“Ruddy kids, coming down here, demanding food.” The barman shoved a tray full of bread and water into Hannah’s chest with a grunt. “I have a bar to run you know, with death eaters to serve.”
A smile stretched across Hannah’s face. The extent of conversation with Aberforth as he prepared their provision was always the same, but she could tell by the glint in Aberforth’s eyes the he didn't mean most of what he said. Hannah’s deliberate happiness annoyed him. ”I’m risking my life helping you!” he growled as Hannah climbed through the portrait hole and into the passageway. This stone clad corridor connected the Hogs Head to the room of requirement and was the room’s way of providing its inhabitants with food, as food was the one thing it couldn’t provide itself.
Hannah whistled to break the silence of her journey, the notes bounced off the wall as if she was leaving a trail of sound. Minutes later, she reached the end of the passage, and was met with a large wooden panel. From behind it, she could hear the bickering voices of Seamus and Lavender and the occasional “poof”, presumably Neville practicing a charm.
Neville often practiced magic. In the three days Hannah had been with the group Neville had perfected the summoning and hovering charms, with only the small glitches of hitting Seamus and a bookshelf so far. However, just as Hannah was thinking about how well Neville was doing, a squeal from Lavender told Hannah he had just added one more to the list of accidents.
After a few moments of reconfiguration, involving nearly having to ask an already annoyed barman for more food, Hannah managed to push the wooden panel open with her foot revealing the room below.
“You’ve been gone for nearly half an hour!”
“I'm starving, what took you?!”
Lavender and Seamus swept down on the trays of food like vultures and grabbed as much as they could carry. Hannah rolled her eyes and grinned at Neville, who had nearly been sent to the ground in Seamus’s bid to get a slice of bread, and they reached out for two chunks themselves. Just as Hannah opened her mouth to take a bite, there was a loud bang as the door to the room was slammed open.
As fast as lightning; Hannah, Seamus, Lavender and Neville snapped around and whipped out their wands.
“Hold fire! It’s us!”
Michael Corner cowered backwards, his hands held up in surrender. Behind him was a surprised and nervous looking Terry Boot and distraught Padma Patil. Lavender, Neville and Hannah sighed in relief and lowered their wands.
“We need your help.”
“What’s going on?” demanded Seamus, who had not lowered his wand like the others. There was a loud sniff and Padma spoke. “They’ve… ta…taken Pavrati.”
A moment passed in silence, the Padma’s face crumbled and she burst into tears. Hannah and Lavender both rushed to comfort her.
“Who have?” asked Seamus, still not lowering his guard.
“Snape, the Carrows.” Terry said in barely more than a whisper.
“They cornered every 7th year classroom and a few others, grabbed anyone they could and dragged them to the dungeons.”
“We only escaped because Michael got Alecto in the eye.” Hannah could sense amazement amongst the fear in Terry’s voice.
“But why?” Hannah asked, attempting to subdue the urge to rush out and fight the death eaters there and then. It was Michael who replied.
“They want information on Potter’s whereabouts. That’s why they only went for those who knew him. They’re going to interrogate them.”
“Like Professor Umbridge did? With Veritaserum?” Lavender enquired.
“They won’t stop at Veritaserum,” this was the first time Neville had spoken in a while. The unusual seriousness and certainty in his voice was unnerving. “We’re talking legilimens and unforgivable curses.”
Lavender slammed her mouth shut, Padma’s eyes ran dry and Seamus’s raised arm fell lifeless to his side at the unavoidable truth in Neville’s words. Hannah looked at him intently; she had noticed his voice falter slightly as he mentioned the dark arts.
“We’ve got to help them” she said with a sudden strength. She knew what the death eaters could do and, even though she didn’t know how, so did Neville.
“We need a plan…” began Seamus, but Lavender cut across him.
“We haven’t got time!”
Hannah joined in.” We have to do something now!”
She turned to Neville in hope of agreement: her eyes bored into him. Neville hesitated. People didn’t normally turn to him first. His mind clouded over in a manic search for a solution, but there was something in Hannah’s look of determination that gave him confidence, as if she was silently telling him she trusted him completely. So, unknowingly, without another thought of consideration, he decided, “We’ll just have to wing it…”