Spiders and Gilderoy Lockhart
Harrison was flipping through the newest issue of Quidditch Weekly trying to ignore the noise around him. He could hear Daphne and Tracey rating the looks of professional Quidditch players and Luna telling Hermione about the crumple horned Snorkack, whatever the bloody hell that was. He looked up when Draco slammed his fist against the window, he looked up and saw the blonde scowling at a smirking Blaise. Before he could ask what happened the compartment door opened.
"There you are-"
"We've been looking for-"
"You since we arrived."
"It's roomy in here-"
"You must've put an expansion-"
"Charm over the compartment."
"Since all of the compartments only hold ten-"
"And there are thirteen of you."
Fred and George said as they stood in the doorway to Harrison's usual compartment. They were wearing matching red t-shirts that clashed horribly with their hair, Harrison swore they did that on purpose.
"We always sit in the same compartment," Jenna reminded them.
"We forgot," Fred shrugged carelessly.
"What did you two need?" Harrison asked warily.
The twins wore matching scowls as they exchanged a significant look.
"What's wrong?" Hermione asked from her seat in between Luna and Neville.
"Our dearest brother-" Fred rolled his eyes.
"Won't shut his mouth." George's scowl became more pronounced.
"He's telling his two little-"
"Friends about a fight you had-"
"In Diagon Alley."
"He says you said some horrid things-"
"About Gin Gin."
Draco looked up from his game with an annoyed expression. "Do you two ever finish your own bloody sentences?"
The twins exchanged looks and answered in unison. "Rarely."
"Of course," Draco muttered as a card exploded singeing his robes.
Harrison ignored Draco and turned his attention to the Weasley twins. "What did you two say?"
"We told him to keep his mouth shut-"
"And if you said something about Ginny then-"
"She must've done something to deserve it."
"Or you have some reason not to-"
"Like our little sister."
Harrison looked thoughtfully at the twins. Since he befriended them they'd shown great loyalty to him which was surprising. The Weasley's had always been a light family but the twins acted more neutral with a dark sense of humor. They appeared to be more loyal to Harrison than their own younger siblings. A part of Harrison wondered if it was because he supported their dreams of opening a joke shop and didn't try to change them. Another part of him wondered if it was because the twins wanted to branch away from their family. If he had a brother like Ron he'd want to branch away.
"Ron was being a prat," Harrison explained. "Words were exchanged and that's all there is to it."
"I wish we would've seen it-"
"But we didn't even know you were in the book shop-"
"Until we saw dad go flying at Mr. Malfoy."
"We knew we should've stayed with you-"
"After running into each other by the joke shop."
"Well we have to go-"
"We promised Lee we'd help him with-"
"A prank on Angelina, Alicia and Katie."
"We just wanted to warn you-"
The twins bowed theatrically causing the girls to giggle and then left the compartment.
Several hours later, the ten second year Slytherins, Neville, Hermione and Luna were eating their way through a pile of candy Blaise bought when the compartment door slammed open. Harrison thought it would be one of their friends since random people had been dropping by. However he was annoyed to see that it was Ron, Dean and Seamus.
"Weasley," Leo said coolly. "I assume you have a valid reason for stopping by other than to waste our time?"
"I came to tell you to watch your backs," Ron said confidently. "You'll pay for what you said to me and Ginny."
Daphne rolled her eyes as she examined her long nails. "Don't you have anything better to do than make idle threats? I doubt you even know the simplest of spells."
Ron's cheeks tinged pink. "I've been reading my brother Percy's old school books."
"You can read?" Cass asked in mock surprise. "I didn't know that."
As Ron's ears turned red the Slytherins laughed. Harrison watched as Dean and Seamus exchanged scowls and put their hands into their robe pockets. His eyes narrowed at the action and he looked over at Leo who was also eying their movements.
"I wouldn't pull your wand out if I were you," Harrison warned. "You do remember what happened last time?"
The three Gryffindors exchanged looks, they were obviously trying to decided what to do. Harrison felt like sighing at their naivety, you should never confront your enemy without having a plan. Times like these made him wonder how his father considered the light side a threat. If everyone on Dumbledore's side was this idiotic the war would be an easy win.
"What's going on here?" Anthony Dolohov asked as he walked up behind the Gryffindors.
Harrison's eyes snapped to the seventh year and he immediately noticed the gold head boy badge gleaming on his chest. He inwardly smirked, it made things so much easier when a Slytherin was either head boy or girl. Anthony's dark eyes roamed over everyone in the compartment before they narrowed on the Gryffindors.
"Do you three have a reason for being in here?" Anthony inquired, a warning in his tone.
"We were just..." Ron trailed off with a glare at Draco.
"They were threatening us Anthony," Draco supplied.
Ron's glare intensified as Anthony's eyes glinted. Harrison glanced sideways when he felt Daphne hide her face in his shoulder, he could feel her shaking with suppressed laughter.
"Is that right?" Anthony stated more than asked. "Five points from Gryffindor for each of you and a detention a piece with Professor Snape."
"School hasn't even started yet!" Ron said indignantly.
"It doesn't matter," Anthony smirked. "Threatening a fellow student is against the rules and as head boy I can take points and assign detention. Now go back to your own compartment before I dock even more." Dean and Seamus scowled. "I said now."
The three Gryffindors glared at the head boy before stalking off. Anthony watched them walk away before running a hand down his face and walking away.
"Why do they always antagonize you?" Hermione asked frowning.
"Because they're Gryffindors," Theo said before looking at Neville. "No offense, but most Gryffindors are idiots."
"It's fine," Neville said quietly.
Harrison waved his hand and the compartment door shut. He wondered why Ron continued to start fights he never won. Harrison enjoyed getting the Gryffindor detention but he wasn't foolish enough to start a fight if he didn't think he'd win. Ron and his two idiotic friends always started verbal battles that only served to get them into trouble. When their fights do escalate to violence the Slytherins always come out on top. He didn't think he would ever fully understand the minds of Gryffindors. He knew Gryffindors were rash and stupid but he didn't know they were that rash and stupid.
Harrison looked down at his magazine and on the cover was his least favorite team, the Chudley Cannons. A sneer formed on his lips when he recalled the Weasley twins telling him that they were Ron's favorite team. He glanced at Leo who was reading a giant leather bound book and an idea formed in his head when he saw the picture on the front, a giant spider.
"Draco," Harrison said, his eyes still focused on the spider.
"Yeah?" Draco said looking up from his game of exploding snap.
"I have an idea of how to get back at Ronald," Harrison said as Nani poked her head out of his sleeve.
Draco grinned. "What it is?"
Harrison spent the next half an hour explaining to his friends what he wanted to do to Ron. By the time he was done the Slytherins all wore matching smirks.
"Are you sure you should do that?" Hermione asked hesitantly. "It doesn't seem very nice."
"Of course it isn't nice," Draco snapped. "That's the point."
"Hermione's right," Neville said slowly. "What if someone gets hurt?"
"No one will get hurt," Harrison said before Draco could say something. "I'll make sure of it,
the most it will do is frighten people."
"But it won't be just Ron who gets frightened," Hermione argued.
"Who cares," Leo interjected.
"You don't have to be so insensitive Leo," Hermione frowned.
"I'm not insensitive I just don't care about a bunch of Gryffindors," Leo said rolling his eyes.
"Enough," Harrison said sternly. "We'll do it tonight."
Hermione bit her lip and Neville looked unsure but neither of them said anything more on the subject. Harrison eyed them both and was pleased when they let it go. A year ago they would've been completely opposed to the idea. After months of persuasion and subtle hints both Hermione and Neville had loosened up especially Hermione. During the beginning of first year she hated bullies but towards the end of that year she stopped being bothered by it, Harrison was glad for it. Hermione and Neville slowly stopped caring about Harrison and his friends being mean to certain people because Harrison was good at sugar coating their reasoning for it. He needed them to stop being Saint like before he could tell them who his father was and allowing them to emotionally injure Ron was a good step in that direction.
Harrison and his friends spent the rest of the journey to Hogsmeade Station talking about their summers, complaining about Lockhart and playing exploding snap. Thankfully they had no more unwelcome interruptions, only a few visits from some of their friends.
The train pulled into Hogsmeade station and Harrison and his friends walked off the train and followed the rest of the school along the platform and out onto a rough mud track, where at least a hundred stagecoaches awaited the remaining students, each pulled by winged black horses. Harrison knew these animals were Thestrals and that they could only be seen by those who had seen death, he looked around at his friends and saw that, as he expected, all of his friends except Hermione could see them. However he was slightly surprised to notice that Neville could see them, he made a mental note to ask Neville who he saw die. He was so busy looking at the Thestral that he hadn't realized all of his friends were already in the carriage.
"Harrison," Daphne said getting his attention. "Come in, we need to go."
"Coming," Harrison said before climbing in and shutting the door.
Once the door was shut the coach set off all by itself, bumping and swaying in procession. He looked around and saw Daphne, Hermione, Neville, Theo and Blaise. It was a tight fit with six of them in the carriage and it smelt faintly of mold and straw.
As the carriage trundled toward a pair of magnificent wrought iron gates, flanked with stone columns topped with winged boars, the castle came into view. The carriage picked up speed on the long, sloping drive up to the castle; Hermione was leaning out of the tiny window, watching the many turrets and towers draw nearer. The castle looked like something out of a fairy tale, Harrison thought the view was better from here than the boats.
At last, the carriage swayed to a halt, and Harrison got out, followed by his friends. They joined the other second year Slytherins and the crowd swarming up the steps, through the giant oak front doors, into the cavernous Entrance Hall, which was lit with flaming torches, and housed a magnificent marble staircase that led to the upper floors. The portraits whispered excitedly from their frames as the noise level rose. Following the large group of Hogwarts students Harrison made his way into the Great Hall, the ceiling adorned with twinkling stars. He said goodbye to Hermione and Neville and walked to the Slytherin table.
"What the bloody hell is he wearing?" Draco asked looking repulsed.
"I think he dresses worse than Dumbledore," Cass wrinkled her nose.
Harrison looked where they were staring and saw Gilderoy Lockhart sitting at the staff table between Professors Snape and Sprout; he was wearing bright turquoise robes with a matching hat adorned with a gold trim.
Harrison looked at the man incredulously. "He looks like a fairy."
The second years snickered as McGonagall walked in leading the first years.
Harrison didn't even bother listening to the Sorting Hat singing its song, he was too busy observing the new first years. Most of them looked scared or nervous, and a few looked like they were going to either throw up or pass out. The only one who looked unfazed was Luna who was staring happily at the enchanted ceiling.
"Ackerley, Stewart," McGonagall called.
A short boy with brown hair ran up to the stool.
The Ravenclaw house broke into applause and Stewart rushed to the table with a huge grin. Harrison clapped politely for the boy as McGonagall called the next name. Several names later the first person Harrison knew was called.
A petite girl with straight brown hair wearing a green bow in her hair bounded forward.
Eliza walked over to loud cheers from the Slytherins and received a hug from her brother Miles. Slytherin soon received two more students, Sebastian Carrow and Natasha Chambers.
A hyper boy who looked no older than nine ran up to the stool and jammed the hat on his head.
"Mudblood," Leo murmured.
After several names Dawson Dagworth was sorted into Slytherin and a few minutes later so was Noah Gibbon. After watching several more students get sorted William Jugson joined the house of snakes.
Harrison watched as the blonde practically floated up to the stool. He could hear whispers from every table except the Slytherins, he heard his name but ignored them.
Harrison clapped as Luna walked to the Ravenclaw table.
"That's not surprising," Daphne pointed out. "She's smarter than your average seventeen year old let alone eleven year old."
Harrison nodded as he watched Luna take a seat beside Hermione. He wasn't in the least bit surprised Luna was in Ravenclaw, he had been almost one hundred percent sure that's where she'd end up. She had a sadistic side that would've worked in her favor in Slytherin but she didn't care about being cunning and Gryffindor was certainly out. She might've found her place in Hufflepuff because she was loyal but it wouldn't have worked since her loyalty was to the dark.
Half an hour later Slytherin had welcomed Titus Macnair who took a seat next to his sister Violet as well as Sophia Montague, Jackson Mulciber, Annabelle Rowle and Oliver Rivers. Sophia waved to Harrison from her seat between her brothers Abraham and Graham, he waved back with a kind smile causing her to giggle.
"Someone has a crush," Blaise teased quietly.
Harrison sent a silent stinging hex at his friend who hissed and narrowed his light blue eyes.
"That was uncalled for," Blaise said quietly.
"No it wasn't," Harrison said dismissively.
Ginny slowly walked up to the stool and saw down looking nervous.
The Gryffindor table burst into loud cheers as the now relieved looking red head went and sat by Ron.
"As if a Weasley would be anywhere else," Blaise snorted.
Harrison saw Ron whisper something into his sisters ear and they both turned to look at the Slytherin table. He ignored both of their gazes and instead looked at Percy who was watching his two youngest siblings with disapproval. He decided last year that Percy would make a good ally but he didn't do anything to make it happen. He smirked as he pictured the looks on Ron's and Ginny's faces if he was to go dark. From the Weasley twins Harrison gathered that Percy cared about power and his future more than anything, he sounded more like a Slytherin than a Gryffindor. He decided to think more on it later after writing to his father.
Harrison watched as the empty plates on the table filled with food. He piled carrots onto his plate before Pansy could then added a piece of glazed chicken and some brown rice.
"Can you believe Dumbledore hired Lockhart to teach us defense?" Odette Warrington asked from across the table.
"He's practically asking for us to die," Ophelia said.
"No, he's asking for his precious Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs to die," Anastasia Zabini corrected. "Those of us with a proper upbringing know how to defend ourselves."
"At least he'll be nice to look at," Lillith Vaisey pointed out.
Violet rolled her eyes. "It doesn't matter what he looks like, the man is completely daft."
"And besides why would Violet want to look at Lockhart when she has Evan," Anastasia smirked. "Just because he's graduated now doesn't mean we won't be seeing him in the common room."
Violet pursed her lips and turned away from her best friend.
"Won't he get caught?" Ophelia asked worriedly.
"No," Violet answered. "Filch doesn't know about all of the secret passages."
Harrison turned away from their conversation and looked down at the table in time to see dinner replaced with dessert. He watched as Blaise piled on some of everything before grabbing a piece of raspberry treacle tart. Harrison ignored everyones attempt to start conversations with him instead he listened in on everyone else's.
"I hear there's a new broom coming out next summer," Flint said from down the table.
"Father told me one of his investor friends helped to fund the project."
"I can't believe a Hufflepuff was made head girl," Geneva Carrow said scathingly. "It was supposed to be me."
"He asked me out, can you believe it?" Dahlia Blishwick wrinkled her nose. "He actually thought I'd say yes."
Dahlia's friends laughed as she tucked a strand of silky black hair behind her ear.
"NEWT Defense is going to suck hippogriff dung with Lockhart teaching," Morgan Chambers complained.
"I know," fellow seventh year Callum Warren griped. "It's going to be all self study if we want to get an outstanding."
"Gemma Hopper told me that the older Gryffindors are pissed that the youngest Weasley boy and his friends managed to make them in the negative points already," Catarina Urquhart informed her fellow sixth years.
"She said she walked in on two fifth year Ravenclaws having sex on the train," Ebony Clayworth said, not troubling to lower her voice. "But she didn't say who they were. My galleons are on Candice Wright and Steven Maple. Everyone knows they're the biggest sluts in Ravenclaw, not that I can blame Candice for wanting to shag his lights out."
Harrison suppressed a snort as the desserts disappeared and Dumbledore stood up. The hall fell silent as everyone turned their attention to the headmaster. Harrison exchanged a significant look with Draco, Blaise and Leo. As soon as Dumbledore's speech was done they were going to make Ron regret having woken up that morning. Their plan wasn't what Harrison would call diabolical but it would scare the pants off the red head and there would be no way to trace it to them.
"Now that we have all enjoyed a lovely meal I have a few start-of-term notices to give you. First years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well." Just as they did last year, Dumbledore's eyes flashed to the direction of the Weasley twins who in Harrison's opinion looked way to innocent. "I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors. Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch. Finally, I would like to introduce you all to your new Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, Gilderoy Lockhart."
Professor Lockhart stood and smiled while all of the hall, sans the Slytherins, cheered loudly, Harrison along with his fellow Slytherins just politely clapped, having all pegged him as a fraud. Harrison could tell every girl in the hall, minus the ones at his table, were infatuated with the idiot, goes to show that people will believe anything they read and like his father always says, 'being charming will get you everywhere'.
"Bloody fairy," Blaise muttered.
"And now, before we go to bed, let us sing the school song!" cried Dumbledore.
As Dumbledore waved his wand to conjure a ribbon to spell the words Harrison focused on Ron. He pulled his magic into him and closed his eyes, he moved his arm subtly as though he was stretching and silently sent a spell towards the red head. It was a dark spell Harrison recalled reading in a book over the summer, he had never been so thankful for his almost photographic memory before.
Fred was getting ready to sing the school song in a slow funeral march like he did every year when he heard Ron scream. He snapped his head towards Ron and saw a dozen spiders crawling all over his empty plate. Before he could blink the spiders multiplied and soon spiders began filling the entire Gryffindor table. All of the Gryffindors who had previously been in shock at the sight screamed and jumped away from the table.
"Spiders!" Katie Bell yelled as she paled.
"Get them off, get them off," Dean yelled as several crawled up his arms.
Fred and George were two of the only Gryffindors that had remained seated. They exchanged looks before looking at the Slytherin table where Harrison was staring innocently at their younger brother. They could see Blaise and Draco holding onto each other for support as they laughed and Leo was obviously trying to maintain composure as he chuckled slightly. The other Slytherins all appeared to be torn between laughing at the Gryffindors misfortune and acting proper. In the end their laughter won out and the noise was deafening.
Fred felt both amusement and pride as he watched the usual stuffy Ravenclaws laugh at Ron who was jumping around in circles. The only ones besides the Gryffindors who weren't laughing were the Hufflepuffs and professors. Fred knew that if they were on their table they wouldn't find it funny but seeing their least favorite house panic must be amusing.
"That's genius," George said as he began to laugh.
"To right you are dear twin of mine," Fred laughed.
Lee Jordan was guffawing, Fred knew that he had always loved spiders. Fred couldn't stop his laughter as he watched Ron continue to spin around flailing his arms. Spiders had somehow managed to crawl all over him and he was the only Gryffindor who hadn't been smart enough to move away from the table, Fred assumed it was because of his great fear of spiders. Even his best friends Dean and Seamus backed away but they were slowly making their way forward to try helping Ron. Fred and George remained seated because they realized the spiders were only trying to get on Ron, Dean and Seamus.
"Help me!" Ron shrieked.
Professor McGonagall, Madam Pomfrey and Dumbledore ran forward waving their wands to remove the spiders but they wouldn't disappear.
"Mr. Weasley hold still," Madam Pomfrey said as she tried getting closer to him.
"I c-can't," Ron yelled. "They're everywhere!"
Fred's laughter stopped when he saw the furious look on Dumbledore's face as he continued to try vanishing the spiders. Fred looked over at Harrison and saw his arm jerk slightly, instantly all of the spiders disappeared. He looked and George and knew that they were both doing the same thing, making a mental note to congratulate Harrison later.
"Who is responsible for this?" Professor McGonagall demanded, her scottish accent coming out in her anger.
The entire Great Hall went silent with the exception of a whimpering Ron.
"Come on dear," Madam Pomfrey said putting her hand on Ron's shoulder. "Let's go to the hospital wing and I'll get you a calming draught."
Fred noticed that most of the students were looking at him and George. He felt pride that everyone thought they did something not even Dumbledore had been able to remove, but also slightly insulted at the same time. He pointedly looked anywhere but at the Slytherin table. He had grown to see Harrison like a brother, more of a brother than he saw Ron as. He wasn't going to get him into trouble so just stared around pretending to be interested in something else.
"Misters Weasley?" McGonagall asked through pursed lips.
"We didn't do it." Fred and George said at the same time.
Dumbledore's blue eyes landed on Fred and he looked angry. Fred could tell he was trying to see if they were lying or not. Apparently he believed them because he soon turned away.
"Know that if I find who is responsible for this the perpetrator will be in trouble. I haven't been so ashamed of one of my students in a long time," Dumbledore announced unusually stern. "Prefects please escort your house mates to your common room."
"That was brilliant Harrison," Blaise praised once they entered their common room.
"That was you?" Ophelia asked amusedly.
"Guilty," Harrison winked at the third year.
"Did you see the weasel freak out?" Draco interrupted, his voice full of mirth. "I'm going to have to watch that memory in a pensieve."
"Impressive," Marcus Flint said clapping Harrison on the back. "If you put that much effort into quidditch this year the quidditch cup will once more have our name on it."
"What did Weasley do to anger you?" Violet asked.
"He exists," Leo answered smoothly.
The Slytherins who heard his comment chuckled. Harrison checked his watch and saw that it was late so he said goodnight to his friends and made his way to the second year boys dorms. He walked into the room which looked exactly as it had the year before. The only difference was there were no personal decorations up yet, but he knew by tomorrow morning there would be. He walked to his trunk and immediately began unpacking his belongings.
Half an hour later Harrison's section of the room was decorated with photos and trinkets. Nani hissed quietly from atop his large wooden desk, her green scales glittering under the light from the chandelier.
Are you going to speak with your father? Nani asked as her tongue flicked in and out.
Not tonight. Harrison replied. He told me this morning that he was having several meetings today, and I doubt the last one is finished by now. Harrison covered his mouth when he yawned. But I will write him a letter.
You should sleep.
Harrison rolled his eyes but he didn't mind his familiars worry. I'll be fine. It won't take me long to write a letter, and besides I'm used to not getting too much sleep.
Harrison pulled out a quill and ink while his year mates unpacked their clothes and school supplies.
"You brought more clothes than Cass," Leo said amusedly.
"I like to look good," Draco sniffed.
"Like you and Harrison didn't bring just as much," Blaise said rolling his eyes.
"You're one to talk," Leo drawled.
Harrison spoke at the same time as Leo. "Leave me out of it." He blocked out his friends as he began his letter.
I was going to call you on the two-way mirror but I assumed you are still in one of your meetings. Nothing out of the ordinary happened on the train with the exception of Ronald being a prat, but that isn't unusual. Slytherin received eleven new students, all of them children of your followers. Luna was unsurprisingly sorted into Ravenclaw and I'm sure Hermione will make her feel welcome and so will the others. I already told Hermione, Terry, Anthony and Roger to watch out for her. I'm positive my other friends and your followers children in that house will naturally look out for her.
That idiot Lockhart looked like a fairy in bright turquoise robes and this silly little hat, all of the girls seems to be quite taken with him though. I'll write or call you once I see how his classes are, I'm not planning on listening in them much. I have a feeling if I did my brain would turn to mush. I'm pre-warning you just in case it lands me in detention, it would ruin my spotless record but it would be worth it.
The Weasley girl, Ginny or Ginevra as her name was called was sorted into Gryffindor. It still amazing me that there are seven of them, their parents must breed like rabbits. Speaking of Weasleys, I had an idea come to me at dinner. Percy is a major over achiever who would sell his own mother for a job in the ministry, I think you should talk to Uncle Lucius about him. I know how he feels about the Weasley family but I'm 99 percent certain that you can separate him from his family with the right job. Pulling apart one of the biggest light supporting families would be a good move. From what the twins told me they have two other brothers who've already graduated, Charlie and Bill. I would look into them if I were you, with any luck we can have all of them except for the parents and the two youngest. I won't even bother with Ronald or his sister.
I should tell you just in case you hear it from one of your followers, I know how their children talk. At dinner I used an interesting spell to cause spiders to completely cover the Gryffindor table. Ronald's biggest fear is spiders and he completely freaked out, I haven't seen Draco laugh so hard in a long time.
Tell Nagini hello and torture a prisoner or two for me.
The next morning Harrison skimmed his schedule as he absentmindedly tapped his fork against his plate. The four long house tables were laden with tureens of porridge, plates of kippers, mountains of toast, and dishes of eggs and bacon. The enchanted ceiling was a dull cloudy gray and the chatter was loud and excited.
"We have Defense Against the Dark Arts with the Gryffindors first," Draco complained.
Leo's lips went into a straight line. "The fairy and the idiots," he grabbed a slice of wheat toast, "what a wonderful first day."
"Defense is in a different classroom than it was last year," Tracey pointed out.
"I wonder why," Jenna mused.
"It was in a different room last year because the usual room is near where the stone was kept," Harrison reminded them.
Harrison and his friends walked up to the third floor and entered their class dreading spending an hour and a half with Lockhart. The room was an overly large rectangle with a dozen windows that gave views of the Black Lake and quidditch pitch. There was a large dragon skeleton suspended from the ceiling with an iron chandelier on either side. An antique wooden desk sat in the front with a magic activated projector behind it. There was a double staircase behind the desk that led to a balcony with a door, Harrison assumed that was the professors office. The students desks were in groups of three and Harrison sat down in the furthest desk from the front.
He piled his seven Lockhart books in front of him so that he could avoid the real thing. His eyes scanned the stone walls and sneered at the dozens of portraits of Lockhart. The portraits were all grinning arrogantly and winking at the students. He felt like gagging as one posed in front of a mirror inside the portrait.
The Gryffindors soon walked in followed by Lockhart wearing robes of dark plum and violet. Lockhart had a silver pointed hat on his head and he was smiling from ear to ear. The female Slytherins giggled at the sight while Lavender and Parvati smiled back at the professor.
"He has to be a pouf," Leo concluded with a sneer.
"I don't think so," Blaise murmured. "I just think he's an idiot."
When the whole class was seated, Lockhart cleared his throat loudly and silence fell. He reached forward, picked up Neville Longbottom's copy of Travels with Trolls, and held it up to show his own winking portrait on the front.
"Me," Lockhart said, pointing at it and winking as well. Harrison wore a look of disbelief as he continued to talk. "Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defense League, and five-time winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award but I don't talk about that. I didn't get rid of the Bandon Banshee by smiling at her!"
Lockhart waited for them to laugh; a few Gryffindors smiled weakly. Harrison looked at Draco and saw his best friend sneering.
"You didn't get rid of the Bandon Banshee at all," Leo said brusquely under his breath.
"I see you've all bought a complete set of my books — well done."
"Like we had a choice," Blaise muttered. "If we did there's no way in hell I would've."
"I thought we'd start today with a little quiz. Nothing to worry about — just to check how well you've read them, how much you've taken in —" When he had handed out the test papers he returned to the front of the class and said, "You have thirty minutes — start —now!"
Harrison looked down at his paper and read:
1. What is Gilderoy Lockhart's favorite color?
Blaise snorted. "His favorite color?" The dark haired boy muttered in revulsion. "Probably something girly like mauve or lilac." Harrison shot him a half questioning, half amused look and Blaise rolled his eyes. "My mothers influence."
Harrison nodded and went back to reading the questions, as he did so his eye brows rose higher and higher.
2. What is Gilderoy Lockhart's secret ambition?
3. What, in your opinion, is Gilderoy Lockhart's greatest achievement to date?
On and on it went, over three sides of paper, right down to:
54. When is Gilderoy Lockhart's birthday, and what would his ideal gift be?
You have got to be kidding me, this quiz has nothing to do with Defense, I knew he was a pompous git but this is beyond ridiculous. Harrison looked around and saw that his fellow Slytherins all had looks of disgust or disbelief on their faces. He looked back down at his quiz and sneered, he didn't even bother filling it out, he didn't even pick up his quill, he could see that he wasn't the only one not to either. The Slytherins were all glaring at Lockhart who is either stupid, oblivious, or in Harrison's opinion both, because he didn't even seem to notice.
"This is rubbish," Blaise whispered harshly. "Not even Dumbledore can possibly think this man is capable of teaching?"
"At least one good thing will come from his stupidity," Harrison murmured.
"What?" Blaise asked incredulously.
"The light side will be defenseless," Harrison said after throwing up a quick silencing charm.
Leo and Blaise exchanged smug looks as Harrison took the silencing charm down. Half an hour later, Lockhart collected the papers and rifled through them in front of the class.
"Tut, tut — hardly any of you remembered that my favorite color is lilac."
Harrison heard Draco let out a snort as Blaise made a strangled sound. What kind of man's favorite color is lilac? He looked at his robes and rolled his eyes, it should've been obvious.
"I say so in Year with the Yeti. And a few of you need to read Wanderings with Werewolves more carefully — I clearly state in chapter twelve that my ideal birthday gift would be harmony between all magic and non-magic peoples — though I wouldn't say no to a large bottle of Ogdeds Old Firewhiskey!" He gave them another roguish wink.
Everyone, sans the Gryffindor girls, were now staring at Lockhart with an expression of disbelief on their faces; Ron, Seamus and Dean, who were sitting in front, were shaking with silent laughter. He could see that the back of Ron's neck was red most likely from holding his laughter in.
"Now onto today's lesson," Lockhart said. He bent down behind his desk and lifted a large, covered cage onto it. "Now — be warned! It is my job to arm you against the foulest creatures known to wizard kind! You may find yourselves facing your worst fears in this room. Know only that no harm can befall you whilst I am here. All I ask is that you remain calm." In spite of himself, Harrison moved his pile of books for a better look at the cage. Lockhart placed a hand on the cover. Ron, Dean and Seamus had stopped laughing now. Neville was cowering in his front row seat. "I must ask you not to scream," said Lockhart in a low voice. "It might provoke them."
As the whole class held its breath, Lockhart whipped off the cover. "Yes," he said dramatically. "Freshly caught Cornish pixies."
Seamus couldn't control himself. He let out a snort of laughter that even Lockhart couldn't mistake for a scream of terror. Harrison raised his eyebrows, he is joking right? There's nothing terrifying about Cornish pixies, they cause destruction, but they aren't dangerous.
"Cass' demon cat is more terrifying," Leo sneered.
Lockhart frowned slightly and glanced at Leo, Harrison's eyebrows shot into his hairline. He was surprised the arrogant professor actually heard him.
Lockhart's smile return as he looked at Seamus. "Yes?"
"Well, they're not — they're not very —dangerous, are they?" Seamus choked.
"Don't be so sure!" Said Lockhart, waggling a finger annoyingly at Seamus. "Devilish tricky little blighters they can be!"
The pixies were electric blue and about eight inches high, with pointed faces and voices so shrill it was like listening to a lot of budgies arguing. The moment the cover had been removed, they had started jabbering and rocketing around, rattling the bars and making bizarre faces at the people nearest them.
"Right, then," Lockhart said loudly. "Let's see what you make of them!"
"Please tell me he's not..." Pansy trailed off.
Lockhart opened the cage.
"He is," Jenna said unbelievingly.
Harrison knew as soon as he opened the cage that it was a big mistake, anyone with common sense wouldn't even think of setting pixies loose inside. He knew an advanced freezing charm his father taught him he could use to stop all of the pixies, but watching Lockhart attempt to do it was an opportunity to good to miss. Apparently his friends all had the same thought because none of them pulled out their wands.
It was pandemonium. The pixies shot in every direction like rockets. Two of them seized Seamus by the ears and lifted him into the air. Several shot straight through the window, showering the back row with broken glass. The rest proceeded to wreck the classroom more effectively than a rampaging rhino. They grabbed ink bottles and sprayed the class with them, shredded books and papers, tore pictures from the walls, up-ended the waste basket, grabbed bags and books and threw them out of the smashed window; within minutes, half the class was sheltering under desks and Seamus was swinging from the iron chandelier on the ceiling.
"Come on now — round them up, round them up, they're only pixies," Lockhart shouted. He rolled up his sleeves, brandished his wand, and bellowed, "Peskipiksi Pesternomi!"
Harrison didn't bother suppressing the snort that came from him as he watched the pixies seize Lockhart's wand and throw it out the window. Lockhart gulped and dove under his desk, while the pixies continued to wreak havoc. Harrison pulled Daphne out of the way from being squashed by Seamus, who fell a second later as the chandelier gave way.
The bell rang to signal the end of class and Harrison and his friends quickly gathered up their things and left. Jenna brushed glass from her hair while Tracey straightened out her robes.
"He is completely incompetent," Daphne complained as she brushed her fingers through her hair. "I can't believe he set cornish pixies loose, we could've been injured."
"I can't believe he thought peskipiksi pesternomi was a real spell," Leo sneered.
"And what about that quiz?" Theo added. "His classes will be worse than I thought."
"Can't your father do something?" Jenna asked an unusually ruffled Draco.
"He tried once he found out about Lockhart," Draco explained. "The Ministry was all for siding with father, with the exception of Dumbledore's people. But unfortunately the Ministry can't interfere at Hogwarts not even if almost the entire Wizengamot and the Minister of Magic want to. It's ridiculous but apparently it's the law." He rolled his eyes.
"The only ones who can fire a professor are the board of governors and apparently several of them like Lockhart."
Harrison suppressed a scowl as he walked with his friends to Charms. His father had spent the past eleven years building up his army and placing allies in the Ministry. He had so many followers in high positions that any bill he wanted passed was easily put into effect and every one he didn't like would be scrapped. He had been getting his followers into head positions for years in not only Britain's Ministry but other countries as well. However he hadn't had much luck with the board of governors for Hogwarts because a lot of them were close to Dumbledore and weren't planning on retiring from their posts any time soon. A few years ago Tom personally killed one of the board members but he was immediately replaced with a member of the Order. Lucius and Rodolphus were the only two Death Eaters on the board of governors, a few claimed to be neutral and the rest supported Dumbledore.
Harrison knew his father had contemplated killing them all but it would be too suspicious. Before Harrison he would've done it but since becoming more cautious he was wary of drawing negative attention to his followers. If all of the members were to die except for Lucius and Rodolphus the rumors about them being Death Eaters would have credence.
The next morning at breakfast four owls flew to Harrison, he scowled when one landed on his half full plate. He noticed his fathers writing on one of them and opened it first.
I commend your retribution to young Ronald, it's better than you being tried for murder. Do want you wish to the boy but remember not to go to far, you can't kill him until the old fool is dead. In regards to Gilderoy Lockhart I don't expect you to pay attention to his ramblings as long as you continue to get all outstandings.
I had Lucius look into the two oldest Weasley's and he returned several hours later with information. The oldest Bill is a curse breaker for Gringott's, one of the best according to several sources and Charlie is a dragon handler in Romania. I asked several of the younger Death Eaters about them. Randall Saxon tells me that he was in the same year as Bill at Hogwarts and two years above Charlie. He said that they were both extremely bright and not outwardly light or dark. Wesley Holloway told me that they both moved away to get away from their overbearing mother and neither of them are in the Order of the Phoenix. I've sent both Wesley and Randall to speak with them. I gave them orders to try persuading them to our side, if they don't I can't guarantee they'll be alive this time next week.
In regards to Percy I heard from Evan Rosier the third that power means more to him than anything, I can easily work with that. Several of my Death Eaters will be sent to speak to him during the first Hogsmeade weekend.
I do hope you're keeping up with your training in both magic and your animagus form. I want to see progress in both areas next time I see you.
Harrison's lips quirked up when he read the part about the Weasley's, he would love to turn Ron's siblings against him. After burning the letter he grabbed one with the Lestrange seal.
My little snake,
I hear you gave the Gryffindors quite a fright at the opening feast, I applaud you for that. I know how much you all hate the Weasley whelp.
You'll be pleased to know Samantha Reynolds gave up everything she knew. I wish you could've seen her writhe on the floor, it was some of Barty's best work if I do say so. She's one more Order member down and she told us the name of several previously unknown members.
I sent Leo a book I recently acquired in Knockturn Alley, on the outside it appears to be on quidditch but it's really on obscure Dark Arts. I told him to allow you and his other friends to read it, it's a rare book and was the only copy of it I could find.
Make the Gryffindors lives hell for me.
Harrison quickly burnt the letter as he imagined the brunette woman he only saw once being tortured. He had walked into the dungeons to find Barty Crouch Jr and Bellatrix interrogating the young member of the Order of the Phoenix. He could still see her green eyes staring at him emotionlessly as blood poured from a gash on her head. No matter what they did she wouldn't talk, not even when her family was threatened. He was curious to know what Barty did to make her talk, he'd have to write him and ask.
His eyes landed on a crest he hadn't seen in awhile. He recognized the handwriting as Viktor Krum, a boy three years older whose father was a Death Eater in Bulgaria. Before Viktor started at Durmstrang the two had spent a lot of time together playing quidditch and sneaking into the forest at Riddle Manor. The letter was written in Bulgarian, Harrison was thankful that his father made him learn the language.
It has been awhile since we last spoke since this was the first summer I didn't visit your manor. I am writing because I have some good news, the Bulgarian International Quidditch team is interested in me. I have dreamed of this since I was a small boy and now it is happening. I am only fifteen so they are cautious about signing me so they are going to come to all of my games this year. There seeker is still on contract until the end of this next season but then he is retiring. I am one of two they are looking at but I am confident I will be offered a contract.
I cannot write much more because I have to go on patrol but I will write when I can.
Harrison smiled as he finished the letter, he was happy for his friend. Harrison himself never dreamed of playing professional quidditch but growing up that's all Viktor would talk about.
"Who was that from?" Tracey asked upon noticing his smile.
"Viktor," Harrison answered as he unfolded his copy of the Daily Prophet.
"Krum?" Jenna asked curiously and Harrison nodded.
Harrison eyes landed on an article about a muggle protection act Arthur Weasley was trying to get passed. He snorted as he imagined the look on his Uncle Lucius' face when that went in front of the Wizengamot, he knew without a doubt that it wouldn't be passed. There was a small article about the death of Samantha Reynolds, but nothing else caught Harrison's attention.
When it was time for the Slytherins first Herbology lesson of the year they crossed the vegetable patch, and made for the greenhouses, where the magical plants were kept. As they neared the greenhouses, they saw the Hufflepuffs standing outside waiting for Professor Sprout.
"Harrison," Susan said grinning, a faint blush on her cheeks.
"Hello Susan," Harrison said in a charming voice.
"I haven't seen you since your birthday," Susan said. "How was the rest of your summer?"
"It was brilliant," Harrison told her. "I was able to spend time with some people I hadn't seen in awhile and learned some more magic." Harrison wasn't going to tell her that the people he saw were Death Eaters and the stuff he learned was torture techniques. "Did you do anything interesting?"
"My Aunt Amelia took me to the beach for my birthday," Susan informed him. "We had a nice dinner at this restaurant that overlooked the water." She paused before her eyes lit up. "Thank you for the bracelet by the way, it was beautiful."
"You're very welcome," Harrison assured her.
After a few minutes Professor Sprout came striding into view, her hair as gray as Harrison remembered and her nails dirty as usual.
"Greenhouse three today, chaps!" Professor Sprout said in her usual cheery manner.
There was a murmur of interest. They had only ever worked in greenhouse one before — greenhouse three housed far more interesting and dangerous plants. Harrison was glad they'd finally be working with plants that weren't so boring. Professor Sprout took a large key from her belt and unlocked the door. Harrison caught a whiff of damp earth and fertilizer mingling with the heavy perfume of some giant, umbrella-sized flowers dangling from the ceiling. Harrison immediately recognized a pot filled with venomous tentacula and decided not to sit anywhere near it.
Professor Sprout went to stand behind a trestle bench in the center of the greenhouse. About twenty pairs of different-colored earmuffs were lying on the bench. Harrison took a place and Blaise and Draco sat to either side of him. Once everyone was ready, Professor Sprout began the lesson. "We'll be repotting Mandrakes today. Now, who can tell me the properties of the Mandrake?"
Several hands shot into the air and Sprout called on Theo.
"Mandrake, also known as Mandragora is a powerful restorative," Theo answered. "It's most common use is to return people who have been cursed, petrified or transfigured to their original state. However when handling the plant one must be careful because the cry of the mandrake is fatal to all who hear it."
Sprout looked extremely pleased with his answer. "Very impressive Mr. Nott." She smiled at him. "Twenty points to Slytherin for answering my question and unknowingly answering the question I was going to ask next." Ernie, Zacharias and Justin glared at Theo who only rose an eyebrow in response. "The Mandrake forms an essential part of most antidotes. Now, the Mandrakes we have here are still very young." She pointed to a row of deep trays as she spoke, and everyone shuffled forward for a better look. A hundred or so tufty little plants, purplish green in color, were growing there in rows. "Everyone take a pair of earmuffs."
There was a scramble as everyone tried to seize a pair that wasn't pink and fluffy.
"When I tell you to put them on, make sure your ears are completely covered," said Professor Sprout. "When it is safe to remove them, I will give you the thumbs-up. Right — earmuffs on."
Harrison snapped the earmuffs over his ears. They shut out sound completely. Professor Sprout put the pink, fluffy pair over her own ears, rolled up the sleeves of her robes, grasped one of the tufty plants firmly, and pulled hard. Instead of roots, a small, muddy, and extremely ugly baby popped out of the earth. The leaves were growing right out of his head. He had pale green mottled skin, and was clearly bawling at the top of his lungs. Professor Sprout took a large plant pot from under the table and plunged the Mandrake into it, burying him in dark, damp compost until only the tufted leaves were visible. Professor Sprout dusted off her hands, gave them all the thumbs-up, and removed her own earmuffs.
"As our Mandrakes are only seedlings, their cries won't kill yet," she said calmly as though she'd just done nothing more exciting than water a begonia. "However, they will knock you out for several hours, and as I'm sure none of you want to miss your first day back, make sure your earmuffs are securely in place while you work. I will attract your attention when it is time to pack up. Four to a tray — there is a large supply of pots here — compost in the sacks over there — and be careful of the Venomous Tentacula, it's teething." She gave a sharp slap to a spiky, dark red plant as she spoke, making it draw in the long feelers that had been inching sneakily over her shoulder.
Harrison didn't enjoy the lesson at all. The Mandrakes didn't like coming out of the earth, but didn't seem to want to go back into it either. They squirmed, kicked, flailed their sharp little fists, and gnashed their teeth; Harrison spent ten whole minutes trying to squash a particularly fat one into a pot. All in all, for Harrison it was the first lesson he had ever attended at Hogwarts that was even remotely challenging. By the end of the class, Harrison, like everyone else, was sweaty, aching, and covered in earth. Everyone traipsed back to the castle for a quick wash before dinner.