Chapter 2 : some rain, a traitor and nothing going to plan.
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[Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy]
-Rose: 52 Prince Drive, Essex.
Saturday 8th October.
Sometimes, I hate my brother. I hate him, and utterly despise Louis, and I even mildly dislike Lily. Which is hard, because she’s so nice. But it is their fault that I am trying to get through a lock which seems to have more tumblers on it than in the back room of the Leaky.
And if you didn’t get that, it was a pun about the dual meanings of ‘tumbler’. I was going to make a crack about the website, but that’s spelt differently, and I couldn’t be bothered because it’s raining and icy water has now started trickling down the back of my neck.
But for now, let me take you back to yesterday morning, when everyone was clutching their coffees and stumbling into the conference room.
We are fairly organised for a bunch of barely evolved chimpanzees. Long table, each have our own chair; it’s all very official. (Mine is an armchair with a flappy-up thing so I can put my feet up. IT’S SO COOL!)
Louis, Hugo and Lily stood at the back, their laser pointers on as the screen was pulled down and the projector whirred into life.
“Alright,” said Lily, flicking to the first slide. “We need to get into Hogwarts- unnoticed, find which version of the Room this is in, and nick it,” she said, showing slide two.
It was an unremarkable gargoyle. You know; evil, twisted features, long tongue, horns, hunched over.
“This is over six feet tall,” continued Hugo, looking better after his coffee already. “So: easy to find, hard to move. Our mystery employer has stipulated that we can’t use any charms on it- to get it out, to move it, anything. Can’t even Floo with it, or use a Portkey.”
“So that is going to be difficult, at least,” said Louis.
Molly rolled her eyes. Thank you, Captain Obvious.
“We’re planning this for a week’s time; the fourteenth of October,” Louis said, and then Scorpius coughed.
“What?” snapped Dom impatiently.
“I can’t do that Saturday,” Scorpius said firmly.
All eyes were on him, and we all had identical stunned expressions. You can’t just not do a job.
How I envy him now.
“Why not?” demanded Dom.
“Personal business,” he said, standing his ground.
Dom raised a perfect eyebrow. “Get out then, if you can’t do it.”
That sounded very sinister. Scorpius held her gaze for one long moment.
“It can’t be that important then,” Dom said with a humourless smile.
So Scorpius stood up to leave, nodding at Albus as he pushed the glass door open. I noticed his shirt was done up lopsided.
There was silence as we heard the lift doors ping open.
“That isn’t your call to make,” said Albus angrily, as soon as the doors closed. “You can’t just chuck him out-“
“Yes it is, and yes I can. If you don’t like it, you can follow him,” Dom said, holding up at hand to silence Albus, who slouched down in his seat. No-one wanted to leave. “Where were we?”
Louis coughed nervously. “Um... we were thinking of getting Vic and Teddy in early as substitute teachers or something, but you can’t take Polyjuice Potion during pregnancy, so-”
“So Vic is going to do surveillance of our new employer. Work with Scorp... um, Albus and Lucy to get any info, and find out why this is so special,” Lily continued, wilting slightly under Dom’s death glare.
Albus looked mutinous. This was going to explode at some point.
Hugo clicked to the next slide.
“So, for Teddy to get a job at Hogwarts, there needs to be an opening for him to impersonate someone. Luckily, the Charms guy, Professor Aldertree goes home on weekends to look after his cats. So, Rose, Fred and James, that’ll be your job.”
So that’s how, the next night, I ended up nervously picking the lock of 52 Prince Drive, Essex, soaking wet.
Freddy and James were not being helpful, currently playing I-Spy, while I wrestled with the lock. We all had Disillusionment Charms on, but they were going to be a fat lot of use when we dripped wet footprints all over the carpets.
Finally, with a last jiggle, the door swung open.
“Careful,” I whispered to my two mostly invisible and very annoying cohorts. “If the lock was that hard, expect worse inside.”
They didn’t heed my warning, but then, I didn’t expect them to. They went charging in, setting off a Caterwauling Charm, which Fred immediately Silenced.
“I’m pretty sure he heard that,” I whispered.
“Are you just going to stand there?” James whispered back.
“Yup! I break and enter, you’re supposed to be the ones who do all the other stuff,” I said, sitting on the mat just in the door. I tapped away my D-Charm. They’re uncomfortable to wear after a while, and are often blamed as the cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
No, thank you.
“Fine,” said James, disgruntled. “We’ll go do ‘other stuff’.”
Five minutes, a lot of loud swearing and three loud thumps later, James and Fred came back down the stairs. Their D-Charms had gone too, and they were moaning.
And they stank of burning, and were wetter than before.
“That man is a paranoid old bat. Why would you think that people are going to come and Imperius you in the middle of the night? What sort of crazy idiot thinks that?” said James, waving his hands.
Freddy dismissed my quizzical look. I mean, Aldertree’s fears weren’t totally unfounded.
Fred shook his sopping wet hair and continued the rant. “Who in their right mind has a Thief’s Downfall outside their bedroom door?”
That is a bit OTT.
We dashed through the rain to James’ BMW- he collects cars like normal people collect stamps, or glass paperweights, or Beanos. I managed to call shotgun before Freddy, and slid into the warm, leather interior with a happy sigh.
“So, go on,” I said, as we pulled out of the street, the engine purring. “What did you do?”
Freddy leaned forward, wedging his grinning face between the two front seats.
“If I have to reverse, I’m going to end up breaking your nose,” warned James, despite the fact we were now going at a cool 90mph, in a thirty. James sticks cling-film over his number plates, because he claims it just reflects light onto the speed cameras. At any rate, he doesn’t let us see any speed tickets.
“We Imperiused the old guy so he went on holiday until the sixteenth,” Freddy said. “I suggested some Muggle resort in the Bahamas, and I texted Dom to stick enough money in his Gringotts to have an epic holiday.”
See? We may break into old people’s homes and Imperius them, but we only suggest that they go on holiday, and even give them money to do it.
“And we told him not to mention his absence to anyone, and when he got into Hogwarts to pretend that he hadn’t gone anywhere, so we’ve covered all our bases,” James chipped in, his eyes not straying from the road.
“Poor Teddy though,” Freddy said with a sigh.
“I don’t think that Professor Aldertree knows the meaning of ‘personal hygiene’,” said James, grimacing. “And someone needs to mention to him that joss sticks do not hide the smell of BO.”
-? The Ministry of Magic, London.
A man with greying temples and frizzy hair sat at his desk, his fingers curled around a stout mug of coffee. His phone rang.
Slowly, he picked it up. “Hello?”
“Of course it’s you. Who else calls at this ungodly hour?”
“Demons,” said the caller, chuckling.
“What news of the plan?” the man said; cutting off the laugh. He massaged his forehead with the tip of his arthritic finger.
“The first stage is complete- the Charms teacher has been diverted.” The caller instantly became more business-like. “Are we going to take them down this time?”
“Not this time,” said the old man, hefting a pile of thick manila folders onto his desk. “They were too careful last time, and we need more evidence.”
“We need to do it quickly, before they start to suspect me. We should to arrest them, and get it over with. Can’t you stage a robbery, and implicate them?”
The man’s voice was icy. “Do not presume to tell me what to do. And I will remind you, that if they go down, you’ll be dragged down too.”
There was a second of stunned silence on the line. “You promised-”
“I promised that you wouldn’t go to Azkaban, but your name will still be mud. But if you try anything, if you tip them off, if you show any indication of switching loyalties, I will retract that generous promise. I did you the favour, you are paying me back.”
“Yes, sir.” The caller’s voice was subdued, and heavy.
“Good.” There was a click as the caller hung up. He replaced his receiver in its cradle softly, and opened the first file. ‘Albus Severus Potter’ was printed on the first page in bold scarlet capitals. Every criminal in wizarding Britain had their own folder in his office, but he was only interested in these sixteen for now. The Weasleys, the Potters, the Scamander twins- even a Malfoy.
They thought they were above the law.
They were going to be proved wrong- even if he had to break the law to do it.
What was that saying? An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth...
A child for a child.
He’d lost everything that night in May. His daughters were his world- and they were snuffed out, as easily as barely flickering candles.
Now it was time for revenge, to avenge their deaths, and to make the parents of the most spoiled generation in history feel the way he did.
He allowed himself a small, satisfied smile.
-Rose: the Penthouse, London.
Mainly dry by the time we got back to London, the three of us crashed in the penthouse. Fred and I lived on opposite sides of the city, and James was too tired to drive us. I can’t drive, and James told Freddy that if it was the apocalypse, and the only way to save humanity was to let Freddy drive, he still wouldn’t let him near the wheel of a Ford- James hated Fords with a bizarre passion which none of us quite understood, and were all a bit scared of.
I stepped out of the shower, after finally washing the stink of joss sticks out of my hair. The smell the boys brought back had managed to seep into everything, and James was lamenting the cost of getting his car cleaned. I had to bite my lip in order to keep mum about the amount in his back account.
“Oh damn, sorry Freddy!”
He was on the phone, standing just outside the bathroom door. He jumped about a mile in the air, quickly pressing the red button.
“Are you all right?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Totally fine,” he mumbled, attempting a smile.
He was ash-grey, shaking like a leaf and was gripping his mobile so hard he’d cracked the screen.
“You don’t look fine,” I observed. “Do you want me to get you anything?”
He shook his head, his too-long hair whipping around his face. “N-no, I’m okay. Just wanted to use the bathroom...”
He pushed me out the way, and stumbled into the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind him.
Weird hobo creature, I thought, shaking my head, and went to bed.
Thursday 14th October
I didn’t have anything else to do until the fourteenth, and all that actually involved was travelling up to Hogwarts incognito. So I worked, informed Hannah I would need a couple of days off, to which she agreed easily enough. I have to call her up on short notice to cancel my shifts fairly often –I’ve stopped even pretending to be ill- but I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m a part-time hooker or something.
So, I got the fourteenth off as well, and travelled up with Albus, -in style, in first class on a train which made me feel homesick for Hogwarts. We all travel separately, and try not to go with closely related people. You can’t tell that Albus and I are related, at all, especially with his flat cap pulled down over his face.
Albus looks like Uncle Harry. A lot.
“Al!” I said, exasperated, trying to pull the hat off. “We’re on a Muggle train now, no-one knows us, for god’s sake take the stupid hat off!”
“Scorpius gave me this hat!”
“My point exactly. Who wears flat caps anyway?”
Albus tilted his cap away from his face enough to see a party of red-faced, tweed-wearing posh people wearing flat caps walk past our compartment. “They do,” he said, satisfied.
“You’re an idiot.”
He said nothing in return, just pulled on a pair of massive sunglasses. I rolled my eyes.
“I’m going to get a drink,” I said, sliding the door open. “You want anything?”
He shook his head, and yanked up the collar of his coat. Oh for heaven’s sake, why hasn’t he been sacked yet, if this is the extent of his Muggle disguises?
When I got back to the compartment, half-drunk orange juice in hand, he was nowhere to be seen.
Two hours later, I’d read the Prophet twice, filed my nails, gone looking for the twerp three times, and unsuccessfully tried to quash the sinking feeling in my stomach. Still no sign of him.
How do you lose someone on a train?
I eventually fell asleep, charming the door locked first, and woke up when it was dark, Albus shaking me.
“Come on! We’re here.”
“What? Where the hell did you go?” I said groggily, rubbing sleep out of my eyes.
“Go? What do you mean, go? I was here the whole time. Now, come on,” he urged, grabbing my bag and I stumbled after him sleepily, thoroughly confused.
Much later, we were all in position.
Much, much later.
James, Lysander, Hugo, Louis, Fred and Teddy had all flown, pretending to be on a stag weekend. They thought it would be in character to get rat-faced. Dom nearly killed them all. She apparated here- apparently something had come up which meant she couldn’t leave until far too late. Whatevs.
Vic and Lorcan were both staying in London, so Molly had commandeered Vic’s car and had driven with Lily, Lucy and Roxy up to Hogsmeade- getting very lost, breaking down/getting towed, being caught for speeding and earning many sniggers about women drivers.
I can’t even drive, and I helped make them all shut up. Forcibly.
It was fun!
Dom got angry at us, and yelled at us all. She has been getting so ratty recently, it has been doing all of our heads in. We’d eventually forced a sobriety solution down their throats (how Roxy manages to whip up a makeshift potion in about half an hour, I will never understand, nor where she acquires the ingredients from).
But, we were all in position now, and that's the main thing. I was crouched outside the Great Hall with four firsties- Hugo, Lysander, Roxy and Molly. I was lording it over Hugo, because I WAS TALLER THAN HIM and then-
And then there was an almighty crash! and Professor Aldertree fell out of a first storey window.
Oh crap. Dom is going to murder us all. Or turn us over to the authorities.
A/N: Thanks for reading, and I hope you're enjoying it! Any chance of a review? :D
By the way.... what do you think of the caller? Who do you think it is? Also, I am so sorry, but the mysterious old man we see did say 'that night in June'... when in fact, I meant May. It's now fixed, so thanks so much to shadowycorner for pointing that out.
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