Chapter 15 : Parties and Plots
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The castle was fairly swimming with visitors and the poltergeist under ice was a popular attraction. Peeves could only mournfully look up at those who gazed down at him as they chuckled at his predicament. The spell that Elizabeth had used to encase him was also dampening his abilities which frustrated the captive poltergeist. Many of the visitors thought back to the pranks that Peeves had pulled on them during their time as students. They also thought back to the way that they had wished that they had been able to deal with Peeves the way that the girl had.
Elizabeth rolled over in bed to gather Tiger into her grasp as he attempted to escape. She hugged the cat tightly and then delivered a kiss to the top of his head before releasing him. Tiger, deciding that perhaps the embrace wasn’t so bad after all, responded to the kiss by stretching to brush her face with his head. His loud purr told his owner that he was very happy with her greeting and he jumped down to find his food and water bowls already full, courtesy of the house elves.
The girl pushed the covers aside and climbed out of bed to walk to the bathroom to shower. She could hear the sounds of other girls as they talked and she hurried to catch up with her friends. When she arrived she found Rose already dressed and brushing her hair while Lily and Beatrice showered. An empty stall beckoned her and she hurried to dart into it before another student noticed its vacancy. Warm water was soon cascading over her and she felt the muscles in her back and shoulders relax while she washed her hair.
Rose looked up as Professor McGonagall stepped into the room and smiled at the witch before realizing that her mother was right behind the elderly woman. She hurried to get up and rush to her parent before they embraced.
“Professor McGonagall told me that you would all likely still be here.”
“We can’t go to a celebration all grungy, can we?”
“I would be disappointed if you had.”
While the pair talked and Lily hurried to finish her shower so that she could talk to her aunt, Professor McGonagall stepped closer to the stall where Elizabeth was involved in her own shower.
“Elizabeth, I thought that you would want to know that your parents and grandparents are all here.”
Elizabeth, surprised by the announcement and mistaking what Professor McGonagall was saying, responded with a short squeal as she reached for a towel to cover herself.
“Father and Grandfather are here in the shower area?”
Realizing what the girl thought, Minerva McGonagall smiled before answering.
“Relax, Elizabeth they’re not in this room, they’re up in the common room.”
Elizabeth nodded as she replaced the towel on the hook and continued her shower while the older witch walked away chuckling. She was very fond of the blonde teenager and hoped nothing but the best for the girl.
The crowd in the room rapidly thinned as girls finished preparing for the day and Elizabeth was soon among them as she brushed her fair hair into a lush ponytail. She hurried up to the dorm to slip into her robes and then down to the common room where her family was waiting for her. They looked up as she descended the stairs with a broad smile on her face. She hurried to them as they rose and allowed them to gather her into hugs.
“I think that you have grown a foot, young lady,” Artemis Trane announced as he held the child in his arms and surveyed his grandchild. “Yes, you have indeed grown a foot and have become twice as beautiful as you were the last time that I saw you.”
Elizabeth blushed at the compliment that her grandfather had given her and then turned to her mother as she was gathered into yet another hug. She watched with amazement as a tear ran down her mother’s face and realized that the older witch was looking into her future.
“You are everything that I always wished that I could be, Elizabeth. You are definitely one of the best things that I ever did.”
The girl looked from her mother to her father before accepting the hug that she received from him. John Blackwell stared with utter amazement at the child that he had denied his love for so long. Elizabeth had matured into a beautiful young woman who had a commanding bearing and poise. The front of her robes was adorned with the badge that declared her a Prefect of Hogwarts and the number of academic pins that accompanied it was nearly staggering. Most impressive were the pins that had come from the Ministry of Magic. These awards guaranteed the girl a choice from many certain opportunities that would be offered to her when she finished at Hogwarts.
“Are you looking forward to today, Elizabeth?”
“It’s nice to have a day without classes, but at the same time while everyone is watching the dedication I’ll be on patrol.”
“They couldn’t let you off of patrol even for one day?”
“Oh, I’ll be where I can see the dedication, but I still have a job to do.”
Artemis Trane stepped forward to playfully ruffle her hair and the girl turned to her grandfather with an impish grin. She hugged him tightly before releasing him.
“I guess that now I can reveal a secret that has been long held here at Hogwarts,” he announced suddenly.
“A secret?” Elizabeth answered.
“I know that it’s risky to do so, especially as I am in the company of a Prefect, but I shall take the chance and reveal it.”
“What did you do, Grandfather?”
“I cheated on an exam that was given by Professor Dippet.”
“You cheated on an exam?”
“Yes, I cheated.”
“Grandfather! I can’t believe that you would do such a thing. What if you had gotten caught?”
“Oh, I got caught.”
“How did you get caught?”
“If you are going to cheat, make certain that you are cheating with the correct notes.”
Elizabeth stood stunned as the adults in the room started laughing and then she joined in as they started for the portrait and the stairs that would take them down to the Great Hall. Albus stepped out of a corner and fell in beside the girl as her parents watched. They stood silently as the young couple paused long enough to embrace and then kiss gently.
“I assume that this is young Mister Potter,” Amanda Trane said quietly.
Elizabeth turned to her grandparents with a smile as she held Albus’ hand.
“Grandmother, Grandfather, this is Albus Potter. Albus, you have already met my parents, these are my grandparents.”
“So you are the son of Harry Potter, I have always wanted to meet your father to speak with him. Our first meeting was held under a bit of confusion and our second in equally less pleasant circumstances,” Artemis said quietly.
“You should have the chance,” Albus answered as he reached forward to accept the offered hand. “He will be here to attend the ceremony for his professor and headmaster.”
The group began their descent to the Great Hall while the adults watched the young couple that was with them. That the young pair was in love was obvious and they made an impressive couple. No one had ever imagined the girl seeing a young man who was not only Head Boy but also the son of a very well-known and thought of wizard. The future in front of the young witch that they had watched grow up, and the young wizard that was with her, was bright indeed.
The Great Hall was nearly bursting at the seams with students and visitors alike. The group walked slowly through the crowd as they set a course for the Gryffindor table and soon encountered Harry and the remainder of his group. A slight commotion caught the attention of Elizabeth and she gently pulled free of Albus to walk towards that disturbance. She was nearly to the scene when a taller figure stepped in front of her to block her path.
“Miss Blackwell, what brings you to Slytherin territory? On the job or have you just decided to stick your nose where it does not belong?”
Elizabeth looked up into the cold blue eyes of Lucius Malfoy as he looked down at her with distaste. She glanced past him to see the other members of his family approaching swiftly and then straightened to bring herself to her full height as she looked back at him without blinking.
“Mister Malfoy, what I do as a Prefect in this school is none of your concern! You have nothing to say in the matter at all as, the last time that I checked, you are no longer a governor of this school or a member of the Ministry. I will ask you to step aside and stop interfering with my duties, should you decide not to I shall take great pleasure in ordering you to leave the premises. Which shall it be?”
“You insolent little…”
The remainder of his sentence was halted as Professor Tobias Leeds stepped up to the looming confrontation.
“Is there a problem here, Miss Blackwell?”
“There is nothing that I cannot or will not handle, Professor Leeds. Mister Malfoy was just preparing to remember that he is a guest here and that he shall not interfere with the duties of a Prefect. I was just informing him that if he chose to continue with his activities that I would be more than happy to remove him from the castle and grounds.”
“Very well, Miss Blackwell, it seems as though you have the situation well under control.”
“It is under control and, if Mister Malfoy wishes to remain here for the dedication, it shall remain that way.”
Lucius Malfoy looked down into the eyes of the girl who was standing her ground and sending her own glare back at him. The blue eyes of the girl did not waver nor did the grip that she had on the wand that she had drawn from her robes.
“Mister Malfoy, which shall it be, are you going to behave yourself or do I need to remove you from this castle and grounds? If you decide that you wish to duel me I would welcome the opportunity to do so. But I warn you, I shall not hold back one bit and shall give you a thrashing such as you have never experienced before. Make your decision, now!”
The older wizard glanced around to see that conversation in the area had ceased and realized that all were waiting to see the outcome. Unseen to all, Artemis Trane’s wand had also been drawn as he watched Malfoy. He intended to defend his grandchild, former fellow Death Eater or not, if Malfoy tried anything he would pay a most terrible price. Finally, almost seeming to deflate, Lucius Malfoy nodded silently and then walked away from the young Prefect. Elizabeth watched as the defeated wizard walked back to the Slytherin, who swarmed around him, and left her in silence.
Elizabeth turned and walked back to her own gathering, embarrassingly conscious of the many hands that clapped her on the shoulder as she passed. She arrived back at the table that they were standing by and only then slipped her wand back into her robes. A glance at her hand revealed that it was trembling and she made haste to sit down on the bench beside her. Immediately her parents and grandparents were beside the girl, their faces filled with concern.
“Elizabeth, are you alright?”
The young witch looked up into the eyes of her mother before nodding and answering in a tone low enough that only they could hear her.
“I think that I was very close to a real duel and that I might have had to destroy him if he had continued.”
“Don’t worry about it, Elizabeth, it didn’t happen.”
Elizabeth looked up at her grandfather and nodded as she wiped tears away from her face. While the adults talked quietly she sat on the bench nearly in a daze as she thought about what had nearly happened.
‘I almost had to kill a wizard in front of all of these people. He almost pushed me to the point of striking and using a spell that I have never wanted to use so much as right then. I would have had to use it because he would not have hesitated to do so if he had struck first. Am I becoming more like my natural father? Am I becoming a dark witch?’
She didn’t have much time to think before breakfast was served and the Great Hall seemed to swell to provide seating for all present. As she looked around she realized that the room had done just that and that additional tables and seating had appeared to accommodate the many quests. Elizabeth sat with her family and friends as her mind wandered in confusion and fear. Many of her group watched her with concern and this was not abated when Professor Leeds stepped up to the lectern to speak.
“I would like to welcome all of you to this very special day here at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as we pay tribute to Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Many of you here knew him, as I did, while others here did not have that honor. He was a kind and generous soul that could always be counted on to help one in need of understanding. He gave his life to help defend us from the Dark Lord and his generosity cannot be overstated.”
“Very soon we shall adjourn to the courtyard where the dedication of his statue shall take place and I invite you all to join us there. You are also most welcome to visit the portions of the castle that you wish to. I know that I have seen many former students visiting former classrooms and dormitory areas and encourage you to do so. Time does move slowly here at Hogwarts, but I am quite certain that you will find some changes.”
The applause that sounded seemed to make the room shake and it was at this moment that Elizabeth remembered Peeves. He was still trapped in the ice and missing the fun and festivities. She made up her mind to ask Professor Leeds if he wanted the poltergeist released. As people began to rise from tables she hurried to his side to speak to him.
“Professor, shall I release Peeves? He has been in that planter for days and he deserves to be in on the festivities as much as the rest of the ghosts do.”
Tobias Leeds looked at the girl with surprise as she exhibited the forgiving nature that made her so well thought of.
“I should think that that decision is up to you. I will agree with whatever decision that you make.”
He watched as the girl nodded and then hurried from the Great Hall on a course for the planter where the poltergeist was confined. The trip did not take long and she was soon looking down at the immobile spirit.
“Peeves, I’m going to release you but you have to behave. I want you to enjoy the day like everyone else, but no trouble or you’ll be back in that planter before you can say ice cube! Do you understand me?”
Peeves, trapped as he was, could only blink his eyes. Elizabeth, much to the sorrow of those who had not yet seen the poltergeist under ice, released the spell which held him captive. With a glorious whoop, Peeves erupted from the water to come to a halt before the Perfect who stood her arms crossed in front of her chest.
“Peeves, I mean it, you pull anything and I promise that you’ll be in that planter under ice until my great-great grandchildren finish here at Hogwarts! Now go and watch the dedication and stay out of trouble!”
The pair parted, neither letting their eyes leave the other until Peeves vanished around a corner that Elizabeth knew would take him down to the dedication. Then she hurried down a corridor that she knew would intersect with the one that he was using. She truly liked Peeves, but didn’t trust him at all. When she arrived at the courtyard where the dedication would take place she found him with the other castle ghosts while all waited for the ceremony to begin. She paid no attention to the gathering of Slytherin who had, until recently, been confined to the Isolation Tower.
Scorpius Malfoy ran his fingers over the surface of the ancient wand that he had found while poking about in one of the ancient corridors of the unused portion of the castle. He only needed to use it once and knew what he had to do. It really rather saddened him to have to condemn the girl to life in Azkaban, but something had to be done about her and this was the only thing that he could think of. He watched as Reginald Cramer took his place with his housemates to listen to the speech that was coming and knew that very soon the Ravenclaw would be dead. The instrument of his death was taking her place with the other Prefects and he cast one last sad glance at her as he drew the wand and carefully pointed it at her.
Elizabeth was settling down in her seat to listen to the dedication speech but felt uncomfortable, as thought something was amiss although she could not decide what that was. She glanced around the gathering and saw nothing sinister as she prepared to rise to begin her rounds. The patrol would start as soon as the opening comments were finished and then all would be on high alert. The presence of the members of the Ministry as well as several important visitors made this day a prime target for the forces of the Dark Lord. She listened intently as the Minster of Magic spoke and then rose as the comments were finished. It was at that time that Scorpius pointed the old wand at the girl and cast the charm.
Elizabeth, unprepared for what was coming, took the charm full force and seemed to wobble as the energy washed over her. No one could see her eyes go out of focus and then recover as she steadied herself but the conspirators knew that it had been a successful strike. The young Prefect left the area where she had been seated as the choir sang a song that they and Professor Flitwick had been preparing for the occasion.
She disappeared among the crowd and the members of the group tried vainly to locate her but knew that she was now on the prowl and that soon she would see her prey. Reginald glanced around to search for her and thought that he saw her behind the members of the Ministry delegation. His heart began to pound with both excitement and apprehension as he waited for the witch that he had admired to strike what he knew would be a killing blow.
As she walked through the crowd, Elizabeth was only dimly aware of where she was. She knew that she was at Hogwarts but something was very wrong. There was a presence here, a dark presence, a presence that needed to be dealt with for the safety of all present. She paused long enough to scan the crowd that was listening to the music and then saw what she had feared that she would. A shadowy figure stood near the Ravenclaw House members and she drew her wand in preparation to strike.
Albus noticed that the girl seemed to be homing in on something and altered his patrol path to move to assist her. He watched as she gathered speed and then as her wand slid out of her robes to be grasped tightly in her hand as she moved. The Head Boy looked in the direction that she was headed and saw only the members of Ravenclaw House as they sat quietly listening to the speech that was being given. He could see that she was moving on Reginald Cramer and wondered if the former Prefect had done something that was worth the reaction that the girl was exhibiting.
No one among the crowd except Albus and those responsible for the situation were aware of the impending confrontation, and certainly none were prepared to prevent it. The Minister of Magic was finishing his speech when a light rush of whispered conversation erupted as many of those gathered noticed Elizabeth. Screams erupted as the young Prefect raised the wand in her hand and screamed a single word.
Reginald turned towards the screamed name and realized what had happened just as Elizabeth cast her spell. He had been set up and now was going to be the target of the plot instead of Professor Bellins. The spell struck him in the chest and he was hurled several yards by the impact of the energy.
Screaming witches and wizards scattered as the Prefect closed on her downed target while a dumbstruck Albus did the only thing that he could, he cast his own strike.
The wand was torn from Elizabeth’s hand by the strike and she whirled to see Koeppler rushing towards her from behind with his wand drawn. Albus wasn’t prepared for the attack that she launched next as she raised her hand and cast a spell at the onrushing Head Boy. Albus was immediately encased by the very spell that the girl had used deep under the castle. He collapsed as the tendrils began to wrap themselves around him.
Elizabeth didn’t feel the spell as it washed over her and, instead of falling to the ground, she turned to the Auror that had cast the attack. The strange look in her eyes made the wizard realize just how dangerous the young witch was and he raised his wand for a second strike just as she raised her hand and cast a second ancient spell. Realizing that there was little choice in the matter, several Aurors cast their own counters which enveloped the girl and left her lying unconscious on the ground. They cautiously approached the fallen Prefect until they stood over her. With her loss of consciousness Albus was freed from the spell although Reginald was not as fortunate.
A scream from the crowd gathered around the fallen boy had come from his mother as she knelt next to her son. Healers knelt next to the boy in an attempt to revive him in what was beginning to appear as a vain attempt. Suddenly, he gasped as his chest heaved and then he began to breathe again before opening his eyes.
The healer who was closest to him looked down at the boy who had spoken before answering.
“Don’t you remember?”
“I remember Elizabeth walking towards me with her wand raised. What happened after that?”
“She attacked you, Reginald, Elizabeth attacked you,” his mother answered.
“We need to get him to St. Mungo’s,” the healer announced as he cut the conversation short. A moment later, the trio vanished with a POP leaving the now disturbed scene behind them.
Elizabeth still lay face down on the grass as the Aurors surrounded her. Harry and Professors McGonagall and Leeds knelt down next to the child as her family fought their way through the encircling Aurors. Harry reached down to gently turn the girl over and was relieved to find her still breathing. He had no doubt that something had affected her to cause her to act the way that she had, it was all too out of character for her. She moaned and then her eyes opened to find the crowd around and over her.
“What happened? Where is he? Where is Koeppler?”
Harry looked sadly down at the girl that his son was in love with before speaking words that he had never believed that he would have to.
“Elizabeth Michelle Blackwell, you are under arrest for the unreasonable use of underage magic which very nearly resulted in injury and or death to another student.”
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