“Where is Mr Prewett?” said Professor Dumbledore to Roselle, handing her a cup of tea.
She gulped. “He—er—well—”
“I fell down some stairs,” announced Shell from behind her. Although he had a bandage on his nose, it looked whole, and there was no blood. “Sorry to have kept you waiting, sir.” He winked quickly at Roselle; she fiddled with her badge, her long red hair covering her face.
“At least you are here,” said Dumbledore placidly. “Now. To business.”
“What happened to Professor Dippet?” said Shell.
Roselle flashed him a dirty look. She rather preferred Dumbledore to Dippet, who in her opinion was a fool, and Dumbledore was her godfather after all. And while Shell respected Dumbledore, he liked Dippet because the wizened old half-arsed idiot allowed him to do anything he wanted.
“He is dealing with the governors, but he asked me to go over with you what I am about to say.”
Roselle perked up. “These attacks, Uncle Albus?” she asked.
Dumbledore sighed. “Yes, and in light of recent events, I am asking you to pair up and guard the school.”
“But we can’t…” Roselle began, then stopped.
“What if whatever is harming the Mud—the Muggle-borns attacks us?” Shell finished for Roselle. “Then what do we do?”
Roselle smirked, glad he had taken the question right out of her mouth. He deserved to look cowardly.
“Then Charlus Potter and Minerva McGonagall will step in,” said Dumbledore, “as your replacements until you are un-Petrified.”
Shell gulped, and Roselle stepped lightly on his foot. Bloody coward, she thought, grateful she hadn’t asked what would have happened. A twinkle in her godfather’s eye showed he had not missed the gesture. She smiled innocently.
“Have you any idea who is causing this, sit?” she asked, ignoring Shell’s wince of pain with some regret.
“I am afraid not,” said Dumbledore.
There was a knock at the door.
“That will be Mr Riddle,” he said, with another sigh. “Come in, Tom.”
Roselle wondered, briefly, if the sharp-eyed professor had noticed how Shell had scowled fiercely at the mention of Tom Riddle. She saw Dumbledore’s light blue eyes flick to Shell, and allowed herself another tiny smirk.
Tom walked in, steadily avoiding Shell’s murderous glare. “Yes, sir?” he said, but from his voice it was evident he had heard most of what Dumbledore had said.
“Mr Prewett—Clara—your duties begin after breakfast,” said Dumbledore to Shell and Roselle, addressing his goddaughter with her given, and special, name.
“Thank you, Uncle Albus,” said Roselle. She nudged Shell with her elbow, giving him a delicate shove out the door.
* * *
“That hurt,” Shell complained as they were heading to the Great Hall. “D’you have knives in your elbows, Ollivander?”
“Stop whining,” said Roselle sharply. “How is your nose?”
He instantly flinched. “Don’t hurt it again.”
“Even if you clearly deserve it?” she said in a bored tone, glancing round the corridor. “I wish I knew what was causing this!”
“Causing what?” said Shell, bewildered.
“These bloody attacks!” said Roselle. “Half the time I’m worried for everyone else…”
“—except Slytherin, of course,” said Shell.
“Even them. I am not racist like some people. Dorea is my best friend, is she not?”
“And I have no idea why she is, considering you’re the most irritating person I know,” muttered Shell, not quite softly enough.
She cocked her fist. “I will do it, if you do not shut up righ—hello, Minerva! What are you doing up?”
“I could not sleep,” said Minerva McGonagall regretfully, “I was thinking all night about what’s been going on.” She eyed Roselle’s clenched hand. “Am I interrupting something?”
“You saved me,” said Shell. “I was just about to have my nose broken again in the space of a half hour.”
“On second thought, perhaps I shouldn’t have interrupted,” said Minerva, smirking.
Roselle laughed; Shell glared at their fellow Gryffindor and replacement prefect.
“My wand needs a bit of stress,” said Minerva, pulling her wand out and pointing it at one of the candelabras, extinguishing each candle, then relighting them. “Shall we have a go at it then, later today?”
“Of course,” said Shell, bowing. “I would be honoured—”
“—until she defeats your sorry arse,” Roselle said.
“Don’t you have somewhere to be?” he fired back.
“Men,” said Minerva and Roselle together. Looking at each other, they burst into laughter and went to breakfast, leaving Shell thinking on how much he loathed girls.