What: The DA ferries away yet another set of targeted students.
When: Just after Dinnertime; December 15th, 1997.
Where: Room of Requirement.
The signal was made shortly after lunchtime, and Michael noticed during one of his brief trips to the 'bathroom'. The old and entirely forgettable cauldron was turned over onto its top on its pedestal, below it the name of the person it was dedicated to- "Grimfoss the Brewer." Michael actually bothered to look up the name- he invented a new form of heat-controlling cauldron back in the 16th century, and was Head Boy. Other than that, he seemed unremarkable. But even in death, his small and forgotten monument was doing good again.
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What: Quality time
Where: Where they're hiding
When: December 15th, early-ish morning
Hermione supposed the hardest thing in this world for her to say was 'I'm afraid'. She could only assume that is why she had gone along with their upcoming plan, why she had done her best to make sure that it was as foolproof as something so irresponsible could possibly be. It seemed easier to march the lot of them off to what was becoming increasingly certain death than it was for her to stop and admit that she was utterly terrified.
She had gone so far as to prepare a list for herself. One that encompassed all the things she wanted to have done in case the worst happened. She felt slightly guilty for how few of these things involved books or learning; most of them were far more simple. Spend a night looking for her favourite constellations had been one of them. Todays was rising early to watch the sun rise.
It was overly romantic and cliched, and as she sat outside their tent to watch the colours in the sky change, it also seemed strangely uninteresting. Still, and this was the most important thing to Hermione, she could at the very least say that she had done it now. She could cross if off her list, one of very few things on a very long list, and hope that she would have time for the rest of them.
What: Keeping up appearances
Where: Ministry Atrium
When: Monday, 15 December
Percy strode down the center of the Atrium among the throng of Ministry employees as he had done so many times before, yet where once he had held such pride and honour in being in this place, now he only felt fear and near-desperation. He kept his head high, dignity strong in his every movement, which helped to hide his disgust as he passed the new monument that had been erected to replace the old fountain.
Head high. Don't look. Pretend you're above them all and they won't suspect you're anything but the dutiful Senior Undersecretary.
The plans with Kingsley would have to come to fruition this week, or else there may no longer be any opportunity to change things for the better. A part of him feared it was already too late, that they had taken far too much time gaining supporters, but they'd had to be careful with their efforts lest they be discovered by the wrong people. So far, Percy was confident that the Minister knew nothing of the plans to throw him over, but one wrong move could change that.
He stood quietly by the lifts, waiting for one to arrive and whisk him away to his office.
What: Forget Defense
Where: DADA Classroom
When: Monday, December 15, 1997
“Good day, class,” Alecto addressed the teenagers that sat before her. The students in her class were silent in contrast to how they might have been when she had first taken over the course. But several weeks under her command, had begun to change the entire demeanor within the room. She smiled, an unnerving smile, which revealed two rows of jagged teeth. “Today we will start with a brief lecture of effective hexing before moving on to today’s practicum.” With those words, Alecto could almost feel the tension in the room heighten. The students hated her practicum session and with good reason. Instead of teaching the children the most successful ways to deflect dark arts spells, she expected them to test out their techniques instead.
With the flick of her wand, words began forming in chalk on the blackboard. Latin terms such as “exuro viscus”, “suffoco”, “aduro turgem”, “flagello”, “effrego” and “punctum”.
“Can anyone identify any of the spells I’ve listed?” For a full minute, there was silence. Alecto tisked. “You can’t honestly expect me to believe that these words mean nothing to you.” She took a few steps down the center aisle, her heavy boots clunking on the stone floor. Finally, she stopped in front of a particular desk. “Certainly you, Miss Jones, can recognize “aduro turgem”.
Megan said nothing.
Anger rose on Alecto’s cheeks. “If you can’t answer this, Miss Jones, than I hope one of your classmates is smart enough to help you out.” The professor tapped her wand impatiently on Megan’s desk.
What: The next batch of letters
Where: Great Hall
When: Monday, December 15, 1997
Now it was really only a matter of time. Megan didn't waste her time reading the Prophet for two reasons. The first being that it tended to bad news and then more bad news. The second was that someone at the table every morning was more than likely going to share whatever horrid headlines was posted that day without her ever having to read a word.
The Muggleborns being expelled hadn't been the largest of shocks. The vibe that anyone connected to those 'wicked Muggles' were just as evil, had penetrated the air for the last few weeks. But now there were investigations toward to Half Bloods? This was insane. If they threw the Half Bloods out of the school as well, how many students would there actually be left to teach?
Megan sat, somewhat slouched, at the Hufflepuff table that morning. It was cold in the castle, but more so even than to be expected. Yes, it was a December, with mountains of snow outside, but Megan was starting to think the lack of heat was internal - a chill caused by something she couldn't put her finger on. She tightened her robes around her, attempting to eat her oatmeal with her left hand. Her right hand, her wand hand, was currently wrapped in bandages - the result of a disagreement between Professor Carrow and herself. It had resulted in a virtual tic tac toe game of scars on the palm of Megan's hand, the damage that had not yet been treated.
Her attention was diverted, however, with the arrival of a several house elves handing out letters to various students in the Great Hall. This hadn't been the first time, however. Megan clearly remembered the day that Justin Finch-Fletchey had received one. Her eyes fluttered upward as a letter was handed to Hannah - sitting across from Megan at the Hufflepuff table. The searching expression on Megan's face as she scanned her friend, said more than any words could.
Now it was really only a matter of time.
What: Waiting for an owl that might never come
Where: The Great Hall, Hogwarts hallway alcove
When: Monday, 15 December - breakfast time
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.
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What? Oh, it's been too long.
When? Monday, December 15th
Where? Edric's current resting place
Few events in Edric's life had gone by without a note to his friend Rudolph.
On the morning of his 30th birthday, Edric watched the sun rise. The colours were dulled by the hazy deep winter air, but they glittered off the snow, blinding him. The first thing he did upon returning to the warmth of his room was write a letter:
I am no longer a target market, a fresh young face, the symbol of youth and strength and hope. But I am happier now than I was then, and the world seems such a great and limitless place.
When Edric first discovered that Laura was pregnant (she had known for weeks but had never told him because she also knew that the moment of his discovery would be far more precious), he had stood at the door of the drawing room, head resting on the door frame, watching her read. She maintained her composure for almost two minutes, but couldn't hold in her giggles for any longer and told him that it was impossible to concentrate with him looking at her like that. He had smiled and sat at her feet and said, "Is it a boy or a girl?" and she had shrieked with delight and slid to the floor with him, dropping the book and wrapping all of her limbs around him. Later, as they lay by the fire, the fur of a wolf skin tickling Edric's stomach and Laura's fingers tickling his back, he wrote again:
In the fall I will have a son. I thought I had known happiness, but I was naive.
In June of 1996, the letters stopped. They did not continue a year later, when Edric sat silently in his own, staring at nothing and thinking of everything. They did not continue until the evening of December 15th, after a long day of Christmas shopping. In a fainting room, hidden away behind his grandmother’s great bedroom, Edric sat in a grand armchair—if one could call it sitting. He had sunk so low in it that his elbows were level with his chest, which his ferret sat upon. In one hand he held a cigarette, in the other his wand with a bright green feather protruding from the end for the ferret to bat and nip at. Between his feet, propped up on an ottoman, sat Ewling, with whom he chatted idly until asking for him to fetch some parchment and take down a letter.
Do you remember that summer when we were hunting for crabs on our brooms and we were flying so low to the sand and you broke your toe?