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Chapter 7 : Chapter 6: Tealeaf Troubles
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Even Hermione had to admit that, while she wasn't one for relying on tea and wax and the stars for guidance, and while Professor Trelawney was a poor excuse for a teacher under any circumstances, the woman did know how to put on a show. Especially since it seemed she'd been denied regular access to cooking sherry, or other alcoholic beverages.
"It's her birthday," Ginny informed the batty woman with a mischievous grin. She watched Hermione twitch just the smallest bit, and her grin widened.
"Of course it is! Well, we must do a reading then, mustn't we?" she asked, voice taking on a much more mystical tone than it had had moments ago.
"Oh, that's okay. You could read Ginny, if you wanted. I'd be happy just to watch," Hermione offered hopefully.
"No, no. The spirits are quite insistent that I read you. They feel a very strong connection to you. Yes, yes. Tell me, dear, do you have a touch of the Sight?"
Hermione looked so offended that Ginny almost laughed.
"Oh, my dear, don't look so distraught! It's a marvelous gift, though I know the burden can sometimes be tiring." She clapped her hands together twice, and then escorted them to two poufs on one side of a short table. "Just a moment while I gather the necessary tools, if you please."
Hermione looked pointedly at Ginny. "You'd better have gotten me a very nice birthday present to make up for this."
Trelawney floated towards them with an impossibly tall stack of materials in her arms, and Hermione's good manners won out. "Oh, goodness, do you need help?"
"Nonsense, nonsense. Sit and be comfortable. However, I will have you start that pot of tea. I feel strongly that we should begin with a proper tealeaf reading. However, since the spirits seem to react so strongly to you, I will ask – do you feel this is the proper way to go about our reading?"
"Oh. Um, why not?" Hermione flicked her wand at the teakettle. She didn't feel any particularly insistent spirits that indicated she should do otherwise. Unless logic counted, but it was too busy dying in a fit of hysterics to bother.
"Drink up, drink up now, my dears!” Trelawney instructed once the girls had poured their tea. "As fast as you can, don't stop. Well, stop if you must, of course, but only then. The spirits would be much displeased if you died before they could convey their message to you. It is an important one, do you feel it?"
Ginny began to tip her cup down so she could answer – as the manners her mother had managed to beat into her brain demanded – but Trelawney pushed the cup back up, causing Ginny to sputter into her tea. "Don't stop drinking, Ginny. We must preserve the spirit's message."
Ginny's eyebrows knitted together over her cup as she contemplated what the punishment for beating someone to death with a teacup would be. But she continued to drink nonetheless. Ron so owed her. Ron owed her big.
"Good, my dear. Swirl the leaves around now. Once more, there, that should do. Now then, what do you see?"
Hermione reluctantly peeked into her cup, and her bravery was pleasantly rewarded by the clump of leaves near the top of her cup. "Oh!" It was something she would recognize anywhere. "A book!"
"Let me see!" Trelawney snatched the cup away from Hermione. "Yes, yes. And what does the finding of a tome indicate?" she asked, eyes appearing the size of saucers behind her thick glasses as she peered into the cup. "Never mind, you've not enough training to know. You, dear, were not enrolled in my class. Your mother insisted otherwise, didn't she?"
Hermione arched an eyebrow – frankly, she couldn't believe the woman hadn't recognized her. And really now, how did she know that her mother had been opposed to Hermione taking the class when they'd gone over her schedule? Her mother was right, of course, she had that infuriating habit, but still.
Trelawney continued, oblivious to Hermione's somewhat worrisome thoughts. "An open book indicates the finding of an answer. Good, child. There also appears to be a chain along the bottom of the cup. Congratulations. Oh. Forgive me; I spoke before the spirits had finalized their message. There are multiple swords, as well. I am sorry, dear. But you should know that bodes poorly for your future."
Hermione gave a little laugh and smiled, more for lack of other appropriate response than anything else, as her former professor handed her cup back and floated around to Ginny. She smiled as she noticed some tealeaves in the shape of a lamp along the side of the cup. A light to read by as well, how thoughtful of the spirits.
"And what do you see?” Trelawney asked, plucking the cup out of Ginny's hands. "The spirits are growing stronger. Can you feel them?"
"Of course." The words slid off Ginny's tongue without thought.
The scary part was; she could. Ginny didn't know if it was the spirits, per se, or not, but she could feel the magic in the air. It was growing, almost pulsing, in the small room.
Trelawney peered into Ginny's cup, and then drew back violently. "Oh, my darling! I can't, no, I mustn't!"
Trelawney turned dramatically away from them, and Ginny winked at Hermione.
"All right! All right, I say! I'm sorry, but the spirits do so insist. I see the Grimm, child, and a dagger and axe. But don't fret! There is also a cross and a flame."
"What does the flame mean?"
"It means," Trelawney stalled, grappling for an answer. "It means that the flame of young love is struggling. I am so sorry."
Hermione bit her lip. She was going to burst if she had to contain her laughter for much longer.
"Oh." Ginny frowned. She had hoped there was a true explanation of what the flame symbolized. Perhaps there was, only Trelawney didn't know it. "Could it instead be an indication of what should follow?"
"Yes, yes! Of course. It clearly means that wax scrying is the only acceptable next step. I was testing you, child, and you passed marvelously." Trelawney cupped Ginny's face in her hand. "Such a gift for feeling the will of the spirits you have! Perhaps we should discuss meeting to begin your training."
Hermione snorted loudly, eyes watering at the put out expression on Ginny's face. She broke into a hasty coughing fit to cover her conspicuous snort.
“My dear, do conjure yourself some water! The spirits react pleasantly to your wand. I must go and select wax appropriate for you. It must strike me, in order to connect the spirits to you. Please be patient, it could take a moment.”
No sooner had she swept behind the curtain dividing the room did Hermione double over on the floor, clutching her stomach and laughing uncontrollably – albeit quietly. “I – I –“ she cut herself off with another bout of laughter. “I have a touch of the Sight? She’s mad. Divination is woolly business, and mostly guesswork. Really –“
“But Hermione, it’s a gift!” Ginny insisted with a grin, before looking into Hermione’s teacup. “There’s a lamp in here too. Did you see that?”
“Yes. Kind of them, wasn’t it, to provide me light to read by?”
Ginny’s grin widened. “Right thoughtful.”
“Hermione, child, what type of wood is your wand?” Trelawney reappeared from behind the curtain, two balls of wax in her hands. One was violent, Cannons’ orange, the other the color of spun gold.
“It’s vine wood.” Hermione eyed her former professor warily, unsure of where she was going with her inquiry.
“Do you know that the most renowned property of vine wood is its ability to release prophetic powers? It wouldn’t have chosen a witch without the Sight. It just –“Trelawney stopped mid-lecture, and her entire body seemed to shudder for a moment.
“Professor?” Hermione asked, rising from her seat. Ginny too had stood, and the girls exchanged merely a look before rushing to the batty woman’s aid.
They were nearly to her when the wax suddenly dropped from her hands. “The marked knows his destiny,” she said, her voice deep and entirely unlike the mystically toned one she used to make her earlier predictions.
“Professor Trelawney? Are you all right?” Ginny ventured.
“The marked knows his destiny!” Professor Trelawney boomed. “Power has been forgotten. Logic remembers, but the heart must make his peace before it will be known. Bravery must find balance with logic, and they with the heart, for the heart shall falter before the Dark Lord without them. They will fall worthless without strength, for it is he who guards the power. Without her, all is lost. The marked knows his destiny and he must make his peace.”
Ginny and Hermione were rooted to the spot, looking incredulously at Trelawney, and then each other, and then Trelawney again. The biggest fraud in all of Hogwarts was making a prophecy, a real prophecy, in front of them. Two of the greatest anti-Trelawney advocates in the history of Hogwarts.
And suddenly, as quickly as it had set on, the blank look on Trelawney’s face disappeared. “- wouldn’t have. Of course, it has other character traits, such as a strong connection to the mental powers and tenacity of the owner.” Trelawney suddenly seemed to realize that Hermione and Ginny were standing, staring at her, and she paused. “No, no. I don’t need any help, it’s no trouble at –“She abruptly looked down to find her hands empty. “It appears the spirits have changed their mind. There shall be no scrying today.”
“It’s okay, we’d be more than happy to stop back by another time. We should be getting on, as it is,” Hermione said quickly. When Ginny only continued to gape, Hermione elbowed her in the side.
“What? Oh! Oh. Right. The, um, the thing. We should go. We have a thing.” Ginny looked at the door. “Tonight. Now.” She nodded her head to emphasize her point.
“Do be careful, my dears. Especially you, Ginny, with the Grimm in your cup.”
“Of course,” Ginny agreed, dragging Hermione out the door with her.
The door to the room shut behind them, and Hermione turned to Ginny. “She made a prophecy.”
“Yes,” Ginny replied vaguely. Both girls still wore stunned expression on their faces.
“Ginny,” Hermione began slowly, gathering her thoughts. “Ginny, she just told us how to defeat Voldemort.”
Ginny nodded. “I know.”
And that was all it took. The girls set off – running like madwomen down the hall for the stairs.
“We have to call the Order,” Ginny said between breathes as they thundered down the stairs.
“Find Remus,” Hermione added, as they turned the landing between the third and second floors.
“Find Malfoy.” Ginny’s stride faltered for a moment, but before she could say anything, Hermione, sensing the coming question, expanded on that particular thought. “What? He’s sharp as a tack.”
Draco stalked out of his room and the few steps to the landing of the second floor to see what the commotion was all about. With the amount of noise, he expected to find the wretched house collapsing. He was surprised to see only a blur of brown and red as it flashed by him, and more surprised still when a hand shot out of said blur and clamped closed around his wrist, tugging him along with them.
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