My beta has been MIA after an extended hiatus of mine, so I am currently on the lookout for a new beta. If you're interested and happen to like Hetalia/Doctor Who/Sherlock/Supernatural, do send a message to me. And I don't mind if there are more than one betas, but I'm drawing the limit at three. Pros include getting to read the chapter early and cringing at my horrible grammatical errors. Cons include chasing me everyday to get off my lazy arse and start writing a new chapter.
As you know, this chapter has no beta so be prepared for wacky grammar and confusing tenses.
Chapter 11- Breaking In
"Scotland, I don't like this idea..."
"Well, do you have any other ideas?"
"Then you'll have no choice but to agree with our idea."
With a sigh, America flopped onto the nearest chair he could find and frowned at the woman hovering next to him, a thick book opened in her hands as she moved around the house, arranging various items and objects needed for the supposed 'spell' that would help get America into Hogwarts.
It didn't help that Scotland's two brothers were also helping out, determined to get revenge on their estranged brother who was currently teaching in Hogwarts for turning them into , had America forgot to mention? Wales and Ireland had apparently been lodging in Scotland's house when the cursed letter from England had arrived and voila! The spell had hit all three brothers and transformed them into very pissed off females, which quite frankly, made America twice as scared of them as he normally was.
"So," Wales said in a crisp tone as he (she?) strode out of the kitchen towards Scotland with a handful of what looked suspiciously like human eyeballs. America gagged inwardly, his face slowly turning pale green. "I got the ingredients ready. Do you want to start the spell now? Can't risk doing it after mid afternoon, you know. The sun's position isn't right during that time, and our friend here might end up in Azkaban by accident if you miscalculate."
"Please tell me those are some monkey's eyeballs and not what I think it is." pleaded America.
Wales gave the young nation a critical glare."You tell me. Found 'em in good ol' Scotty's magic room while I went looking for some other ingredients."
"Alright!" Scotland announced as he dusted his perfectly manicured fingers. "The chalk circle is set, the lamps are in place, and all we need now is for you," he pointed at America. "to stand in the middle of the chalk circle while all three of us recite the spell which, if it works, will apparate you right into Hogwarts. Oh, don't worry." he waved a hand dismissively at America as he opened his mouth. "Our special spell will get you right past all them protection and anti-whatsis spells placed by Albus on the school."
"Actually," America sighed. "I was wondering what was gonna happen to me after I get inside the school."
"Well, if you're lucky, you'll only get arrested and put on trial at the Ministry of Magic for breaking into Hogwarts and using beyond first-degree black magic to break in." Ireland said calmly as he walked into the room, a cauldron full of boiling purple liquid hissing and occasionally sending up multi-coloured sparks. "If you're unlucky, then you get the Dementor's kiss. I won't put it past Fudge to actually pull off something like that."
"Dementor's kiss?" As much as America tried to turn a blind eye to anything magical going on, he knew what a Dementor's kiss did to its victim. "You're kidding, right?"
"Stand in the middle, Yank." Wales ordered lazily, pushing his newly-found long hair over his shoulders.
"I'm not done asking-" America started but quickly decided against continuing his sentence as Ireland's eyes narrowed. He wasn't going to risk pissing off somebody who could easily splash acid or whatever it was in that cauldron on him.
As he stood awkwardly in the centre of the crudely drawn chalk circle, America couldn't help but shudder as he craned his neck reading the ancient runes drawn into the floor. This had never been his area, this realm of sorcery and witchcraft. He preferred his world, where one does battle by firing guns, not some hokey-pokey spell or-
Scotland had started chanting from the spell book, his brow furrowed as he deciphered the badly hand written book. Ireland was pouring the cauldron full of God knows what into the little groves dug into the floor around the external ring of the circle, the purple liquid sparking and hissing. Wales just stood to the side, casually dangling the eyeballs by one hand as he stared lazily at America, a smirk on his face as he enjoyed the nation's discomfort.
"Hey, guys? Or girls?" America called out from the middle of the circle, which was already starting to give off copious amounts of dark, green smoke thanks to the purple potion concocted by Ireland. "What really am I supposed to do once I get to Hogwarts?"
"Tell our bloody brother to give us the counter curse to this idiotic spell he put on us." Wales said as he stood up and smoothened the front of his skirt, the empty cauldron tossed to one side.
"Or we'll send him to Hell" Ireland continued. "Literally."
Something in the brothers' tone told America they weren't joking about the Hell part.
"What about me?" hollered America as the sparking from the potion and Scotland's chanting threatened to drown out his voice. "What am I supposed to do?"
Both brothers cackled as Scotland finally completed the spell and snapped the ancient book shut.
Already, America's form was fading as the spell worked its wondrous magic on him, his hands waving frantically amidst the smoke. Even though he probably couldn't hear them already, Scotland answered the American.
"Give that idjit hell from us, Yank!"
The trio were waiting around the corner, Ron's eyes twitching nervously as they saw Professor Kirkland walked out of his private quarters, dressed in a white Oxford and a black waistcoat. The young man took a quick glance at the watch on his wrist and huffed impatiently, taking off at a brisk pace towards the staff room where the staff meeting was taking place.
"A waistcoat?" Harry whispered as soon as the professor was out of sight. "What century is he living in? Why not just get a top hat to go along with that outfit?"
"Nothing wrong with his outfit." countered Ron. "Looks normal to me, mate. That's what a Muggle wears, right?"
"Just saying it looks ridiculous on somebody as young as he is." Harry replied. He was more used to Uncle Vernon wearing expensive waistcoats as he entertained guests at 12 Privet Drive, his bulging stomach stretching the poor waistcoat to its very limits. With a grimace, Harry tried to get rid of that particularly painful memory.
"Okay, go!" Hermione hissed. On tip-toes, the trio made their way to the wooden door of Professor Kirkland's quarters. "Let's see now..." she pointed her wand at the rusty lock. "Alohorama!"
The lock didn't click. "Fred was right." said Harry. " He doesn't lock his room with magic."
"I thought he might've at least asked one of the professors for help to enchant his lock." pondered Hermione.
"Or face it, the bloke might just liked locking his doors the good old fashioned Muggle way." said Ron wisely. "Only Fred, George, Dean or maybe Seamus know how to pick open Muggle locks. Umbridge won't know how to pick open a Muggle lock even if her life depended on it, so whatever our dear professor might want to hide from Fudge and company, his private room is the perfect place."
"Great." Hermione rolled her eyes. "Harry, hand me whatever Fred gave you in that cloth bundle."
A few painful minutes later, the lock clicked open with a quiet snick. Smiling slightly at Harry and Ron's awestruck expressions, Hermione handed back the lock-picking tools to Harry. "Just a little handy skill I learnt in Muggle Studies." she explained, answering their silent question.
With Ron standing outside to guard the room, Harry and Hermione made their way into the room carefully, their eyes inspecting the room for any suspicious items. So far, everything looked normal. Bookshelves lined one entire side of the room and a huge antique, wooden desk sat in one corner of the room, papers and stacks of leather bound books sitting on the surface. A cold fireplace was on the opposite side of the room, an old worn armchair, it's edges frayed, placed strategically near it, The professor's neatly made bed was near the fireplace, the sheets smooth and clean.
Hermione took a deep breathe as she assessed the situation. "Okay Harry, you take his desk. I'll look around the bookshelves. And try not to pull everything out. We don't need him to come back to a messy room and have his suspicions raised."
With a sigh, Harry got to work. Carefully shifting aside mountains of parchment and books, he flipped through several books that appeared to be interesting but were nothing more than books used to record students' marks and behaviour. Oddly enough, there were also a few letters addressed to Professor Kirkland from the Muggle prime minister. The envelopes were empty, their contents probably burnt in the fireplace by the professor himself.
Harry opened up the drawers on the side of the desk, hoping to get more information there. The top two drawers revealed more paperwork and a book in which, when Harry opened, contained the professor's contacts and their numbers. Hurriedly, he noted down the names in his mind, saving them to his leaky memory and fervently hoping he wouldn't forget them. Not that they were easy to forget anyway. Who named their son (Harry had to narrow his eyes and turn the book sideways to read the names) Gilbert Beilschmidt and Alfred F. Jones anyway?
Over to the side, Hermione's search was going along just as well as his. She was randomly pulling out books and after taking one look at it, put it back onto the shelf with a disappointed huff and moved on to the next book only to repeat the same process again.
Finally, he tried the bottom drawer. It refused to open, merely rattling in it's fixed position when Harry tugged on the steel handle. With bated breathe, Harry quickly went to work on the drawer, using the Weasley twins' handy lock picking tools.
It worked, the lock turning slowly but surely as the wire worked its own magic on it.
With batred breathe, Harry pulled the drawer open, his head raging full of curiousity. What was it that the professor had kept locked away in this drawer even though there was only a very tiny possibility of someone manging to get past his Muggle padlocked door? Surely it must be something of great importance to him.
Ah yes, he could see it now... the light from the harsh afternoon sun shining in through the window illuminating the contents in the previously locked drawer perfectly.
"Hermione," Harry called out, "I think we've found it. The professor's journal."
Fred was waiting as George limped back into the Great Hall, his red hair sticking up at odd angles and the side of his school robes torn. Even so, he grinned and gave his waiting twin the thumbs up.
"I got the other part done." Fred stated as he supported George back to the Gryffindor common room. "Have to ask Lee to help us mend your robes too or dear old Mum will throw a fit."
"Well clearly she has never tried opening the door to a pen of hungry Hiporgriffs and nearly becoming their main course by accident." George muttered dryly as he flattened his hair.
Both twins laughed aloud to themselves in the empty corridor, startling a group of witches in a nearby portrait as their minds gleefully awaited the outcome of their pranks.
England sat himself down on the hard wooden chair, stifling a yawn as he made himself comfortable. He hadn't managed to sleep at all last night, staying up until morning to mark all his students' papers. And just when his afternoon was free for the day, Fudge had to pay Hogwarts a visit. Typical, he thought darkly to himself as he glanced around the table. Judging by his colleagues' expressions, most of them were on the same boat as him.
"Staff meeting with the Minister, more like time for Fudge and Malfoy to pass more rules on us." Professor McGonagoll scowled fiercely. " I've had enough of this nonse-"
"There there, Minerva!" squeaked old Professor Flitwick, the top if his pointed wizard hat barely reaching the shoulders of Professor McGonagoll. "We all have to deal with it for the sake of the students! If there's widespread disagreement amongst the staff and the Ministry, imagine the chaos it'll caused to the school!"
"Yes, we all know that, but how long can we cope?" Professor Sprout said lowly. "This charade can last us one year at the most. Without the Minister's approval, we can't set up strong defensive spells around the school. Sooner or later, You-Know-Who will find a way in and get Potte-"
"We will protect the school for as long as possible for the students' sake, with or without the Ministry's approval." Professor McGonagoll said sharply. "Until then, we will all make do with what we have." She looked at England, who had not spoken a single word at all. "Still with us, Professor Kirkland?"
"Yes, Minerva." said England, shifting his weight. "I will be glad to offer everything I have to assist you on this matter."
All the professors nodded, except for Professor Snape, who just stared coldly at England, his dark eyes mistrustful. England held his glare for as long as possible before the professor dropped his gaze to the table in front of him, his pale fingers twitching to his wand's pocket.
Just before the situation in the room could get anymore tense, the door to the staff room opened and a disheveled Fudge stumbled into the room, an equally rattled Umbridge and Malfoy following close behind. Dumbledore closed the door behind them as they entered, an amused glint in his eyes.
Professor McGonagoll rose to greet the Minister. "Cornelius, we are very honoured to have you here-"
"Yes, I bet you are." Fudge breathed heavily, his eyes wild. "Your students seem to think so too!"
"Pardon?" Professor McGonagoll replied, her mouth a thin line of disapproval at Fudge's rudeness.
Dumbledore took it upon himself to explain. "As we were coming up to the staff room, the corridors leading here were, to put it mildly, terraformed into different environments." Now England understood the amused glint in the Headmaster's eyes, and he couldn't help but smile slightly. Who else could it be but Hogwarts' infamous pranksters, the Weasley twins, who were behind this latest joke?
"We had to trudge through a tundra, a scorching desert and a bloody swamp before we reached here!" Fudge shouted, his face turning red. "As professors, shouldn't you be doing more to curb the disciplinary problems at the school? Especially if students are allowed to use magic in the corridors when I clearly remembered otherwise!"
"Now Cornelius," Professor Flitwick spoke up, his voice sharp. " We are doing our best, but accusing us blatantly like this without evide-"
"Then why didn't you clean up the mess before the Minister visited?" Malfoy spoke in a low tone of derision. "Surely one of you could've fixed the corridors before we arrived."
"Someone must've pulled the prank the minute you entered the school, Cornelius, because I certainly don't recall seeing any aforementioned environments in the corridors." said Professor McGonagoll in a clipped tone. "Rest assured we will catch the one who's behind it. In the meantime, I recalled that we had called a meeting to address some issues...?" The sarcasm was positively dripping from the professor's words as she stared at Fudge, her eyes narrowed.
England raised an eyebrow at Dumbledore who merely winked at him, unseen by the others, silently reassuring him that it was alright to go ahead and introduce himself. He cleared his throat and stood up, offering his hand to Fudge. "I believe we are meeting for the first time, Minister. My name is Arthur Kirkland, and I'm the new teacher for Care of Magical Creatures."
Fudge looked him once over hurriedly, not sure what to make of this young man in a waistcoat. Awkwardly, he shook England's hand. "Ah yes, yes. Hagrid's replacement for the time being, right? Pleasure, pleasure indeed to meet you..." he was mumbling to himself now as he looked at England again, his brow furrowed. "Have I seen you somewhere before?"
Umbridge leaned into Fudge's ear and whispered a few hurried words. With a nod, Fudge pulled back from Umbridge and addressed England again. "Professor Kirkland, after the general meeting is over, could I have a few words with you in er, private? I won't take long, just need to sort out some issues that you might have here since you're a Muggle."
With an inward groan, England nodded. "It'll be my pleasure, Minister."
With quick strides, Hermione leaned by Harry's side and examined the battered leather bound book, a few odd pages sticking up on the top. A few colourful bookmarks could be seen peeking from the side, their edges faded, leaving Harry to wonder just exactly how old the journal was.
"Alright, Geminio!" whispered Hermione as she waved her wand over the journal. An exact, duplicated copy of the journal appeared in Harry's lap as she hurriedly replaced the original in the drawer, locking the drawer with the skeleton key Fred had given Harry.
"Are you guys done yet?" Ron called out from his position at the door. "What if Malfoy comes across us here? What are we going to say to him?"
"Malfoy junior or senior?" said Harry cheekily as he slipped the journal inside his robes. It wad small enough to go unnoticed by anyone except himself. "Because I'm pretty sure Malfoy senior is at a meeting right now."
All was going along so well. They had the journal, everything was back in place and nobody had caught them at it. It was just their luck that at the moment, Professor Kirkland's fireplace flared to life, red and blue flames dancing in unison together as smoke started filling the room, grey ashes crumbling down onto the carpet.
"What in blazes is going on here?" Ron yelled as he looked into the room and saw the smoke. "Wha-?"
"Ron get down!" shrieked Hermione as she dragged Harry down onto the floor. "NOW!" The urgency in her tone betrayed her anxiety as Ron dutifully threw himself onto the floor. Seconds later, the fireplace exploded and something or someone rolled out from the fireplace, sending up more black soot and sparks into the room even as Harry tried to get rid of the soot coated on his glasses and impairing his vision.
A black shape lay sprawled on the carpet in front of the fireplace, coughing and hacking as it moved slightly, its clothes covered with a thick layer of ash. With a snort, the person sat up and stared straight into Harry's eyes, brilliant blue meeting green, both also bespectacled.
"Hi there!" said America bemusedly, a wide grin on his dirt-smudged face "I don't happen to be at Hogwarts, do I?"
A/N- I have been thinking of migrating over to Livejournal, Tumblr or AO3 because I have issues with Fanfiction taking down fics they deem not suitable/contains mature content/etc and a certain group of people (no names will be mentioned). For the sake of this story though, I will try to prolong this as much as I possible but I can't guarantee it since a lot of good stories and their writers are popping up on AO3 while LJ has always been a great place to find awesome stories.
Thank you for your continued support and kind reviews! The readers do keep the story going after all. I'll admit, I had a writing depression the past few months where I kept wanting to write but couldn't because I thought I wasn't good enough. It took me a lot of encouragement to take up writing again, and I'm glad I did. So thank you for all your kind words!
Have a Merry belated Christmas and a happy new year!