Chapter 4 : The One with the Forkful of Reality
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After the disastrous prefects meeting in which McGonagall shot us daggers the entire time and we were forced to pair Remus up with Severus for rounds (Abi got off lightly with Amelia Bones), we spent the rest of the train ride catching up and eating sweets. We arrived at Hogwarts an hour later and by that time we were absolutely freezing. The rain was coming down as if there was no tomorrow and the thunder was so loud you could barely hear anything over it. The lightning flashed across the dark sky and it made for a rather dismal Welcome Back Feast. By the time we were inside, we were soaked to the bone.
We were seated at our house tables and Hayden shot me a grin before departing for the Hufflepuffs.
James was sitting opposite me and looking rather miserable. His lips were turned down at the corners and he looked as if someone had just stomped on his testicles; thoroughly pained. He had kept up that expression for the rest of the train ride and had opted to sit in the corner of the compartment in stony silence.
After the Sorting ceremony, Professor Dumbledore stood up and positioned himself behind his podium. It was a wonder he was still alive you know. I heard a rumour that he was 175 years old. I didn’t think it was true but it was pretty believable.
His long white beard flowed to somewhere near his knees and he wore dark blue robes adorned with shiny gold stars. His long hat matched his robes. I want a shiny hat like that; maybe I should ask him where he buys his hats after dinner?
“Well I won’t keep you from your dinner so, tuck in!”
Suddenly dishes upon dishes of marvellous looking food appeared on the tables and there was a rush to grab things. I helped myself to some roast chicken, potatoes, assorted vegetables and gravy. I swear those house elves are trying to fatten us up so they could eat us. Maybe there would be an elf revolution and we would be overthrown and enslaved. I didn’t think I would like having to serve an elf; they kind of scared me with their overly large eyes and ears.
I was interrupted from my train of thought by a pea being thrown at my face. I blinked and tried to stare at the spot where the pea had hit me, going cross-eyed.
“Who did that?” All eyes looked at James. He grinned and I narrowed my eyes at him. I was just relieved to see him smiling again.
“Fine Potter, if that’s how you want to play, game on.”
I threw a carrot at him and it landed in his thick hair. James picked up one of his gravy soaked potatoes and lobbed it at my face. I ducked quickly and it hit Jess in the side of the head.
“You little git, you are in so much trouble!” she shouted, trying to get the gravy out of her hair. “Remus attack!”
Remus obediently grabbed some chicken and threw it at James who swerved and wacked heads with Sirius. Sirius fell backwards off the bench with a yelp, desperately groped for something to grab onto and succeeded in pulling the tablecloth, food and the brunette who was sat next to him down too.
“Ohmygod Sirius!” Molly shouted looking distraught. “My food!”
“Well hello there,” Sirius said suavely, turning on his side and winking at the girl on the floor. Underneath all of the mashed potato, she blushed. I wasn’t sure whether she was blushing or choking under the mountain of food she was buried in. Sirius stood up and pulled the girl up with him.
“Come with me, I’ll take you back to my room and we’ll get you all cleaned up,” he smiled. The brunette blushed again and squealed to her friends as Sirius took her hand and pulled her out of the hall. I rolled my eyes.
“Merlin, how does he do that?” Peter asked in awe. Remus shook his head.
“He is a genius.” Jess smacked him on the arm and Remus chuckled, flinging an arm around an irritated Jess. She was still trying to get the potato bits out of her blonde curls.
For the rest of dinner we played pea football, until the hall quietened and I swivelled around in my seat as Dumbledore stood at his podium again. Speech time.
“Welcome students new and old. I hope this year finds you all well and ready to further your magical education! Now just a few messages before I send you off to your warm beds. Mr Filch has comprised a very detailed list of the banned objects and you can find it outside of his office.” Dumbledore’s blue eyes twinkled. “The Forbidden Forest is as the name suggests, forbidden. There will be no duelling done in the hallways or out of class.” He looked at the Marauders. “And if anyone is caught selling O.W.L or N.E.W.T test papers, they will be severely punished.
“I would also like to introduce our new head girl and head boy, Lily Evans and James Potter!” James and I clumsily stood up and smiled at the applauding students before hastily sitting back down again. I turned my red and embarrassed face to Dumbledore in the hopes that he wouldn’t talk about us again. Dumbledore paused, the smile slipping off of his face.
“And now I wish to address a very serious issue.” The hall went deathly silent. “There is a wizard, who goes by the name of Lord Voldemort,” there were a few gasps and the hall broke out in whispers. I caught Molly’s eye and we exchanged confused glances.
“Some of you may know of him but I doubt many of you will.” Dumbledore paused and looked around at us all gravely. “Lord Voldemort has been accused of murdering several muggles and one muggleborn but he has not been caught yet. He is not a major threat as of now but I can say nothing for the future. I am telling you this not to alarm you but to warn you. Look after yourselves and each other. I wish you all a safe and happy year.” He smiled again, his eyes smiling as well as his mouth. “On that sombre note I think it’s time for bed, Prefects if you will lead your houses to your respective common rooms.”
The hall filled with chatter and laughter once again, the Lord person seemingly forgotten. I got up and found Gryffindor’s fifth year Prefects.
“Can you two show the Gryffindors to the common room and help the first years?” I asked the boy and girl. They both nodded briskly and scurried off to the front of the horde of Gryffindors. I then turned to the girls. James, Peter and Remus had left and were already lost in the throng of students.
“So, what do you guys think?” I asked them, referring to Dumbledore’s warning. Abi grimaced.
“Well if Dumbledore felt he had to mention it, this must be getting pretty serious.”
“How come we didn’t know about any of it?” Molly asked, motioning to the two of us.
“Well the Ministry have kept it pretty hushed up; they’re heavily influencing the Prophet.” Jess replied. She had connections with the Daily Prophet and often wrote columns for it.
“Well then how do you guys know?” Jess steered us towards the Hufflepuff common room instead of following the crowd of Gryffindors. I guessed we were on our way to the kitchens to scrounge some food considering Sirius was wearing most of it.
“Because you guys are muggleborns, you have no attachments to the Wizarding World aside from us and Hogwarts.” Abi explained. “News travels fast through family, neighbours, gossip etc. and soon everyone knew about the murders although it wasn’t published in the Prophet. Did you not hear anything in the muggle news?”
I frowned and shook my head. “They covered it up very well.” I noted grimly.
“How come you guys didn’t tell us?”
“No one really knows what to think. It’s just been idle chatter at dinner parties and so on,” Abi replied. “Things get embellished as they are passed on. What could have been one wizard accidently hurting a muggle can turn into a serial killer who is targeting muggles in the blink of an eye.” I saw her point, after a while stories couldn’t really be counted on anymore because parts of the truth were usually left out.
“Shouldn’t they be warning people instead of covering everything up though?” It angered me to think that this freak would be kept quiet and thus allowed to hurt more people.
“Informing the masses could result in hysteria and panic, which is the last thing the Ministry want.” Niki answered, tucking a dark curl behind her ear. “I imagine they just want to catch this guy before alerting anyone.”
We reached the portrait of the pear and Jess stepped forward and tickled it. The portrait swung open to reveal a hive of activity. The minute we stepped through the doorway we were surrounded by a swarm of house elves, offering us various delicacies on shiny trays and platters.
“What can Misty do for you Miss’?” A female elf squeaked, looking up at us with her big brown, round eyes. She was very small and was wearing a purple tea cosy.
Jess turned to look at us. “What’ll it be guys?”
“I’ll have a hot chocolate please.” I replied grimly. My appetite had disappeared.
“Same here please,” Jess added. Nicola and Abi shook their heads, signifying that they weren’t hungry.
“I’ll have some hot chocolate as well please.” Molly requested.
Misty nodded, curtseyed and then rushed off to get our hot chocolates. The girls and I made our way over to the counter in the corner of the huge kitchen and sat on the stools.
“So this Voldy guy,” I began, determined to know as much as possible.
“Voldemort,” Abi corrected. “But most people call him He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
“Why not call him by his name?” I asked confused.
“I don’t know I’m just passing along information.” Abi shrugged.
“Well anyway,” I continued impatiently. “Are the Ministry actually looking for him?”
“I should think so,” Jess answered frowning. “He doesn’t appear to be a terribly large threat at the moment but like Dumbledore said, we can say nothing for the future.”
“Your hot chocolates Miss.” Misty returned with three large mugs, brimming with hot chocolate, whipped cream and marshmallows; the whole shebang. We thanked the elf and began to sip our drinks.
“Do you think it’ll ever get really bad?” I whispered. Nicola put a consoling hand on my shoulder.
“Dude we have Dumbledore on our side, there’s nothing he can’t handle.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
A/N- Reviews and favourites are loved!
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