Chapter 2 : In Which a Counter-Plan is Formed
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I’m panting as I labour up to the top of the Ravenclaw Tower. I mean, how far was Rowena Ravenclaw prepared to go to maintain her personal space? A long way, it appears. She must have been a rather fit individual. That or she went through torture every day. Ha, imagine our great House’s founder getting up at four in the morning to do Pilates. Hmm. Somehow I can’t visualise it.
When I finally manage to reach the top of the tower, I bend forward to put my hands on my knees and rest for a minute (well, it’s probably closer to ten minutes, but never mind that). Straightening up, still breathing hard, I lift the bronze knocker and let it go again, creating a sound like a thunderclap, which echoes around the empty stone of the small tower room.
“What is harder to catch the faster you run?” the eagle beak asks me. Psh, I know this. Um.
It actually takes me around five minutes of attempted logical thinking to solve the riddle. Of course, this was while a large part of my mind was spending most of its time dwelling on the benefits of having three eyes and a tail while the other, smaller part of my brain was trying to figure out the riddle and yelling at the large part to do the same. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the madness that is my head.
“Your breath!” I answer triumphantly. Briefly, I wonder if that riddle was tailored especially for me, but ignore the thought. Let the eagle tailor to whatever it wants. If it wants a needle and thread to do a better job, well then that’s fine as well. Actually, I think I just set some kind of record – the only Ravenclaw to ever have trouble entering the Common Room. Gah.
“Well done,” the eagle answers melodically, and the heavy wooden door finally swings open for me.
I groan at the thought of climbing even more stairs to Anna’s dorm – now I really regret promising her I’d tell her what the meeting was about – and start to climb the seventy - seven steps to Anna’s dorm. Why do the dormitories get higher up every time you advance a year? Shouldn’t the nice seventh years get to climb eleven stairs, and then the midgets can go climb seventy - seven stairs and faint? They don’t have N.E.W.T.s to worry about. Gah. Life isn’t fair.
When I finally stagger to the top of the West Tower, just outside the seventh year girls’ dorms, I see that the door is opened and Anna is lying stomach down on top of her bed, doing an essay. She doesn’t even turn her head as I breathe out heavily and lean against the doorway. She’s so nice and caring to everyone. Can you tell?
“Really, Jaz. I could hear your whingeing from at least the third step. You need to take up Quidditch. Or jogging or something to whip you into shape,” she tells me, wedging her bright orange quill behind her ear and getting up off her bed to pull me into the semicircle-shaped room, shutting the door behind us. I don’t reply and wobble over to the bed closest to the door, which happens to be hers, collapsing on top of her essay. The sharp corner of a book stabs at my spine, but I don’t bother moving. I’m too tired. And lazy.
The thing is that Anna’s bed is a very messy place. First off, she insists on having a pillow on the right side of the bed, and makes sure she has two to put her head on. So that’s three pillows on the bed, all of which are blue and bronze to match the colour scheme of the room. Add in the blanket, which is always rumpled, and you have a regular mess. And then there are the books. Anna’s a pretty avid reader, and whenever teachers assign us a chapter to read in the textbooks, or a test is about to take place, she reads her textbooks on the bed ‘for comfort’. Now I do as well sometimes, but Anna never bothers to take her books off the bed and put them in her bag or trunk, so she sleeps with all her textbooks. She’s such a lazy bum sometimes. Like me. That’s why she’s my best friend.
“Jaz! Are you seriously that unfit? You’re okay, right?”
“Mmmphdmhm,” I moan, trying to shift slightly. I only manage to succeed in getting poked by another book corner. Ow. “Holy mother of Circe, Anna, why do you keep so many books in your bed?” I moan, turning my head and struggling to sit upright.
“It’s more convenient for me,” she says with a shrug. And then, becoming more impassioned, she adds “Plus, they need a home and a bed to sleep on! Imagine your textbooks Jaz. All alone in your bag, cold and lonely-”
“They’ve got each other to be with.”
-and they’ve got no blanket to sleep under at night, either. They’ll probably die of hypothermia and loneliness, and when they do, I’ll just laugh at you. So ha,” she finishes, sticking her tongue out at me.
She makes a rather ridiculous picture now. I mean, she has her tongue poking out of her mouth, a bright orange quill stuck behind her ear clashing with her blonde hair and her prim Hogwarts uniform on.
“Well, they have to wait until I finish Hogwarts, then they can die all they want,” I say, attempting to walk over to my bed. I swear, Anna’s is just too uncomfortable to lie down on, I don’t know how she sleeps at night.
“Anyway,” she announces, clapping her hands. Gah, that reminds me of Filch now. “We have bigger and better things to worry about, Miss Head Girl.”
“Don’t remind me,” I mutter. I swear, just because I have a large soft spot for little kids, they put me as Head Girl. Gah. I’m not even any good with any of my peers; it’s only the younger kids I’m good with.
“What happened at the meeting? What were they telling you about? I want all the details, Jazzie, and don’t you dare leave anything out, or I will whack you over the head repeatedly with my bed,” she threatens, coming over to my bed to plop down alarmingly close to my knees. I don’t even bother asking about her threat. I’ve been subjected to too many of her torture promises over the years.
“Well, I missed the first fifteen minutes because I was late,” I say, looking pointedly at her. She just motions for me to continue. “And then Filch went into this whole rant about how awful Peeves is and how the school needed to get rid of him. Then he and Walker basically discussed the plan while me and the Headmaster listened.”
“So, Jaz,” says Anna. Uh oh. She has a dangerous look on her face. “I hope you paid attention, because I want to know exactly what this plan is.” Now I feel like a naughty child in lessons caught not listening to the teacher. Anna will be great at disciplining her future children, I can tell. “Well, I zoned out the first time Filch outlined the plan,” I admit. She begins to stand up, to do what I don’t know, but I continue quickly. “But I listened when he and Walker were discussing the plan so I know what it’s about!” My psycho best friend sits down again, a relieved expression on her face.
“So shoot,” she says, leaning back against my drawn up knees and gracing me with a smile. Hmph.
“Basically, they’re going to trap Peeves in a bell jar which will have Containment and Concealment Charms on it. They’re baiting it with weapons like cutlasses and crossbows,” I add, seeing her confused expression. “Filch thinks the weapons’ll be irresistible to Peeves, and unfortunately he’s probably right. Anyway, then when Peeves takes the bait, they’ll drop the bell jar on him to trap him. Once they’ve got him securely, they want to dump him somewhere. Filch was unusually set on sending him to Australia, but I have no clue how he’ll arrange that.”
“So from your tone and you saying ‘them’ instead of ‘us’, I take it you’re against this plan?” Anna asks slyly, shooting me a sideways glance.
“Yeah, I like Peeves, he’s good fun. And I swear I’ll never forget that time when he came into Transfiguration singing Bon Jovi at the top of his lungs,” I grin, remembering the time. McGonagall absolutely flipped out at him.
“Oh geez, yeah. That could hardly have been classified as singing, though. It sounded like Lily Evans after James Potter asks her out, put together with a dying cat and a screaming Howler,” Anna replies, smiling slightly. “But wait, I still have questions,” she says, and without waiting for my reply, she ploughs on. “Where and when will it take place, exactly what weapons are being used for bait and most importantly, can you sabotage the plan?” “Okay, it’s happening in five days, on the weekend, in the third floor corridor nobody ever uses.” I wonder why, actually. There’s a door at the end of the corridor, but the room’s completely empty. “And I think Filch’s gone completely crazy, because he wants to use real weapons that can harm people instead of harmless copies to bait the trap, the dumb guy.”
“Seriously? Are you kidding? Why? What if he leaves behind a weapon and a kid comes along and hurts himself with it?”
“I know! It’s so dumb. I think he’s afraid that Peeves’ll be able to tell it’s a copy somehow and so won’t walk into the trap. And he’s insisting on having five cutlasses, three crossbows, two muskets, a blunderbuss, a miniature cannon and six different knives in the bell jar. I mean, why would you use such dangerous weapons? It doesn’t make sense,” I grumble with a frown. “And lastly, are you actually asking me to sabotage a plan which Professor Dumbledore is going to cast the spells for?” I ask incredulously.
“What? You didn’t tell me that Dumbledore was casting the spells! Oh geez, how will we help Peeves now?” she moans, letting her head flop down onto my shoulder.
“I got the impression he wasn’t such a fan of this plan either, so maybe he’ll sabotage the plan himself and we won’t have to do anything?”
“Why did that sound like a question rather than a statement?” she mocks playfully, pulling my light brown hair.
“I don’t know, geez.” I return the gesture, tugging her honey blonde ponytail. “I was thinking about trying to nonverbally counter the Containment Charms so Peeves can bust out of the jar?”
“That’s an okay idea.”
“Well, thanks so much for the amazing vote of confidence. Do you think I could pull it off is the question.”
Anna turns her head to look at me appraisingly. “Yeah, I think you could.”
I don’t own Bon Jovi, as much as I’d love to. And while I'm at it, I'll waste a minute of my life by stating the obvious - I don't own anything you recognise (sadly).
More thanks go to my amazing beta, Sian, and to those wonderful people who reviewed the previous chapter for me. :D Thank you!
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