Mr. Weasley led the way. Phoenix, Fred, George, Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione all trudged along in his wake, down narrows lanes through the village, in almost complete silence, all too tired to speak. The sky was lightening; the blackness was fading to a deep blue and the air was crisp, biting at their exposed necks and hands. Phoenix felt absolutely freezing in her jumper and shuddered slightly as they walked along a cobbled street.
"Cold Miss Lancaster?" Phoenix jumped when she heard George's voice from beside her; she turned to look at him, her eyebrows furrowed.
"What makes you think I'm cold?" She asked, wrapping her arms around herself but that didn't help her warm up in the slightest.
George shrugged, "well firstly, I saw you shudder and secondly, your hair always turns blonde when you're cold or upset, so I took a wild guess," he grinned as he slid off his rucksack and took of his jacket, handing it to her, "here you go,"
Phoenix pouted slightly before taking the jacket. George grabbed Phoenix's rucksack and pulled it off her back so that she could slip on the jacket, which was much warmer than her jumper.
"Thanks," she said as she heaved her rucksack onto her back again, "but aren't you cold?"
"I'm a man Pixy, I never get cold."
After what felt like hours, they all began to climb up Stoatshead Hill. One or two times, Phoenix very nearly tumbled back into Harry and Ron when she stepped into a hidden rabbit hole, but was saved by Fred and George, who both grabbed her arms and pulled her up the hill with tremendous strength. Just as Phoenix was beginning to feel like she just wanted to lie down and take a nap for a good hours rest, they reached the very top of the hill.
"There goes my exercise for the day," panted Fred, collapsing to the ground dramatically, his arms and legs spread eagled on the grass.
"More like for the week," said George.
"For the month," retorted Fred.
"For the year," giggled Phoenix.
"For the rest of our lives," the three of them chorused.
"You three! No time to rest, we have to find the Portkey!" Mr. Weasley bellowed, causing them all to groan and beginning to search for the Portkey. Well, Fred remained on the group and George mimicked him.
Everybody spread out, trying to find the Portkey. Everyone expect Fred and George that was. They were both lying on the grass taking a nap on their rucksacks.
Suddenly, a new voice rang out through the sounds of people's footsteps on the mud and grass.
"Over here, Arthur! We've got it!"
Phoenix whirled around. She squinted her eyes to see two figures standing on the other side of the hilltop.
"Amos! Good to see you!" shouted Mr. Weasley, he smiled as he began walking towards the figures and the others followed, Phoenix however scrambled over to Fred and George to wake them.
"OUCH!" Fred yelled as Phoenix kicked him softly in the chest.
She rolled her eyes as she kicked George awake too, who was much more obedient than Fred and stood up immediately, looking around, "I didn't kick you that hard," she said as she and George pulled Fred to his feet.
"Well it hurt all the same."
The three of them strode towards the group of people in the other side of the Hilltop.
"Sorry everyone," George said briskly.
"We fell asleep," Fred continued, causing Phoenix to scoff.
Phoenix looked across at the two strangers and saw a wizard with a very rosy face and a brown beard; he was holding a very moldy old boot in his hand, which Phoenix immediately recognised it to be the Portkey. Phoenix knew him to be Amos Diggory, Cecilia knew him. She had pointed him out to her while they were in Diagon Alley once. He worked in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures at the Ministry. Standing beside Amos was his son, Cedric Diggory. He was extremely good looking, Phoenix thought as she admired him quietly. She knew him as he was Captain and Seeker of the Hufflepuff House Quidditch team at Hogwarts.
Cedric waved good naturedly at Phoenix, who waved back. Fred and George simply nodded at him; Phoenix knew that they were thinking of the Quidditch match against Hufflepuff the previous year where they had beaten them.
Fred grinned when he saw the boot in Amos' hand, "Oh is that were Percy's old boot got to?" Everyone laughed, including Mr. Weasley but he stopped very quickly and shot a look at Fred, but he just grinned in return.
Amos looked at each of the four Weasley's, Harry, Hermione and Phoenix before saying, "All these yours, Arthur?"
"Oh no, only the redheads, well minus Phoenix, she's a Metamorphmagus, she always changes her hair colour," Phoenix pulled a piece of her hair in front of her eyes and saw that it had in fact turned a fiery red, she flicked her hair over her shoulder as it turned to a bright green. Mr. Weasley pointed to each of his children, saying each of their names, "That's Phoenix, a friend of Fred and George's. This is Hermione, friend of Ron's from school and that's Harry, another friend of Ron's from school-"
Phoenix watched as Amos did a double take, his eyes widening as he stared at Harry, "Bloody hell, Harry? Harry Potter? As in, The Boy Who Lived?"
"Er—yeah," Harry said awkwardly, flattening his fringe over his forehead nervously.
"Ced's talked about you, of course. Told us about playing against your team last year. I told them that will be something to tell the kids Ced! Beating Harry Potter!" Amos barked proudly, putting an arm around a very flushed Cedric.
Phoenix wanted to laugh. She saw Fred and George both scowl and stamped on both their feet, causing them to curse quietly in pain.
"Harry fell off his broom, Dad," he muttered to his father, his cheeks reddening, "I told you… we didn't win fairly, I asked for a rematch…"
"Yes, but you didn't fall off your broom, did you my boy?" Amos said so pompously that he reminded Phoenix of Percy. He slapped Cedric proudly on the back, causing Phoenix to snort into her hand and turn so she could keep her laughter quiet. "He is always so modest Ced is. We raised him to be a gentleman. But as the muggels say, the best man won. One falls off his broom, one stays on, you don't need to be a genius to tell which one's the better flier!"
Phoenix saw that Fred and George looked as though they were about to say something, so she coughed loudly. They turned to her and she shook her head.
Mr. Weasley checked his wristwatch before clearing his throat and saying, "Look! It's nearly time. Do you know whether we're waiting for any others, Amos? The Lovegoods maybe?"
"No, the Lovegoods have already been there for the week and the Fawcetts didn't manage to get tickets. They're missing out big time! I don't believe there are any more in this area, are there?
"Not that I know of. We'd better get ready, we have just under a minute…"
Phoenix, Fred and George all beamed at each other, linking arms with one another and striding towards the boot that was being held by Amos. They all stood in a very tight circle around the old boot. Phoenix was squished so tightly between Fred and George that she felt as though they were doing it on purpose. Phoenix and the twins reached out her index finger and placed it on the old boot.
Mr. Weasley stared down at his watched and began to count, "Three… two… one…"
Phoenix practically hated travelling by Portkey, Edmund always made her because he was scared of flying and also scared of muggle transport. She suddenly jerked forward and her feet left the ground and she was banging shoulders with Fred and George. Her finger felt like it was magically glued to the boot as they all speed through what sounded like wind and colour swirling in front of their eyes.
Then her slammed hard onto solid ground, she toppled over and landed on the ground. She groaned but before she could try and get to her feet, Fred and George both fell down on top of her. She squealed in pain, having one of the twins land on her was bad enough but both of them was a bit much.
She gasped for air as the twins scrambled to get to their feet. George bent down and pulled her to her feet, slinging his arm around her waist apologising profusely along with his brother.
"Seven past five from Stoatshead Hill," said a voice as Phoenix looked around to where they had arrived. It appeared to be a misty moor. Two harassed-looking wizards stood in front of them, one was holding a large golden watch, and the other a roll of parchment and a quill. They were both dressed in Muggle clothing, but, like most wizards, they were mismatched. The man who was holding the watch wore a tweed suit and, Phoenix giggled, with thigh-length galoshes, the one with the roll of parchment and a quill wore a kilt and a poncho.
"Love that poncho," muttered Fred and Phoenix stifled a laugh.
"He'll have to let me borrow it." said George.
"Morning, Basil," Mr. Weasley said brightly as he handed the boot to the man in the kilt, who threw it aside into a large box that appeared to be full of used Portkeys.
"Hello there, Arthur," said Basil ponderously, "Not on duty are you? It's all right or some… We've been here all night… You'd better get out of the way; we've got a big party coming in from the Black Forest at five fifteen. Hold on, I will find your campsite… Weasley … Weasley…" His eyes darted down his parchment list. "About a quarter of a mile's walk over there, first field you come to. Site manager is called Mr. Roberts. Diggory ... second field ... ask for Mr. Payne."
"Thanks, Basil," said Mr. Weasley.
They followed Mr. Weasley and Mr. Diggory across the misty moor. After about twenty minutes, a small stone cottage came into view through the mist. They all said goodbye to the Diggorys, much to the happiness of Fred and George and approached the door of the cottage.
A man, who Phoenix immediately recognised as a Muggle, stood at the doorway, staring out at the hundreds and thousands of tents. Mr. Weasley had difficulty paying the Muggle, Mr. Roberts, who had come to the conclusion that Mr. Weasley was foreign.
"Foreign?" said Mr. Weasley, looking completely puzzled at Mr. Roberts.
"You're not the first one who's had trouble with money, I had two try and pay me with great gold coins the size of hubcaps ten minutes ago," Mr. Roberts said in his thick Yorkshire accent.
Phoenix snorted quietly at this.
"Did you really?
"It has never been this crowded," Mr. Roberts said as he rummaged in his tin for some change for Mr. Weasley.
"Hundreds of pre-bookings. People usually just turn up..."
"Is that right?" said Mr. Weasley, uneasily as he held out a hand for the change in Mr. Robert's hand,
"Aye, people from all over. Loads of foreigners. And not just foreigners. Weirdos, you know? There's a bloke walking 'round in a kilt and a poncho."
Fred, George, and Phoenix all grinned at the mention of the poncho.
"It's like some sort of... I dunno ... like some sort of rally," said Mr. Roberts thoughtfully. "They all seem to know each other. Like a big party."
At this, a wizard Apparated beside Mr. Robert's front door who was sporting a pair of plus-fours.
"Obliviate!" he said pointedly, his wand pointing at Mr. Roberts.
Mr. Robert's eyes immediately slipped out of focus and a rather dreamy expression fell upon his face.
"A map of the campsite for you," Mr. Roberts said evenly, his eyes still slightly out of focus and handed his change to Mr. Weasley. "And your change."
The group walked slowly between extensive rows of tents up the hazy field. Most of the tents, Phoenix noticed, looked nothing like a muggle tent should but she could tell that the owners had tried. Some tents had things like weather vanes, chimneys, and bellpulls. One tent even had a birdbath with birds chirping around it, and a fountain in a front garden that was attached.
As they got further down the rows of tents, George tapped on Phoenix's shoulder and pointed out a tent that had several peacocks tied to the entrancement.
"Definitely the Malfoys tent," she grinned up at George, who grinned back in a reply.
"Can't go five minutes without showing off."
They all reached the edge of the wood at the very top of the field; there was an empty space in front of them. A small sign was hammered into the ground, WEEZLY, was written in bold letters.
"Interesting spelling of your name," Phoenix laughed.
"I didn't think it was even possible to spell our name so wrong so many times," said Fred as he shook his head.
Harry, Hermione, and Phoenix helped Mr. Weasley put up the tent by hand. Phoenix had only been camping once with her father and her cousin, but she had never set up a tent as her father and her cousin had done it. However, she, Harry and Hermione managed to work out where a majority of the pegs and poles should go. Their progress was slightly hindered due to Mr. Weasley as he got too excited when using the mullet. But they finally managed to make a pair of beat-up looking tents.
Phoenix couldn't help but notice that the tent looked a little too small to accommodate ten people once Bill, Charlie and Percy arrived. Mr. Weasley crouched as he entered the slightly bigger tent.
"We will be a little bit crowded," he called from inside the tent, "but I think we will all fit in quite nicely. Come and have a look then everyone!"
Phoenix entered the tent and couldn't help but gasp. Phoenix had never been wizarding camping in her life and was blown away as she walked into what seemed to a small flat. With a kitchen, bathroom and a sitting room, with a moth-eaten sofa and ill-assorted chairs and four bunk beds pushed against the wall of the tent. The only set back however was that it smelt strongly of cat food.
"We won't be using it for long," Mr. Weasley began as he looked around at the bunk beds that Fred and George were now fighting over, evidently, George didn't want to sleep on the bottom bunk, "I borrowed this from Perkins who works in the office. He doesn't camp that much anymore, poor chap, he's got lumbago unfortunately."
Phoenix strode over to the twins who were still bickering and flicked them both on the ears.
"What was that for?" George asked, rubbing his now red ear.
Phoenix shrugged in response, collapsing onto one of the bottom bunks, "I just saw the opportunity and took it,"
"We are going to need some water," Mr. Weasley announced, brandishing a dusty kettle in front of him.
"There's a tap that is marked on the map that Muggle gave us, it's just on the other side of the field," said Ron.
"Just on the other side of the field?" said George, shaking his head.
"Well if it's just on the other side of the field, then you can go because I am going back to sleep," said Fred, saluting Ron and then falling not so graciously on top of Phoenix.
"Fred stop harassing the poor girl," barked Mr. Weasley as Phoenix struggled from underneath Fred, pushing against his chest in an effort to heave him off of her, "and anyway you are not going back to sleep,"
"Why not?" Fred asked as Phoenix still thrashed and thrived under his weight.
"Because while Ron, Harry, and Hermione go and get some water from the tap, the rest of us will go and collect some wood for a fire-"
"But we have an oven," said Ron, pointing towards the kitchen, "Why can't we just-"
"Anti Muggle security Ronald," Mr. Weasley said brightly, "When Muggles camp out in tents, like cook by the means of fires. So we will be doing it the Muggle way!"
They took a quick look around the other tent was where Phoenix, Hermione and Ginny would be staying, it was a bit smaller, didn't have a kitchen but they all had a single bed and, much to their relief, didn't smell of cat food but of warm vanilla. Then Phoenix, the twins, Ginny, and Mr. Weasley all set off into the woods to collect some wood for the fire while Ron, Harry, and Hermione went with the kettle to get the water.
"Being a Muggle must completely suck," Fred groaned as Phoenix placed some more wood in Fred's arms.
"It doesn't suck, my father is completely fine with it," said Phoenix in a matter of fact tone, "It's probably because you are so used to using magic that you seem to be incompetent to doing things that could be easily be done manually,"
Fred said nothing but huffed in response.
Phoenix bent down and picked up more pieces of wood, inspecting them quickly before laying them in Fred's arms.
"Why are you checking the wood?" asked George, his eyebrows raised.
"Because if it's damp, it won't burn as easily as if it's dry," she said, "and also I don't want there to be a spider or anything on there as well,"
"Aw, is little Nixy scared of a little spider?" Fred said in a babyish voice.
"Do we have to kill all the ickle spiders for you?" George joined in, squishing Phoenix's cheeks between his hands.
"George—geroff—" She grabbed George's wrists in order to wiggle free from his grasp, but she couldn't help but smile, "hey do you want your jacket back?"
"What?" George looked down at the burgundy jacket that was wrapped around Phoenix, "Oh no, if you're cold keep it. I can take the cold Pixy,"
"Have you three got enough wood for the fire?" Mr. Weasley's voice called from far behind them.
"Yeah dad," Fred called back, "Now let's head back, I can feel the splinters in my arms already."
When they returned from collecting the wood, they set it down outside the tent. Ron, Harry, and Hermione were yet to return with the water so as they waited Fred and Ginny decided to play a game of Wizarding chess while George and Phoenix watched while sitting on one of the moth eaten sofas in the boys' tent while Mr. Weasley chatted with some Ministry members at the entrance of the tent.
Phoenix watched in amusement as one of Ginny's black knights smashing one of Fred's white castles violently and taking its place.
"YOU IDIOT! I COULD HAVE STOPPED THAT! YOU ARE LOSING TO A GIRL!" Fred's small knights bellowed up at him, banishing his tiny white fits at Fred.
"Just because I am a girl doesn't mean that I am less capable to bet him," Ginny huffed, crossing her arms over her chest.
"I agree with you Ginny!" said Phoenix, "Ron's chess set is awfully sexist,"
"They can be funny but yeah mostly they are sexist," agreed George.
"WE ARE NO SUCH THING!" Piped up one of Fred's kings in a very small and squeaky voice.
Ginny won the game, much to the dismay of both Fred and his white chess pieces. After the game of chess, Ginny and Phoenix decided on playing a muggle card game of snap, Fred and George were sitting on the sofa busying themselves over a large bunch of order forms while Mr. Weasley was sat just outside the tent, playing with the matches rather than his actual mission of lighting the fire.
"How long does getting water take?" Ginny asked as she placed a 7 of clubs card on top of a queen of heart.
"Well there are a lot of witches and wizards here so there are probably queuing or something," Phoenix placed down a 9 of spades as she spoke.
"I doubt that Ron would queue for very long," Ginny grinned as she placed a 9 of spades on top of Phoenix's, "SNAP!" Ginny slammed her hand down on the pile of cards and shuffled them in her pile.
"Bloody hell Ginny, you are pretty observant," Phoenix's face contorted slightly as she stared at her remaining cards.
"Ginny has a nick at beating people," Fred huffed.
George began to laugh obnoxiously loud and Ginny cast a look over at him.
"Shut up George, I bet you at Quidditch two weeks ago," Ginny said smugly.
It was the others turn to laugh. George's ears burned red, it was one of the many quirks of the Weasley boys. Phoenix couldn't help but grimace and think about how cute George looked when he was embarrassed. Wait, what? She thought, he's my best friend! He's not cute. Well maybe a little.
Before Fred could begin to torment his brother on his younger brother beating him at Quidditch, Mr. Weasley's head popped into the entrance to the tent, "The others are here!"
"You've been ages," George exclaimed as he, Fred, Phoenix and Ginny all exited the tent to see Harry, Ron and Hermione, Ron was carrying the water.
"Met a few people, have you not started the fire yet?" Ron asked as he set down the water.
Fred grinned, "Dad is having a bit of fun with the matches."
"Oops!" Phoenix spun around in time to see Mr. Weasley's eyes light up along with the match as it lighted. He then dropped it on the ground in surprise. Despite his failure, he looked as though he was having the time of his life.
Hermione quickly helped Mr. Weasley in lighting the fire. Although it took at least an hour before it was hot enough to begin in cook anything. Ministry workers kept hurrying past the tent, saying hello to Mr. Weasley sincerely as they passed. Mr. Weasley pointed out the members he knew, more for Harry and Hermione than Phoenix and his children because knew too much about the Ministry and its members to even pretend to be interested. Phoenix and the twins were watching a wizarding family as they chased their children round their tent which, Phoenix grimaced at, at a large chimney.
"that's Bode and Croaker… they're Unspeakables… And that's Phoenix's step-brothers, Edmund, he's also an Unspeakable and that's William, he's an Auror-"
Phoenix looked around at Mr. Weasley's words and saw her two step-brothers striding towards them. They waved genetically.
"I see your following regulations Arthur," Edmund grinned as he shook Mr. Weasley's hand and nodded curtly at everyone, smiling at Phoenix broadly.
"Well, it's interesting to be living like muggles," Mr. Weasley said brightly, "at least our tent doesn't have a chimney," his eyes casted over to the family that Phoenix and the twins had been watching.
"It does smell of cats though," said George, "I think a chimney would brighten the place up,"
Will grinned slightly, "It would, but saying that, it would raise a suspicion with the muggles. Mr. Robert has had to have a Memory Charm approximately ten times a day. Arnie was complaining about it, said that Ludo Bagman wasn't helping,"
"Apparently he's talking about Bludgers and Quaffles left right and centre," said Edmund, "Not taking a moment to care about anti Muggle security,"
"We saw one tent that had peacocks outside of it," said Phoenix, "like actual real live peacocks,"
"That would be the Malfoys," said Will.
George and Phoenix both looked at each other, bumping their fists together at their correct predication.
Edmund and Will didn't stay for very long, they were dragged away by two very attractive young girls, who Phoenix guessed was their dates for the occasion.
At long last, the fire was ready, both Fred and George cheered as Mr. Weasley slapped some eggs, bacon and sausages on the stove above the fire. Then Bill, Charlie, and Percy came ambling out of the woods toward them. Percy's hair, Phoenix noticed, was back to its usual colour but it had a slightly more pinkish tint to it.
"Just Apparated, Dad" Percy said pompously, "Ah, excellent, lunch, I'm starving!"
Just as they all finished their egg, sausage and bacon sandwiches, Mr. Weasley suddenly jumped to his feet, almost knocked aside the stove as he waved enthusiastically at a man who was wandering towards the group. "Ludo!"
It was Ludo Bagman. His outfit was enough to catch anybody's eyes. He was wearing Quidditch robes that were splashed in thick bright yellow and black stripes. A tremendously large picture of a wasp was on his chest. His robes were tight however, due to his enormous belly. He looked more like a schoolboy than the Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports.
"Ahoy there Arthur old boy!" Bagman called back, his voice was full of anticipation and excitement.
"He's let himself go after his Quidditch career," Fred whispered as Ludo finally approached the campfire. Phoenix and George laughed silently before adverting their attention to a magical fire a few tents down from them, which a bright purple and was sending sparks high into the air. Percy immediately shot up, knocking his empty plate to the floor. He rushed join the group of Ministry workers that were rushing towards the tent, his hand outstretched, reminding Phoenix very much of his days as a prefect as he ran after Fred and George.
"That was my son Percy, he has just started at the Ministry," said Mr. Weasley, "—and this Fred-"
"Honestly dad, you're worse than mum."
"Sorry that's George and that's Fred. That's their best friend Phoenix— she's a Metamorphmagus—"
"A Metamorphmagus you say?" Ludo's eyes widen, "You don't see many of them anymore. Absolutely extraordinary,"
"Oh believe us, she is," said George. Phoenix blushed at George's words and busied herself with poking the fire.
"That's my son Ron and that's my daughter, Ginny and that's Ron's friends, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter."
As always when Harry was introduced, Ludo did the usual wide-eyed stare at Harry then his blue eyes travelled up to Harry's scar. Harry once again nervously flattened his hair over his forehead.
"This is the man we have to thank for the excellent tickets," Mr. Weasley beamed at Ludo, who just waved his hand airily, waving Mr. Weasley's gratitude aside.
"Do you want to bet on the match Arthur?" Ludo asked promptly, jingling his pockets which sounded as though they were full of a large amount of gold.
"I-I don't know Ludo— "
"We'll bet thirty seven Galleons, fifteen Sickles, three Knuts," Fred said as Phoenix watched, wide-eyed, as he and George got out all of their money, "that Ireland wins—"
"— but Viktor Krum gets the Snitch," said George.
"Oh and we'll throw in a fake wand," said Fred as he threw a fake wand in Ludo's outstretched hands.
"They're a load of rubbish Mr. Bagman, sir," Percy said apologetically, "They always come up with pathetic little things like this, you would be surprised at how much time they spend on making these childish things-" but Ludo didn't appear to be listening to him and if he was he certainly didn't agree with Percy. As he picked up the wand, it squawked loudly and turned into a rubber chicken and Ludo let out a roar of laughter and patted Fred on the back, who was grinning at Percy with a look of triumph on his face that he had impressed a worker at the Ministry.
"This is genius!" Ludo explained, "I would pay at least five Galleons for that!" Percy looked completely dumfounded at Ludo's clear delight at Fred and George's fake wand, which Percy so heartedly disapproved of.
Phoenix sat there, completely lost for words. Did they really just do that? She thought. Gave away all of their money and for what? A silly little bet.
As Mr. Weasley shunned Fred and George with his obvious disapproval and Ludo said something about adding an extra five Galleons for the fake wand, Phoenix yanked Fred and George towards her by their wrists.
"You know for someone so small it is surprising how much strength that you seem to have," said Fred.
"You two are crazy!" She exclaimed in a hushed voice "That was all of your money! What on earth were you thinking?" Fred and George rolled their eyes at each other, "I'm serious! Your mother would go—"
"Chop off our limbs and feed them to the gnomes?"
Phoenix shot them a warning look that they knew all too well than to ignore.
"Listen Nix," began Fred.
"It's our money," continued George, "and we wanted to make a bet,"
"What's life without a bit of risk I always say," smiled Fred.
Phoenix's face softened slightly, Fred and George looked serious about this. But she wished they didn't have to make a bet. The Weasley's never had much money and honestly Phoenix cared too much for them to see the looks of disappointment on their faces if they didn't win the bet.
"But all of your savings," Phoenix said softly.
"We know Pixy," said George.
"Just trust us," finished Fred and Phoenix knew that it was time to give up.
"Okay," she sighed, "but if everything doesn't go as you planned don't say that I told you so,"
Ludo Bagman produced a notebook and a quill out of thin air and noted down Fred and George's names. He handed George a slip of parchment, George thanked him before he pocketed in his jeans.
"Arthur boy, you couldn't do me a brew could you? I am looking for old Barty. He speaks about a hundred and my Bulgarian opposite is making things difficult,"
"Mr. Crouch?" Percy looked positively delighted at the mention of his boss. The look of displeasure was completely wiped off his face, "He actually speaks more than two hundred languages Mr. Bagman. He can speak Mermish and Gobbledegook and Troll…"
"Anyone can speak Troll," sneered Fred, "All you have to do is point and grunt. Nix can speak it perfectly"
Both Phoenix and Percy shot Fred an annoyed glare, however Phoenix's glare was more jokingly whereas Percy's was particularly nasty.
"Gee thanks Freddie," said Phoenix, her voice filled with sarcasm, "You are the sweetest, you know that?"
Fred smiled lopsidedly at her, "Nix you really do know how to flatter a guy," he said.
"Have you had any news on the whereabouts on Bertha Jorkins yet, Ludo?" Mr. Weasley asked as Ludo set himself down nicely on the grass, Phoenix noticing that he sat as far away from Percy as he could.
"No. Not a single of where on earth she could have gotten to," said Ludo gruffly, "But knowing Bertha she will turn up eventually. Bless her though, hasn't got the best memory and has a lack of direction."
Phoenix frowned at this, weren't Ministry trying to look for her, they just simply hoped that she would suddenly turn up?
"Surely it should be time to send wizards to look for her?" suggested Mr. Weasley as Percy handed everyone a cup of smoking hot tea.
Ludo sighed, his large shoulders slumping, "Crouch keeps saying that too Arthur, but we really can't send anyone out to look for her at the moment. Everything is so hectic what with—well here he is, Barty!"
Phoenix jumped slightly, causing some of the scolding hot tea to trickle down her hand, as there was a loud pop and a wizard Apparated only a few feet away from the group nestled around the fire. Barty Crouch was the complete opposite to Ludo Bagman with his old Wasp robes on and Phoenix wasn't at all surprised as to why Percy idolised him so much.
"Here it comes," murmured George.
"Percy's going to go all shy and shutter," continued Fred.
"I hate it when you do that," Phoenix interrupted.
"Hate what?" The twins said at the same time.
"Finish each other's sentences," said Phoenix exasperatedly, "It freaks me out!"
Fred and George both smiled their identical lopsided smile.
"You should be used to it by now Nix," said Fred.
"I am but that doesn't mean it still freaks me out."
"Mr. Crouch!" said Percy, his voice was so hushed and breathless that he sounded as though he was going to faint. Both Fred and George stifled their laughter by taking long gulps of their cups of tea as Percy sunk low into a bow, "Would you like a cup of tea also?"
"Oh, yes of course. Thank you, Weatherby."
Fred and George spluttered into their cups. Phoenix, was had thankfully not been drinking her tea, was giggling silently.
"Weatherby," George whispered breathlessly, his voice shaking with silent laughter.
"Do you think he notices that Weatherby's hair is slightly pink?" Phoenix asked, the corners of her mouth twitching into a smile.
Fred smiled dreamily, "maybe," he said.
"Oh details!" Ludo's voice suddenly boomed into their hushed conversation. "They've signed and they've agreed, haven't they Barty? I mean, it's happening at Hogwarts—"
"Thank you for the tea, Weatherby," Mr. Crouch said very suddenly and sharply, "We need to see to the Bulgarians Ludo."
Mr. Crouch gave his untouched cup of tea back to Percy and he and Mr. Bagman got to their feet. Phoenix scowled slightly when she heard Ludo's pockets jingle with gold.
"I will see you all at the match later no doubt!" Ludo said brightly, "I'm commentating!"
He waved at the group, Mr. Crouch inclined his head, and with a pop they both Disapparated.
"What's going on at Hogwarts, Dad?" asked Fred, almost dropping his cup of tea.
"Boys, you will find out sooner or later no doubt," said Mr. Weasley as he drained his cup.
"It is classified information. You will find out once you arrive at school and when the Ministry decides to release it," Percy hotly, still clutching Mr. Crouch's untouched cup of tea like it was some kind of holy grail, "Mr. Crouch was quite right not to blurt out about it."
Fred shot Percy a menacing look before saying, "Oh shut up, Weatherby."