Author’s Note: This is NOT an out-take or a missing moment or even a side-story. It is not intended to be part of the main plot at all. It will not happen in the main story at any point, and it specifically does not follow immediately after Part One. It’s just a plot mouse that I had to chase.
At the end of July, the Hogwarts grounds were silent and nearly deserted. The students were all gone for the summer and missing the most beautiful time of year at the castle. All but two.
Err... yeah. I can’t think of anything we’ve forgotten.
If you could, we wouldn’t have forgotten it.
They crouched behind the shrubbery with their backs against the wall of Hagrid’s cabin. Brown and green vegetation engulfed them completely except for a small, carefully chosen natural gap in the foliage, which offered them an unimpeded view of the castle and grounds. Confident in their solitude and stealth, they split their attention to both watch for interlopers and to carry out the task at hand.
Hagrid had been persuaded to take Fang on a three-hour romp through the Forbidden Forest without asking too many questions. The few he had asked, however, had been quite pointed. They were fairly certain that one or two other professors knew of their presence, but thus far no adults had arrived to question them.
Rising to look through the window above their heads, they examined the contents of the deserted cabin one last time, ticking off each item on their mental checklist. Seeing that everything was in place, they took a deep breath.
Here we go...
A phoenix-feather wand was aimed carefully through the small opening in the window frame and steadied with two hands. Inside the cabin, the parchment and floating green Quill were well out of the way, but they did not want to take any chances of hitting them. After sighting carefully along the length of the wand, two voices spoke in unison. “Finite Incantatem!”
Just as the Quill started moving of its own accord, they slammed the window shut and ducked back down, focusing their entire attention on ensuring that they were not interrupted.
How long should we wait?
Dunno. Ten minutes, maybe? The parchment isn’t that big.
They settled back against the rough wooden wall and grinned at each other. The garish, fuzzy earmuffs they had nicked from Professor Sprout’s collection clashed horribly with their hair, and they both laughed silently.
A short while later, with the grounds still blissfully empty, they straightened and exchanged wary glances.
Wands in hand, they stood up on either side of the window. Steady?
Here goes nothing.
They quickly raised the window. As soon as it was open more than an inch, they fired a well-aimed spell.
They quickly closed the window before they could see anything more than a brightly-coloured blur of motion inside the cabin.
Nice shot. Shall we?
They emerged from the bushes and ran to the front door of the cabin, which they unlatched and pushed open without crossing the threshold. Then, with a careful Levitation Charm, they moved a metal cage out of the cabin and onto the ground nearby. After a few moments of frantic movement, the poor creature inside the cage slumped dejectedly on its perch and refused to look in their direction.
I feel badly for it.
At least it had a few minutes of fun.
Leaving the creature in its cage, they pulled a thick, black cloth out of a pocket and tied it on as a blindfold. Peering inside the cabin, they saw their parchment still on the table and the Quill still hovering expectantly above it.
Blindfolded, they stepped forward, navigating by their view from the doorway. At the table, they plucked the Quill out of the air and tucked it into a pocket. Then, guided by touch and distant sight, they rolled the parchment into a tight tube and kept it firmly closed with an elastic.
They pulled off the blindfold. At the other end of the table was a preaddressed envelope with a short, carefully worded note scribbled on the back in red ink. After flattening the rolled parchment and removing the elastic, they pushed the parchment into the envelope. Before sealing it, they tapped their wand six times on the exposed corner of the parchment and six times on the flap of the envelope.
An hour should be about right.
And there won’t be anything left of the parchment or envelope afterwards?
The twins swore there wouldn’t.
When they emerged into the sunlight with the sealed envelope, Hedwig, who was perched on the eaves of the house, clicked her beak in greeting. She swooped down to their shoulder and waited patiently while they tied the envelope to her leg.
“You know where to go, right, girl?” The snowy owl rubbed her cheek against their hair. “Great. Thanks, Hedwig.”
When the owl had disappeared in the distance, they picked up the cage and looked around to make sure they had not left anything lying about.
Who should we give this to? I doubt the shop has a return policy.
Luna, of course. Who else?
Grinning, they vanished.
Harry and Ginny woke early on Sunday morning, excited by what the morning might bring. They raced down the stairs, still in their pyjamas, and took their usual seats at the kitchen table. Hermione was already there, reading a small book whose cover she was carefully concealing. Harry and Ginny had begun to suspect that their friend might be a closet Mills and Boon fan. Mrs. Weasley was on the other side of the kitchen preparing breakfast.
“Morning, Hermione!” Ginny said as they dropped into their usual seats across from their friend.
“Good morning, both of you.” She glanced up from her book briefly. Two seconds later, she looked up again and narrowed her eyes as her gaze shifted back and forth between them. “What have you done?”
Ginny started giggling so much that she could not speak. “We’re not sure,” Harry said, restraining himself to a broad smile.
Hermione’s eyes widened. She looked all around the kitchen, peeked under the table, and raised her head to look out through the window nearby. Frowning slightly, she leapt up from her seat and looked down at herself, twisting to inspect as much of her body as she could. Finally, she pulled a few locks of her hair in front of her face and inspected it with crossed eyes.
“Don’t worry, Hermione,” Ginny said, regaining some of her composure. “It’s not you.”
“Absolutely. If it was, we’d tell you.”
“Before or after?”
Harry scratched his nose thoughtfully. “Depends. Probably during.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and sat back down. Within seconds, she was once again completely engrossed in her book.
A few minutes later, a brown owl swooped through the open window and landed at the end of the table. Knotted to its leg was the Weasleys’ copy of the Sunday Prophet. Hermione untied the paper and pulled it towards her. Ginny scooped seven Knuts out of the bowl on the table and dropped them into the small pouch the owl wore. Its mission complete, the owl sailed out the window.
Harry and Ginny watched their friend expectantly. Within moments, as they had hoped, she gave a startled gasp.
“What is it, Hermione?” Ginny asked with a grin.
Hermione held up her hand, palm forward, in an imperious gesture for them to wait and be quiet. Less than a minute later, she sighed and passed the newspaper to them, pointing at the front page.
MINISTER OF MAGIC PERMANENTLY HOSPITALISED?
Mysterious Attack Renders Cornelius Fudge Incapable of Holding Office
By Rita Skeeter
Last night, Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic, was taken to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Anonymous sources close to the Ministry told this reporter that the Minister was found wandering outside his home sometime before dinner yesterday evening. At that time, he was babbling incoherently and did not recognise any of his elves or attendants. Late last night, St. Mungo’s staff members said that they fear his condition is permanent.
Dorothy Warner, the Minister’s personal Healer, released this statement: “Mr. Fudge appears to be physically healthy. He can see, hear, and speak; however, he does not respond rationally.”
Although the Minister’s Healer did not provide any further information, this reporter’s sources have informed her that the Minister babbles utter nonsense to the staff. “He talks constantly about a binnie and describes him or her as ‘ludicrous’ and ‘dangerous.’ Thus far, our treatments have been ineffectual, so we are afraid that his condition may be permanent,” explained an unnamed St. Mungo’s worker.
Although the Healers at St. Mungo’s remain publicly optimistic that they will soon resolve the Minister’s confused mental state, this reporter has recently learned that, following the announcement last evening, the Minister was installed in the long-term care ward alongside tragic hero Gilderoy Lockhart.
St. Mungo’s Press Secretary, Odysseus Beckett, refused to comment on this development when questioned by the press last night.
Based on the Minister’s words, this reporter can only surmise that a Dark Wizard, most likely Sirius Black himself, infiltrated the Minister’s home in the guise of a rubbish collector. Once inside, Black confronted the Minister and performed a horrible Dark curse on him, rendering him insensible, no doubt after a valiant struggle by our beloved Minister.
Dolores Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister and a key political ally, has been appointed Interim Minister for Magic until a permanent replacement can be elected by the Wizengamot.
A/N: Firstly, scroll up and notice the genre of this story. Think about it.
Secondly, and more importantly, Harry and Ginny in this little drabble are not in-character for the Meaning of One universe. If they were, well… I don’t think I’d want to read the main story.
Finally, if you have any questions about this story, please ask them via review or PM. I’ll answer anything I can without spoiling the main story (which isn’t much of an issue).
Thanks, as always, to the beta team (moshpit, Jonathan Avery, regdc, Chreechree, and Sherylyn). I’ve said before that they’re great about helping me when I want to explore something different, but I think that goes double for this story. For a very short story, it’s rather complicated.