“So, let me see if I’ve got this straight. Shrinking Solutions just make things smaller, yeah?”
Colin shook his head, his eyes never leaving his copy of 1000 Magical Herbs and Fungi. “It can also revert them to earlier stages of life. A cat who drank some might turn into a kitten, if it drank enough.”
Ginny groaned in frustration and rested her head on her Potions notes. “Maybe, if I sleep right here on my notes in the middle of the library, I’ll actually absorb some of this information. I’m just going in circles now.”
“I know that feeling. I swear, if I reread this passage on the properties of Kazakh Watercress one more time I’m going to go mad...der..” Ginny’s study partner slammed his book shut and sighed. “I’m done, Gin. Anything that I don’t know by now is going to have to remain unknown, because I don’t think I can actually fit any extra information in my brain right now.”
She smiled wearily as Colin began shoving books and parchment into his bag, not bothering to lift her head from her notes. “Alright. I just want to finish memorizing this set of notes. I’ll see you at breakfast.”
Colin nodded and left her alone in the secluded library corner. Ginny had adopted it from Hermione as O.W.L.s began approaching at an alarming rate, appreciating the intense silence the thick shelves and books provided. Not many students ventured this far into the stacks, so she could count on being relatively undisturbed for the rest of her cram session. She forced herself to sit up and continued her copy of every potion she had ever studied in the dungeon classroom.
“Shrinking Solutions cause subjects to shrink and possibly regress in age. Simplicity Potions make other potions easier to make but are ironically complicated themselves. Swelling Potions--”
“Ginny!” The shout made her jump, resulting in a large ink stain on her new notes. She cursed and turned to confront her brother.
“What’s the big idea, Ron?! You have to know that I’m busy with studying!”
“There are things more important than that,” said Hermione as she and Ron reached the table. Both of them looked rather paler than usual; Ron’s freckles seemed to leap from his face and the bags under Hermione’s eyes were darker than Ginny had seen them all year.
As angry as Ginny was at being interrupted, she could tell something was happening. “Just let me finish with the S’s and we can talk.” She tried to return to her notes, but all the books and parchment flew from the desk and into her bag. “Hermione!”
“There isn’t time!” the older witch insisted. “Come on!”
Madame Pince’s footsteps could be heard clicking towards the corner, so Ginny swore again and grabbed her bag. “You owe me. Where’s Harry at, anyhow?”
Ron led the way from the library, only going a few steps beyond the doors before turning back to continue the conversation. He held up a pair of old socks and shook them at Hermione and Ginny in turn. “We each need to take a bit of this.”
“Of your rotten toerags?” Ginny asked incredulously. “You’re barking!”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Hermione as she thrust a tatty bit of parchment towards Ginny. Ginny took it as Hermione grabbed the ball of socks and began to unroll them. “It’s a potion.”
“A potion that’s been stuffed into my brother’s rancid yellow--”
“They’re not mine, they’re Harry’s!” Ron growled. Ginny stared at him in confusion. “He has the Felix Felicis he won from Slughorn in these.”
“His luck potion? But why--” Hermione finished unwrapping the tiny bottle and uncorked it, causing some of the golden liquid to slosh up the sides. Ginny watched it swirl as Hermione began to speak.
“He’s got it into his head that the Death Eaters are going to invade tonight, and since he’s gone off with Dumbledore to find a Horcrux--”
“--he wants us and the rest of the D.A. to patrol the school. There’s not very much of this left, though,” Hermione finished, holding up the bottle. She took a small swig and swapped it with the parchment Ginny still clutched. “Half of that’s yours.”
“Death Eaters in the school? But how? Why are he and Dumbledore are both gone?” Ginny was mentally kicking her boyfriend for obviously leaving her out of a couple loops. Ron snorted and grabbed the bottle, swallowing his half and practically throwing it back at her.
“We don’t have time to talk now, Gin. Just drink, the others should be here soon.”
Ginny narrowed her eyes at her brother but drained the bottle, feeling a tingle run through her as the luck took effect. Hermione pulled a Galleon from her robes and rubbed it nervously. “Anyone who got the message I sent should be here in a few minutes. I just hope the others still carry these.”
“I don’t,” Ginny and Ron said together. It was Hermione’s turn to snort as she tucked the socks into Ginny’s bag.
“Yes, well, neither do I, normally. You’d best put the bottle in there, too, and find somewhere safe to leave it. If we get into a battle, you won’t want a bag holding you down.” Ginny nodded and dropped the bottle in with her quills and ink pot. Even with the lucky glow of Felix Felicis filling her, her stomach was beginning to churn and her hands starting to shake.
If the Death Eaters did indeed show up at Hogwarts, what chance did three students stand against them? And where were Harry and Dumbledore at, anyhow? Why hadn’t Harry come to her instead of her brother and Hermione?
As these questions rolled through her mind, a loud crash echoed down the corridor. Ginny, Ron, and Hermione all tensed and raised their wands. Ron began to creep toward the corner as whispers drifted toward them, and Ginny and Hermione followed behind.
Ginny tightened her grip when shadows travelled toward them. In the split second before the shapes emerged, she closed her eyes and wished desperately to see Harry one more time.