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With All Things by WitnesstoitAll
Chapter 14 : Angelina, December 1995
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 8


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Angelina, December 1995

Angelina felt the line of her mouth tense. The sound of spells crackling through the crisp night air and colliding with their targets hummed beneath her skin as her hand tightened around the handle of her wand. Across from her, Alicia smirked, and, dropping her shoulders, leaned forward a fraction of a centimetre. The brunette looked calm and relaxed, but her eyes gave away her façade. Behind her grey-coloured irises, Angelina could see that she was plotting, and felt her mind race into action – what would Alicia be sending her way? A stunner, obviously, given the subject matter of the evening’s meeting, but would it be only one? Two? A quick burst? Would the spell be coming from the right or left? Perhaps it would come straight down the middle –

A flutter of panic rose up into her chest, and she felt her heart tap against her chest wall.

Angelina had never considered herself easy to fluster – after all, she handled the pressure of flying one-on-one against opposing teams’ Keepers with a confident sort of grace – but dueling was something else entirely. It came with so many uncertainties. In Quidditch, there were only two discrete conclusions: Make the shot and score ten points, or miss the shot and forfeit possession of the Quaffle to the other team. In dueling, it seemed, the possible outcomes were endless, and the ambiguity associated with it never failed to leave her feeling as exposed and jittery as a peeled sopophorous bean.

A flurry of activity from the left caught her attention, and she felt her head swivel towards it.

Fred and George were circling each other with wide grins pasted on their faces. As Harry circled to the other end of the vast room, where Cho Chang and her curly-haired friend were dueling, George nodded to Fred, and they stopped their circling. Casually flicking their wands at one another, aquamarine sparks and orange puffs of smoke sailed through the air. What spells they were casting, Angelina wasn’t sure, but she was certain that she hadn’t yet seen a stunner or a Shield Charm in their arsenal. A small smile played at the corners of her lips – of course they weren’t doing what they should have been.

“Ang, are you ready?”

Alicia’s voice pulled Angelina’s attention back to their impending duel. The brunette’s eyebrows had disappeared beneath her fringe, and a smug smirk gave her a rather annoying, haughty look. Angelina knew the look; it was her I-caught-you-looking-at-him-again-and-I’m-a-martyr-for-not-pointing-it-out look, and she struggled not to roll her eyes in response to it.

“Er, yeah. I’m ready.” Inhaling, she turned back towards Alicia and raised her wand, feeling her nerves creep back down her arm to her chest.

Forcing the air out of her lungs, she recalled Harry’s advice from one of the first DA meetings, when he had reviewed the more tactical aspects of dueling. His voice, laced with dedication and a quiet sort of passion, rang in her mind’s ear as she drew in a shallow breath of air. “Wands and torsos can’t lie to you nearly as easily as eyes, arms, and feet can, so try and focus your attention there whenever you can. Hopefully then you won’t be faked out.”

Bending her knees slightly, she dropped her weight into the balls of her feet and forced her eyes to heed Harry’s instructions – torso and wand tip. Her wand centred in front of her chest, she summoned the incantation for the Shield Charm. Its syllables felt heavy, clamped between her teeth.

Then, far too many things happened in far too narrow a stretch of time.

A voice called George’s name, and Angelina again felt her concentration slip away from Alicia. Her head snapped to the left, and she found herself unable to look away from the scene unfolding there. George, in response to what must have been Ginny’s voice, stepped over to where she was dueling Dean Thomas. Fred’s spell, a sizzling ball of pink sparks, was already airborne and sailing towards the spot where George had been standing only a second earlier. With its target no longer there, the spell continued onward to the next solid object in its path: Colin Creevey.

As the sizzling pink ball collided with his back, the boy’s scrawny frame crumpled and sailed through the air. Giant pink and lilac coloured pouf-balls began erupting from every visible surface of his skin. By the time he hit the ground, Colin more closely resembled a pile of Puffskeins than he did a fourteen-year-old wizard.

Angelina felt laughter well up in her chest, but she didn’t get an opportunity to let it out. A strong force struck the side of her body, lifting her off her feet and rocketing her through the air. She slammed into the floor, a full metre behind the large pillow set-up to soften people’s falls. The stone was much harder than it looked, and it took her a full minute to find her breath.

“Merlin’s bloody beard, Ang,” Alicia shouted, racing towards her with wide eyes. “I got distracted for one second and assumed you were paying attention to me – in my defence, you did say you were ready.” She reached out her hand to Angelina and smiled. “You do have to admit, that was a damn good stunner.”

Angelina had been reaching her hand up to accept Alicia’s assistance, but slapped it away in response to her last comment. She gently hoisted herself to her feet, wincing as her knee screamed at her in protest.

“Oh, don’t be like that, Ang.”

“Is Colin all right?

With a cross look on her face –probably because Angelina hadn’t praised the quality of her stunner, or accepted her help – Alicia looked at her for a moment before opening her mouth. “Oh, yeah, the twins tried, but couldn’t seem to reverse the charm. Ginny and Collin’s younger brother offered to take him up to the hospital wing. Fred and George are still baffled about not being able to –”

“Not being able to what, Alicia?” Fred had appeared in front of her and, dipping into an unnecessarily low bow, didn’t bother waiting for an answer. “If you’d like to show me that stunning charm of yours, I’d be more than willing to stand on the opposite end.”

Without another word, the two of them stepped away and began exchanging spells. Angelina watched for a minute, quietly hoping that Fred would give Alicia a taste of her own potion. Rubbing her lower back where it had slammed into the floor, she turned away from the duel. George stood beside her, and she couldn’t stop her lips from smiling at him, despite the instantaneous fluttering he had incited in her head and stomach. She was unsure if she was disappointed with herself for expecting George to be beside her, or because she did expect him to be there and he actually was.

“Are you all right?” he asked her. “I didn’t see you get hit, but Fred said it looked nasty.”

Something about the look in his eye –a sort of tenderness, almost – left her searching for her breath. Or maybe her lungs just hadn’t yet recovered from being ploughed into solid stone.

“Merlin, I was hoping nobody saw that. I thought that maybe Puffskein-Creevey would have been enough distraction.” Angelina forced herself to blink and break eye contact with him. “I’m a bloody terribly duelist. I can never judge the timing of any of it.” Disgusted with how whingey she sounded, she forced her voice to adopt a lighter, more laissez-faire tone. “Clearly you and Fred don’t have that problem – you weren’t even practicing the right spells.”

“Oh, I don’t believe that,” he said, taking a step behind her. “You just need to relax a little bit, is all –”

He placed his hands on her shoulders and gently kneaded them. She felt as though every muscle in her body had ceased to function – even her heart stilled in her chest.

“– have a little fun with it. That’s Fred’s and my secret to everything, you know.” His hands dropped away from her shoulders, and he returned to where he’d been standing. “But that’s just for your ears. Fred and I can’t have it getting out; it’d be the end of us.”

Angelina hoped her mouth didn’t actually flap as it speechlessly searched for words. Perhaps her silly, drawn-out crush on George wasn’t so unfounded after all. As soon as this thought flickered through her mind, she quickly banished it. Touching a person’s shoulders was hardly evidence to the contrary of a year-long history of platonic gestures.

“Right then, everybody bring it in here.” Harry’s voice rang through the room, and Angelina felt herself exhale in gratitude. “Everyone did really well tonight – I saw some really good spell work from the lot of you. We still have a meeting next week before the holidays, so I want everyone to relax until then. We’ll likely use that time to review everything we’ve done so far this term. Good work.”

In a well-practiced, covert sort of haste, the members of Dumbledore’s Army dispersed into the corridors and made their way to their respective houses.

Once back in the comfort of the Gryffindor common room, Angelina muttered hasty good nights to Lora, who was slaving away over a large role of parchment and a yellowed Arithmancy text, and to Alicia, who had plopped down on the sofa next to Katie Bell, and quickly made her way up the narrow staircase to the seventh year girls’ dormitory. She hardly cared that it was barely past nine. The comfort of her pillows and bed was the foremost thought on her mind.

Changing into her pyjamas, Angelina crawled beneath her quilt and flicked her wand at the scarlet hangings. The curtains closed snugly around the four poster.

There really was no reason for her to feel so crummy all of a sudden. Aside from her collision with the floor, today hadn’t been a bad day at all. She had gotten good marks on her Potions and Charms essays, and despite fielding a brand new pair of Beaters and a new Seeker, her Quidditch practice had gone exceptionally well, too. She hadn’t felt this way until her mind had started its grand debate over George for the umpteenth time. She sighed and scrunched her eyes shut. No boy, whether he was aware of it or not, should have this sort of power over her.

Rolling over, she buried her face into a pillow.

The early stages of sleep must have taken hold of her, because the next thing she knew, she was blinking her eyes open in response to Alicia’s voice.

“Wake up.” Alicia plopped down onto the side of her bed. “Lora and I want to talk to you.”

Leaning on the bed post, Lora offered an apologetic smile.

Without waiting for a response, Alicia ploughed onward. “We were assured by two different, reliable sources that Marjorie and Erin are down in the boathouse with two Slytherin sixth years and a bottle of Firewhisky, so it’s just the three of us here.”

“And I’ll be having a little talk with Marjorie and Erin whenever they get back,” Lora added, in case anyone thought otherwise.

“Okay –”

“Wait, Ang.” Alicia cut her off. “Let me say what I need to say. I know that you’re all about practicality, and not assuming, and being independent, and all of that malarkey, but this game is getting bloody old. At least tell the poor bloke that you fancy him.”

“I – what?” Angelina felt her mouth stammer. “Is this really necessary? I feel like we’ve talked about this before, and –”

“Angelina.” This time it was Lora who cut her off. “Everyone in this room knows that you fancy George, which I think is brilliant. He’s quite nice. A bit devil-may-care, but he’s a really good person. And, yes, we’ve talked about this before, but only because we really do think that you should tell him. I know it’s scary – not knowing if he likes you or not – but you’ve been over-analysing this all for so long, I don’t think you’re qualified to pass judgment on the issue anymore.”

“So we’re here to give you a friendly kick in the arse.”

Lora glared at Alicia before turning back to Angelina. “But even if he doesn’t like you, at least you’ll know if you talk to him. You won’t have to wonder and then spend the evening upset with yourself for wondering.”

“Even though we know he does like you.” Alicia smiled in mock sweetness at Lora in an attempt to ward off another infamous Paisley glare.

Angelina blinked, trying to process her thoughts. Curse Lora for always making so much sense, and Alicia for being bull-headed enough to force this pseudo-intervention upon her. Of course, she’d fleetingly thought of everything her two friends had just said on her own at one time or another, but never all together in such an orderly fashion. They both, in their own way, had made telling George sound like such an obvious thing to do.

“Well, are you going to say anything?”

“Give her a minute to process, she did just wake up.”

“No, no,” Angelina said at last. “I’m fine, and awake. You’re both right. I ought to tell him that I fancy him –I mean, I do.”

Two faces stared back at her in complete shock.

“That’s it?” Alicia’s voice was shrill and much too loud, considering their proximity. “No arguments? No blah-blah-he-doesn’t-even-like-me-that-way, everything-is-fine-the-way-it-is nonsense?”

“You’re actually going to tell him?” Even Lora had trouble maintaining the pitch of her voice.

“Yes, I’m actually going to tell him.” Angelina felt something – relief, perhaps – flood through her veins. “Merlin knows it’s the only way you two are going to let me get any sleep tonight.”

~::~

Her last parsnip skewered on the end of her fork, Angelina watched as the vaulted ceiling rapidly faded from a dull, greyish-purple to a deep indigo, and as the torches lining the long walls ignited in an impressive wave of flickering light. The clatter of cutlery against the plates and bowls combined with the rumble of a hundred conversations into a sound that she was certain she’d always identify with dinner in the Great Hall.

She popped the parsnip into her mouth and glanced towards the door. If Alicia and Lora didn’t hurry, she was going to finish her dinner before they even arrived.

Across the table, Erin and Marjorie had claimed two seats, and were now chatting animatedly about how Roger Davies was still seen chatting so-and-so up outside the Charms classroom, despite how bad her new hair colour looked. Angelina fought the urge to roll her eyes. Whether or not she was expected to be paying attention to the conversation, she wasn’t sure, but she had a smile and a nod at the ready just in case they expected her input.

Plucking a biscuit off of the nearest pudding tray, she reminded herself that she wouldn’t be eating it if either of her friends had been on time.

“Oi, sorry we’re late,” Alicia huffed as she flung herself down onto the bench. “A biscuit? So much for saving our biscuit eating for Fridays.” Looking a bit dejected, she began piling potatoes and parsnips onto the plate that had appeared in front of her.

“You mean I’ve been refraining from eating biscuits all week, and you’re sitting here with a bourbon in your hand?”

Angelina rolled her eyes as Lora settled into her seat across the table. “I blame the both of you. If you wouldn’t have nearly stood me up, we’d have eaten dinner together and left before the dessert trays appeared.

“I’m sorry, Ang. Professor Burbage had just gotten in a new collection of records and she wanted me to thumb through them.” The blonde crinkled her nose at the bowl of parsnips and pulled the platter of candied yams over towards her plate.

“And what’s your excuse, Alicia?”

“Oh, well,” she muttered through a mouthful of food, “Dunstan needed help proofreading his latest poem – he’s a writer, you know – so I agreed to meet him in the library.

“He’s a writer, and he wanted you to proofread his poem?” Angelina smiled, repelling the scathing look that the brunette shot across the table.

“So, it’s been nearly a week since our little talk. Any progress with Mission Tell Ge –”

Panicked, Angelina slapped Alicia’s hand with the back of her spoon and tipped her head in the direction of Marjorie and Erin. It was common knowledge that, aside from Libby McNulty, they were the biggest gossips in the seventh year. All Angelina needed was for them to catch wind of the fact that she fancied George Weasley.

Alicia cocked a brow for a second, and then nodded her head slowly. Without lowering the volume of her voice, she rephrased her question. “So, have you?”

Lora’s eyes flicked nervously to the side of her, where Marjorie and Erin sat, before leaning across the table in earnest.

“Oh, erm, well – no, not yet.”

“Ha. I win.”

Alicia extended her hand across the table as Lora dug into her robe pockets.

“You placed a bet on me?” Angelina couldn’t keep the sound of incredulity from her voice. “Lora, you – the Head Girl – placed a bet on me?”

“Technically, gambling isn’t against the school rules.”

“She would know,” Alicia said, selecting a particularly chocolaty biscuit off of the platter. “Since she had to check before she’d agree to it. And thank you for breaking the biscuit-fast, this is delicious.”

“Well, if you must know,” Angelina said under her breath, “I made plans to meet him later. After –” She looked across the table at Lora. Of course, Lora knew that Alicia and Angelina were involved in some likely-illicit evening activity, but thus far they had managed to keep the precise existence of the DA from her. Ever a good friend, Lora had graciously taken to playing deaf when the need arose. “Well, I made plans to meet him later tonight. I figured that I’d try to tell him then.”

“Ooh,” Lora exclaimed, “that is brilliant.”

“It’s about bloody time, is what it is.”

Taking a second biscuit from the tray, Angelina felt her mouth go dry. She was certainly going to tell him tonight and could only hope that she wouldn’t humiliate herself in the process. “I guess we’ll see how brilliant it is once I actually tell him.”

~::~

The final DA meeting of the term had been shorter than most, but the energy that filled the room was thick with a realized potentiality. Little Dennis Creevey had managed to disarm Hermione; Neville Longbottom had produced a Shield Charm so impressive that it had also blocked the neighbouring Hannah Abbot from an incoming jinx; and Ginny had reduced a suit of armour to a pile of metallic dust. The Christmas spirit – or maybe the knowledge that a reprieve from Umbridge and her tyranny was just around the corner – had empowered all of them.

Angelina had left the Room of Requirement filled with warm feelings of accomplishment, but now, creeping in the shadows of the castle’s curfew, her nerves were proving dominant. Taking care to not attract the attention of Mrs Norris, she hardly noticed the icy chill that pervaded the deserted corridor and coaxed her breath from her in pale white clouds as she scanned the walls.

It was nearly eleven o’ clock.

In far too little time, she would be meeting George in the unused classroom where he and Fred had been concocting most of their products for the joke shop. In only a few steps, she would finally be admitting her feelings for him aloud.

She sighed, the sound a startling contrast to the silence.

If only he had been able to meet her directly after the DA meeting as originally planned, she would already be tucked away in her dormitory, doing her best to satiate Alicia and Lora’s inevitable interrogation. Of course, they hadn’t met as planned – George had apologized, telling her that there was a rather delicate, less-than-legal potion simmering in the empty classroom, and asked if she minded if they met up a bit later – and so now, she was nowhere near to the comfort of her dormitory. Instead, her nerves were firing brightly enough to illuminate the dark corridor, and her stomach felt as though it housed a swarm of angry Doxies.

Noticing a tapestry depicting a battle from the goblin revolutions, her feet slowed to a stop. According to George, the classroom’s door would be located across from this rather violent, red-and-grey tapestry. The door was certainly there, she noticed, but located behind a rather dull-coloured suit of armour leaning lazily against its lance. George hadn’t mentioned that. Not knowing what else to do, Angelina knocked lightly against its breast plate. Almost instantly, the suit sprung to attention, its visor slamming down over the opening in its helmet, and readied its lance.

Startled, she jumped back so as not to be skewered.

“Well, well, an impatient little lass, art thou,” the suit wheezed, taking two clanking steps to its right. The sound of metal clacking against metal as the suit of armour’s joints bent and straightened, and the sound of metal dropping none too lightly against the stone floor, echoed through the corridor.

Glancing over both her shoulders, Angelina grabbed the doorknob that had appeared where the offended suit of armour had been standing, and yanked the door open. If Filch were to come investigating, she certainly didn’t want to be in the corridor. Even her impending conversation with George was favourable to an encounter with the old caretaker.

She had barely taken a full step into the room when something rustled in the rafters.

“Ooohoohoohoo, a student out of bed,” a high pitched voice sang out as she stepped into the room. “You’re certainly not one of the Weasley-weasel-kins. So what could we possibly be doing here, me wonders? Spying, perhaps?”

Angelina ducked as Peeves swooped down from the large candelabra, and eyed him suspiciously as he settled into a cross-legged position, floating in the air just in front of her. Of all the poor outcomes she had imagined for her past-curfew adventure, this one was quite possibly the worst. Leaning to the side, she tried to glance around the poltergeist’s semi-transparent form to see if George was even in the classroom.

“Looking for someone?” His sing-song voice slid up an octave as he glided over to block her view.

“Peeves, I just need to –”

Though it was hard to tell in the dim lighting, it looked as though he was smiling and batting his eyelashes at her. Frustration welling up inside her chest, she stepped to the side and hoped the impish spectre would take her hint and take his hauntings elsewhere.

He did not.

“If you are looking for one of the Weaselbees, I should tell you –” he said slowly, leaning over onto his side and propping his head up on his hands.

“Tell me what?” she spat, unable to keep her exasperation from her voice.

“I said I should, and not that I would. Sir Linnaeus was right; you are an impatient thing. Bu-ut since I’m such a kindly spirit, I’ll oblige you.” His smile and eyelashes were infuriating. “The both of them left ages ago, and not a one is here now. ‘Tis just good old Peeves here, keeping watch.”

Angelina felt her heart drop into her abdomen. He wasn’t here. George hadn’t come back to meet her as he’d promised. Only moments ago in the corridor, her biggest worry had been how she was going to tell him about her feelings for him. She hadn’t even considered the fact that he wouldn’t be here– that he perhaps he didn’t want to meet to talk.

“Impatient and rude. No ‘thank you’ for poor Peeves – my, my, how Mr Filch enjoys hearing when there’s a student out of bed.” He began drifting towards the door as he spoke, slowly cupping his hands to his mouth.

“No, no – I’m sorry, Peeves.” Angelina ran to the doorway, as if blocking the path would detain him if he actually wanted to leave the classroom. “Thank you, for all of your help. I’m actually going now, no need to wake Mr Filch. I’m sure he needs his rest.”

Fully expecting to hear the poltergeist shouting with glee, alerting Filch and the rest of the castle to her transgression, she winced and shut her eyes. She waited a moment, then two, and when his voice had still not rung through the silence, she chanced opening one eye. Peeves was nowhere to be seen. The classroom was indeed empty, aside from a few dusty boxes stacked along the wall and a small pewter cauldron, simmering in the corner.

How could she have agreed to Alicia and Lora’s demands to actually tell George that she fancied him? How had she managed to talk herself into her crush on him in the first place? The ridiculous notion that he may have wanted to ask her to the Yule Ball, combined with her own wild imagination, was how. They’d always been friends – good friends, for Merlin’s sake – and they were good at being just that. Had she sounded too formal when she had asked to meet to talk? Maybe he’d noticed all of her lingering eye contact, heard her heart when it leapt up into her throat, felt the thrill that had raced beneath her skin every time they had brushed hands, and didn’t want to talk to her about any of it.

No matter the reason, he had stood her up.

She quickly blinked back the burning sensation that had begun to radiate out from the corners of her eyes. Her rational side had been right all along – he didn’t fancy her, and likely never did. Angelina felt her head spin – what would she say to him in class tomorrow?

Before she could think another thought, she spun around and sprinted out the door, past Sir Linnaeus. She wasn’t cognisant of navigating through the twisting corridors or around the trick staircases, but somehow, her feet brought her to the familiar seventh floor landing.

“Dugbog,” she said rather impatiently to the large woman snoozing in her frame.

“What – huh?” The Fat Lady stirred, fluffing the pile of hair on her head. “Do you have any idea what time it is? I have half a mind to –”

“Dugbog, dugbog. Just let me in, please.”

“Very well. I certainly hope whatever you were up to was worth waking me over.” Chin tilted high, the woman shifted in her seat as the large portrait swung away from the wall.

Crawling through the hole in the wall, Angelina’s thoughts fled to the warm safety of her bed. Maybe, if she was lucky, Alicia and Lora would already be asleep, and she’d be able to just sneak by them without any questions. To her surprise, the common room was still well-lit. Light from the fireplace flickered lazily against the wall, casting long shadows in its wake. To her even greater surprise, Lora, Alicia, Lee, Geoffrey, and Andrew sat around it, huddled in close conversation.

As she stepped off the rug and onto the stone floor, Alicia’s head snapped towards her. The others quickly followed suit.

“There you are, Ang.” Alicia stood up and scooted over, clearing a space on the sofa beside her. “We’ve been wondering when you’d be back.”

Angelina felt her head pivot around the circle, considering each of them in turn. Something wasn’t right – only Lora and Alicia knew that she was sneaking out of the tower – yet most of the Gryffindors in her year were gathered in the common room, as though they were waiting for her return. “What’s wrong?” she asked, when she finally found her voice.

“It’s Mr Weasley,” Lee said slowly. “McGonagall sent word to Fred and George to meet in Professor Dumbledore’s office – that their dad’s been injured.”

For what had to be the hundredth time that evening, Angelina felt her heart drop into her abdomen.

“This all happened right after you snuck out.” Alicia poked a log deeper into the flames and crossed her arms over her chest. “Fred and George fetched Ginny, and the three of them went straight to Professor Dumbledore’s office. Ron was already there; apparently he had taken Harry there when it all started.”

“Harry?” Angelina felt her voice hitch in confusion. “When all of what started?”

Slowly, everyone turned towards Lora, who was rocking in her seat and picking at her cuticles. Angelina had known her long enough to know that she was nervous about something.

“Well,” the blonde began, “Peregrine and I were outside of Professor Dumbledore’s office, waiting to talk to him about an issue we’ve been having with one of the Slytherin prefects, when Professor McGonagall and Professor Snape stepped out from behind the gargoyle. I don’t think they saw us– the lighting was rather dim, and we were sitting against the wall – and they were talking sort of low, so I didn’t catch everything they said. But apparently, Harry saw Mr Weasley being attacked – something about a snake, and a dream, and I don’t know.” Lora shuddered.

“Attacked?” Angelina spluttered. The disappointment and hurt she’d felt when George hadn’t met her suddenly seemed incredibly petty, and her stomach squirmed uncomfortably with guilt – her mum had always told her it was dangerous to make assumptions.

“He was found in a corridor at the Ministry.” Lora continued her report. “Professor McGonagall seemed to think it was quite serious. And I’m not positive, but I could have sworn I heard Snape say” – her voice dropped to barely more than a whisper – “You-Know-Who’s name.”

“My mum’s been warning me things like this’d start happening,” Geoffrey piped up from his seat, furthest from the fire. “Ever since all that business with Cedric last semester – she was on the original investigative team before Fudge disbanded it.”

“Yes, but Mr Weasley?” Alicia’s face was drawn, and though the sound of her question faded into the air, the resonance of its gravity remained.

Angelina’s heart beat so perfunctorily it hurt. She had never met Mr Weasley, but had always imagined that he had the same ginger hair and vital, inquisitive eyes as George. Imagining him lying injured and bleeding somewhere caused her breath to catch in her chest. George had told her once that if he and Fred ever got the joke shop off the ground and made a little money, he’d like to renovate his dad’s tinker shed – that the Weasley patriarch, with all of his Muggle gizmos and gadgets, had unknowingly inspired the joke shop dream.

How could anyone have attacked such a well-loved, good man?

A chill that had nothing to do with the dying flames flickering in the hearth ran through her.

The world outside the walls of Hogwarts was changing. The simple truth crawled its way up Angelina’s spine, the reality of it wrapping around her like a scarf. Fathers simply should not be attacked and seriously injured in the Ministry, of all places; families should not be torn from their beds in the middle of the night, and You-Know-Who’s name should not be whispered in the shadows. Somehow, everything Harry had been preaching to them during their DA meetings clicked in Angelina’s head, and made perfect sense. This –whatever it was that was going on in the world – was a lot bigger than sticking it to Umbridge and her totalitarian methods, or making good marks and passing the N.E.W.T. examinations.

“Well,” she said, forcing the words out from her tightened throat, “all we can do is hope that he’s going to be okay.”

A wave of quiet agreement rippled through the group. In silence they sat, hoping that their hope would be enough, until the last of the flames faded into the night.

~::~

Author's Note:  Anything you recognize belongs to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. The references to the DA and to the attack on Mr Weasley were inspired specifically by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Now, I’d like to take a moment to thank you, the reader, for sticking with me and this story. I’ve never before made a serious attempt at writing a novel-length story and here we are chapter 14 and nearly 60K words into one. Your support and enthusiasm means the world to me. Thank you for any support that you have given or will give to With All Things in the Dobby awards. I’m still having a hard time believing that this little project of mine is up for Best Romance and Best Novel! Lastly, I’d like to thank Sarah for being generally lovely and encouraging and inspiring, and Rachel for being an incredibly dedicated beta and support system.  


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