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Beth woke the next day at quite literally the crack of dawn – otherwise known as 10:30. She dressed urgently and pelted up three flights of stairs, before knocking on Dumbledore's door, her heart hammering in her chest. While she waited for Dumbledore's reply, her worries whirred round and round inside her head, and she quickly tried to calm herself down by making these worries into a small list:

1.Operation = Pain
2.What if I don't like Galaxy Bars?
3.No more slacking off in lessons
4.Think of all those Galaxy Bars ...
5.Would Cedric Diggory like me better as a genius with a capsule, or an idiot without?
6.Oh dear Lord, please don't let me hate the taste of Galaxy Bars ...

It wasn't the best list in the world, but it would do.

Eventually the door swung open, and she stepped inside Dumbledore's office. He was wearing a long, purple cloak, and stood in front of a fire with a handful of what looked like green dust in his hand. Beth could only assume he was taking a load of sherbet to the hospital, although she thought he could have at least carried it in a packet.

"Ah, Miss Wilkinson," Dumbledore said cheerfully. "I'm sorry for the wait. I'm afraid I was revisiting a few memories – but here you go -"

He came over, and offered Beth some of his sherbet. Beth put out her hand and accepted it gratefully, and was just raising it to her mouth when Dumbledore quickly pulled her hand back down.

"What, you want me to save it 'til after the operation?" Beth said, confused.

"Ah, no, not exactly," said Dumbledore, a small smile on his face. "That is not for you to eat. That's Floo Powder, and it is our mode of transport for today. You simply drop into into the fire, stepped into the flames, and say where you want to go. In our case, that's 'St. Mungo's Hospital'. Close your eyes, keep your elbows tucked in, and don't come out too early."

Beth nodded suspiciously as Dumbledore gestured towards the fire. She held out her handful of Floo Powder, and looked back at Dumbledore.

"Like this?" she asked nervously.

"Like that."

"And you're sure it'll work?"

Dumbledore chuckled. "Quite sure."

She dropped the powder into the flames, then took a deep breath and stepped forwards. Green flames licked her ankles, and she shuddered.

"St Mungo's Hospital," she said.

Suddenly, the ground fell away from her feet. She opened her mouth in a scream, as she started spinning uncontrollably, and squeezed her eyes tight shut, while she spun faster and faster.

I am going to die, Beth thought. I am going to die.

Finally, the journey came to an abrupt end and she was thrown against something hard – possibly the floor. Then, elbows bleeding, she staggered upright and stepped out of the fireplace.

People were giving her confused looks as they passed. Beth tried to look casual, smiling giddily at the passers-by, but this only caused more frightened faces, as though she was some sort of madwoman. She gave up, and waited grumpily for Dumbledore to arrive, wiping ash from every nook and cranny.

He came, a few seconds later. Beth was still slightly cross-eyed from the journey, and hardly took in her surroundings – if she had, she'd have been awestruck with the impressiveness of the place. As it was, nerves were starting to set in, and she hardly had enough awareness to stop herself from walking into anything and anyone. She followed Dumbledore numbly and silently, hoping they would never reach the room.

They did, of course. While they sat in the waiting room with various other patients, Beth had to use all her energy not to vomit all over the floor.

Finally she turned to Dumbledore, who was reading a magazine article ( 'The Woman Who Ate Cockroach Clusters for Tea' ) and looking quite at home. "Professor," she said brightly. "I've been thinking. I don't need to have an operation! In fact, I don't think there really is a capsule in my head. We should just go straight back to the school, and I'll just go back to being ... normal. Does that sound like a good idea, or does that sound like a good idea?" She looked hopefully at the Headmaster.

"It really isn't anything to worry about, Miss Wilkinson," Dumbledore said, looking vaguely amused.

Beth looked innocently bewildered. "Worried? Me? I'm not worried!" She gave an odd, strangled cackle, the kind which isn't very reassuring to anyone who likes the sound of sane laughter.

Dumbledore raised his eyebrows, smiled cynically, and went back to the magazine article.

"Beth Wilkinson?" called a smiling woman, dressed in white robes, who had just emerged from one of the operating corridors. "Through here, please."

Beth followed the nurse through, panic tearing away at her insides.

I can't feel my legs, Beth thought, terrified. Should I be able to feel my legs? I think I should. Where are my legs? Ah, there they are. They're still attached. To me. But surely that should mean I can feel them? But I can't. I can't feel them. Crap ...

The woman lead Beth and Dumbledore into a small, shiny room, and told Beth to lie down flat on the bed. Beth obeyed. The woman gave Beth a sheet to wrap around her shoulders. Beth obeyed. The woman talked to Dumbledore, and scribbled on her clipboard. Beth plotted her escape route.

"So, Beth," said the woman, still smiling. "Are we ready? I hear you've been a little nervous."

Beth laughed her maniacal laugh again. "I'm not nervous! I'm fine. Fine, fine, fine. And I'm also OK. You see? I'm fine, and I'm OK. Not nervous. Not nervous at all."

The woman's smile grew. "Well, there's nothing to be worried about. We'll be putting you in a bewitched sleep, making the incision, and casting the charm that will release the acids from inside the capsule. Then we'll remove the capsule and stitch you back up, good as new."

Beth tried to nod, but was shaking so much that it became more of a spasmodic jerk. The woman looked frightened.

"Okay, Beth," said a male voice, with a thick Scottish accent. "I'm your surgeon, Healer McStay. Now if you could just count to ten for me, and I guarantee you'll be asleep by eight."

The smiling woman was standing in front of Beth, her wand pointing directly at her. A flood of red light poured from the tip, into Beth's forehead. But Beth was a little preoccupied.

"A Scottish surgeon?" she said shakily to Dumbledore. "You got me a Scottish surgeon? But I don't have a Scottish brain!"

The last thing she heard was Dumbledore's hearty laughter, before she blacked out.


***



"See, I knew it would be OK," Beth told Dumbledore proudly. She was brushing a thick layer of ash from her jeans, having just used Floo Powder for the second time.

"Of course you did," Dumbledore said, eyes sparkling. "You did very well."

Beth gave up on her jeans, and gave a huge grin. "I mean, I wasn't worried exactly. Just concerned. You know what I mean."

Dumbledore nodded. "And what about now? Are you worried?"

Beth thought about the Galaxy Bars, and Cedric Diggory, and lessons without advanced brainpower. "Maybe."

"Then I won't keep you any longer. I'm sure you are eager to ... discover yourself. Remember, a person is judged not only by their strengths, but their weaknesses also."

Beth smiled awkwardly, taking this in, and left the office. The castle was almost empty, since most of the students were still at Hogsmeade, and she found with great elation that as she walked the empty halls, she didn't bump into anything. That elation was destroyed, however, when she glimpsed a sight of Cedric Diggory at the end of one corridor – she was momentarily paralyzed, then walked headlong into a wall, fell backwards, and tripped over her left foot.

She lay on the floor for a moment, cursing herself, and didn't see Cedric rushing over to help until she had straightened up and was uttering her strongest swear word. She stared into his eyes, lost for words.

"Are you alright?" he asked cautiously.

"Um ... I'll – I, I mean, I'll be fine," she stuttered, blushing.

"Are you sure? That looked like a nasty fall."

Cedric's friends were gathering around now, adding to Beth's humiliation. They were all wearing strange badges that read: 'Support Cedric Diggory', and Beth stared at them curiously. Cedric followed her gaze.

"I see you're not wearing a badge," he said, grinning.

"Er – no," said Beth. "No, I'm not. But I, er, did have one ..."

"You did?"

"Yes, I did. Funny story actually, there was this cat -"

"Beth!" Luna's voice exclaimed from somewhere behind, and Beth turned to see the friend who had saved her.

"Luna!" Beth said, relieved. She turned back to Cedric, stammered a goodbye, then rushed off eagerly towards her smiling friend. "You're here! And I'm here! We're both here!"

Luna's smiled faltered. "Oh," she said. "Are you acting all weird because the operation went wrong, or because you're over-excited, or because you just smacked your head against a wall?"

Beth stopped to think. "Erm ... the last two."

Luna sighed with relief, and linked arms with Beth, who filled her in on what had happened, skimming over the terror she had felt before the operation. Luna was a great listener, and 'ooh'ed and 'aah'ed in all the right places.

"So have you tried a Galaxy Bar yet?" she asked finally, as they reached the Entrance Hall.

Now it was Beth's turn to falter. "Not yet," she said. "Where would I get one?"

"Muggle Shops, I guess. You could send off for one."

"But that could take days."

They started walking down the path towards the lake, not really noticing where they were going, and discussing earnestly where they could get a Galaxy Bar.

"Oh, Fred and George want us to meet them here later," Beth remembered suddenly as they sat down on the grass beside the water. "They said you know their sister, Ginny."

Luna's face lit up. "They wanted me to come? Did they really say that?"

"Yup."

"Ginny's really nice to me," Luna said thoughtfully. "She doesn't care what the others think."

Beth nodded slowly. "Luna, you're the best friend I ever had," she said truthfully. "But I'm glad you can have some one to hang out with, when I have to go."

"Go where?"

"Beauxbatons," Beth said dully. "I've only got this year. But then the Triwizard Tournament will be over, and I'll have to leave."

"Unless you stay."

They sat in silence, contemplating this. After a while, they caught sight of a students walking back up to the castle, and watched them. Most carried bags of goodies and sweets, and this made Beth think longingly of Galaxy Bars again.

"Beth?"

Beth turned around quickly. One of the twins was standing there, quite alone, laden with carrier bags that were overflowing with products.

"Oh, hi – what are you doing here?" Beth asked, smiling.

He grinned. "You know, I think that's the first time anyone's ever seen me by myself and not said, 'Where's Fred?'"

Beth nodded vaguely. "Oh, sorry," she said . "Where's Fred?"

George shook his head in despair, and sat down on the other side of Luna. "The others are coming down in a second, we want to know absolutely everything. Fred's ... with Angelina."

Beth wondered what it felt like for your twin, who you had spent every waking minute with, to meet a girl. Then a sudden jolt of realization occurred to her, and she looked up at George.

"What?" she said quickly.

George looked at her. "I said, the others are coming down in a sec -"

"No, not that," Beth said. Her blood pressure was rising rapidly. "The bit before that."

"Um ... I said that's the first time anyone's ever seen me by myself, and not said, 'Where's Fred?'" George repeated, bemused.

Beth nodded slowly. "That's what I thought you said."

There was a pause, and Beth sighed resignedly. "Looks like I can't tell you two apart anymore."

____________________________

A/N: Hey, you awesome guys out there who are reading my story. Yes, I'm talking to YOU! If you've got this far, please please please leave a review. Please. It only takes a few seconds, and I don't even mind what it says. I know you've read the story, lots have people have gone all the way to the end, and THANK YOU for that. But I would give out free hugs and cookies to anyone who told me what they thought of the story.

Thanks :)

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