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The Rise of the A.W.L. by MargaretLane
Chapter 13 : Tensions Remain.
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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Disclaimer: Hogwarts, many of the characters, the Daily Prophet, etc are the property of J.K. Rowling. No copyright infringement is intended.

Threatening Dora at the dinner table really hadn’t been a good idea, Rose realised. She’d just been so determined to wipe the stupid smirk off her face. She was so smug, so certain she could say whatever she liked, treat people however she liked with no repercussions whatsoever.

Rose hated to prove her right and yet, it would have been downright stupid to hex her right in front of a prefect just to prove she wasn’t afraid to. Especially with the other prefects and teachers all right there in the Great Hall as well. It would have been playing into Dora’s hands.

It had seemed there was nothing she could have done that wouldn’t play right into her hands. By backing off, she’d just proven her right, shown she would sit back and let Dora torment Albus. It was the last impression she wanted to give, but nor did she want to give Dora the impression she could provoke her into getting herself in trouble.

So she’d pointed out the obvious: there wouldn’t always be teachers and prefects around.

But that raised the question of what she did next. Much as she’d like to hex Dora, it was something she’d always envisioned doing in a moment’s anger. Duelling just for the sake of it struck her as pointless and rather childish. She really had no great desire to start a fight with Dora just because she could, just because they were alone. It would just be asking for trouble, whether trouble in the form of a prefect catching them and imposing detentions or trouble in the form of the duel going too far and somebody being harmed. Duels, if not held under carefully controlled conditions had a habit of getting out of hand even when everybody involved was reasonable and had the best of intentions. She wasn’t naïve enough to assume that’d be the case with Dora, not after the stunts she’d pulled the previous year.

But if she did nothing, she’d be demonstrating pretty clearly that her words at dinner had been nothing but an idle threat and there was no doubt but that Dora’d take that as a victory.

She sighed. Why hadn’t she held her tongue?

“You’re not really going to hex Dora later, are you?” Albus asked anxiously as they headed back towards Ravenclaw tower after their meal.

“I don’t know,” she snapped.

“Sorry.” He bit his lip.

She sighed again. It wasn’t far to take it out on him, especially not after he’d had such a disappointing match earlier.

“I don’t know,” she repeated. “To be honest, right now I’d be quite happy to never to have met Dora bloody Nottingham.” She stopped in her tracks. “I’m not going back to Ravenclaw tower now, actually. I’m going to the library.”

“Because of Dora?” he asked tentatively.

She nodded. Avoiding her was her best bet. If she returned to the common room, she’d either have to duel or lose face. If she didn’t, it just looked as if she’d more important things to do. Which she did. Dora was far from a priority of any kind in her life.

“Are you coming?” she asked him.

He paused for a moment. “All right.”

She remained in the library until just before eight o’clock when second years had to return to their common rooms for the evening. Albus had gotten bored and left much earlier, so she returned to Ravenclaw tower alone and rapped on the knocker.

“Where has quills that do not write, cauldrons that will never boil and wands that never cast a spell.”

She thought for a moment.

“Erm, a sweetshop.”

“Well answered.”

The door swung open.

She’d rarely figured out a riddle so quickly. She wasn’t sure if she was getting better at them or if she’d just been lucky, but if it was the latter, she just hoped her luck held out and she managed to avoid Dora for the rest of the evening.

Not that she intended to order her entire evening around avoiding her. She wasn’t frightened of her and she’d no intention of giving her the impression she was.

But she was still relieved Dora was nowhere to be seen when she entered the common room.

She noticed Albus, sitting on the floor near the fire , playing his Quidditch game against Derek and went over to sit by them and watch.

“I almost won that one,” Derek cried triumphantly, after he’d been beaten three hundred points to two hundred and fifty.

“It’s probably like chess,” Rose said. “The more you play, the better the pieces will trust you.”

“I guess so. When I first started playing, they ignored my orders completely.” He laughed. “Think they realised I hadn’t the slightest idea what I was doing.”

“Do you want a game, Rose?” Albus asked.

She shook her head. “Why don’t you play again? I’ll just watch.”

The evening wore on and before long, the younger students started to withdraw to their dormitories.

Rose stood up reluctantly. In the dormitory, she wouldn’t be able to avoid Dora, not with only four of them sharing it, but if she stayed up much later, she’d be tired in the morning and wouldn’t perform at her best in class. There was no way she was letting Dora prevent her from doing her best. And it was miserable being tired on a Monday in particular, when you’d a whole week of classes ahead of you.

Both Angie and Dora were already in the dormitory.

Dora flexed her wand. “We’re not at dinner now.”

“Oh, leave it out, Dora,” Angie said. “It’s far too late for duelling now.”

“Did anybody ask you?”

“Maybe not, but this is my dormitory too and I could do without the pair of you keeping me awake with your fighting.”

“We could go down to the common room.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Rose said. “All the prefects will still be down there.”

“Oh, afraid of the prefects are you, Rosie?”

“No, I just don’t see any point in walking into unnecessary trouble. Obviously, you disagree.”

“It’d be worth it to see Miss perfect Weasley in trouble.”

“This is all about revenge, isn’t it?” she said. “You want to get your own back because we got you in trouble last year. Or because you think we did. Really, you got yourself in trouble.”

Dora grinned. “So it was all my fault, was it?”

Yes! And maybe it’s time you accepted that instead of trying to punish everybody else for what you did.”

“You think that’s what I’m doing?”

“Well, aren’t you? Why else would you have leaked that stuff about Blackburn, if you weren’t trying to get back at her for reporting you?”

It was only after the words were out that she wondered if she’d said too much. Linking Dora to the A.W.L. was dangerously close to outing her real identity.

You did that?” Angie stared at Dora.

Thankfully she seemed more stunned at the thought Dora’d done it than curious as to how she’d revealed the information.

Dora shrugged. “I warned her. People with secrets should be very careful about revealing other people’s. And this is why you shouldn’t threaten me either, Weasley. It wouldn’t be a good idea.”

I don’t have anything to hide, so there’s nothing you can use against me.”

She smirked. “Maybe not, but you might come off worst, all the same. There are other ways I could teach you a lesson. We share a dormitory, remember?”

“I’m not afraid of you. I know how you operate. In the dark! You won’t dare do anything when I know who it is that’s doing it.”

“Don’t be so sure of that.”

“You’d be expelled. After what happened last year, I doubt they’d give you many second chances.”

“It would depend just what I did, wouldn’t it? There are ways you can teach people a lesson without breaking school rules. I proved that over the summer, didn’t I?”

“That was a horrible thing to do,” Angie said.

Dora turned to her. “A fan of the werewolf, are you?”

“I like her, yeah. She’s one of the nicest teachers we have and if she had been fired, who knows who would’ve replaced her? Could have been somebody really strict or something.”

“If she had been? This isn’t over yet, Angie.”

Angie turned to Rose, a question in her eyes.

Rose shrugged. “They could still get her fired. In theory. In practice, they’ve no grounds whatsoever. And McGonagall’s fair. She won’t fire her for nothing.”

She really hoped that was true. Not that she’d any doubts about McGonagall’s fairness, just about the A.W.L.’s inability to find any grounds to force the school to fire her. She didn’t see how they could – after all, they hadn’t been too successful, so far - but she’d no doubt they were searching for a way. If they could find one, they would.

She hoped Dora’s comment didn’t mean they were planning something.

And she couldn’t ask. Not with Angie listening. Not without giving away Dora’s connection to Theodore Nott.

But maybe that was a good thing. It wasn’t as if Dora’d tell her anyway and would only show she was worrying her.

“McGonagall might not have a choice,” Dora said casually.

“She’s still Headmistress,” Rose said. “And the Ministry won’t interfere without good reason.”

“What do you know about what the Ministry will or won’t do?”

“My mum works there, remember?”

She wasn’t telling Dora she’d overheard McGonagall saying it.

“Your mum might not know everything.”

“She knows enough. She works pretty closely with Kingsley, you know.”

“Ah yes, the most hopeless Minister in modern times.”

Rose stared at her. “Even you can’t believe that. What about Fudge-I-don’t-believe- war-is-coming-at-all. Or Scrimgeour-I’m-going-to-jail-people-at-random-in-the-forelorn-hope-one-of-them-might-be-guilty.”

“Well, one could say they had their uses.”

“Detracting attention from Voldemort, you mean?”

She thought a flicker crossed Dora’s face as she mentioned Voldemort’s name, but it quickly passed.

“Maybe.”

“So you’re a Death Eater? Or you would be if they were still around? If they hadn’t been utterly and completely defeated? Is that it?”

Dora shrugged. “They weren’t all wrong, were they?” Her voice was taunting

Yes, they bloody well were. What do you think was right? Rounding Muggleborns up and placing them in camps?”

Is that what you think, Dora?” Angie’s voice was trembling. Rose couldn’t tell if it was with anger or trepidation. “That I don’t deserve a place in society, that I should be eliminated.”

Before Dora could answer, the door opened and Fionnuala entered the room.

“Did we get Transfiguration homework on Friday?” she asked, seemingly oblivious to the tension in the room.

For a moment, the question was greeted with silence.

“No,” Rose said finally.

“Oh, that’s good. I was afraid I’d forgotten it. And Transfiguration is the second class in the morning, you know.”

“Yes, Fionnuala,” Dora sneered. “ Most of us are familiar with our timetables. You’re the only one who seems to have trouble with that.”

Rose rolled her eyes. “Yeah, like you’ve never had to check your timetable to see what class you had next.”

“I don’t have to check it every single class though, unlike some people.” She stared at Fionnuala, who appeared blithely unaware she was being insulted.

“I never do seem to remember,” she agreed easily. “Just as well we’ve the timetables.”

“And if it ever ‘goes missing’, we can always get somebody to use a doubling charm on mine,” Rose said.

She could just see Dora hiding or tearing it to get Fionnuala in trouble, so it was worth letting her know right away that doing so would be pointless.

Dora just grinned. “Just as well. After all, you never know when something might go missing, do you?”

The comment just increased her suspicions and she made up her mind to compare timetables with Fionnuala each morning and make sure Dora hadn’t charmed any mistakes into hers.

It wasn’t just the possibility of Dora playing tricks on Fionnuala that concerned her. There was also her hint that the campaign against Blackburn “wasn’t over.” She might just have been stirring things, of course. It would be just like her to try and worry them or just try and make herself sound important by implying she knew more than she did, but it was also possible she truly did know something.

The next full moon was only ten days away, after all. Was it possible the A.W.L. had something planned? So far the media’d said little or nothing about the upcoming full moon. Rose had hoped they’d lost interest since nothing at all had happened during the previous one.

But then, there hadn’t been much in the paper until about a week before that, either. So it was definitely possible an onslaught was coming.

She wished there was somebody she could discuss it with, but it was hard when nobody knew Dora’s connection with the A.W.L. She could just hear Rasmus’s reaction if she tried to raise the subject with him.

“How could she possibly know anything, Rose? She was just winding you up, that’s all. You know what she’s like.”

Even Angie wouldn’t fully appreciate the implications of Dora’s comment though it had seemed to concern her too.

Only Albus would really know why she was worried and it wasn’t exactly the best time to discuss anything with him, as he was still dwelling on the previous day’s Quidditch match and wondering what he should say to Scorpius in Defence Against the Dark Arts.

“You don’t think he’ll think I was deliberately avoiding him yesterday, do you?” he asked at breakfast the next morning. “I know you said he probably didn’t notice, but…”

Rose looked up from comparing her timetable with Fionnuala’s to roll her eyes.

“No, I don’t think he’ll think that. I very much doubt he was thinking of you at all, to be honest.”

“But…” his voice faltered and she sighed.

“Look, don’t worry about it, OK. All you have to do is say ‘well done.’ Where’s the problem?”

“I just don’t want him thinking I’m jealous or…or that I’m going to start a fight over the result or anything.”

She couldn’t help laughing at that.

“Albus, I really don’t think anybody who knows anything about you would believe you’re going to go around starting fights.”

“No, he leaves that to you,” Rasmus put in.

“Somebody’s got to stand up for things. Where would we be if people hadn’t stood up to Voldemort?”

Rasmus stared at her. “That was a little different. There’s no war on now.”

“There’s still discrimination though. And bullying. And all sorts of things that shouldn’t exist.”

“You’re not going to change the world, you know.”

“I know that, but I don’t have to sit back and let people take advantage of others either.”

“Sometimes you have to pick your battles.”

She did pick her battles. If she didn’t, she’d have been arguing every single thing Dora ever said and a fair amount of what others did too.

Before she could point that out, however, the breakfast dishes began to disappear, signalling that it was time for the first classes of the morning.

Scorpius was already sitting in the corner of the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, when Rose, Albus, Derek and Rasmus reached it.

Albus headed towards him.

“All right if I sit here?”

Scorpius nodded.

Derek sat down on the other side of Albus so Rose and Rasmus sat behind, Rose leaning forward to hear what she could of Albus’s conversation with Scorpius.

“Erm, congratulations on winning the match yesterday,” he said.

Scorpius smiled. “Good game, wasn’t it? Your Chasers are good.”

“Yeah, I suppose so. You were fantastic.”

“I know. I wasn’t totally sure I’d make the team though. It’s not easy to do that in second year. Your dad made it in first year, though, didn’t he?”

“Yeah.”

“He must have been amazing. How come he never played professionally?”

Albus shrugged. “I guess he wanted to be an Auror.”

“Your mum played though, didn’t she? Professionally?”

“Yeah.”

Professor Jones entered the room, cutting the conversation short.

“Quiet please,” she began.

The lesson, which focussed on Kappas was as interesting as Defence Against the Dark Arts usually was, but Rose found it hard to concentrate. Although she knew Dora’d probably been talking rubbish, she couldn’t help worrying about what the A.W.L. might be planning.

Surely the Daily Prophet wouldn’t keep publishing the same old rubbish month after month, particularly when nothing was actually happening.

The fact that nothing had happened in Blackburn’s first year teaching at Hogwarts hadn’t stopped them publishing all kinds of rumours last year though, so she supposed they just might.

It suddenly occurred to her she’d still no idea what Scorpius thought about Blackburn’s lycanthropy.

“We’ve Transfiguration next,” she told him, as they packed up their quills, books and parchment after class. “What have you?”

He didn’t react to the bait.

“Herbology.”

“Erm, Scorpius?”

“Yeah.”

“You know all that stuff that was in the paper last month, and over the summer. About Blackburn. What did you think of it all?”

“You saw Granddad’s letter to the Daily Prophet,” he said flatly.

She nodded. There was no point in denying it and she didn’t see why she should anyway.

“Mum said he and Dad had a big argument about that.” He made a face.

“Your dad disagreed with him?” She was surprised.

“He thinks Granddad should stay out of politics.” Scorpius shifted awkwardly. “After all the trouble in the past, you know. And well, I don’t know if there are any actual ex-Death Eaters involved in this A.W.L. group, but some of them were definitely sympathisers. Dad says getting involved with them will only lead to more trouble.”

“Is your granddad in the A.W.L.?”

He shook his head. “Dad says at least he has that much sense, but he doesn’t like him writing letters agreeing with them. I think he’s pretty annoyed about it. They don’t argue very often, you know, and certainly not like this. It’s just because of me.” He sighed.

“How do you figure that one out?”

Albus had already left for Transfiguration, but Rose was determined to find out how Scorpius felt about it all. Besides the truth was that, after what Dora’d said, she wasn’t exactly in any great hurry to get to Transfiguration. A part of her almost felt she should warn Blackburn, but warn her about what? She really had no information whatsoever. And how could she possibly bring it up anyway? It wasn’t really something you could introduce casually.

“Well, if I wasn’t at Hogwarts, Granddad wouldn’t care so much.” Scorpius interrupted her thoughts. It’s my safety he’s worried about.”

“And what about you? Are you worried about it?”

“Not really.” He shrugged. “I guess I was a bit nervous when I first heard, but we wouldn’t even know about it if it hadn’t been in the papers, so…” He trailed off and paused for a moment before adding, “Danica and some of the others have been making a few veiled comments in class about it. Muttering things and laughing. I don’t know how they get away with it actually. Any other teacher’d say something.”

“Blackburn doesn’t say anything?”

“She just acts like she hasn’t heard it, but she must have really.”

“Yeah, she must.” Rose sighed. “Dora is doing the same thing in our classes. I suppose Blackburn figures if she says anything, it’ll only make them think they’re upsetting her. It must be horrible for her.”

“Yeah, well…” Scorpius shrugged again and glanced at his watch. “I have to go out to Greenhouse Three now. I’ll be really late if I don’t hurry.”

She’d want to hurry herself, she realised, gathering her things up quickly. At least the Transfiguration classroom was only down the corridor though and she didn’t think Blackburn would say much if she was a couple of moments late anyway. Not that it was really fair to take advantage of that.



So what did ye think of the eagle's question? What about Dora's behaviour in this chapter? If ye've any advice as to improving the chapter title, please let me know.


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