Chapter 14 : Valentine and Azkaban
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The Greenhouse looks extremely cold when the scene clears up for the travelers. The students are wearing warm cloaks and they keep close to each others to keep warm. Ron and Harry share a table with two Hufflepuff girls but Hermione is nowhere to be seen.
“January 10th,” the narrative voice of twelve years old Ron resonate against the windows of the frozen Greenhouse. “Dear Mum and Dad, well, the new semester has started and we haven’t seen or heard anything about the Slytherin monster for a while now. Maybe this is all over and things will get better.”
“Do you think Mum is still in the hospital wing?” Rose asks the others, her worries growing a bit. They are saved from answering when one of the girls echoes her question.
“Did something happen to Hermione during the holiday break?”
“No Hannah,” Ron answers shortly, “she’s got a very bad cold and can’t be in class, that’s all.”
“Oh,” the two girls nod, still looking curiously and almost suspiciously at Harry.
“I didn’t attack her if that’s what you are thinking,” Harry tells them, angrily.
“No, that’s not what we meant,” the other girl tries to say a little too fast, blushing furiously.
“They aren’t very convincing,” Lily shakes her head, disgusted by their attitude toward her father.
“Really not,” Al agrees with his sister. “I can’t imagine how it must feel to have the entire school think you are a sociopath.”
“I know,” Rose says while looking at the scene around her. All the Hufflepuff students are listening to Ron and Harry’s every words; watching their every move. “Now I understand a bit more why Uncle Harry hates his celebrity.”
“Class won’t get better though, Snape is still on mine and Harry’s back all the time,” the letter continues as the scene changes.
When the smell of parchment goes away and the wind that comes with it calms down, the four cousins find themselves in the apparently very cold dungeons. The students are huddled close to their cauldrons, all of them still wearing their winter cloaks over their school robes.
“There is a fireplace right there,” Rose points at the left wall of the room, “why doesn’t he light up a fire to warm the place up a bit?”
“Search me,” Al shrugs darkly, still stung that this is the person he is named after, “it’s probably another one of the teacher’s method of torture.”
“It must be bloody hard to concentrate when it’s so cold,” Lily shivers in sympathy for the students actually living through it.
“Potter!” a chubby Slytherin girl calls in a low voice Professor Snape chooses to ignore. “Finally got bored of your mudblood friend? You attacked her during Christmas break didn’t you?”
“Yeah, thanks for ridding us of her annoying presence,” a black haired Slytherin sniggers.
“Shut up Nott,” Harry snaps back in the same low voice.
“There is no talking necessary,” professor Snape says with a nasty smile, “10 points from Gryffindor.”
“But they started it!” Lily yells, angered by the teacher’s decision.
“Professor,” Malfoy asks in a sweet tone of voice, “I’m not really comfortable doing my work in the presence of a possible murderer.”
“What?” Ron and the four cousins yell angrily while the rest of the students, as well as Professor Snape, seem a little stunned by what the boy just said.
“10 points for yelling Weasley, what are you? A baboon?” Professor Snape tells Ron before turning to Malfoy, waving off what was said with a hand, “innocent until proven guilty, Draco, you’d do well to remember that.”
“Yeah, so you can use it as a defence when you kill someone,” Harry mutters, shaking with anger.
“This is crazy,” Al shouts, “how can a teacher simply wave that off? He just accused a fellow student of being a murderer!”
“This boy is really disturbed,” Hugo shakes his head in disgusts, watching Draco laugh with his friends, pointing at a white faced Harry.
“How can he get away with all that? Can you imagine what kind of a bighead he’ll have in sixth or seventh year?” Lily says, “He’ll be horrible and untouchable at the same time. Not a good mix.”
A whiff of healing fumes and cleansing products reaches the four cousins before the scene around them melts away and the Hospital wing clear up, stopping Lily in the middle of her rant, something which the three others are glad of. They find Ron and Harry sitting on chairs on each side of Hermione’s bed.
“This is so weird,” Hugo laughs at his mother’s situation, “she’s half-cat, half-girl now. Her eyes are still yellow but her whiskers are gone.”
“And you need to write a 5 inches long essay about the potion on page 53,” Ron tells Hermione who takes note.
“It’s not fair,” Harry shakes his head, “we have three inches to do but he gives you two extras because you weren’t there.”
“That’s alright,” Hermione shrugs, “I like writing essays, I’m not Ron!”
“Hey!” Ron answers, trying to pretend this insulted him while Harry laughs out loud, “bah, you’re right, I can’t deny it, I hate essays.”
“Are you telling me that they brought her homework?” Lily asks in disbelief.
“I’m pretty sure she made them do it,” Rose nods.
“That was predictable,” Al chuckles, “every other human being would use ‘turning into a cat’ as a great excuse not to do homework. Everyone but Aunt Hermione.”
“So, did people ask questions?” Hermione asks her friends.
“I think it’s safe to say that every single student our year, as well as every Gryffindor, as asked us about you today, right Ron?” Harry declares in a very bored kind of way.
“Right,” Ron nods, “and half of them even had the guts to openly ask Harry if he’d petrified you during break.”
“What? You’re joking,” Hermione asks but they shake their heads sadly.
“At least I won’t have to go through it tomorrow as well,” Harry suddenly says, trying to find the positive in all this, “since they pretty much all asked me already.”
“And I’ll be alright soon too,” Hermione sighs, looking at her still clawed fingers.
“Don’t worry, you’re looking more like yourself every day,” Ron pats her arm awkwardly, “your ears are less pointy and your face has almost all cleared up in the last couple of days.”
“It’s still taking a very long time,” Hermione says, “and I think Professor Snape knows something is up.”
“He suspects something, alright,” Harry chuckles nervously.
“You should have heard him yesterday during class; he kept making comments about how you might have played with magic too hard for you.”
“He said that?” Hermione whispers sadly. Harry and Ron share a look, silently agreeing on something before they nod their answer.
“He’s a git, don’t worry about what he said,” Ron says, trying to cheer her up.
“Plus it’s not even true,” Harry says, “the potion was perfect. It worked for Ron and I; you just happened to make a small mistake on the last step.”
“And it’s a fixable mistake,” Ron says, “Imagine if you’d been stuck looking like you did right when it happened. Now that would have been a bad mistake!”
“I’m doing my best, I swear, but he’s making it very hard to like his subject. Nothing much else is happening; I’m keeping my head low as promised. Love you both, Ron,” the letter concludes as Hermione chuckles at Ron’s remark, a bit happier than she was before.
A very strange sight meet the travelers when the scene clears up. Hugo and Al find themselves squinting at the excessive pink colour around them.
“What is all this?” Rose shrieks, looking at everything with wide eyes. “Why are there giant sparkly hearts everywhere?”
“February 15th,” Ron’s letter begins in a harsh tone of voice, contrasting with the joy of the scene, “dear Ginny, was it really you that sent that Valentine to Harry? If it was, sorry to say this little sister but you do not understand guys at all!”
“Merlin,” Hugo whispers, overwhelmed by the scene. Students are talking excitedly between them and tiny dwarfs, dressed in golden wings and white tutus, sing messages to various students.
“Oh no,” Lily grunts, mortified, “this is going to be so humiliating for Mum.”
“Not necessarily,” Rose says, trying to sound positive, “this is Dad’s perception, remember? He isn’t exactly the most romantic guy around.”
“So? It won’t change the fact that Dad is about to receive a poem written by a love struck eleven years old girl!”
“Look, it’s happening,” Al interrupts his sister by pointing at a dwarf that is working hard on getting Harry’s attention. Harry though, is more preoccupied with trying to find an exit strategy. The dwarf clears his throat and loudly begins.
“*His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad, His hair is as dark as a blackboard. I wish he was mine, he's really divine, The hero who conquered the Dark Lord,”* the dwarf finishes dramatically.
“You can write them poems all you like (if they’re into that sort of thing) but don’t ever have them shouted in the crammed corridors by an elf, alright? That was the most embarrassing thing ever; for both Harry and you, Gin!” Ron’s letter booms over the stunned silent corridor. The cousins can only look at each others, trying not to burst out laughing at Harry’s mortified face.
“I would have died right on the spot,” Hugo shakes his head, looking at his uncle. “Oh and look, just to make things easier, Malfoy is there to comment.”
“So is Mum,” Lily sighs, pointing at the scarlet faced little girl that is walking away from the scene.
“Anyhow, please, keep your feelings for yourself for a while, ok? Harry doesn’t have his mind on girls at all right now. Oh and, sorry if it wasn’t you that sent it, Ron,” the narrative voice continues.
“You mean he isn’t even sure it’s her?” Rose bursts out laughing. “This is hilarious.”
“Of course it’s her,” Lily says, “you saw her reaction when the dwarf said the poem.”
“But it’s Dad’s perception,” Hugo agrees with his sister. “It could be something else entirely that makes her feel like that or it could only be the idea that another girl dares to write love poems to the love of her life that makes her like that. We don’t really know. Personally, I would think that Draco Malfoy could have sent it, just to humiliate Uncle Harry.”
“It’s possible,” Al admits as they watch Malfoy picking on Harry, quoting the poem.
“P.S.,” the letter continues as the scene blurs, “by the way, we have a new lead on this heir of Slytherin person.”
The scene blurs a bit and the four cousins suddenly find Ron, Harry and Hermione alone in the common room. The moon is up high outside the window and a peaceful silence surrounds the trio. Ron is the only one still dressed in his uniform while the two others wear their pyjamas. Their expressions though, are quite different for Harry looks like he’s just been hit on the head; Ron manages to look puzzled and worried at the same time and Hermione just looks lost. The four cousins look at each other in question before getting closer to the three second years.
“What happened?” Hermione asks the two boys, “we went to bed not 5 minutes ago, what could possibly have happened that was so important, it couldn’t wait until morning?”
“I know who the heir of Slytherin is,” Harry says, his voice hoarse with emotion, “it’s Hagrid.”
“What? That’s impossible!” The four future kids shout, Hugo being the loudest of them.
“What?” Hermione shouts in echo, looking from Harry to Ron in disbelief, “how ever did you come up with that information?”
“I, well the diary it told me,” Harry stutters, holding out the little black diary to make them understand.
“I thought there wasn’t anything written in that diary,” Ron frowns, looking at it suspiciously.
“There wasn’t,” Harry confirms, “but earlier today, I realized something odd about it. Remember when I received that, that, that poem?”
“Vividly,” Ron smirks, sharing a look with Hermione who tries to hide her own smile at Harry discomfort.
“Well, I dropped my bag and an ink bottle exploded. Everything was covered in ink except for the diary, it was clean and dry.”
“That is so suspicious,” Hugo frowns, mirroring the expression on young Ron’s face.
“This book is bad news Harry, I’ve told you before,” Ron tells his friend worriedly.
“I know but I was curious, ok?” Harry defends himself, his eyes still showing some panic. “I took the book out tonight, when I was alone in the dormitory, and I wrote in it.”
“Harry,” Hermione sighs while the four cousins shake their heads in disbelief.
“Really? Uncle Harry did something that stupid?” Rose says.
“And he’s always telling us not to be impulsive and touch objects if you don’t understand how they work,” Lily adds.
“I guess he learned that advice from his own experience, right?” Al shrugs, trying to listen to the three second years’ conversation.
“Look I know it was stupid alright?” Harry snaps back, “I did it anyway so there is nothing we can do about it now, just let it go guys, please. So, what I wrote in the diary disappeared in the page and then the diary answered me!”
“It answered you? What do you mean by that?” Ron says, still suspicious.
“I mean I wrote ‘My name is Harry Potter’ and the diary answered ‘Hello Harry Potter, my name is Tom Riddle’.”
“Tom Riddle?” The four cousins shout in surprise.
“Do you think he even knew who Tom Riddle was back then?” Al asks his relatives, a slight note of panic in his voice. The others shake their heads, still surprised by the revelation that Voldemort, somehow, had a role in all of this.
“You had a conversation with a 50 years old diary?” Hermione asks, suddenly looking at the diary with a lot more interest.
“Not only that,” Harry goes on, “I don’t know how it happened but when I asked Tom Riddle if he knew anything about the chamber of secrets, he said he could show me; and he did! I kind of got sucked into the diary and I was sent into some kind of memory I guess. I could watch things happen but not interact. It was the strangest thing.”
“So it’s not Hagrid,” Hugo says in relief, all the other kids still stunned, digesting the information Harry just threw at them. “Of course Tom Riddle manipulated that memory to incriminate Hagrid.”
“What did you see, exactly?” Hermione asks after a moment of silence. She is looking at Harry and the diary in doubt; clearly, she doesn’t really believe Harry’s story.
“I arrived in the Headmaster’s office but it wasn’t Dumbledore’s office so it was before his time I guess,” Harry says, looking only at the diary in his hands, trying to remember everything he saw. “Then Tom arrived and they talked about the fact that the school would close unless the culprit was caught. Apparently, a girl had just been killed by the monster so they didn’t want to take any chance. Tom was worried because he would be going to a Muggle orphanage should the school close. After that, I followed Tom as he walked through the school and went to the dungeon. We waited forever; at least half an hour before we heard footsteps and followed them. It was Hagrid and he had some kind of horrible monster; something that looked like a really huge spider. Hagrid said it never killed anyone but Tom insisted and pushed Hagrid to attack the monster but it ran away and the scene ended. I was back in my bed.”
“I’ll tell you more as soon as we have more information but let me just tell you this, I wish it isn’t for real because I would hate to find out this person hurt so many people,” the letter continues over the silence that has settled on the common room.
“Hagrid said he was expulsed from Hogwarts when he was a teenager but, they wouldn’t have kept him around if it really was him, right?” Ron asks, weakly, trying to put all the things together.
“Maybe they couldn’t prove it in the end so they let him stay around,” Hermione suggests but Harry shakes his head.
“They probably kept him in pity. He had nowhere to go, remember? His mother left when he was a baby and he told me his father died before he was kicked out of school.”
“Do you know if the attacks stopped after he was kicked out?” Ron asks Harry.
“No idea, the memory ended there,” Harry shakes his head but Hermione nods.
“It probably did, remember what you said Ron? That Tom Riddle had gotten an award for services to the school that year; that must be why he got it. He got Hagrid to stop controlling the monster and the attacks stopped,” she explains, earning dark looks from the two boys and, without her knowing, from the four travelers as well.
“I can’t believe she would say that! How can she even think that Hagrid would do something like that?” Rose asks, shaking her head angrily at the younger version of her mother.
“I agree that Hagrid loves beasts and doesn’t really see how they can harm people but to imagine him willingly care for a monster that petrifies and kills muggleborn students? It’s very possible that Riddle got the wrong person and that Hagrid was just the perfect person to accuse because of his, well, unnatural love for beasts,” Ron hotly tells Hermione.
“Not only that,” Harry adds, “but to do it a second time in his life?”
“Should we, err, talk to him about this then?” Hermione asks in a quieter voice.
“How?” Harry asks her, “how do you ask someone about that? No, I think we should wait and gather more information or facts.”
“Or wait and see if the attacks really have stopped,” Ron shrugs, “if they have, we won’t need to ask him anything.”
“I hope we are wrong and that we know that person well enough; I’d be horrified to find out someone I trusted and cared for so much was really a monster, Ron,” the letter finishes and the scene melts away.
When the scene clears up again, they find themselves in the back of the Transfiguration class. Seamus is walking through the class, picking up his classmates’ worms. The four cousins reach the younger version of their parents and find the two boys playing hangman while Hermione whispers angrily at them, trying to make them stop their game.
“March 15th, Dear Mum and Dad, How is everything? Here, it’s pretty quiet; there hasn’t been any attack since the one on Justin and Nick so, I reckon the monster has gone back into hiding.” The narrative voice of Ron says over the whispered chatter of the students.
“I will ask you to give me your attention a bit longer,” professor McGonagall says when Seamus gives her the box full of worms the kids had evidently just been working on. Ron and Harry keep at their game but they do give their professor a look when she speaks. “Time has come for you to choose what elective classes you wish to take next year. We recommend you chose two classes that will add to your actual work load. Yes, miss Granger.”
“What is the maximum of options we are allowed to take?” Hermione asks her professor, her arm still in the air.
“Like I said, we recommend two options because that makes a manageable schedule,” the teacher explains, “however, for some students who are particularly organized and have a keen interest in learning, you can ask to meet with me, your Head of House, and we will discuss the possible avenues you can take in order to succeed in all your classes nest year. Yes, mister Thomas.”
“What classes can we choose?” the dark skinned boy asks his teacher.
“I will give you pamphlets you can read in the common room tonight to have more information on the specific classes but I can already tell you that you will have to chose between Aritmancy, Muggle Studies, Care of Magical Creatures, Ancient Runes and Divination. Yes, mister Finnigan.”
“Can we choose less than two options?” the sandy haired boy asks, his eyes sparkling as he asks his question, clearly wanting to unnerve his teacher.
“You can but I would suggest you take more, just to try and possibly give them up at the end of the year, how is that, mister Finnigan?” Professor McGonagall asks the boy, the shadow of a smirk on her lips. Seamus only nods and slumps back in his chair while the rest of the class chuckle at him.
“Right now though, I need some advice from you both. See, we are choosing our options for next year and Harry and I aren’t sure what to chose (Hermione doesn’t have that problem though, she wants to take everything),” the letter continues while professor McGonagall dismisses the students.
“I’ll go take an appointment with professor McGonagall right now,” Hermione says, picking up her stuff in a hurry and running to the front of the class to talk to the teacher.
“How much you bet she will ask for everything on the list?” Ron shakes his head in disbelief.
“She probably will,” Harry agrees.
“She will,” Rose and Hugo answer in a discouraged sort of voice.
“How about you though,” Harry asks Ron, “any idea what you want to take?”
“Not really,” Ron shrugs as they get out of the classroom, waving at Hermione who signals she will catch up with them. “I could ask my brothers though, with the lot of them, I’m pretty sure they have tried everything on the list.”
“That’s a good idea,” Harry nods while Hermione arrives behind them.
“I have my appointment with her next week,” she says, breathlessly, “she wants me to look at all the brochures so I know what the classes are and what kind of workload they have but I’ll try to get as many as I can, I want to make sure I give everything a try and learn all those different ways magic works and all. How about you guys?”
“Err, I don’t know yet,” Harry frowns, clearly not sure what options he wants to take. “I don’t want to take too many though, with quidditch and all, I need to make sure I still have time to practice.”
“What would you recommend us taking next year? Thanks in advance! Love, Ron,” the letter finishes and the smell of parchment reaches the travelers, announcing the scene is about to change. When the smell of sugar comes over the parchment, they all smile, knowing that this indicates they will find themselves in the Gryffindor common room. Sure enough, they find the entire group of second year sitting around a table and reading the pamphlets professor McGonagall told them about in the previous scene.
“They all look interesting," Hermione sighs, putting down the pamphlet of the Aritmancy class.
“Not all of them,” Seamus objects, putting down the pamphlet of the Ancient Runes class, a look of disgust on his face.
“We’ve got to be careful not to take classes at the same time though,” Parvati says, turning a sheet over so the others can see it, “I’ve made a schedule of what the possible timetable could look like next year. If you look at it closely, you’ll see that, no matter what, it’s impossible to take both Aritmancy and Muggle Studies because the classes are in the same time on Monday mornings.”
“That’s a great work Parvati,” Hermione says, looking at her classmate’s improvised timetable. Parvati smiles, sharing a look of surprise with Lavender.
“Thanks Hermione,” the Indian girl says, “ok so, I think it’s pretty clear, when we look at that timetable that Care of magical creatures is the one class that doesn’t happen in the same time as any other.”
“So Care of magical creatures it is,” Dean says, writing down his selection, imitated by both Dean and Neville.
“It could be a good option,” Ron says, “being outside and doing some practical work instead of being in a classroom and taking notes.”
“Definitely,” Harry and Lavender agree with Ron and they too write down their choice.
“So we all take it?” Lavender asks the group and they all nod.
“Out of all the others,” Seamus says, “Divination is the one that looks easiest. Me cousin Fergus told me it’s a great class for catching up on your sleep.”
“That is true,” Rose and Al nod while the group of second year burst out laughing; all except Hermione who frowns at them, working hard to not comment.
“My Gran told me it’s a soft option,” Neville softy says, his cheeks gaining a light pink tinge.
“Well my five older brothers have taken that option and all of them agree with your cousin, Seamus,” Ron smiles, “I think I should take it as well. Keeping up with the family tradition, you know?”
“March 30th,” Ron’s narrative voice comes over the group’s discussion, “dear Mum and Dad. Thanks so much for the advices, Harry and I went with Care of Magical Creatures, like you suggested and Divination. We decided not to take Muggle Studies Dad, because Harry is practically muggle so, he would have found it pretty boring.”
“Your Dad would tell you to take Muggle studies, though,” Hermione tells Ron but he shrugs.
“You are muggleborn and Harry is muggle-raised,” Ron shrugs dismissively, “if I ever have a question about, err, muggleisms, I can ask you guys.”
“Same for me,” Lavender nods, “I live with a muggleborn Mum so I know the ways of the muggles enough.”
“So do I,” Seamus nods, “what with me Dad being a muggle.”
“Are you seriously considering taking Muggle Studies, Hermione?” Harry asks his friend.
“Of course,” she nods confidently, ignoring her classmates looks of disbelief, “it could be really interesting to see the muggle world from the wizard’s point of view.”
“You’re weird,” Dean shakes his head at his determined classmate.
“Or, maybe she’s just sneaky,” Parvati says with a mischievous smile, “you just want to secure yourself an ‘O’ in your fifth year exams, right?” The group, including a reluctant Hermione, chuckle at Parvati’s idea.
“Hermione went along with her choice and took everything; she’s crazier than Percy when it comes to school. Speaking of which, I have to go now because, according to the study plan she made us, I have to go and work on my Charms... Love, Ron.” The letter ends and a sudden strong gust of wind shakes up the scene.
“What was that?” Lily asks, nervously looking around as she takes back her balance. The three others shrug, obviously just as confused as her.
“Maybe it came from outside the letters? Like Teddy is trying to get to us or something?” Al says when the scene shakes a second time before slowly changing. The four cousins all look at each other while in the dark, as they are all hit with an overwhelming feeling.
“What is going on?” Rose asks, tears in her eyes, “why do I feel so bad all of the sudden?”
“I have no idea,” Al says in a hollow sort of voice, shaking his head and looking at the blurry scene around them. “I feel horrible as well though.”
“May 9th, Dear Mum and Dad, we were wrong and the monster wasn’t gone. Hermione was petrified yesterday. It’s horrible to see her like that...” Ron’s narration begins; his voice shaking with emotion as the scene clears up a little more, revealing the Hospital wing.
“Mum?” Rose asks in a small voice, running to the side of the bed where Harry and Ron are standing. She raises a hand to cover her mouth and tears roll on her cheeks as she sees the twelve years old version of her mother laying there, petrified.
“She was petrified?” Hugo whispers, joining his sister by the bed. Harry and Ron stand next to them, the emotion palpable on both realities.
“It’s impossible,” Harry murmurs, touching her frozen hand lightly. Ron sways on the spot and the scene lurches as well, answering the travelers’ question.
“It’s his emotions we are feeling,” Al says in a shaky voice, “he’s feeling so bad and so strongly that it crosses the written words.”
“I feel like I’m going to be sick,” Lily whispers, holding to her older brother to steady herself. “That is probably why they never told us about what happened this year; must be horrible for them to talk about that.”
“Possibly,” Rose nods, her wet eyes still staring at her mother. The scene changes suddenly and instantly, the four cousins are freed from Ron’s emotional state; left with only their own feelings of sadness. It is not that much better though and as the inside of Hagrid’s hut appears, Lily lets out a loud sob, thinking of her Aunt and how the others around her were left so helpless without her.
“They say Hagrid is the one responsible of it but I can’t believe he would do such a thing. Doesn’t matter though, what we think, the Minister took him to Azkaban,” Ron’s letter continues in a discouraged voice.
“They sent Hagrid to Azkaban?” Hugo shouts angrily, “without any proofs?”
“This school year is like a never ending nightmare,” Lily sighs, discouraged. In front of them, talking to Hagrid are the Headmaster Dumbledore and a short, fat man, twisting a green boiler hat in his hands.
“Why are we here though? Uncle Ron and Dad aren’t even here,” Al frowns, looking around.
“They must be, otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing this scene,” Rose says, “either they are spying through the windows or they are under the invisibility cloak.”
“That’s probably it,” Hugo nods when a sharp knock at the door silences everyone.
“This is disturbing,” Lily says when the newcomer walks in. “Malfoy, Malfoy Senior and Malfoy Senior –Senior look freakishly alike.”
“This one is clearly scarier though,” Al agrees, “Draco Malfoy looks less evil than his father. Just like Scorpius looks a lot less evil than his father.”
“Think about it though,” Hugo says with a small smile, watching the scene unfold in front of him, “how lucky are Dad and Uncle Harry to have witnessed this? They have perfect timing.”
“Perfect timing for sneaking around and finding mysteries,” Lily shares Hugo’s mischievous smile.
“This is ridiculous,” Al shakes his head angrily pointing at the adults. “Malfoy Senior-Senior bullied the school governors and they suspended Headmaster Dumbledore!”
“They send Hagrid to Azkaban and the Headmaster is kicked out of the school,” Rose sums up, “everyone will die before the year is over.”
“Or Dad and Uncle Ron will save the day once again,” Lily laughs until the Headmaster’s gazes turns straight to her. She chokes up under the piercing blue eyes look at her.
“**I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me... Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it,**” the old man said in a calm voice, before turning around and following Malfoy Senior-Senior out of the hut.
“Do you think he was looking at us or that the boys are hidden right where we are and he can see through the cloak?” Al says, just as surprised as his sister.
“Which one do you prefer?” Hugo asks his cousin, “Him being able to see through an invisible cloak on being able to see through time and realities?” Al chuckles at his cousin’s answer before giving his attention back to the scene in front of him. Hagrid then turns to them as well and gives the strangest and most disgusting piece of advice the cousins have ever gotten.
“Follow the spiders?” The four of them repeat after him. Al and Rose’s faces have gone white at the simple thought of doing as Hagrid asks.
“And now, Dumbledore has been removed from the school. Things are bad and depressing. I can’t wait for the school year to end and for the potion to be ready to save Hermione and the others. Love, Ron,” the narrator finishes, letting a deep sigh escapes him as the scene melts around the travelers.
The cousins are very surprised and try hard to understand the scene that unfolds in front of them. They find themselves in a corridor where tiny professor Flitwick leads a line of Gryffindors, his wand out while they whisper between them.
“May 20th, Dear Mum and Dad, things are still ok over here. As ok as can be, that is. We can’t walk alone in the corridors, a teacher has to lead us from one class to the next at all times and it’s getting pretty annoying. I know it’s for our best but it still makes us feel like we’re little children. It’s very strange without Hermione around.”
“The teachers had to walk them through class?” Rose raises her eyebrows in surprise before she bursts out laughing. “Can you imagine how the Seventh year must hate this? After all, most of them are of-age already!”
“Oh I can imagine Uncle Percy didn’t happily let himself be protected by a teacher,” Al laughs as well, knowing their Uncle’s need to be in charge and not cared for by any superior.
“Hermione would have loved that class,” Ron sighs, pulling his backpack to his front so he can look through it.
“She definitely would have,” Harry nods, looking at the ground around him as he walks, “even I liked it so that’s saying something, I think.”
“I think so as well,” Ron smiles.
“Did you happen to spot any spiders today?” Harry asks, still looking around him, searching for the creepy spiders Hagrid mentioned.
“Nope, didn’t see any spiders for a while and I’m quite happy about that,” Ron answers, still looking through his backpack for something.
“Are you saying you didn’t look around?” Harry asks his friend in surprise.
“Just because I don’t wish to find any doesn’t mean I’m not looking for them!” Ron answers shortly, clearly stung by Harry’s assumptions.
“Sorry,” Harry mutters, uncomfortable, “I didn’t mean anything by it, honest. I was just thinking, don’t you find it strange that there are no spiders anywhere in the castle?”
“I guess,” Ron shrugs, still a bit short, “that’s actually what makes it a weirdest clue, you know? It’s spring, there should be spiders everywhere, catching flies and being evil and hairy but it’s not happening.”
“Because spiders do use springtime to get better at being evil,” Rose nods in mock understanding while Harry snorts at Ron’s answer.
“Well, we have Herbology later today,” Harry shrugs as Ron takes an apple out of his backpack, smiling broadly in victory, “we will be able to look for them outside; it’ll probably be easier.”
“Yeah, probably,” Ron agrees; his mouth still full of his apple bite. The line stops and professor Flitwick holds the Transfiguration classroom’s door opened for the students to go in.
“Flitwick has gotten quite wrinkly in the last twenty years or so. He looks just as polite and nice as he does in our time though,” Hugo smiles, watching the younger version of his Head of House wish the young Gryffindors a good day.
“Our Head of House is the best anyway so don’t even try to make Flitwick look better,” Rose chastises her younger brother, Lily and Al nodding their approval when a whiff of parchment reaches them and the scene changes to the Gryffindor common room.
“Just as we were speaking of him,” Lily exclaims when the scene clears up, revealing Neville who is sitting with Ron and Harry, playing a game of exploding snap. “Our amazing Head of House!”
“Come on, you can do better than that,” Ron tells Harry when the cards explode and cover him with black ashes.
“It’s not his fault,” Neville says, holding back a smile at Harry’s new bearded look. “He clearly doesn’t have as much experience as we do, Ron.”
“It’s not experience Neville, it’s talent,” Ron smiles broadly. “Seriously Harry, you are not sporting the beard well.”
“It’s the right color though,” Dean says, passing by and taking an empty seat.
“You guys are just jealous,” Harry mutters without conviction.
“Of what? Being scrawny?” Seamus loudly laughs, dropping in the seat next to Dean.
“Of having hair black as a blackboard?” Neville asks timidly, making the others burst out laughing even more.
“Of having eyes as green as fresh pickled toads?” Ron concludes as he rolls on the floor with the three other boys, laughing to tears at Harry’s expenses. Harry himself, simply sits there, his face crimson under the soot.
“This is another reason why the poem was a bad idea,” Lily shakes her head although she can’t keep herself from laughing; “boys are idiots.”
“Hey, you’re laughing at it too,” Al pushes her playfully before pointing at something behind the second year boys. “Look, Uncle Percy just passed behind them and he didn’t tell them to quiet down.”
“Strange,” Hugo frowns, looking around at the other students, “especially considering that many older students are looking at the boys angrily. You’d think that Uncle Percy would be the first one to notice.”
“And did you hear anything from Percy? He looks pretty down since the Ravenclaw prefect was petrified; hasn’t told me off since! Not that he needs to but, you know Percy, he could invent a reason just to let off some steam. Love Ron.”
“Seems we aren’t the only ones that noticed,” Al says, “I wonder what is up with him.”
“I don’t know and strangely, I doubt we ever will,” Rose shrugs as the scene melts away around them; the sweet smell of candies dying away.
*Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets p.202, Bloomsbury 1999
** Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets p.225, Bloomsbury 1999
Second A.N. Hi again! I'm going to ask you, amazing readers, to participate in the creation of chapter 16. In this much awaited chapter, the cousins will confront their parents about the two first years so here is what I aks you guys, do you have any question or any particular detail you would like to see the characters talk about in that chapter? Let me know and I will use your questions / comments and credit you on the 16th chapter of this story!! Can't wait to see what you guys come up with!!
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