was a dick that tended to keep his promises. Therefore this proposal was intriguing.
“What?” I regretted the word just as it fell from my tongue.
Abruptly the grin returned. “I want you and the other Prefects to get me sacked from Head Boy position”.
My eyes narrowed. James was an abysmal Head Boy. He hardly ever turned up to meetings, bribed the Gryffindor Prefects to take on his duties, threw drunken after-parties in the dormitories and took points away from Slytherins for ‘being too slimly’.
But he liked the power, thus, the request was circumspect.
“And why would you want me to do a thing like that?” I queried.
“You don’t need to know my reasons”, he replied swiftly, “but it shouldn’t be too hard, should it?”
I stifled a smirk. I didn't think it necessary for him to know I'd been trying to get him sacked since I was appointed Head Girl. After all, if he had turned up to any of the meetings that I ran he would have been all the wiser.
“No. It won’t be a problem. If you could just harass Toby and Patricia enough so they won’t stand against me……you could be off the hook by the first Friday of the term”.
“Harass is my middle name”, he sniggered. “Thanks Rosie”.
I relaxed back into my book, eying the dimming countryside outside. It took exactly eight hours from Kings Cross to Hogwarts. Two hours for reading. Three for sleeping. One for eating. And the last two for reading something different.
There was an curdling wail as I reached the end of the book. My attention flitted to the cage stuffed in the rack above. A pudgy face that was even more distorted than usual was pressed against the cage, its wide yellow eyes fixated on me.
“Oh, Crooks”, I cooed, reaching up to undo the cage. “Is it a bit too small for you now?”
He hummed against my chest as I sat back down in the chair, stroking under his chin. Aged and well fed were the two words to describe the tale that was Crookshanks. It was fat and undoubtedly ugly, but I couldn’t help but love the thing.
There was knock on the door. A boy almost identical to James appeared. Only his lack of height and eyes – mossy and shadowed, like the depths of a well – set them apart.
“Having fun?” He asked, entering the compartment. It was genial question.
“My book isn’t nearly as good as thought it was going to be”, I sighed, setting the copy on the seat beside me.
“I hate it when that happens”, he muttered, shutting the blinds on my window. I watched as the darkness became masked from view.
I could endure Albus. He was a very easy person to be around. Unlike his brother and sister, he didn't feel the continual need to fill up silence. We were similar in our thoughts and beliefs but whereas I was domineering, he took a back seat and allowed people to have their opinions. For that, I greatly admired him.
He was one of those people who was so silently courageous and good, that you just knew, from the moment you set eyes on him, something big was coming his way.
He tossed a newspaper at me. It landed on the floor, the front page headline blaring.
PRISONERS PULL POTTER'S LEG
A picture of a middle aged man batting away the cameras and notebooks pursuing him down what looked like one of the Ministry of Magic corridors, took up the majority of the article. I looked away from the emerald eyes of the older man, into the duplicated pair staring at me.
“Their stationing Aurours at Hogsmade, they think they might head for the castle”, he said, his features grave. “Kingsley wanted Dementors in, but Dad threw one and said he’d amp up the security around Hogwarts”.
I pursed my lips. The breakout from Azkaban had been the current topic in the papers for four weeks. Ever since the abrupt detonation of the prison on the middle of a Thursday night, Harry had been sleeping at the Ministry, working around the clock to find out who had structured the breakout and as well as trying to round up the rabid Deatheaters.
From the article it appeared that a leak given to Aurours, disclosing that the Prisoners were scheduling a catch up at Malfoy Manor, had been false, resulting in an embarrassing confrontation with a infuriated Mr Malfoy and a few fingers up at Harry and his allegedly elite team.
“Why Hogwarts?” I frowned. I didn't seem the most sensible plan to return to the place where they’d been defeated.
“Recruiting”. Was all Albus said.
My frown deepened. A few years ago the idea of any of the students at Hogwarts joining what was left of Voldemort’s followers was easily laughable.
But now…..I wasn’t so sure. There was unrest. Only small; more conflicts, more vague threats, more house egotism. All easily classed as good natured fun between kids. But the fun didn't always seem so good-natured.
“Your Dad’s in Hogsmade”, he added.
The expression my face must have been unpleasant, as Albus laughed. “In Hogsmade”, he said. “Not in the school”.
“He’s close enough”, I groaned, letting my head fall to my hands.
“I would tell you not to worry….but I would if I were you”.
Although Albus didn't share my hatred for the whole lovey-dovey family setting, he and everyone else in the clan, knew that my Dad was illogical when it came to meddling with my life. They all thought it was hilarious.
It was anything but.
“I wasn’t planning to do Christmas shopping there anyway”, I said haughtily, “Owl order is much more practical”.
Albus was still reminiscing. “Remember the time he hexed the Deputy Minister for calling you a ‘pretty and pert young thing’?”
I pinched the skin in between my brow, trying not to remember.
“And when you came back from Ancient Runes Camp and found out he’d sent three Aurours to tail you!”
I watched icily as he wiped the tears of mirth away. “I hardly think it’s funny”.
Noticing my disapproving tone, his face softened. “You can take care of your Dad”.
“I know”, I sniffed. “It will just be…challenging”.
His brow lifted. “Optimism is definitely one of your finer attributes”.
“I’ll be damned…Rose?”
I smiled coyly back at the girl who I had taken a seat next to at the bench.
“What- how? You’re a blonde!” Her cornflower irises darted from my face back to my hair.
“Well observed”, I replied smugly, pouring myself a glass of pumpkin juice.
“It looks good. In fact it looks bloody good! Did you do this yourself?”
“Of course. Like I’d trust anyone else to do it for me”. If I was truthfully honest, it had taken a few goes to get to a shade where it didn't resemble a rotten egg and smell like one.
“Why the conversion? Tired of the ginge clashing with everything?”
Chrissy Weed was by far the closest friend I had. Though very self-absorbed and usually insulting, I warmed to her. There was something fascinating about a girl who had brains and beauty but drove everyone away due to her lack of social skills. She was an added plus in being the only person who wasn’t prescribed for me or forced to be civil due to blood.
“Fancied a change”, I shrugged. The real reason behind my hair was simple: no one, par from a few Veela relatives, was blonde in the Weasley/Potter family.
“Perhaps I should go blonde”, Chrissy mused, narrowing her eyes at the lock of brunette hair looped round her finger. “It would suit me better than it suits you”.
When people looked at Chrissy, the first place their gaze normally went was her legs. For a small girl, a few inches under my 5”4, her legs were like Amazon Rainforest – stretching on forever. Coupled with her striking set of blue eyes and her cherry bruised lips, she was magnetic.
Opposite us, his eyes zigzagging between our little banter, was Chrissy’s current conquest: Harrison Cuffe.
“Sometimes I don’t know how you put up with her”, he said.
I forced an indifferent look. Definitely not for the same reason that he did. Keeper for the House Team, the last two times I had seen Cuffe he was in the Hospital Wing when he fell pray to a bludger and sneaking out of Chrissy’s dorm room on the last day of fifth year. He was little more than average, with muscle span rather than height, a barely-there-stubble chin, short shadowy hair and small eyes.
Cuffe was misfortunate to fall under Chrissy’s spell, as so many boys did. He would use and screwed like a scrap piece of paper.
Sorting was tedious. I only paid attention to the Hat’s song at the start of the feast, which was more foreboding than I had ever heard it, confirming my misgivings about unrest in the school. For the first time in about four years, my eyes fell to the Slytherin Table.
Slytherin was more subdued than it ever had been. With dark customs gradually fading into the world of fairness and equality, the house and the people in it, almost looked old fashioned. In a strange way it made me sad. I had a sharp aversion to throwing away old toys or scraping traditions and to see such a powerful house become almost on tier with lovable Hufflepuff, was almost pitiful.
Current Head of Slytherin House was Professor Whitlock. A young witch in her early thirties, I hadn't been fortunate enough to have a lesson with her yet.
From what I had heard, she was nice. And that was all. To have the same depiction of her answered back every time anyone asked what she was like, was unsettling to say the least.
My gaze wandered over to the staff table. Currently, the Professor was conversing brightly with Professor Longbottom – her curly onyx hair was pulled into a knot, with curls flying everywhere, framing her little face and complementing her blue eyes. The little witch always looked frighteningly frail for someone so young, far thinner than most the girls in my year.
“If I can ask for a moment of attention”.
I perked up a little, shifting in my seat so I could gain a better view of Professor McGonagall. All in all, it would be a downright lie to say I didn't gain favouritism from the current Headmistress. It was she who had appointed me Head Girl before I had even become a Prefect. And it was she who gave me extra tutoring when I began to fall behind in Transfiguration. Frankly, she was also the only teacher I respected.
“Some of you, most likely all of you, will have been paying close attention to the Daily Prophet recently”, she paused, clearly noting the students wary faces, “Indeed, there are a number of Aurours around Hogsmade and around the perimeters of the castle. You will always be safe at Hogwarts, but interfering with these peoples jobs is unacceptable. They are here to help protect you and your peers”.
“If anyone disagrees with that, then they may come and visit my office, where I will rectify their opinions with a weeks’ worth of detention”. Her withered features were stern, but her eyes gave her away.
“On that note of warning, tuck in”.
From the bottom of the table, waves of food suddenly materialized: old English favourites to multi-cultural dishes. People sprung from their seats, heaping piles of food onto their plates.
“Guess what?” Chrissy said, snatching away the spoon that I was using to get roast potatoes.
“What?” I said, waiting for her to return the utensil.
“Potter’s been a naughty boy”.
“I'm tired to hearing about James”.
“Not James. Albus Severus Potter”. She hissed the syllables in Severus.
I felt my brows knit together. “Albus? Why? And where did you hear this?”
She laughed musically, her light blue irises glittering in the candlelight. “We don’t share secrets Rose, remember?”
This was true. A vow we had always stood by was privacy. It wasn’t necessary for people as close as we were to know every small detail.
She handed me back the spoon after placing one potato on her own plate. “Your cousin has been engaging in some…..extracurricular activities”.
“And the nature of these activities?”
She flashed me a set of pearl teeth. “Slippery”.
Involuntarily, my stare shifted to the Slytherins. “Which one?”
“See the scarlet one? Talking to Ethan Nott? Her name is Desiree Greengrass. Family associated with the Malfoy’s, but from what I gather that’s the only dirt attached to her name”.
“Part in the war?”
“Minimal. Fled the castle along with the other Slytherins. Like to flaunt their blood but don’t inflict it on people”.
I sought the girl through the other students. Her red hair was easy to isolate among the normal sinister colours of Slytherin.
“Remind you of anyone?”
“No.” I had said it a little too quickly.
Chrissy popped a sprout past her puckered lips. “Seems like little Albus needs to take out his frustrations on a look-alike”.
I felt my cheeks tinge. She was only joking, but people listening wouldn’t know that.
“Enough Chrissy”, I said, my tone reproachful.
She chuckled into her goblet. I glanced at the Greengrass girl once more. She hardly looked anything like me. She was far slimmer and her skin was pale and clear, free from the affliction of freckles. Even if the mass of red hair held a slight resemblence to me, there was nothing wrong with that – purely a coincidence.
Once the feast was over, I assisted the Prefects in taking the first years to the common room, though my help really wasn’t needed. Edgar and Francis (the two current house Prefects) were more than capable of handling this job. And after everyone in the dorm was in bed, I crept back down to the common room, where the blue tonged fire was flickering.
Being in one the highest towers, the wind always seemed present, whatever the season. Tonight it was positively howling against the windows, demanding entry. But I barely took any notice, focusing instead on the sheet of parchment in front of me.
Dear Miss Weasley,
The Ministry of Magic is delighted to inform you that your application for a Time Turner has been successful. Enclosed are Time Turner 42 and a copy of the Decree of Time Travel 504 regulations. We are confident that your use of this device will be assiduous and support you in your academic subjects.
Department of Magical Artefacts
Ministry of Magic
Cold metal burned my fingertips as I pulled out the little hourglass. It swung from the necklace like a pendulum.
This device would be used to support me in my academic subjects. A little thought added that it could also be rather good fun. I revoked the suggestion. I was not like my cousins. I didn't strive to inflict trouble and chaos everywhere I went.
I was smart, independent and a Ravenclaw. There wasn’t a better combination than that.