The Portkey

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Katrina's POV

I felt as though I had barely lain down to sleep in Ginny's room when I was being shaken awake by Mrs Weasley.

'Time to go, Katrina, dear,' she whispered, moving away to wake Hermione and Ginny.

It was still dark outside. Ginny muttered indistinctly as her mother roused her.

We dressed in silence, too sleepy to talk, then, yawning and stretching, the three of us headed downstairs into the kitchen.

Mrs Weasley was stirring the contents of a large pot on the stove, while Mr Weasley was sitting at the table, checking a sheaf of large parchment tickets. He looked up as we entered, and spread his arms so that we could see his clothes more clearly. He was wearing what appeared to be a golfing jumper and a very old pair of jeans, slightly too big for him and held up with a thick leather belt.

"What d'you think?' he asked anxiously. "We're supposed to go incognito – do I look like a Muggle, Katrina, Hermione?"

"Yeah," I said, smiling, "very good."

"Where're Bill and Charlie and Per–Per–Percy?" said George, failing to stifle a huge yawn as he, Fred, and Harry walked into the kitchen.

"Well, they're Apparating, aren't they?" said Mrs Weasley, heaving the large pot over to the table and starting to ladle porridge into bowls. "So they can have a bit of a lie-in."

I knew that Apparating was very difficult; it meant disappearing from one place and reappearing almost instantly in another.

"So they're still in bed?' said Fred grumpily, pulling his bowl of porridge towards him. "Why can't we Apparate, too?"

"Because you're not of age and you haven't had your test," snapped Mrs Weasley.

"You have to pass a test to Apparate?" Harry asked.

"Oh yes," said Mr Weasley, tucking the tickets safely into the back pocket of his jeans. "The Department of Magical Transportation had to fine a couple of people the other day for Apparating without a licence. It's not easy, Apparition, and when it's not done properly it can lead to nasty complications. This pair I'm talking about went and splinched themselves."

Everyone around the table except Harry winced. I shivered at the thought, it was supposed to be very painful!

"Er – splinched?" said Harry.

"They left half of themselves behind,' said Mr Weasley, now spooning large amounts of treacle onto his porridge. "So, of course, they were stuck. Couldn't move either way. Had to wait for the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad to sort them out. Meant a fair old bit of paperwork, I can tell you, what with the Muggles who spotted the body parts they'd left behind..."

"Were they OK?" he asked, startled.

"Oh yes," said Mr Weasley matter-of-factly. "But they got a heavy fine, and I don't think they'll be trying it again in a hurry. You don't mess around with Apparition. There are plenty of adult wizards who don't bother with it. Prefer brooms – slower, but safer."

"But Bill and Charlie and Percy can all do it?"

"Charlie had to take the test twice," said Fred, grinning. "He failed first time, Apparated five miles south of where he meant to, right on top of some poor old dear doing her shopping, remember?"

"Yes, well, he passed second time," said Mrs Weasley, amid hearty sniggers.

"Percy only passed two weeks ago," said George. "He's been Apparating downstairs every morning since, just to prove he can."

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