My heart sank faster than Harry had just dived. Never did I think I would live to see Professor McGonagall running.
“Never－in all my time at Hogwarts－”
Professor McGonagall was almost speechless, and her glasses flashed furiously, “－how dare you－might have broken your neck－”
“It wasn’t their fault, Professor－”
“Be quiet, Miss Patil－”
“That’s enough, Mr. Weasley. Potter, Carter, follow me, now,” Professor McGonagall said, finally catching her breath.
I caught sight of Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle’s triumphant faces as we left.
We went up the front steps, up the marble staircase inside, and still Professor McGonagall hadn’t said a word to either of us. Harry and I shared nervous looks as she opened doors and marched along corridors.
Professor McGonagall stopped outside a classroom and opened the door, poking her head inside.
“Excuse me, Professor Flitwick, could I borrow Wood for a moment?” she asked.
At first I was confused about what Wood was but it turned out Wood was a person. He was a fifth-year boy who came out of Flitwick’s class looking as confused as Harry and I. After seeing him, I remembered Fred and George saying that he was the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain at Hogwarts.
“Follow me, you three,” said Professor McGonagall, and we marched up the corridor. Wood kept looking curiously at Harry and I.
Professor McGonagall pointed us into an empty classroom that was being occupied by Peeves, who was writing rude words on the blackboard.
“Out, Peeves!” she barked. Peeves threw the chalk into a bin and he swooped out cursing, making me grin. Professor McGonagall slammed the door behind him and turned to face us.
“Potter, Carter, this is Oliver Wood. Wood－I’ve found you a Seeker AND a Chaser.”
I saw Wood’s expression turn from puzzlement to delight.
“Are you serious, Professor?” he asked.
“Absolutely,” said Professor McGonagall crisply. “They’re a natural. I’ve never seen anything like it. Was that your first time on a broomstick, Potter? Carter?”
Harry nodded while I shook my head.
“I’ve played a couple times with my brothers whenever they need extra players,” I said and Professor McGonagall smiled.
I realized what was going on, but Harry still looked confused as ever.
“He caught that thing in his hand after a fifty-foot dive. Didn’t even scratch himself. Charlie Weasley couldn’t have done that,” McGonagall told Wood. “And when he passed it to her she caught it so gracefully while flying at a fast speed.”
Wood was now looking as though all of his dreams had come true.
“Ever seen a game of Quidditch, Potter?” he asked excitedly.
“Wood’s captain of the Gryffindor team,” Professor McGonagall explained.
“They’ve got just the build for a Seeker and Chaser too,” Wood said, now walking around Harry and I and staring at us. “Light－speedy－we’ll have to get them decent brooms Professor－a Nimbus Two Thousand or a Cleansweep Seven I’d say.”
“I shall speak to Professor Dumbledore and see if we can bend the first-year rule. Heaven knows, we need a better team than last year. Flattened in that last match by Slytherin, I couldn’t look Severus Snape in the face for weeks…” Professor McGonagall said and peered sternly over her glasses at Harry and I.
“I want to hear you’re training hard, or I may change my mind on punishing you two,” she said and then suddenly smiled.
“You’re joking. Seeker? Chaser?” Ron asked. “But first years never make the house teams－you guys must be the youngest house players in about－”
“A century,” I said, eating my pie. “Wood told us.”
Ron just sat there and gaped at us.
“We start training next week,” said Harry. “Only don’t tell anyone, Wood wants to keep it a secret.”
“I got you,” said Ron. “Wow－”
“－Well done!” George said, coming over to us with Fred. “Wood’s just told us.”
“We’re on the team too－Beaters,” Fred explained to Harry.
“I tell you, we’re going to win that Quidditch cup for sure this year,” George said. “We haven’t won since Charlie left, but this year’s team is going to be brilliant. You must be good, Wood was almost skipping when he told us. Imagine how proud we were to find out that our little sister and her friend would be playing with us.”
I smiled before giving them both a small hug.
“Anyway, we’ve got to go, Lee Jordan reckons he’s found a new secret passageway out of the school,” Fred said.
“Bet it’s the one behind the statue of Gregory the Smarmy that we found in our first week. See you,” they said before leaving.
Fred and George had hardly disappeared when someone far less pleasant decided to turn up.
“Having a last meal, Potter and Carter? When are you getting back on the train?” Malfoy said.
“You’re a lot braver now that you’re back on the ground and you’ve got your little friends with you,” I said. There was of course nothing at all little about Crabbe and Goyle, but as the High Table was full of teachers, neither of them could do more than crack their knuckles and scowl.
“I’d take you on anytime on my own,” said Malfoy. “Tonight, if you want. Wizard’s duel. Me and Potter. Wands only－no contact. What’s the matter? Never heard of a wizard’s duel before, I suppose?”
“Of course he has,” said Ron. “I’m his second, who’s yours?”
Malfoy looked at Crabbe and Goyle, sizing them up.
“Crabbe,” he said. “Midnight all right? We’ll meet you in the trophy room; that’s always unlocked.”
Malfoy and his gang had left, and the three of us looked at each other.
“What is a wizard’s duel?” said Harry. “And Ron, what do you mean that you’re my second?”
“Well a second’s there to take over if you die,” Ron said casually, getting started at last on his cold pie. Catching the look on Harry’s face he added quickly, “But people only die in proper duels, you know, with real wizards. The most you and Malfoy’ll be able to do is send sparks at each other. Neither of you knows enough magic to do any real damage. I be he expected you to refuse anyway.”
“And what if I wave my wand and nothing happens?” Harry asked.
“Throw it away and punch him in the nose,” I suggested.
I looked up to see that it was Hermione.
“I couldn’t help overhearing what you and Malfoy were saying－” she said.
“Bet you could,” Ron muttered.
“－and you mustn’t go wandering around the school at night, think of the points you’ll lose Gryffindor if you’re caught, and you’re bound to be. It’s really very selfish of you,” Hermione continued.
“And it’s really none of your business,” said Harry.
“Goodbye,” Ron said.
At half past eleven, I met Harry and Ron downstairs. With them were Hermione and Neville.
“Madison, tell them not to go!” she pleaded.
“You and I both know that we can’t stop them at this rate,” I said.
“But what about Gryffindor?” she shrieked. “I don’t want Slytherin to win the House Cup and you’ll lose all the points I got from Professor McGonagall for knowing about Switching Spells.”
“Points can be earned again, Hermione,” I said.
Hermione scowled, and reluctantly followed us all the way to the Trophy Room. Ron looked at his watch and glared furiously at Hermione and Neville.
“He’s late!” Ron said in a loud whisper, making Harry and I turn to face him. “Maybe he’s chickened out.”
“I don’t know guys, this doesn’t seem right,” I said.
There was a noise in the next room.
“Sniff around, my sweet, they might be lurking in a corner,” I heard Filch say.
“Filch!” I hissed.
“They’re here somewhere,” Filch said to his cat. “Probably hiding.”
“This way!” Harry mouthed to us and we began to creep down a long gallery full of suits and armor. I could hear Filch getting nearer. Neville suddenly let out a frightened squeak and broke into a run－he tripped, grabbed Ron around the waist, and the pair of them toppled right a suit of armor.
The clanging and crashing were enough to wake the whole castle.
“RUN!” Harry yelled, and the five of us sprinted down the gallery, not looking back to see whether Filch was following.
We swung around the doorpost and galloped down one corridor then another, Harry in the lead. We ripped through a tapestry and found ourselves in a hidden passageway. We hurtled along it and came out near our Charms classroom room, which was miles from the Trophy Room.
“I think we’ve lost them,” I said, panting. Harry leaned against the cold wall and wiped his forehead while Neville bent down, wheezing and spluttering.
“I－told－you!” Hermione gasped. “Malfoy must’ve tipped him off!”
“Nevermind that now,” said Ron. “We need to get back to Gryffindor tower as quickly as possible.”
“Let’s go,” Harry said.
We hadn’t made it that far down the corridor when Peeves came out of a classroom.
“Wandering around at midnight, Ickle Firsties? Tut, tut, tut. Naughty, naughty, you’ll get caughty,” Peeves said.
“Not if you don’t give us away Peeves, please,” Harry said.
“Should tell Filch, I should,” said Peeves in a saintly voice, but his eyes glittered wickedly. “It’s for your own good, you know.”
“Get out of the way,” snapped Ron, taking a swipe at Peeves－that was a big mistake.
“STUDENTS OUT OF BED!” Peeves bellowed, “STUDENTS OUT OF BED DOWN THE CHARMS CORRIDOR!”
“Thanks, Ron!” I hissed. We sprinted all the way down the corridor until we reached a locked room.
“That’s it!” Ron moaned. “We’re done for! This is the end.”
“Move,” I said, shoving him out of the way and taking out my wand. “Alohomora.”
I shoved them inside the open door, and we remained silent to listen for Filch.
“Which way did they go Peeves?” we heard him ask. “Quick, tell me.”
“Say please,” Peeves said.
“Don’t mess with me, Peeves, now where did they go?” Filch asked.
“Shan’t say nothing if you don’t say please,” Peeves cooed.
“All right－please,” Filch said.
“NOTHING, HAHA!” Peeves cackled. “Told you I wouldn’t say nothing if you didn’t say please! Ha! Ha! Hahaha! Haaaa!”
I could hear Peeves had flown away, and meanwhile Filch had let out a string of curse words and stepped down another corridor.
“Mads,” Hermione said, her voice cracking and her hand squeezing my arms.
I turned and almost screamed, seeing an enormous three headed dog was watching us with all six of its eyes, drool coming down its face.
“Holy shit,” I squeaked.
Harry pushed the door open and we all sprinted out after him, not stopping to rest until we reached the Gryffindor Common Room, where a very irritated Fat Lady let us inside.
“What are they playing at, keeping a dog like that in the school?” Ron wheezed. “It can hardly fit in that room and it probably needs exercise.”
“That’s what you’re worried about?” I croaked. “It had three mouths and there were five of us. They’d have had a nice meal.”
“Did you see what it was standing on?” Hermione asked.
“No, I was too busy looking at its teeth,” Harry said.
“It was standing on a trapdoor!” Hermione said. “It must be guarding something!”
Then she shook her head and scowled.
“I hope you’re all pleased with yourselves. We could have been killed or worse, expelled. I’m going to bed,” she said before heading up to our room.
I shrugged to Harry, Ron, and Neville, who also said goodnight and I headed upstairs wondering what the three-headed dog had been hiding.
All credit for original characters and original plot goes to J.K. Rowling. I own only my OCs and select scenes that are not from the original series. Thank you, J.K. Rowling for writing this series and changing so many lives. Thank you all, for reading.
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