Tommy sat on the edge of Danny’s bed and took a look around hospital wing. Kat had been taken by her parents to St. Mungo’s a few hours earlier. “So lad,” he turned back to Danny, giving the American Scot a sideways smile, “How you feeling?”
The Ravenclaw blinked slowly and yawned as he looked back and forth between his friends. “Whit th’ Hell happened?” he asked his brothers. “Ah remember the Great Hall but…” He looked down at his hands, flexing his fingers experimentally. The movement was jerky, almost like a nervous twitch. “Whit happened?”
“Ye wis poisoned.” Orlando was seated in a chair beside the hospital bed, slouched so low his head rested on the back of it. “The lat o ye. It wis slipped intae a few o the dishes an…” His shoulders shrugged a little. “It wisnae pleisant, Ah kin tell ye tha muckle.”
“Yeah you scared the hell out of us.” Tom sighed. “Bet it’s the last time you eat sausage?” Tommy’s mouth split into a laugh.
Danny looked alarmed. “‘Twas in th’ fairn? Hogwarts fairn?” he asked, sitting bolt upright and immediately regretting it. As he collapsed back into the bed, he added, “Hou many people..?”
“Thirty.”Tom gave a solemn nod. “You, Stan Shunpike, and Kat Tarbell got the worst of it though. Most folks had barely started lunch and only got a little queasy. You and Stan both look like you’re going to make a full recovery.”
“Whit aboot Kat?” Danny didn’t think much of his housemate, but he still didn’t wish ill on her.
Orlando looked first to Tom for a brief moment, then shook his head. “Nae so muckle.”
“Last I heard from Fors she was in a coma and may never recover.” Tom said almost silently.
Danny’s eyes narrowed. He knew his friends, and he knew what he would do in the situation, which meant he knew what Orlando and Tommy would do too. “An’ whit hiv ye twa found? Wha did this an’ hou?”
The Hufflepuff seemed to chew on the questions for a few moments. This time he didn’t look in the Gryffindor’s direction. “Tha’s three differ questions wi differ answers depending an wha ye ask. Bit sin yuir askin us,” he sat up in his chair.
“A body snaiked intae the kitchens and poisoned twa-three o the dishes wi a richt nasty concoction, hemlock, some ithers. Thay did the deed and snaiked oot. A reck thay didnae think thay wis seen, but Jurt sain she sae juist ane body atween brakfast an twaloors.” A wicked little grin started to show itself on in his expression. “An she wis able tae pynt him oot o a line up, sae tae speak.”
He pointed to Tommy, “Gae aheid. Tell him.”
“Liam.” The name snarled out of his mouth. “She said she saw Liam in the kitchens.”
“Liam Liddell?” Danny’s laugh quickly turned into a cough. “Sae he finally did saemthin’?”
“Oh, you’re funny, twitchy.” Tommy glowered at Dan. “That’s not the worst part.”
Danny nodded and winced again. “Whit’s th’ worst?”
“We met Professor Qasim while we were down there.” Tommy’s eyes flashed an even larger amount of anger.
Taking a deep breath, Danny steeled himself for the worst, expecting the hero worship Tommy had for the Auror to come into effect once again. “An’ ah suppose he wis gettin’ tae th’ bottom o’ the mystery, richt?”
“He blamed innocent house elves,” he said hoarsely, “he said they dropped cleaning solution into the food, and he’d already confiscated all the plates.”
Danny frowned. “Sae he…”
“Destroyed evidence,” Orlando finished. “Or covered it up at the least.”
Tom nodded. “Like I told Orlando,” Tom placed his hand on Dan’s leg, “sorry for not trusting you guys.”
“We kept some samples frae the ceuk whaur, smooked thaim back tae the Cave,” continued the Scot, before sighing a bit. “Acoorse tha disnae leuk ony better oan us gif ony o tha gits oot. Efter aw, as oor guid Gentleman in Gryffindor wis kynd enouch tae pynt oot, Amen Qasim is oan the hunt fer twa verra real verra random thieves in the schuil.” He pointed between the two of them. “Gif he somehow gits tae the truith o this an says tha the poison wis pilked as pairt o it…” He knew he didn’t need to take Danny any further.
But,” Danny began, then broke off with a sigh. “When hiv we iver done anything tae actually hurt a body?” he asked. Sitting up more gingerly this time, he frowned. “Like that mattered last year.” Under his breath, he mumbled, “We need tae start carryin’ bloody bezors.”
Tom laughed. “That’s not a bad idea.”
He went silent for a few moments, studying the specks of dust glowing in the winter sunlight that streamed through the windows. “So we have evidence that Liam may very well have poisoned you and everyone else in here but if we show it, it could be construed that we are trying to make him look bad.”
Lando nodded, “Likely tae hid th’ fact tha we been pilkin aw ower the castle.”
“And we have a theory that Professor Qasim may be covering up for Liam to protect him for some other reason.” He shook his head. “Once again if we say anything, you all don’t have any credit due to your dislike for the professor. Do I have all that right?”
“Aye,” the Scots said in unison.
“Just making sure I was clear.” Tom heaved a deep sigh. “How do we keep getting into these messes?”
“Practice?” Orlando shrugged.
“Sheer skill?” Danny grinned.
“One of these days,” Tom rubbed his eyes, “We are gonna be ahead of the game and not behind the bloody gobstone.”
“Ma says tha unless ye stairt it yuir ayweys gauntae be ahint ’till ye catch up.” Foozle folded his arms across his chest, “Sae, lats catch up.”
“What do you suggest we do lad?” Tommy said as he stood up from Danny’s bed. He shot glances around the room at the other victims of the poison in their beds. As is a speciality of Gentlemen, Tom flexed his right hand and his wand seemed to have appeared from nowhere. He gave the wand a flick, “Muffliato!”