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Chapter 9 : Sirius Black
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The weather was rapidly getting colder and wetter as winter approached and I often came up to the Ravenclaw common room after Quidditch practise completely soaked and covered in mud, but I was in a strangely good mood on Halloween morning.
I’d already been down to the Great Hall for breakfast and was back up in the dormitory, sitting on my bed with my trunk open in front of me, trying to decide what to wear.
I wasn’t really the type of person that cared much about clothes – that was Kat, not me. Obviously I didn’t like looking completely disgusting, but I didn’t obsess about my appearance, and there was no reason to today – it wasn’t like I had a boyfriend to dress for, I was just going to Hogsmeade with Angus and Oliver. My problem was that I couldn’t decide if it was cold enough to wear a thick, fleece-lined coat and jeans or whether I should just stick with a cardigan. It was a relatively mild day, although grey storm clouds loomed threateningly in the sky.
“Oh, bollocks!” I muttered, throwing a long sleeved top back into the trunk and lying back on my bed.
I had to admit, I was a little nervous. I was still puzzled as to why Oliver had wanted to go to Hogsmeade with Angus and I. We’d never really spent any time with each other out of school, and poor Angus was always incredibly nervous around people he didn’t know very well.
The dormitory door was suddenly flung open and Kat and Penny walked in. Kat was breaking apart a piece of streaky bacon with her fingers.
“What happened to your vegetarian diet?” I asked her, eyebrows raised.
“Oh, that,” she said. “No, I stopped that ages ago. I’m not eating carbs now, apparently that’s the best way to go.”
I just rolled my eyes, deciding it was best not to comment.
Kat went immediately to her trunk and began pulling various items out and spreading them on her bed. There were a lot more clothes in there than the trunk could possibly have fit, as Kat had used an Undetectable Extension Charm so that she could pack her whole wardrobe.
“What do you guys think?” Kat said suddenly, holding up two very short skirts. One of them was black and was covered in several shiny studs, the other was made of light blue denim. “Do you think the black is appropriate for Hogsmeade? Or will it make me look trashy?”
“Why don’t you just wear jeans, like the rest of us?” I asked. “Your legs will freeze off in a skirt…”
“That’s why I’m wearing tights, stupid,” Kat said irritably. She put the black skirt down. “I think I’ll go with the denim. Except then I can’t wear my new denim jacket with it.”
“What denim jacket?” I asked. “You don’t have a denim jacket!”
“I ordered it over a catalogue a couple of weeks ago,” Kat said vaguely, now digging through her trunk again. She pulled out a lacy black singlet. “I guess I could wear this with my leopard print jacket…”
I rolled my eyes. Compared to Kat, my clothing dilemma didn’t seem like much of a dilemma at all.
After Kat and Penny had both disappeared into the bathroom, I pulled on a pair of jeans and that fleece-lined jacket and sat back on my bed, wondering if I’d have time to finish an essay for Snape that was due on Monday. I hadn’t even started it and Snape was known to be very vicious when it came to students who weren’t in his own house.
However as I reached across to my bedside table to grab my Potions book, a glint of something under my pillow caught my eye.
The mirror I’d found in the trapdoor back in September. It had been so long since I’d thought about it that I’d completely forgotten I’d hidden it in my pillow.
I could hear Kat and Penny’s voice echoing out from the bathroom – Kat was trying to persuade Penny to let her do something to her hair, and Poppy and Annie were still down at breakfast. I pulled the mirror out of the pillow and looked at it carefully.
Unsurprisingly, it hadn’t changed appearance since the last time I had seen it: plain with a silver handle and etchings around the rim. I was fairly certain they were Ancient Runes – Penny would know what they meant, but there was still something about this mirror that made me want to keep it all to myself.
I held it up in front of my face and scowled at my reflection. How was it that Kat and I looked exactly the same, yet we looked completely different at the same time? While Kat’s reddish-brown hair was sleek and carefully styled, mine was scraggly and all over the place. While her skin was smooth and clear, mine was pale and blotchy and there were dark shadows under my eyes. While…
My brown eyes widened. Because my reflection was changing, rippling, as though I was staring into a rather violent river. I reached out a finger to touch the glass of the mirror but it was as cold and firm as ever.
And then suddenly the rippling stopped and my reflection was back. And it was me…except it wasn’t me. The person in the mirror had my eyes and my hair and my face but she was smiling broadly and there was a happy sort of glow in her eyes that I knew wasn’t in mine. Her hair was done in a fancy up-do and her neck and shoulders were bare.
I realized that my heart was pounding very loudly inside my chest. I had never seen something like this before, although I had learned about objects like this mirror in Defence Against the Dark Arts. One of our professors had told us that objects like these – objects that were strange and could think for themselves – should not be meddled with, because they were probably filled with unpredictable dark magic.
But this mirror didn’t feel dark to me at all. The me in the mirror suddenly smiled and winked at me. I almost dropped the mirror in shock.
“Bloody hell!” I shrieked, without thinking. I didn’t know why I was so surprised – I’d seen all the paintings that lined the walls of Hogwarts move and talk, after all.
“Are you okay in there, Dani?” Penny called from the bathroom.
“I’m fine!” I said quickly. “I just dropped a bottle of ink!”
“If it got over any of my clothes, I’ll be very upset,” Kat said.
I turned back to the mirror and, somehow, wasn’t surprised when my reflection suddenly started to chant in an almost inaudible whisper;
“You have found the mirror of dreams,
Four wishes shall be granted, make each
Or may your dreams begin to undo at the seams,
Beware! Beware! Beware!”
Once my reflection had finished her chant she looked up at me with brown eyes that seemed somewhat triumphant, and that self-satisfied smile.
I realized I was shaking. Four wishes shall be granted, make each with care. Had the me in the mirror just said what I though she’d said? Four wishes shall be granted. Did that mean…?
I automatically looked back at the mirror and my reflection gave a smug little nod, as though she could read my thoughts.
Well, I reflected, considering she was me, she probably could read my thoughts.
“But why four?” I asked the mirror. “Genies and stuff, they usually only grant three…”
“I think you’ve finally lost it Dani,” Kat said, stepping out of the bathroom with Penny just behind her. I quickly stuffed the mirror back into the pillow, hoping that neither of them had seen it. “Who the hell are you talking to?”
“No-one,” I said quickly. “Just…thinking aloud.”
Kat looked completely overdressed in her black skirt, lacy top and high heels. Especially when she was standing next to Penny who was wearing a light blue woollen jersey and trousers.
“What was that you were holding?” Penny asked curiously.
“Nothing,” I said and, feeling that this conversation was heading into dangerous waters, I said; “Let’s go downstairs, shall we? The boys are probably waiting for us.”
“Aw, eager to get to your boyfriend, are we?” Kat said, snickering. “I can’t believe you actually agreed to go out with Oliver…”
“We’re not going out Kat,” I said impatiently. “Angus is coming with us. Now stop worrying about your bloody appearance and hurry up!”
Angus, Oliver and I separated from Penny and Percy, and Kat and Jack when we reached High Street. Penny and Percy both declared their intentions of going to Scrivenshaft’s – both of them needed new quills, apparently – and Kat dragged poor Jack off to the clothing store. He shot me a quick grimace before allowing her to lead him away. I grinned to myself, once again wondering what on earth Jack saw in my sister. There was a cold breeze in the air and I shivered a little as the three of us continued walking through the village; wending our way through the shops with their little thatched roofs and occasionally stopping to chat to passers-by. I didn’t say much. I was still quite preoccupied with the thought of the Mirror of Dreams, and what my mirror self had said.
“You know, Helena says the Shrieking Shack isn’t haunted at all,” Angus said as we passed the ramshackle building which was on the very outskirts of the village.
“How would she know that?” I asked, pulled from my thoughts. “The Shrieking Shack doesn’t seem the type of place Helena would willingly visit.”
“Who’s Helena?” Oliver asked. He had been very quiet today and I’d noticed him scowling down at his shoes a lot. I wondered if he was wishing my idiot brother hadn’t gone and got himself a girlfriend so that he could have come with Bran instead. Maybe he thought Angus and I were dull. Or maybe he’d found a mysterious mirror, too. Although I doubted it somehow.
“The Grey Lady,” Angus explained. “The ghost of Ravenclaw.”
“Right,” Oliver grunted.
“Did you ever pay attention in History of Magic, Dani?” Angus asked me. “Don’t you remember what Professor Binns told us about ghosts?”
I snorted. “No,” I said. “Do you really think I didn’t have anything better to do in History of Magic than listening to old Binns waffle on?”
Oliver chuckled under his breath and I grinned at him.
Angus looked a little exasperated. “According to Binns, there’s a huge network of ghosts out there that we don’t know about. If there really were ghosts, or – or haunted beings in the Shrieking Shack, I’m sure Helena would know about them.”
I shrugged. “Well, it’s been silent for years now, hasn’t it? So it doesn’t really matter.”
“You’re freezing,” said Oliver suddenly, and I realized he was talking to me.
“No, I’m fine,” I said. “I just…”
“Your lips have turned completely blue,” Oliver said firmly. “Come on, lets go inside somewhere.”
The three of us visited Spintwiches, as Oliver was in need of a new pair of Keeper’s gloves and I fancied a peek at the Firebolt, which was on display in the shop window.
“Wouldn’t it be amazing to own one of those,” Oliver said longingly, coming up to stand behind me, clutching a brown package, which obviously contained his new gloves, in his hands. Angus was rifling through a very thick book entitled An Extended History of Quidditch: The Noble Sport and not paying much attention to the Firebolt or our conversation.
“Yeah, it would be,” I said vaguely.
Oliver frowned at me. “You alright?” he asked and, to my surprise, he reached out a hand and tucked a strand of brown hair behind my ear. I shivered involuntarily. His skin was cold to the touch. “You seem…distant.”
I forced myself to grin at him. “So do you. You’ve barely said two words the entire time we’ve been here!”
“Yeah, well, your friend over there has been talking enough for the two of us.” There was a strange edge to his tone that I couldn’t quite decipher. Wad it bitterness? Annoyance? “He really does like his History of Magic, doesn’t he?”
I laughed. “Yeah, he does.” When I thought about it, I was surprised at how talkative Angus had been. Not that he was a sullen or moody person – completely the opposite actually, he was always friendly to everyone. He just didn’t tend to talk much to people he barely knew.
“Hey, by the way, I brought something for you,” Oliver said suddenly, and he began to unwrap the brown package in his arms. I looked up at him in some surprise. He’d brought me a gift? Why had he done that?
“It’s just a friend gift,” Oliver said quickly. “Nothing, you know…”
He trailed off awkwardly and handed me a small, scarlet coloured box – it was the type of box you might find an intricate piece of silver jewellery inside or a wristwatch. What on earth had Oliver brought me?
I felt oddly nervous as I opened the box and unwrapped the golden tissue paper, to find…
“You are such an idiot!” I said, punching Oliver on the shoulder. “Why on earth would I want this?” I held up the item I’d just found in the box – a very large scarlet badge with the words ‘Go Gryffindor’ written in large golden letters.
Oliver was grinning broadly. “So you can support the best team in the school, obviously,” he said. “I thought you could pin it to your school robes…”
Rolling my eyes, I thrust the badge back at him. “Ha ha,” I said. “Fancy a butterbeer?” Oliver nodded, so I turned to Angus and told him that we were leaving.
It was late by the time I joined Kat and Penny in the dormitory and I was damp and uncomfortable. Angus, Oliver and I had sat in the Three Broomsticks for some time, seeing who could drink the most butterbeer, and by the time we decided to go back to the castle, it had started drizzling.
Kat’s bed was covered in large bags of shopping – she’d clearly spent a lot of time in Gladrags as she had brought a new set of dress robes, a pair of shoes, a sky blue hat and yet another skirt to add to her wardrobe. She had also been enthusing about a hairdressing salon across from the Three Broomsticks that had recently opened up.
“Of course I didn’t want to get my hair done, not with Jack there,” she was currently telling us.”
“How thoughtful of you,” I muttered, and Penny bit her lip, trying to hide her laughter. Luckily Kat didn’t notice.
“But I think I’ll have to go in there next visit,” Kat continued. “I was thinking about getting a pink streak done, what do you think?”
“That Professor McGonagall would have a fit,” Penny said. “Anyway, if you’d been listening properly in Transfiguration for the last few weeks, you’d be able to change the colour of your hair by yourself.”
Kat huffed impatiently, looking irritated, so I quickly said; “What about you, Penny? Did you have fun with Percy?”
“Oh yes!” said Penny, her eyes glassing over dreamily. “Percy brought me a beautiful peacock feather quill when we were in Scrivenshaft’s. Here, I’ll show you.” She began digging around in her handbag, however Poppy and Annie suddenly came up the stairs.
“The Halloween feast is about to begin,” Poppy informed us. “Annie and I already took a peek into the Great Hall, and it looks fantastic. Are you three coming?”
We all nodded, and followed our roommates down to the Great Hall, which was already buzzing with students. The Halloween feasts were always an extremely exciting affair and the food was always spectacular. Tonight the Great Hall had been decorated with hundreds and hundreds of large orange pumpkins filled with glowing candles, live bats that were fluttering peacefully way up above, and orange streamers which drifted lazily across the stormy ceiling.
Over at the Gryffindor table I spotted Oliver and Bran, sitting next to the three Gryffindor Chasers. Bran was snogging Alicia Spinnet. I wrinkled up my nose and turned away, disgusted.
We sat down next to Angus, Poppy and Annie and waited for the food to arrive, eagerly discussing what tonight’s entertainment might consist of.
“Wouldn’t it be amazing if the Weird Sister’s came to play for us,” Kat said, with a dreamy look on her face. No doubt she was hoping for a chance to get the lead singer’s autograph.
“Don’t be ridiculous Kat, the Weird Sister’s aren’t coming to Hogwarts,” Penny said briskly. “They’re an internationally famous band!”
“I heard a rumour that a Goblin Marching Band is going to perform for us,” Poppy said eagerly.
Kat snorted. “What a stupid rumour. Who did you hear that from?”
“Luna Lovegood, I think.”
Luna ‘Loony’ Lovegood was in Ravenclaw, too, but she was several years below us – a second year, I think, although she was well-known in our house for her eccentric appearance and strange beliefs.
I laughed. “Poppy, if I were you I wouldn’t believe anything that comes out of Loony’s mouth. She’s full of nonsense, that girl.”
Poppy opened her mouth, perhaps to argue that Luna was completely sane (although I doubted it) but then the entire hall fell silent as Dumbledore stood up at the staff table and stepped forward. Tonight he wore midnight blue robes, his eyes were twinkling behind half-moon spectacles, his arms were wide and welcoming and his beard was as bright as the transparent ghosts, hovering in various places about the hall.
“Welcome!” he said cheerfully. “Now, as I’m sure you’re all eagerly waiting to begin this enticing Halloween feast, I have just one thing to say to you all: dig in!”
There were several loud whoops from over at the Gryffindor table as piles of food appeared throughout the hall. We all eagerly dug in to roast pumpkin, jacket potatoes, minted peas, roast lamb and roast beef and buttery garlic bread.
When the main meals had cleared away, down to the very last crumb, the desserts appeared in their place. My mouth watered as I scanned the table and saw all the Halloween treats: toffee apples, apple pie and cinnamon ice cream, chocolate truffles and pumpkin cheesecake. The house elves had really outdone themselves this time! I tried a bit of everything and by the time the desserts, too, had vanished from the golden platters, I was absolutely stuffed.
The Halloween entertainment turned out to be a spectacular display by the Hogwarts ghosts. They popped out from the walls, ceiling and floor to do a spot of formation gliding and Nearly Headless Nick (the Gryffindor ghost) and the Fat Friar from Hufflepuff finished the evening with a comedy duo, ending in a re-enactment of Nick’s botched beheading. The Grey Lady was notably absent.
By the time the feast was finished I was very sleepy, and looking forward to a good night’s sleep in my warm, cosy bed.
“See you guys tomorrow,” Angus said, as he departed for the boys’ dormitory. “We have Potions first, whoop-de-do.”
“Goodnight Angus,” I laughed, following Kat and Penny up to our dormitory.
“You know,” Kat yawned, pulling on a lacy nightdress. “I never asked you how your date with Oliver went, Dani.”
“For the last time,” I said sleepily. “It wasn’t a date. Angus was there, too, and we had a very nice time. We went to Spintwiches to look at the Firebolt.”
Penny giggled. “Sounds like love is in the air.”
“No it doesn’t,” Kat mumbled, climbing into bed and pulling her covers up to her chin. “It sounds bloody boring if you ask me. How did I get someone like you for a sister, Dani?”
I pulled my own pyjama bottoms on. They were old, threadbare and covered in snitches – not that it mattered. Nobody would be seeing them, after all. “Trust me Kat,” I told her, crawling up into bed. It was very warm and my eyelids began to droop. “I’ve been asking myself the same question for seventeen years.”
We all fell silent. I could hear the steady sound of Poppy and Annie breathing gently. Kat and Penny quickly fell asleep but, despite my exhaustion, I lay awake for quite some time, thinking about the mirror. I hadn’t had the chance to look at it again since before Hogsmeade, but the words Beware! Beware! Beware! lingered in my mind.
When I finally dozed off I had a very strange dream. I was standing in the middle of a dark, empty room. I couldn’t see the corners of it but I could tell that it was very large. I was holding the Mirror of Dreams in my hand. People were circling me, their faces half hidden in shadow, cackling cruelly.
I saw Kat’s face first of all, and she somehow looked so much more beautiful than ever, in a frightening sort of way. “You’ll never be as good as me,” she said, and her voice was a menacing croak.
Then Kat’s face turned into Radley’s and he was laughing at me. “You’ll never get want you want,” he said, before turning into Oliver who just looked down at me, sneering…
“Dani! Dani!” Somebody was shaking my shoulder roughly. “Come on Dani, quickly! Wake up!”
I opened my eyes blearily. Kat, Penny, Annie and Poppy were all standing around me, wearing dressing gowns and scared expressions. Kat was holding a lantern and Penny’s wand was spilling with bright light. The sky outside was darkening rapidly, the luminescent moon just visible under a thick layer of cloud.
I rubbed at my eyes, wondering what all this fuss was about. “What is it?” I mumbled. “What’s going on?”
I suddenly realized how pale Penny was. Pale and shaking. “It’s Black,” she said in a hushed whisper. “Sirius Black. He’s here. In the castle. He’s broken in.”
Sorry for the delay in this chapter! My only excuse is that I'm a terrible human being, so sorry about that! Anyway, I'd love to know what you thought about this chapter? What do you think about the Mirror of Dreams? Any predictions? I would be unbelievably happy if you left me a review - for example you could tell me what your favourite TV show is! Wouldn't that be exciting? Chapter image by Eponine @ TDA
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