Previously: Fiona Wild and Oliver Wood play a last game of Quidditch in Oliver's back garden before Flooing to Hogsmeade for their final year at Hogwarts. Once there, they defy Professor McGonagall and fly up to the Gryffindor Common Room. They discover at dinner that Dementors have been posted at the school gates due to Sirius Black's escape from Azkaban. We finish with them tucking into dinner in the Great Hall, and catching up with their friend, Joe O'Keefe.
Dedication: This chapter is dedicated to Kyizi, for getting me into writing fanfiction proper (yes, it's all her fault) and for mainly getting me into Harry Potter fic. Audrey is especially for you, hon. J
Note: In this part I've used some excerpts out of 'Prisoner of Azkaban'. All of Dumbledore's actual speech comes directly from 'Prisoner of Azkaban' (Pages 71, 72, 73 from Chapter 5 'The Dementor' in the UK paperback edition.).
Before they could get engrossed, however, Professor Dumbledore stood up to speak. Fiona nudged Oliver, and they both turned to listen to their Headmaster.
"Welcome!" said Dumbledore, the candlelight shimmering on his beard. "Welcome to another year at Hogwarts! I have a few things to say to you all, and as one of them is very serious, I think it best to get it out of the way before you become befuddled by our excellent feast…"
Dumbledore cleared his throat and continued. "As you will all be aware after their search of the Hogwarts Express, our school is presently playing host to some of the Dementors of Azkaban, who are here on Ministry of Magic business."
He paused, and Fiona took the opportunity to whisper to Joe across the table, "They searched the Express? Whoa, now I'm glad I came by Floo and missed it all."
Joe replied softly, "Yeah, it was really creepy. I was just telling Oliver that they seem to suck all the happiness out of you."
Dumbledore continued to tell them that the Dementors were stationed at all the school's entrances, and that nobody could leave without permission. Fiona gulped. She didn't want to think what would happen to anyone that was caught by a Dementor. There was no way she was leaving school.
"On a happier note," Dumbledore continued, "I am pleased to welcome two new teachers to our ranks this year.
"Firstly, Professor Lupin, who has kindly consented to fill the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher."
The applause that followed the Headmaster's announcement was weak and scattered. Fiona noticed that Harry and his friends were clapping the most enthusiastically, and was about to tell Oliver that perhaps they knew something the rest didn't, when he whispered in her ear, "Lupin? Where have I heard that name before?"
Fiona looked at him, puzzled. She shook her head. "I don't know. It doesn't sound familiar to me. He looks an all right sort, though." She glanced at the teachers' table again. "And, if Snape's look is anything to go by, he should be wonderful." She nodded to where their Potions teacher was glaring loathingly at the new Professor.
Oliver grinned. "You're right. Maybe this year, Defence Against the Dark Arts will be fun."
"As to our second new appointment," Dumbledore continued, "well, I'm sorry to tell you that Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs. However, I am delighted to say that his place will be filled by none other than Rubeus Hagrid, who has agreed to take on this teaching job in addition to his gamekeeping duties."
Fiona's mouth dropped open, and she stared at Joe and Oliver in astonishment, a grin slowly forming on her face. They grinned back at her, and clapped vigorously. They were all fond of the big gamekeeper with an even bigger heart, and knew that he would love this job.
Finally, at least for Fiona, who was starving, Dumbledore announced, "Let the feast begin!" and the table was suddenly groaning with food and drink.
Fiona's eyes glinted as she looked round the Great Hall, taking in the chattering, happy faces surrounding her. She caught snatches of conversation around her. "It's so great that Hagrid got given that job!" That was Ron Weasley. "…looking forward to the first trip to Hogsmeade. George and I have a huge list of things we want to get." That could only be Fred Weasley. Fiona was glad she didn't see much of the twins; otherwise they'd be bound to play some trick on her. "We've got to win this year!" Ah, now that would Oliver.
Fiona turned, grinning, back to the conversation. "This year is definitely our year," Joe agreed.
"Besides, it's only right. Fate's bound to give us the Quidditch Cup, just for all the work we put in," Fiona added. "Plus, someone out there has to be looking out for you, Oliver."
"Fate? I'm not going to leave the Cup to Fate!" Oliver exploded. "We're going to work harder this year than we ever have before!"
Fiona rolled her eyes at Joe across the table, who covered a smile with his hand. "Oliver," she laid a hand on his arm. "Will you stop worrying, at least until tomorrow? We're going to win, there's no doubt about it."
Oliver looked sour for a moment, and then his face lightened. "I'm doing it again, aren't I?"
Fiona grinned, and nodded.
"Sorry," he apologised. "I'll try to restrain myself for tonight."
The conversation continued, but steered away from Quidditch as much as possible, instead revolving around what had happened over the summer holidays. Finally, the food was finished, and it was announced that it was time for bed. Oliver and Fiona were one of the first out of the Hall, and were on their way up the numerous stairs to the Gryffindor common room when Fiona grabbed Oliver's arm. "We have to send an owl to our parents, to let them know we got here safely."
Oliver just looked at her in return, and Fiona could see he was imagining the many sets of stairs that led up to the Owlery, and weighing them up against his nice, warm bed. "Oliver, you know they'll be worrying, what with Black and all."
He sighed, and nodded his head. The pair turned away from the rest of the crowd, and dashed up a set of stairs, before Percy could see them and tell them off.
Gryffin and Pipit were waiting for them, snuggled close together on the same perch. Fiona smiled wryly to herself. It seems as though our owls have got the idea, now why can't Oliver? She shook herself. Now, Fiona, you know it's no use. Stop thinking about it!
Oliver held out his arm, and Gryffin flew over on silent wings. "Are we going write a joint letter, or two separate ones?"
Fiona looked at Pipit, who gave a small hoot, and flew over to land on her shoulder. "Oomph, I wish you wouldn't do that. I always get a mouthful of feathers," Fiona grumbled to her. "I guess that answers the question. We might as well send them both."
Oliver grinned to see his petite friend standing awkwardly, with her tawny owl perched happily on one shoulder. "She matches you perfectly. Brings out the colour of your eyes," he said, half-jokingly.
Fortunately for him, Fiona couldn't hit him without disturbing Pipit, and had to resort to a glare. They both fetched a piece of parchment from the supply, which was used in case anyone made the trek up there and had forgotten theirs, and wrote quick notes home with the supplied quills.
"There," Fiona said, as they watched their owls fly off into the dark. "Duty's been done."
"We'd better dash, Fiona," Oliver pointed out. "Percy's bound to have missed me in the dorm by now."
Fiona groaned. Percy had always cramped their style somewhat when they were planning mischief, but now he was Head Boy, they didn't stand a chance. "Audrey will be looking for me as well," she added, mentioning one of her dorm-mates.
After a mad dash down the stairs, leaping over the trick ones, they ended, gasping and laughing, at the Fat Lady, who was dozing. Their chortles woke her up, and she glared at them. "Who's up at this hour? You're all meant to be in bed already." She peered at them. "Oh, it's you two. That explains a lot. Been up to no good, I've no doubt. Or maybe," she winked at them, "you've finally got it together. You know, I've never seen a couple more likely to…"
Fiona sighed, and glanced sideways at Oliver, who had a funny expression on his face. "Fortuna Major," she said firmly at the Fat Lady. She knew that if they let her, she'd be talking all night.
"Oh, right, sorry. Off to bed with you, then," and the painting swung open, revealing the hole in the wall that led to the Gryffindor common room.
The two friends snuck in quietly, and whispered good nights at the stairs, promising to meet up early for Defence of the Dark Arts, a lesson that they were both looking forward to. The last couple of years, the teachers had been pathetic. Fiona was hoping that Professor Lupin was better than the others, and Oliver was hoping that he would remember why the Professor's name was so familiar.
Fiona climbed the steps to the fourth floor, where her dorm was. She opened the door quietly, and tiptoed across to the far end, where her bed was. She didn't think anyone was asleep, after all, today had been an exciting day, what with the Dementors, but she was hoping that they were all absorbed in their own thoughts, and wouldn't have noticed her come in.
"Fiona Wild," a voice whispered.
She groaned. Too much to hope that Audrey was asleep. "Audrey Rose," she returned.
"Where have you been?" her friend hissed, keeping her voice down, so as not to disturb anyone else.
"I was with Oliver, we were…" Fiona started, as she began to get undressed.
"Say no more," Audrey whispered. "So, you two have finally got it together? Thank goodness!"