Chapter 17 ~ The Foxy Lady
Rick suddenly released Hermione from their passionate embrace, sensing that something was wrong. He opened the door of the train compartment, and rushed over to the windows along the corridor. The sight that greeted him was horrific. Students were sprawled everywhere. He could see the backs of the group of Death Eaters who had surrounded Harry, but he couldn’t see beyond them. He couldn’t see Harry anywhere. A terrible fear gripped his heart. Harry must be dead – unless he’d been taken to Voldemort. I’ve failed him, thought Rick. I’ve failed the great witches and wizards of the Light; I’ve failed Dumbledore; I’ve failed everyone – all because of my damn selfishness!
“My God,” cried Hermione, looking through the windows and seeing the chaos and the Death Eaters on the platform.
“Stay here Hermione, get down, and stay out of sight,” Rick said, vanishing. He had made himself invisible before Apparating to the Death Eaters on the platform.
The first thing he saw was Harry, lying on the platform. Rick immediately threw up a Reflecting Shield to protect him. He was incredibly relieved to discover that Harry was still alive. He looked like he had collapsed from exhaustion. There were about fifteen Death Eaters pointing their wands at Harry. Rick disarmed them, levitating their wands to dance high above their heads. He then put an Impediment Jinx on the astonished Death Eaters, to prevent them escaping. He found the rest of the Death Eaters lying scattered around the platform and levitated them over to join the others. He Ennervated the ones who were stunned, having already given their wands the same treatment as those of their fellow Death Eaters. Then he put an Impediment Jinx on them, as well.
Looking around, Rick could see that some of the students were hurt. He needed to get help. Rick Apparated to the other side of the sheet of flames, at one end of the platform. There were two Death Eaters maintaining it with some kind of spell. Rick levitated their wands and the flames immediately vanished. He levitated them over to join the other Death Eaters, again using an Impediment Jinx to immobilise them. He did the same with the pair maintaining the sheet of flames at the other end of the platform.
After a quick scan to make sure all the Death Eaters were incapacitated, he Apparated to the Hogwarts gates, where he found four more Death Eaters maintaining another sheet of flames across the gateway. It was effectively trapping the Hogwarts staff within the Ward line of the school, which was very cunning, because the Hogwarts anti-Apparition Wards were preventing the teachers from Apparating out to help the students.
Rick disarmed the Death Eaters and immediately put an Impediment Jinx on them. The sheet of flames vanished to reveal Hagrid, along with Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall, Flitwick and Sprout, looking bewildered. Since Rick was invisible, they could not understand, at first, how the Death Eaters had been stunned.
“The situation is under control, Headmaster,” said Rick, in the ethereal voice of the Ghost of Godric Gryffindor. “But some of the students have been hurt and are in need of assistance. I suggest you Apparate to Hogsmeade Station at once. It will be my pleasure to deal with these Death Eaters.”
Rick Apparated the four Death Eaters back to the station, to add to his collection. Then he rushed over to see if Harry was OK. Professor Dumbledore had already found him, and was helping a shaky and exhausted-looking Harry to his feet. Rick breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then, remembering that Hermione was still locked in the train, he Apparated the door of her compartment and unlocked it, calling out to her in his normal voice, “It’s safe now, Hermione, you can get off the train.”
Hermione immediately rushed over to Harry and hugged him in relief. “Harry! I was so worried,” she cried. “Are you alright?” Then she saw the prone body of Bellatrix Lestrange. She wore no mask. Her face was frozen in fear – eyes wide open. “Harry, she looks like she’s been hit by the Killing Curse, what happened?”
In her anxiety about Harry, Hermione hadn’t noticed the Headmaster. It was obvious that he’d been talking to Harry. “Excuse me, Professor Dumbledore,” she said, “I didn’t see you. I’m sorry if I interrupted.”
“Not at all, Miss Granger,” he said, smiling indulgently at her. “Harry was just telling me how he held off the Death Eaters with the Reflecting Shield that he mastered over the holidays – a most impressive feat. Please continue, Harry.”
“I must have held it for five minutes at least,” said Harry. “But towards the end, it was a real struggle. The funny thing is, not one of the Death Eaters twigged to the fact that it was their own curses hitting them. They thought all the curses were coming from me. Bellatrix Lestrange got quite a shock when her own Cruciatus Curse hit her. She thought it was mine. But, by then, I was barely able to hold the Reflecting Shield – it takes so much energy. When she finally threw the Killing Curse at me, I really didn’t think I had the energy to stop it. I only just managed, before collapsing.”
“Well done, Harry,” said Dumbledore. “This Reflecting Shield that Rick taught you is the only thing I have ever known to stop a Killing Curse – except, of course, for the protection that your mother used to save you as a baby. It is a formidable weapon, Harry – I suggest we keep quiet about it. Let people think what they will about how Bellatrix Lestrange died. If you had, in fact, used a Killing Curse in self-defence, there would be no blame attached.”
“Sirius’ death is avenged,” said Harry solemnly, staring sadly at the lifeless form of Bellatrix Lestrange. But Harry was not rejoicing. Inwardly he felt shaken at having caused the death of another person – even a totally evil one, like Bellatrix Lestrange.
“It is poetic justice,” said Dumbledore. She died by her own evil curse. Yet you can feel that you contributed, without feeling that you are a killer. You have avenged his death, without having to kill. I think Sirius would be very happy, on both counts.”
“By your leave Headmaster,” said the voice of the ghost, emanating eerily, without warning, “I think these Death Eaters deserve a good Squibbing, to ensure that they do not attack innocent students again.”
“By all means, please proceed,” agreed Dumbledore. “It’s a most appropriate and efficacious punishment,” he added, leaving Harry and Hermione, and making his way over to the jinxed Death Eaters.
“Hermione, do you know what happened to Rick?” asked Harry. “I didn’t see him anywhere during the fight with the Death Eaters. I was desperate for him to come and help me – especially when I felt my Reflecting Shield starting to fail. I really thought I was a goner.”
“Umm ... I think he must have Apparated to get the Ghost of Godric Gryffindor,” lied Hermione. Well, it wasn’t a complete lie, she thought to herself – it was true in a way.
“You mean Rick can summon the Ghost of Godric Gryffindor?” asked Harry, incredulously.
“Err, yes,” said Hermione. “He told me one time that he can channel him.” Well that at least is true, she thought to herself. He did say it after all, even if he was lying.
“Well, that’s lucky,” said Harry. “The ghost got here just in the nick of time. I collapsed just after Bellatrix Lestrange Avada Kedavra-ed herself. Holding the Reflecting Shield for so long – and seeing off two Unforgivables – it drained me completely. There were still over a dozen Death Eaters waiting to finish me off – or take me to Voldemort. It seems like the Ghost of Godric Gryffindor has saved the day again!” Just as Harry said that, the rasping voice of the ghost, itself, rang out loud and intimidating, along the length of the station.
“Death Eaters, you shall now be punished for this attack. Let this be a warning to every Death Eater, that they can no longer attack the innocent with impunity. I, the Ghost of Godric Gryffindor, shall exact a terrible punishment upon them – I shall Squib them – as I now Squib you – Squibbus!”
The Death Eaters’ wands drifted down to them, but they couldn’t catch them. In fact they couldn’t move; they were still under the Impediment Jinx.
“Oops, how silly of me,” chortled the ghost. “Finite Incantatem. Sorry chaps, but that’s just to end the Impediment Jinx. It won’t, of course, end the Squibbus Curse, that spell is permanent.”
The Death Eaters immediately grabbed their wands and tried to Apparate away, but without success. They tried all kinds of spells, finally giving up, utterly dejected.
“Yes, it is rather nasty, isn’t it?” said the ghost, sounding extremely satisfied with itself. “Do be sure to let your Death Eater friends know the terrible fate that awaits them – if they do not repent and mend their ways. Luckily for you, you’re at a train station and if I’m not mistaken, the Hogwarts Express is about to depart. So you’ll get home at least.”
“Please be kind enough to take the body of your former colleague with you,” said Professor Dumbledore, pointing to the prone, black-robed figure of Bellatrix Lestrange, lying on the platform.
He then turned his attention to the students. The Hogwarts professors had Ennervated all the stunned students, who were unsteadily getting to their feet. Only three students were unable to walk to the horseless carriages. Professor Flitwick had conjured stretchers and cast the Mobilicorpus spell on them. He was levitating all three of them to the nearest carriage.
Rick waited until the platform was almost empty before making himself visible. The Hogwarts Express had departed with the Death Eaters aboard. Only Professor Dumbledore remained – waiting to have words with him, Rick guessed, grimly. He was feeling completely ashamed of himself and was really not looking forward to facing the Headmaster. But he would have to do it sooner or later – I might as well get it over with, he thought.
“Err, Professor Dumbledore,” said Rick apologetically. “I’m really sorry I let you down like that. I feel terribly ashamed of myself.”
“But what happened, Rick? Where on earth were you when the Death Eaters attacked?”
“Err ... on the train, sir,” said Rick, looking sheepishly at his feet and wishing that a hole would open up and swallow him.
“Yes, but why didn’t you Apparate onto the platform in your Ghost of Godric Gryffindor guise, and deal with the Death Eaters immediately?” asked the Headmaster, baffled.
“Err, because I didn’t actually notice them, sir. I didn’t realise there was an attack for quite a while,” said Rick, quietly, hanging his head.
“But why not?” asked Dumbledore, completely mystified now. “How on earth could you not have noticed?”
“Well, sir, you see, err ...” started Rick. “You see, sir, I was a little distracted at the time....”
“Yes?” asked Dumbledore, waiting expectantly.
“I was, err, I was ... well, you see, I was kissing Hermione, sir,” he finally managed to blurt out. “I know it sounds stupid,” he continued quickly, trying to explain himself, “but when we kiss, something very strange happens. It’s like I’m no longer there, like I go somewhere else. I have no idea at all what is happening around me.”
“There is something most unusual about your link with Miss Granger. It seems that your feelings for her somehow connect you with something greater than the both of you, it is most interesting.”
“Do you think I should end our relationship, Professor?” asked Rick, determinedly. “It seems to be distracting me from the work I was sent here to do. It’s happened before, but never with such drastic and potentially disastrous consequences as today. My feelings for Hermione impelled me to risk my life – and so much more, when I went to rescue her at Azkaban. I just don’t know what to do.”
“Rick, I do not believe that you need to end your relationship with Miss Granger. A link has been forged between the two of you, which cannot easily be broken. If you were to attempt to end the relationship, you would still be distracted, perhaps even more so. You would still feel compelled to rescue her if she was in danger. I doubt it would help,” he said, smiling at Rick.
“But then what can I do?” asked Rick, desperately. “Harry nearly lost his life today because of me. He held off all those Death Eaters with his Reflecting Shield for five minutes or more. It completely exhausted his energy. I arrived just in time. He had collapsed, completely vulnerable, at the mercy of a dozen or more Death Eaters. It was such a close call!”
“Yes, it certainly was a near thing,” agreed Dumbledore. “But whether it was luck or ... who knows what, it turned out well, in the end. There were no lasting injuries. Harry proved – to himself – that he has the power to face his enemies and win. You deserve some of the credit for that. Not only for teaching him to deploy the Reflecting Shield, but also, if I am not mistaken, for somehow increasing his magical power. It is quite extraordinary that he could hold a shield like that for so long – and that he stopped the Killing Curse. Also, Harry has, I believe, finally laid to rest the painful feelings that have been tormenting him since the death of Sirius Black. All-in-all, it has worked out rather well.”
“Thank you, Professor,” said Rick. “That makes me feel a lot better, but I’m going to have to learn to stay focused. That’s two attacks by Voldemort in the past couple of weeks. It seems like he’s going on the offensive.”
“Yes, I believe you are correct. Although we were lucky today, you are going to have to stay focused on what you are here for, Rick,” said the Headmaster looking at him seriously. “Since you have discovered just how distracting Miss Granger can be, may I suggest that you take care to only engage in ... distracting activities, when Harry is safe, and all is secure. Perhaps I should arrange to have Alastor Moody give you some private tutoring in the art of Constant Vigilance?” suggested Dumbledore, his blue eyes twinkling mischievously.
“Err, thank you very much, sir,” said Rick quickly. “But I don’t think that will be necessary. I think I’ve learned my lesson today. I’m going to try very hard to keep my mind focused from now on.”
“Yes, I’m sure you will, Rick,” said Dumbledore smiling at him.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
With the start of the new term, Harry and Hermione began their Animagus training with Rick in earnest. They met almost every other evening in the Room of Requirement, which was doing a very convincing imitation of a forest for them. It reminded Harry of the classroom where he’d had his Divination lessons with Firenze the previous year.
The room seemed unbelievably immense; the floor was grassy, with trees growing everywhere. Looking upwards, all you could see were tree branches and leaves. There were several small clearings, connected by dirt paths. One led to a small waterfall cascading down into a beautiful rock pool – which was surrounded by boulders, ideal for sitting on and gazing into the tranquil waters. They spent most of their time around the pool. It was an enchanted place. The soothing sound of the water, somehow seemed to draw them closer to nature, and, perhaps, to their inner animal.
Although Rick was supposed to be doing the training, it was, in fact, Hermione who, having read every book on the subject, determined how they should proceed. “Most of the books recommend starting with exercises involving altering the body through visualisation,” she said. “You need to start with something simple, like lengthening and shortening a finger.” Rick guided them through the visualisation process.
Harry mastered it quickly. Rick wondered whether Harry was a Metamorphmagus, like himself, and made a note to investigate the possibility with Harry later. Harry was a natural. Soon he was able to make all his fingers and toes grow and shrink at will.
Hermione was alarmed that Harry was getting ahead of her. She was determined not to let him beat her at mastering the Animagus transformation. She felt disgraced every time Rick got a better mark than her in class – there was no way she was going to let Harry beat her at this! Her competitive nature spurred her on, and very soon Hermione caught up with Harry. They went on to changing the length of their arms and legs. They looked so ridiculous at times that it was hard to remain serious. When they started on their faces and necks, it became impossible. They would collapse in hysterics at Harry, with ears as large as an African elephant’s, or Hermione, with a four-foot long neck, looking like a giraffe having a bad day.
“We’re making really good progress,” said Hermione, happily one evening. “We just need to be able to do these body transformation exercises a bit more quickly, and we’ll be finished with that part of the training.”
“So what’s next?” asked Harry.
“Developing an empathy with our animal,” answered Hermione. “The books talk about bonding with it. I mean, if your animal was a cat for instance, you’d get yourself a pet cat and spend lots of time with it, trying to understand it; how it thinks and feels.”
“Hermione,” said Harry, “where am I going to find a pet Golden Eagle?”
“I might be able to help you there,” said Rick, closing his eyes and trying to visualise the Animagus forms of some of the great spirits to whom he was linked. “I can’t do an eagle, but I can do you a Peregrine Falcon.” With that, Rick transformed into one. He spread his wings and began to fly about beneath the tree tops.
Harry tentatively held out his right arm. The falcon glided down and landed gently on his wrist. It was a powerful, fierce-looking bird, and although Harry knew that it was really Rick, he found its proximity to his face quite intimidating. Harry observed closely as the falcon slowly spread its wings and stretched them. He studied how it took off; how it moved its wings to gain height; how it held them out rigidly as it glided; and how it moved them, to stall itself as it landed on his arm. Harry found it easy to let his mind become absorbed in the falcon – it fascinated him. He examined every part of its body minutely, from the cruel beak to the powerful claws. It was a very impressive bird, and it filled him with awe and longing – longing to transform into a Golden Eagle....
“What about me?” Hermione asked Rick. The two of them were sitting alone in the common room after returning to Gryffindor Tower just before the night time curfew. Hermione was concerned that Harry was going to beat her. She felt Rick had given him an unfair advantage.
“I’ll come visit you in your dormitory tonight,” he said with a grin.
“What?” squeaked Hermione. “Don’t you dare!”
“Of course, I was planning on turning into a fox first,” laughed Rick.
“You mean you can turn into a fox, just like my Animagus form?” asked Hermione, excitedly.
“I haven’t tried yet, but I’ve seen it in my mind – so I’m sure I can.”
“Don’t you think it might look just a little odd, Rick? I mean, a fox coming out of your dormitory and going into mine?” asked Hermione sarcastically.
“No, no. That’s not what I had in mind,” said Rick. “I was planning to Apparate from my dormitory to yours – invisibly, of course. Then I’ll hop on your bed and transform into a fox.”
“Rick Godfry!” said Hermione, outraged. “Don’t you dare Apparate into my dormitory – ever! One of us might be getting undressed.” Hermione turned on Rick and stared at him hard. “Rick, have you ever Apparated into my dormitory?”
“No,” said Rick. “Never! I promise.”
“What about other girls’ dormitories?” asked Hermione suspiciously.
“Look, Hermione,” whispered Rick. “I’ve been spying for Dumbledore all year, OK? I’ve been in the dormitories of the senior Slytherin girls sometimes, but not often; and I certainly don’t stay around if they’re undressing – believe me. Most of my spying has been on Draco Malfoy, although since his father got Squibbed, he’s been keeping his nose clean. The only time I accidentally came across a female undressing was one time when I Apparated into Umbridge’s room – but believe me, I was out of there like greased lightning – Umbridge in her knickers – it should be classified as an Unforgivable!”
Hermione laughed at the image of Rick’s encounter with Umbridge.
“What I thought we could do,” said Rick becoming serious, “is for you to summon me, once your dorm-mates are asleep. I may not be able to come immediately. I’ll have to wait until the guys in my dormitory are asleep as well. I’ll Apparate directly to your bed – and immediately turn into a fox. I can sleep on your bed. Just make sure you draw the hangings.”
“Umm, Rick,” said Hermione. “I’m not sure if this is such a good idea. Boys aren’t allowed in the girls’ dormitories. I mean you could get expelled if you were caught.”
“Hermione, they don’t expel foxes – now stop worrying!”
“I don’t know Rick; I don’t like breaking the rules. I’m a prefect, after all, and, umm ... I’d feel a bit guilty about having you spend the night in my bed. Umm ... are you a male fox, do you know?”
“Umm ... I don’t know, actually – does it matter? Hey, I know,” laughed Rick, “you can check, tonight!”
“Rick!” giggled Hermione, swatting him on the arm. “You’re terrible! I’m pretty sure your Animagus form is the same gender as you. Err ... unless, you’re gay – in which case it can be either.”
“Well, I’m pretty sure I’m not gay,” said Rick, grinning at Hermione. “But some of my Animagus forms are from the spirits of great witches, so some of them are likely to be female. For all you know, I might be a cute little vixen – the perfect mascot for a girls’ dormitory. Just think of me as a fur toy to cuddle up to when you go to sleep. You know, with the link between us, it’s bound to accelerate your progress.”
Rick’s final comment did it. Hermione was desperate to succeed in becoming an Animagus. This was more important than school rules – and maybe she’d still beat Harry! “OK,” she finally agreed. “But make sure you don’t come until I summon you – and transform immediately! OK?”
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Hermione lay nervously in her bed waiting for Rick to appear. She had just summoned him. Suddenly she felt something heavy at the end of her bed – she quickly pulled her legs up. “Lumos,” she whispered. Hermione was surprised at the size of the fox, she hadn’t realised that it would be so large. Tentatively, the fox crawled on its belly up towards the head of the bed. Hermione found it a little frightening. She knew it was Rick, but it was still a fox – a wild animal, a cunning predator, not some docile house pet. But the beauty of the animal captivated her. It looked a bit like a dog, with a pointed muzzle and a bushy, white-tipped tail. Its thick coat was an attractive reddish-brown colour, and the light of her wand reflected the curiosity in both of their eyes.
Hermione timidly reached out a hand and ran it gently along the fox’s side. It snuggled closer to her – obviously it like being petted. Hermione loved the feel of its thick fur. She loved patting it and caressing it – and it was clear that the fox was enjoying the attention. Hermione felt a strong attraction to the animal. Is it because it’s really Rick and because of our link? Or is it my inner animal feeling attracted to one of its own kind? she wondered. Whatever it was, Hermione really loved the fox, and felt deeply drawn to it. She could feel it gently pulling her, enticing her into its world. Extinguishing her wand light, Hermione wrapped an arm around the fox, and drifted contentedly off to sleep, dreaming she was a fox running wild through the forest.
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Hermione, felt something warm and wet against her cheek. Her eyes flew open and she found herself staring into the eyes of the fox, only inches away from her own. The fox was licking her face – it felt nice. It’s almost morning, she thought. This must be how foxes say goodbye. Rick momentarily reverted to his human form before Disapparating from her bed. Hermione nervously checked that the hangings around her bed were completely closed – the last thing she needed was for Parvati or Lavender to see Rick in her bed!
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
Much as Hermione loved having Rick – the fox – in her bed, it made her feel nervous and guilty. Fortunately, he only needed to spend two more nights snuggled up to her in his fox form. On Friday evening, Harry and Hermione were again working on their Animagus transformations with Rick in the Room of Requirement, when Hermione suddenly turned into a fox. Harry gasped in surprise. He was the only one able to gasp – as Hermione and Rick were both foxes.
Harry had no trouble telling the foxes apart. Hermione was noticeably smaller than Rick. Harry guessed that female foxes were smaller than the males, and that Rick was a male fox, after all. But there was an easier way of distinguishing Hermione. Foxes normally had quite a bit of fur on their faces. But Hermione’s head was positively bushy, especially between her eyes and ears. Rick and Hermione seemed to be having a great time playing in the underbrush. One minute Rick was chasing after Hermione, then the next, Hermione was giving chase, and Rick was fleeing before her.
Eventually, the male fox changed back into an exhausted, puffing Rick. “Hey mate,” he said with difficulty, to Harry as he tried to catch his breath, “so what do you think of our cute little vixen?”
“There’s no doubt at all that it’s Hermione,” laughed Harry. “Did you notice all the bushy fur on her head?” But Harry stopped laughing, because the fox had just sunk its teeth into his ankle. “Ouch!” yelled Harry. “Cut it out Hermione, those teeth are razor sharp! Go take your carnivorous cravings elsewhere – or it’ll be payback time when I transform into an eagle!”
Hermione transformed back into herself. She was so excited, she couldn’t stay still. “Oh, Harry, I’m so sorry, I just got a bit carried away when you said my face was furry – I didn’t realize how sharp my teeth were or that I was hurting you. Let me see that leg. Oh my! It’s really bleeding badly, that’s a very deep wound. Harry, I’m so sorry! Come on, we’ll have to get you to Madam Pomfrey before you bleed to death.”
“Calm down Hermione,” said Rick. “I err ... I think I may be able to fix Harry’s leg.” Rick remembered to use his wand – there’d be fewer questions from Harry that way. He waved it at Harry’s leg and it was instantly healed – without so much as a scratch on it. “There Harry, all better. We’ll just have to hope that Hermione doesn’t have rabies,” he added with a snide grin, hoping to distract Harry from what he’d just done.
“Yeah,” laughed Harry. “Thanks Rick, nice work – Madam Pomfrey couldn’t have done it any better. So you can heal as well! Is there any magic that you can’t do? I don’t suppose there’s much point in me asking you again, where all your magical knowledge and power comes from – you won’t tell me, will you?” asked Harry in frustration. Rick just shook his head, smiling apologetically.
Hermione, meanwhile, had just turned back into a fox. Excited as she was at finally attaining her Animagus form – and beating Harry – she still had work to do. The books advised practicing the transformation until one could do it instantly. Hermione, as always, was aiming for perfection.
“Who would have guessed that beneath the prim and proper exterior of Hogwarts’ Alpha bookworm, there’s been a foxy lady just waiting to burst out?” laughed Rick, making sure that Hermione was out of earshot. He didn’t want to have his leg gnawed off.
“So what about me, Rick?” asked Harry, grinning at Rick’s joke. “Do you think I’ll need much longer?”
“No, you’re close, mate,” said Rick. “I’ve got an idea to help you along. What if I transform into a Peregrine Falcon sometime, while you hop on your broom. We can go flying together. I’ll stay just in front of you. That way, you’ll be able to watch me fly, and maybe absorb the feeling. I think that’s what helped Hermione so much. She was able to pick up on my feelings when I was a fox.”
“So is that where you’ve been the past few nights?” asked Harry, with a grin. “I noticed you weren’t in your bed. So whose bed were you in then? Hermione’s perhaps?”
“Err, yeah .... No! Err ... what I mean is that I was in her bed – No! Not in her bed – on her bed! But I was a fox – the whole time – honest Harry! And it was just to help her with her Animagus transformation, of course.”
“Of course,” grinned Harry. “Relax, Rick, I believe you – and anyway, I’m not a prefect – like Ron! Luckily for you, I don’t think Ron noticed you missing – he sleeps like a log.”
“Please don’t tell him, mate,” begged Rick. “He might not understand. And it might be best not to let on to Hermione that you know, either. She’d be really embarrassed.”
“No worries mate, I’ll keep quiet,” laughed Harry. “But you do realise that you don’t have any excuses to be out of your bed at night anymore, don’t you?”
~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~
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Coming up: Chapter 18 ~ The Healer
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