„How can you ignore the signs?” Carmen yelled at the backs of two receding fifth-years. “The world is coming to an end! This is your chance! Your chance to become heroes!”
The two girls quickly ran around a corner and disappeared, keeping their heads down and trying hard not to giggle.
Carmen sighed and took out another handful of flyers.
“Hey, hey, take this!” She shoved a glistening, black and blue pamphlet into an unsuspecting third-year’s hand.
He stared at it blankly.
“Beware the Banshee uprising in the West!” Carmen explained, still belowing in her public-speaking voice. “Prepare yourself before it’s too late, we are living in a turbulent, dangerous time!”
“Right,” the boy mumbled, pocketing the pamphlet politely and inching towards the stairs. “I’ll make sure to, uh, read all about it.”
Carmen watched him disappear with a profound, solemn sadness, the kind that is usually found on the face of a disappointed grandmother when she beholds the murderous grandchild and wonders "where did I go wrong?".
And, where was everybody? Carmen had purposefully positioned herself between the stairs leading down to the Great Hall and the main corridor that connected most of the DADA and Charms classrooms. It was almost lunchtime and she had seen only five people pass by out of the usual stampede of five hundred.
“Oh my, what could this be about? I must get me a flyer!” an angel spoke from behind, her rich voice echoing in the empty hall.
Carmen swung around, ready to win over and persuade, but her face sank at the sight of the blue-haired Ravenclaw non-believer.
“Oh, hi Rose,” she mumbled, impatiently shuffling through the stack of flyers in her hand.
“I was wondering why half of Hogwarts was sneaking down side stairwells and crowding the halls in the East Wing,” Rose Weasley smirked.
“How does information travel so fast?” Carmen whined, letting her arm fall to her side limply.
Rose rolled her eyes.
“Come on, lets go get some food to that starved brain of yours.” She linked her arm through Carmen’s and dragged the girl towards the Great Hall.
Carmen followed her best friend grudgingly, lugging three bags of flyers, one over each shoulder and one on her back.
They were an unlikely team, to say the least. While Carmen Morearty was mind-numbingly optimistic and harbored a bottomless reserve of enthusiasm and energy, Rose Weasly would never disappoint in her ability to mock and subvert everything that crossed her path. “Pathetic” was by far her favorite word. “Ridiculous” came in as a close second. Her knowing green eyes were always hidden behind thick, dark-rimmed glasses and, below that, a significant layer of mascara and crazy eye-shadow (That day it was purple). Her hair changed color on a regular basis too, at all times a shade of fake and shocking. But it always remained perfectly slick and brushed into a neat carré with bangs that ended right where her glasses began. This inspired numerous wig-related rumors. And the wildest speculations made their way from common room to common room as to what she must have been hiding underneath.
Carmen never shared Rose’s fascination with the artistic potential of external appearances. Her wild, wavy brown hair was always wound into a messy bun on top of her head and her preferred clothing was baggy and flowing, often sporting the most clashing of patterns and colors. Rose had once lovingly remarked that Carmen looked like an old hag at the market place. But this old hag made up for everything with her one redeeming feature: those large, shining and alert eyes. Many a boy (and girl and house elf) had lost themselves in their hazel depths while struggling to focus on their owner’s animated ramblings about doom and poltergeists and dark new species being harvested in the basement of the castle.
The two girls should have hated each other, but Hogwarts has the tendency to unite the strangest of witches and wizards, and to send them on the most unlikely of quests. Besides, although Carmen would never admit it, she often came to rely on Rose’s stable, grounded shoulder to support her return to reality every time she got carried away. And Rose, well, she just liked Carmen’s freakiness. Human oddness was the only thing that this blasé, permanently bored teenager could find amusement in, and Carmen had more than enough oddness for the entire 7th year put together.
* * *
They entered the chattering, crowded and sunlit Great Hall and proceeded to squeaze into seats at the Ravenclaw table.
Carmen invaded two extra places with her bags and sighed dramatically.
A warm light entered the vast space from outside the castle through the magical ceiling, falling in a calm and confident stream, as if there weren't floors upon floors of castle between it and the heads of the hundred students below. It was one of thosedreamy last days of summer that allows you to show off your favourite scarf, although there is no actualy necessity to wear it should you decide to go for a summer feeling instead. It was that rare time of the year, where nature is changing and anything is possible.
“So those despicable Banshees are predicting death again, are they?” Rose inquired conversationally while shoveling a mountain of salad onto her plate and topping it off with another mountain of scrambled egg.
“No, Rose, it’s so much worse!” Carmen exclaimed, abandoning her toast midway to her mouth, “They are uniting and planning to control death! A dark wizard is using them to distort the time continuum and to use their closeness to fate and nature against us all…We need to prepare for this before it’s too late.”
“Aha, well, ignoring your specie-ism and sexism when you assume they must be controlled by a wizard, the rest totally makes sense,” Rose pointed out, a bit of lettuce sticking out of the corner of her mouth as she continued to chew with appetite.
She eyeing a container of pumpkin juice across the table, swallowed and added “I mean, the Banshees deserve some world domination. They are a peaceful forest folk that specializes in healing and herbs, after all. How terribly lame is that?”
“They…are?” Carmen whispered, her eyes widening, “But…I thought they – and there was this article about a strange epidemic in Cork - ”
“Your Muggle upbringing is starting to take its toll, I’m afraid,” Rose comforted her friend, groaning as she stretched her arm towards the pumpkin juice, “You should go back to that quaint little story about mutated unicorns. Now that had some serious mass-movement potential.”
“But it was years ago!” Carmen moaned. “And Professor Bot confiscated all of the posters.”
“Hmmmm, too bad, I rather liked the picture of a crying baby unicorn with two tails…”
“You jest,” Carmen reproached, “Yet it is no laughing matter, it truly is not.”
“Indeed! Unicorns are fantastic!” Rose confirmed in her the same matter-of-fact manner as before, although a submerged laugh in her tone implied a different attitude. Rose's sense of humour was not of the social variety.
Carmen sighed and took a melancholy bite from her toast.
And then, things started to happen, gradually but also all at once: Glasses began to cling against each other, plates began to slowly slide along the long cotton tablecloths and mild, confused squeals and murmurs began to saturate the usual chatter and clatter of the Great Hall.
Everything seemed to be vibrating, even the sturdy walls of the castle were shaking. And it was getting louder. And louder.
Rose jumped up and swore as the jug of pumpkin juice flew straight into her lap. It crashed onto the floor, and was followed by numerous plates and cutlery. The shards continued to dance on the shaking surface, jumping higher and higher.
Then came a deafening bang! from the East Wing that shook everything with one final jolt.
What followed was a stunned, frozen silence.
Several hunderd pairs of wide eyes watched a statue by the East stairwell wobble uneasily. Slowly, it toppled over and lost a nose as its face connected with the floor.
This seemed to break the trance as everyone started yelling at eachother at once.The house ghosts were first to undertake any action. In unison, they flocked in the direction of the disturbance, silently, like sentient specs of cold, white moonlight. A dozen professors followed suit, wands drawn.
“Well, Carmen, my dear,” Rose commented, examining her soaked leopard-print shirt, “The universe has gifted you. Enjoy your Armageddon!”
hey guys! This is my first Next Generation fic! I never thought I would write one, but this simply had to happen :D
I hope you like it so far, please review! That would make me happy beyond words ;)
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