A Call To Arms

By MyDearProfMcGonagall

Fantasy / Action

The Sword of Gryffindor

Within two days, despite the Carrows’ very obvious attempts to stop all news from reaching the students, it seemed that everyone had heard the story of Harry’s break-in at the Ministry. While the rumors might, at one point, have been a bolster for the confidence of those few who were still staunch supporters of Harry, Ginny was annoyed to find that they quickly dissolved into useless gossip. She overheard several people discussing Harry’s attempt to murder the new Minister of Magic, a pack of Hufflepuffs talking about his dramatic escape on the back of a Hungarian Horntail, and worst of all, one Ravenclaw girl assuring another that the entire thing was an elaborate hoax, designed to capture Harry once and for all. It was rumors like this last one that proved the most problematic; it became clear to Ginny within a couple of days that very few people believed that Harry was even alive, let alone hiding out somewhere. And even among those few who did believe it, the general consensus was was that he was gone, and gone for good.

The Carrows, meanwhile, used this atmosphere of relative despondency to tighten their hold over students and staff. Detention as Ginny had suffered it, it seemed, was to be the standard. Though no one had yet come forward, to her knowledge, and given the Carrows up, she had noticed the other professors trying very hard to avoid doling out detentions. This was proving difficult, in light of the seemingly constant presence of either one or both Carrows. Ginny could feel the professors’ tension in every single lesson. It didn’t help that after just a few short weeks of term, Alecto Carrow, who seemed to have more intelligence than her brutish brother, had instituted more than half of Professor Umbridge’s old rules. Mail was routinely stopped and checked, curfew was earlier than ever, and a teacher escorted every class from room to room. This last one was especially annoying, for it meant that Luna, Ginny, and Neville didn’t even have the ability to talk between lessons; if they did find a free moment or two, they could be sure that the shadow of at least one Carrow would descend upon them within minutes.

Before long, Ginny’s only happy moments came with the occasional letter from her brothers or her parents. Charlie wrote the most often; he was painfully sick of being so disconnected from their family. He was stuck in Romania, for traveling to England was risky at best, and with the Order compromised, Mum and Dad had insisted that he was safest abroad. Bill and Fleur, it seemed, were having the same problem, for they could not escape to stay with Fleur’s family in France. They were trying to have as much of a honeymoon as was possible, settling into Shell Cottage in Tinworth—Ginny remembered it, somewhat. It had belonged to Aunt Muriel, and she’d given it to Bill as a wedding present. The twins were about the only ones who didn’t have grim news. They were still running the joke shop spectacularly, still inventing and expanding and taking full advantage of being almost the only open shop in Diagon Alley.

No one could share any important news, thanks to the Carrows’ interference with the mail, but before long, even just a note in her mother’s handwriting, or that of one of her brothers, was enough to make Ginny stop worrying about them, even if only for a little while. She hadn’t had another detention since the first day, and hadn’t told anyone in her family what had been going on, deciding that they had enough to worry about. After the fiasco of their first day in Muggle Studies, Luna seemed to become especially determined to stop her from getting in trouble again, though this was rather difficult. They had begun to notice that it was much more common for a Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Gryffindor to turn up in class with a minor, unexplained injury than it was for a Slytherin to do the same. This injustice alone was grating enough, but there was much more.

It turned out that Mudbloods and the Dangers they Pose to a Perfect Pure-Blood Society was the least of the material they were to be exposed to, and Ginny was having a hard time restraining herself from shouting at Alecto again. Her anger had bubbled dangerously close to the surface for the entire term, and without the outlets of Quidditch, writing to her parents, or even spending time with her friends, she had had no way to calm down. One afternoon in late October, Ginny sat with Luna in the library, working on a Transfiguration essay. Or, at least, Ginny was working (she had already spent a quarter of an hour grumbling about the opened letter she had received from her mother that morning). Luna had been frowning into space for nearly ten minutes.

“We need to find a better way than just word-of-mouth,” she whispered suddenly.

Ginny looked up. “A better way for what?”

“News,” Luna said. “By the time that the rumors about what’s happening out there finally reach us, they’re so overgrown that no one believes them. Then they stop talking. If they stop talking, then they stop listening, and then they stop believing the truth, and if that happens, then we might as well hand the school over to the Carrows.” As she spoke, a fevered, excited look began to build in her eyes.

Ginny blinked, a little taken aback. “Well…okay…so how do we circulate news without word-of-mouth, even when there is news to report?”

“Well, I was thinking about that,” Luna whispered excitedly. “What if we had a kind of newsletter? Something that we could put out ourselves?”

“Go on,” Ginny said, tilting her head to one side curiously.

“You’re an excellent writer,” said Luna. “You could write something that we could copy and hand out to everyone we know.”

Ginny frowned, rubbing her chin thoughtfully. “It’s an idea,” she agreed. “That could cause a lot of trouble for people, though. What if people started rumors about Dumbledore’s Army being back?”

“What if they did?” Luna asked. “It is, in a way! I know you and Neville don’t agree, Ginny, but I don’t think this all-alone plan is working, we haven’t been able to do anything. I still think we need to arrange a meeting of the old D.A. Especially if we’re serious about the plans to go after the sword in Professor Snape’s office.”

Ginny sighed, exasperated. “Luna, I keep telling you, it’s better if it’s just the three of us for now. We don’t know who we can trust, especially after the Carrows gave detention to those Hufflepuffs last week. We might end up getting more people in detention if anyone else knows or gets caught helping us.”

“What about Seamus and the others, though?” Luna asked. “The Gryffindors would never betray us, but they wouldn’t forgive us if we left them out. I know they wouldn’t.”

“Maybe not, but Neville and I agreed, we’re keeping the whole sword plan secret. Just the three of us,” Ginny insisted, fixing Luna with a sharp gaze.

Luna shook her head. “Well, there are plenty of Ravenclaws who keep asking me if there are any plans to bring back the D.A. I think if people want to fight, they should have that choice.”

“I’m not saying you’re wrong, Luna,” said Ginny, though she was getting rather annoyed. “But I think that for just this one time, we should keep it secret.”

Luna’s protuberant eyes rested on her for an uncomfortably long moment. Then she nodded and resumed writing her essay. Ginny tapped her foot impatiently, watching her write for several moments. She let out an exasperated sigh. “What?”

Luna looked up.

Ginny stared at her, one eyebrow raised in irritation. “You’ve obviously got something to say, Luna. What is it?”

“I haven’t got anything to say,” she replied, frowning slightly.

“You think we’re being stupid,” Ginny said, exasperated.

“I don’t think you’re stupid,” Luna began.

“That’s not what I said,” Ginny snapped. Then she looked over her shoulder, checking for Madam Pince. She sighed. “I’m sorry. I just…it feels safer to do it alone. Just the three of us, you know? I’ve got a horrible feeling that if more people try to help, they’ll end up getting hurt.”

“I understand, Ginny,” Luna said honestly. “I trust you and Neville to make choices like this.”

“I—It’s not just me and Neville!” Ginny spluttered, irritated again. “You have just as much say as—”

Luna shook her head, smiling. “It’s all right. Really.”

“I—well—you—” Ginny made a noise of irritation and picked up her quill, returning her focus to her essay.

“Psst.”

Ginny looked up at Luna, who seemed confused.

“Psst.”

“Neville?” Luna asked, standing up and peering around a bookshelf.

“Shh,” Neville said, coming out of the shadows. “I just had to tell you—Seamus is in detention again. He mouthed off to Carrow.”

Ginny had gotten up and come over. “Well, what else is new?” she asked darkly.

Neville shook his head grimly. “It’s bad this time. Carrow didn’t even dismiss the class, he just dragged Seamus out. None of us have seen him since.”

“What did he say?” Luna asked.

“Same old,” Neville shrugged. “Called Carrow a Death Eater, started shouting.”

Ginny sighed. “He’s got to calm down. He’s going to get himself killed, he’s a half-blood.”

“We’re about to do much worse,” Neville reminded her.

Luna looked between them for a moment. “We should plan it for tomorrow,” she said at last. “I think we might as well, if no one else is helping us. At the very least, if we get caught—”

“If we get caught—” Neville began, shocked.

“We’d take their attention off Seamus,” Ginny said softly, staring at Luna with admiration.

“Exactly,” said Luna, smiling. “We ought to take responsibility for ourselves, if we’re all that’s really left of the D.A.”

Neville nodded and looked at Ginny. “D’you think we can do it?” he asked.

Ginny shrugged. “There’s always something that can go wrong, right? We’ve been planning for ages, and we’re either going to do it or we’re not. And no matter what, it’s going to feel fantastic to just do something, really get at them, you know?”

Luna beamed. “Lovely.”


The next day seemed to rush past Ginny in a great whirlwind of nervous anticipation. She kept running through the plan in her head, making lists and ticking off items one by one. By the time she and Luna went to Transfiguration, the last class before Muggle Studies, she was beside herself. She kept catching herself muttering under her breath and drawing strange stares from her classmates.

“All right, that’s enough for today,” said Professor McGonagall, closing the textbook on her desk at the end of the period. “Pass up your mice to—ah, Mr. Hooper, please, if you haven’t finished. If I’ve checked your eggcup, return it to my desk, and all of you line up at the door for Muggle Studies.”

Ginny quickly packed her bag and carried her eggcup to the front of the room, catching Luna’s eye. She nodded briefly and headed for the line of students by the door.

As they all trooped silently to the Muggle Studies classroom, Professor McGonagall in the lead, Luna shot a sideways glance at Ginny. When they had safely passed the stairs that led up to the seventh floor, Ginny nodded at Luna, who took a breath.

“Professor McGonagall!” she called, and the line stopped as Professor McGonagall turned.

“What is it, Miss Lovegood?” she asked rather impatiently.

“I’ve left something in the classroom—my book for Muggle Studies,” said Luna. “May I please go back and get it?”

Professor McGonagall looked exasperated. The Carrows were especially harsh on latecomers, and with good reason, Ginny thought privately. They were probably afraid of something happening—something like what she and Luna were about to do.

“I’ll go with her, Professor, and we’ll catch up in just a moment,” piped up Ginny.

“Be quick,” Professor McGonagall warned. “I’ll explain to Professor Carrow.”

“Thank you,” Luna chimed, as Ginny grabbed her wrist and hurried back the way they had come.

“Okay,” said Ginny as they hurried to the staircase up to the seventh floor. She checked her watch. “In three minutes, Neville’s going to set off the Decoy Detonators in Dark Arts. That’s about the time our class will get to Muggle Studies. With any luck, Snape will come running and we can get into the office.”

“Right. Snatch the sword and run for the Room of Requirement,” Luna told her. “They’re gone,” she said, peering off in the direction in which their classmates had just disappeared. “Ready?”

“Ready,” said Ginny breathlessly; she was eager, but terrified.

They hurried together up the stairs, checking all around for signs of other students or teachers, and ran down the seventh-floor corridor, ducking behind statues and suits of armor, until they had reached the gargoyle that hid Snape’s office. Together, Luna and Ginny tucked themselves behind a particularly large suit of armor, watching the gargoyle for a sign of life.

Ginny looked down at her watch; there was about a minute to go. “Come on, Neville,” she whispered.

But nothing happened, for nearly five minutes. Luna frowned. “Do you suppose they’ve gone off already?” Ginny shook her head. “What if he doesn’t come out?”

“I don’t see why he wouldn’t,” said Ginny. “If those things are as loud as Fred and George say they are, there’s no way he won’t hear.”

Luna nodded. “Maybe Neville got caught,” she said.

Ginny bit her lip, when, suddenly, from just down the hall, several loud bangs split the air; it was like the castle was cracking in half. Fred and George had not lied—the sound was deafening. Ginny and Luna both clapped their hands over their ears just as the gargoyle leapt aside and Professor Snape came sailing out of his office, black robes billowing, sweeping off in the direction of the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom.

“Now,” Luna whispered, as soon as he had rounded the corner, and she and Ginny bolted for the gargoyle, leaping behind it just before it closed off.

“What d’you think you’re doing?” it barked, but Luna and Ginny were already halfway up the spiraling staircase to the office door.

“We’ve got no more than five minutes,” said Ginny, tapping the door handle with her wand. It flew open. “That gargoyle’s probably charmed to—whoa.”

“Oh, my,” said Luna, taking in the enormous office. Portraits (whose inhabitants were absent, presumably gone to examine the source of the noise below) were crammed against each other on every inch of wall space that wasn’t covered with bookshelves, which were stuffed not only with massive, moldering volumes, but also with odd, spindly instruments that apparently, even Luna could not recognize. Delicate tables cluttered the floor space, bearing more of these strange objects. “The sword,” said Luna, pointing to a glass case directly below the empty portrait frame nearest Professor Snape’s desk. The enormous blade floated unsupported in its box, its thick hilt glittering with silver and rubies.

Ginny hurried forward and reached up for it, but was unable to even touch the case. “You’re taller, Luna, come on,” she said, but Luna shook her head, coming to join her.

“I don’t think I can touch it,” she said softly. “I think you have to.”

Ginny sighed in annoyance—now was hardly the time to worry about myths and superstitions. “Then give me a boost up, will you?”

“Oh,” Luna said, shaking her head as though suddenly remembering why they were there. She bent and put her knee out so that Ginny could stand on it. “Careful,” she warned, taking hold of Ginny’s ankle as she pushed off of Luna’s leg and climbed up the bookshelf, her fingertips just brushing the sword.

“Nearly…there…” she squeaked, pushing the case a few inches to the right. Luna watched, ready to catch it when it fell—

BANG.

The office door swung open as Ginny yelled and toppled off the bookcase, bringing the sword with her. Luna fell backwards as the case caught her in the chest, though she managed to stay upright. Ginny hit the floor hard, but she leapt back to her feet and drew her wand in one movement, her heart pounding.

Expelliarmus.”

Ginny’s and Luna’s wands flew out of their hands, and Professor Snape caught them deftly. He stood in the doorway, framed on either side by the Carrows, who held Neville by the arms. He looked unhurt, but furious.

“Neville,” Ginny gasped. The bottom of her stomach dropped out.

“What’ve we got here, headmaster?” asked Amycus with a nasty leer.

“A couple of thieves, looks like,” said Alecto.

“Hand it over, Lovegood,” said Professor Snape coldly, extending one hand for the sword’s case. Luna didn’t move. “Now,” hissed Professor Snape.

Very calmly, as though she had been asked to pass the teapot, Luna stepped forward and handed the case to Snape. Ginny’s heart sank.

“Look at this one,” Alecto sneered. “Just what were you all planning on doing with this, eh? Stealing from the headmaster’s office the best you can do?”

Ginny narrowed her eyes slightly as she stared at Alecto.

“I think that sixty points from each of you and a week’s detention will more than fulfill your punishments,” Professor Snape said coolly, his eyes like ice. His gaze met Ginny’s, and she knew in a split-second realization that he had a very good idea of what they wanted to do with the sword. But how could he? Then he turned to the Carrows and barked, “Get them out of my sight.”


“Ow,” Neville said, as he sat down gingerly at the breakfast table on Friday morning. “They must be getting better. My legs are killing me, but they haven’t left any marks this time.”

“Speak for yourself,” said Ginny. “I think I put my back out.”

Neville gave a humorless smile. “Nice, these little things we can laugh about together.”

“Can’t even breathe, I’m laughing so hard,” Ginny said, rubbing her ribs. “Six more nights, and we’re done.”

“Barely,” Neville said. “Now we’ve got prefect duties with the Carrows, too.”

“What?” Ginny moaned. “McGonagall’s in charge of the prefects.”

“The Carrows told her we’re in detention all week and that they’re taking our prefect duties, and she went mental,” Neville said, shaking his head. “They said that Gryffindor prefects don’t report to her anymore. We report to them.”

“This is a nightmare,” Ginny said, burying her face in her hands.

“Do you have Transfiguration?” Neville asked, and she nodded. “She’s probably going to ask to talk to you, too. She was pretty angry with me.”

“Oh, because it’s our fault we’re getting tortured every night,” Ginny snapped, too loudly. Neville hushed her.

“It is, Ginny,” he said.

“Hey, Neville.”

Ginny looked up. Parvati and Lavender sat together a short ways down the bench, looking very upset.

“Have you seen Seamus?” Parvati asked, biting her lip. “I thought he might have come out of d-detention last night with you.”

Horror filled Neville’s face. “I—I hoped he was with you—he wasn’t in detention with us, and he wasn’t in our dormitory last night.”

Lavender shook her head. “We thought he was with you.”

Ginny’s stomach gave a sudden ache; she had forgotten all about Seamus—what was wrong with her? “Wait a moment—do you mean that no one’s seen him since Wednesday evening?” she whispered, and Lavender nodded anxiously. “I was wrong, this is a nightmare. Does McGonagall know he’s missing?”

“Well, hang on,” Neville said, trying to maintain calm, though it was obvious he didn’t believe a word of what he was saying. “He might be in the hospital wing. Maybe that’s…” He trailed off under the three icy stares he received from the girls.

“I’m telling Professor McGonagall,” Lavender said, standing up.

“She’ll find out soon enough, we’ve got Transfiguration today,” Parvati told her, pulling her arm back down. “Don’t draw attention to yourself.”

“No,” Ginny said suddenly, slamming her hands down on the table. “We’re not going to let Seamus just disappear. Draw as much attention as you like, Lavender, walk straight up to the head table if you want to!”

“Ginny,” Neville said in surprise.

“I’m tired of being scared! I’m tired of just bending over backwards for these idiots!” she snapped. “Seamus—is—missing. And we’re going to get him back.” She scanned the staff table. “McGonagall’s not there. I’ve got Transfiguration now, I’ll tell her.” She swung herself off the bench and scooped up her bag, heading for the Transfiguration classroom. She met Luna outside the door.

“How’s your back?” Luna asked.

Ginny shrugged. “Your head?”

“Fine, thank you,” she answered politely.

“In!”

Professor McGonagall, looking very irritated, swept down the corridor and flicked her wand at the door, which banged open and rattled as it bounced off the wall. Ginny’s stomach sank like a stone. The sudden swell of confidence she’d just felt dissipated. She tried to hide herself in the line of students shoving to get in the classroom.

“Miss Weasley, I’ll speak to you after class.”

Ginny felt a little bit of her resolve crumble. “Yes, Professor,” she mumbled.

“What’s happened now?” Luna asked, as Ginny sat down beside her.

“Dunno,” Ginny lied. She didn’t really feel like telling the truth at the moment, that she would spend the rest of her year under the Carrows’ control. She did her very best the entire lesson, taking dutiful, attentive notes and practicing her nonverbal Vanishing so successfully that she had managed to erase an entire snail after only a few tries. At the end of class, Professor McGonagall walked them to Charms, but held Ginny at the door.

“I understand you’ve received a week’s worth of detention for breaking into the headmaster’s office,” she said, her expression severe as she shut Professor Flitwick’s door. They were the only people in the corridor.

“Yes, Professor,” Ginny mumbled, staring down at the carpet.

“I hope you know that I expect much, much more from my prefects,” said Professor McGonagall.

“Yes, Professor.”

“Look at me, Miss Weasley.”

Ginny raised her eyes, and was surprised to see a rather gentle expression on Professor McGonagall’s face.

“I am no longer in charge of your prefect duties,” said Professor McGonagall. “You will report to Professor Carrow. As such, I must warn you that while I may tolerate one mistake, I doubt that my…colleagues…will be so forgiving.” Ginny swallowed. Professor McGonagall looked uncomfortable for a moment; then, she placed her hand stiffly, formally on Ginny’s shoulder. “I know you’re having a difficult year, Weasley. I’m sorry for it. But we must press on, mustn’t we?”

Ginny nodded, looking away. “I’d better get into class, Professor.”

“What is this?” Professor McGonagall’s voice was suddenly very sharp. “Miss Weasley, where did you get this injury?” She pointed to the side of Ginny’s head, where she had obviously missed a large, dark bruise with the blemish remover that morning.

“N-nothing, Professor,” said Ginny, stepping back suddenly. “Probably did it—dunno—on my desk, maybe—” She hurried to the classroom door, fumbling with the handle.

“Miss Weasley,” Professor McGonagall barked, and Ginny froze. “Did another student do this to you?”

Ginny shook her head hurriedly. “Not…no, Professor. I probably did it to myself.”

Professor McGonagall set her jaw. “The truth, Weasley. Now.” Then, a horrible thought seemed to occur to her, and her thin lips went white. She made a little movement like she was repressing the urge to vomit. “Did you have detention last night?”

Ginny wanted desperately to lie, but she was caught. “I’m late for class, Professor,” she whispered, upset and frightened; where was her bravery, the ferocity she had at the breakfast table just two hours ago?

Professor McGonagall closed her eyes and waved Ginny away. Disbelieving of her good luck, Ginny hurried for the Charms classroom door, then paused and looked around. Professor McGonagall had leaned against the railing of the upper balcony, gripping it tightly with white-knuckled hands, her eyes shut. With a snap, anger and power flooded Ginny again.

“Professor,” she said, and McGonagall looked up. “Seamus Finnigan is missing. No one’s seen him since Wednesday.”

Professor McGonagall’s eyes widened, and she made a choking, spluttering noise. “To your class, Miss Weasley!” she said sharply, turning on her heel and rushing up the corridor.

Ginny walked into Charms and took a seat near the back, where she spent the entire class with her head buried in her hands. McGonagall had been off to see the Carrows, she was certain. What would she, Luna, Neville, and Seamus be put through in tonight’s detention for telling Professor McGonagall?


“Oh, Merlin,” Ginny moaned. “She’s not here. Neither are the Carrows. I got her kicked out, oh Merlin’s pants, I got Professor McGonagall thrown out of Hogwarts…”

“It’s all right, Ginny,” Luna said in her ear, chivvying her over the threshold into the Great Hall. “Perhaps we’re just early—maybe they’re still talking upstairs—”

“I hardly think that physical punishment is necessary, regardless of the infraction!”

“Tha’s not yer place ta say anymore, Minerva!”

“It is my place so long as I teach at this school and am charged with the safety of these students, Alecto!”

“Don’t count on it,” Ginny groaned, grabbing Luna’s hand and dragging her into the entrance hall—where she had the strangest feeling of déjà vu. Alecto Carrow and Professor McGonagall stood at opposite ends of the large marble staircase, each glaring fiercely at the other. Students gathered at the top and bottom of the stairs, watching.

“If any a’ these little buggers breaks a rule, it’s my choice what ta do with ‘em, not yours!” Alecto shrieked, looking beside herself with rage.

“How dare you?” Professor McGonagall thundered, and Ginny flinched. “How dare you speak of them that way? You call yourself a teacher? You—you horrible, miserable—”

“Professor McGonagall.”

A hush fell over the students gathered all around. Professor Snape stood at the top of the stairs, just behind Alecto. He glowered unpleasantly at Professor McGonagall.

“Need I remind you,” he asked coldly, “that I have appointed Professor Carrow in charge of discipline?”

“No, you do not, Headmaster,” snapped Professor McGonagall.

“Then what could possibly have possessed you to make such a disgusting display?” Snape barked. He looked around at the students. “All of you, into the Great Hall now, before I start taking points. Go!”

There was a sudden, thunderous dash down the staircase as everyone fled Snape’s glare. Ginny, however, hung back as long as she could to watch Professor McGonagall approach Snape, still looking very angry.

“We’re doomed,” she said to Luna, who looked rather upset as they walked slowly into the Great Hall.

Halfway through dinner, Neville joined them, limping and wincing on his sore legs; his pace was quite a bit slower than anyone else’s at the moment, so he had missed all that had happened on the staircase. Luna had managed to hide herself among the Gryffindors for the time being, for it seemed that both of the Carrows, Professor Snape, and Professor McGonagall were still in conference. Ginny and Luna hastily filled Neville in on the argument in the entrance hall.

“We’ll be lucky if McGonagall lasts the year,” he said hoarsely, aghast. “Remember what Umbridge did to her? And she wasn’t even a Death Eater.”

“Don’t say that,” Luna said, shaking her head.

“They can’t sack her,” Ginny reminded them. “She was too close to Dumbledore. Better for Snape to have her stuck in here than outside, causing trouble.”

“They’re not exactly afraid of hurting people, though, are they?” said Neville. The answer seemed to settle unpleasantly over them.

Ginny pushed her plate away. “I’m not eating this. I don’t want to vomit tonight.”

Luna lifted her pale eyebrows. “Are you sure about that?”

Neville and Ginny laughed at the idea of giving Alecto Carrow a nasty surprise in the middle of their detention, but it was short-lived. Professor McGonagall had come into the hall while none of them were looking, and now stood directly behind Ginny and Luna. She looked white-faced and furious, but she seemed unhurt. Ginny’s stomach tightened.

“Yes, Professor?” Neville asked.

“You will not be having detention in the dungeons anymore,” said Professor McGonagall quietly, as though it was an effort for her not to start shouting. Neville made a noise of jubilation, which she quickly silenced with a sharp look. “Instead, tonight at midnight the four of you will report to the Forbidden Forest and assist Hagrid with a chore.”

“The four of us?” Ginny asked, frowning.

“Mr. Finnigan has been taken ill for the last day or so. He will be joining you this evening,” said Professor McGonagall bitterly.

“Professor, you can’t believe—” Ginny began, but Professor McGonagall was not listening.

“Oh, Miss Lovegood, really, to the Ravenclaw table, now,” she said briskly, marching away from the table. Ginny recognized that tone; it was the exact same one her mother adopted when she wanted to close a subject from discussion.

Luna rose, looking between Neville and Ginny. “Perhaps we shouldn’t eat much, after all.”

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