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Chapter 8 : H is for Hugo
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H is for Hugo
I wasn’t quite sure I’d ever have another chance. In fact, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t. So there I was, all of ten years old, gathering myself to do something big.
Mum thought it would be good to Rosie and I to a Muggle school until we were old enough for Hogwarts. Once I got there, I know I would face exactly what Rosie did, a life of trying to live up to our famous mum and dad. But Rosie was a genius! And I could never even live up to her, let alone a couple of people who saved the world loads of times while they were still in school.
Still, I wasn’t about to let that have me down. I could still make a name for myself, I knew it! But...maybe not at Hogwarts. So it had to be now, if I was to be sure I could do it. It was my last year as a student in the Muggle world and none of them knew who my mum and dad were, or even my uncle, and he was the Boy Who Lived! That meant I could go out there, I could be the one everyone knew and remembered, Hugo the Brave, Hugo the Great, Hugo the Invincible!
First, though, I had to find some poor civilian who needed help.
Turns out, a girl called Zoe had lost her MP3 player. That’s this sort of weird electronic thing that plays music for you and it can have a lot of music on it, but you have to pay for the music and the MP3 player. Tons of Muggles have them, but apparently they’re quite expensive so finding the scoundrel who stole it and bringing him to justice might just give me the reputation I wanted. It was time for Hugo Ronald Weasley to become a hero.
First, I had to track down my detective gear. After all, gear is of the utmost importance. I began to rummage through my house, trying to find something of use. I’d need a magnifying glass, because of course I couldn’t use magic to make anything bigger. I didn’t know how yet and besides that I was still underage. I also needed a trenchcoat and a hat to look the part. Mum had all these Muggle books and it seemed like that was always what detectives wore, so naturally if I was gonna solve a mystery I’d have to be wearing them.
I figured I’d start looking in the attic. Blimey, it was dusty! I began to navigate around, trying my best to find a likely looking box...Mum’s old things from when she lived with gran and gramps, who were both Muggles. After opening box after box with no success, I was about ready to give up, when I tripped over a lamp (apparently an antique that’s belonged to my great-great-grandmother) and hit the ground, shaking up loads of dust around me. After coughing the stuff out of my lungs for what felt like an age and a half, I pushed myself to my feet. As I brushed myself off, I saw it!
Sticking out of a cardboard box was a set of very old binoculars set atop a detective-type hat that was probably about ten times my age and partnered by a pocket sneak-o-scope. Excitedly, I stuffed the sneak-o-scope in the pocket of my trousers, beat the dust out of the hat, shoved it on my head, and hung the binoculars about my neck.
Two things left to get, then, but I had fully convinced myself that my parents owned neither. “Mum!” I called, sprinting down the stairs, “Dad!” I rounded the corner and took off toward the study, “MUM!” I hammered on the door.
My mother answered it. She looked rather tired from doing grown-up stuff like work and other boring things in her study all day. Her giant, poofy, bushy hair was pulled back in a ponytail that was slightly reminiscent of an explosion. “Yes, Hugo?” she asked and I saw a smile playing at her lips as she noticed my outfit.
I cleared my throat and stood up straight, then said, in the most professional voice I could, “I would like to request your aid, madame.”
“And how may I be of assistance, sir?” Mum asked, her smile widening.
“Well, you see, I am about to embark on a journey to rescue a damsel in distress from her predicament, but I first need a trenchcoat and a magnifying glass.”
“I see,” my Mum frowned for a moment, but her face quickly brightened. “I think I have precisely what you’re looking for!” With that, she went back into the study, closing the door behind her. I could hear her rummaging through the drawers for quite some time before she came out with a plastic magnifying glass. Not as professional as I’d hoped, but it would do. I thanked her and pocketed it.
With that, Mum walked past me and into hers and Dad’s bedroom. She was only there for a moment before she came out with a brown, button-up shirt of Dad’s and a brown sash. Dad was really tall and I was only a matter of centimetres above a metre at that point--quite short for my age--so the thing was enormous on me. Mum rolled up the sleeves very neatly several times until they were the right length for me, then wrapped the sash around my waist like a belt. I ran to our mirror, which shouted at me to wash my hat. To my great surprise, I really did look like a detective. Excellent!
“Thanks, Mum!” I called as I ran out the door, “I’m gonna go play with Zoe, alright?”
“Okay, sweetie, be back by sunset!” I heard her respond just as the door closed behind me.
Of course, I was going to do nothing of the sort. I couldn’t let her see something like a sneak-o-scope. It would be a breach of article something of something to do with magic and Muggles not seeing it.
Instead, I ran a few blocks down the road to our school. She’d last seen her MP3 player on top of a short brick wall by the playground. She’d set it there so she could run around during recess and not break it but somebody had taken it.
And so there it was...the scene of the crime. I pulled out my magnifying glass and began to look for any abnormalities in the bricks. There seemed to be none, but there were a pair of muddy footprints too large to be Zoe’s leading up to the place she’d left it. Whose footprints were these? I pulled out some parchment I’d brought along, my ink, and quill, and scribbled a sketch of the footprints. This was a good start, anyway.
The next day at school I brought my sneak-o-scope along, as well as the piece of parchment with the drawing of shoeprints. I’d just have to be sure the sneak-o-scope stayed in my pocket so none of the Muggles saw. Besides, I’d be able to hear and feel it going off, anyway.
At recess that day, I noticed Tyler Baxter, a tall boy with fluffy, medium-brown hair, blue eyes, and freckles, standing near the short brick wall. This was very suspicious. But how could I catch a look at the soles of his shoes without being noticed? I made a mental note that his feet looked to be about the correct size, at the very least.
As it turned out, my predicament solved itself when a group of us decided to play football. Earlier that day, it had been rather rainy, so there was quite a bit of mud where we were playing. As we were called back to class, I made sure to trail a bit behind Tyler so as to distinguish trails his shoes made from other people’s. Sure enough, when compared to my sketch, those shoe prints matched up. There was only one thing left to check. I jogged up beside him and, sure enough, a high-pitched whistle came from my pocket and I could feel the sneak-o-scope whirring. Tyler was the sneak. I spent the rest of class preoccupied with steeling myself to confront him. He really was quite a bit larger than me and, although I got along with him well usually, he had quite the temper.
So, as we headed out of school, I was shaking as I approached him. “H-hey Tyler,” I called.
“Hey Hugo, what’s up?” he replied.
“Can I talk to you for a moment?”
“Sure.” The two of us walked a ways away from everyone else so we could talk in private.
I took a deep breath. “Tyler, I know you stole Zoe’s MP3 player, and I think you should give it back,” I said, sounding rather braver than I felt.
“What?” Tyler shouted. “You don’t know anything!” He pushed me, though admittedly not very hard. “Get away, it’s not my fault my parents can’t afford anything like that!”
I almost felt bad when I saw tears in his eyes, but he had stolen and I couldn’t let him get away with it. “Give it back to Zoe!” I pushed back, which turned out to be a big mistake.
He jumped on me, knocking me to the ground and hitting me over and over on the head. “Don’t push me! It’s not Zoe’s anymore because I found it, fair and square, it’s mine!” He hit me one last time, hard, and backed away, glaring at me. My head felt like it was about to split in two. It took an enormous amount of effort for me to get to my feet, but Tyler’s jiding words, “Come on, Hugo, if you want your precious Zoe’s MP3 player back, show us you’re not a wimp and fight back.”
By now, quite a crowd of students waiting for their parents to pick them up had gathered. I think everyone was shocked because Tyler and I normally got on famously and I didn’t particularly like drawing attention to myself most of the time.
“Give it back!” I repeated, completely terrified, but determined.
But it wasn’t just me anymore. “Tyler, that’s not yours, give it back,” I heard my cousin, Lily, call out first. She was even smaller than me, and a lot wiser, but she had nerves of steel and I think she knew that this was beyond the point of advising me against acting.
“Yeah, give it back,” I was surprised to hear Tyler’s closest friend speak up next. Finally, realising that he was greatly outnumbered, Tyler gave in and returned the MP3 player to Zoe, who in return gave me an enormous huge. I felt my ears growing hot and patted her on the back awkwardly.
In the next several minutes, about twenty kids congratulated me on my bravery, including some older student. Of course, there were also quite a few who were teasing me, saying I fancied Zoe. But that couldn’t be helped; I would take what I could get. After all, there I was, not the son of heroes in that moment. Instead, I was Hugo Weasley, Super-Sleuth.
Finally, my Dad arrived to walk me home. “Hugo! How did you get all banged up like that?” he asked, alarmed. I stretched and placed my hands behind my head.
“Just being a hero. You know how it is.”
A/N: This one kind of wrote itself. I had a lot of fun with it. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. As always, reviews are appreciated!
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