The Almost Chosen Ones

Midnight Rendevous

Harry and I split ways in the Entrance Hall. I was guessing that he was going to Gryffindor tower while I headed to the hospital wing to check on Nev before dinner.

Madam Pomfrey was treating a couple Hufflepuff’s who I’m guessing some Slytherin’s were using as test subjects. Neville was in a cot on the other side of the room. “You know, I didn’t want to be right about the hospital wing. How are you feeling?” I asked him. He shrugged, “Fine. She mended it in about a minute, but she wants to keep me for a while for ‘observation.’ I don’t get why she can’t just let me go. I’d try to sneak out, but she scares me a bit.” He whispered the last part. I chuckled and sat on the end of the cot. “You won’t believe what happened after you and Madam Hooch left,” He sat up a bit in anticipation. “So Malfoy was being a royal git as always. He somehow got a hold of your Remembrall. Here you go, before I forget,” I handed him his Remembrall from where I had stashed it in my robes. He gave a sigh of relief. “So I was trying to get him to give it back when he got on his broom and threatened to throw it on the roof. So Harry and I chased after him on our brooms. I don’t think he was expecting both of us to go after him and be such good fliers, so he threw it. Harry did this amazing dive to catch it and I punched Malfoy in the face.”

“Y-You what?” he exclaimed. Madam Pomfrey looked over and we looked at her sheepishly. “I told him that if he didn’t shut up I’d give him a fat lip to match that fat mouth. So I did.” I grinned and he slowly mirrored me, still in disbelief. “And that’s not even the best part.” I added. “What do you mean? What could be better than hitting Malfoy? Man, I wish I had been there to see that.” He trailed off.

“Well, apparently McGonagall saw the whole thing and instead of expelling us she put us on the quidditch team!” His jaw dropped. “Well, I’m on the reserve team, since they already have three chasers, but still, I might actually get to play a bit.” I could tell he was still processing what I said. I bet he was expecting me to say anything but that. “Although Harry is the new Seeker, but you can’t tell anyone! Oliver Wood, the quidditch captain, wants to keep it a secret until the game.”

“Blimey!” he said incredulously. “I know!” I said. I’m still trying to believe it myself. “Can you imagine what Gran’s gonna say?”

“All right Miss Longbottom, visiting hours are over, it’s time for you to go to dinner. Neville will be released later.” Said Madam Pomfrey as she came over once she was done fixing the Hufflepuff’s. “All right,” I said standing up. “I’ll see you later in the common room.” I gave a final wave before heading to the Great Hall for dinner. Now that I thought about it, I was pretty hungry. I put my hand to my stomach as it growled in agreement.

Once I got to the Great Hall, I walked down the Gryffindor table and sat by Harry, Ron, Fred and George. I didn’t see Hermione, so I was guessing that she was running late studying in the library.

“I tell you, we’re going to win the Quidditch Cup for sure this year,” said Fred as I sat down. At least I think he’s Fred. One of these days I will find a way to tell those two apart. “We haven’t won since Charlie left, but this year’s team is going to be brilliant. You must be good, Harry, Wood was almost skipping when he told us. Oh, congrats on making the reserve Callie. You might still be able to play a bit in a couple of games. Alicia did when she was reserve. Rough game, Quidditch.”

“Anyway, we've got to go, Lee Jordan reckons he’s found a new secret passageway out of the school.” Said George. “Bet it’s the one behind the statue of Gregory the Smarmy that we found in our first week. See you.” Interesting, I thought, mentally noting to look out for that statue.

“I’m just lucky that they didn’t expel me for punching Malfoy. Gran would have killed me!” I said, wondering if I should leave that part out of my letter. “Which was bloody brilliant by the way!” Ron said interrupting my train of thought. “Thanks, Ron.” I said.

“Speak of the Devil...” I mumbled as I saw Malfoy striding towards us, flanked by Crabbe and Goyle. “Having a last meal? When are you getting the train back to the land of the Muggles?” He sneered.

“How’s your lip? You seem a lot more bold surrounded by your cronies and back on the ground.” He glared at me. “I’d take you anytime on my own,” he said. “Tonight, if you want. Wizard’s duel. Wands only--no contact. We aren’t barbarians, Daffodil. You do know how to duel, don’t you?”

“Of course she does,” Ron interrupted. “I’m her second, who’s yours?” Harry and I looked at him, eyebrows slightly raised, as Malfoy sized up his goons. “Crabbe,” he picked.

“All right then, midnight. We’ll meet you in the trophy room; that’s always unlocked.” He said. “Fine, then. Deal. I can beat you with or without a wand, Malfoy, and it’s Callalily.” I snapped, not stepping down. “Midnight, Jasmine.” He repeated to have the last word before strutting out of the Great Hall.

“Ugh, why does he have to be so infuriating!” I groaned. “Please tell me that you aren’t actually going to go through with it. You’ll get caught, and cost us more house points!” Hermione said, trying to act as a voice of reason. When did she get here? “Hermione, we won’t get caught. Malfoy needs a healthy slice of humble pie, since apparently a good hit to the head didn’t work.”

“Not that it’s any of your business anyway.” Ron added. I gave him a look. No need to be rude. “It’ll be fine, Hermione.” She shook her head, knowing that this was going no where, and served herself some food.

Well, today was eventful, I thought as I laid in bed waiting for everyone to fall asleep. Hermione gave me the cold shoulder the rest of the night, even went so far as to go straight to the dorms and cocoon herself, probably with a book of course, on her bed with the drapes closed.

I was feeling a little conflicted. I didn’t like upsetting Hermione. She’s the first friend I had here. Gran sent Neville and I to primary school but we never really made any friends. I just didn’t really share the same interests as other girls and the boys would want to tease Neville, to make them feel better about themselves or whatever. I didn’t stand for it then, and I won’t stand for it now. It was Nev and I against the world and it always will be. I gave my word that I was going to go, so I am. Not that I’m not looking forward to it, because I am, that git totally deserves it.

Good thing I’ve been practicing Defense Against the Dark Arts on my own since Quirrell an incompetent fool. Stuttering aside, there’s just something off about him. Something that’s just not right. I just don’t know what it is, but whatever, that’s not my problem right now.

At eleven-thirty I grabbed a pile of clothes and my wand that I set aside earlier and tiptoed into the bathroom to change before tip toeing out of the dormitory. Once I entered the tower room I saw Harry and Ron exiting the boys side of the dormitories. “At least you boys are punctual.” I whispered.

We quietly crept down the spiral staircase into the Gryffindor common room, where a few embers still lighting the fireplace, casting shadows around the room. We almost reached the portrait hole when a voice spoke from the chair closest to us. “I can’t believe you’re going to do this.” A lamp flickered on. It was Hermione, of course. “You!” said Ron furiously. “Go back to bed!”

“I thought it was strange that you would just go to bed and not try to talk me out of it. I didn’t hear you come down here.” I said. “I snuck out when you were in the bathroom.” She answered.

“Well, I’m sorry Hermione, but this doesn’t concern you. Go back to bed.” I said as I pushed open the portrait and climbed through the hole. I’m not gonna let Malfoy think I chickened out because she made me late. Harry and Ron followed me out, with unfortunately Hermione right behind them. She couldn’t be shut down so easily. “Go away.” Harry said when he noticed that she followed them.

“It does concern me, it concerns all of Gryffindor. I don’t want Slytherin to win the house cup, and you’ll lose all the points I got from Professor McGonagall for knowing about Switching Spells.”

“Then I’ll help you win them back, if it comes to that, but we won’t get caught unless you don’t be quiet and alert Filch or Mrs. Norris where we are.” I whispered, the last part harshly. It’s not like I want to get caught.

“All right, but I warned you, you just remember that when you get caught and you’re-” But we didn’t find out what she thought would happen to us because when Hermione turned to go back into the common room she found herself facing an empty portrait. Apparently the Fat Lady had gone on a night time visit and she was now locked out of Gryffindor tower. Well, that sucks. “Now what am I going to do?” she asked.

“That’s your problem.” Ron said. “We’re going to be late.” Harry added. He’s right. We barely walked a few feet before she scurried after us. “I’m coming with you.” She said. “You are not.” Ron said immediately. “D’you think I’m going to stand out here and wait for Filch to catch me? If he finds all four of us I’ll tell him the truth, that I was trying to stop you, and you can back me up.” She said matter-of-factly. “You’ve got some nerve-” Ron said loudly.

“Shut up both of you!” Harry said sharply. Finally, what is with those two? “I heard something.” It was a sort snuffling. “Mrs. Norris?” asked Ron, squinting through the dark

It was Neville! He was curled up on the floor fast asleep, but jerked awake as they crept closer. What was he doing here? “ What are you doing here?” I whispered. “Thank goodness you found me! I’ve been out here for hours, I couldn’t remember the new password to get into bed.” He answered. “Keep your voice down, Neville. The password’s ‘Pig snout’ but it won’t help you now, the Fat Lady’s gone off somewhere.”

“How’s your arm?” Harry asked. “Fine, Madame pomfrey mended it in about a minute.” Neville replied as he showed them. “Good-well, look Neville, we’ve got to be somewhere-”

“Don’t leave me!” Neville said as he scrambled to his feet. “I don’t want to stay here alone, the Bloody Baron’s been past twice already.” Ron looked at his watch then glared at Hermione and Neville. “If either of you get us caught, I’ll never rest until I’ve learned that Curse of the Bogies Quirrell told us about, and use it on you.” Hermione opened her mouth, perhaps to tell Ron exactly how to use the Curse of the Bogies, but I nudged her to be quiet and beckoned them forward.

We walked quietly down the corridors, expecting to run into Filch or Mrs. Norris, but we were lucky. We sped up to the third floor and tiptoed towards the trophy room. Malfoy and his goons weren’t there yet, but we kept our eyes peeled and our wands just in case they started at once. The minutes crawled by. “He’s late, maybe he’s chickened out” Ron whispered. Then a noise from the next room startled us-and it wasn’t Malfoy.

“Sniff around, my sweet, they might be lurking in a corner.” It was Filch and Mrs. Norris. I immediately turned on the balls of my feet and silently gestured to them to get out. “They’re in here somewhere, probably hiding.” We heard him mutter.

“This way!” I mouthed to the others. We crept past a gallery of full of suits of armor. We could hear Filch getting closer. Why does there need to be a gallery full of suits and armor anyway? Nev let out a frightened shriek and started running. As he rounded the corner he tripped and ran into a suit of armor. The sound of clanging metal echoed through out the gallery. “RUN!” I yelled as we sprinted down the corridor and turned left into another, right then left again, not even sparing a glance to see if Filch was right behind us, before we ripped through a tapestry and into a hidden passage way. By now I had no idea where we were. I just hoped we put enough distance between us and Filch and the trophy room. “I think we lost him,” I panted as I leaned back against the cold surface of the stone wall.

“I-told-you,” Hermione said clutching her chest as she tried to catch her breath. “I. Told. You.” We know, Hermione. I mentally rolled my eyes. “We have to get back to Gryffindor tower, now.” Harry insisted.

“Malfoy tricked you,” Hermione said. “You realize that right? He was never going to show-Filch knew someone was going to be in the trophy room, Malfoy must have tipped him off.” Bloody coward. I knew she was right, but I wasn’t going to admit it. “Let’s go.”

I quietly peaked around the tapestry at the end of the passageway. The coast was clear, for now. We had come out near the Charms classroom, luckily no where near the trophy room.

Of course it would have been too easy if we had just been able to make it back no problem. We had barely taken ten steps when Peeves flew out of one of the other unused classrooms. “Looky, Looky, little firsties!” he sang loudly. We tried to hush him, but that’s impossible. “Naughty, naughty, you’re gonna get caughty!”

“Let’s just go!” I tugged Hermione and Neville’s sleeves and we ran around the corner and down the next corridor. “FIRSTIES OUT OF BED!” Thanks, Peeves.

We ran as fast as we could until we slammed into a door-and it was locked. “This is it! We’re done for!” Ron moaned as he hopelessly kept pushing at the door. “Oh, move over!” Hermione said in exasperation as she pushed him to the side. She tapped the lock and whispered, “Alohomora!” The lock clicked and the door swung open. We ran inside and quickly shut the door before leaning our ears against it. “Alohomora?” Ron questioned. “Standard Book of Spells, chapter seven.”

I heard a muffled Filch asking Peeves where we went, but of course Peeves was being Peeves, and was messing with him now instead. “He thinks this door is locked. I think we’ll be okay.” I felt Neville tug at my sleeve.

“It was locked.” Hermione corrected. “And-and for g-good reason!” Neville stuttered in reply. We turned around. We weren’t in a random room like I had thought. We were in the forbidden corridor on the third floor and now we knew why it was forbidden.

In front of us was a giant monster of a dog. Only it wasn’t just a dog. It took up all the space between the ceiling and the door. It had three giant heads, like in the book of Greek myths that Gran used to read to us a long time ago. A cerberus. And we just interrupted nap time. Slowly, three pairs of eyes blinked up at us, three twitching noses quivering in our direction, and three massive jaws yawned, dripping with drool, that could each eat us whole.

We all screamed, between Filch and death-I’d take my chances with Filch. We groped for the doorknob and fell backwards, slammed the door shut and ran our lives; Filch be damned. He must have gone to look for them somewhere else in the castle because we didn’t run into him the rest of the way back to the tower. We stopped caring about getting caught, just trying to put as much distance between us and that beast that wanted us for breakfast. We didn’t stop running until we reached the portrait of the Fat Lady.

“Where on earth have you been?” she asked. “It doesn’t matter-pig snout, pig snout, pig snout!” She tutted but swung forward and we all scrambled inside and collapsed in the armchairs.

For a while no one spoke as we tried to calm down, catch our breaths, and come to terms with what we just saw. The only noise was from the crackling embers in the fireplace. “What do they think they’re doing, keeping a thing like that locked up in a school?” Ron said finally. “If any dog needs exercise, that one does.”

“You don’t use your eyes do you? Didn’t you see what it was standing on?” Hermione asked. “I wasn’t looking at his feet, I was a bit preoccupied with its heads. Or maybe you didn’t notice, there were three!” he snapped back. “It was standing over a trapdoor, which means it wasn’t there by accident. It’s guarding something.”

“Guarding something?” Harry asked. What would need to be guarded by a cerberus in school? “That’s right. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to bed before one of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed, or worse, expelled.” She said before she marched up the staircase to the girls dormitories. “She needs to sort out her priorities.” Ron mumbled. For once, I agree with Ron.

I think it was time for me to go to bed as well. I said goodnight to the boys before going to the dormitory myself. I changed into my pajamas and climbed into bed. Talk about surreal: I learned how fly, didn’t break any bones on the pitch, joined the quidditch team, punched someone in the face, agreed to a wizard’s duel, explored the castle after curfew, avoided Filch, and escaped from a three-headed dog. I could only imagine what the rest of the year would behold.

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