Chapter 12 : A chamber of horrors?
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When the scene materializes itself once again, the teenagers stand in the middle of an empty corridor. They can hear footsteps coming their way and, sure enough, barely five seconds later, Harry appears at the end of the corridor, followed by his two friends. Strange expressions, different one from the other, can be read on their faces. Harry looks concentrate, Ron looks puzzled and a little scared while Hermione looks downright terrified. Harry slows down when he reaches the teenagers’ level and his friends finally catch up with him. Slowly, their eyes locked at some point at the end of the corridor, the three of them resume their walk.
“November 1st, dear Ginny, I didn’t see you yesterday night, were you in the group that found, err, us? You know we have nothing to do with that cat being petrified right? I swear to you that I have no clue what this Chamber of Secret is but if I do find out, I’ll let you know.”
Sure enough, when they turn around, the travellers spot the gleaming red words on the walls, claiming ‘The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, ennemies of the heir beware’. The splashing noises the Trio makes brings Al back to reality and he turns to his relatives.
“Did you guys ever hear anything about this?”
“No,” Hugo answers as the two others shake their heads, “I never even knew there was such a thing as a ‘Chamber of Secrets’.”
“Maybe it’s not so important then,” Lily says before walking a little closer to the three second year in order to see what they are doing, gatthered around the message and the thing hanging underneath it. Lily comes to a halt suddently, taking a sharp breath. “It’s a cat. Someone hanged a cat by the tail after writting that message.”
“Is it, is it the crazy caretaker’s cat?” Al whispers, a slight quiver in his voice.
“Right,” Ron tells his friends loudly enough for the teenagers to hear him. “We need to get out of here; we definitly don’t want to be found on this scene.”
“Good idea Dad, or else you might be accused of something,” Hugo nods. But as soon as these words are spoken aloud and the three second year decide to move, noise begins to grow around them. Happy voices and laughter come from both ends of the corridor and instantly, Ron, Harry and Hermione realize that they are trapped. When the hundred of students arrive closer to them, they spot the message as well and the noise level dies down as everyone tries to understand what they are seeing. The scene in itself is highly incriminating; a dark message, a dead cat and three little second year standing underneath it all.
“Ennemies of the heir, beware! You’ll be next Mudbloods!”* a clear voice shouts through the crowd. Turning around, it is easy for the four cousins, as well as everyone else that stands there, to identify the shouter. Draco Malfoy’s pointy face is illuminated with a nasty grins at the sight of things, his eyes alive with malice.
“Did he just say that?” Rose yells, highly offended by the young boy’s choice of word.
“He’s got some nerves,” Lily says, her face red with anger, “shouting such profanities in front of a bunch of people.”
“Oh Merlin,” Hugo interrupts her, pointing at a disturbance in the middle of the crowd, “the caretaker his coming. He’ll burst a vessel when he sees his cat like that.”
Sure enough, the four cousins witness a very unconfortable scene when Filch, the caretaker, notices his beloved cat. Just like Ron had predicted, the caretaker accuses the three second year, and particularily Harry for some reason unknown, of being responsible of murdering his cat. The cousins shout in unnecessary protests when the man menaces to kill Harry for suposedly killing his cat but his rant is interrupted by the arrival of many teachers as well as the Headmaster. Professor Dumbledore detaches the cat from it’s hook and orders Ron, Harry and Hermione, as well as the caretaker, to follow him to the nearest office, Professor Lockhart’s.
“Bloody hell that guy is freaky,” Al mutters when they enter the professor’s office. The walls are plastered with pictures of himself, some of them waving the group hello and flashing bright white smiles, others running out of their frame to hide the fact that they have their hair curlers on. Ron and Harry share a horrified look at the sight of this office but they keep silent, like the rest of the group.
Everyone attentively watch the Headmaster Dumbledore doing some sort of complicated moves over the rigid body of the cat. He mutters in strange languages some very complicated looking spells that has everyone in the room mesmerized. Everyone except Professor Lockhart who keeps saying that he’s already seen something of the sort and would have prevented the cat’s death, had he been there.
“Didn’t that guy turn out to be a fraud?” Rose asks the three others who nod in the affirmative.
“He did,” Hugo adds, “and I remember Dad telling me that G-Mum was pretty shocked by this fact; she was smittens with him a bit, I think.”
“He does look good for a man his age,” Lily admits. Rose shrugs and gives a small nod while Hugo and Al give their sisters utterly disgussed looks.
“Oh see, he was wrong,” Al says to change the subject, when the Headmaster declares that the cat isn’t dead but petrified. The caretaker accuses Harry and his friends of being responsible but all the real teachers in the room, including Snape, disagree, stating that no second year could have done it.
“Petrified? Does he mean like Stunned?” Rose asks.
“No, I don’t think so if he says that only a potion can cure her; if it was a spell, there would certaintly be a counter,” Hugo explains.
“Why do you have an answer for everything?” Al asks his younger cousin, “doesn’t it drive your friends crazy?”
“No,” Lily answers, being one of Hugo’s best friends, “it’s quite useful, we practically never need to think; our brains can be on permanent break while we let Hugo do the work.”
The other two burst out laughing while Hugo gives Lily a dark look. He doesn’t get a chance to answer though because the scene changes suddently and they find themselves in a cold looking dungeon, surrounded by hundreds of ghosts and pratically assaulted by some hair raising sounds that probably passes as music to ghosts.
“Just to clear things up,” Ron’s narrative voice begins over the horrifying sounds of the scene, “we were at Nick’s Deathday party yesterday night so that’s why we weren’t in the Great Hall, having a delicious feast with you all... All we had was mouldy food and a bloody cold temperature. Oh we also had a demontration of Head hockey; that was a sight! Ron”
“So,” the real Ron asks Harry in an undertone, “how long do we stay? I’m freezing my butt off.”
“So am I,” Harry answers on the same tone, his teeth chattering, “I guess long enough so we don’t look rude.”
“And how long is that?” Ron presses.
“In fifteen minutes, we’ll have been here an hour and a half, is it rude to leave after an hour and a half?”
“Well, I think it’s perfect but, honestly, I’ve never been to this kind of party before. I mean, ghosts don’t exactly calculate time like we do considering they have all the time in the world, right?” Ron declares, a confused look on his face. He suddently brightens andnods his head at something behind the four cousins. “Oh look, Hermione has finished her converstion with Myrtle!”
“I hate Peeves,” she snaps when she joins them. Both boys smirk at each other, clearly enjoying the diversion their friend is providing.
“Yes, like the rest of the student body,” Ron nods in mock seriousness, making Harry burst out laughing.
“Really,” she insists, sending dark looks at her friends, “telling tall tales to Myrtle and getting her all worked up against me; I’d have prefered if he’d –“
“Don’t!” Harry interrupts her, looking franctically around them, “don’t go giving him ideas like that! You never know, he could be around listening.”
“She must be really angry to forget basic Hogwarts’ rules like that,” Lily laughs.
“Deathly beloved and gravely guests,” a voice resonates in the dungeon. Turning around, the cousins notice a ghost floating a couple feet higher than the rest of the crowd, head literally in hand. He wears the appropriate mourning look, watching the crowd around him. “I invite you all to take place near the walls for we are about to engage in a fierce game of head hockey, in the honor of our sadly only nearly headless friend, Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington. And we’re off!” he finishes with a shout, throwing his head in the middle of the room.
For ten incredible minutes, the guests hold their breath, watching the extraordinary game taking place in front of their eyes. The players exchange precise passes, skillfully dodge the other team’s players and make some beautiful top-net and around-the-net goals for the crowd’s greatest pleasure.
“This is the first ever game of Head Hockey I watch,” Al yells over the crowd’s cheers, “actually, it’s the first game of hockey at all, that I get to watch but this game looks awesome!”
“I know!” Lily cheers with the same excitation.
“How do they hold the sticks though?” Rose frowns, trying to understand what she is seeing. “They’re real sticks, not ghost sticks.”
“How would you get a ghost stick anyway?” Al laughs at the idea.
“Doesn’t help me understand, Al.”
“I don’t know,” he shrugs with a dismissive wave of the hand, “it’s the kind of things where I choose simply not to question magic. I accept it and so should you.”
“I’m with him,” Lily declares, looking at her brother, “overthinking it would make your brain melt.”
“Or it might make your hair frizz like Mum’s. She questions everything; her brains probably boils so much, it makes the hair over it sizzle,” Hugo flashes his sister a smile.
“Fine, I give up,” Rose puts her hands up to stop them from arguing. “I shall not question magic anymore.”
“November 5th, dear mum and dad, something weird happend at school this week. First, let me make things clear, I have nothing to do with any of it. See while the rest of the school went to have the Halloween feast, Harry, Hermione and I went to Nick the ghost’s deathday party; Harry promissed we’d go for some strange reason,” a second letter begins.
“This is strange,” Hugo frowns, “it’s the first time we get two different letters in one scene; didn’t we see a couple scenes twice last time?”
“Yeah, it’s like the letters superimposed themselves,” Al nods. The scene doesn’t last much longer though and soon enough, after watching one of Nearly-Headless Nick’s dramatic attempt to regain the attention on himself, the familiar sweet smell of the Gryffindor common room engulfs the four travellers.
“Anyway, that’s not the point,” the loud narrative voice goes on. “When we went back to our common room, we stumbled across the caretaker’s cat that had been petrified and some writting on the wall saying that the Chamber of Secrets had been opened. Have you ever heard of such a thing at Hogwarts?”
The three second year walk in the common room looking tired. They drop their backpacks on the floor and slump themselves around a small table. Harry has a very preoccupied look on his face that his two friends seem to willingly ignore.
“This is all too weird,” Harry finally says, making Ron and Hermione sit up a bit. “If Salazar Slytherin really did make a secret Chamber of Secrets in the castle, wouldn’t his monster have died by now?”
“Unless it’s a vegetarian monster,” Hemrione declares. Gaining only frowns from her two friends, she rolls her eyes and adds, “you know, one that could live of moss and lichen.”
“Or it could live off rats,” Ron shrugs, “ I bet there are thousands of those living in the dungeons.”
“Why would you assume the Chamber in in the dungeons?” Hermione asks him.
“It’s Slytherin’s Chamber; and where is the Slytherin common room? In the dungeons. So the Chamber probably is near it too,” Ron explains.
“Logic,” Hugo nods, “yet there is too much assumptions in there to make it believable.”
“Next you’ll say that the Heir is a Slytherin?” Hermione gives him a disbelieving look but Ron only nods, convinced.
“Of course. Slytherin’s Chamber, Slytherin’s monster, Slytherin’s Heir. How much you bet it’s a snake?” Ron jokes making the two other laugh.
“Seriously,” Hermione says after a couple seconds, “if it is true, it’s a really scary thought.”
“I know,” Harry darkens suddently, “just the thought of it disguss me. Building a secret Chamber, sealing a monster inside it so that when your heir comes to Hogwarts, he’ll set the monster lose and get rid of all the unworthy muggleborn students.”
“That’s what the Chamber of Secret is?” Lily busts out, a mixture of disguss and horror on her face.
“It’s horrible,” Rose mutters, “but it doesn’t mean it’s what’s really going on, right?”
“I don’t know,” her brother shakes his head, a dark look on his face, “but the fact that the Headmaster couldn’t cure the cat earlier, it must means something pretty dark happened to it.”
“Is there anything you could tell me to satisfy my curiosity so I don’t get myself in trouble looking for clues? If you know anything, I’d really love to learn more, thanks and lots of love, Ron.”
As the letter finishes, the scene gets wiped and the travellers find themselves standing in the middle of a corridor where Ron and Ginny are walking together, practially alone. Ron looks like he is trying to hold his anger while Ginny looks on the verge of tears.
“November 7th,” the letters begin, “hey Gin, Percy says you still believe I’m the one that petrified that cat; is it true? Do you really believe I could do something like that?”
“I already told you why we were there Ginny, I can’t believe you would think that about me, you know me,” Ron is telling his sister.
“I don’t,” she stutters and a hurt look crosses Ron’s face.
“You don’t believe me? Is it because I said I wanted to kick that stupid cat before? Because I really did want to kick it but never kill it or hurt it for real,” he snaps, barely able to hold his anger anymore.
“No,” Ginny looks at her older brother with tears in her eyes, “I believe you Ron, I know you’d never do something like that. I meant that I didn’t really believe it. I don’t know why Percy said that, it’s not true. I told him I was disturbed by the cat’s misfortune but I never thought you had something to do with this. I swear, Ron,” Ginny pleads with her bother. Ron still looks doubtful but he nods at his sister.
“Why would Percy say that though? Do you think it’s him that believes I did it?” Ron asks, starting to walk again.
“I don’t know,” Ginny sniffs back her tears, “but it’s Percy so, we never really know, do we?”
Suddently, two large hairy and growling figures jump in front of the two siblings, making Ginny scream in fear. Ron puts on a very annoyed look when he gives the two figures a closer look.
“Idiots,” he says, putting a comforting arm around Ginny’s shoulders. “This is getting annoying, you know?”
“Just trying to get Gin-Gin to think about something else,” one of the hairy figure growls. With a quick flick of wand, the hair vanishes and Fred and George stand in front of their younger brother and sister.
“I see she’s been crying,” one of the twin says, “what did he do Gin? Is it because he stinks?”
“Did his breaking voice burst your eardrums?”
“Or did he poke you in the eye with his long nose?”
“Shut up,” Ron snaps while Ginny giggles.
“See, it worked!” one of the boy declares, giving his twin a high five.
“It’s not your monster jumping from behind statues that worked, it’s your stupid comments,” Ron says, angry at the three others who are still laughing.
“I don’t see what you get so worked up about it; it’s all true anyway. We wanted to make Gnny smile and it worked, you should celebrate with us,” the other twin says but Ron shakes his head angrily and turns around, walking away from them.
“Come on Ron, we’re just messing with you,” the other twin calls but Ron doesn’t turn around.
“It wasn’t very nice of you guys; he was just trying to make me feel better,” Ginny tells them.
“Well he failed,” one of the boy shruggs, “that’s probably why the truth hurt him so much.”
“They were a bit rude,” Lily admits but she cannot suppress her smile.
“Still, it’s the worst way to make someone feel better,” Hugo shakes his head.
“It worked, didn’t it?”
“At the expenses of someone else,” Hugo says, “I don’t call that working.”
The scene suddently changes and the travellers find themselves back in the common room where they easily spot Ron, Harry and Hermione. They have their books open in front of them but don’t really look like they are studying.
“We haven’t got much to go by so far,” Ron says when the four cousins get near enough to hear their conversation. “Scorch marks on the wall, water that Myrtle splashed around when she flooded the bathroom earlier that night and strangely behaving spiders.”
“Don’t forget the weird voice,” Harry says. Ron and Hermione look at each other quickly while the future children frown.
“Weird voice?” Rose asks.
“True,” Hermione nodds, “a strange voice that only you can hear just before the attack is clearly an important clue.”
“Ah, Parseltongue,” Al smiles. “But why do they call it a strange voice? They know that Dad’s a parselmouth, don’t they?”
“Maybe they didn’t know back then,” Lily says.
“Well I’ll prove to you that I have nothing to do with it,” Ron’s narrative voice suddently resonates in the almost empty common room. “I’ll find the culprit and he’ll get expelled or petrified by his own beast, you’ll see. If you find out stuff, let me know but please, please do not, for one second, believe I’m responsible for all this. Ron”
“There must be something we can do to prove it’s Malfoy,” Harry says.
“Or at least get to hear what he knows if it’s not him” Hermione nods.
“It’s him,” Ron nods, convinced. “How can you still doubt after all the arguments I put in? Shall I list them again? His constant slander against mugleborn, the fact that all his family has been Slytherins, -“
“I know Ron, I heard you the first time,” Hermione interrupts him, “and besides, I’m not saying I don’t believe you, I’m saying we need tangible proofs. Something like a declaration of sort.”
“Then we would need to make him confortable enough around us so he would tell us,” Harry says, a look of high doubt on his face.
“Or we could follow him around all the time in order to overhear something,” Ron shrugs.
“I can think of only one way to do it,” Hermione says in a voice so low that the four travellers have to get closer to the table in order to hear her. "Of course, it would be difficult. And dangerous, very dangerous. We'd be breaking about fifty school rules, I expect -"*
“Is she going to tell them or only tease them?” Rose says, testily.
“Shush!” Lily says while Hugo and Al snigger; having heard Ron’s answer which was very close to the one his daughter just gave.
“All we'd need would be some Polyjuice Potion,”* Hermione answers. Her two friends, as well as the two girls from the future, look completely lost as to what that potion might be while Hugo and Al give a low whistle of understanding.
“That could definitly work,” Al nods, “and if there is one second year in the entire world able to brew that, it’s got to be Aunt Hermione.”
“But what is it?” Lily presses her brother.
“You’ve heard about it before, Dad talks about it all the time,” Al says but Lily’s face stays blank. Al rolls his eyes irritably, “honestly Lils, it’s the potion they take to make themselves look like other people.”
“Oh,” Lily and Rose finally understand, “yeah, I remember hearing about it. It’s the potion Uncle Harry took to attend Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur’s wedding, right?”
“Exactly,” Hugo nods, “lasts only for one hour though and it’s takes about a month to brew so it’s not something you tackle lightly. Mum’s got to be desperate to even propose it as an option to Dad and Uncle Harry. I mean, she knows she’ll do all the work, right?”
“I certaintly hope so; these two weren’t exactly top of the class in potions, weren’t they?” Rose smiles cheekily.
“Look who’s talking,” Al snorts, “wasn’t it you that needed a tutor last year?”
“I just want to be really ready for my O.W.Ls,” Rose huffs although a deep blush creeps up her neck.
“Tell that to your mother,” Al laughs, “I have classes with you, remember? I know what a disaster you are in front of a cauldron.”
In the end, Rose decides to ignore her cousin on that point, knowing full well that he is right and that she isn’t quite the brilliant brewer her parents imagine. Hugo and Lily also keep quiet during the argument. Of course they are aware of Rose’s difficulties but as Rule number 4 of the Weasley Code of Conduct states, ‘What goes on at Hogwarts stays at Hogwarts but will be shared amongst Weasleys attending school’. Before they have time to think about it some more though, the common room gets wiped of all people before settling again at a different time of day. The light coming in from the windows indicate that it is early morning. Only a handful of students are out of their dorms, mostly younger ones too, and they all look pretty sleepy. Ron is slumped in an armchair, his eyes still glued together and his mouth hanging open. He looks like he only just woke up and rather unwillingly at that. Not far from him, a group of first year, including Ginny, are talking together.
“November 10th, hey Ginny, I just want to say how sorry I am for your friend Colin. Sure he was a pain at times but still, doesn’t mean he deserved that,” Ron’s narrative voice begins.
“Mum looks a bit sick,” Lily says, pointing at a rather pale Ginny.
“He left the dorm around 1 in the morning, after the quidditch winning party broke,” a tall brownhaired boy is telling the others.
“We won the game! Yeah” Al shouts hapilly, trusting his arms in the air.
“I asked him where he was going,” the boy goes on, “he said he wanted to go see how Harry Potter was doing, in the Hospital wing.”
“The Hospital wing? Again?” Rose frowns. Ron, on the other hand, opens his eyes suddently, listening at the younger student’s conversation.
“He never came back,” the boy finishes dramatically.
“Do you think that it’s tue then?” A particularly small girl ask the rest of the group, her voice barely more then a terrified whisper. “You think he did something to Colin?”
“Rubish,” another boy answers, “we don’t even know that anything happened to Colin. For all we know, he fell asleep in the Hospital wing and hasn’t woken up yet.”
From his seat, Ron frowns, looking worried. He gets up and begins to make his way to the girls’ dormitory but at that same moment, Hermione comes down the stairs. She smiles at him but quickly picks up on his worry.
“What’s up?” she asks him, curious.
“I heard the first years talking; apparently the Stalker went missing last night as he went to see Harry at the Hospital wing,” Ron explains in a low voice.
“That’s strange,” Hermione frowns, looking over at the very agitated group of first year. “We should go see Harry right now then.”
“Yeah, alright,” Ron nods. They don’t really have time to move though, before Professor McGonagall walks through the portrait hole.
“Never a good sign when your Head of House comes by for a visit,” Lily mutters nervously.
“I hope nothing bad happened to Colin,” Rose whispers, watching the older woman approaching the group of first year.
“We know it’s not that bad since he at least made it alive to the Battle of Hogwarts,” Hugo declares in his too logical way.
“Tact, Hugo. Learn about it,” his sister punches him on the arm.
“Everyone, I have a rather bad news to pass on to you. Last night, the monster struck again and this time, it petrified one of our own. I’m sorry to tell you that Colin Creevey has been attacked. Rest assured, he is alive and will be cured when the Mandrake Restorative Draught will be ready,” Professor McGonnagall tells the horrostruck students.
“This is horrible,” Lily whispers, watching the little first years trying to find comfort with each other.
“Why did we never hear about this?” Al asks the three others, “I mean it’s a pretty major thing that happenned that year.”
“Dunno,” Hugo shrugs, “it’s not like they told us the absolute truth about their first year either, remember? Maybe they didn’t get involved in this; maybe all this happened in the background of their second year and didn’t really have an impact.”
“Really, Hugo,” Rose gives her younger brother an incredulous look, “Mum, Dad and Uncle Harry not getting involved into something? You know they’re going to jump right into this mystery and try to uncover it themselves; it’s what they always do.”
“It was just a thought,” Hugo shrugs, turning back to the younger version of his parents, talking in low voices. The cousins have to walk closer to be able to hear what they are saying.
“I think we should get started right now,” Ron is saying, looking worriedly at Hermione who doesn’t seem to share his agitation. “You know, get everything set up, the water boiling and all.”
“I don’t see what the stress is about,” she slowly answers, trying not to hurt Ron’s feelings, “it can wait until we see Harry.”
“He’ll know where to find us. I don’t want to waste any minute, Hermione. This takes long enough to brew as it is,” Ron presses.
“Oh alright,” she finally gives in, “let’s go get everything and meet back here.”
“I swear I’ll find out who’s doing all this and he will pay; I’ll beat him with my own hands for hurting your friend and making you doubt me, that’s a promiss Gin,” Ron’s narrative voice declares fiercely.
“Why is Dad so anxious about?” Rose asks the others as they watch the two second year run up to their dorms.
“I think he’s afraid Aunt Hermione might be the next victim,” Lily says in a quiet, almost soothing voice.
“You think he’s right?” Al asks nervously, “you think something did happen to her during that year?”
“It could explain why they never told us about it,” Hugo admits, watching both of his parents coming back down from their respective dorms with bulging backpack.
“But worst things have happened to them and they told us about them,” Rose presses.
“I don’t know Rosie,” Hugo shrugs, “I’m as clueless as you are.”
“That’s a first,” Al mumbles loud enough for his three partners to hear. As the two girls burst out laughing, the scene melts away and reforms a couple seconds later, around the dingy looking bathroom of Moaning Myrtle. They spot Ron, Harry and Hermione cramed inside a small cubicule, siting around a toilet bowl.
“Is it the spot they chose to brew the Polyjuice potion?” Lily asks the others, harly able to hide her disguss.
“It is a very safe place if they don’t want to be found,” Rose shrugs, “it’s not like anyone ever comes in here.”
“November 10th,” Ron voice resonates on the walls of the almost emply bathroom. “Hey mum and dad, just want to let you know that things are kind of scary over here. Ginny’s friend was petrified yesterday; sure a cat had gotten the same fate but there is someone out there that’s attacking the students now, it’s not really conforting. I’m keeping my head down as much as possible and concentrating on my studies as promissed.”
“So they brough Colin in,” Harry is telling the two others, “he was frozen, like the cat and when they opened his camera, to see if he had taken a picture of the person that attacked him, only smoke came out. The film was burned by something.”
“Strange,” Ron mutters, “oh, says you need to add the ounce of Antimony right about now, Hermione.”
“Right, thanks,” she says, putting the ingredient in. “So did they say anything else, the teachers?”
“No, they just said that it is a confirmation that the Chamber has been opened,” Harry frowns. “Anyway, the stanger part, in my opinion, happened before Colin’s arrival. I got a visit from Dobby the house-elf.”
“Again? What did he want?” Ron shouts.
“Mostly, annoy me by being cryptic,” Harry shrugs, making Ron laugh, “but he did let some interesting information out. Most important being that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened before.”
“How does he know that?” Hermione asks.
“Couldn’t get a straight answer from him,” Harry answers discouraged. “The other things he said was that, first, he’s the one that blocked the barrier to keep me from getting to school.”
“Little punk,” Ron mumbles angrily, “wait until I get my hands on him; I received a Howler because of him.”
“No,” Hermione rolls her eyes at him, “you got the Howler because you decided to take that flying car; there were many other ways you could have decided to use to get to school.”
“Say what you will,” Ron shrugs, “I still blame him. You said there was something else he said?”
“Yeah, he’s also responsible for the rogue bludger,” Harry explains, “Dobby actually said that his goal was to maim me enough so I would get sent home!”
“Wow, he wasn’t kidding when he said he didn’t want you to get to school this year,” Ron says, his eyes wide in distress for his friend.
“You think he’ll strike again?”
“Who knows; I just thank god I as lucky enough not to get injured too bad so far.”
“You still lost all the bones in your arm because of him,” Hermione says.
“No, this time,” Ron says with a mischievous smile, “it’s your pretty Lockhart that’s responsible for it.”
“Oh and the mystery of the locked barrier has been cleared; it was Dobby, the strange house-elf Harry told us about this summer,” Ron narrates in a disbelieving voice. “He wanted to keep Harry away from school so he locked the barrier and made us miss the train. The other day during quidditch, he tempered with a bludger that almost murdered Harry. It broke one of his arms and than mum, your wonderful Lockhart removed every bone of Harry’s arm; do you still think he’s that clever now?”
The bathroom disapears under the laughter of Ron and Harry and when the scene comes back to view, the travellers find themselves standing in the quidditch stands. The game between Gryffindor and Slytherin is already in full swing and a light rain is falling. The crowd is cheering and hissing at the teams around the four cousins but they easily spot Ron and Hermione who happen to be standing just in front of them.
“Why did your brothers leave Harry alone with the bludger?” Hermione yells at Ron, panic in her voice.
“I dunno! Maybe Wood ordrered them to when they took the break,” Ron aswers with the same worry. “This is so weird, bludgers never focus on only one player.”
“Dad told me about this game,” Lily shouts over the crowd, “said the bludger would only go for him because Dobby tampered with it.”
“This is some pretty brilliant flying skills though,” Rose says, impressed as they watch Harry roll around the pitch, full speed. The boy zigzags and loops some twenty feet over the rest of the player, clearly trying to prevent the bludger from hurting anyone else.
“Yeah but, he’s moving around so much to avoid it, he’ll never be able to search for the snitch,” Hugo says, applauding with the rest of the crowd when Harry does a particularly impressive dive to throw the bludger off course. It doesn’t fool the bludger too long though and it comes pelting toward Harry once more but this time, the Slytherin seeker has joined him over the game.
“Is that Malfoy?” Lily asks, pointing at the seeker with Harry.
“It is,” Al confirms, “Scorp’s dad was the Slytherin seeker when they were at school. And if I remember correctly, Scorp once told me that the year his Dad made the team, he brought with him seven new racing broom.”
“Bought his way in, did he?” Hugo snorts.
“Apparently,” Al shrugs, “but he must not have been so bad at his job if they kept him in the team for the next 6 years. I mean, this is Slytherin we’re talking about, they could have kicked him out the next year and kept the brooms.”
“You don’t think the Malfoys had planned that and put up some sort of fine print like : if my son is out of the team, he leaves with the brooms?” Lily asks, doubtfull.
“It’s possible; they were Slytherins as well afterall,” Al laughs but he stops suddently, pointing at the two seekers. “Why has Dad stoped flying around? The bludger is coming back for – Ouch!”
“That must have been painful,” Rose shouts, disgussed.
“Ew, look at the way his arm is flying around; that is not normal,” Hugo adds, equally disgussed but he still smiles at his Uncle, “yet look at him go; nothing can stop him can it?”
“Come on Dad, come on,” Lily shouts, jumping on her feet as she watches the younger version of his father flying upside down, holding his broom with only his legs while he reaches for the snitch. The crowd suddently errupts in cheers when the boy closes his hand around the ball. The cheering doesn’t last long though because they all witness the bludger coming straight down, ready to smash Harry’s head. The referee flies there is time though and catches the bludger in mid-drop, preventing anything worst from happening.
“Come on, let’s follow them,” Rose suddently says, joining Ron and Hermione as they march down to the pitch to see Harry.
“Do you think he’s alright?” Hermione asks Ron who only shrugs before spotting his two brothers who are restling the bludger into the case.
“Hey, guys! What the hell? Why did you leave him alone up there?”
“He asked us to,” one of the twins shoots back.
“And Wood ordered us to as well,” the other boy adds. “Stupid Wood, he should never have told Harry that catching the snitch was more important than making it out alive.”
“What? He said that?” Hermione asks offended.
“Oh look, your boyfriend is with Harry, this’ll turn out well,” Ron growls when he spots Lockhart standing near Harry. Ron grabs Hermione’s hand and pulls her toward Harry. Lockhart spots them arriving and asks them to take Harry to the Hospital wing.
“What happened?” Ron asks Harry when they have crossed the crowd of student.
“He made all my bones disapear!” Harry yells in panic, trying to move his boneless arm around. “Do you think it’ll be permanent?”
“I hope not,” Ron mutters anxiously.
“If anyone can do anything at all, it’s madame Pomfrey,” Hermione stutters, giving nervous sidelooks at Harry’s arm.
“Yeah, certaintly not Lockhart, right?” Ron growls angrily as she pushes the door of the Hospital wing open.
“Anyway,” Ron’s booming voice narrates, “I got to go and I promiss we’ll be careful and I’ll look out for Ginny too; love you! Ron.” As the Hospital wing door closes at the nose of the four travellers, the smell of parchement reaches their nostril and the scene melts away.
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