Chapter 1 : Chapter One
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“Ginny Weasley, you want me to get an interview with Ginny Weasley?” I have always had a sneaking suspicion that Barnabus Cuffe was a complete and utter loony. I know what you’re thinking. Barnabus Cuffe, editor of the Daily Prophet, has to be a genius right.
Well, ok maybe he’s a decent journalist and he may have the organizational skills of one of those self-organizing shelves I saw in Diagon Alley last week, but honestly he’s kind of past it.
Just so you know, I am a journalist, Laura Macmillan, 22, Second Reporter of Sport for the rag that is the Daily Prophet. That means that junior reporters report to me and I report to the first reporter who is in charge of the sport section, and he reports to the Editor, the aforementioned dimwit Barnabus Cuffe. Who is currently prattling on about the importance of a newspaper being the first on the scene or something. I caught words like duty, commitment and 'dedication to Information' I’m not really listening. Every reporter at the prophet has heard this speech and most of us can recite it.
Yes Sad I know.
But it does mean we don’t have to listen to it.
Definite plus I think.
I do like my job, honest. I love the excitement of a Quidditch game, the challenge of allowing the fans that couldn’t make it to the game think they were actually there. The way I get free passes into games and get to talk to all the players. I just don’t like certain aspects of the Prophet that’s all. You’ll know the part.
The Rita Skeeter part.
I don’t like the way she uses a Quick Quotes Quill, or the way she thinks of a start to a story before even knowing if it’s true. And I hate the way she always disregards the feelings of the people she writes about.
Sorry I’m ranting.
Anyway here I am 7:00 on Monday morning standing in the Editor’s office having just been told I have less than a week to get an interview with Ginny Weasley. This is something that every reporter from every other section of the prophet has been trying to do for the past year. Ever since that Victory Ball where she was awarded an Order of Merlin 2nd Class and danced with Harry Potter. For some reason, that my simple mind is yet to comprehend, the big news in that wasn’t the fact that at sixteen, Weasley is the youngest ever witch to receive an Order of Merlin. No and that is what I really hate about Rita Skeeter.
“There has been a tip off” Cuffe continued, leaning back on his overly fancy office chair and speaking in that slow way he does to increase the tension . “From our confidential sources that Weasley has signed for the Holyhead Harpies.”
I tried to act surprised.
Cuffe likes to think he can surprise us with information like this. He forgets sometimes that it was a junior reporter in my department that told him in the first place.
Told you he’s past it.
“And you want the basic new player profile job right.” I said. I knew it would be more than that. It had to be. Cuffe wouldn’t have asked me into his office to make sure I did a new player profile. That’s what department heads are for.
“Yes and no, Macmillan it has to be yes and no. An interview with Harry Potter’s girl is something that will sell papers for a week. We need gossip Macmillan, gossip”
I suppressed an urge to roll my eyes. Those rumours weren’t even confirmed. “Isn’t that what witch weekly is for sir?” I asked shifting in my seat.
I mean sure a journalist is a journalist. We’re all nosy; it’s part of the job. But I prefer knowing things like, Puddlemere United’s goalkeeper Oliver Wood has a superstition that means that he wears a “Slytherin Rules t-shirt” under his robes despite being as Gryffindor as you can be. All because of some dare he did while playing in the reserves. I like knowing that. The things that affect Quidditch.
Cuffe smirked at me, I swear that man hates quidditch, and summoned a battered looking folder from a stack behind him. It hovered for a moment in front of me and then settled on the desk.
“The squad lists are released on Friday Macmillan. I want an exclusive for that morning paper. You have till deadline on Thursday. And Macmillan” he handed me the battered folder “Top secret, the whole thing. I don’t want those Lovegoods getting a hold of it.”
I sighed as he turned away. I knew I was being dismissed.
Shutting the door to my cubicle I threw the folder on the desk and stared around at the waving quidditch players on the wall. Three years of photos from matches I’d been to and everyone I’d ever interviewed. It was my own personal space and filling the walls with photo’s helped me write about them. My mum tells me I should store them away safe, so they don’t get damaged. Needless to say I ignore her.
I sat aimlessly for a while thinking. This was going to be impossible. No reporter had managed to get a solid interview with any Weasley, Potter or Granger since Lee Jordan managed to have a final Potterwatch the September after the war. That was just promoting the Phoenix Amateur Quidditch Tournament. An amazing idea to raise money for the Victims of Voldemort, featuring a team picked and captained by Potter himself. They won too.
230 to 80 if you're interested.
It was only ten past seven and the office was still fairly empty. The morning prophet would already be on kitchen tables across the country and most journalists prefer to work late and have a lie in. My eye caught the dog eared folder and I turned it over, examining it. I had some idea what this was and I didn’t like it.
In this folder would be the reason I don’t like the other sections of the prophet. Don’t get me wrong a newspaper has to be nosy. They have to ask the awkward questions. But this…
Hating myself for the curiosity I felt I turned the cover. Sure enough, inside was a seemingly never ending supply of notes, pictures and quotes on scraps of parchment covered in spiky acid green writing. All in date order with various hints and tips attached from Skeeter herself. This was the file.
The Potter Weasley Granger file.
Everything that the Prophet had on Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and the entire Weasley family was in this folder. I recognised some of the photos, the ones that had been on the front page or in Witch Weekly. Potter at the Victory Ball last June, making his speech, dancing, laughing and joking. Pictures of the Weasley family in Diagon Alley, on Platform 9 ¾ and Ron Weasley and Harry Potter at the Ministry for auror training. Each photo was accompanied by a date, a place and three or four possible starts to a story.
“Harry Potter, the saviour of the wizarding world, had better get himself in training for another duel, writes Rita Skeeter. The 18 year old had at last, after a somewhat troubled childhood, found steady love in his best friend’s little sister Ginny Weasley. Unfortunately for him her multiple brothers haven’t taken well to the news.”
“Harry Potter Broken hearted.”
“Hermione Granger, previously known to have dated both Viktor Krum and Harry Potter, is moving along to her next famous catch”
I snorted. I remembered that copy of the Prophet. Skeeter had managed to accuse Granger of playing with the hearts of both Harry and Ron, and stated that Harry was cheating on Ginny because he’d been sighted walking down the street with Hermione, thus sparking a brawl between the older Weasley brothers and Potter, apparently. This entire story had of course been based on a picture of Potter in St Mungos with a black eye and a sling.
Seriously I bet he just fell out a tree.
There was a knock on my cubicle door and a young wizard with a shock of blonde hair poked his head in.
“Hey Laura, mind if I come in” I closed the folder and smiled.
“Sure Jack, have a seat.” Jack Richards, the kind of guy who has no trouble getting girls and has every trouble keeping them. He’s a junior sports reporter who joined a year after me and a pretty good one too. “What’s Up”
“Oh nothing much. I just heard a rumour, wanted to see if it was true,” He sat down and gave me a flash of what I call his Lockhart grin. I looked at my watch; sure enough he was bang on time. Every Monday morning at 7:30 Jack comes into my office with a rumour, things he’s read over people’s shoulders, things he’s heard in passing conversations, rumours about colleagues or ex- girlfriends, quidditch players or old teachers. He was the one who found out Weasley was signing for the Harpies.
“You’re doing the Weasley Interview”
Don’t ask me how he does that, I have no idea.
Jack laughed at the look on my face. “Did you really think I wouldn’t find out, is that the Potter folder?” I batted his hand away as he reached for it.
“How Jack, how do you know?” This was why he was so good. Jack knew things, saw things and heard things. It’s helpful in journalism.
”Oh Sarah might have mentioned it.” He glanced once more at the folder and back at me. “It’s true though right. You’re gonna do it.”
“Sarah, the editor’s secretary, Sarah who you dumped for that barmaid, Nicole?”
“No, I dated Nicole before Sarah and Sarah dumped me for flirting with Jess, that waitress from Puddifuts. Can I come with you?”
Note to self: never ever try and keep up with Jack Richards girlfriends.
“What, Jack No you can’t come. Why do you want to anyway? You know we’ll probably just end up hexed”
It’s true. Every reporter that has ever written anything about Ginny Weasley has ended up spitting feathers. Literally, they turn into canaries. Not sure how that happens.
“Weasley is Hot.” Jack said as though this would explain everything.
“I’m 21. Only 4 years”
“Jack it’s going to be hard enough to convince her to trust one journalist let alone two. Particularly if one of them is chatting her up.” I emphasised my point by throwing a screwed up bit of parchment in his direction.
“Alright, Alright” He said catching it, reading it and throwing it back. “I won’t chat her up. But can I come anyway. Granger might be there.”
I fixed him with the best ‘I’m disgusted’ look I could manage “you do know that if the rumours are true, Potter and Weasley won’t be best pleased with that.”
“Oh well, it was worth a shot.” He stood up. “I’ve got to go anyway. Apparently Johnny Duncan has managed to injure himself without even playing. I need to find out who the Arrows have as reserve Keeper this year.”
“Meeting at half 8 remember” Jack threw a hand up in lazy acknowledgement and walked out.
“Oh, Macmillan” he turned before closing the door “You’ll get that interview you know, and it’ll be better than anything Skeeter has ever written”
That was why I liked Jack. He may go through girlfriends faster than socks and he may know everything you don’t want him to know, but he can make people feel better.
I knew if I got this interview and managed to do it without aggravating any Weasleys it would be a bloody miracle. I also knew that I could write a better interview than Rita “mix it, match it or make it” Skeeter.
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