I'm done the fourth book! WAHO! Thank you for reading, commenting, following, and putting this book as your favorite! Thank you very much! I'm really horrible at replying to your comments, but I really appreciate it! Anyways, hope you like this chapter!
disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, just Arabella.
Madam Pomfrey managed to somewhat heal Arabella's ankle and her arm, but put a cast on her arm and suggested using clutches just in case since there was a lot of swelling. Mrs Weasley had to go back home, but gave both Harry and her hugs and promised that they will be able to stay over during the summer. The worst, perhaps, was meeting with the Diggorys that took place the following morning.
They did not blame Harry or Arabella for what happened, but thanked them for returning Cedric's body back to them. Mr Diggory sobbed through most of the interview. Mrs Diggory's grief seemed to be beyond tears.
'He suffered very little then,' she said, when Harry had told her how Cedric had died. 'And after all, Amos… he died just when he'd won the tournament. He must have been happy.'
When they got to their feet, she looked down at Harry and Arabella, and said, 'You look after yourselves, now.'
Harry seized the sack of gold on the bedside table.
'You take this,' he muttered to her. 'It should've been Cedric's, he got there first, you take it –'
But she back away from him.
'Oh no, it's yours, dear, I couldn't… you keep it.'
Arabella and Harry returned to Gryffindor Tower the following evening. From what Ron and Hermione told them, Dumbledore had spoken to the school that morning at breakfast. He had merely requested that they leave them alone, that nobody ask them questions or badger them to tell the story of what had happened in the maze.
The next few days after that passed by in a blur for Arabella. She spent her times with Harry, Ron and Hermione, talking about anything besides what happened at the graveyard. It was an unspoken deal between the four of them.
They went to go visit Hagrid and found out that he had a job to do over the summer with Madame Maxime. He didn't tell them what it was, but they knew it had something to do with Voldemort.
The night before her return back home, Arabella was dreading the Leaving Feast, which was usually a cause for celebration, when the winner if the Inter-House Championship would be announced. She's been trying to avoid the Great Hall, asking Fred and George if they could get her some food from the kitchens. They understood and agreed.
When she, Harry, Ron and Hermione entered the Hall, they saw at once that the usual decorations were missing. There were black drapes on the all beside the teacher's table. Arabella knew they instantly that they were there as a mark of respect to Cedric.
They sat down in an isolated part of the table together. Harry was helping her as Arabella was still trying to adjust to her clutches.
Professor Dumbledore stood up at the staff table. The Great Hall became very quiet.
'The end,' said Dumbledore, looking around at them all, 'of another year.'
He paused, and his eyes fell upon the Hufflepuff table. Theirs had been the quietest table before he had gotten to his feet, and theirs were still the saddest and palest faces in the Hall.
'There is much that I would like to say to you all tonight,' said Dumbledore, 'but I must first acknowledge the loss of a very fine person, who should be sitting here,' he gestured toward the Hufflepuffs, 'enjoying our feast with us. I would like you all, please, to stand, and raise your glasses, to Cedric Diggory.'
They did it, all of them; the benches scraped as everyone in the Hall stood, and raised their goblets, and echoed, in one loud, low, rumbling voice, 'Cedric Diggory.'
'Cedric was a person who exemplified many of the qualities that distinguish Hufflepuff house,' Dumbledore continued. 'He was a good and loyal friend, a hard worker, he valued fair play. His death has affected you all, whether you knew him well or not. I think that you have the right, therefore, to know exactly how it came about.'
Arabella raised her head and stared at Dumbledore.
'Cedric Diggory was murdered by Lord Voldemort.'
A panicked whisper swept the Great Hall. People were staring at Dumbledore in disbelief, in horror. He looked perfectly calm as he watched them mutter themselves into silence.
'The Ministry of Magic,' Dumbledore continued, 'does not wish me to tell you this. It is possible that some of your parents will be horrified that I have done so - either because they will not believe that Lord Voldemort has returned, or because they think I should not tell you so, young as you are. It is my belief, however, that the truth is generally preferable to lies, and that any attempt to pretend that Cedric died as the result of an accident, or some sort of blunder of his own, is an insult to his memory.'
Stunned and frightened, every face in the Hall was turned toward Dumbledore now… or almost every face. Over at the Slytherin table Arabella saw Malfoy muttering something to Crabbe and Goyle. She felt a surge of burning anger, but forced herself to look back at Dumbledore.
'There are two other people who must be mentioned in connection with Cedric's death,' Dumbledore went on. 'I am talking, of course, about Harry Potter and Arabella Black.'
A kind of ripple crossed the Great Hall as a few heads turned in Harry and Arabella's direction before flicking back to face Dumbledore.
'Harry Potter and Arabella Black managed to escape Lord Voldemort,' said Dumbledore. 'They risked their own life to return Cedric's body to Hogwarts. They showed, in every respect, the sort of bravery that few wizards have ever shown in facing Lord Voldemort, and for this, I honor them.'
Dumbledore turned gravely to Harry and Arabella, then raised his goblet once more. Nearly everyone in the Great Hall followed suit. They murmured their names, as they murmured Cedric's, and drank to them. Don't say my name like that! thought Arabella Don't say my name with respect! I did nothing! I didn't even have my wand! I was useless and I didn't do anything to stop Cedric from being killed! I did nothing…
When everyone had once again resumed their seats, Dumbledore continued, 'The Triwizard Tournament's aim was to further and promote magical understanding. In the light of what has happened - of Lord Voldemorts return - such ties are more important than ever before.'
Dumbledore looked from Madame Maxime and Hagrid, to Fleur Delacour and her fellow Beauxbatons students, to Viktor Krum and the Durmstrangs at the Slytherin table.
'Every guest in this Hall,' said Dumbledore, and his eyes lingered upon the Durmstrang students, 'will be welcomed back here at any time, should they wish to come. I say to you all, once again - in the light of Lord Voldemort's return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.
'It is my belief - and never have I so hoped that I am mistaken - that we are all facing dark and difficult times. Some of you in this Hall have already suffered directly at the hands of Lord Voldemort. Many of your families have been torn asunder. A week ago, a student was taken from our midst.
'Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.'
Arabella's truck was packed with Shay back in her cage in top of it. She, Harry, Ron and Hermione were waiting in the crowded entrance hall with the rest of the fourth years for the carriages that would take them back to Hogsmeade station.
Arabella turned around to see Fleur Delacour hurrying up the stone steps into the castle.
'We will see each uzzer again, I 'ope,' said Fleur as she reached him, holding out her hand. 'I am 'oping to get a job 'ere, to improve my Eenglish.'
'It's very good already,' said Ron in a strangled sort of voice. Fleur smiled at him; Hermione scowled.
'Good-bye, 'Arry,' said Fleur, turning to go. 'It 'az been a pleasure meeting you!'
She patted Arabella's cheek before hurrying back across the lawns to Madame Maxime.
'Wonder how the Durmstrang students are getting back,' said Ron. 'D'you reckon they can steer that ship without Karkaroff?'
'Karkaroff did not steer,' said a gruff voice. 'He stayed in his cabin and let us do the vork.'
Krum had come to say good-bye to Hermione with Nikola behind him 'Could I have a vord?' he asked Hermione.
'Oh…yes…all right,' said Hermione, looking slightly flustered, and following Krum through the crowd and out of sight, leaving Nikola with them.
'You'd better hurry up!' Ron called loudly after her. 'The carriages'll be here in a minute!'
'What do you want?' asked Harry, looking at Nikola with anger.
Nikola ignored Harry, looking at Arabella with guilt, and said, 'I'm sorry, for everything I did to you. It was stupid and foolish of me. I know you won't accept my apology, but I just wanted to tell you that.'
'You're right, I don't accept your apology,' said Arabella coldly. 'And to be honest, I really don't care. You can leave now.'
Nikola nodded, defeated, and walked down the staircase back towards the ship.
Hermione and Krum returned just as Nikola left. Ron stared at Hermione, but her face was quite emotionless.
'I liked Diggory,' said Krum abruptly to Harry. 'He vos alvays polite to me. Alvays. Even though I vos from Durmstrang - with Karkaroff,' he added, scowling.
'Have you got a new headmaster yet?' said Harry.
Krum shrugged. He held out his hand as Fleur had done, shook Harry's hand, Arabella's and Ron's. Ron looked as though he was suffering some sort of painful internal struggle. Krum had already started walking away when Ron burst out, 'Can I have your autograph?'
Hermione turned away, smiling at the carriages that were now rolling towards them up the drive, as Krum, looking surprised, and signed a fragment of parchment for Ron and Arabella's cast when she asked him too.
Arabella, Harry, Ron and Hermione managed to find a compartment to themselves. They talked more fully and freely than they had all week. After Dumbledore's speech at the Leaving Feast, Arabella found that it was less painful to talk about what happened. They broke off their conversation about what action Dumbledore might be taking, even now, to stop Voldemort only when the lunch trolley arrived.
When Hermione returned from the trolley and put her money back into her schoolbag, she dislodged a copy of the Daily Prophet that she had been carrying in there. Arabella looked at it, unsure whether she really wanted to know what it might say, but Hermione, seeing her looking at it, said calmly, 'There's nothing in there. You can look for yourself, but there's nothing at all. I've been checking every day. Just a small piece the day after the third task saying you won the tournament. They didn't even mention Cedric. Nothing about any of it. If you ask me Fudge is forcing them to keep quiet.'
'He'll never keep Rita quiet,' said Harry. 'Not on a story like this.'
'Oh, Rita hasn't written anything at all since the third task,' said Hermione in an oddly constrained voice. 'As a matter of fact,' she added, her voice now trembling slightly, 'Rita Skeeter isn't going to be writing anything at all for a while. Not unless she wants me to spill the beans on her.'
'What are you talking about?' said Ron.
'I found out how she was listening in on private conversations when she wasn't supposed to be coming onto the grounds,' said Hermione in a rush.
Arabella had the impression that Hermione had been dying to tell them this for days, but she had to restrain herself in light of everything that had happened.
'How was she doing it?' said Harry at once.
'How did you find out?' said Ron, staring at her.
'Well, it was you, really, who gave me the idea Harry,' she said.
'Did I?' said Harry, perplexed. 'How?'
'Bugging,' said Hermione happily.
'But you said they didn't work -'
'Oh not electronic bugs,' said Hermione. 'No, you see…Rita Skeeter' -
Hermione's voice trembled with quiet triumph - 'is an unregistered Animagus. She can turn -'
Hermione pulled a small sealed glass jar out other bag. '- into a beetle.'
'You're kidding,' said Ron. 'You haven't… she's not…'
'Oh yes she is,' said Hermione happily, brandishing the jar at them.
Inside were a few twigs and leaves and one large, fat beetle.
'That's never - you're kidding -' Ron whispered, lifting the jar to his eyes.
'No, I'm not,' said Hermione, beaming. 'I caught her on the windowsill in the hospital wing. Look very closely, and you'll notice the markings around her antennae are exactly like those foul glasses she wears.'
Hermione took the glass jar back from Ron and smiled at the beetle, which buzzed angrily against the glass.
'I've told her I'll let her out when we get back to London,' said Hermione. 'I've put an Unbreakable Charm on the jar, you see, so she can't transform. And I've told her she's to keep her quill to herself for a whole year. See if she can't break the habit of writing horrible lies about people.'
Smiling serenely, Hermione placed the beetle back inside her schoolbag.
The door of the compartment slid open.
'Very clever Granger,' said Malfoy.
Crabbe and Goyle were standing behind him.
'So,' said Malfoy slowly, advancing slightly into the compartment and looking slowly around at them, a smirk quivering on his lips. 'You caught some pathetic reporter, and Potter's Dumbledore's favorite boy again. Big deal.'
His smirk widened. Crabbe and Goyle leered.
'Trying not to think about it, are we?' said Malfoy softly, looking around at all three of them. 'Trying to pretend it hasn't happened?'
'Get out,' said Harry.
'You've picked the losing side, Potter! I warned you! I told you ought to choose your company more carefully, remember? When we met on the train, first day at Hogwarts? I told you not to hang around with riffraff like this!' He jerked his head at Arabella, Ron and Hermione. 'Too late now Potter! They'll be the first to go, now the Dark Lord's back! Mudbloods and Muggle-lovers first! Well - second - Diggory was the f-'
It was as though someone had exploded a box of fireworks within the compartment. Blinded by the blaze of the spells that had blasted from every direction, Arabella blinked and looked down at the floor.
Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle were all lying unconscious in the doorway. Harry, Ron and Hermione were all standing on their feet while Arabella was still sitting down. They all had their wands out and used different hexes. Nor were they the only ones to have done so.
'Thought we'd see what those three were up to,' said Fred matter-of-factly, stepping onto Goyle and into the compartment. He had his wand out, and so did George, who was careful to tread on Malfoy as he followed Fred inside.
'Interesting effect,' said George, looking down at Crabbe. 'Who used the Furnunculus Curse?'
'Me,' said Harry.
'Odd,' said George lightly. 'I used Jelly-Legs. Looks as though those two shouldn't be mixed. He seems to have sprouted little tentacles all over his face. Well, let's not leave them here, they don't add much to the decor.'
Ron, Harry, and George kicked, rolled, and pushed the unconscious Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle - each of whom looked distinctly the worse for the jumble of jinxes with which they had been hit - out into the corridor, then came back into the compartment and rolled the door shut.
'Exploding Snap, anyone?' said Fred, pulling out a pack of cards.
They were halfway through their fifth game when Harry decided to ask them.
'You going to tell us, then?' he said to George. 'Who you were blackmailing?'
'Oh,' said George darkly. 'That.'
'It doesn't matter,' said Fred, shaking his head impatiently. 'It wasn't anything important. Not now, anyway.'
'We've given up,' said George, shrugging.
But Arabella, Harry, Ron and Hermione kept on asking, and finally, Fred said, 'All right, all right, if you really want to know… it was Ludo Bagman.'
'Bagman?' said Arabella sharply. 'Are you saying he was involved in -'
'Nah,' said George gloomily. 'Nothing like that. Stupid git. He wouldn't have the brains.'
'Well, what, then?' said Ron.
Fred hesitated, then said, 'You remember that bet we had with him at the Quidditch World Cup? About how Ireland would win, but Krum would get the Snitch?'
'Yeah,' said Harry and Ron slowly.
'Well, the git paid us in leprechaun gold he'd caught from the Irish mascots.'
'So,' said Fred impatiently, 'it vanished, didn't it? By next morning, it had gone!'
'But - it must've been an accident, mustn't it?' said Hermione.
George laughed very bitterly.
'Yeah, that's what we thought, at first. We thought if we just wrote to him, and told him he'd made a mistake, he'd cough up. But nothing doing. Ignored our letter. We kept trying to talk to him about it at Hogwarts, but he was always making some excuse to get away from us.'
'In the end, he turned pretty nasty,' said Fred. 'Told us we were too young to gamble, and he wasn't giving us anything.'
'So we asked for our money back,' said George glowering.
'He didn't refuse!' gasped Hermione.
'Right in one,' said Fred.
'But that was all your savings!' said Ron.
'Tell me about it,' said George. ''Course, we found out what was going on in the end. Lee Jordan's dad had had a bit of trouble getting money off Bagman as well. Turns out he's in big trouble with the goblins. Borrowed loads of gold off them. A gang of them cornered him in the woods after the World Cup and took all the gold he had, and it still wasn't enough to cover all his debts. They followed him all the way to Hogwarts to keep an eye on him. He's lost everything gambling. Hasn't got two Galleons to rub together. And you know how the idiot tried to pay the goblins back?'
'How?' said Harry.
'He put a bet on you, mate,' said Fred. 'Put a big bet on you to win the tournament. Bet against the goblins.'
'So that's why he kept trying to help me win!' said Harry. 'Well - I did win, didn't I? So he can pay you your gold!'
'Nope,' said George, shaking his head. 'The goblins play as dirty as him. They say you drew with Diggory, and Bagman was betting you'd win outright. So Bagman had to run for it. He did run for it right after the third task.'
George sighed deeply and started dealing out the cards again.
'Wait a minute,' said Hermione, she then turned to Arabella and Harry, 'when the two of you start seeing each other?'
'What?' said Arabella, confused.
'When did the two of you start… you know…'
Arabella turned to Harry, outraged. 'You told her?!'
'No,' said Harry, moving away, 'Neville told them.'
'Yeah, told all of us –' said Fred.
'Who's us?' asked Arabella, dreading the answer.
'Me,' said Fred.
'Me,' said George.
'Uncle Remus knows?' said Arabella, meaning that Sirius also knew.
'Yeah,' said Fred shrugging.
'Why didn't you tell us?' said Ron.
'There was nothing to tell,' said Arabella.
'I wouldn't say nothing,' said Harry, looking hurt. 'There was something to say.'
The rest of the journey passed back uncomfortable. Harry looked hurt as Fred and George kept making kissing faces towards them. Hermione went on about the meaning of friendship and how friends don't keep secrets away from each other. Arabella was quite happy when the Hogwarts Express pulled in platform nine and three-quarters. The usual confusion and noise filled the corridors as the student began to get off. Ron and Hermione struggled out past Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle carrying their trucks. Arabella waited until the crowd died out, and Harry stayed with her.
'Fred - George - wait a moment,' said Harry.
The twins turned. Harry pulled open his trunk and drew out his Triwizard winnings.
'Take it,' he said, and he thrust the sack into George's hands.
'What?' said Fred, looking flabbergasted.
'Take it,' Harry repeated firmly. 'I don't want it.'
'You're mental,' said George, trying to push it back at Harry.
'No, I'm not,' said Harry. 'You take it, and get inventing. It's for the joke shop.'
'He is mental,' Fred said in an almost awed voice.
'Listen,' said Harry firmly. 'If you don't take it, I'm throwing it down the drain. I don't want it and I don't need it. But I could do with a few laughs. We could all do with a few laughs. I've got a feeling we're going to need them more than usual before long.'
'Harry,' said George weakly, weighing the money bag in his hands, 'there's got to be a thousand Galleons in here.'
'Yeah,' said Harry, grinning. 'Think how many Canary Creams that is.'
The twins stared at him.
'Just don't tell your mum where you got it…although she might not be so keen for you to join the Ministry anymore, come to think of it…'
'Harry,' Fred began, but Harry pulled out his wand.
'Look,' he said flatly, 'take it, or I'll hex you. I know some good ones now. Just do me one favor, okay? Buy Ron some different dress robes and say they're from you.'
Fred and George thanked him profoundly and left the compartment. Harry was about to leave too, but Arabella held on to his arm.
'I'm sorry,' she said.
'Like you said, nothing to say,' said Harry, not looking at her.
'There is something to say, there's always something to say,' said Arabella, guilty. 'I just didn't want to say anything in front of them.'
'You saw how Fred and George were,' said Arabella, shrugging trying to get up and holding on to her clutches. 'It was embarrassing.'
'So you're embarrassed of us?'
'That's not what I'm trying to say.'
'What are you trying to say?'
'They were embarrassing! I'm not embarrassed about whatever we have!'
'What do we have?'
'Something? Really? That's –'
Before Harry could finish his sentence, Arabella kissed him. It was nice and a simple one. There was no chill that went through her spine, but a nice warm feeling that spread from her stomach through her whole body.
'I'm sorry,' whispered Arabella, closing her eyes and leaning a bit on him. 'I'll make it up to you, I promise. I'm not embarrassed.'
'It's fine,' Harry said, shaking his head, giving her one more kiss. 'Let's just go. We'll talk about his later.'
They walked together, stepped over Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle who were still lying on the floor, covered in hex marks.
Remus, Mrs Weasley, and Harry's uncle were waiting beyond the barrier. Mrs Weasley hugged Harry very tightly as Remus did the same to her.
'I missed you,' Arabella mumbled into his shirt.
'I missed you too,' said Remus, rubbing her back.
Mrs Weasley let go of Harry as Remus shook Harry's hand.
'See you, Harry,' said Ron clapping him on the back. '
'Bye, Harry,' said Hermione, hugging Harry.
'Harry – thanks,' George muttered, while Fred nodded fervently at his side.
'Bye, Harry,' said Arabella, hugging him.
Harry gave them all one last smile before turning to his uncle and silently following him out of the station.
'So… er… what's going on between you and Harry?' said Remus, looking uncomfortable.
'Something,' said Arabella, smiling.
'Care to elaborate?'
'No, not yet.'
'Anyway, we have to go,' said Remus, looking at his watch, glad to change the subject.
'Who's Isaak?' asked Arabella.
'Not now,' said Remus, sighing and pinching the bridge of his nose. 'Later, I promise.'
Arabella nodded as she hugged Hermione and the Weasley.
'I'll see you guys over the summer, yeah?' asked Arabella, looking at them.
'Of course,' said Mrs Weasley. 'Keep in touch, Arabella.'
'Always do, Mrs Weasley,' said Arabella. She then turned to Remus, and said, 'Ready?'
'Yeah,' said Remus, grabbing her truck. 'Let's go.'
'So,' said Arabella, 'we're going to you-know-where?'
'If we're thinking about the same place, then yes,' said Remus. 'Were going there.'
'I hate that place,' said Arabella bitterly.
'I know, he hates it too,' said Remus.
'You'll tell me everything, right?' said Arabella.
'Everything,' said Remus. She could tell he was getting annoyed by her questions. 'I promise.'
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