Ron has a Clue
In the Great Hall the next morning, Harry and Hermione were enjoying a nice breakfast. They had learned to tune out the sight and sound of Ron eating. If it wasn't for the nausea it created, watching him try to hold onto his egg with one hand and shovel food with the other might have been amusing. As usual, the owls started their morning deliveries before the meal was over. Hermione quickly unrolled the Daily Prophet and saw a picture of Fleur Delacour that had been taken at the Weighing of the Wands headlining the front page article.
Veela Terrorizes Hogwarts
This reporter witnessed the most shocking and brazen event on the night of the Yule Ball at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Following a romantic evening of dancing by the Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter, and his love interest Miss Hermione Granger (see accompanying articles on the spectacular dancing skill portrayed by the couple and an updated analysis on Mr. Potter's kissing skills), the two lovebirds were enjoying a quiet time in the gardens when the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic Triwizard Champion and part Veela, Fleur Delacour, attempted to ensnare our young hero by use of her Veela powers. Only the true love Mr. Potter feels for his girlfriend, and Miss Granger's formidable defense of her wizard, prevented the theft and corruption of our national hero's affections and innocence.
I call upon the Headmaster of Hogwarts and the Beauxbatons Headmistress to launch a joint investigation into this event. I also call upon my readers to show your displeasure with the Beauxbatons champion herself. And I finally call upon my readers to let Miss Granger know of your appreciation for the love she has for our young hero and her willingness to defend him at all costs.
When Hermione had finished reading the article, she was lost in thought as she remembered that evening in the garden. 'I'll always be there for Harry,' she thought. Finally breaking out of her thoughts, she noticed there were several Beauxbatons students standing near her.
"Excuse me, Mademoiselle Granger?" Asked one of the students in the light blue cloaks.
"Yes?" Hermione answered warily as she and Harry put their hands on their wands.
"We," the student indicated the ensemble of Beauxbatons standing next to her, "wish to apologize on behalf of our school. Zough we wish eet understood zat zis is only on behalf of ze school and not Mademoiselle Delacour 'erself. We find what she did disgusting and inexcusable."
"Thank you," Hermione said, relaxing. "I hold no grudge against your Academy. My family and I have traveled many times to your wonderful country and plan to continue doing so."
"Thank you. My name eez Michelle," the leader of the group said. "We also would like to ask a favor, s'il vous plait?
"Which would be?" Hermione asked.
"Could you teach us ze spell you used on Mademoiselle Delacour? She 'as stolen several of our boyfriends and we would like to be able to defend our love eenterest as well as you did."
"Eet ees very funny," another of the Beauxbatons students chimed in. "For ze first time, zat truie is 'aving to wear make-up. She won't leave ze carriage."
"I'll be glad to," Hermione replied. "But I would prefer to wait until you are preparing to leave. I can't guarantee that one of you isn't really friends with her, and knowing the actual spell might make it possible for a cure to be found before it wears off, or if I need to do it again if she tries anything else."
"We understand," Michelle replied. "Zough we can guarantee zat no female in ze whole school likes 'er. She struts around ze school as if she eez a queen, and if you get 'er mad, she transform into 'ag-bird. Last year, Marianna," Michelle nodded to another of the students, "got 'it with 'er fire and was in ze 'ospital for two weeks."
"Well, if she causes too much of a problem before you leave, come see me again." Hermione replied.
Dumbledore was in a bad mood. Alastor had stood him up the previous day. After he had spent two hours braiding his beard just for the event, his old friend had stood him up. He looked down at his braided beard. He had even washed the beard before braiding it, and he had been STOOD UP! He glared at the gnarled Defense instructor. As he simmered in his anger, the annoying voice of that cat woman... uh... McGonagall, cut though his thoughts.
"Well Albus, are you going to investigate the Beauxbatons champion's attack on Mister Potter?"
"Investigate what, Minerva?"
"The report that the Beauxbatons champion attacked Mister Potter and Miss Granger." Professor McGonagall repeated as she pushed the morning Daily Prophet under his nose. Dumbledore took his eyes off of Moody just long enough to look down at the headlines of the Prophet. He quickly scanned the newspaper before his eyes caught an ad for magical grease removing shampoo. 'Hmm…I wonder if Severus would like that for a birthday present?' He considered the pros and cons of the gift as any over intelligent leader of the light should before arriving at his definitive conclusion. 'Probably not.' The Headmaster sat back in his great chair in the Great Hall to contemplate what his friend would like for his birthday. 'I wonder if he likes socks.'
"Well Albus?" Professor McGonagall asked.
"Well what?" Professor Dumbledore asked serenely.
"Will you be investigating?"
"What do I need to investiga…" Dumbledore started before remembering it had something to do with the newspaper in front of him. He looked back down at the article and saw the picture of the young Veela. 'Well, if I was one hundred and twenty years younger and didn't bat for the other team, she would be attractive,' he thought to himself as he read the story while trying to keep his eyes off the ad for the shampoo. He knew it would just make him start wondering what Snape would look like without greasy hair.
"Of course, Minerva. A full investigation will be conducted at the earliest possible time," Dumbledore replied. 'Don't let her ask, don't let her ask.' He quietly pleaded.
"And when would that be Albus?" Asked the strict Transfiguration teacher.
'Crap, she asked,' Dumbledore thought. Then he turned the twinkling eyes on his deputy headmistress. "As soon as I can fit it into my busy schedule, Minerva."
"I presume, then, that it will be the day after the Beauxbatons leave?" McGonagall asked archly.
"Well, the school year is quite full."
'If this man had to actually teach a child something important, what should take a couple of hours would probably take a year,' McGonagall thought as she rolled her eyes. (A/N: Yes that is a jibe at the sixth book and those memories.)
Moody, AKA Crouch Jr., was suffering from a severe hangover. Even two different headache potions hadn't cured his pounding head. He had missed his weekly tea with the Headmaster because he had had a run in with the Weasley champion and, afterwards, he had consumed his entire stock of Firewhisky. He had even sent a house elf to get a bottle of an alcohol he had heard muggles praising before, something called Tequila. Just the thought of that type of alcohol brought a splitting pain to his head. As he suffered in the bright flames of the Great Hall, the scene from the previous day came to mind.
Moody was walking down the hallway when he encountered the young Weasley storming down the hall muttering something about a 'two timing tramp'. "Weasley," he growled.
Ron stopped immediately. Though irritated that a lowly professor would dare stop a Triwizard Champion, he did remember Moody performing the cruciatus curse on that spider. As much as Ron would love to see every single spider in the world suffer the same fate, he himself would prefer to not experience it. "Yes sir?"
"I see you have your egg."
"I carry it everywhere I go, sir."
"Excellent. So figured out the clue yet?"
"The clue in the egg."
"The egg is a clue?" Ron asked.
Ron looked down at his golden egg. "You mean I have a clue? I can't wait to tell Fred and George! It was just yesterday they were telling me I was clueless." At that, the redhead went running off to find his brothers to tell them the news, leaving Crouch/Moody contemplating performing the cruciatus curse on himself. 'It just might be less painful than this headache,' he thought. It was after the walk to his office that he started the drinking, forgetting all about his date... er... tea with the Headmaster.
Lucius Malfoy sighed as he read the latest scandal from Hogwarts. He, of course, remembered the Veela from the first task and how easily she had killed a dragon. And this Veela was taken down by the witch his son keeps calling a mudblood? 'I guess I'm fortunate to still have a son,' he thought to himself, and then reconsidered. 'Hmm, I wonder if Narcissa would change her mind if Draco were to die?' Lucius reluctantly dismissed the idea. He knew if his planning his own son's murder somehow were to get back to his wife, he doubted any part of his body would exist where the sun didn't shine with as many holes as she would inflict upon him as, for some unknown reason, she loved the little brat.
He looked over the missive that had arrived a few minutes earlier from the Bulstrodes. Of course they were nullifying the agreement and, as the letter pointed out, section three, subsection 'D', clearly stated any information withheld that would be detrimental to the wellbeing of the marriage was reason to forfeit the amount paid to secure the betrothal agreement and, clearly, the sexual orientation of the groom fell very much into that category. 'Twenty-five thousand galleons gone,' Lucius thought as he refilled his glass again. Looking down at the liquid in the glass, he thought, 'I need a bigger glass.'
He sat back in his chair and considered his options. It was an hour and two more glasses later before an idea came to mind. He remembered Fudge commenting that his assistant was looking for a husband and, if he remembered correctly, she did have a slight male look about her. Well, more like a toad, but a male toad. Maybe she would be willing to enter into marriage with his son. 'What was her name?' Lucius wondered through the mental fog. 'Something that reminded me of a troll and where they live. Underbridge? No… Umbridge, that's it. I'll send Fudge an owl later and see if she might be willing.' Lucius fell into an alcohol induced slumber where nightmares of blond haired ferrets mating with toads kept appearing.
The next morning, there were owls at Hogwarts. A lot of owls. The entire Beauxbatons carriage was plastered in owls. Hundreds, or even thousands, of owls. Every time the door was opened, several of them flew in and attempted to deliver their letters to the cowering Fleur Delacour. Howlers were exploding at an almost constant rate of several per minute. The readers of Rita Skeeter's proved to be up to the challenge of letting the Beauxbatons champion know of their displeasure over her attempt on ensnaring Harry Potter.
Another set of owls descended into the Great Hall. Some of them flew directly for the Gryffindor table, while others flew over to the Slytherin table, the rest made a beeline toward the Head Table. Ron sighed happily as he spotted the owls. He knew that the ones headed his way carried the fan mail he expected. He suspected the witches of England had finally realized he was so handsome even teachers couldn't keep their hands off of him and they wanted a share of him as well. 'Though some of them might be applications for my fan club,' he thought. 'I better get with the Creevey brothers and make sure they have enough photos.' Half the owls that had flown toward the Gryffindor table did descend in front of him, on top of him and even a few circling over him obeying their master's instructions to deliver far more than letters. The other half of the owls continued on to land around Hermione.
Eager for the first piece of fan mail, Ron picked up his first letter and ripped it open impatiently.
Dear Ronald Weasley,
Having read the article yesterday in the Daily Prophet, I find it highly embarrassing to even live in the same country as you.
'Must have me mixed up with Malfoy,' thought Ron as he tossed it aside and opened the next one.
You disgust me. Please expect a curse in my next letter.
'Another weirdo,' thought Ron as he tossed it aside as well. He continued to open the next few to find all with similar messages.
'My admirers are probably taking their time in writing their letters,' he thought. 'Wow! If I got this many from the weirdos, I bet I'll get hundreds from my fans!' With no further regards for the mail, he went back to eating his breakfast, not noticing the extra morsels that had been deposited on his plate by owls not able to get over his head. As he was eating, he noticed Hermione opening letters as well. Bits and pieces of the letters filtered down the table as she read them to Harry.
"...I wish you two the best in all..."
"...So glad you two..."
"...love is such a wonderful..."
"PPPWWWWT TTTPPPPPPPWWWTTTT PPPWWWWTTTT PPPPPPPWWWTTTT!"
Victor Krum entered the Great Hall with Luna on his arm. He made sure she was with him as much as possible. Between Nargles, Wrackspurts and Blibbering Humdingers, Hogwarts was too dangerous to not have an expert on hand. He had another run in with Nargles the previous day and Luna had once again gone to the painstaking troubles of saving him. He was now concerned about learning that something called Aquavirius Maggots frequented Black Lake where he swam every day. She had told him of how they could enter body and would infect a person's brain. Krum had no plans to reenter the water any time soon. This morning, though, Luna had a problem and needed help.
"So you got your own Nargle infection this morning?"
"Yes, unfortunately the castle poltergeist put a mistletoe over me and I ended up with a serious infestation," Luna replied dreamily.
Ron Weasley, Triwizard Tournament Champion and living legend in his own mind, saw the Quidditch star enter the Great Hall. It was the first time he had seen him since the Yule Ball. Looking at who was on his arm, he recognized Loony Lovegood, the idiotic tart who lived near him. 'I'll save him from her and he'll be forever grateful. Probably get me season tickets to any Quidditch team, or maybe even give me his broom.'
Ron shoveled his last two bites of food into his mouth and then rushed over to the Durmstrang champion. "Victor," he started nudging himself between Krum and Luna. "Hey, I've been looking all over you. Want to get together sometime? I mean, I would love to see your broomstick. Maybe you can show me how you polish it."
Krum looked at the redhead and noticed he was covered in owl dropping. He swallowed hard as he tried not to throw up as he figured out which dark curse would hurt the worst.
Ron took the staring as deep interest and continued, "Hey, do you by any chance carry your own balls? If you do, I'd love to see those as... erk!" Ron's body convulsed and then he slumped to the floor. Luna lazily put her wand back behind her ear and took Krum's arm again.
"He seems to have a nasty infection of Wrackspurts," she said dreamily to Krum. "I'll teach you the correct spell to prevent the infection from spreading. It's a mixture between a shock and stunning spell." She led Krum on toward the Ravenclaw table.
Krum looked back at Ron's body sprawled on the floor and noticed it would twitch every few seconds. "How long vill he be like that?"
"Oh, it is a nasty infection. At least three or four days."
"Couldn't it be longer?" Krum asked hopefully, and then remembered the plight of the girl beside him. "Now about that Nargle infestation you ended up vith. Do you need me to administer the proper remedy?"
"If you could, Victor. I'm sorry to be so much trouble, but I need someone I can trust." Luna replied, secretly remembering to herself that she owed Peeves a favor. After breakfast, Krum spent several hours ensuring Luna was free of the Nargles.
Draco Malfoy might have been amused by the plight of the redhead weasel if he didn't have his own issues with owls. At least two dozen of them had descended upon him as well. Several of those had orders similar to those that had deposited additional material on Ron Weasley. One of the owls regurgitated the bones of a dead rodent onto Draco's plate. The letters he received ranged from mild insults to propositions by other gay wizards to curses. One of the curses turned the little hair he had left pink. Madam Pomfrey told him later that reversing it might cause further damage to the delicate regrowth process. She said he would need to leave it be for at least another month.
Snape just sneered at the owls headed his way. He raised his wand and with a flick of his wrist, the first dozen died in mid-flight and crumpled to the floor. The other owls, fearing for their lives, turned tail feather and flew away.
Professor McGonagall was shocked. She turned to Professor Dumbledore. "Albus, are you going to let him get away with something like that?"
Dumbledore was once again deep in thought on serious issues as he sat on his throne at the Head Table. 'I think I put my socks on the wrong feet this morning. I always wear my pink one on the left foot, but I think I put it on the right foot this morning. Of course, that wouldn't be the right foot for the sock even if it is on the right foot. Or would it?'
"Albus!" McGonagall repeated a little louder.
'I just can't get any problem solved around here without her breaking my concentration every few seconds,' the Headmaster thought. "Yes, Minerva?"
"Are you just going to ignore Severus's actions?" She asked, pointing toward the dozen dead owls lying in front of the potions master.
"What am I to do, Minerva? I can't help it if he smells that bad." Dumbledore replied.
"Smel... No, he killed them as they were trying to deliver mail to him."
"Ah... well that's different. I'm sure he was shocked since no one ever sends him letters." Dumbledore explained. "He probably thought he was being attacked."
"You...You're just going to let him get away with it?" Professor McGonagall shrieked.
"Of course not. Calm yourself," Dumbledore replied and he turned to his pet Death Eater. "Severus, please refrain from killing anything while there are so many witnesses about."
"Yes Headmaster," replied Snape as his lip curled in a sneer or smile. No one ever figured out how to tell the difference when it came to Snape.
'My ability to resolve conflict is unquestionably the reason I am so good at my job,' the Headmaster thought to himself before returning to contemplating socks and feet. 'What if I wore a pink and a blue sock on each foot? Would that work?'
New Year's Eve was another day Hermione would remember for a long time to come. Fred and George had arranged a common room celebration, but shortly before midnight, Harry convinced Hermione to go for a broom ride.
Taking advantage of the new moon, the two of them took off over the Black Lake with Hermione clinging tightly to Harry. She finally opened her eyes, trusting her Harry would never let anything happen to her. Looking around and seeing the night sky with the stars aglitter was one of the most romantic sights she could have ever imagined. Laying her head on Harry's back as she kept her arms tightly wrapped around his chest, she realized flying wasn't so bad with the right person. When they heard the clock in the tower start to chime, Harry landed on the edge of the lake and, in the darkness; they shared a kiss that promised the New Year would even be better than the old.
Even with Madam Pomfrey's ministrations, it still took Ron Weasley four days to recover consciousness. He was quite upset that he had missed out on four days' worth of food and immediately set off for the Great Hall to catch up.
Moody caught up with Ron Weasley, Triwizard Champion, again shortly after he awoke from his magical slumber.
"Well Weasley, how's the clue coming along?" He asked.
"Oh, the egg is fine, see? No scratches and I polish it every night!" Ron exclaimed, holding up the egg.
"No, I mean solving the clue? How are you coming with that?"
"What do you mean solve the clue?"
"You have to figure out what the egg means so you know what you have to do for the next task," Moody growled as patiently as he could without actually cursing the idiot.
"How do I do that?" Ron asked.
"You have to use your brai…" Moody/Crouch stopped mid-sentence as he realized the flaw in his plan. "Maybe if you ask your friends." He quickly suggested.
It was the first day of classes at the start of the new term and Harry and Hermione, along with Ron, were in their Care of Magical Creature's class. Ron had finally come up with a way to get the information from Hermione in a subtle way so she would never know what he was asking. Turning to Hermione as he hoisted the egg up, he enacted his cunning plot. "Hey Granger! What do you think of when you see this egg?"
Hermione's first thought was of the first task, but she swallowed the nausea down and looked at the egg and Hagrid. "Jack and the beanstalk. I mean we have a giant and a golden egg. All we need is a hen to lay it," she said.
'GOT IT!' Ron thought. 'I know the answer.'
"So Weasley?" Moody asked again several days later. "Do you have the clue worked out."
"Of course!" Ron replied smiling broadly. "Second task is going to be at Hagrid's hut and we have to find some kind of hen," he remarked proudly.
Moody's headaches were coming more frequently than ever. Just the sight of Ron Weasley was enough to start a migraine and actually hearing him speak made a Voldemort rage-driven cruciatus curse feel like a gentle spring breeze. Moody swallowed once as he tried and failed to speak over the pain so that finally, he was able to say, "No, that isn't right!" He looked at the champion and realized he was going to need serious help. "Look, just take a bath with it okay? Use the prefect's bathroom. The password is 'pine fresh'."
Ron looked confused. Well, more confused than normal. "Okay, sure."
A little later, Ron was strolling toward the Prefect's bathroom when he came across Cedric. "Hey Cedric, Moody suggested I take a bath with my egg. Want to join me? I mean, you can wash my egg and I'll wash yours! Oh, and have you seen Krum? I've been trying to find him. I was going to see if he wanted to join me. I mean, if his balls are dirty, he might let me wash them, too."
Cedric bolted down the hallways as fast as he could, never to enter any bathroom without someone else verifying Ron Weasley was not in there. Even then, he locked the door with six different locking charms. Later, he wondered why a professor would make such a recommendation. It wasn't long after that incident that Cedric discovered the secret in the egg.
'He must be going to get his egg,' Ron thought as he watched Cedric dash away. 'Well he'll just have to catch up; I'm not waiting for him.'
"So Weasley?" The unmistakable voice of Moody called out again the next day. "Did you take that bath with your egg?"
Ron held up his egg, "I got my egg really clean. See how it sparkles now?"
Moody/Crouch looked at his own left arm. 'I wonder if my master could find me if I cut off my arm and disappeared?' But realizing there would be no escape, he tried again. "Mister Weasley, try opening the egg next time."
"The egg opens?" Ron asked, looking bewildered, well, more bewildered than normal, at the egg as immediately, he started thinking about how much golden scrambled eggs an egg this size could make and that, of course, made him hungry. He turned and started off toward the Great Hall to see if they were still serving food.
"So Weasley?" Moody asked again in a couple more days. "Did you open the egg in the bathroom?"
"I know what I have to do now."
"Kidnap my brother Percy while he's singing in the shower," Ron answered smugly. It only had taken him a few seconds to recognize that voice. 'No one will ever think I can't figure these things out on my own anymore,' he thought. 'Of course, it would have been a lot easier if that damn ghost Myrtle hadn't been laughing the whole time. Well, she wasn't laughing the whole time; there was the time she ducked under the water. I didn't know a ghost could throw up.'
Moody realized his mistake. Well, outside of not killing the idiot and substituting a polyjuiced Wormtail to be a champion. But then again, it would be about the same intelligence level. 'Never mind that idea,' he thought. He looked the redheaded champion in the eye and said slowly, "take the egg to the bathroom and open it UNDER the water and then put your own head under the water at the same time. Is that clear?"
Ron nodded. 'Does this guy think I'm stupid or something?' He asked himself.
Moody/Crouch stomped back to his office, wondering if he laced his polyjuice potion with Firewhisky, if he could stay drunk for the whole hour.
That night, Moody followed Ron to the bathroom after he drunk the anti-nausea potion he received from Madam Pomfrey. Ten minutes later, he was hitting his head against the wall. He had watched the redhead put the egg in the water in a sink and then put his own head under the water in the tub. Swallowing the bile that tried to escape even over the use of the potion, he stomped into the bathroom, grabbed the wailing egg and heaved it into the tub. 'There,' he thought as he stomped out of the bathroom.
"So Weasley," Moody asked the champion again the next day. "You finally got your clue?"
"Yeah of course. Told you I'd figure it out," Ron replied smugly.
"Well, what's the clue say?" Moody asked leaving nothing to chance this time.
"Something about seeker and missing and black," Ron responded flippantly.
"You didn't get the whole clue?" Crouch asked as he contemplated taking his wooden leg off and beating the kid senseless, but realized he already was.
"Who needs it? It's obvious I have to play seeker and catch a black snitch that's missing," Ron explained.
'A Dementor's kiss really can't be that bad, can it?" Crouch thought, and then to Ron, asked, "You didn't write down the clue?"
"Write down? You mean like take notes?"
"Yes, that is exactly what I mean!" Moody exclaimed.
"Do I look like Hermione?" Ron asked.
"You're going to need the whole clue to solve the puzzle."
"A puzzle? But I thought you said it was a clue."
"It's a clue to the puzzle," Moody growled, just barely keeping himself from killing the idiot.
"Oh, well why didn't you say so?"
Moody's hangover the next day was one of the worst so far.
"So Weasley, do you have the whole clue now?" Moody asked a couple of days later.
Ron rounded on the professor. "It's a joke right? I know it can't be done."
Moody contemplated the idiot closely. "What do you mean?"
"I mean you try to take notes when the egg is talking and your ink runs and the water destroys the parchment. It can't be done!"
"You tried to take the notes UNDER the water?" Moody growled.
"It's where the bloody egg is talking isn't it?" Ron asked.
Fortunately, the impostor was ready this time. He whipped out a parchment he was carrying and handed it to Ron. "Here. This is what the egg is saying."
Ron looked down and read:
Come seek us where our voices sound,
We cannot sing above the ground,
And while you are searching, ponder this:
We've taken what you'll sorely miss.
An hour long you'll have to look,
And recover what we took,
But past an hour- the prospect's black,
Too late, it's gone, it won't come back
Ten minutes later, Moody was still watching the Triwizard Champion mouth the words to the clue. "Do you have any questions now?"
"Yeah, uh... what does ponder mean?"
"It means to think about… oh crap," Moody said. "Look, let's look through this clue together."
"But I thought this was a puzzle?"
"It's the clue to the puzzle."
"But I thought the egg was the clue. So this must be the puzzle."
"No, this is the clue to the puzzle. The egg only held the clue," Moody/Crouch explained.
"Oh, so I have been clueless then," muttered Ron.
"You have no idea," Moody muttered and then to Ron, said, "Let's look at the clue. Now the first two lines, what do you think they say?"
"Uh.., Come seek us where our voices sound, we cannot sing above the ground?"
Moody waited patiently for Ron to continue. Then he realized he had made another mistake. "No, I mean what does it mean?"
"How am I supposed to know?" Ron asked.
Moody shook his head. "Look, it's simple. The task is going to be held where you can hear the voices inside the egg."
A look of understanding crossed Ron's face. "That is simple isn't it?" He said. "The second task going to be held in the Prefect's bathroom."
Moody's gnarled mouth opened once and closed, again he tried and failed. Finally, he just turned and stomped off.
Albus Dumbledore was having a very difficult month as well. Not only was Moody continually standing him up, but he couldn't find a suitable hostage for Mister Weasley. Correction, he couldn't find any hostage for Mister Weasley. Sibyll had made it perfectly clear that Albus would have an overly large crystal ball shoved somewhere very uncomfortable if he even thought about her. He had approached Mister Potter whose laughter was borderline maniacal, whereas Miss Granger's remarks would have been considered rude in Knockturn Alley, much less this fine educational establishment with the finest teachers that can be found. Even the house elves who cooked his dinner requested clothes over being disgraced so. Molly had suggested the boy's chocolate frog card collection and, while normally that would have been an excellent solution, with the hostages needing to be underwater for several hours, it was unlikely the cards would survive the treatment since the protections he could apply to ward off the water would disable the magic they were made with, thus making them worthless.
Albus found himself wandering the corridors one late January day when the solution came to him. He was walking past the older twin brothers of the champion while they seemed to be making plans.
"But he never goes anywhere without the egg."
"I know. He even takes it to the loo with him."
"Well we need to get our hands on it."
And miraculously, the solution came to Dumbledore: his egg. Ron's egg can be the hostage. 'That's a relief,' the Headmaster thought. 'Now I can get back to the more important matters like why Moody doesn't like me anymore.'
Harry and Hermione were having a wonderful month. They started spending a lot more time in the library where they knew Ron would never find the both them. With Hermione's reward system for studying, Harry quickly was becoming much fonder of schoolwork. The snogging she had given him for the O on a Transfiguration paper was something to strive for each and every time. The Hogsmeade trip later in the month also proved to be another wonderful time.
Rita's article on Hagrid had come out praising him for his befriending and caring for the young Boy-Who-Lived and Hagrid had responded by bringing out unicorns for the girls to pet and even unicorn foals for the boys to be able to touch.