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ernie_dt_mac in augury_rpg

Waiting for Finchy

Who: Ernie and Michael
What: Waiting for an owl that might never come
Where: The Great Hall, Hogwarts hallway alcove
When: Monday, 15 December - breakfast time
Status: Complete

Ernie ate his breakfast without really tasting it. Lately he had felt as if all eyes were upon his every movement, searching for some outward evidence of his participation in the DA, or some other such reason to make an example out of him. He was doing his best to not only keep his nose clean in public, but make certain all the younger Hufflepuffs did as well. It was his responsibility to take care of them, and if anything happened to them that he could prevent, he would never forgive himself. That is, to those that still remained in school...

The morning owls arrived and his eyes followed them, hoping for one to come land in front of him. Ever since Justin had been 'expelled' for being Muggleborn, Ernie had sent off an owl to his best mate almost every day, but had yet to receive a response. He didn't even know if any of his messages had gone through, as for all he knew, they could have been intercepted before they'd even left the school grounds.

But he had to try. Justin was, after all, one of his best mates and it killed him not to know how he was.

He couldn't force himself to eat any more breakfast, something that wasn't as unusual as it once had been. Lately he'd been wavering between a lack of appetite for regular food and a voraciousness for Honeyduke's sweets - a fact that had lately been evidenced in Ernie's new ritual of having to magically expand the waistbands on his trousers every morning. Instead of remaining in the Great Hall, he rose up from his seat and gathered his bookbag, and rushing out of the hall before his eyes could glance again at the empty seat where Justin should have been sitting.

He didn't make it far, though, and quickly found an empty alcove where he could retreat. He leaned against the wall, a feeling of helplessness and despair washing over him. He knew he wasn't the only one feeling this way, that many others had friends who were gone, but for that moment, he allowed himself to be utterly selfish.

He missed his best mate. He missed Justin's jests in the mornings, and the dirty magazines he snuck in behind his textbooks. He missed his knowing looks that saw right through whatever pompous facade Ernie put on. But most of all, he felt guilty that Justin had to leave at all. Ernie felt that somehow he should have done something to stop this, to try and protect Justin as he'd tried to do all those years ago in second year, even though he'd failed then.

Though this time, instead of being frozen in the infirmary, Justin was... Ernie didn't know, and that was the worst part of all.

A lone tear tracked down his cheek as he allowed himself to be upset for just a few moments. He would have to buck up again shortly before classes began, but for now... he cried.


"Hi Ern."

The face peering down at Ernie was drawn and pale, not an uncommon look around the corridors these days. And it belonged to Michael. Over the last couple of weeks, Michael had been waiting for the worst. Finally, he had gotten sick of it- and he and his parents went to the Ministry themselves. Despite the end result, Michael clutched a letter within his hand from Carrow.

"I got a letter here," Michael noted without much emotion either way. "I see Ministry bureaucracy is as efficient as ever. Get something straightened out and they never bother to tell the other departments." Michael managed a very tired looking smile and scoff.

Only then did Michael bend down somewhat stiffly and then sit, ultimately bringing his knees up. He peered at Ernie with a sympathetic look despite his own condition and cocked his head. "Miss Justin, eh?"
At the greeting, Ernie starting moving to wipe away the tear until he realized it was Michael who had discovered him. He still wiped it away, but without the initial rushful need to hide his moment of despair. Michael was his mate, he'd understand.

As his friend spoke, Ernie's eyes fell on the letter in his hands. Suddenly he remembered the morning Justin had received a similar letter, and he felt as if he were about to vomit. It wasn't fair! His friends weren't hurting anyone, why should they be interviewed and expelled just for being who they were?

"Yes," he answered simply. "I don't know where he is, or what he's doing. I don't know if he made it home, or if something 'happened' along the way. I don't even know if any of my owls are getting through."

He looked up, his eyes meeting Michael's. "Is that for an interview with Carrow?" he asked tentatively, almost praying that Michael said no. "Did- did anyone else get one?"
The last month had been so hard on Ernie- Michael could tell. He'd gained weight, subtle but noticeably. The lack of sleep was sometimes quite obvious. But they were all doing what they could. In Michael's case, it was flying under the radar and behaving like a Ravenclaw- here for knowledge, not bravery.

"I'm sorry mate." Michael sighed. "But in all honesty, its probably best if you give up on the overt letters. You're taking a huge risk. If they read your owls, well... they're going to go after Blood Traitors too, mate. Take the Weasleys for example."

"It is. But to be honest, I'm not that worried." Michael tried to reassure. "I've already been in front of the Continuing Committee. What can she do to me?" Only then did Michael's eyes drop. "Well... Hannah got one." Michael grimaced.
Ernie knew Michael was right, but a part of him felt as if to give up on sending the letters was the same as giving up on Justin. "But what if just one of them goes through, just one to let him know I'm okay and worried about him and hoping he's safe and sound. I've got to keep trying, Michael. Let them label me a Blood Traitor, because that's what I am! Why should I sit by as if nothing can touch me while my friends are getting letters and being interrogated and expelled?"

But then came the knowledge that Hannah had gotten a letter as well, and for some reason it felt like the last straw. "Hannah? She got one too?" His eyes were wide, and another tear fell. First Justin was sent away, then Michael and Hannah getting letters... They were coming after everyone he cared about.

"We have to do something," he said desperately with a shake of his head. "We have to protect all of you somehow. I don't know how, though. I just don't know how. I didn't know how to protect Justin, and I don't know how to protect you..."
"Lets try other means." Michael suggested. "Ways that they can't track or that they won't consider looking for." Michael looked Ernie in the eye, his grey gaze steady. "You're not going to do a lick of good for any of us if you're carted off to Azkaban, or if you get your wand snapped." Michael tried to smile but instead it looked rather... forced.

"She got one too," Michael nodded. "I just heard, I didn't see it happen. All in all I think about a dozen of us Halfbloods." Then Michael grew somber and looked away, "The plans are in motion. We have several areas in the castle warded and hexed. We'll contact those with letters and want to run and get them away. From there, its about brooms, portkeys and apparation. It worked in a few cases. Justin was just... stubborn." Michael sighed and looked away, "Worked for Dennis and Colin, didn't it? And Dean?"

Michael sighed and put an arm around Ernie, pulling him into a much-needed hug.
"It's my fault," Ernie muttered, accepting the hug and leaning his head against his friend's shoulder. "He stayed behind because he didn't want to leave me behind, because he knew I'd be worried about him."

He sighed. "I wish this weren't happening. First they went after the Muggleborns, now you and Hannah... if they haven't yet, they'll be going after Megan next, too. Then what?"

His head shook against Michael's shoulder. "Justin will be back, I know it." He paused with the inkling of a grin upon his face. "He left his magazines behind, so I know he'll be back to get them."
"Justin made his choice, mate," Michael said with a frustrated frown, "His intentions were honorable, but if he knew how much you'd eat yourself up about this- and I'm sure he does. This isn't what he wants you to do. I think you can be sure of that."

Michael nodded, his chin briefly tapping at Ernie's head, "I know. Me too. But we had two solid months to plan, mate. We just have to use it now. We'll hold- just like in the classic movies of rebellion and insurrection. We'll take it to every corridor, every classroom and"\ beyond. We'll take it to the streets of Hogsmeade. All we have to do is survive and keep things intact until Harry does his task."

Michael smirked, "Well you'll still have me to push around and get all pompous-like on." Michael teased halfheartedly. "And Neville and Luna of course."

Michael chuckled, "You're going to have to explain all those extra sticky pages when he gets back too."
"Oh, that's disgusting," Ernie protested and shoved Michael away, though the chuckle he let out and the small smile on his face were evidence that his friend's words had done their job - to cheer him up, if only a little.

"Come on, I suppose we'd better start going or else we'll miss class. Last thing we need is to stick out any more than we do already," he said as he readjusted the strap of his bookbag onto his shoulder. "Though I wish we could skip out on DADA altogether. I'm almost afraid of what she'll have us do next, mate."
"Oh please," Michael chuckled, "You're single... you're male. And oh yes, Moaning Myrtle's session kind of proves you do it." Michael tapped at Ernie's chest to try and make him look down, then flicked gently up at his nose, "So save the 'it wasn't me' spiel." In any rate, Michael was pleased when he saw Ernie smile. It was so rare these days.

"Yeah lets head off. Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw are playing in the single digits these days. I think Gryffindor might be in the negative points by now." Michael smirked, "They're actually bollocks enough to think that we care about such things anymore." Michael shrugged, "And anyway, how could we stick out more?"

Michael scoffed, "Practice Unforgivables on each other, likely. Force your best mate into giving you a handjob, and if they break the Imperio its swish and flick the Cruciatus."
"I know I'm single and male," Ernie said with mock glare at Michael, adjusting his tie in a pompous manner, "but such things simply aren't to be spoken about in a public setting." The look was ruined, however, when Ernie stuck his tongue out at Michael to counter the flicking of his nose.

"Not only do we not care, but we all know it's rigged now in Slytherin's favour," Ernie said with a shake of his head. "It doesn't matter what we do, it's all a practice in futility."

Ernie shuddered at the idea of having to perform an Unforgivable. "Well, then I suppose we'd better make sure we have as partners people we can trust, who'll do what's asked without us having to perform an Imperio," he said with determination. "It it's a choice between giving a mate a handjob and watching them have to destroy themselves in having to perform the curse on me, well, my choice is obvious."
Michael chuckled again, this time a bit more darkly and more sinisterly. "Nice. Charming too." Michael said as he stood before Ernie, eyes on his tie. "The tongue, so second year. lets hope Carrow doesn't use, Punctum on it." Michael smirked, "Though I hear tongue rings are a growing Muggle fetish. Sounds a bit dodgy to me."

Michael nodded, "Aye. Slytherin's enjoying triple digits and its only December. That must be some sort of record." Michael looked at Ernie, "Its too bad in a way. I kind of miss some of our 'cock sizing' contests." He joked, referring to Hannah and Megan's term a month ago. Now, it seemed so far away and ultimately pointless, save for a reflection on better times.

"Noble," Michael replied with an arch of his eyebrow. "I prefer a cocky and arrogant Slytherin myself. Someone I can leave twitching on the floor, as long as I follow the parameters of her lesson."
Ernie's tongue flicked immediately back into his mouth at the mention of it being pierced. The things Muggles did to themselves!

Ernie shrugged. "I don't know, it was fun being competitive at times, but... I think I like you better as one of my best mates. It's more fun to work together, you know?"

He looked up at his friend with alarmed eyes, and placed a hand on Michael's arm. "Michael, be careful, all right? I know some of them deserve it, but you're more important than that. All that dark magic, it affects people, and I don't want you changing. If you get into it too much, it'll ruin you."
Michael's hand rested in a calming fashion against Ernie's shoulder, "Like I said- sometimes I miss it." He smiled genuinely, "I quite like things how they are." Michael shrugged, "And anyway, you're right. All that time we used pitting ourselves against each other in a friendly rivalry. Can you imagine what we could have accomplished?"

"Don't worry," Michael reassured with a smile that didn't quite meet his eyes. "I don't plan to off and hex anyone I see on a whim. I know the old saying- he who studies evil is studied by evil." Michael shrugged, "I'm just doing what Carrow told me to do. That is all. And if a pro-Might Slytherin gets put down under her parameters... well thats their problem. Don't pair up with me next time."
Ernie smiled up at Michael. "Good, and you're right. But then, maybe it was safer that way - you and me together? We'd have taken over the world, you know, given the Dark Lord a run for his money. Maybe we're just too dangerous when combined," he teased.

"We shouldn't just roll over and do whatever she tells us, though," Ernie argued. "All I've done over the last month has been keeping quiet and out of the way, trying not to be noticed, but I'm noticed anyway. And what do we have to show for it? Justin being sent away and you and Hannah being interviewed for being Half-blooded. What if together, all of us were to put our wands down and protest being made to attack each other in class?"
Michael chuckled- again. Ernie had a way of making Michael do that, despite the atmosphere. "Damn right. And well, there's always the future. Once he is out of the way." Michael said, teasing entirely. "What do you say? I'll even let you be Minister of Magic. You're the better number cruncher."

Michael ruffled Ernie's head gently and smiled toothily.

With an eyeroll, Michael scoffed, "Ernie, don't you understand. for every thing she shows us, she is showing us what we are up against. The more we are onto them. The more quickly I can implement counterhexes and countercurses in the DA." Michael smirked, "She is feeding us raw intelligence by the spoonful. All we have to do is take it, and pervert it like hell to do exactly what she does not want us to do."

Michael sighed, a look of misery briefly crossing him, "Then we'll all be in the klink together. And the damned world will go on a-spinning. We aren't important enough Ernie- not yet anyway. We will be, in time."
"If I ever develop a desire to be Minister, you're free to declare me officially mentally unstable," Ernie replied. "I may want to rule the world, but politics? No way."

He sighed. "But how many of us have to get hurt while we're 'learning' what she teaches us? She's not teaching us how to defend against them - I'm tired of almost hurting my friends in her excuse for a class. One of these days, she's going to figure out that I'm pulling my punches, and when that happens, either she'll make me hurt someone or make me someone's target. I'm just tired of rolling over and playing her games, Michael."

Ernie looked up at his friend and the misery upon his face, and immediately tried to cheer him up by butting their shoulders together - a difficult task considering their height difference. "Maybe you're not important enough, but I certainly am," he teased. "Can't get more important than me, mate."
"Oh well, mentally unstable. I'll certify that right now" Michael quirked his mouth and 'stamped' Ernie's head with a make-believe stamp, "Agreed though. Politics is rubbish. I mean look at how..." Michael trailed off quickly as a Slytherin and member of the Inquisitorial Squad walked by. His eyes cast down briefly until they jerked over his shoulder to see that the thug had no interest in their affairs. "Look at how they folded so fast. Nothing can shift positions faster than a politician."

"Alright alright... I understand." Michael sighed, "And believe me, I totally agree. Last week when she paired me up with Seamus, I felt God-awful. 'Course if Seamus would just shut his ruddy mouth now and again. Ever since Dean left, Seamus' gone off the deep end. You'd swear they were in each other's kit." Michael grinned, "'Cept that'd be the second gay man Ginny dated, and I see that possibility as slim."

Michael nodded though and looked on, "Anyway, I am too. I don't like hurting people- not even the members of the IS. I'm making the best of the situation, but I definitely don't like it. But just... promise me you won't do anything stupid. Yet. Give us time to talk to everyone and form something cohesive. You being stubborn alone won't amount to much; at least inform our allies so they can stand with you."

Michael's briefly miserable look changed to a smirk, "Yes that lovely posh blood in your veins." Michael moved to act like a vampire then, which was also difficult because of their height difference. "Mmmm, pulsing jugular..."
"It's just like me and Justin, mate," Ernie explained. "They're best mates - Seamus probably doesn't feel fully like himself without Dean there to balance him out."

When Michael asked him to make the promise, Ernie simply kept his lips shut tightly. He was tired of doing nothing, of simply playing along while all of his friends suffered. He didn't plan on doing anything stupid, but... somehow, he couldn't guarantee that he might try something on the spur of the moment. Everyone had their breaking points, and Ernie was fast approaching his. Furthermore, waiting for the others would put them at risk too... he shook his head as if to shake the thoughts away.

He playfully jabbed his elbow into Michael's side to chase off the 'vampire'. "My blood's too rich for your tastes, you'll only get drunk on power. You ole blood-sucker you..."
Michael gave Ernie an affectionate squeeze, "I know you feel like you're running around with one boot off." Michael admonished with a sigh. "And nobody can replace him. But Hell... I'll start looking at and keeping straight porn if it does a lick of good." Michael chuckled then, flicking his bangs aside.

Michael didn't like the silence, and it did not go by unnoticed. Aw Merlin... he's plotting. I just know it.

Michael grinned widely, teeth bared happily as he did. "No, I just have champagne tastes and a butterbeer budget."