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Chapter 2 : Letters, Sprinting, and Fear
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"What is it, Alb?" He was brandishing a letter in his left hand and was out of breath. He wordlessly handed the letter to me, eyes brimming with some emotion I couldn't identify.
I took it from him and unfolded it, recognizing Uncle Harry's spidery handwriting.
Dark times are coming. They may already be here. I have reason to believe Lord Mori has horocruxes and will prove very difficult to take down. How many and where they are, I do not know. But I do know that they are going to purge Hogwarts, and soon. Ron and Hermione have already been forced to move into the ghetto, along with many other muggle and half-borns. Tell Rose this---or better yet, just show her this letter.
She's not safe. Neither is Hugo. Fifty percent pure is not pure enough. Albus, you're seventy five percent pure, and that should be close enough, so don't you worry. Take Rose to Aberforth. He has some things for her and Hugo. This is very, very important, Albus. Do not waste time. Go now. Use the Cloak.
Keep your eyes and ears open. Wide open. Learn all you can about Lord Mori and his followers. Keep your nose clean. We can't afford any more attention than we already have. Be careful, son. I will be trying to do all I can here at home. Take care of Rose and Hugo.
I love you, Albus, never forget that. Mother sends all her love and wishes you to be strong. And James is doing fine. He's staying close to his quidditch team, and he's just as pure as you. Don't worry. Be strong.
P.S. Burn this immediately after you show this to Rose.
"Incendio." I whispered, and the parchment burned hot and bright. The ashes I scattered hastily with a foot.
"Come on, Rose." Albus pulled me into an empty corner and threw the invisibility cloak around us both.
"Hurry." He whispered as we sped down the hall to the Room of Requirement.
We took the tunnel, and in minutes, we were face to face with old Aberforth.
"Uncle Harry wrote Albus saying you have some things for Hugo and I." Aberforth, eyes grave, nodded and retrieved two bags from the adjacent room.
"This one's for you. The other one is for Hugo." I opened mine with trembling fingers.
Inside was a wand. My wand, but a copy. A brand new one. I blinked, not comprehending.
"There's been talk of what to do with impure children." Aberforth whispered. "It's rumored that some of the children may be cast into the Muggle world, wands broken." He looked me in the eyes. "Hermione is smart, Rose. She made sure that you would have an extra one, Both you and Hugo."
I continued rummaging through the bag, and pulled out a cloudy vial. I opened my mouth to question, but a sharp knock sounded on the door, interrupting me. The knocker rapped again, impatient.
"Go!" Aberforth whispered, shooing us back into the tunnel. As soon as the portrait covered the hole, we heard Aberforth's amicable voice greet the impatient knockers.
"New laws for you." A heavy, cruel tone weighed on the speaker's voice. We heard parchment being forcefully unrolled. "Anyone found aiding or hiding mudbloods or half-bloods or any impure person will be subject to prison in Azkaban, or worse. As for your shop, customers will be served by blood status. This front section is for purebloods. The back room is for inferiors, mudbloods and impure ones. Do you understand?"
"I...I understand perfectly, sir." Aberforth's voice was meek.
"Then you won't mind if I take a quick look around, will you? I need to make sure you really understand."
"Be my guest." Al looked at me with urgency, and we pulled out our wands. We cast charms to make the tunnel's entrance appear as if there was nothing more than the rest of the wall there. Then we ran, feet flying back to Hogwarts.
I had to warn Hugo. I felt so rushed, as if something horrible would happen if I didn't hurry.
Back in the halls, we realized the really was no time to waste. The halls were gravely empty. But we had to stop at the Ravenclaw dorms, to find Hugo. It would be far.
But Fate, today, was kind. We discovered, using the Mauruder's map, that Hugo was in the library. Studying, I presumed.
Albus handed me Hugo's bag, and the cloak, as we passed the Gryffindor tower. He gave me a look, untangled himself from the cloak, and went inside the common room.
I started running again, feeling urgency in my bones as I picked up the pace. My long slender legs stretched in a sprint. I felt rushed, the need to hurry screaming in my veins. My dark red-brown hair streamed behind me as I panted softly. I briefly wondered why the halls were so empty.
I got to the library.
"Hugo!" I hissed, out of breath. "I'm under the cloak, right here!" My thoughtful flame-haired brother pretended not to hear me, but muttered,
"What's the matter?"
"This is for you." I pressed the bag into his hand under the table. "Just in case. There's an extra wand for if they send us into the Muggle world."
"We're not pure enough." And understanding lit his face.
"I love you Rose. No matter what happens."
My heart swelled for my little brother. My little Hugo who never wasted words, so to hear this from him was worth more than from any other person.
Suddenly, an amplified voice I didn't recognize echoed throughout the castle.
Every student to their common rooms. Now. No exceptions. Line up alphabetically immediately.
I had not run so fast in my life prior to this. Before the announcements' echo had faded away, Hugo had run for his common room and I for mine. No one had known where I'd gone. I just had to get to the common room fast.
I was barely in time. Throwing the cloak at Albus and shrinking my bag to fit into my uniform pocket, I hurridly took my pace next to Fred, my cousin.
"Where in the name of Merlin have you been? Everything's gone mad! Gone to hell!" Fred growled, the dark freckles standing out on his slightly pale skin.
"Long story. I can't tell you here." I muttered, calming my breathing and pulling thin fingers through the knots in my waist length hair.
McGonagall came in looking worried, the lines on her face pale and wan.
"Children. They're going to interrogate you one by one. Alphabetically. Starting with you, Mary-Grace Abbey. I can't tell you more. I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do."
The little girl--Mary-Grace--walked up to McGonagall, who pointed her to a stern looking man. He led her away.
"The next ten of you in line stay right here. The rest of you go to your dorms. Your own dorms. And don't leave."
"Everything's happening so fast." I whispered to Fred, who nodded gravely.
"Power's changing hands. Looks like now would bea good time to listen to Dad's stories. Remember them, I mean.
I nodded slowly, thinking of all the things Mum and Dad had told me--about Voldermort, horocruxes, pure-blood mania, and death.
I was going to need to remember those stories more than I ever knew.
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