I'm finally posting The Saboteurs on LJ. Hope you enjoy it. Good luck to those doing Nano this month!
Title: The Saboteurs
Rating: 15 + (this chapter only)
Disclaimer: Not mine. The Harry Potter universe and everything within it belongs to JK Rowling. I only play with what’s hers, and put them into different situations. Only the things that you don’t recognise belong to me.
September the 5th was the date set for the start of the Christmas term of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, that year. After the amazing two months of Summer hols, though, Freddie felt just a little reluctant to return to school…no matter how brilliant it was, or the fact that her very best mates were going to be there as well. Hogwarts was brilliant and all, but she missed her home. She lived in the very centre of thriving muggle London, right in the middle of where things were happening. She had a great social life, and hung out with her best friend, Nathaniel Chase, and her other hands. Wizards, Witches and muggles alike. While school and writing for the paper, friends, balls, Hogsmeade, pranks, Duelling was fun and all…nothing beat messing about in Camden with a bunch of people with cold beers, a guitar and cigarettes. A joint or two would be passed around, but Freddie wasn’t much into that, despite the fact that it seemed such the social necessity, these days.
Sighing, Freddie paused in the act of packing her things into her trunk, looked around her bedroom almost fondly. A hand dropped to her bedspread, running over the smooth dark green cotton. The Danvers family lived in a nice area in London, in a four storey terrace house. Her family were laid back, and allowed her a certain freedom that was not given to a lot of the other students. She knew that, appreciated it. She also knew that the reason for it was because both of her parents came from strict families and didn’t want her to suffer through that. She would miss her parents dreadfully, she always did. Byron and Marlene Danvers were close to their two children, they were a close knit family. And now that her older brother Will was gone, had been gone for two years, things were so much the harder for Freddie when she returned. It always got better, but it was always the times just before returning that got her to brooding, just the thought of leaving.
Shaking her head wryly, Freddie forced herself to pull herself together. She had another day at home, it was still the morning of the 4th and the sun was shining brilliantly through the window of her fourth storey bedroom. Freddie had chosen the room at the top of the house in a little fit of fancy when she was in her second year at Hogwarts. Her parents had decided not to keep any tenants for awhile, and let their children pick new bedrooms if they so wanted…and Freddie had wanted. She felt like a princess in a tower room, loved the pitched ceiling of her room, and the old beams. It was large, roomy and painted a warm colour that always reminded her of sunrise. The floor was uncarpeted, and there were perfect footprints in a brilliant mix of paints tracing a pattern about the room, a deliberate piece of decoration she had done herself. Every inch of the room was her, and there was no where else she felt so at home… Freddie rolled her eyes at herself. What was wrong with her? She really needed to stop these fits of brooding, they really were unseemly. It was just school, for Merlin’s sake. She had been looking forward to returning just yesterday.
Snorting at herself, Freddie started to pack once more, carefully folding clothes into her trunk over books and other paraphernalia she would need. Her broom had been shrunk and stowed away carefully, and also the sabre that she had been given by her parents for her birthday. Sure, she didn’t do muggle Fencing in Hogwarts, but it was a cause she was passionately petitioning for. They had a Duelling Club and team, and she was part of that, already. But there was something infinitely more satisfying with the more hands on muggle sport. There was nothing like the flash of adrenalin of steel clashing against steel, of talent and control, looking for your opponent’s weaknesses, teasing and taunting them to make a mistake… But still Duelling was somewhat similar, just not as close contact.
Thinking about the Duelling Club made her grin. In the five years since she and Nate had been part of it, they had really turned it around. She could say with no false pretences that she and Nate were perhaps the two best Duellists in the school. Perhaps only because that bloody Sirius Black and James Potter wouldn’t accept their invitation to join the Duelling Club. Nate was better than her, she would grudgingly admit this. Though Nate would claim the same of her. That was why they were co-captains of the Team. Nate, though, had been captain even in his sixth year, which had been unheard of. However, no one could begrudge him the honour, after all, he had brought the Hogwarts Duelling Team to the Championships for the past three years, and for the past two, had made them the ultimate International Wizarding School Champions. Freddie, too, had her share of trophies and medals.
They were going to have a busy year, that year. Nate was in the Slytherin Quidditch team, playing Chaser. Not only that, but he was co-captain of the Duelling Team, and head of the Duelling Club. While the team only had ten members in it, the Club had more than thirty five students who wanted to join. It was ludicrous, the amount of pureblooded families that wanted their children to be in the prestigious Team and the prestigious sport. They had needed some way of filtering the students, so had set up an invitation system. Each year, at the end of the year, the captain of the Duelling Team would send Dumbledore a list of prospective students to be considered for a spot in the Club, and only members of the Club could be invited by the captain, along with the staff member in charge, to be part of the Team. It made things easier, but still, thirty five was too large a number.
Freddie herself was a prefect, co-captain of the aforementioned Team, co-Quidditch Commentator along with her friend, Oliver Hardy, who was from Ravenclaw. She was also petitioning Dumbledore for a Fencing Team (or Club) and also for a school newspaper. At the moment, she was part of the team that organised the Newsletters from the school to the parents, and the school Magazine. It was her pride and joy to have been elected head of the Magazine team of that year, although she had been mildly disappointed that she had not found a Head Girl’s Badge along with the annual Hogwarts letter. Then again, she had a pretty good idea of who had been made Head Girl that year. Lily Evans… Freddie sighed. The one person she had never been able to compete with. Evans was smart, kind, well liked. She was independent, fierce about her beliefs and a good leader. However much it pained her to admit it, Lily would be a good choice… besides, she thought with a wry smirk, with the amount of trouble she and her friends got into, she was surprised that Dumbledore let her retain her Prefectship. After the last incident they got in with the Gryffindors, she’d thought she’d be stripped of her badge for sure.
Freddie chuckled to herself, softly. It was like a great sport, for her and her friends. The ancient rivalry between Slytherin and Gryffindor was only an excuse for pranks galore, and Freddie didn’t let her wicked humour and brains to waste. Countless hours were spent planning pranks with Nate, Saz, Charlie, Prue and Chloe. It was a good thing that Professor Slughorn liked them so, it would be difficult, otherwise. It was a thing to look forward to, about Hogwarts. While the rest of Slytherin sat back and muttered or glared as the Gryffindor Marauders set prank upon prank on them, Freddie didn’t waste a second planning equally brilliant ones. It became a long standing competition between them and the Marauders. Freddie wrinkled her nose as she dumped another top into her trunk. They really needed to come up with a snappy name like the Marauders had. It was too difficult, otherwise.
Her thoughts were disturbed by the sound of someone clearing their throat. It took a split second, but Freddie had twisted around and had her wand pointed at the stranger’s throat in that time. Then her face flushed as she took in the startled look on her brother’s face. Blushing furiously, she dropped her wand, clearing her throat and trying desperately to explain her reaction to her brother. Finally, she just gave up, after floundering for a few moments, and levelled a glare at her brother.
“You startled me, you berk!”
“Fucking hell, Freddie, I did clear my throat!” Will replied, exasperated. He had been leaning against her doorframe, arms crossed and pose negligent. His posture was now straight, a look of annoyance on his face, but there was a strange look of respect in his eyes as he saw what a quick draw his little sister was. The annoyed look was replaced by a fond smile. “Guess you didn’t cheat your way into those trophies after all.”
“What am I, you?” Freddie snorted, then laughed as Will made to lunge at her. “Oi, stoppit. Gerroff me, you oaf!”
“Take that back, Audrey Frederique Danvers!”
“Will!” she squealed indignantly, slapping his arm. “Don’t call me that.”
“What, Audrey?” her brother smiled lazily as he caught her in a headlock. “Audrey, Audrey, Audrey.”
“William Taylor Danvers, you shut up!”
“My, my, what a temper,” her brother mocked as he stayed just out of reach of her flailing hands, laughing as she tried to squirm away.
“Will, get off me!” Will just blew her a raspberry while messing up her hair. Freddie let out a mock-outraged gasp as she re-doubled her attempts to escape. Will was laughing uproariously until a well placed jab with her elbow made him bend double, winded. Freddie used his distraction to flip him over her shoulder, using the very same martial arts move that he had taught to her a few years ago. Will landed on the ground with a loud thump and Freddie was immediately there, tickling him mercilessly. Will let out a shout of alarm and tried to wriggle away, but Freddie had had plenty of practice doing this and dug her fingers into his sides with ease. Will was trying to twist away with her with no avail and he started laughing, gasping for breath.
“Fuck, get off me! F..Freddie! Shite.” He snorted with laughter, trying to trap her into a headlock once more, but this time she managed to duck away and continue to tickle him with the same merciless intent. Finally, she collapsed next to him on the floor, laughing a bit herself. They were both flushed and breathless when their laughter finally petered out. Freddie dragged herself closer to him so that she could rest her head on his chest, and his arm automatically went around her.
“I’m going to miss you, you great prat,” she admitted, fondly. Will chuckled.
“I’m going to miss you, too, you harpy.”
“I feel really weird, Will,” she sighed. “I was so excited to go back yesterday, but now I’m all maudlin. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
“You’re a girl. You’re prone to strange mood swings,” Will snorted when she hit him on his stomach. He grinned. “Don’t fret, sweetheart. It’s a bit strange, in the last year. I know. Trust me, when you go back, you won’t know why the hell you miss this place at all.”
“I know that,” Freddie sighed. “It’s just that.. I’m coming back here, you know? At the end. Hogwarts is ending forever after this year and yet I’m missing home. And it’s stupid because I’m still here. And I know that I’ll do something really embarrassing like cry my eyes out at graduation or something.” At feeling her brother’s body vibrate with his laughter, Freddie lifted herself up on her elbow and frowned at him. “It’s not funny.”
“Of course not, sweetheart,” he kissed her forehead fondly. “Don’t fret, Freddie. It’ll all be fine. Don’t let your thoughts drag you down. Don’t think about it so much that your last year just passes you by without notice. Enjoy it as much as you can.”
“When did you get all grownup-advice-filled?” Freddie snorted. “I swear you sounded just like Father, then.”
“Shut up, brat,” he growled, swatting her on the arm. Freddie swatted him back. Then they were just about all out wrestling on the floor, and that was how their father found them a few minutes later, holding each other in headlocks. Byron Danvers rolled his eyes skyward at the display.
“I wasn’t aware I had two young sons,” he snapped. “I could’ve sworn that your mother gave birth to a boy and a girl that should be very nearly grown up, now.”
Will looked up from Freddie’s headlock to smile lazily at his father. “Buck up, Da. You’re always telling us to enjoy our childhood, and not to act too adult too fast.”
“I said that when you were thirteen and found you with one of my cigarettes.” Byron sighed. He marched over to his children and dragged them off each other. Looked them both over critically and both of them silently and automatically stood to attention. His children… the thought still made him want to grin foolishly, sometimes. His two bright, beautiful, almost grown children. Will had his arm slung around Freddie’s shoulders and the two stood with only four inches apart. They looked so alike. Every single one of them had dark hair, but his children both had just that hint of curl that they got from his side of the family. Both Will and Freddie had their mother’s green eyes, though. But the wicked grin both were sporting was said to be completely Byron Danvers. Byron smirked. Both of them returned the gesture. Then he turned to his daughter. “All packed, sweetheart?” Watched Freddie’s face fall.
“Almost,” she muttered, then shrugged off her brother’s arm. “I’ll be done in awhile.”
“Perhaps after you’re done,” Byron suggested, voice gentle. “We could all go out for lunch, together. And go to Diagon Alley for a last bit of shopping.” Will groaned, but Freddie’s face lit up. Seeing the question forming at his daughter’s lips, he chuckled. “Yes, you can invite Nathaniel.”
“Thanks, Da,” she kissed his cheek, then rushed off to her window. Byron watched her with some amusement as she pulled at the rope that connected her room to a room next door. Soon, a tousled blond head stuck out of the window. He turned and grinned at Freddie and her family, flashing even teeth.
“Finished packing, Freddie-my-girl?” he asked, cheerfully. Freddie rolled her eyes at him, smiling fondly at her best friend.
“Almost, though I needn’t ask you how your packing’s going… or not going as the case may be,” she retorted. He just grinned unrepentantly, and Freddie sighed with some impatience. “So not the point, though. I’ll be finished in an hour or so. You feel like joining me and mine for lunch and a spot of Shopping?”
“Steak,” Nathaniel said, immediately. “Steak, chips, gravy and ice-cream and you’ve sold me.” Freddie snorted, but looked questioningly at her father. At his exasperated sigh and rolling of the eyes, Freddie grinned.
“Looks like you’ve got your wish.” Nate crowed with triumph, which made her laugh again. “Hold up, sir. You’ve a bit to go, yet.”
“Do I have to?” Nate whined and Freddie chuckled. “Fine, I’ll start on the packing. Might as well do something useful.”
“See you later, pest.” Pulling her head back into her room, she grinned at her father. “So, steak, chips, gravy and ice-cream.”
“I’ll go ask your mum,” Byron muttered. But he kissed his daughter’s forehead before he left. Will followed with a similar gesture, but added a ruffle to her hair. Left alone, Freddie grinned. The melancholy of before had dissipated, and she was left with the excitement of going back to school once more. She ought to know that her family always knew how to cheer her up. Then her eyes fell to the mountain of things still left to be packed and she groaned.
The hustle and bustle on platform 9 ¾ was a familiar experience that Freddie never got tired of. Her eyes shone as she took in the sheer chaos of hundreds of families waiting to pile their children, their trunks and their familiars into the bright red train, steam drifting into the air. The atmosphere was an easy one, as hundreds of voices talking, laughing, shouting filled the air along with the cacophony of other sounds that made travelling back to Hogwarts the unique experience it was. Freddie practically pounced on Nate when she saw him with his family, and the two of them laughed and talked a mile a minute as though they hadn’t seen each other just the day before, or even several times over the summer. The Chase and Danvers parents looked at their children with some indulgence, laughing at their antics. Next to Nate was his little sister Lana, who was in third year, and a Ravenclaw. Nate had joked that Lana got all the smarts that had bypassed both Chase brothers. Holden, a fifth year Slytherin, was jus off to the side chatting idly with a few of his friends.
Freddie began to search through the crowd for another familiar face when she felt herself being lifted into burly arms and swept around. Freddie shrieked with laughter as she recognised the person holding her aloft, easily carrying her despite her height. Looking up at her with twinkling brown eyes was another of her closest friends, Charles Mansfield. Next to him, grinning, was his little brother Henry, who was in Sixth year. He looked to be in awe when he caught sight of Will, who was a bit of a legend in Slytherin. Will just grinned at the burly sixth year and soon they were talking quidditch, catching notice of Holden and his friends. Their group was steadily getting bigger, but Freddie was still looking antsy. Putting her down, Charlie leaned close to her.
“Who’re you looking for, Fredpet?”
“Sazzy,” she murmured back. “I haven’t heard from her hardly ‘tall, this summer. I’m worried.”
“About Saz?” Charlie snorted. “If there was a person you needn’t worry about, it’s Saz Whitley. She’s fine, pet. I saw her a few minutes ago, lugging her trunk towards the train. She’ll be here in a jiff.” Freddie was about to reply when familiar strident tones greeted her.
“Been here not ten minutes and already holding court? Typical, Danvers.” The sneering tones called out. Freddie whipped around and saw the person stalking towards her. 5”10, thin, though athletically built with short blonde hair with whiter blonde spikes and flashing nearly black eyes, she was quite striking. The group quietened as they looked at the newcomer, and Freddie felt her face closing off into a neutral expression.
“Samantha,” she replied, coolly. “How wonderful of you to treat us to your charming company. I forgot how memorable it was, when I was gone.” The other girl stood still for a second, before her head tipped back and she let out a wicked cackle of a laugh.
“I forgot how that tone of yours could drip acid from seemingly polite conversation.” Freddie’s calm façade cracked and she rushed at the other girl, crushing her in a hug. Both girls started laughing and talking a mile a minute about their summer. Charlie and Nate joined them, soon after, and the four stood as a tight unit…until twin coughs could be heard just off to the side. They turned to see identical girls standing just off the side with large grins on their faces. Freddie and Saz let out whoops and jumped for the two laughing girls, pulling them into their group.
“Prue, Chloe,” Nate kissed each girl on the cheek as they flashed quick grins at him. The Valens twins hugged Saz and Freddie and greeted Charlie the same way, and he bestowed upon them a kiss each, as Nate had done. They were the Slytherin six, a tight unit of friends from their first year. Prudence and Chloe Valens, Freddie Danvers, Nathaniel Chase, Charles Mansfield and Samantha Whitley. The only one missing from the usual group was Oliver Hardy…but then again, Oli was a Ravenclaw, and more Freddie’s friend than anything else. Oli she knew from Prefects meetings and all, and he was the other Quidditch Commentator, not to mention part of the Duelling Team. Freddie craned her neck around looking for Oli while her friends chatted, Nate’s arm around her shoulders. When she spotted the head of ash blond hair moving towards them, Freddie let out a shout, jumping up and down, arms waving wildly.
“Oli! Oli, over here!” The boy looked up at her cry, not to mention a dozen other people, a bemused smile twisting his lips. Nonetheless, he moved over towards her and stopped only when he got towards them. Freddie nonchalantly turned her cheek and he sighed as he dropped a kiss onto it. Which made Freddie beam. “See, Oli kisses me on the cheek.”
“Only because you demand it of him, you shameless hussy,” Charlie teased, and Freddie stuck her tongue out at him. Prue and Chloe were giggling at their antics as Freddie and Charlie began mock shoving one another, until Nate promptly picked all 5”10 inches of playful, contrary female up and placed her a pointed five feet away from Charlie. Sam just laughed as Oli shook his head at his friends’ antics.
It was at that moment that final calls were made and the group gave last minute hugs to parents and assorted friends and families. Freddie was gripped by her father in a bear hug, Will swung her around a bit and threatened to send her a howler if she didn’t write, and her mother kissed her cheek and told her Will would do no such thing, as she would watch him like a hawk. Freddie laughed, waving at her parents as Nate grabbed for her arm and the two of them ran for the train, jumping on as the whistle blew and students waved goodbye wildly. Freddie watched her family disappear as the train moved faster, the comfort of her friends around her and she turned inside slowly, a smile on her face.
“Come on,” she said, softly. “We better find a compartment before they’re all taken up.” Nate kept his arm around her as they trudged through the train, looking for a compartment. It wasn't an easy task, having to practically step over people in their search. The first years were huddled in their terrified little groups, and even some of the other younger years were shooting them awe filled looks. Freddie could've sworn she saw a boy in his fourth year jump hurriedly to the side when he saw them approaching, eyes wide. Charlie and Saz started snickering and Oli just rolled his eyes.
"You lot are a scary bunch, you know," he said, under his breath. "That boy was scared out of his mind."
"Which you have to admit is a bit funny," Freddie protested, keeping her voice low as well. "You know us, Oli. We're hardly going to turn into the bogeyman, are we? We're hardly Lucius Malfoy, or even Lestrange or Avery." Saz shuddered theatrically at the mentioned names.
"Thank Salazar for that," she said, tartly. "For one, being stuck with such names would give me hives. Poor bastards, no wonder they've turned to be the way they are. I tell you, their parents jinxed them at birth. I mean, imagine being stuck with a name like "Bad Faith"".
"True enough," Charlie snickered. "Or Lestrange. To be fair, the name fits the man quite well. He is an odd duck."
"Only you would call a malicious, evil bully like him an odd duck," Oli said, exasperated. "Don't you see, you're fearless. And not in a Gryffindor kind of way, either. You lot simply don't see the evil the rest of your house is painted in, especially the boys in your year, or the ones that have recently left. It scares the hell out of the majority of us that you can shrug off a person like Bellatrix Black."
"Sugar," Chloe said, voice suddenly deathly calm. "We don't shrug off the bitch, or any of the other bastards in our house, but you have to understand, Oli. We're part of their society. If we're not somewhat badass ourselves...how are we meant to survive? Yes, you might think us fearless, or crazy or just a bit evil ourselves...but really, what choice have we?"
Oli looked away, looking unsure. Freddie slipped her arm through his, and Chloe took his other arm. Freddie patted his hand. "Cheer up, Oli."
"I just don't understand you, sometimes."
"Be glad you don't," Freddie sighed. "There's a reason why Slytherins have the name that we do. There's a reason why the majority of dark witches and wizards originate from Slytherin. But Oli, you have to remember that not all of us are like that, alright?"
"Of course," he looked indignant. "What do you take me for? I am from Ravenclaw, you know. I've been hanging about you lot for nigh on two years, now. I'd like to think I'd know if you were completely evil."
Freddie took one look at his indignant, sincere face and burst out laughing. So did the rest of them. Oli just looked bewildered as he wondered what he'd said that was so funny. Shaking her head, wiping away tears of mirth, Freddie patted his hand again. "Don't worry you dear little head about it, sweetheart," she grinned. "Oh Oli, I do adore you."
"You and me both, sugar," Saz laughed, hugging Oli from behind, briefly. Oli's cheeks burned red as the boys snickered. The seven of them stumbled into a compartment, thankfully empty. While dropping off the rest of them, Prue, Oli and Freddie made their way towards the prefects' compartment for the first prefects' meeting. As they walked, laughing and joking along, she couldn't help but wonder again who Dumbledore had chosen to be the Heads. Evans was a given, but the Head Boy? With a shrug, Freddie turned her attention back to her friends. There would be time enough to find out at the meeting, right now she would just enjoy being back with her friends..