The Order of Things

Chapter 20

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Our New Focus

"So, we have to look out for; a baby dragon, Quirrell killing unicorns, and the third-floor corridor", George said as he went over our list. The rest of the winter break had flown by. We had filled it with snowball fights, pestering Filch, and entertaining Ron whenever Harry's Godfather came to visit. But we also had a pressing concern on our plates. Just as Sirius had predicted, the morning after Christmas there was an article in the Daily Prophet by Peter Blotting declaring Sirius Black an innocent man and talking about Pettigrew's conviction for the setup and the murder of twelve Muggles. With Pettigrew officially out of our hairs, Fred, George, and I had to turn our focus onto the upcoming events. Or more specifically, how do we protect Ron during the third-floor corridor expedition? Do we support him while he faces danger for the first time? Or do we prevent him from going? Every time we think we are getting close to making a decision, one of us thinks of a detail that we don't want to deal with. So, we go back to the drawing board.

Fred sits upright in his bed. His legs are crossed at the ankle as he rests his back against the headboard. In an even tempo, he lightly thumps his head on it. As if that would improve our brainstorming session. "Ron won't go into the forbidden forest?" He asked.

I shake my head as I pace the length of the boys' dorm. "No, Hagrid's dragon bites him and he'll end up in the hospital wing for an infection".

"So, the questions is", George starts to say from where he is leaning against one of the windows, looking down. "is if we let Harry and Granger go to the forest".

Fred presents another problem. "Or, will Harry not seeing You-know-who drinking unicorn blood somehow negatively affect his chances of success for protecting the stone?"

I paused in pacing by the furnace that is in the middle of the room. Fred's words had me remembering something else. Something rather important. "Oh, no," I said, running a hand through my harry at the thought. Did Harry get the invisibility cloak for Christmas? Did he break curfew and stumble across the mirror of erised? Or did Sirius getting involved two years early mess up with those chain of events? Would Harry be able to get the stone if he had no encounter with the mirror previously?

"What?" George asked after a few moments past of me just standing in silence, lost in thought.

It takes me a moment before I can form coherent words. "We never checked to see if Harry got the cloak or if he discovered the mirror". I said, sharing the new conundrum with my fellow triplets.

"So?" Asked Fred as he stopped lightly thumping his head on the headboard. "It just means that Harry and Ron will have to sneak around after curfew like the rest of us. Easier for us too, if we decide to keep them out of trouble".

I snorted in an unattractive manner. "So?" I repeated Fred in an incredulous voice, shaking my head as I did so. Fred wasn't getting it. "We changed the order of things. So, we can't predict what happens next!" It was bugging me to be in the dark. It makes me wonder how everyday people without past lives do it. How Jessie lived without knowing the future.

George has adopted a different line of thinking. "Holls," He cuts me off before I can continue trying to get Fred to see why I was so concerned. "Can you go over what you remember about the third-floor corridor again".

Rubbing my forehead in agitation, I sighed. But ultimately, I complied. "First is Fluffy. Harry, Ron, and Hermione will get past it by playing the flute that Hagrid gave Harry for Christmas… Or should have given him". Did Harry get a gift from Hagrid? Before I could return to my previous thought train, Fred shakes his head at me and George gestures with his hands for me to go on. "Going through the trap door, they'll fall into a pit of devil's snare. Hermione will save them with Lumos. After that is the room with the flying keys. Harry uses the broom left in the room and catches the right key to unlock the next room".

"Which is the chess set," Fred said. The chess set was the obstacle that the three of us were most interested in. The giant chess game was Ron's chance to shine after all. Since I told Fred and George about all of this during last summer, we've taken to asking Ron to play Chess with us on a more frequent basis. Best to send him in prepared, if we let him go at all.

I nod. "Yes, Ron wins the game by sacrificing himself. He lives, but is left in the chamber until he gets help to make it to the hospital wing". Though it is unclear to me how Ron makes it out of the third-floor corridor. "Then it's the troll from Halloween. But it is unconscious. So Harry and Hermione have no problems getting around it".

"Second to the last obstacle is the potion's riddle". George recalled, folding his arms across his chest. His face resembled a person trying to deciphering a code. Whatever he was thinking about must be promising if he's putting that much effort into it.

I nod again. "Hermione solves it. But there's only enough potion for one person to go through. So, Harry moves on and Hermione goes back. I think she is how Ron makes it to the hospital wing, but I'm not positive".

"And the mirror?" George asked. That must be the task that is of the most interest to him.

"Quirrell is already there when Harry gets to the mirror. That's when You-know-who is revealed. He'll tell Quirrell to use Harry to get the stone from the mirror. Harry looks into the mirror, and because he wants to get the stone but doesn't want to use it, the mirror releases it to him. It materializes in his pocket and he lies and doesn't let on that he has it".

I mean to go on about how this will lead to You-know-who knowing that Harry lied, and Quirrell attacking Harry. How Harry touches Quirrell's face. And because of his mother's protection, Harry turns Quirrell into dust. Then there is also the part where You-know-who leaves Quirrell's destroyed body and flies at Harry. And how Harry survives only because he has the philosopher's stone on his person. But George chooses to focus on a detail that both Fred and I were overlooking. "So Quirrell and You-know-who can't get the stone from the mirror?"

"Yes," I said slowly. Not sure where he was going with this. "They can't get it because they want to use it".

"So, the stone is safe," said George. "as long as it is in the mirror, it's safe".

Fred catches on faster than I do. "We don't need to focus on how to help Ron and friends get through the corridor obstacles. We need to make sure that they stay in the dorms".

I wrinkled my eyebrows in confusion. What's up with this 360-degree turn? "But how would that stop Quirrell? Without Harry-" But I am not allowed to continue.

"Holly, you said Quirrell and You-know-who can't get the stone out of the mirror", Fred started to explain.

"Without Harry, there's no one to get the stone out of the mirror. Quirrell will be stuck and all of us will be safe in Gryffindor tower". George said like it was obvious.

….Huh. I was flummoxed. It was like having an epiphany and an existential crisis at the same time. Pretty much, Fred and George were saying the climax to the Philosopher's stone was completely avoidable and essentially pointless. I forced myself to exhale and it ended up sounding like a wheeze. It's like I could feel Jessie's childhood crumbling away. "So, we just need to keep the 'golden trio'" Fred said with air quotes. "inside the tower at the end of final exams".

Letting their idea sink in, I move to sit at the edge of Fred's bed with my back facing him. It's just so simple. Why didn't I think of it? "We'll try to keep Harry and Hermione from going into the forbidden forest. There's no point for Harry to encounter You-know-who as a first-year". George continues to plan as I collected myself. It's a humbling feeling to realize that your brothers are smarter than you even when you have two lives-worth of experience.

"But if it happens, we know that Harry will survive", Fred continued. "and we'll use the map to make sure those two and Ron don't end up where they're not supposed to be".

It sounds like the perfect plan. But there is still one piece to consider. "What about Quirrell?" I asked. "He'll have to be discovered somehow. Just to make sure we aren't sharing the school with You-Know-Who next year". Of course, next year we will be dealing with a manifestation of You-know-who's soul and a giant snake. But it would still be worse if we had to watch out for the basilisk and Quirrell.

There's a small moment of silence as we contemplate what to do. None of us wanted to sit through another year of DADA with Quirrell. Personally, I was looking forward to Quirrell's demise so I can stop wearing that pink Sherlock Holmes hat. "What if we try to expose him like we did with Scabbers?" George proposed.

"All we'd have to do is remove his turban". Fred said.

"In a place where people will see" I concluded. "But it will have to be in front of the staff. Preferably more than just one teacher. We don't know what Quirrell and You-know-who will do if they are discovered".

"But that will stop Quirrell from coming back next year". George said.

"And we have to make it look like we were not involved this time", Fred reasoned. "It's fun being the 'Wonder Weasleys', but if we get a reputation for exposing hidden dark wizards people are going to start to suspect us".

George and I nodded along. None of us wanted others to know about the Harry Potter series as Jessie remembers them. Then we really would lose our advantage and the future would be lost to us forever. Just like everyone else.

"So, we either need to make sure that whatever we do can't be traced back to us. Or we need to convince someone else to reveal Quirrell for us". I said, running through all of the people I know in my head. Could we send Dumbledore or Snape an anonymous note saying to look under Quirrell's turban? "Lee would probably due it if we asked". I said after I ran out of faces.

George gives me a blank look as Fred nudges my back with his foot. "We're not using our best friend to get rid of You-know-who".

I shrug but blush a little. It's a good point. I wouldn't be willing to use Angelina or Alicia either. "We'll figure something out," Fred said. "We got time. At least, now we actually have a plan".

That night, the rest of the student body returned to Hogwarts. The five tables were back in the great hall and I had officially moved back to the third-year girls' dorm. After I made Fred and George swear that they wouldn't tell Lee that I had been using his bed. There are some adolescent boy jokes that I just can't stomach. The end of winter break meant no more visits from Sirius Black. Ron had Harry for himself again, only having to share him with Hermione. But based on how much time that girl spends in the library, I know that that won't be an issue. It also meant that Fred, George and I had to get our new plan figured out. Preferably before Quirrell tried for the stone. But as I packed my bookbag for classes the next day, I didn't feel stressed about it. If anything, I felt equipped to handle whatever was ahead. After all, I already faced death once. It couldn't get much worse than that.

After the seizure on the first day of school, I thought there would be no more mind attacks from Quirrell's guest. Of course, Fred, George, and I have our hideous hats, so we'd be unaware and protected if it happened again. But I also thought that You-know-who wouldn't try to attack me again even if the hats didn't work. It wouldn't due to be found out before he had the stone. However, the hats were now more important than ever. Especially for Fred and George. While Jessie somewhat protected me from having You-know-who being able to understand my mind, Fred and George could not say the same. Without the hats, You-know-who could know that we were planning to spoil his plan. And he definitively had the power to get rid of us before we could get rid of him. So, that first DADA class of the new term, we entered the classroom with caution after double-checking that our hats were securely in place. Though, with a taste of ironic predictability, Quirrell's guest did target minds, or a mind, again on the first day of classes of the new term.

Sitting at the desk I share with George; I have just enough time to flash Pucey a smile before Quirrell starts stuttering about werewolves. Pucey inclines his head before looking forward. We hadn't gotten a chance to talk since he came back from break. And I know he would want to talk with all that 'Wonder Weasley' nonsense floating around. Even more so when he learns that I actually met Regulus' brother in person. Needless to say, I know what we would be talking about in potions class… Well, what we would have talked about if the assault hadn't happened.

At first, I was unaware that anything was happening. Not until I felt eyes on me. Looking up from my notes, I expected it to be Fred or George wanting me to pass a message. But the eyes were from across the room. It didn't take me long to find who was staring. Pucey was looking at me without blinking, turned around in his seat. His gray eyes were focused, but questioning. The kind of look people adopted when they see someone they feel like they should know, but can't remember their name. Slowly, I lay my quill flat on the desktop and peer back at him. Why would Pucey stare at me like that? He's not the type to be so blatant about where his attention is. And he never turns around like that while class is in session.

"Now, W-werewolves are not the s-same as ani-animagi" Quirrell stuttered. Seemingly unaware that two of his students weren't paying attention. Though his voice seems to snap Pucey out of whatever daze he was in. with a firm shake of his head, Pucey faces forward with Stimpson leaning over, probably to ask if he's okay. Pucey doesn't respond to her. From my seat in the book of the room, I can see how tense his back muscles are from under his robes. What was that about? Minutes passed with class going undisturbed. But I couldn't return my attention to note-taking. I wasn't the only one. Pucey had taken up a hunched over position. His elbows rested on the desktop. Both of his hands clenched either side of his head, covering his ears. It looked like he was shaking. "W-werewolves are only in t-there wolf f-form from moo-moonrise to moonset", Quirrell goes on to say.

Stimpson from her spot next to Pucey placed a well-intentioned hand on his shoulder. I couldn't hear her from where I was in the back of the room, but I can only imagine that it was an inquiry about his welfare. Pucey shrugs her off without shifting out of his current position. Did he just have a very bad migraine? But I knew the moment after I thought it, that this wasn't a migraine. His body language was far too dramatic for this to be just a migraine.

"Th-there is a way to s-s-subdue a werewolf" Quirrell starts to say. Though he doesn't get the chance to tell us how to subdue a werewolf.

Like a snapped firecracker, Pucey shoots up out of his seat. With one hand still clutching his head, his wand hand pulls his wand from his pocket. "Get out of my head!" Pucey bellowed as he pointed his wand at Quirrell. The very tip of it lights up orange like it would fire the moment a spell left Pucey's lips. Fred drops his quill and looks over to George and me in urgency. As if checking that we were seeing the same things that he was. At the same time, George scoots closer to my side so that our shoulders are touching in our shared desk. There's no way! Does Pucey know that Quirrell is more than meets the eye? Pucey doesn't keep his wand trailed on Quirrell for long.

"M-m-mr. P-pucey!" Quirrell stammers as Pucey turns and points his wand on the rest of the class.

"Whoever it is, get out of my head now!" When Pucey has turned around enough for me to see his face, I stand up. Running down Pucey's right nostril is a thin stream of blood.

George connected the dots faster than I did. "He's going to have a fit", George said as he stood up as well. It's unclear if George would have done anything to aid Pucey. It's unclear if I would have done anything. There wasn't any time.

In the same moment, Pucey collapses. He falls face forward, smacking his head on the desk behind his own before he drops to the floor. His body convulses. His whole-body mimics what a fish out of water looks like when it flops around on the ground. Stimpson stands up and screams. As if she was the one being attacked.

I was stuck, frozen in place, as I watched Pucey suffer. Should I do anything? What are you supposed to do in this situation? What did Fred and George do when it was me seizing? "Professor! Do Something!" Stimpson wailed, crocodile tears falling down her face.

But all Quirrell did was make the /b/ sound on repeat. Vaguely, I wondered if it was because he was just as shell-shocked as the rest of us, or if he couldn't do anything because of You-know-who. Since they share a body, would Quirrell know if or when You-know-who used magic? Are they sharing a magical core or do they each have their own?

"I'm going to go get Pomfrey" Fred spoke up from the desk he shared with Lee, who looked to be stiff with shock. He had his mouth hanging open as if his jaw stopped working. Fred didn't wait for our acknowledgment before he was running out of the door.

Pucey didn't seize long. Thirty to forty-five seconds at the most. But it felt like ages. When he was done, Pucey's limbs stilled, and it looked like he could just be asleep. If only that was the case.