Yay! I'm back. I'll save the information and explanations for the end. I've kept you waiting long enough.
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"The Philosophers Stone are you sure?" Dropping my voice so as not to be heard I keep my eyes on the door Neville had disappeared through. We'd been trying all day to get a few minutes together to discuss what they'd told me in their letter but thanks to Neville being here we hadn't had chance. Not that it's his fault obviously. It was nice of Mrs Weasley to invite him. Thankfully his Gran had called him for a moment giving us a chance to talk.
"Yes. That's what Percy said. Nicolas Flammel was an alchemist who invented the Philosophers Stone." Why does that ring a bell?
"Problem is we don't know what the Philosophers Stone is and we can't ask him again." Harry quickly shushes Ron who winces at having spoken so loudly.
"Why not? He must know." Ron shakes his head as he speaks.
"You don't get it. Percy knows when people are lying. He knew I wasn't telling the truth about it being for homework, he's dead smart, if I keep asking questions then he'll know somethings wrong." Damn. There has to be a way to find out soon. The sooner we find out the sooner we can do something.
"Whatever it is that's got to be what Snapes trying to steal. If it's important enough to hide beneath that three head dog then it's got to be valuable." Now that we were all agreed on. Snape was trying to steal it and keep it for himself that much we know, but why? Why did he want it?
"What about one of your other brothers? Won't they know?" There has to be someone we can ask.
"Don't even think about it. If you think Percy's good at spotting liars then Bill and Charlie are ten times better at it. Trust me telling any of them is a bad idea." Sighing I realise quickly that'll mean that we'll have to wait until we get back to school. As soon as we're back I'm marching straight up to that library and I'm not leaving until I know exactly what the stone is.
"Alright Neville. What was that about?" As our companion returns all thoughts of the stone are quickly put to one side.
"Just my Gran being annoying. She's always going on at me for being cold, going on at me about wrapping up. I feel like a flipping marsh mellow in this coat." Looking at him I can't help but snigger. He almost looks like a marsh mellow as well.
"I'll give you three guesses what they're talking about and your first two don't count." Looking over to where the trio are currently whispering it doesn't take a genius to know about what. Honestly even if I didn't already know what they're talking about then I'd have guessed in a heart beat that they're plotting something. "I still don't get why you told them about the stone but didn't tell them what it did. Surely that would have been easier."
"Probably but I thought if I only gave them half the information then they'd have to come back and ask about the stone." Judging from the annoyed expression on his face I'd say that hadn't worked out for him. "Clearly that went very well."
"On the plus side it's going well with Neville. Kids starting to open up a bit more." Thankfully it had only taken two letters before he'd started to trust me. Truth be told I think the kid just wants a friend really. Looking at it he doesn't really have anyone yet. Harry, Ron and Hermione have each other. He hangs around with Dean and Seamus but he doesn't really feel all that comfortable with them yet.
"Good. Anything I need to know about?" I'd kept Percy mostly up to date about Neville through our letters. It was hardly risky since anyone who happened to see them would simply see me telling a prefect about one of his house.
"Just that Draco Malfoy is a right git. I didn't realise how bad things were." Thankfully now that I do I could finally do something about it. Why had I seen it before?
"Well that's it. Neville never admitted to there being a problem so no one ever thought to do anything about it. We should have though." I can see Percy feels guilty, we both do. We're meant to look out for the younger ones. "Trouble is with everything that goes on Neville just kind of fades into the background a bit. As harsh as it sounds I suppose it all paled in comparison to the bigger picture."
"Well it's a good thing we've got a chance to sort it out now. We're going to make sure the bullying stops this time."
"Good idea. I knew you'd be able to help him." And that's exactly what I'm going to do.
"So what about now? You said that nothing much happens now until the dragon at the easter holidays. What do you do until then?" For a moment he says nothing and I can see the wheels turning in his head. I don't need to be a mind reader to know that he's been thinking about this hard.
"I think that I should tackle them one by one." Seeing my confusion he explains. "Well think about it. Together they're kind of a force to be reckoned with. If I try and tackle them together they'll band up and close the gates. However if I slowly deal with them one at a time it should be easier."
"So how do you do that?"
"Ron's easy to tackle. I know he finds his classes hard so I'm going to offer to give him a hand. Show him a thing or two to make things easier for him and maybe help him see just how smart he really is. Harry's pretty easy too if you think about it. All it'll take is for him to see that he can talk to me, just give him someone to open up tp." Now that's definitely true. As an only child at Hogwarts things can get pretty lonely sometimes. "As for Hermione well she's in the same boat as Harry. She's not really got many friends here and she doesn't have any older brothers or sisters either."
Now that I think about it that made a lot of sense. If he can get them all to trust him one by one then maybe they'll be more willing to come to him altogether.
I just hope all of this works.
"So how's Oliver then? I see he hasn't calmed down about quidditch then." Great opening line Charlie. Well done he won't suspect a thing.
"Trust me Charlie if there's one thing that'll never change it's how much Oliver loves quidditch." His eyes never leave the book he's reading but I can tell he's paying attention.
"Well good to know somethings stay the same. Listen I'm going to be leaving in a few days and I just, well I just wanted to…well I thought that we could…erm…" Good going Charlie. You're clearly really good at this.
"Okay now this is just painful." Taking the mature option I stick my tongue out at him and step further into the room.
"Let me start that again. I had a chat with Bill the other day and he mentioned a few things that I just wanted to ask you about." This time he does put down the book he's reading.
"Why don't I guess how that went. Bill told you that me and dad had a chat after the whole thing with 'Scabbers' and that a few things got said. Bill being the absolute over protective moron that he is has decided that it's all his fault and now you've joined him. That about right?" Well when you put it like that…
"Why didn't you say something? I'm your brother I could've helped." I knew there was something bothering him but he never said anything. I figured that if he needed me then he'd have asked me. Why didn't I just do something?
"Like I told Dad. Telling you about this wouldn't have changed anything. I needed to solve this one by myself." Okay so I get that there are things we have to figure out for ourselves. I honestly do but he's my little brother.
"But why did you think that we'd tell you it was true? We'd never have done that mate. Bill and I would have gone out of our way to prove it to you. You've got to know that." It kills me that he thought for even a second that we'd have done anything else.
"Look Charlie. This wasn't a cut you could clean up or something like that. It wasn't a misunderstanding or something I'd overheard. This…this was something else. This was something inside. No amount of you or Bill telling me otherwise would have changed it. This was something I felt. It was something I had to change. It wouldn't have mattered if you'd told me I was wrong because it wasn't about how you saw me or how Bill saw me, this was about how I saw myself. You couldn't have done anything to change that." Honestly I've never even thought about it like that.
"I know…still…" I don't need to say anything else because honestly what else is there? As much as I wish it could have been different Percy's right. Sometimes you have to deal with something on your own. "Alright promise this. Next time you have any doubts or insecurities talk to me. Even if you don't think I can help, even if you think I'll be completely useless promise me you'll come to me."
"I promise." Wrapping him up in a hug I can feel the gap that had formed between us starting to close.
A few things.
First off I'm sincerely sorry for the time length for posting this chapter. I won't offer excuses but I'm back now.
Secondly I said in an earlier chapter that I would deal with the Mirror of Erised and I will don't worry. I haven't forgotten about it.
Thirdly like I said in the last chapter. There's rather a gap now until April when Norbet arrives so rather than time skip I'm going to deviate a little. That means that the next few chapters are going to diverge from the Philosophers Stone timeline.
Last but not least. Stay tuned! I will be back before long.
Until next time,