They had come to a stop at the front door of a small building that seemed to have been forced and shoved in between two others. Harry knew it hadn’t been there probably just weeks before.
“In you go.”
The inside of the strange, dark building was much larger than it had appeared on the outside. It had a musty smell to it, however; the place seemed to be a home for dust.
“Can I help you?” A young teenage wizard—probably not much older than Harry—was standing behind a tall pedestal, propped up on his elbow, looking none too happy about his job. A fat, bulbous blue bubble of gum grew from his mouth. He looked down at it, surveying it, and popped it. There was a loud pop! and pink sparks leaped from the mushroom of blue before fizzling out in the air. The wizard drew the gum back in, chewing.
“Oh…” said Mrs. Weasley, irritated, waving a hand in the air as if to blow away the previously-evaporated sparks. “We’re here for the Apparition tests.”
Harry studied the wizard. He had a pimpled face, blonde hair and rosy cheeks. He was tall but not particularly skinny, with sunken eyes and meaty legs.
Harry’s eyes moved gradually to his surroundings. There were long lanes, some with a wizard or witch standing near the front. Towards the end of the lanes sat old, wooden rings, not unlike the ones Harry remembered from the Apparition classes in Hogwarts.
He decided that this place reminded him faintly of a bowling alley. Wizards and witches alike jumped, swirled, and tried earnestly to Apparate—some succeeded, others didn’t.
“And their names?” The wizard’s tired voice stole Harry from his brief reverie.
He wrote the name on a clipboard that was filled with others.
“17,” Mrs. Weasley answered.
“And?” asked the wizard expectantly.
There was a silence. Harry forced himself to look away. He stared intently at a witch at the far end of the room. She seemed a few years senior to Harry, but when she leaped, attempting to disappear with a crack, she stumbled and fell hard. Even as he watched the failed attempt, Harry could feel the eyes of the pimple-faced wizard staring a hole into him, specifically his lightning-shaped scar.
“17.” Mrs. Weasley spoke before the boy could, glaring at him.
“Right. Lanes… 26 and 27.”
The group made their way over to the appropriate tracks marked 26 and 27 by small signs.
“Hello, hello, hello!” If it wasn’t for the shrill, excited voice, Harry thought he would have never noticed the small man standing just yards away from him as they reached their lanes. “Aspiring Appararators, eh?”
Mrs. Weasley nodded. She nudged Ron and Harry forward; Hermione and Ginny hung behind Mrs. Weasley, staring curiously at the small man.
He was probably only four and a half feet tall. He had a large, crooked nose and a pockmarked face. A shock of thinning gray-white hair sat atop the man’s shiny head. His entire body was stubby; short fingers and stocky legs with clumsy blocks for feet.
“You can call me Mr. Fieldwell. I’ll be your Ministry Assistant today to make sure the young ones can Apparate!” The way he spoke reminded Harry of a radio newscaster. “Who do we have here?”
Harry stole a glance at Ron, who was looking at Mr. Fieldwell incredulously. “R-R-Ron. Ron Weasley.” Ron was visibly nervous. Harry remembered back to when Ron had returned to the dorm room that day. “He lost an eyebrow,” Hermione had said pointedly.
“Alright, Ron. Step right up here at 26!” Ron took a step. “Past that line.” He looked down at his feet to see a thick black line on the floor. He stepped past it. “Good! Now, I want you to try your hardest to Apparate from here,” he pointed at Ron’s feet, “to there.” His finger jabbed the air towards the wooden ring sitting near the back wall.
Ron nodded nervously.
“And you, dear boy. What’s your name?”
Harry waited a second before answering. “Harry.” He left it at that. This man was from the Ministry.
He didn’t need to know Harry’s last name. Inadvertently, he brushed a lock of black hair to cover the scar on his forehead.
“Alright, good; you’re in position. Just like Ron here, I want you to Apparate from here to there. Take your time, and remember your destination.”
The word destination immediately made Harry think of the thin, insubstantial Professor Twycross. Destination, Determination, Deliberation! He recalled the lesson quite clearly now.
Harry looked to Ron, standing mere yards to his left. It was extremely awkward; Mrs. Weasley stood expectantly behind them, with Hermione and Ginny behind her. Ginny giggled.
Harry heard but didn’t look back. His face burned.
“Ready?” asked Ron weakly, directing his question towards Harry.
Mr. Fieldwell took the liberty of answering. “Give it a shot, boys! What’s the worse that could happen?” Harry thought of splinching and when Susan Bones had completely left her leg behind during Apparition on that first day of practice. He gulped, forcing down a lump that had formed in his throat.
He nodded at Ron. Ron held up three fingers as a signal. He put one down. Two. Another down. One. The last one down.
Harry closed his eyes, concentrating hard on the ring lying at the other end of his lane. He tried to clear his mind. He took a wobbly step forward, turned quickly…
And fell. His back hit the ground with a thud!
He rubbed the back of his head gingerly, turning to look at Ron. Ron hadn’t been much more successful, judging by the way his legs were sprawled out in an odd angle beneath him. He stood up, along with Harry.
“Not to worry, boys!” chirped Mr. Fieldwell, “I’ll come back in a bit to see how you’re doing.” And with that he set off to a pair of witches that seemed to be having an especially hard time.
Mrs. Weasley—along with tips from Hermione—proved to be a great help to Ron and Harry. With their advice, Ron Apparated successfully, before Harry. He beamed happily when he found himself standing in the middle of the wooden ring. Mr. Fieldwell had come running with another clipboard.
“One more time for me, Ronald,” he had said. Ron did it again, more confidently this time. He smiled broadly when Mr. Fieldwell congratulated him and shook his hand. “Now, if I could just have some information…” asked Fieldwell, directing his question to Mrs. Weasley.
It was now that Harry was able to relax a bit. The others were no longer looking at him, instead studying Mr. Fieldwell as Mrs. Weasley answered his questions.
Harry closed his eyes, exhaling deeply. Breathe in… and out… In… and out… he thought to himself. He pictured the dusty wooden ring sitting innocently on the tiled brown floor. He concentrated, picturing himself disappearing at one end of his lane and re-appearing at the opposite end. He breathed in… and out…
He took a sure step with his right foot, pivoted, moving with deliberation… Something strong pulled at his body. His neck was being strangled—choked. He couldn’t breathe. Something went wrong. Something was…
Air. He gasped a breath, looking down at his feet.
They were surrounded by the wooden ring!
He looked up at the end of the lane to see the others still staring intently at Fieldwell, Mrs. Weasley the only one speaking.
“You did it, Harry!” yelled Ron. He was the first one to notice since he had been practicing in his lane as his mom sorted out the paperwork.
Mr. Fieldwell looked up—along with the others—at Harry. The small man seemed surprised at first, and then he smiled and said, “Well done, my boy! Just one more time for me.”
Harry marched back up to the starting end of the lane. He shut his eyes, concentrating, breathing deeply like he had done just minutes earlier. The world dissolved away. That same force assaulted Harry’s body. It threatened to break him, before…
He landed inside the wooden ring, looking up and beaming happily. “Great job, boy! Let’s get Ronald’s work done, and we’ll move onto yours…”
Harry thought that he was getting the hang of it by the time a disheveled Mrs. Weasley had completed the paperwork.
“Well, good news, boys. You can now legally Apparate,” she gave a half-hearted smile. Harry got the distinct feeling that the paperwork had been no fun. He grinned.
“The Apparition test hasn’t been given outside of school since… well… since the last time.” A grim look passed over the red-haired woman’s face. “We’d better be moving along. Still have all your school supplies to—”
Mrs. Weasley was cut off. Somebody screamed outside—loud, chilling... painful.
What was wrong with the paper work?
I wanna no more please hurry.. im in love with the series and im trying to find out as much as i can about the next book!
you're writing's so kool, i just wish it was all there already lol
I'm in a bit of a pickle right now. I won't be able to write tonight, and tomorow my computer will be ripped from my desperately clinging hands. It needs to be done, however, so I can get more space on my harddrive.
I absolutely hate writing on paper. It's a problem I have, I know, but my writing literally sucks on paper.
I may be able to use my Dad's laptop, but the next update still may not come until the weekend.