Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns Harry Potter

Looking Beyond: Chapter Ninety: Troublemakers' Escape

AN: So glad you all liked the compatible Patronuses :)

"You know they're thinking about doing it," Angelina told her shortly after practice one day as Hope loosened the tie that held her hair away from her face.

"Thinking about what?" Hope grunted, wincing as the tie became tangled in her hair.

Angelina gave her a rather direct look. "You know, leaving."

Hope sighed as she freed her hair (at long last). "I figured," she said shortly, "what with the whole thing about not really caring about staying."

"There's only one thing left to do," Angelina hummed in agreement as she threw her jacket on over her clothes, bidding goodbye to Ginny, Katie, and Alicia who hadn't quite finished changing out of their Quidditch things.

"Oh, yeah? What's that?" Hope asked as she was tugged out into the cool air.

"Give them a proper send-off."

Hope's cheeks burned with heat at the very thought and Angelina smirked.

"I hear George has been dying to get you in a broom cupboard," she sang, ducking as Hope tried to slug her. "They might be leaving in a few days, so…"

She left it open to interpretation.

"You're telling me to drag my boyfriend a broom cupboard and snog him senseless?" Hope asked with an arched eyebrow.

"He'll never see it coming!" Angelina said brightly. "Go get him!" And she shoved her towards the stone courtyard with a laugh as Hope spared her an irritated glance before stalking towards the stairs, almost running headlong into the person she was looking for.

"Whoa, easy there, love," George said brightly, steadying her. "Where's the fire?"

"Oh, you know," Hope said airily, not bothering to clarify anything before grabbing his tie and jerking him up the stairs.

George choked a little. "What'd I do?"

Hope smirked as they rounded a corner. "What haven't you done, love? Besides, all I'm doing is looking for a broom cupboard."

George didn't stop walking, but his eyes did widen a bit and then he grinned, wrapping an arm around her waist, tugging her into the nearest cupboard. "Really?" he asked, leaning his forehead against hers.

"Well, er, proper send-off, you know," Hope said, hardly breathing.

"I love you," he murmured against her lips.

"I know," she whispered back, locking her arms around his neck, "now give me a kiss to remember you by."

George chuckled, leaning down so that his lips were against her ear to whisper, "You know it'll still be a little bit before we leave, right?"

"I imagine it might be a rather hectic day," Hope said mildly, dragging his face back to hers. "Now kiss me."

"As Milady commands it." And then his lips met hers, forcing all other thoughts from her mind. Her arms tightened around his neck and she gasped in surprise as he lifted her up, holding her legs over his hips. Hope suddenly felt very overheated, but that wasn't going to stop her from her task at hand (which seemed to be to make the Weasley miss her as much as feasibly possible).

George made a low sound in the back of his throat, making her smirk against his lips, but it was quickly forgotten as his kisses trailed downwards to the spot she had proven to be sensitive to.

"George!" Hope gasped out his name, her eyes flaring open slightly at the attention he was paying to her neck. She could feel his grin against the flesh there as he teased her for a moment longer before trailing a line of fire to her mouth and kissing her so deeply that Hope was glad her legs were around his waist and not on the ground because she was sure they would have ceased functioning entirely.

Hope tangled her fingers into his hair, drawing him, if it was possible, even closer to her...

"George looks way too satisfied," Fred sniggered, earning himself a rap alongside the head from said brother's girlfriend as she sat with her friends, looking at career brochures. Today they had Daphne with them, something the Fat Lady had been very leery about, seeing as she was of a different House, but she let her through eventually. There was no one Daphne could really talk to about studying and all that right now because currently Tracey was a little busy getting some extra help in Charms.

"I will smack you," Hope promised, narrowing her eyes over the Curse-breaker pamphlet. "Damn…I'm going to need Hermione's brain to pass all this…"


"Better you than me," Daphne noted.

"What're you planning on being?" Ron asked, slightly suspicious.

"I'm thinking Unspeakable, and you need at least an Exceeds Expectations in History of Magic, Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, and Potions."

"Sounds like a lot of work," Ron complained.

"Everything here is a lot of work," Hermione admonished. "That's rather the point."

"Spill the beans," Fred muttered so the others wouldn't hear as Hope jotted down a few notes.


"You've been looking down for weeks, so what's up?"

Her eyes became distant as if she was lost in a memory or a dream. She hadn't talked to anyone about what she'd seen, but there were two people she had wanted to talk to, one more than the other. "I kind of want to talk to Padfoot," she muttered lowly.

Fred's eyes widened a little. "Padfoot? Why?"

Hope sighed, making a careless motion with her hands. Her own reasons, Fred surmised.

"Hang on a second." She arched an eyebrow to him as he stood, striding over to where George was bouncing on the balls of his feet. George frowned as his twin explained something to him in a low voice, but then he nodded, speaking just as lowly before they returned to the couch, George taking the spot on Hope's opposite side that Daphne had just vacated to go have words with her boyfriend.

"So you want to talk to Padfoot?" George asked.

Hope could practically hear the crack as Hermione whipped her head around to stare at Hope and even Ron looked up in surprise.

"Well, yeah," Hope admitted.

"Are you mad?" Hermione demanded. "Umbridge has boxed you in! No Floo and no owling!"

"There's a way around everything if you look hard enough," George said smugly, sharing a look with his twin. "It's a simple matter of causing a diversion. Now, you might have noticed that we have been rather quiet on the mayhem front during the Easter holidays?"

Fred continued his train of thought. "What was the point, we asked ourselves, of disrupting leisure time? No point at all, we answered ourselves. And of course, we'd have messed up people's revision, too, which would be the very last thing we'd want to do." His eyes darted to Hermione, who, everyone knew, was spending an inordinate amount of time studying these days. "But it's business as usual from tomorrow. And if we're going to be causing a bit of uproar, why not do it so that Hope can have her chat with Padfoot?"

"And how is Hope supposed to be able to talk to him?" Hermione asked with a blank stare.

"I can use Umbridge's office."

Ron wasn't the only gaping at her. "Are you barmy? How are you supposed to get in? It's spelled against Alohamora!"

Hope frowned thoughtfully for a moment. "I could use my lock-picks…or…" She brightened suddenly. "The knife! I can't believe I forgot about it!"

"Knife?" Fred said blankly. "What knife?"

"Oh!" Hermione said in surprise. "That might work."

"Two blokes over here a little confused," George interjected.

Hope rolled her eyes. "Padfoot gave me a knife the Christmas after the Yule Ball that's enchanted to open any lock."

"Nice gift, can I have one?"

Hope scowled at Fred briefly as he winked at her. "We're thinking of doing it tomorrow, just after lessons, because it should cause maximum impact if everybody's in the corridors –Hope, we'll set it off in the east wing somewhere, draw her right away from her own office– I reckon we should be able to guarantee you, what, twenty minutes?" He glanced to his twin for confirmation.

George nodded, humming in agreement. "Easy."

"And what kind of diversion is it?" Ron asked suspiciously. "Something that'll damage bystanders?" He had to bat away Fred's hand as he ruffled his hair with a noise of annoyance.

"You'll see, little bro," Fred said with a mischievous grin. "At least, you will if you trot along to Gregory the Smarmy's corridor round about five o'clock tomorrow."

"Good luck with the studying," George whispered into her ear, kissing a spot directly under it, making her flush.

"I'm going to need it," she called after him, ignoring his laughter as she turned back to her friends. "All this studying is going to turn my brain to mush," she said with a sigh.

"Hope…don't you need an OWL in Arithmancy to be a Curse-breaker?" Ron asked, eyeing the pamphlet curiously.

"I asked Fleur about that one, she said you only need that bit if you plan on doing the banking part, but I'm not, so I should be good."

"I keep forgetting Fleur is working part-time as a Curse-breaker," Hermione said, tapping her quill against her chin. "How d'you think she is?"

Hope shrugged. "She seemed pretty good the last time I talked to her, but we haven't talked in awhile, you know, because of the pink cow." Hope sank into the couch with an abysmal expression on her face. "You realize I have to pretty much pass every single class? It'll be a nightmare!"

"What d'you mean?" Ron asked. "Because you're caught between two professions?"

Hope nodded miserably. "The one class I don't care about, sadly, is Care of Magical Creatures, but I need at least an O in Ancient Runes, Defence Against the Dark Arts, and Potions, and an E in History of Magic, Transfiguration, Charms, Astronomy, and Herbology."

"Why does Astronomy matter?" Hermione asked.

"Ancient civilizations often based a lot of what they did on the movement of the stars and planets," Hope said as if reciting from a text and Hermione nodded in understanding.

"Well, I guess you'll be spending less time with George, then?" Hermione asked.

Hope's face soured.

Hope was in a very dark mood the next day as she stalked to her Career Advice meeting with Professor McGonagall. The cause of her anger? Do you really have to ask? Snape had been growing increasingly…how should she put it? Bitchy? Arse-hole-y? At any rate, every lesson he gave her a zero, claiming she'd done something wrong with her potion and vanishing it or simply dropping her flasks.

Hope shoved her hands into her pockets, muttering several distasteful somethings under her breath and turning her hair a short and spiky black before finally reaching the Professor McGonagall's office and turning the knob.

"Come in, Potter," her Transfiguration professor called, and Hope opened it, entering quietly into the office, sparing an annoyed glance towards Umbridge (was she sitting in on fucking everything?!). "Sit down."

She didn't comment on her hair, but that wasn't surprising; she had seen it change for five years now. Her eyes were more focused on the pamphlets and what looked to be assessments from Hope's professors, only shifting upwards when she had finally straightened the pile.

"Well, Potter, this meeting is to talk over any career ideas you might have, and to help you decide which subjects you should continue into the sixth and seventh years," Professor McGonagall explained in a bit of a monotone. Hope suspected she'd said those lines over and over to every one of her students. "I know you've given this a lot of thought." Professor McGonagall was the one Hope had talked to the most about her possible career options.

"I'm, er, still caught between the two," Hope admitted in a sheepish manner, ignoring Umbridge as best as she could.

"Curse-breaker and Auror?" Professor McGonagall inquired. "There is another one I would suggest."

"Oh?" Hope asked in curiosity.

"Rune Analyst, considering your love of the Ancient Arts," Professor McGonagall said, "Many Rune Analysts start as Curse-breakers but later become more focused in particular areas, it and Curse-breaking have the same requirements…You shouldn't have trouble getting an O in Ancient Runes, Professor Babbling has ranked you very high in her class, and you'll need to bring up your grade in History of Magic, passing with an E is required, but Astronomy and Defence Against the Dark Arts appear fine."

Hope nodded seriously, taking to heart her words as they both ignored Umbridge's cough.

"Now for Auror," Professor McGonagall continued a little louder, "they ask for a minimum of five NEWTs, and nothing under "Exceeds Expectations" grade, I see. Then you would be required to undergo a stringent series of character and aptitude tests at the Auror office. It's a difficult career path, Potter, they only take the best. In fact, I don't think anybody has been taken on in the last three years."

"And what kind of classes would I have to take, other than Defence Against the Dark Arts, I mean?" Hope asked.

"I would also advise Transfiguration," Professor McGonagall said, speaking over another of Umbridge's high-pitched coughs, "because Aurors frequently need to Transfigure or Untransfigure in their work. Your Transfiguration grade has always been a solid Exceeds Expectations, often fluctuating on the spectrum, but still within it, so I am not worried." Her lips twitched at how Hope turned pink at the veiled compliment. Then you ought to do Charms, always useful, and Potions."

Hope gave a mournful sigh and Professor McGonagall's lips twitched again. "Poisons and antidotes are essential study for Aurors. And I must tell you that Professor Snape absolutely refuses to take students who get anything other than "Outstanding" in their OWLs, so—"


A muscle in Professor McGonagall's jaw twitched at yet another interruption. "May I offer you a cough drop, Dolores?"

Umbridge giggled. "Oh, no, thank you very much. I just wondered whether I could make the teensiest interruption, Minerva?"

"I daresay you'll find you can," Professor McGonagall said, her words almost unintelligible through her teeth, her eyebrow twitching in irritation.

"I was just wondering whether Miss Potter has quite the temperament for an Auror?" Umbridge simpered.

"Were you?" Professor McGonagall said in disdain before disregarding her presence completely. "Well, Potter, if you are serious in this ambition, I would advise you to concentrate hard on bringing your Potions up to scratch. I see Professor Flitwick has graded you at an "Exceeds Expectations" for the last two years, so your Charmwork seems satisfactory. As for Defence Against the Dark Arts, your marks have been generally high, Professor Lupin in particular thought you –are you quite sure you wouldn't like a cough drop, Dolores?"

"Oh, no need, thank you, Minerva." Hope made her eye roll obvious. "I was just concerned that you might not have Hope's most recent Defence Against the Dark Arts marks in front of you. I'm quite sure I slipped in a note."

"What, this thing?" Professor McGonagall asked, waving a flimsy sheaf of shockingly pink parchment (Hope wasn't surprised by the colour) before ignoring it. "Yes, as I was saying, Potter, Professor Lupin thought you showed a pronounced aptitude for the subject, and obviously for an Auror–"

"Did you not understand me note, Minerva?" Umbridge interrupted.

"Of course I understood it," Professor McGonagall refuted in a tone as cold as ice.

"Well, then, I am confused," Umbridge said in a would-be polite manner. "I'm afraid I don't quite understand how you can give Miss Potter false hope that–"

"False hope?" There was a flicker of something in Professor McGonagall's eyes that Hope couldn't interpret. "She has achieved high marks in all her Defence Against the Dark Arts tests—" But not on Umbridge's tests, Hope thought with a mental smirk. This was why Professor McGonagall was one of her favourite professors.

"I'm terribly sorry to have to contradict you, Minerva," Umbridge said sweetly, "but as you will see from my note, Hope has been achieving very poor results in her classes with me–" Hope rolled her eyes. She probably had a T in that class, but she still knew more about the subject than Umbridge.

"I should have made my meaning plainer," Professor McGonagall said in a stony voice, meeting her eyes once more. "She has achieved high marks in all Defence Against the Dark Arts tests set by a competent teacher."

Ooh, burn! Umbridge's simpering smile was replaced with an affronted expression as she set her quill to her parchment, writing furiously across it.

"Any questions, Potter?"

"Well, are there entrance exams for Curse-breaking or becoming an Auror?" Hope asked. "I never asked Bill or Tonks…"

"For Curse-breaking you will need to show you're your ability to discern jinxes and hexes from one another as well as a heightened understanding of runes," Professor McGonagall explained. "And for being an Auror, you'll need to demonstrate the ability to react well to pressure and so forth, perseverance and dedication, because Auror training takes a further three years, not to mention very high skills in practical Defence. It will mean a lot more study even after you've left school, so unless you're prepared to–"

"I think you'll also find," Umbridge interrupted once more, "that the Ministry looks into the records of those applying to be Aurors. Their criminal records." Hope arched an eyebrow, but Professor McGonagall gave her a look that clearly said "Ignore her" and she was only happy to comply.

"Won't Curse-breaking require extra study, though, too?" Hope asked.

"Yes, but you'll find that many with superior knowledge of Ancient Magicks can skip them entirely if they can prove they do indeed have that knowledge," Professor McGonagall said dryly. "I don't see it being an issue."

Hope felt flattered that her professor considered her knowledge in that area superior, but then, she had been reading up on the subject for as long as she'd known about the magical world.

"But if you are still conflicted over which profession to take and you aren't prepared to take even more exams after Hogwarts, you should really consider-"

"Which means that this girl has as much a chance of becoming an Auror as Dumbledore has of ever returning to this school."

How kind of her to disregard Hope's first choice entirely. Please note the sarcasm.

"A very good chance, then," Professor McGonagall said with surety.

"Potter has a criminal record!"

"Potter has been cleared of all charges!"

"Potter is also still here," Hope muttered to herself as Umbridge leapt to her feet.

"Potter has no chance whatsoever of becoming an Auror!"

Again, forgetting the Curse-breaking bit.

Professor McGonagall stood as well, appearing much more imposing than Umbridge could ever dream to be.


Hope lifted her head in surprise.

"I will assist you to become a Curse-breaker or an Auror if it is the last thing I do! If I have to coach you nightly, I will make sure you achieve the required results!"

"Really?" Hope asked in astonishment.

"The Minister for Magic will never employ Hope Potter!" Umbridge cried angrily.

"There may well be a new Minister for Magic by the time Potter is ready to join!" Professor McGonagall said, her voice rising steadily, her eyes flashing dangerously.

"Aha!" A madness had lit Umbridge's eyes as she stabbed a finger in the direction of Professor McGonagall. "Yes! Yes, yes, yes! Of course! That's what you want, isn't it, Minerva McGonagall? You want Cornelius Fudge replaced by Albus Dumbledore! You think you'll be where I am, don't you: Senior Undersecretary to the Minister and Headmistress to boot!"

"Mental," Hope decided.

"You are raving," Professor McGonagall said coldly in agreement to Hope's words. "Potter, that concludes our careers consultation."

And Hope was only so happy to leave.

At the sound of the diversion not very much later, Hope left her bag with Ron and disappeared under the invisibility cloak after managing to make it through the crowd of people heading in the direction opposite of her as she pelted down the hall to Umbridge's office. The suit of armour lifted its helmet to look at her. She winked, placing a finger to her lips for silence and it ducked its head once more to the position it had been before as her body became completely invisible, sliding the knife into the keyhole and twisting until it clicked before replacing the knife in her pocket as she entered into the office.

It was as ghastly as ever, but Hope opted to ignore the appearance as she threw the Floo powder into the fireplace, calling out: "Number twelve, Grimmauld Place!" and thrusting her face inside.

The world spun like it did when Hope had travelled by Floo powder before, but when Hope finally opened her eyes she could see the table of the kitchen, at which-


Remus started at the sound of her voice, whipping his head around to stare at her head in the fire. "Hope!" he said stunned. "What are- What's happened? Is something wrong?"

Hope bit her lip, unease colouring her face. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea, now that she thought about it…but there was no going back. "Can you get Sirius? I wanted to talk to him."

"Alright…" Remus stood, a little confused. "You sure you're alright?"

Hope gave him a rather bland expression as if to say "Get a move on," and he did, reappearing with her godfather moments later.

"Hope, what is it?" Sirius asked descending to her level, "what's wrong? You look-"

"I know," Hope sighed. "Miserable, like hell…but I need to know…" The knife tip was biting into her leg now.

"Know what?" Remus asked, kneeling beside Sirius.

Hope sighed again. "My last Occlumency lesson was a few weeks back, and he kept tearing into me so I Protego'd him-"

"You didn't!" Remus said stunned.

"You would too," Hope grumbled, "I just wanted a breather, I didn't mean to get in his head!"

"What'd you see?" Sirius asked her.

"I saw Dad and you guys and Snape…Dad just kind of attacked him." Her eyes conveyed how at a loss she was. "He used the Impediment Curse on him, then he Scourgify'd his mouth before Mum stepped in."

"Ah," Sirius said lowly. Hope had only ever heard stories about her father in a positive, mischievous light with Snape's scathing comments in the background. People had always told her she was so much like him-

"How can people say I'm like him?" Hope demanded, incensed. "I would never-!"

"We know you wouldn't," Remus placated. "But you aren't your father, Hope, not in the least. You're two separate people with different goals and different ways of thinking. I wouldn't like you to judge your father on what you saw there, Hope. He was only fifteen—"

"So am I!" Hope said hotly.

"Look, Hope," Sirius said gently, trying not to set her off. "James and Snape hated each other from the moment they set eyes on each other, it was just one of those things, you can understand that, can't you? I think James was everything Snape wanted to be –he was popular, he was good at Quidditch– good at pretty much everything. And Snape was just this little oddball who was up to his eyes in the Dark Arts, and James –whatever else he may have appeared to you, Hope– always hated the Dark Arts."

For good reason, too, Hope thought, her father was probably taught very early on of the damages Dark Magic could cause. Her thoughts drifted towards Adrian Slytherin.

"That doesn't mean he can just attack people," Hope said resolutely, "and you were just egging him on!" She felt so conflicted; on one hand, she really hated Snape, on the other, it was wrong of her father to attack him like that.

"I'm not proud of it," Sirius said, "but we all grew up, even your dad."

Hope's expression was dubious and Remus laughed. "He and your mum started dating in seventh year, after he stopped being such an arrogant toe-rag."

Hope frowned, not looking quite persuaded by their words.

"Look, Hope," Sirius said, directing her eyes to his, "I'm not saying what James did wasn't bad, because it was, but a lot of people are idiots at the age of fifteen. He grew out of it."

"Lucky you missed that gene," Remus added and Hope rolled her eyes. "But why did you say it was your last Occlumency lesson?"

"What d'you think?" Hope muttered coolly. "He kicked me out; the bruise didn't heal for about a week or so."

"Bruise?" Sirius demanded and Remus' eyes flared. The Werewolf forced himself to remain calm. "Hope, Occlumency is very important, I know—"

"I actually would like to not have to go up to the hospital two nights a week for extensive headaches," Hope said frigidly. "I've got exams to worry about enough without that shite."


Hope froze at the sound of footsteps. "Someone's coming, I've got to go, love you!"


Her head disappeared.

"—you too," Sirius finished lamely.

He looked at his friend with an accusatory expression.


Sirius sighed, making an annoyed noise in the back of his throat. "Oh, nothing."


Hope rushed to Angelina, clenching her hand tightly in her own as they peered over the balcony to where their respective boyfriends were standing surrounded by a tight ring of Inquisitorial Squad members.

"How'd it go?" Angelina hissed out of the corner of her mouth, as Umbridge was standing a few steps away from them. Angelina was aware of the plan, not by much.

"Fine," Hope muttered, smiling when George winked at her, unconcerned of the situation he had managed to get himself and his twin into.

"So!" Umbridge's voice was a tad bit smug. "So –you think it amusing to turn a school corridor into a swamp, do you?"

"Is that what they did?" Hope whispered to Angelina, impressed.

Angelina nodded in pride, squeezing her fingers tightly as Fred spoke up.

"Pretty amusing, yeah," he said unconcerned, examining his wand as if it was more important than Umbridge was.

"He picked that up from you," Angelina muttered into Hope's ear, recognizing the move, trying to smother her giggles.

Hope couldn't deny that.

"I've got the form, Headmistress!" An excited cry came as Filch made his way to the under-qualified (or overqualified, depending on how you looked at it) woman, brandishing some parchment that must have meant something. "I've got the form and I've got the whips waiting...oh, let me do it now..."

"Whips?" Angelina squeaked.

"That vile, no good, rotten bitch!" Hope seethed, clenching her free hand into a tight fist.

"Very good, Argus," Umbridge simpered. "You two are about to learn what happens to wrongdoers in my school."

"You know what?" Fred asked with a smirk. "I don't think we are."

Angelina moaned into her hand. "Why does he have to be so hot?"

"Probably a Weasley Twin thing," Hope said, giving an exaggerated sigh that made Angelina shake with suppressed laughter.

"George," Fred continued, "I think we've outgrown full-time education."

"Yeah, I've been feeling that way myself," George said with a similar grin.

"Time to test our talents in the real world, d'you reckon?" Fred asked in a way that you knew he already knew the answer.

"Definitely," George agreed.

As one, they raised their wands and cried in one voice: "Accio brooms!"

"Get down!" Hope pushed Angelina to the floor just in time to miss an iron peg that was attached to one of the twins' brooms (as they had been chained to the wall in Umbridge's office, if you'll remember). They stood once the danger had passed.

"We won't be seeing you," Fred said in a bright manner to Umbridge whose face was glowing in rage and embarrassment.

"Yeah, so don't bother keeping in touch," George added, before his eyes flickered to where Hope and Angelina were standing. "And just so everyone's clear," he added a little louder, pointing at his and Fred's girlfriends, "those really hot birds over there are strictly off limits—"

"Unless you want something truly horrendous to happen to you," Fred added with a bright grin.

"Stay sexy ladies!" they both said.

Angelina blew Fred a kiss, and Hope did the same about a second too late, her face glowing with heat.

"If anyone fancies buying a Portable Swamp, as demonstrated upstairs, come to number ninety-three, Diagon Alley– Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes," Fred added. "Our new premises!"

"Special discounts to Hogwarts students who swear they're going to use our products to get rid of this old bat," George interjected with relish.


The Inquisitorial Squad moved forward, but they were quickly besieged by restraining suits of armour bearing the crest of Slytherin, giving Fred and George time to shoot into the air. George gave Hope a roguish wink for her efforts.

"Give her hell from us, Peeves!"

Hope wouldn't have believed it if she hadn't seen it. Fred giving Peeves an orderPeeves actually listening

And then she was cheering loudly with everyone else as they made their escape out into the open sky.

No longer being able to see George as constantly as she had before didn't take as much a toll on Hope as one would think, though this was due mostly to Hope throwing herself into studying at an almost unhealthy level. Nowadays it wasn't so surprising to see her with her head lodged in one book or another, or looking through a set of study questions.

Ron had joined her a bit half-heartedly after citing that he'd need to get his own grades up if he wanted to become an Auror. His Potions grade was nearly as abysmal as Hope's, but if he could maintain his Charms and Transfiguration, do just a little better in Herbology, and remember everything he had learned in the DA and from Remus and Crouch, he'd be good. This all meant he was under much less stress than Hope.

On the upside, Angelina passed along notes from George to Hope that were both romantic and very sweet. Every single one of them said something along the lines of: I know you're studying hard, so you don't have to send me a reply, but I'm thinking of you.

This, however, didn't stop Hope from writing him back letters in return. Most of hers were filled with complaints about Umbridge or her studying, but she also included the numerous pranks that were now being pulled in their absence. She enjoyed hearing about the shop and the flat that they would be sharing. Just the thought of it gave her butterflies in her stomach. Not even sixteen yet…that was hardly a good idea and Hope wasn't sure her mother would have made the decision in her shoes, but it was what Hope wanted, blood wards at the Dursleys be damned.

It seemed as though a lot had happened in a short amount of time, but it had only been slightly more than a month since Fred and George had left by the time the Quidditch Final rolled around. Gryffindor had faced off against Slytherin (winning, obviously), and now they would be seen going against Ravenclaw. This, Hope was looking forward to. Maybe that was just a vindictive part of her that really wanted to rub Cho's face into the mud.

That would be the Slytherin side of her talking.

But she wasn't surprised that once the fourteen players took to the air that Cho sent her a fiery glare, however, Hope was unfazed by it, because, as all knew, her glower was much more impressive.

Cho gritted her teeth. "Potter."

"Chang," Hope said in an airy manner, "I do hope you're not planning on tailing me again…it never ends well for you."

Hope shot upwards a little more, leaving Cho flushed with embarrassment as Hope's eyes flitted around the stadium in search of the Snitch.

"And Davies takes the Quaffle immediately," Lee called out. "Ravenclaw Captain Davies with the Quaffle, he dodges Johnson, he dodges Bell, he dodges Spinnet as well...he's going straight for goal! He's going to shoot –and – and –" Hope stifled her humour at the swear that followed. "And he's scored."

"Weasley cannot save a thing

He cannot block a single ring..."

Merlin, could they be any more like gits than they already were? Hope wanted to wrap her hands around Draco Malfoy's neck and give him a good rattle. Not kill him, obviously, but shake him up. He needed a good shaking.

"Spinnet has the Quaffle –to Bell– Ooh! Looks like the Seekers are pretty nervous, well, Chang looks to be, but Potter's pretty chill…obviously one of them's a bit more worried about losing than the other…"

Hope could hear the enthusiasm of the crowd of Gryffindor supporters, laughing as she heard the sound of Luna's very realistic eagle. She was, of course, supporting Ravenclaw, but a number of the DA members were donning the Gryffindor colours.

The Snitch— Hope surged forward when she was blocked so suddenly and so violently that she was nearly thrown off her broom. Angered, Hope turned on Cho, letting her fist fly and smacking the girl in the cheek, the pair earning two short whistles.

"Both Seekers get fouls! Haven't seen this!" Lee said, yelling to be heard. "Chang nearly causes Potter to fall a good fifty feet and Potter punches Chang in the face. Well, can't say I'm surprised with the tension off the field…"

Hope scowled as the Seekers were forced to fly in opposite directions, Hope towards Gryffindor and Cho towards Ravenclaw…how unlucky for Cho, then, because, the Snitch was far closer to Hope than it was to Cho, now all she had to do was wait for the fouls.

Unfortunately Ravenclaw got one in, but Gryffindor did too, so Gryffindor was beating them by a good twenty points due to some pretty impressive saves by Ron if Hope did say so herself. And Ravenclaw…well, they would be losing soon, wouldn't they?

Hope pressed downwards towards the ground, completely flat against the shaft of her Firebolt as she raced after the small golden ball, Cho trying to make up time, but it wasn't working, and then Hope was holding up her hand in triumph, neatly dodging one of the Bludgers aimed at her.

Really, did no one learn?

AN: Meanwhile, in the background, Hermione has gone off with Hagrid…Hope you liked the chapter! On a separate note, I got a little into Harry Potter Essays today. There were only two on Fred and George and both of them viewing the twins in a negative light, but I guess not everyone sees them as good guys, ah well. But there was this amazing one on Dumbledore and his manipulations called Thoughts on Dumbledore that I completely agree with!

I'm considering making Percy a secret good guy after this year…possibly…

REVIEW! Sting of the Blade might be next on the list.