No one expected the Head Girl to be part of the biggest candy gang ring in all of Hogwarts, but then again, there were few that knew what she was capable of when it came to chocolate.
Silver wrappers crinkled as they exchanged hands, the glint of gold following shortly. From just around a corridor, Tatiana leaned against the wall, concealed by the hood of her robes. Her green scarf was placed only to throw things off, to send the wrong message if anyone was to see her – but so far, no one had.
The young woman doing the trade returned after a moment, noticeably less jingly in terms of money, but more loaded in terms of sugar. She shot her friend a sly grin and then held out a bulging bag of chocolate frogs. “Here we are.”
Tatiana didn’t smile. “How much did he take for it this time?”
Seren’s smile faded slightly. “Three galleons more than yesterday. The MLE are catching on to us; it’s getting harder to smuggle in sweets.”
The brunette glared at the retreating figure, also hooded to protect his identity. “I think that he’s conning us. Probably works for the other gang or something.”
“Then why would he sell us chocolate?” Seren pointed out, and after a moment in thought, Tatiana nodded slowly and then motioned with her head for the other to follow.
Since Hogsmeade had shutdown, the stock of sweets had been getting dangerously low. For days, there had been mass panic; students in the corridors collapsing against the walls due to low sugar, the panicking fifth and seventh years snapping at everyone while they were studying because they had nothing to calm them down, prefects trying and failing to stem the chaos.
In the beginning, Tatiana had been trying to stop the mass hysteria, promising that things were going to get better, that the sweets would come. After a few days, even she’d given up until she’d had a better idea – starting a market for sweets. After all, her best friend had cousins who worked for Honeyduke’s, and her brother constantly sold her sweets. If they could get them past the MLE, then they could sell them to Hogwarts.
It was difficult. Each package was checked by sensors, but fortunately, they had ways of concealing their goods. There were informants, spies, candy dealers galore in the castle; but there wasn’t a gang as big as the Frogs.
Or at least, there hadn’t been until the Quills had come along.
Tatiana wasn’t entirely sure when they’d sprung up, but the point was that they had competition now. And with the MLE actually opening more of the packages, the supply of chocolate was waning. The Quills were selling just as much as the Frogs were right now, and Tatiana was worried that their whole scheme was going to fall and there would be no chocolate frogs for anyone.
Their base was a broom cupboard in the entrance hall, small enough to hide the products if one of the Professors decided to pop by, but big enough to house a small operation. The witches slipped inside.
One of the fourth years glanced up in alarm and then calmed down, taking the bag that Seren passed to him before starting to count.
“I’ve got to head to class now,” the brunette told Seren privately, pulling the green scarf and replacing it with her normal Hufflepuff one. Keeping up appearances, and all. No one expected the Head Girl to be part of the biggest candy gang ring in all of Hogwarts, but then again, there were few that knew what she was capable of when it came to chocolate.
She slipped out of the cupboard and up the stairs, sliding into her seat in class just beside Chastity.
The other didn’t wait for even a beat. “You’re late.”
“I was having a bad hair day,” Tatiana returned smoothly, the excuse she’d planned on the way up slipping out of her lips with ease.
Chastity narrowed her eyes slightly but didn’t comment further, instead opening her textbook and beginning to write. After a moment, the brunette followed suit.
They were half an hour into class when there was a crinkle, and the brunette glanced over in confusion to find a silver wrapper sticking out from between the pages of the book Chastity was reading from. She snatched it up. “Where did you get this?”
“It’s not mine.”
“Chas, you’re having sugar withdrawal. I know it’s yours. Who did you buy it from, the Frogs or the Quills?”
“Neither,” she replied loftily, snatching back the wrapper and shooting her friend an irritated glance before continuing to write. As suspicious as Tatiana was, she remained quiet. She hadn’t sold to any of her friends, that much she knew; she didn’t want any of them catching on to what she was doing, so she’d remained silent about her involvement in it.
After class was over and the students had dispersed, Tatiana returned to the broom cupboard. The boy who’d been counting the sweets before was sitting silently now, pale-faced as he noticed the leader return.
“It’s the Quills,” he said by way of explanation, handing her a note. “They’re trying to declare a monopoly on the sweets business.”
“What?” Tatiana was outraged. She skimmed the note mutinously, scowling as she did so. “And they want to meet to settle these terms? This is ridiculous. I’m not agreeing to this.”
“We might have to,” the boy spoke up again. He hesitated. “They’re actually starting to beat us in this. I’ve just done the math; they’re slightly ahead.”
“We’ll see about that,” the brunette replied fiercely, grabbing her yellow scarf again. If someone was going to mess with her gang, they were going to see who exactly it was they were messing with. Tatiana didn’t mind revealing her identity as long as it knocked out the competition – and honestly, who else could be her rival?
She stormed up to the Astronomy Tower, the assigned meeting place as given by the instructions of the note. “If you think that we’re just going to hand over all our sweets, then I’m quite happy to tell you that you’re very clearly mistaken,” she started immediately as she pushed open the door, but then stopped with a surprised squeak as soon as she noticed the leader of the Quills.
Chastity leaned against the opposite wall, her green eyes wide at who she’d ended up encountering. “Tatty?”
There was a pause, and then, in unison, “Damn.”