Hogwarts and the Wolf in the Fold

Voldemort puts a spy into Hogwarts.
Set during the year of the Half-blood Prince.


22. Christmas at Hogwarts

 Christmas at Hogwarts

The next week started with the excitement of seeing Hannah Abbot return to Hogwarts. She had missed a large part of the term, but she had been given work to do while she had been at home.
Everyone told her how pleased they were to see her back and nobody asked about her mother and what had happened.
Time had been passing so quickly for David that he barely had time to think about the forthcoming Christmas holidays. He hadn’t heard from any of Voldemort’s followers to say that he could go back to the chateau for the break, so he let Professor Sprout know that he would stay at Hogwarts.
Susan was staying at Hogwarts because she had no real family to go back to at home. After her aunt had been killed during the summer, she was the only ‘Bones’ left alive out of all her immediate family.
Since the death, she had been looked-after by her neighbour Esmerelda Digwort. She was an old friend of her parents and was a witch with a kind heart. She was keeping an eye on the house for Susan while she was at Hogwarts and Susan had let her know by owl that she would stay at school for the holidays.
As Christmas approached, Hagrid had brought a dozen huge trees into the great hall and they were decorated with candles, baubles and fairies. They glowed and glittered around the sides of the room and a pine-scented fragrance hung around the entire castle.
There were other touches around the place too. Suits of armour, statues and gargoyles were all brightened up with tinsel and mistletoe. Candles filled all the usually dark crevices in corridors and under staircases.
Excitement of another kind was also mounting between the students. Rumour had it that one of the Professors was organising a big party and there would be wonderful food, special guests and music provided.
It was a major let-down to find out that the party was being held by Professor Slughorn and that it was his usual bunch of cronies who were to be invited. This included a few of the Hufflepuffs, but most students would never have the chance to find out how good the party would be.
There was a lot of talk amongst the Hufflepuffs about the party and it was Biggins who suggested that they organise their own alternative, to be held in their own common room.
Everyone agreed and Biggins managed to persuade Professor Sprout to organise food and drink with the school house-elves. A few of the older Hufflepuffs had a secret stash of butterbeer and a bottle of firewhiskey, and they promised that they would make a special punch.
There was an old radio in the corner of the common room, but it could put out quite a loud noise when it was turned up to maximum volume. This was to be the source of the music, through the wizarding wireless network’s late night music show.
So, on the last day of the school term the Hufflepuffs students got together and decorated their common room especially for the occasion. The carpet and curtains were magically transformed in colour from woody greens, browns and yellows into multicoloured hues of bright red and white.
Lanterns and streamers adorned the walls and ceiling, and one of the twelve trees from the great hall was dragged inside and placed in the centre of the room. It was too large to fit in completely, so the top three or four feet had been blasted off by one of the seventh-year students. He hadn’t succeeded entirely and the top section still hung down, dangling and held in place by a strip of bark.
The food and drink was placed around the tree, on the common room tables. A large space was left around the outsides and in front of the great fireplace.
Professor Sprout told them that she would pop in later if she got the chance, but she too had an invite to Professor Slughorn’s party and that was too good an opportunity to miss.
The Hufflepuffs had a fantastic time playing a variety of parlour and party games, organised by a seventh-year girl friend of Susan’s called Lucy Proudfoot. The firewhiskey punch didn’t make an appearance, but there was butterbeer aplenty and the younger students drank pumpkin juice and ginger beer.
“How are you enjoying it?” Lucy shouted to Susan above the din of the party.
“Great.” Replied Susan.
“David has just gone to get another butterbeer for us.”
They were standing by the fire and the red glow of the flames lit up their dresses. They had both put on their best party frocks. Lucy’s was a delicate satin-like pink material that shone brightly and flowed right down to her feet. Susan’s was a pale chalky blue and it moved gently in the draught from the fire.
“You’re really keen on David, aren’t you?” Asked Lucy.
“Yes.” Agreed Susan.
“I’ve never met anyone like him before. He’s a very caring person, but totally dedicated to his studies.”
“I must admit that I fancied him myself when he first arrived, but you beat me to asking him out for a date.” Lucy giggled.
Susan laughed.
“I didn’t even have to use a love potion on him either.”
They both giggled and put their arms around each other.
“How are things between you and Tobias?” Susan asked.
“Oh, same as ever. He’s more interested in his quidditch and his mates than going out properly with me. I’ve lost any real interest now. I want someone who is more dependable, the strong and silent type.” Said Lucy.
“So who do you have in mind?”
“Well.” Lucy coughed and whispered.
“Have you ever noticed that Neville Longbottom is getting better looking nowadays?”
“Neville Longbottom?”
“Shh!” Hissed Lucy.
“He’s tall, pretty good-looking and he’s fought against you-know-who and the death-eaters this summer, at the ministry with Harry Potter. There’s more to him than meets the eye.” She added.
“Well, you’re a dark horse Lucy Proudfoot. I never would have suspected, but you’re right about Neville. He’s always been a friend of Harry Potter and he’s definitely getting more handsome as he’s getting older. You’d better be quick though, because Hannah Abbot is keen on him too and it won’t be long before she makes a move on him.”
Hannah was standing nearby and chatting to Ernie MacMillan.
“I can hear you, Susan Bones.” She called to them with a grin.
They giggled again, but quietened as David arrived with the drinks.
“Sorry Lucy, I only brought two butterbeers.” He apologised.
“That’s okay, I was just off anyway to have a go at ‘pin the horn on the unicorn’. See you later.” Said Lucy and she disappeared into the throng and towards a blindfolded boy being spun around by a group of friends.
“Fancy a walk around the castle?” He asked Susan.
“Sure. Just let me put on a coat.” She replied.
David was wearing a hooded pullover, so he didn’t need anything warmer. He waited for Susan to get back from the dormitory, then they held hands and walked out into the corridor leading to the great hall.
As the door shut the noise level decreased dramatically. Susan pulled David towards her and pressed her lips against his. They kissed for several minutes and then laughing together, they trotted up and into the great hall.
It was a little colder in there, but not too unpleasant. The place looked eerie in the semi-darkness, with the guttering candles reaching the ends of their wicks. A couple of house ghosts were also floating along at the far end of the room, deep in conversation. David could hear the rising and falling tones of their sad voices.
They wandered out into the entrance hall and lingered again by the front door. They kissed in the bright moonlight that was streaming in from a window high above. Just then, they heard a commotion somewhere on a higher level. Someone was shouting.
They moved into the shadow of the front door and held their breaths, as they heard the sound of hurried footsteps coming down a staircase. The footsteps grew louder, until suddenly they saw Draco Malfoy coming down in what appeared to be a very bad mood.
He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn’t notice David and Susan. He rushed past them and turned towards the corridor that led away and down to the dungeon levels.
“Someone’s in a hurry.” Said David.
“Malfoy. I don’t like that boy.” Murmured Susan, unsure as to whether they should linger by the front door.
“Let’s go back to the party, I’m getting a little chilly here and there are just too many people wandering around in the dark for my liking.”
“I agree with you.” Said David.
“The place is full of odd people and things. By the way, do you suppose that Malfoy was up in the room on the seventh floor? He asked.
“Seventh floor?” Said Susan.
“Why would he be up there? There’s only the room of requirement on that level. He’s more likely to have been gate-crashing the party in Slughorn’s room.”
“Of course!” Said David.
He led Susan back to the common room, thinking about the room of requirement and what the DA had been using it for. Of course Susan would have been in the room before, as she had been a member of the group.
He didn’t fully understand the way that the room of requirement worked and he had assumed that it was just another room in the castle. Nobody had mentioned before that the room was hidden to those who didn’t know where to find it.
They shared a last glass of pumpkin juice before kissing goodnight and making their way back to their beds. David fell asleep with the image of Draco Malfoy standing before him. He needed to have a long chat with that boy. He was up to something and David wanted to know what it was. He felt sure that it was something to do with Harry Potter.
The next few days were spent finishing off the last of the essays that he and Susan had been given by their Professors. There was a difficult one given by Professor McGonagall that involved explaining the theory behind human transformation, indeed one of their last classes saw them attempting to change the colour of their hair and eyebrows.
David had managed to successfully change the colour of his own to a dazzling shade of green, but Susan had only managed to change hers to a paler shade of brown. Still, it had only been their first attempts so they didn’t expect to perform the task to the exacting standards of the Professor.
There were only half a dozen other students staying at school over the holidays and it so happened that Draco Malfoy was among them.
They had been given permission to visit Hogsmeade on the days leading up to Christmas, so David and Susan took the opportunity to go into the village to do some shopping.
David still had a fair amount of the gold that he has been given by Voldemort and he used it to buy more clothes for himself and a silver necklace for Susan. The necklace had a yellow gem hanging from it that represented a favourite Hufflepuff colour.
The two friends spent a happy couple of hours in madam Puddifoot’s teashop. They shared a pot of steaming hot tea that took off the chill from the walk into the village. They also chose a slice each of Dundee cake and a newly baked scone that they covered with mounds of butter, cream and jam.
There was the customary visit to the sweet shop and they filled their pockets with fizzing whizbees, Bertie Bott’s every flavour beans and David’s favourite chocolate frogs.
Susan also took David into the Three Broomsticks and bought them each a frothing mug of butterbeer. The inn was filled with people all chattering excitedly and showing off the presents that they had bought.
David held Susan’s hand under the table and watched the multicoloured assembly. They were right by the big fire and their toes were as warm as toast. It would have been nice to stay there all afternoon, but they had to be getting back to the castle.
They were the only two Hufflepuffs left in the school over Christmas, so they had the whole common room to themselves. The night before Christmas saw them snuggled together in a comfortable sofa, watching the fire blazing late into the night.
The sparking logs caused the baubles and tinsel around the room to shimmer and shine like stars in a summer night’s sky.
As Susan’s head nodded onto his shoulder and she fell asleep David’s eye was caught by a movement in the shadows in the corner of the room. He held his breath and watched as a tiny figure emerged into the firelight and picked up a log from the hearth and then threw it onto the fire.
It was a house-elf. That was obvious from the way that it moved and the fact that it had an enormous head compared to the skinny body. David sat in silence and watched the elf tidying up around the fireplace.
His thoughts then went back to his time at the chateau and he wondered what Pinky and the others were doing. He had bought a Christmas card and framed pictures of Hogwarts for the elves and then sent them via post owls the day before. He hoped that would arrive in time.
He remembered the look of adoration that Pinky used to give him when they were having fun together and it made him smile. He put his arm around Susan and held her closer.
In the morning they woke up to find that they had both drifted off on the sofa and they needed to go and wash and get changed. They grinned at each other and then raced away to their rooms to prepare for the day.
Dusty flew straight onto David’s shoulder as he entered the room and he was pleased to see that the bird had missed him being there overnight.
“Merry Christmas, Dusty.” He said and scritched him on the head.
He suddenly noticed that there was a large owl standing on the bed waiting for him. It turned its large head towards him and hooted, holding up a leg to indicate that there was a letter attached.
David was amazed to see that it was meant for him. He rushed over and untied the letter from the owl and it stretched its wings wide and then jumped off the bed and through the window.
He read the name on the envelope and his heart skipped a beat. It was addressed to Davide Bertillon and the sender’s name written on the back was Jean-Claude Duchard.
With trembling hands David opened the seal on the envelope and took out the parchment from inside.
The letter was written in very neat slanted handwriting, using black ink. The letters had many flourishes and it was obvious that the writer had been well-taught. There was something strange about the words though that David couldn’t place at first. It was a moment before he realised that it was written in French, but he could read it quite perfectly.

Dear Daffers,
I hope you are well and enjoying your time at Hogwarts. We are all missing our best friend here at Beauxbatons and it is so boring without you to annoy me. I’m having to hang around with Malou and Blanche this year. They are only interested in studying for exams and spend most of the time in the library.
I really miss the times we had together flying on our broomsticks. I’ve got a new Aerosweep 5 and it will blow yours away at any time. Are you playing any quidditch over there? The only good thing for me is that I can now play in your place on the Sournois team. I’ve been moved from reserve chaser to reserve seeker!
I’m sorry that I haven’t written to you until now, but I wasn’t sure how you might be coping with the loss of your parents. I really am sorry for you my friend and if you need anything just let me know.
If you aren’t doing anything over the summer holidays then maybe you can come and stay at our place for a while? I’m sure there will be lots to catch up on when we get together.
Until then, I hope you have a good Christmas with your new British friends. Drop me a line back if you can so that we know that you are okay.
Best wished from your friend Jonkers.

David read the letter twice and his blood ran cold at the words ‘the loss of your parents’. What had happened to the real Davide’s parents? Did he know that his parents were dead and where was he now? Once again there was a nagging doubt in the back of his mind and it was getting stronger.
He needed to find out those answers, but he had a sudden terrifying thought that all three of the family could be dead. Killed maybe, but by whom? He didn’t want to think about the obvious answer, but he had heard so many stories about Voldemort that he was struggling to come to terms with the reality.
The side of him that revered Voldemort and thought of him as the man who had rescued him from his life of misery finally won the battle in his mind. He put all his reservations to one side again and decided to write back to Jean-Claude as soon as he could.
He threw the letter onto his bed and got himself washed and changed into new clothes. He took Susan’s present from inside his trunk and after putting a handful of nuts in a bowl for Dusty, he walked out through the door.
Susan was there waiting for him in the common room and standing directly under a large bunch of mistletoe. She looked up at it as he approached and David grinning widely grabbed her around the waist and gave her a passionate kiss.
“Merry Christmas.” He said and handed her the present.
“And the same to you.” She replied and handed over a parcel wrapped in shiny Christmas paper.
They both laughed and eagerly opened up their gifts. Susan was overjoyed with hers and gave David a quick peck on the cheek. He helped her to put on the necklace and it matched perfectly her clothes. She was wearing a low-cut green and yellow dress with a matching hairband and shoes.
“Thank you so much.” She said and gave at him with dewy eyes.
“My pleasure.” Said David.
“Oh, cool!” He exclaimed as he took from his parcel a wristwatch. It was round-faced and had a leather strap. The numbers seemed to be made out of fiery letters that moved as if a small breeze were fanning them.
“The numbers change as it goes from day into night. Later on the fire letters will change to silvery ones that represent the moon rising.”
“Nice. I love it. Thanks so much.” Said David and gazed avidly at the glowing numbers.
They took a quick breakfast and didn’t eat much as they were looking forward to the Christmas lunch and didn’t want to spoil their appetites.
There were only four other students who were staying at Hogwarts over the Holiday period and they each came down in turn to get their breakfast. There were three young students, two girls and a boy who looked like they might all be from the same family as there was quite a resemblance between them. They sat together at the Ravenclaw table and chatted amongst themselves.
The last person to arrive was Draco Malfoy. He appeared to be very tired and sat for a long while at the Slytherin table before looking up and taking a slice of toast from the rack.
David watched him for a while, as Susan talked in the background. Eventually he made up his mind to go over and introduce himself.
“Excuse me for a moment, Sue.” He mumbled and got up and headed over to Malfoy.
Susan looked up at him and wondered what on earth David would want to say to Malfoy, but she said nothing.
“Excuse me.” Said David as he reached Malfoy’s seat.
“My name is David. I haven’t been introduced to you before, but I thought it was about time that we met.”
Malfoy looked at David in surprise, but there was also a glint of suspicion in his eyes.
“Draco.” He replied and they shook hands.
“You’re the exchange student aren’t you.” He said.
It wasn’t a question, but a statement.
“French as well, aren’t you?” He asked.
“That’s what they tell me.” Grinned David.
Malfoy gave a snort. He wasn’t sure about David and he certainly didn’t trust anyone that he didn’t know thoroughly.
“What’s your background? Are you pure-blood?”
David blinked.
“I don’t know what you mean by that.”
Malfoy looked amazed. He was beginning to think that David was a bit simple.
“Are your parents wizard and witch?” He said slowly, so that David could understand.
“Of course, but they died when I was a baby.” David told him.
Malfoy seemed to accept this and continued to probe David.
“So where were you brought up? Where did you learn your magic?”
“I’ve lived in France and was taught at Beauxbatons. Though I have had a little extra training in duelling from a family friend Rodolphus L’Estrange.”
At that name Malfoy dropped his toast and he looked at David with fear in his eyes. His face went even paler than it already had appeared. The look was not lost on David and he wondered why on earth Malfoy had reacted like that.
“Do you know him?” Asked David.
Malfoy licked his lips and his eyes darted around the room as if looking for someone who wasn’t there. He dropped his voice and whispered to David.
“Of course I know him. He’s my uncle.”
This time it was David’s turn to be shocked.
“Then he must have told you about me then? I only met him for the first time this summer.”
“I haven’t seen him for ages.” Replied Malfoy.
“Are you some kind of ministry spy trying to get information about him from me? I haven’t seen him do you hear.”
“What are you talking about, spy? I just came over to be friendly as I could see you were on your own over here.” Explained David.
But Malfoy was now convinced that David had been asked to find out about the whereabouts of Rodolphus. He snatched a couple of rounds of toast from the table and grabbed the pot of coffee and a cup. Then he stormed out of the room leaving David standing there feeling stupid.
‘What had just happened?’ He asked himself. He had wanted to talk to Malfoy and find out more about him, but somehow he had managed to upset the boy and even to scare him. Why had Malfoy been so upset to be asked about Rodolphus and was he really his uncle?
David wandered back to the table where Susan was waiting to find out what was going on.
“What did you say to him that made him so upset?” She asked.
“I just asked him if he knew someone called Rodolphus L’Estrange and he got really angry with me.” David answered.
Susan put her hand to her mouth in shock.
“Now what’s wrong with you?” He asked in disbelief.
“Why is everyone so bothered by that name?”
“L’Estrange is Malfoy’s uncle.” Said Susan quietly.
“I thought everyone in the school knew that. He’s a death eater! He was one of those people caught in the ministry of magic this summer. He was arrested and was being taken to Azkaban when he escaped along with most of the others. How come you know of him?”
David had to think fast and blurted out.
“Erm, he was a friend of my parents and I got told by Biggins that Malfoy was related to him, but I didn’t know about the death eater stuff.”
Susan grabbed his arm and pulled him down into the seat beside her.
“Stay away from that boy, he is bad news. He’s been accused of bullying before now and I wouldn’t trust him to set his two friends on you in some quiet corridor.” She looked at him earnestly.
“Don’t worry about me, I can look after myself.” Said David and squeezed her hand reassuringly.
They finished their breakfast in silence, both filled with dark thoughts. The name of the death eater L’Estrange had brought back memories of her aunt to Susan. David was thinking about Malfoy and wondering even more about whether or not he might have some useful information.
The two went back to the common room and filled in the time until lunch by playing gobstones. David had never played it in reality, but had memories of learning the rules at Beauxbatons.
He was now finding it easier to slip backwards and forwards between the real and false memories that were implanted in his head. So far there hadn’t been any complications and he was only worried that someone in France might start asking questions about Davide and come over to meet him in person.
Susan was a good player and won all of the games easily. They had to put on protective cagoules to keep the stinking sap off their clothes while they played, but it was an entertaining morning. The wizarding wireless network was playing Christmas carols and the pair of them were in a very festive mood.
Eventually the time arrived for them to go down for lunch and they raced together into the great hall.
Their eyes lit up as they saw that all the tables had vanished apart from a long and wide one left in the middle of the room. It had been decorated with no expense spared by the look of it.
Over the wooden table had been placed a green and golden cloth that hung over the sides and hid the legs. Around it were placed a dozen high chairs decorated with wreaths of holly and tinsel. The table itself had myriad golden candlesticks and baubles scattered around so that it glittered in the light of the ceiling and the hundreds of candles that floated above and around it.
There were dishes and bowls filled with mounds of roasted potatoes, carrots, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, small sausages and every other one of David’s favourite Christmas foods. The gravy boats were huge and clouds of steam were rising up from them.
As they gazed in wonder at the feast, the other people came in and joined them. The three siblings squeaked and whispered, pointing out the various comestibles. Their main focus of interest was the massive turkey that sat in pride of place at the head of the table. It was the size of an ostrich and David wondered whether or not it was indeed a real turkey.
Malfoy stood sullenly by, but looked most elegant in a dark suit and white shirt. He looked over at David, but didn’t say a word.
The Professors came in together and were led by Albus Dumbledore. He was wearing a red, green and gold set of robes that made David think of what a skinny Father Christmas must look like.
“Sit, sit everybody” Called out Dumbledore.
“Let us not waste time in admiring the beautiful meal that has been prepared for us, when we can be sat down and appreciating its delicious taste!”
Dumbledore took his place at the head of the table and directly opposite him sat Professor McGonagall. She was already laughing and chatting to another woman that David did not know. David thought that maybe the Professor had enjoyed a glass or two of sherry earlier on.
Dumbledore waved his wand at a pile of plates that were sat on a food trolley beside his chair and they separated and floated over to the table. A second flourish of the wand caused the carving knife and fork to rise and slice the turkey into pieces.
Dumbledore then used his baton like an orchestra conductor and the turkey was dished out onto each of the plates. The plates then made their way to the diners and plonked themselves down in front of them.
“Tuck in.” Said Dumbledore and the students and Professors helped themselves to the potatoes and vegetables.
It took David almost five minutes to load up his plate with a little of everything that was on offer. The air was filled with the excited chatter of everyone around the table, except for Malfoy who sat and ate his food in silence.
David noticed that Dumbledore kept glancing over at Malfoy and looking at him with pity on his face.
“Pull a cracker with me.” Said Susan and held out a huge white cracker.
David grinned and grabbed hold of the end. As he pulled there was an enormous ‘bang’ like a firecracker going off. The air was filled with a shower of sparkling stars that settled down on the table, in their hair and onto their plates of food.
The others at the table gasped in awe and made a grab for more of the crackers. Suddenly there was a cacophony of bangs, whistles and the crash of cymbals as each person pulled their cracker with a neighbour.
David pulled another cracker with the witch who sat on his left side. She introduced herself as Professor Burbage. David’s cracker had contained a pair of bright yellow canaries that fluttered away and a large conical white hat with red pom-poms on it. He put the hat on and also pocketed the prize, which was a wand-cleaning kit.
Professor Burbage’s cracker dispensed three blind white mice that wandered around the table knocking over the salt and pepper pots. Her hat was a multicoloured bishop’s mitre and the gift was a pocket book titled ‘House-elves of the World’.
Susan’s cracker that she pulled with Malfoy and who held it with a look of irritation contained a dozen or so balloons that floated up to the ceiling. Her prize was a small mirror that showed your reflection, but with funny changes to your face such as a bushy moustache and eyebrows.
Malfoy was not impressed when Susan showed it to him and he caught a glimpse of himself with bright ginger hair, thick black glasses and a huge banana-shaped nose.
Laughter filled the room as they each showed their gifts to the others and Susan’s mirror was a hit with almost everyone. David couldn’t see what Dumbledore was viewing when he took a peek, but whatever it was caused the headmaster to giggle and guffaw uncontrollably.
Tears of suppressed laughter fell down Dumbledore’s face and the others fell about watching him struggle to regain his self-control.
“Oh dear, oh my.” Said Dumbledore.
“Laughter. Again one of the most powerful forces about which we know so little.”
The meal continued in the same fashion and David joined in the merriment, reading out some of the jokes from inside the crackers.
“How many witches does it take to change a lightbulb?” He asked the table.
“We don’t know. How many witches does it take?” They all chimed together.
“It depends on what you’re changing it into.” He said sheepishly.
There was a huge groan from the collective and then riotous laughter. That was the best of the jokes. Others included:
‘What is the difference between a house elf and a troll? One will make you your dinner, the other will make you his dinner.’
‘What is a hag’s favourite letter of the alphabet? Hex.’
Dumbledore produced a bottle of oak-matured mead from somewhere inside his robes and he dispensed a glass of it to each person. He proposed a toast to Hogwarts and everyone drank in response. Malfoy merely sipped at his drink, but it was obvious that he enjoyed the taste because he accepted a second glass when Dumbledore sent the bottle around the table.
The atmosphere settled down as the Professors finished off their mead and then opened up bottles of elf wine. Professor Dumbledore chatted to the three students who nervously answered his questions about how their studies were going and if any of them had been attacked by the plants in Professor Sprout’s greenhouses.
David helped himself to nuts and a tangerine and munched on these as he struck up a conversation with Professor Burbage.
“What is it that you teach?” He asked.
“Oh muggle studies, don’t you know.” She replied and gazed at him with rosy cheeks.
The elf wine was starting to have an effect on her. She was smiling and slightly glassy-eyed.
“It’s such a fascinating subject.” She continued.
“You would never believe the kinds of things that muggles get up to. They waste so much of their time driving around in motor cars and shouting at each other, instead of learning how to apparate and avoid the hassle.”
David nodded in agreement, though he personally thought that it was unlikely that muggles could ever learn how to apparate.
“That’s why I think it’s important that we witches and wizards try to integrate more and more with the muggle world. If more witches and wizards married muggles, then eventually the world would be full of magical folk and there would be no more need for the statute of secrecy and separation of the muggle and magical world.”
David continued to listen, though his mind was now wandering. He looked over at Malfoy, as the Professor continued to waffle on about co-operation of the ministries and the benefits to wizard-kind. Malfoy was staring at her with pure hatred on his face and his knuckles were white as they gripped a spoon full of Christmas pudding.
Eventually, she seemed to have exhausted her topic and she turned to face another Professor who listened to her patiently. Malfoy gave David a quick look and then returned to his pudding.
David then turned his attention to Professor Dumbledore, who he saw had also been listening to Burbage’s exhortations. The headmaster smiled at David and then spoke to him.
“And how is our French friend enjoying a traditional British Christmas dinner?”
“Fantastic.” Said David and ignored the loud ‘harrumph’ he heard from Malfoy’s direction.
“This is the best one I think I’ve ever had.” He beamed.
Susan leaned over and gave him a quick peck on the cheek and David blushed.
“Professor Hagrid told us that you keep a phoenix. Is that true?” He asked. He tried his best to pretend that he hadn’t heard Malfoy cough loudly at the words ‘Professor Hagrid’.
“Yes, it’s true.” Said Dumbledore.
“I believe that we have something in common in that respect.” He added.
“Your raven is a familiar, is it not?”
“That’s what they tell me.” Said David.
“Although he doesn’t seem to do much other than eat and sleep.”
“You haven’t had him long, so you can look forward to finding out more about him and his usefulness in the future.” Dumbledore continued.
“If you like I can show you Fawkes, the phoenix that is and I can illustrate one or two interesting facts to you.
“Wow, that would be great.” Said David.
“Thank you very much Professor.”
David grinned happily and turned to the watching Malfoy and gave him a wink. Malfoy scowled and looked over at Dumbledore who was now chatting merrily with Burbage and the other Professor.
David turned his attention to Susan and looked into her bright eyes.
“You having a good time?” He asked her.
“Great.” She said.
“I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much. It’s taken my mind off the problems I‘ve been brooding over for ages.”
“Good.” Said David.
“Do you fancy a trip into Hogsmeade tomorrow? We can have a bit of time on our own for a change.”
Susan readily agreed and handed David a plate full of mince pies.


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