Chapter 19 : motorbikes, arrivals and the continuing of our plan.
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Various roads in London
I clung onto Scorpius back, swearing, but my words were ripped away by the wind, and my eyes were streaming. My Shield Charm couldn’t do anything to protect us from the elements- I didn’t know how Scorpius was managing to see the road. We swerved around a parked car and then Scorp accelerated even more, the wind howling in my ears.
“Do you mind telling me what in the name of Merlin’s pants you are doing?” I yelled in Scorpius’ ear.
He looked over his right shoulder, and then quickly swung the bike down a side street, my knee almost scraping the ground as the bike leant to the side. He braked, and the bike jerked to a stop. I felt like I was locked in position, curled up against Scorpius’ back, my legs aching from gripping the bike so hard.
He turned to face me. “We’ve got about three seconds before they catch up and we lose our head start, okay?”
“Then quickly tell me what your stupid-ass plan is,” I snapped, managing to stretch out my legs.
He rolled his eyes. “We need to get the attention of everyone else, don’t we?” he said.
“And this is the way to do it?”
“This is a way to do it, and considering our limited options at the moment, doesn’t escaping on a bike seem like a good idea?”
Whoa, stressed Scorpius was sassy. “What’s going to stop us being caught by Aurors then?” I asked.
“Just the fact that we’re on a motorbike in the middle of Muggle London. As soon as we attract the attention of the Muggle police, then any Aurors are going to have to slack off so they don’t draw attention to themselves.”
It seemed like Scorpius had thought of everything. “Right... wait, what’s stopping the Fraternity from blowing up London? They won’t care about the Statute of Secrecy.”
“They’ll be trying to keep their involvement secret as well, I think.”
“You think?” I said. It wasn’t particularly reassuring, and I didn’t feel particularly reassured.
Around the corner of the side street, the Fraternity member appeared, wheezing and panting. He saw us, and his mouth fell open- he was probably surprised he’d caught up with us. He fumbled for his wand, and tried to say a spell, but no words came out.
I couldn’t help it. I laughed. The guy was knackered; red in the face, doubled over and trying to heave in the breaths. It was hilarious.
And then, around the corner, zoomed two more Fraternity guys on broomsticks. Scorpius’ eyes widened, and he quickly kicked the motorbike into roaring life. I hooked my legs back up, and looped my arms around his waist.
“Let’s see if we can make the six o’clock news,” I said, and Scorpius grinned, our earlier argument forgotten... and then we were off, leaving behind a cloud of black noxious smoke.
Looking behind me, I saw one of the guys stop to pick up the exhausted man, but the other didn’t pause, just kept on after us. I felt the familiar thrill of adrenaline, and couldn’t help but smile.
“Go to the main roads,” I yelled, my mouth close to his ear. He nodded, and then had to mount the pavement to avoid killing a cyclist, and I nearly fell off from the sudden bump. I ducked my head between his shoulder blades, and held his waist even tighter.
Scorp went straight across the centre of a roundabout, leaving a thin line of mud behind him, his wheel tearing up the grass. The first guy had nearly caught up to us- while we had to dodge traffic, he was fine up in the air. I couldn’t believe that he was actually flying a broomstick in broad daylight in London but hey, it wasn’t us breaking the International Statute of Secrecy, and I really couldn’t see how we could possibly be blamed for this.
“WATCH OUT!” I couldn’t help myself, and I gasped and shut my eyes for a second as a Muggle police car shot out in front of us. Scorpius braked, swinging the bike around so hard that my left knee slightly grazed the ground, the tarmac ripping through my jeans and into my skin. He heaved the bike back around, slamming the rear wheel into the police car’s passenger door, and revved the engine hard. With a lot of wheel spin, we started back the way we had come. I chanced a look back. There was a Muggle motorbike edging around the now stationary police car, which was blocking the road, but the Fraternity man on the broom was already back on our tail- he’d swung upwards in the air to do a loop rather than attempt a handbrake turn.
Ahead of us, the road was clear, but in the sky, I could see the other broomstick, with two Fraternity members travelling jerkily towards us. The guy on the back aimed his wand at us, and I prayed my Shield would hold- but I didn’t need to. The man in control of the broom suddenly yanked it upwards, probably trying to loop around like the other broom and cut us off in front, but the combined weight of the two men was too much and it broke clean in half, sending both men tumbling to the ground about fifteen metres ahead of us. Scorpius had already seen, and braked, before turning the bike to the right, using his feet to help steady us. In the three second lull where we were stationary and the wind was no longer howling in my ears, I became horribly aware of an awful, fiery pain in my knee- but then we were off again, and I glanced behind, pushing the pain to the back of my mind. I couldn’t afford to think about that now, not when our lives were in danger. The other broomstick followed like a large angry wasp, hovering just on our tail. I leaned forwards and yelled in Scorpius’ ear.
“WE HAVE TO LOSE HIM.”
He looked around –his other shoulder, fortunately, or he would have broken my nose- and grimaced. We swung into a side street, and then into another, this one so small the handlebars were scraping along the brick walls on either side of us. Behind us, the Fraternity man swooped down low, only narrowly managing to corner well enough to squeeze into the alley after us. The alley’s walls were high and there was no one around-
“GET RID OF HIM,” Scorpius shouted, but I’d already seen my opportunity and got rid of the Shield Charm with a wave of my wand. The guy’s eyes widened when he realised I had twisted around, pointing my wand right at him, and for a moment I hesitated. He looked so young, suddenly, so small and I knew this spell could kill him-
And then he reached for his wand, and I slashed my wand downwards and yelled; “INCENDIO!”
He looked so shocked for an awful second, and then his broomstick exploded from beneath him, and I ducked down against Scorpius as a bit of flaming wood catapulted over our heads. I glanced back. There was a crumpled body on the ground, surrounded by small fires.
I swallowed. My mouth was suddenly very dry, and my heart pumped loudly in my chest. “HE’S GONE,” I yelled, and Scorpius nodded, pulling back out onto a main road.
He took a right at a roundabout, just cutting across anti-clockwise, and a car beeped its horn at us angrily. A few more swift turns, and he slowed down, to the correct speed limit.
“Can you see anyone?” he called over his shoulder. I realised what he meant, and shouted a negative at him. There was no-one around now who could be following us, just a few other cars and a Muggle pushing a pram.
We drove for a little while longer, keeping slow and safe, and then Scorpius pulled into an alley. He swung off the bike, leaning against it with his hips to stop it from falling over as I clambered off as well. I nearly fell over as my injured knee tried to take my weight. Scorpius saw immediately, of course, and tried to help me, but was hindered by the weight of the bike.
“Are you okay?” he asked, his eyes flitting from my blood soaked knee and up to my face. “You’ve gone really pale...”
“It’s fine, I just banged it,” I lied. “Just let me lean on your shoulder a second, I can walk it off.”
Scorpius frowned, clearly not buying it. ‘Walk it off’... maybe if I hadn’t tried to be quite so blasé, he would have bought it. Bugger.
“We should apparate,” I said, looking around and listening. I couldn’t hear any sirens yet, but I didn’t doubt that the Muggle police were coming, and reinforcements for the Fraternity would be close behind.
“Do you feel up to it?” Scorpius said, continuing to eye my knee worriedly.
I sighed angrily. “Yes, I’m fine mother, stop fussing.” I gingerly walked over to where he stood, arms folded.
“You’re not fine.”
I wordlessly held out my arm for him to take, and then wrenched him round on the spot with me- perhaps more aggressively than was actually needed.
-Saturday 8th January
Rose: Bangladesh B&B
“So, what are we going to do then? Hang around in this shitty B&B for two days until it’s time to go meet the others?”
I sighed. “Scorp, the walls are so thin here, the owners are probably sharpening their pitchforks right now.”
“You were the one that apparated here.”
“You are the one insulting them.” Scorpius finished bandaging my knee. When we’d appeared in a wood about half a mile away, and I’d fallen straight over –Scorpius’ signature move- he’d demanded to see how bad it actually was. And then he forced me into accepting a piggyback ride all the way to civilisation, which turned out to be this tiny bed and breakfast. Needless to say, the two pensioners didn’t really take kindly to a couple of twenty-something ‘walkers’ who turned up out the blue, blood-soaked and muddy- but it was warm and clean and dry here, and they’d dubiously lent us some bandages and painkillers, so Scorp could finally stop fussing over my knee. It wasn’t even hurting that bad any more, the fiery pain and resided to a dull throbbing ache.
“How’s that?” he asked, giving the clean, white bandage a final tug.
“It’s fine!” I snapped. He looked slightly hurt. “Thank you,” I said, albeit grudgingly. He still looked upset, and I realised that he probably felt quite guilty for my knee being hurt in the first place.
I hobbled over to the bed, and flopped onto it. The bedroom we had was basic, but okay, I guess. The décor was just... a little chintzy. The bedspread was covered with a yellow and pastel pink flowery pattern, which matched the curtains and the lampshades- and there were dozens of tiny china animals dotted around the room. In the en suite, the toilet seat had a crocheted cover. Yeah, it was definitely chintzy.
“And yes, the plan is just to hang out here for two days,” I said. “And we’re also going to dye this stupid blue out of my hair, because now that everyone has seen me with blue hair, it’s no longer a disguise.”
Scorpius looked disappointed, but my logic was sound, and I was also not going to take no for an answer. I’d had it with looking like candy floss. It was humiliating. I was a badass master thief, not some teenage scene kid.
I was just giving my new, ginger hair a final rinse when there was a knock at the door.
“Can you get that?” I called to Scorp.
“You get it,” he mumbled sleepily. I wrapped a towel around my sopping hair, and padded into the bedroom. Scorpius was sprawled across the double bed, half asleep. I had forgotten it was only this morning that he’d been sleeping on a café table. I checked my watch; it was ten pm. No wonder he was bushed.
The person at the door knocked again.
“Coming!” I called, shuffling across the thin carpet. I opened the door, sticking my towelled head through the crack.
“Hello dearie, how’s your leg?” It was the elderly male owner, who was considerably nicer to us than the old woman, carrying a tray of three plates of what looked like extremely generous portions of steak pie and chips.
I flashed him a grateful grin, my mouth starting to water at the steaming plates. “Fine thanks, we’ve bandaged it up pretty neatly.”
The lines on his face crinkled as he smiled back at me. “I thought you kids might be hungry, so I knocked this up for you, sorry it’s so late.”
“Oh, no, don’t apologise-” I started to say, but then he shifted sideways and I saw that there was someone small and dark standing behind him.
“Hey Rose!” Roxanne said, stepping out from the shadows. “Hope you don’t mind me suddenly dropping in on you like this.”
I tried to wipe my face smooth of surprise, but I clearly failed, judging from Roxy’s mischievous look of pride. But I opened my arms wide and pulled her in for a hug.
“I haven’t seen you in ages Roxy! Oh my god, where have you been? Of course I don’t mind,” I said, squeezing her tightly and slipping my hand into her jacket pocket where she usually kept her wand. She stiffened in my arms, clearly suspicious, but her small wand was already up my sleeve and I released her, grinning as broadly as I could manage.
The old man was clearly pleased with our happy reunion. “Aw, well isn’t that nice!” he said, smiling some more. I nodded at him, keeping my grin plastered onto my face. “I’ll just leave you girls these plates then, I’m sure you’ve got a lot of catching up to do! Don’t you stay up too late!”
“We won’t! Thank you very much,” I said sincerely, taking two of the plates from him and motioning for Roxy to get the third. “Have a good night!”
“You too!” he said, setting off down the corridor as soon as he was unburdened. I waited until I heard his footsteps on the stairs, and then pushed the door open with my foot to let Roxy in. I put the plates down carefully on the low coffee table, and Roxy did the same. On the bed, Scorpius sat up sleepily, rubbing his eyes like a child.
“Who was that?”
“Roxanne,” I said bluntly. “Do you want some pie?”
Scorpius blinked a few times. “Roxanne? Pie? What?”
“How the hell have you managed to not be caught with that?” Roxanne said witheringly, motioning at Scorp with a chip. I glowered at her.
“What do you want, Roxy?” I asked, sitting down in a squishy armchair.
“Traitor,” Scorpius added, getting up from the bed and perching himself on the arm of my chair, balancing a plate on his knee and finding a fork.
“I’m not the traitor,” Roxy said, ignoring her own plate. She shrugged. “Of course, I can’t prove that, just like you two can’t prove that you aren’t either. And I want in.”
“In? In on what?” Scorpius said, his mouth full of vegetable.
“Hang on- how did you find us?” I interrupted, shushing Scorp with a wave of my hand.
Roxanne smiled, looking pleased with herself. “I’ve invented a spell to track apparition.”
Scorpius snorted on his gravy and I patted him on the back, while trying to remain calm. “You’ve done what?”
“Invented a spell to track apparition,” she repeated over Scorpius’ coughing. “It wasn’t that hard, actually. All I need is the place you apparated from, and they showed the alley where you’d dumped the motorbike on the six o’clock news. Then, just say the spell, and Apparate. You just kinda... go with the flow, really.” She smiled.
“So how exactly did you manage to get here?” I asked. I wasn’t just being annoying, I wanted Roxy to slip up in her story, wanted her to be the traitor. At least then we’d know, and we could deal with her- deal with her how? Do what?
“It brought me about a mile away in some woods,” Roxanne carried on, oblivious to my internal worrying. “And then I used Homenum Revelio to find the nearest people.” She spread out her hands. “Which was you guys.”
“You want in on what?” Scorpius said, settling back down after his coughing fit.
“The big finale!” she said almost excitedly, leaning forwards. “There’s nothing really we can do about the traitor now, not if we’ve got the final stand coming up!” She paused, looking at us quizzically. “I’m assuming that’s what your big stunt was about, right? You were trying to draw attention to yourselves, so everyone can get back together? It’s a good plan, not gonna lie.”
I gazed at Roxy, open-mouthed. How the hell had she worked out our plan, when we’d basically fallen into it? She looked back at me almost smugly, settling back into her chair, and jamming her hands into pockets- and then her face fell.
“What? I don’t know why you’re looking so surprised, Roxy. How was I supposed to know if I could trust you or not? I still don’t know.”
“Give me my wand back.”
I pulled it out my pocket, and pretended to regard it thoughtfully. “What’s the apparition-tracking spell?”
Roxy looked at me mulishly for a minute. “Indago,” she finally said, grudgingly.
“Are you lying to me?” I asked harshly.
She shook her head, and I tossed her back her wand. She caught it easily. “Don’t steal my things,” Roxanne said. “I’m not the traitor. All I’ve been doing is hiding out on my own. As a Muggle. I’ve got a job in a newsagents. I wasn’t looking for trouble, I was just sitting on my hands, waiting for you or Dom or someone to call us all back together. I’m not the traitor.”
I wasn’t entirely sure on whether to believe my pint-sized cousin or not. She seemed sincere enough, but to be honest, everyone seemed sincere. Gahhh, my mind seemed all cut up from imagining who was or wasn’t lying.
“You get the benefit of the doubt for now,” I said, deliberately taking my own wand out of my jacket pocket and winding it through my fingers.
“Fair enough,” Roxy said, a small smile playing about her lips. “And I’ll suppose I’ll trust you both for now as well. But if this is a trap and you’re luring us into a trap to catch the rest of us, then, well...” She left the threat unfinished and I had to smile. Although Roxanne was very clever and could be as evil as she pleased, she just didn’t look scary.
She scowled at me. Roxy knew exactly what I was thinking. “What’s the plan for getting the rest of us together then?” she said, trying to sound as professional as possible.
“We haven’t got that far yet,” I admitted, picking up my own dinner and digging in with as much enthusiasm as possible to show that the gaps in our plan didn’t really matter.
“You haven’t got that far yet?” Roxy repeated incredulously. “Seriously?”
“Actually, yes we have,” Scorpius said, with a wink at me. He walked over to the dresser, and picked up an old radio, grimacing slightly under the weight. He plonked it on the coffee table.
“What the hell are you going to do with that?” Roxanne asked.
Scorpius didn’t reply, but held his hand out to me, and I gave him our wand. He started to tap a familiar rhythm on the top of the set, twisting the dials.
“That won’t work-” she started to say, but was interrupted by a blast of the Weird Sisters. Maturely, Scorpius stuck his tongue out at her.
“We can send out a message on the radio,” he said grinning widely. “A coded one. Telling the others to meet us in Nottingham with Molly and Lucy. I can hack the radio waves, I’m sure of it.”
“There’s no way in hell you can do that,” Roxy said disparagingly. “And who will be listening?”
“We’ve been listening to the radio this whole time, looking for news,” I said, interrupting. “And so were Molly and Lucy. It’s a good plan, Scorp.”
“But how is he going to hack airwaves? That’s impossible! It must be!”
Scorpius winked at her. “I’m good with technology. Give me time.”
A/N: Sorry I've been so terrible with updates, and if anyone reads or reviews this, its more than I deserve. Thanks for sticking with Rose and me for this long!
Also, credit to Wistful for naming my bed and breakfast 'Bangladesh' for me.
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