"The power of friendship isn't an actual form of energy, Al."
Armed with spunk, sugar and a blatant disregard for the laws of physics (or laws in general), inventor Bea Chang is determined to finish her electricity-to-magic device, even if she has to drag in half of Fred's extended family for her ragtag heists. That smarmy entrepreneurial Malfoy, on the other hand, can shove off.
Bea nodded weakly while the amusement from onlookers crescendoed in the background, culminating in a jeer from Phillip Goyle, who was hardly one to talk with black-as-tar mixture, "Oi, you make potion inside the cauldron!"
Whirling to Albus, Bea hissed — or rather, belted out dramatically, "Whaaat haaaappened?"
Robbing Gringotts was still easier than getting Weird Sister reunion tour tickets.
"We're not robbing Gringotts."
"They just make it seem hard! I've got a great plan—we don't even have to break into the vaults!" Albus gave a squeak as Bea wrenched him by the sleeve and pushed back his fringe. "Just draw on a scar, call him Harry, and we can walk right in!"
If war conference talks were settled with cupcakes, world peace would arrive a lot sooner.
"What I don't understand is how everyone seems to see all these opportunities," Bea grumbled. "If you like these opportunities so much, you go get them yourself. Malfoy's giving them away like hotcakes, isn't he? Money, fame, leggy girls. Opportunity hotcakes with extra syrup! Tastes delicious until you start choking on the lies and get backstabbed with a butter knife!"
The biggest threats to Hogwarts were students with too much free time on their hands.
Bea tapped an idle House-Elf on the shoulder, who circled around to glare at her with his one good eye. "Erm, sorry to bother," she said, "but did you see a Scorpius Malfoy in here about a week ago? About yea high, blond, always in a suit, probably thinks he's better than you?"
By crushing every one of her hopes and dreams and stomping them to the ground.
The flurry of worry spread to Albus and Lucy — especially Lucy, who practically leapt from her chair to squish Bea's cheeks together. "Oh no, look at what we've done. She's in shock! The conversation's gotten too serious, hasn't it? Bea, think of puppies! I'll go get the emergency biscuits!"
Even after twelve chapters, no one listened to Fred.
Fred hustled Bea outside before she could get distracted by the glittering sweets. He said that the surprise was 'better than Honeydukes', and if it was better than Honeydukes, it was either a unicorn or two Honeydukes.
The best broom flying lessons were the impromptu ones.
Cracking open a dirt-crusted lid, Bea stared up at the stationary sky, not a single ache or breath left in her body. The blue was almost too crisp and incomprehensibly tall to be real; how could they have fallen from there? Perhaps she was dead and this was heaven.
No, there would be togas, she reasoned, and the mud would be made of chocolate.
She had known, of course—she was avoiding him, too—but it wasn't like when they crossed paths in the halls, when it was easy to brush off their missing greeting. I didn't see him, Bea would tell herself, just like he didn't see me. But this one glimpse marked the unavoidable truth: he had seen her and she had seen him, and at some point, they had both decided they were better off if they hadn't.
Scorpius leaned over the desk for a look. "How could that little — " Then another crack sounded, and his feet slid like a spider on skates as the whole room sunk an inch. In a blink, the crevice had gone from small to alarmingly drafty.
Fred pulled him up. "Little things turn into big problems!"
She could only hope that within an hour's time, a professor would be dragging him out by the collar, unharmed except for the U-shaped mark on his cheek, and she would have laughed off how she overreacted — thinking he was dead, for Fawkes' sake — when he only fell asleep in a broom closet.
Bea's hand tightened around the crook of his elbow, and Fred could feel the unuttered questions tapping in her fingers. We'll find him, right? He'll be okay, right? As much as habit wanted to treat this outing like another caper about the castle, this was no unicorn hair heist; they were searching for a flesh-and-blood prize.
The two men who kidnapped her only saw a small, frightened girl. Which wasn't untrue. She barely topped five feet and had cried more in those three days than she ever had in her life. But it was misleading, like calling the Head Auror a man with a head injury and no fashion sense.
Earlier, when Roxanne delivered lunch from Mum, Fred overheard her chatting with Lily, "He controls like, five percent of the economy now, or something ridiculous like that. Could bankrupt Britain with a sneeze."