Chapter 1 -The Hogwarts' Express
Title - In Which a Spy is Discovered
Characters included: Verity Thomas, Desdemona Wraxton, Loretta Squab, Petra Weintraub, Richard Thomas, Anya Jane, Rubella Leeks, Jacob Meyers, Dedin Borscaw
Under her breath, Verity muttered language that her brother would not have appreciated. She was getting sick of dodging around older students who had apparently decided to stand in the most inconvenient places possible. They either didn’t notice a smaller student trying to squeeze by them to get to the end of the Express or they didn’t care. When I am a sixth year, I shall never stand in the middle of the walkway. I shan’t take advantage of being in the upper forms.
She dodged right around a group of students who had, for some reason, already changed into their robes and ran straight into the stomach of a tall boy. “Where’s the fire, little sister?”
Crossing her hands before her chest, Verity glared at the boy, “You ought to watch where you’re going, Richard. You could hurt someone.”
“I’m afraid that I’m not the one so busy swearing under her breath that she doesn’t see someone four times her size.”
“Well, you taught me all the swears I know.”
Richard laughed and tweaked one of the girl’s long braids. “You have me there. Your red-haired friend is in the last carriage if she’s who you’re seeking so diligently.”
“Smashing! Thanks, Thomas.”
“Don’t get into trouble before we reach Hogwarts, Thomas.”
Verity cuffed her brother’s arm as she continued down the passageway. She almost ran into the food cart but stopped herself in time. “Err, sorry, Miss. May I have three Cauldron Cakes and a box of Bertie Botts?’
The witch smiled at the little girl as she handed her the sweets. “There you go, dear. That’s six Sickles. Is this your first year at Hogwarts?”
Verity scowled as she dug her money out of her pocket, “No, I’m third year. I’m Gryffindor.”
“My mistake, dear. I should have remembered you from last spring.”
Verity bit into a Cauldron Cake in a bad temper. I’m sick of being short. I’m sick of being taken for a baby. I wish I knew a Growing Charm.
Sliding the door to the last compartment open, Verity grinned as she saw her friends Desdemona and Loretta. “Hullo, mates! How was your holiday?” She nudged Liealia over a few inches and flopped down onto the seat next to Loretta. Looking up from greeting Liealia, she noticed a fourth girl in the compartment sitting directly across from her and looking rather scared. “Err, I’m sorry. Ought I have knocked?”
“Don’t be silly. Verity, this is Petra. She’s a transfer student from Austria. Petra, this is Verity Thomas. She’s in Gryffindor with Desi.” Loretta introduced the two girls.
“Smashing to meet you, Petra! Guten tag. Wie geht’s.” She reached to shake hands.
Petra looked taken aback then shook the offered hand, “I am well, thank you. You speak German?”
Verity blushed slightly. “Well, I speak a bit of German. Mother and Father were stationed in Berlin with the Ministry. We spent the holiday there. I learned a small amount.”
“You were in Germany? I thought your owl said they were in Denmark?” Loretta asked curiously.
“They’re in Denmark now. They just transferred.”
“Ah, I see. Verity’s parents work for the Department of International Cooperation. They get stationed all over.” Loretta explained to Petra.
With a concerned glance at the nervous Petra, Desdemona interrupted. “So, we were talking about forming a study group. Shall you join us, Verity?’
“A study group? For what?”
“For whatever we need help with,” Loretta chimed in excitedly. “You can help us with History of Magic since you’re so crazy as to actually like it and Astronomy.”
“Well, I can do that if you two help me with Charms. You know I’m hopeless half the time.” Verity grinned. “Professor Brix would be startled if I didn’t get extra homework every lesson this year! So, what are you good at, Petra? What do you learn in Austria?”
Petra sat back against the seat, her dark eyes standing out dramatically against her pale skin. “Err…well, I think I’m good at Arithmancy.”
Verity meant to listen, but in the pause while Petra was forming her thought, her brain had already moved on to another subject. “Speaking of Professor Brix, I think I figured something out over the holiday.”
Desdemona glanced at Petra who was wiping her face with her sleeve. “What is that, Verity?” Loretta was absorbed in giving Liealia the attention she was demanding.
“Well, I was listening to Muggle radio dramas and reading some comics I’d bummed from Richard. And I realised something.” She bounced in her seat slightly, looking around at her friends, making sure they were paying attention. “Professor Brix is a Nazi spy.” Except for Petra’s slight gasp, none of the girls gave nearly the reaction Verity had hoped for. “Lori, Desi, don’t you realize what this means?”
Loretta looked blank. “What are Nazis?”
“It’s the political party that rules Germany, Loretta. Pappa says that their leader has some good ideas.” Desdemona said. She glanced at Petra who had, if possible, grown paler.
Verity contradicted her immediately. “I don’t think that’s true, Desi. I think they’re awful. They certainly don’t treat some people very nicely. I even heard Mummy talking with one of the other diplomats. They were talking about Dark wizards being in Germany. Something about a Circle coming from Durmstrang and…well, they sounded like it might have been a joke. But if there are, and they are working with the government, they can’t have good ideas, can they.”
Desdemona looked puzzled and then nodded in agreement. Loretta had started listening once Dark wizards were mentioned. “But I thought Durmstrang was in Russia? And why would a spy be at Hogwarts?”
Verity shrugged, “I haven’t figured that part out yet, but maybe they want to know what’s going on? Maybe they want to know what we’re being taught? I bet the teachers would catch anyone else spying, but no one pays attention to Professor Brix. He’s the most boring man alive. AND he blends into the background. No one notices him come into a room. He must be a spy! It fits perfectly.”
Desi twirled one of her curls around her fingers as she thought. “I think makes a bit of sense. You might be right. Maybe he is not a Nazi spy, but I bet he is passing information to somebody. So what are we going to do about it?”
Verity began to reply excitedly, but Loretta interrupted, looking skeptical, “First of all, you have no proof of any of this. It’s all conjecture. Secondly, what are three…”
“Four,” Petra broke in.
Loretta grinned, “Okay, four. What are four third years going to do about it?”
“We could keep a watch on him. See where he goes, what he does, if there are any suspicious owls sent or trips to Hogsmeade or letters.” Verity bounced up and down in her seat as she spoke.
“We could keep a log. Then if we caught him in the act, or the Ministry needed evidence, we would have everything documented. We would be heroes!” Desdemona exclained.
Loretta sighed though she was grinning slightly and scratched behind Liealia’s ears, “Well, I suppose that if you two are going to do this, I had better join in. One can’t let two Gryffindors do this by themselves. You two will do something brash and get expelled.”
“So you want to get expelled along with us?” Desi asked.
“I,” Loretta said, “shall provide the voice of reason.” Desi and Verity struggled not to laugh. They both almost succeeded until the mistake of looking at each other was made. They broke out in gales out laughter. Torn between being offended and wanting to laugh as well, Loretta glared at the two Gryffindors until she realized that Petra was also giggling from her corner. Startled into losing her wounded dignity, Loretta began giggling as well.
“I’m sure whatever you are laughing about it just hilarious, but I don’t really care.” The girls looked up to see that the door to the compartment had been slid open. In the doorway stood four Slytherins, already changed into their school uniforms and robes. Verity recognized Anya Jane, one of their year mates, as one of the group. The speaker was a large girl who Verity thought was a fifth year. She wore a Prefect’s pin proudly on her protruding chest.
“I’m not sure it’s any of your business one way or another. Get your own compartment.” Verity said. She’d hated Anya since the Slytherin had sabotaged a Charms project their first year. Loretta and Desi nodded in agreement.
“I’m afraid it is my business, little girl. I am a Prefect, and we,” she indicated the three behind her, “need this compartment.”
“You can’t have it.” Loretta said indignantly. “You don’t get to throw people out of compartments just because you want to.”
The third year, Anya, laughed unpleasantly, “What do you know, Loretta? You’re not a Prefect. And I doubt your friend Christian’s discussed that with you.”
Loretta blushed slightly, and Desi leapt to her friend’s defense, “Whatever you are trying to imply, you are far from the point.”
“Precisely,” the older girl said. “The point is that you all need to leave this compartment or we’ll throw you out. And I’ll tell your House Head that you were being smart with a Prefect.”
All four girls glared, and the Slytherins noticed Petra for the first time. Anya looked her up and down maliciously, “So who are you? An ickle firstie?”
“Petra is transferring into the third year. Not that it is any of your business.”
“Whatever, Wraxton. I wasn’t talking to you.” She leaned against the door of the compartment insouciantly. “So are you going to scram or do we get to make you leave?” The dark girl fingered her wand impatiently as did the taller boys behind her.
Loretta, Desi, and Verity exchanged looks. “We’ll leave.” Loretta said. “But I don’t think you are supposed to use your position like this.”
The Prefect laughed as she stood aside, making just enough room for the girls to squeeze by one at a time. “Remind me again why I care?” She asked rudely as the boys threw the three trunks at their feet and shut the compartment door.
As the girls exchanged looks, Petra spoke for the first time since the Slytherins had entered the compartment, “who were they?”
“Slytherins,” Loretta and Verity replied simultaneously.
“More specifically, the Prefect was Rubella Leeks. She’s fifth year. The two silent boys were Jacob Meyers and Dedin Borscaw. Jacob’s sixth year and Dedin is 4th, I think. The other awful girl was Anya Jane. She is, unfortunately, in our year.” Desdemona said.
“Why do you know all their names?” Verity asked, awed.
“I pay attention,” Desdemona shrugged.
“Well, I certainly do not wish to be made Slytherin,” Petra said with finality. Her three new friends nodded and began gathering up their things from the floor.