Chapter Five: The Members of Magic (Part One)
An hour and a half later, Fred and George were in the laboratory of the WWW shop, testing a new range of fake, inflatable mice that could expand and fly away on command - the perfect distraction to any gruelling lesson.
"Pass us some more of that dye," said Fred, nodding at a large bubbling purple pot on the top shelf.
George had just reached out to grab it when there was four loud thumps and splats from the main room. Leaving Fred to carry on with the fake mice, George dusted off his hands and went into the next room. He was greeted, to his great surprise, by the sight of Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny all lying in a heap on the floor covered in bright blue gunge.
"What on earth happened to you lot?" he said.
"There was a statue that exploded," said Ron, panting, wiping slime off his face. "There was the whistle in his hand so I leant out to grab it and it sort of... exploded."
George wrinkled his freckled nose. "Oooh, tough call. The exploding statue is an automatic game over. We'll have to do a little charmwork to stop the whistle being placed there again. Any other problems apart from that?"
"We ended up in Hogwarts and Hermione wouldn't come out of the library," said Harry.
Hermione had received the least of the slime, but was checking her precious book of stupid facts frantically. "Oh no, all the back's gone blue!"
"Scourgify," said George, with a raised eyebrow, pointing his wand at Hermione's book. The slime shivered, and with a hiss, it dissolved into plumes of blue smoke that spelt out YOU'VE BEEN GUNGED for a moment then vanished. George smiled to Hermione. "Easy, wasn't it?"
To Harry's surprise, she smiled back. "I suppose so."
"So apart from the exploding statue and the library, that got the thumbs up, huh?" said George, grinning.
"Yeah!" they all chorused.
George chuckled. "Brilliant. We'll open to the public on Monday then. Hey, Fred!"
"What?" his twin called from the other room.
"Get the car keys, we've got to drive this sticky lot home!" George eyed them for a moment, and then added, "Maybe a good cleaning charm would be in order first though. Close your eyes, you lot!"
Harry shut his eyes tight, and held out his arms as Fred instructed him to. A moment later, Fred's cleaning charm shot up his legs like a shiver and all the gunge was hissing and evaporation away, filling the room with the smell of blueberries.
"Alright, open your eyes," said Fred.
Harry opened his eyes, thankful he felt clean and gungefree once more. He took off his glasses to polish them on his sleeve, but everybody else started to laugh.
"What?" he said, looking around at them all.
Hermione took a mirror from her back and handed it with a sheepish grin. He snapped it open, and started to laugh as well at his reflection. There were two perfect circles of blue gunge around his eyes where his glasses had been.
"Nice look, Harry," Fred grinned. "Suits your eyes."
"Shut up," Harry chuckled, looking up at Fred like a really mad blue panda.
"Oh, Fred! George! Where have you been? Suppertime was hours ago and - oh, hello Harry dear, how are you?"
Mrs Weasley came over from the sink as they stepped into the kitchen, giving him a tight, affectionate hug as he smiled and said, "Fine, thanks, Mrs Weasley."
"Good," she said, fondly, and then her expression turned serious again, "Now, where on earth have you all been?"
"The House of Fun," they all chimed at once.
She groaned. "Oh Fred, George, I told you not to - "
Everybody listen half-heartedly, sinking into chairs around the kitchen table as she lightly admonished the twins, busy taking plates of food from the side and sliding them onto the stove. They'd arrived a few minutes ago at The Burrow by Fred and George's magical car, and Fred had fussed for a while about a greenfly splattered across the wing mirror before they stepped into the warmth of the kitchen.
"Really," she said, lighting the stove with a flick of her wand. "You shouldn't test things like that on children."
"Mum, they're hardly ickly dinkies any more," said Fred, grinning at them all. "Of age and everything! Let's see some magic, Harry!"
"No, let's not," said Mrs Weasley, promptly. She started to look through cupboards for pumpkin juice and a jug, as another person strolled into the kitchen, her bright pink hair gleaming in the sunlight.
"Tonks!" said Harry, grinning, getting up.
She winked. "Wotcher, Harry. Nice to see you, mate."
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
Tonks sat down in the empty chair at the table, ruffling her spiky pink hair with one hand. "Doing my Service Degree for Auror Training. Should get me promoted."
"A Service Degree?"
Ron chuckled. "She's basically our slave but she doesn't like doing slavery, so she calls it service." At the reprimanding smirk from Tonks, he said, "I call it slavery, but there you go."
"Yeah, it's like having a bright pink, really tall house-elf," George sniggered.
Tonks grinned again. "Yeah, well, you'd better all give me a good recommendation for the 'slavery' I've been doing for you."
Mrs Weasley bustled over, setting down plates of chicken and chips in front of everybody and placing a large pitcher of pumpkin juice in the middle of the table. "I think you're doing a marvellous job dear," she said, smiling to Tonks, "Just ignore the boys. They don't appreciate a woman's work."
Fred and George snorted at exactly the same moment.
"So you're staying the night, Harry?" said Tonks, helping herself to juice.
"Yep," said Harry happily. He went to pick up his knife and fork, but at a horrified look from Ron, he grinned sheepishly and used his fingers instead.
"We're sorting out his pad tomorrow," said Fred, smirking. "So it's okay for Cho Darling to come around on weekends."
Harry's face muscles seemingly vanished in an instant. He stared up at Fred's grinning face in horror. "How do you - I mean - that's - "
Fred nipped Ron's nose with a chuckle. "You might wanna get Ronny boy to sellotape his mouth together when he sleeps."
"You sleep talk?" said Harry, looking outraged.
Ron blushed darkly. "I didn't know," he mumbled.
Tonks grinned and cuffed Harry on the arm. "You old dog, Harry."
"Have you heard anything else from her?" Fred asked, casually, swiping the pumpkin juice and draining the last remains.
Harry made a choking noise that his love life was being discussed so freely over dinner. "I - this isn't exactly - "
"Leave him alone, boys," said Mrs Weasley, frowning at her sons. "He doesn't want to talk about that horrid girl, and if he does, some of us don't want to hear it. Fred! Don't drink straight from that jug! You can wash that now, you know where the glasses are, they're just behind you."
"I'll do it!" said Tonks, brightly, jumping up and snatching the jug off Fred. Next second, there was an ear-splitting crash that made everybody jump. Tonks cringed at the broken glass around her feet. "Sorry," she said, sheepishly.
"That's quite alright dear," Mrs Weasley sighed. "Here, take the dustpan and clear it up, and we won't mention it on your report."
"Thanks Mrs Weasley." She bent down, cleaning the shards up very carefully, and then glancing up at the teenagers with a grin. "By the way, I met your new teacher yesterday. Phwew, wait until you see him."
"Professor Lupin?" Harry smiled. Lupin wasn't exactly the world's best looking man. His robes were generally in varying states of shabbiness, and his brown hair was turning grey, despite being fairly young.
"Nah, the other one," she said. She carried the mess carefully to the bin and tipped it in, making sure none fell out onto the floor. "The new guy."
"Why? Has somebody quit?" said Ginny, curiously.
Ron clasped in hands together in prayer. "Please let it be Snape... oh, I'll give anything..."
Harry remembered what he had learnt from Professor Lupin last week, about the slippery fingers hex, and for a moment, he considered telling the others - but then he realised he definitely didn't want to. The knowledge that his father had done that to Snape still made him feel rather guilty.
"Professor Snape does a lot of work for the Order, Ron," said Hermione, frowning. "You should appreciate that."
"Should," he said. "But I don't. And I probably never will. Pass us some more juice, Mum."
"You've had quite enough, Ron, and I think it's about time for bed now. We're up early tomorrow and we want a good start at cleaning. Merlin knows how dirty it's got since last summer." Mrs Weasley took their plates from the table, sliding them into the sink and shooing them all towards the stairs and bed. "Chop chop!"
They all hurried up the stairs, and Fred, George and Tonks bounded after them like a little troop of excitable puppies around lots of kids. Ginny and Hermione disappeared into Ginny's room with smiles of, "Night!", and Ron lead Harry up one last flight of stairs to the landing his bedroom was one. The plaque that was usually rather plain and old was now a bright shade of orange, and his door seemed to be covered in splatters of the paint from one of the decorating fireworks.
Ron noticed Harry looking at the splodges, and said, "People who agreed were let off with less splattering. You should see what they did to the shed."
Harry smiled. "I don't think I do."
Laughing, Ron opened the door and lead Harry in. There was a sleeping bag already laid out for him ready, a pillow lovingly tucked inside, and Ron grinned, "Excellent!", as he spotted the two large bags of Bertie Botts his mother had left them. He jumped onto his bed, grabbed one of the bags and tore it open. "Bean, Harry?"
Harry took one carefully. It was orange, which was generally a safe colour, and so he popped it into his mouth. Ron picked up a brown one and smirked.
"Do you dare me?" he said.
Harry grinned. "Yeah. Eurgh, carrot!"
Ron laughed at his screwed up face, then slipped the bean in his mouth and chewed carefully. Harry could see a lot of hope in his face that the bean wasn't something... unsanitary.
"Wahey, chocolate!" he said after a minute.
Harry grinned and sat on the bed with him, taking a few beans and sorting through them. "I've got an idea for a game. We pick a bean - "
The door opened and Tonks shot in, laughing, flushed in the face. "You've gotta hide me!" she said, wiping her forehead and still grinning wickedly.
"Why? What have you done?" said Ron. "You haven't knocked one of the walls over or something, have you?"
"No, I put an ever-lasting whoopy cushion in Fred's bed," she laughed, shaking her bright pink hair. "The noises are going to keep going until they can find a way to destroy it. They're trying to flush it down the toilet."
Evidently, they had succeeded, as next second a prolonged, high note of flatulence zoomed down the pipes from ceiling to floor, leaving a ringing echo. The pipe had quite good acoustics really.
Ron, Harry and Tonks all laughed as there was strangled cheering from Fred and George on the floor above.
"Do you want a Bertie Botts, Tonks?" said Harry, offering her the packet.
She sat cross-legged on the floor on Harry's sleeping bag, taking a yellow one and throwing it into the air, catching it with her mouth. She looked thoughtful for a minute, then said, "Weird. Dunno what flavour that was. Maybe pineapple-flavoured something."
"Ginny got a strawberry-flavoured-ice cream flavoured one once," said Ron, digging his hand into the bag. "What were you saying about a game, Harry?"
"We each have to choose a bean for each other, then guess if it's going to be nice or nasty," Harry explained. "And I'll start." He handed Tonks a bright blue bean. "Nasty."
"Oooh, unfair Harry," said Tonks, grinning, taking the bean. "No food's a true blue colour, you know. Blueberries are actually purple. So if it's blue, it's normally a cleansing product or some nasty plant that grows in a jungle somewhere. Oh well." She flicked it into her mouth, and chewed. After a moment a smile curled her face. "Toothpaste. Very strong toothpaste I might add. Eurgh, nasty." She took a red bean from the bag and gave it to Ron. "Nice, I bet."
This continued for about an hour, with everybody getting different degrees of nasty or nice taste, until Tonks said she'd better go and unblock the whoopy cushion from the toilet. Harry and Ron took turns outside whilst the other got changed, then Harry wriggled into his sleeping bag, Ron got in bed, and they both listened to Fred and George tattling to Mrs Weasley about Tonks putting ever-lasting whoopy cushions in their beds for a while before Ron spoke.
Harry sat up to peer at Ron over the edge of the tangerine-coloured bed spread. "What?"
"Have you heard from Cho yet?" Ron asked, curiously.
Harry frowned. "No, I haven't. And I'm glad."
Ron smiled slightly, crawling to the end of his bed to get a better look at Harry on the floor. "So you're saying that's all definitely over with you and her?"
"Definitely," Harry said stoutly. "Anyway, she was going out with Ginny's ex-boyfriend, wasn't she?"
It was Ron's turn to frown. "Hey, hey, we don't mention that boy under this roof. There's a list of unmentionable people spellotaped to the kitchen door now. You-Know-Who, Cornelius Fudge, Percy - " he spat, as though swearing " - and that boy. Whatever his name was. And Dean Thomas! Traitor, going after MY little sister."
Harry chuckled. "So possessive, Ron."
"Well, you get all offensive when I say the name... Cho!" Ron grinned at Harry's reprimanding scowl. "Chochochochochocho!"
Harry beat him over the head with a pillow until he stopped, and after a good bout of laughing, they both squirmed back under the blankets in their beds. All was quiet, and Harry thought Ron was asleep until -
"Listen... how are you feeling about... you know...?"
Harry shrugged. "Not bad... I supppose. Professor Lupin and Professor Snape talked to me about it."
"Snape?" said Ron, wrinkling his nose. "What would you want to talk to Snape for?"
"I didn't really want to," said Harry. He told Ron all about the meeting with Snape, Lupin coming in after the legilimens attack, then Sirius's ghost rising from the cauldron to say goodbye. Still, he didn't tell Ron about the butter fingers hex. Even though he hated Snape, he felt that the man deserved just a little dignity.
Ron listened to all this quietly, and then nodded with a half-smile at the end. "Nice of Lupin, really."
"And Snape," said Harry, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah, well, I bet it was all Lupin's idea." Ron closed his eyes, rolling himself back up in the blankets and tucking his face deep into the pillow, so all Harry could see of him was a tuft of bright red hair. "Night, Harry."
As the door swung open, revealing the dusty, darkened hallway, Harry caught the the stench of decay and time gone stale. Grimmauld Place was just as old and messy as he remembered. Except now, it was home to an extinct family line. The noble and ancient house of Black was gone, and Harry couldn't help but remember this as he followed the Weasleys through into the dust-infested hallway. Everything was quiet, and with good reason, because even though her son was gone, Mrs Black slept behind the thick drapes and waking her wouldn't be the smartest move in the world.
"Shhh..." Mr Weasley said, quickly, as there was a dangerously loud creak from the back of the group. Ron and Harry exchanged glances, then grabbed Tonks by the arms, just in case.
"Okay... we'll get up to the second floor, then we'll sort out who's cleaning what," said Mrs Weasley in a whisper. "Be very, very careful... Tonks, watch that umbrella stand...!"
Harry ducked and caught it just in time to stop it crashing down. Everybody let out a soft sigh of relief.
They made their way carefully up the creaky staircase, wincing on every single step, sure that the whines of the ancient boards were going to have Mrs Black awake and kicking at any second. Though thankfully, they managed to get onto the second floor without any majorly worrying moments, Mrs Weasley shooed them all into an old, dusty room with some large, moth-eaten chairs and sighed thankfully as the door shut.
"Well, that went well," she said.
"Yeah, no thanks to Tonks," said Ron, glancing sideways at her. She grabbed him and scrubbed the top of his head with her knuckles until he wriggled free, red in the face. "Don't do that."
"Both of you stop fighting," said Mrs Weasley, firmly. "Arthur, have you still got the box?"
Mr Weasley nodded. "It's all here Molly."
"Good. Now, we need to split up." She took out mops, brooms, several tins of Mrs Skower's All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover, dusters and polish and to Harry's surprise, a large net. "Ron and I will do the ground floor and try to... ah... rehome Mrs Black. Tonks and Ginny, you can do the second floor. Arthur, you take Hermione and Harry up into the attic to try and clear some of the old furniture out, we didn't manage it at all last summer. Now, where did I put those fireworks..."
"Fireworks?" said Harry.
"Fred and George kindly made a cream-coloured firework for us, so we can easily paint the hall when we've gotten rid of Sirius's mother," said Mrs Weasley, promptly, taking out one of the SuperSplatterDecorater2003 rockets, labelled with a big red stamp of 'BORING VERSION 1.0, ALSO AVAILABLE IN OLD-PANTS-WHITE'.
Mr Weasley took some cleaning products out of the box, handed Harry the net and then the three of them headed out into the landing, up several flights of stairs and then up a ladder into the attic.
It was very dark, far colder than the rest of the house, and the scent of old parchment and grime lingered in the air. It smelt suspiciously like Professor Binn's classroom, full of documents and manuscripts lying about in old dirty cupboards, not opened for years.
"Dear me, we'll need some light in here... have you both got your wands?" said Mr Weasley's voice from behind Harry, just climbing up after Harry and Hermione.
Harry took his wand from up his sleeve, and murmured, "Lumos." The tip came alight, creating a puddle of light about half a metre around his wand. Mr Weasley did the same, and Hermione, being her usual too-smart-for-her-own-good-self, drew her want out and murmured something, conjuring a ball of what looked like molten gold, shining an eery amber two metres in either direction.
"Now..." said Mr Weasley, rolling up his sleeves. "Molly wants us to just clear out some of this old furniture and find the window... we can see that there definitely is one, but where, we're not sure." He glanced around at the spread of junk cluttering the place up to the gills. "There's rather a lot, so we could be here for some time... well, there's no time to start like the present. Harry, you're the lightest, you can probably climb over all this to look for the window. Hermione, could you start making a path through all this? Don't move anything to heavy, we don't want you injured, do we?"
She smiled. "Okay, Mr Weasley. Do you need any help with levitating anything down the ladder?"
"Perhaps a little in a while," he said, returning the smile, taking off his glasses to polish them on the sleeve and get rid of the dust. "Now, Harry, watch where you go... I don't want to have to carry you down to Molly with a broken leg."
Harry grinned and clambered up onto an old table, testing the weight before carrying on. "I'll be okay, Mr Weasley. I'm not Tonks."
Mr Weasley chuckled.
They all got to work, Harry climbing over boxes and crates, running his hand over walls looking for curtains concealing a window, Hermione sorting through everything, Mr Weasley lifted things gradually down the ladder. After an hour or so, they weren't even nearly half done, and so they had a break. Mr Weasley conjured sandwiches and crisps, and they all sat down on an old sofa to eat.
"Any luck yet, Harry?" Mr Weasley asked, through a mouthful of tuna sandwich.
"Not yet," Harry replied, "but there's only two more walls to cover so I'll get it soon."
"Good boy." Mr Weasley swallowed, took another bite and glanced down through the trap door hole. "I've shifted quite a lot of the lighter stuff... now we've got this sofa, some cupboards... a few trunks over there. Could you two go and clean them out whilst I just finish my lunch?"
"Sure," said Harry, and he and Hermione scrambled over some boxes to a great pile of trunks in the corner. She sat down, curling her legs delicately underneath her and grasping one end of a smaller one. Harry took the other, and together, they heaved it out.
"Wonder what's in this one?" she said, curiously, slipping her fingers under the lid.
"I don't know, but shield your eyes in case it bites." They both leaned back, and she prized it open. A great cloud of dust bloomed up into the air, but apart from that, the trunk was already empty. Harry pushed it aside carefully. "Alright, next one."
They crawled forward to the next one. It was large, about two metres by three-quarters, expertly carved out of oak. It looked suspiciously like a coffin.
"I don't think we should look in this one..." Hermione said, nervously. "Just in case..."
Harry just had to check. He gently eased up the lid, peeped underneath, and caught sight of something greying and grizzled, with arms and legs. He shut the lid. "Yeah, might be a bad idea." They pushed that one conveniently to the back, with a vague, "Maybe that one can stay up here," from Harry, and then the next one. It was quite heavy, and carved across the top were a few words. Hermione manouevred her sphere of light over them, and the shadows of 'THE MEMBERS OF MAGIC' washed over the top.
"Oooh," said Hermione, intrigued. "I wonder what's in here."
"Wait, it might be another dead something disguised as something interesting. Stay back." They both backed off a little, and Harry raised his wand. He gave it a flick, and the lid swung back with a groan and a clatter.
Hermione glanced over the rim. "It's just paper."
Harry crawled over. It was full to the brim with scrolls of parchment, all tied with different colours and lengths of ribbon. He took one out, carefully undid the ribbon and unrolled it. Hermione glanced over his shoulder.
At first glance, it appeared to just be a lot of straight lines and tiny inked letters, but when Harry squinted, he realised it was a family tree. Curled handwriting at the top read, "The Blood Of Dodderidge", and the page was almost filled with writing and lines. As Harry watched, an invisible hand added another line down from a couple at the foot of the page, and jotted in a name, then today's date.
"Somebody was born," said Hermione, with raised eyebrows. She reached into the trunk, and took out a second scroll, unrolling it. "The Duke Family," she read. "Harry, I think... I think this box has every single wizarding family tree... this could be worth a fortune."
Harry wasn't listening. He had just taken another scroll from the box and was reading it with a frown.
"Harry?" she said, turning round to look at him.
Harry's expression was slightly confused as he read. "I think I've found something..."
"Why? What is it?" She crawled over and glanced over his shoulder. "It's just another tree, Harry. What's so - " Then she saw what he had seen, and she gasped.
There at the bottom of the tree was a face they recognised very well, grinning from the parchment. Though it wasn't somebody whose family they had ever considered. In truth, they'd never even considered his life - just his death.
It was Peeves.
At the very bottom of the tree were a row of children, born to Emily and Kevin Peelish. From youngest to oldest, six in all, starting with a tiny baby girl called Lucy, a boy of perhaps five called Robert, twin girls named Amy and Jessica, a teenage-girl with jet black hair called Jilly, and then a boy. Twenty years old maybe, maybe less, maybe more. He was grinning from the parchment, his black hair smoothed down over a wide, beaming face with dark eyes. There was a dicky-bow tie tucked around his neck, and the name inscribed underneath read - PETER PEELISH.
Harry and Hermione sat in silence, gazing into the face of the poltergeist who now haunted Hogwarts. He was so young. He still had that wicked sneering smirk, and his eyes still glittered with malice, but... he was so real...
"There's a note on the back," said Hermione, noticing something pinned to the back of the parchment.
Harry pulled it off gently, careful not to damage the tree, and found it was a newspaper cutting from almost half a century before, entitled, TRAGEDY AT VILLAGE CARNIVAL. Harry and Hermione began to read with bated breath.
TRAGEDY AT VILLAGE CARNIVAL
Disaster yesterday struck the annual village carnival in a small town to the North of England when the big top accidentally caught light during the show and fell, killing twenty people, sixteen of them children. The popular circus act comes to the village once a year for an annual festival and has always attracted great crowds of eager townsfolk, who come to watch the carnival's famous clown acts. The cause of the tragedy is currently uncertain, but ministry wizards believe that there was a problem with the magic holding the tent up and something in the material caught fire.
Among the dead is a whole family from the village, the Peelish family. Emily, Kevin and their six children were all found dead in their front row seats, and from what the ministry can tell, the eldest boy Peter, 18, had tried to shield his younger brothers and sisters from the descending fireball. Unfortunately for this brave young man, his efforts were in vain. A special ceremony will be held today to remember the twenty people killed in this awful catastrophe.
Harry finished reading, and felt a horribly hollow sensation deep down in his stomach somewhere. Peter Peelish. An eighteen year old boy whose last living act was to try and save his little brothers and sisters. A fun night out at the carnival... and then Peter was destined to spend the rest of his life alone, haunting a school somewhere... Harry suddenly forgave Peeves for everything he'd ever done, no matter how bad.
"He died to save them," said Harry, quietly. "I never thought he'd have a family... I mean... it's Peeves... he hates kids..."
Hermione wiped her eyes with a tissue. "Poor Peeves..."
"His sister was the same age as us," said Harry. "Look... Jilly Peelish, 16, in the list of deaths..."
"Makes Peeves seem an awful lot more human, doesn't it?" said Hermione, quietly.
Harry nodded. "Maybe that's why he hates students... bitter."
"Maybe," said Hermione.
Harry rolled the scroll back up, tucking the parchment safely inside and slipping it into his back-pack. "Keep that for later... just in case. Come on, let's keep looking. We might be able to find something that proves Malfoy is related to trolls."
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