Danger on the Field
After the trophy had been handed over to the Irish team, Bagman, after murmuring, 'Quietus,' said, 'They'll be talking about this one for years. A really unexpected twist, that. Shame it couldn't have lasted longer… Ah, yes… yes, I owe you… how much?'
And again, they all laughed as Fred and George scrambled over the back of their seats to stand in front of Ludo Bagman with broad grins on their faces, their hands outstretched.
For hours, they sat up at the tiny table to talk about the match. And when Harry finally rolled into bed, and was just beginning to imagine himself in the Quidditch stadium, he noticed Charlie shuffle out after muttering a quick word to his father.
'Those Irish are really having at it, aren't they?' Charlie commented as he and Elizabeth sat around the final embers of the fire. There were magical bangs going off all around them, and colourful sparks raining down all over the campground.
'So much for secrecy,' Elizabeth muttered, leaning in to rest her head on Charlie's chest. 'If this doesn't get that Roberts bloke suspicious, nothing will.'
'What's that?' He sat up, and pointed to a large group of people moving slowly across the pitch. Suddenly, a loud, petrified scream wafted over them.
'That's – oh, Merlin!' Elizabeth blanched while, and jumped up to her feet, pulling her wand out of her jeans. 'Charlie, fetch your father. I'd recognize those masks anywhere.'
Crossing the field, illuminated by burning tents and torches, was a group of Death Eaters. Above them, four shapes were being contorted into all sorts of shapes. Two were children.
Charlie ran into the tent, and Elizabeth watched, entranced, as more and more wizards joined the group. Her mind drifted back to a day, almost fifteen years ago, when she had felt that loss of control.
A voice cut into her musings, and she felt a pair of arms turn her around. 'Elizabeth,' Charlie called, shaking her a little. She came out of her trance, and he told her, 'My father and brothers and I are going to go help the Ministry – go with the others, hide in the forest. They cannot see you. Okay?'
'Yeah. Yeah, okay.' She kissed his cheek, and George grabbed her hand to pull her behind him into the forest.
'Harry? Ron? Hermione!'
Ginny, Fred, George, and Elizabeth had reached a clearing in the forest, but when they turned, they realized the others weren't with them. In the silence, their voices seemed to carry for ages.
'I don't believe this!' Elizabeth cried, exasperated. 'We lost them! How could we loose them? I'm going back. You three wait here-'
'No.' As she turned to leave, her wand upraised, Fred had grabbed her arm. 'Dad said we have to keep you as far away from everything as possible.'
'So you're not going anywhere,' George added, stepping on her other side and helping Fred guide her to a tree stump.
'They'll be fine,' Ginny told her, sitting down on Elizabeth's lap to ensure she didn't get up. 'Hermione's brilliant, Harry's talented, and Ron… Ron's loyal.'
They all laughed, and Elizabeth said, 'Alright. Alright, I won't apparate, Ginny, you don't have to restrain me. You're right, of course. They're in the forest, they'll be fine –'
As she spoke, however, a great cry rose from the field.
Looking up, they saw –
'The Dark Mark!'
Elizabeth had jumped up, accidentally dropping Ginny onto the ground. For a moment, her eyes were transfixed on the glittering skull. 'Oh, good heavens,' she breathed, not averting her eyes. Then, her voice grew stronger, and she ordered, 'You guys, come here. Now. Come on, I'm going to bring you back to the tent.'
'I can change into a phoenix. I'll pop us there. It takes me two seconds to change. Then, grab onto my tail. Okay?' She looked at each of them in turn, and they nodded mutely. 'Good.'
Change she did. A small pop, and in front of them stood a golden, swan-like bird, which was wiggling its tail feathers expectantly.
'Hold on, guys, quick,' Ginny barked nervously, jumping forward to grab Elizabeth's tail. Her eyes kept flitting towards the skull in the sky.
Fred and George did as they were told, both holding tight onto Elizabeth's bright plumage. And before George could finish his proclamation of, 'This is so weird,' they were back at their campsite where Bill, Charlie, and Percy were only just arriving.
'Ginny! Fred, George, come on, quick, into the tent,' Bill called, his sleeve soaked in blood.
'Where's Elizabeth?' Charlie asked, not spotting the large bird until it was perched on his shoulder. Resting his hand on his heart dramatically, he chided, 'Lizzie, don't do that.'
He could have sworn she rolled her eyes at him as she flew through the tent flap behind Percy and landed on the table. She promptly started to cry into an empty mug.
'What's she doing?' Ginny asked, spotting Elizabeth on the table as she crawled into the tent.
'Phoenix tears have healing properties,' Bill told her, stepping in behind her. 'I suspect this –' he lifted his bleeding arm '-will be fixed within a matter of seconds.' He waved his wand, and a sheet fluttered over and into his outstretched hand.
Fred and George joined Ginny, who had sat down in front of the fireplace, while Percy and Bill sat down at the table waiting for Elizabeth to finish.
Charlie leaned out of the tent, and called back, 'The others are here.'
Elizabeth transformed back into her human form, and picked up the cup. 'Perfect. Alright, Bill, let's see that arm…' He winced, but Elizabeth was very delicate as she pulled the sheet back to inspect his wound. 'Oh, that's not too bad. A few drops should do it…'
As she dabbed his arm, Bill called out to his father, 'Did you get them, Dad? The person who conjured the Mark?'
'No,' Mr Weasley replied. 'We found Barty Crouch's elf holding Harry's wand, but we're none the wiser about who actually conjured the Mark.'
'What?' Bill, Charlie, Elizabeth and Percy all asked together.
'Harry's wand?' Fred asked, just as Percy added, 'Mr Crouch's elf?'
For the next twenty minutes, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Mr Weasley explained what had happened in the forest, and, as soon as possible, they found the first possible Portkey home.