New Classes and Burning Flesh
Harrison took a seat in the Great Hall in between Draco and Blaise. He looked down the Slytherin table and saw Anastasia, she had a gold badge on her robes, with the words Head Girl written on it. Harrison smirked, he knew she had been made Head Girl even though it was Violet who had been their years female prefect. With Anastasia as Head Girl the Gryffindors would be losing plenty of house points. Harrison then scanned the Gryffindor table searching for the oldest Weasley currently at Hogwarts. Percy had been to Riddle Manor several times over the summer, he had told his parents he was going to his girlfriends house. Percy had been able to give his father some useful information that he overheard his parents discuss at their house. The fact that Percy didn't have a girlfriend amused Harrison, the Weasley parents must be more oblivious than he thought. However, with the looks he and Anastasia had sent each other the two times they were in the same room at Riddle Manor, Harrison suspected that he might have one soon. While Percy was at his manor, the older boy told Harrison that he had been made Head Boy. Harrison's eyes landed on Percy, his chest puffed out and a golden Head Boy badge pinned to his chest.
Harrison's eyes moved from Percy when he saw two heads of flaming red hair. Ron and Ginny were sitting next to each other, Ron's goons sitting across from them. Harrison's lips curled up slightly in a half sneer as he turned away to look up at the head table. Dumbledore was sitting in his high-backed golden chair at the center of the long staff table, wearing deep-purple robes scattered with silvery stars and a matching hat.
"Merlin help his sense of fashion," Tracey muttered under her breath.
"The man is senile," Pansy sneered disdainfully. "What do you expect?" Her nose wrinkled. "But he is queer, so it's not very surprising." Blaise snorted derisively as Harrison smirked.
Harrison's eyes shifted to Dumbledore right, Dumbledore's head was inclined towards the woman sitting next to him, who was talking into his ear. She looked like somebody's maiden aunt: squat, with short, curly, mouse-brown hair in which she had placed a horrible pink Alice band that matched the fluffy pink cardigan she wore over her robes. She turned towards the Slytherin table and Harrison saw that she had a pallid, toad-like face and a pair of prominent, pouchy eyes. Harrison immediately recognized her as a Death Eater he had seen in passing several times, Dolores Umbridge.
"No way," Draco hissed, half surprised and half annoyed. Harrison frowned as he looked at Draco who was staring unbecoming of the Malfoy heir at the person next to Umbridge. Harrison turned to the man at Umbridge's right, he was facing away from the Slytherins. Slowly the man turned around and Harrison felt surprise and amusement. Barty Crouch Jr was smirking at the Slytherins, his light brown eyes dancing with humor. "I can't believe father didn't tell me." Harrison's subconscious echoed Draco's words, he hadn't suspected Barty would be teaching for a second. Barty Crouch Jr had never held an actual job as far as Harrison knew, the man didn't want to work near his father at the Ministry of Magic and nothing interested him but the Dark Arts. Upon reflection Harrison wasn't surprised at his fathers choice for an inside man. Barty was loyal to his father, smart, powerful, and no one suspected him of being a Death Eater. Harrison's eyes connected with Barty's and Harrison smirked, a gesture which Barty returned.
Harrison pulled his eyes away from Barty as whispers regarding the Death Eater began to swirl around the Slytherin table. Looks of triumph, amusement, pleasure and eagerness shown in the eyes of the Slytherins. No doubt they knew what having another Death Eater working at Hogwarts meant. Harrison pushed down a sneer as he saw Hagrid drinking from an oversized golden goblet, his eyes landed on the man he knew was Remus Lupin. Remus was wearing a set of very shabby wizard robes, they were charcoal gray, but had obviously once been black. He had light brown hair that was flecked with gray, most likely premature grays due to his lycanthropy condition.
The welcome feast started the same as they had the previous two years. Professor McGonagall walked in with a group of half terrified and half anxious first years and placed the old ragged sorting hat on top of a stool. While the hat sang its song Harrison took the time to look at the new group of first years. Several of them were obviously Muggle-borns, nervousness mixed with awe and curiosity. Harrison allowed a small smile to grace his lips when he spotted the petite Astoria Greengrass, straight blonde hair perfectly styled and bright blue eyes scanning the Great Hall. Next to her were Regulus' twins, Carina and Orion Black. Carina had black curly hair that reached her waist, a silk green bow was tied around her hair. Orion looked like a miniature version of Regulus, short wavy black hair and defined cheek bones. Violet's younger brother Hyperion was standing next to Orion, the two first years were speaking quietly to one another.
Harrison watched as first years were sorted, it seemed like an equal amount of students were going into each house. When Carina was sorted into Slytherin instantly Harrison and his friends cheered loudly, Draco gave his cousin a hug and the first year sat next to the Malfoy heir. Orion soon joined his sister and several names later Astoria walked proudly over to a beaming Daphne, both of their blue eyes shining like aqua crystals. The sorting went by quickly, twenty one new first years joined Slytherin house. Harrison noticed that none of the Slytherins looked nervous, unlike the other first years. He assumed they were all hiding their nerves, after all a Slytherin showing too much emotion isn't a good thing. However some of them were beaming, and a few others were staring disdainfully at the Gryffindors. It was obvious the Slytherin and Gryffindor rivalry would continue with the new first years.
Dumbledore stood up and the hall fell silent, the candlelight shimmering on his beard making stand out more than usual. "Welcome to another year at Hogwarts!" He smiled at everyone, his eyes twinkling. However to Harrison it was obvious that something was bothering the old wizard. Internally Harrison smirked, he knew that the death of Elphias Doge had gotten to Dumbledore. To infuriate Dumbledore more, Elphias' body had been delivered in pieces to several important light sided Ministry members including Amelia Bones. According to Snape, Dumbledore had begun trying to recruit into the Order as quickly as he could. "Before you become befuddled by our excellent feast, I have a few announcements to make. I am pleased to welcome two new teachers to our ranks this year. First, Professor Lupin, who has kindly consented to fill the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher." There was some scattered, rather unenthusiastic applause, no one at the Slytherin table even bothered to clap. Professor Lupin looked particularly shabby next to all the other teachers in their best robes.
"Sev looks furious," Leo pointed out. Harrison looked at Snape, the Potions professor was staring at Lupin with pure loathing. "This year is going to be interesting." Genuine amusement noticeable in Leo's tone.
"Remember what our fathers told us?" Harrison whispered back. "They hated each other growing up. The Marauders made Sev's life hell when he was at Hogwarts. I don't blame him for hating Lupin, although he should be less obvious about it." Harrison continued to watch Snape who looked mutinous.
"Sev is going to make some Hufflepuffs cry if he keeps that look up," Blaise interjected with a smirk.
"If only," Leo's lips twisted up. "I could use a good laugh."
"As to our second new appointment," Dumbledore continued as the lukewarm applause for Professor Lupin died away. "Well, I am sorry to tell you that Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs." Blaise snorted and several other students looked disgusted at the mental image. "However, I am delighted to say that his place will be filled by none other than Rubeus Hagrid, who has agreed to take on this teaching job in addition to his gamekeeping duties." Everyone at the Slytherin table either sneered or looked extremely annoyed. No one in Slytherin house liked the half-giant. However the cheering coming from the Gryffindor table was tumultuous. He could see Ron and his two best friends, Seamus and Dean cheering loudly. Ginny was smiling and waving enthusiastically at Hagrid. Harrison looked at the staff table to see Hagrid, who was ruby red in the face and staring down at his enormous hands, his wide grin hidden in the tangle of his black beard. As Dumbledore started speaking again, he saw that Hagrid was wiping his eyes on the tablecloth. He sneered before his face once more became a blank mask.
"Disgusting," Pansy whispered quite audibly. Dumbledore's smile then became fixed and his twinkling eyes dimmed.
"Also this year two big changes are going to occur courtesy of the Ministry of Magic," Dumbledore announced. Murmurs broke out around the hall, everyone knew about the new supposed High Inquisitor, after all it had been all over the Daily Prophet since the end of the previous school year. "I am sorry to announce that Professor Binns will no longer be teaching History of Magic." A loud whoop came from the Gryffindor table courtesy of the Weasley twins, soon the whispers grew much louder as excited talk broke out. The Ravenclaws looked interested at the news. "Silence," Dumbledore commanded as he held up his hands, the Great Hall quietened down. "History of Magic will now be taught by Professor Crouch Jr." The Slytherin and Ravenclaw tables burst into loud applause causing some of the Gryffindors to look warily or accusingly at Barty, including Ron and his friends. More whispers broke out, this time because the son of the ex-Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was teaching at Hogwarts. Dumbledore once more held his hands up for silence. "This year we will also be joined by Madam Dolores Jane Umbridge, she will be the Hogwarts High Inquisitor until a time at which the Ministry of Magic decides otherwise." Harrison could see the annoyance on all of the professors faces with the exception of Snape and Barty. Remus appeared to be having an eternal debate, and he wouldn't even look in Umbridge's direction. No doubt due to the amount of anti-werewolf legislature that Umbridge started. "Madam Umbridge will be sitting in on the occasional class and evaluating the standards here at Hogwarts. Please make her feel at home." Harrison could tell that the headmaster didn't want the woman anywhere near his school, that instantly put her in Harrison's good graces.
Dumbledore then cleared his throat. "Mr. Filch has added twenty-three items to the banned items list. To see the full list please visit his office." Harrison heard many incredulous snorts and the Weasley twins winked in his direction. Draco scoffed as Carina whispered something in his ear which caused the blonde to smirk cruelly, Harrison turned back to Dumbledore, he didn't want to know. "Tryouts for the house Quidditch teams will take place on the -" He broke off, looking inquiringly at Professor Umbridge. As she was not much taller standing than sitting, there was a moment when nobody understood why Dumbledore had stopped talking, but then Umbridge cleared her throat, "Hem, hem," and it became clear that she had got to her feet and was intending to make a speech. Dumbledore only looked taken aback for a moment, then he sat down smartly and looked alertly at Professor Umbridge as though he desired nothing better than to listen to her talk. Harrison's eyes began to gleam with interest and amusement.
"This will be interesting," Theo murmured as he leaned slightly towards the head table.
Other members of staff were not as adept at hiding their surprise. Sprout's eyebrows had disappeared into her flyaway hair and McGonagall's mouth was as thin as Harrison had ever seen it. No new teacher had ever interrupted Dumbledore before. He wanted to congratulate Umbridge and by the looks on his fellow Slytherins faces they were thinking the same thing. However some of the Gryffindors were openly glaring at her including Ron, Dean and Seamus. Ginny was frowning at Umbridge and several Hufflepuffs were looking incredulous. Harrison internally rolled his eyes, Dumbledore wasn't bloody Merlin.
"Thank you, Headmaster," Umbridge simpered, "for those kind words of welcome." Her voice was high-pitched, breathy and little-girlish. She gave another little throat-clearing cough ("hem, hem") and continued. "Well, it is lovely to be back at Hogwarts, I must say!" She smiled, revealing very pointed teeth and Harrison had to push down a grimace. "And to see such happy little faces looking up at me! I am very much looking forward to getting to know you all and I'm sure we'll be very good friends!" Harrison noticed most of the Gryffindors and some of the Hufflepuffs exchanged both annoyed and incredulous looks. Even some of the Slytherins and Ravenclaws looked annoyed and slightly insulted by the childish address, but they appeared to push those feelings down.
Umbridge cleared her throat again ("hem, hem"), but when she continued, some of the breathlessness had vanished from her voice. She sounded much more businesslike and now her words had a dull learned-by-heart sound to them. "The Ministry of Magic has always considered the education of young witches and wizards to be of vital importance. The rare gifts with which you were born may come to nothing if not nurtured and honed by careful instruction. The ancient skills unique to the Wizarding community must be passed down the generations lest we lose them forever. The treasure trove of magical knowledge amassed by our ancestors must be guarded, replenished and polished by those who have been called to the noble profession of teaching." Umbridge paused here and made a little bow to her fellow staff members, none of whom bowed back to her. McGonagall's dark eyebrows had contracted so that she looked positively hawk-like, and Harrison distinctly saw her exchange a significant glance with Sprout as Umbridge gave another little "hem, hem" and went on with her speech. Harrison felt a flicker of annoyance at the coughing sound, it was irritating.
"Every headmaster and headmistress of Hogwarts has brought something new to the weighty task of governing this historic school, and that is as it should be, for without progress there will be stagnation and decay. There again, progress for progress's sake must be discouraged, for our tried and tested traditions often require no tinkering. A balance, then, between old and new, between permanence and change, between tradition and innovation…" Harrison found his attentiveness ebbing, he may like that she was here in support of the dark but that didn't mean she wasn't boring. The quiet that always filled the Great Hall when Dumbledore was speaking was breaking up as students put their heads together, whispering and giggling. Over on the Ravenclaw table he saw Cho Chang talking animatedly to her friends. A few seats along from Cho, Luna was staring up at the enchanted ceiling that was a pitch black with twinkling yellow stars. Meanwhile, at the Hufflepuff table Ernie Macmillan was one of the few still staring at Professor Umbridge, but he was glassy-eyed and Harrison was sure he was only pretending to listen in an attempt to kiss up. Harrison rolled his eyes, he couldn't stand that pretentious teachers pet.
Professor Umbridge did not seem to notice the restlessness of her audience. Harrison had the impression that a full-scale riot could have broken out under her nose and she would have ploughed on with her speech. The teachers, however, were still listening very attentively. "…because some changes will be for the better, while others will come, in the fullness of time, to be recognized as errors of judgment. Meanwhile, some old habits will be retained, and rightly so, whereas others, outmoded and outworn, must be abandoned. Let us move forward, then, into a new era of openness, effectiveness and accountability, intent on preserving what ought to be preserved, perfecting what needs to be perfected, and pruning wherever we find practices that ought to be prohibited." Umbridge sat down, her pointed teeth smiling wide. Dumbledore clapped. The staff followed his lead, though Harrison noticed that several of them brought their hands together only once or twice before stopping. A few students joined in, but most had been taken unawares by the end of the speech, not having listened to more than a few words of it, and before they could start applauding properly, Dumbledore had stood up again.
"Thank you very much, Professor Umbridge, that was most illuminating," he said, bowing to her. Harrison could see a hard glint in his eyes before they began to twinkle once more, but he was sure he was one of the very few if not the only one to notice. Harrison felt smug, he knew that Umbridge and Barty being at Hogwarts would annoy and anger the headmaster. Dumbledore was one of the few people to believe Barty was a Death Eater, and although Harrison was sure he didn't suspect Umbridge, Dumbledore obviously didn't like her. Either because of the laws Umbridge had passed or because of why she was at Hogwarts, it was most likely a mixture of both. "Now, as I was saying, Quidditch tryouts will be held…" Harrison tuned out the rest of Dumbledore's speech instead he chose to watch as the staff members kept glancing at Umbridge. He had the impression that none of them liked her, that would prove to make this year interesting.
After what seemed like an eternity but was in reality only five minutes Dumbledore raised his hands, the silver stars on his robes shimmering. "Well, I think that's everything of importance," said Dumbledore. "Let the feast begin!" The golden plates and goblets before them filled suddenly with food and drink. Harrison who hadn't had anything to eat all day besides breakfast, filled his plate with all of his favorite foods. It was a delicious feast; the Great Hall echoed with talk, laughter, and the clatter of knives and forks. Harrison spent dinner discussing Quidditch with Draco and answering any questions that Astoria, Carina, Orion and Hyperion had for him about classes. At long last, when the last morsels of pumpkin tart had melted from the golden platters, Dumbledore gave the word that it was time for them all to go to bed.
Leo began walking towards the Great Hall doors, students pushing annoyingly past him in order to get to their dormitories. Leo sneered at the careless way his fellow students, Gryffindors in particular showed no respect in the way they ran into him. He was the heir to the Lestrange fortune, and a member of the best house at Hogwarts. People needed to learn to respect their betters.
"Watch where you're going," Blaise hissed. Leo turned to see Ginny sprawled on the ground, she was staring wide eyed at a glaring Blaise. Leo's sneer instantly morphed into a smirk, he knew the youngest Weasley had a crush on Blaise. "Oh, it's the weaselette." Ginny turned red as Pansy and Jenna giggled. Leo could see his twin staring disgustedly at Ginny, her eyes showing a calculating gleam. Leo's eyes scanned the crowd looking for Ron, he was surprised to find that he wasn't in his line of sight. Ever since the Chamber of Secrets incident the previous year Ron was usually near Ginny. Leo's eyes landed on Harrison who was speaking in hushed tones to Draco, neither seemed to be paying much attention to what was going on with Ginny. Draco's eyes kept flicking up to the head table, and Leo assumed they were talking about the staff appointments.
"S-sorry," Ginny mumbled as she scrambled up. "I didn't see you."
"That," Blaise snapped, "is obvious."
"What's going on here?" Anastasia asked coming up behind her brother, her Head Girl badge shimmering. Blaise ignored his sisters questions as he continued to glare at the second year.
"The little Gryffindor is apparently unable to watch where she's walking," Cass chimed in. A smirk playing on her lips, the calculating look still in her eyes. Anastasia pursed her lips, her long raven hair pulled into a low ponytail which swung around when her gaze switched to Cass.
"Very well," Anastasia said as she turned to Ginny. "Go to your common room." Ginny nodded, her face and neck as red as her hair. Leo's smirk stayed plastered on his face due to the girls obvious discomfort. "The rest of you come on," Anastasia said to the third year Slytherins as she brushed her bangs out of her face, showing off her blood red nails. "The first night of school everyone needs to be back to the common room as soon as the feast ends." Ginny looked at Blaise one last time before practically running out of the Great Hall, leaving behind a laughing Pansy, Jenna, Daphne, Tracey and Cass.
9-1030: Ancient Runes Slytherin and Ravenclaw
11-1230: Arithmancy Slytherin and Hufflepuff
130-330: Defense Against the Dark Arts Slytherin and Gryffindor
4-530: Herbology Slytherin and Ravenclaw
9-12: Potions Slytherin and Gryffindor
130-330: Transfiguration Slytherin and Hufflepuff
4-530: Charms Slytherin and Hufflepuff
9-10: History of Magic Slytherin and Ravenclaw
1030-1230: Care of Magical Creatures Slytherin and Gryffindor
midnight-1: Astronomy Slytherin only
"We have Defense with the Gryffindors this year," Blaise pointed out. Harrison didn't respond as he once more scanned his schedule, Defense with the Gryffindors didn't seem like Dumbledore's brightest idea. Potions caused enough accidents let alone a class where the students occasionally participated in mock duels. He didn't need to be a seer to be able to foresee Madam Pomfrey getting more patients this year.
"Ugh," Pansy complained. "Not only is Hagrid the Care of Magical Creatures professor, but we have that class with the Gryffindors."
"Hagrid will probably be as biased as Sev," Daphne added.
"I only like biased people when it's in my favor," Leo said as he poured cinnamon over his porridge. Cass rolled her eyes as she flipped through their Arithmancy text book.
"I have Ancient Runes first," Tracey told them.
"We all do," Daphne said. "We have everything together except for Arithmancy, since Pansy and Jenna aren't taking that class."
"Jenna and I aren't taking Care of Magical Creatures either," Pansy reminded the blonde.
"That's right, you two are taking Divination," Blaise said condescendingly.
"There's nothing wrong with Divination," Pansy snapped defensively.
Daphne looked up at the enchanted ceiling which was a pale blue as if asking for patience. "The consequences of our actions are so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is basically impossible. Besides, Trelawney is a total fraud, everyone knows that. The only people who should bother with the subject are people like Luna."
Pansy scowled. "Fine, but at least it will be an easy grade."
"And I refuse to spend two hours outside messing around with magical creatures," Jenna said wrinkling her nose. "I'd get more dirty than I do in Herbology."
Harrison could feel tension rising within his best friends and he wasn't in the mood to deal with their drama, school hadn't even been in session for a day. "Ancient Runes starts soon, and I want to beat the Ravenclaws to the good seats."
Ten minutes later Harrison walked into the Ancient Runes classroom, the Ravenclaws were already seated, apparently they hadn't left early enough. Harrison felt like he had been transported to Egypt as he took in the classroom. The walls were covered in various Ancient Runes, some beginner ones and others more advanced. The walls were a sand colored stone and wooden torches lit the room. A tall thin woman wearing tan robes stood in front of the classroom behind a light wood desk, her dull brown hair was pulled into a tight bun. The professor wore a stern look that wouldn't look out of place on McGonagall. Harrison immediately spotted Hermione who beamed at him, he took a seat next to her and pulled out his book.
"Now that everyone is seated we can begin. I am Professor Bathsheda Babbling and I am the Ancient Runes professor at Hogwarts," Babbling told them, her voice crisp. "This year I will introduce you all to the subject. Before I do so I want you all to think about whether or not you wish to be here. If you do not want to be here than I suggest you leave this instant." Brown eyes scanned the room like a hawk. "Ancient Runes is a difficult subject that requires time and effort. Every class I will assign reading and an assignment to go with it. If you are not willing to put in extra effort than I will tell you now," she paused, her lips thinning, "than you will fail." Harrison saw Hermione lean forward and his lips twitched. "No one is leaving?" The students remained silent, Terry and Anthony looked insulted that a professor would insinuate they weren't willing to put in effort. "Good, I can now begin todays lesson."
An hour and a half later Harrison exited the classroom, his classmates conversing around him. Harrison himself had enjoyed the lesson even though he had already learned Ancient Runes. The professor had made the lesson interesting, and Harrison liked her no nonsense attitude. She reminded him of Alecto Carrow in the way she taught. Babbling had assigned them to read thirty pages of their Ancient Runes text book and write a two foot long essay on what they read. They also had to copy a page of runes onto parchment for practice. Since Harrison already knew Ancient Runes it would be easy for him.
"We have Divination," Pansy said as she looked down at her schedule. "We'll see you guys at lunch." Harrison and his friends bid Pansy and Jenna goodbye as they walked to the Arithmancy classroom. Harrison had been looking forward to Arithmancy since he signed up for the class. Septima Vector, the Arithmancy professor, had been in Ravenclaw when she attended Hogwarts and had gone on to work in the Department of Mysteries before joining the Death Eaters along with her older brother. Tom ordered Vector to apply for a teaching position at Hogwarts and Dumbledore was eager to hire her, after all she had been Head Girl, top of her year and she had a masters in Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. Vector had been providing Tom with inside information for years thanks to her position at Hogwarts. Harrison had met the woman several times, she was a good person to hold an educated conversation with.
Harrison walked into the Arithmancy classroom and his eyebrows rose into his hairline, the room didn't look like it belonged at Hogwarts. The classroom was circular and the floors were made of bright white marble that seemed to glow. The walls were gold with a bronze trim around the ceiling. Instead of a chandelier or torches, balls of white light hung around the ceiling, bobbing up and down slowly as though they were moving along waves. Long tables filled one side of the room, odd trinkets sat on some while others were covered with gold or other less used forms of cauldrons. There were several posters on the walls near the long tables of famous alchemists including Nicolas Flamel. The other side of the room had single oak desks that faced an ornately carved much larger desk, behind which sat a beautiful woman in her early thirties. Professor Vector had shoulder length black hair, creamy skin and silvery grey eyes. As the Slytherins and Hufflepuffs enrolled in the class sat down the professor stood up. Vector appeared to be around five and a half feet and she was wearing blood red robes that brought out her eyes.
Harrison's attention was pulled from Vector when he felt someone standing next to him. He turned and saw Susan smiling brightly at him, he stood up and wrapped his arms around his girlfriend. Harrison surprised Susan by kissing her earning fake kissing noises from Blaise and a glare from Ernie, Zacharias and Justin. Susan blushed as a grinning Harrison pulled away. Harrison could see Vector watching them out of the corner of his eye, he glanced in her direction and she inclined her head in greeting. A blushing Susan took the seat nearest Harrison while the latter smirked at the three glaring Hufflepuffs. Zacharias looked murderous while Ernie and Justin exchanged angry looks.
"Everyone sit down," Vector instructed as she walked around her desk. Pointed silver heels poked out from beneath her robes. "For those of you who don't know me I am Professor Septima Vector, and I will be your professor in Arithmancy for at least the next three years. For those of you who pass the Arithmancy OWL and choose to continue this subject, I will once again be your professor." The class watched as she waved her wand to conjure a blackboard. "Arithmancy is one of the hardest subjects to learn, and it is necessary to fully understand the subject in order to learn more advanced subjects such as Alchemy." With a wave of her wand the blackboard was filled with tiny neat handwriting. "Everyone pull out parchment and a quill, you have five minutes to write this all down."
Pansy emerged into the strangest-looking classroom she had ever seen. In fact, it didn't look like a classroom at all; more like a cross between someone's attic and an old-fashioned teashop. Pansy felt like she had walked into a second hand shop, the sort of place people like the Weasley's would go to. At least twenty small, circular tables were crammed inside it, all surrounded by chintz armchairs and fat little poufs. Everything was lit with a dim, crimson light; the curtains at the windows were all closed, and the many lamps were draped with dark red scarves. It looked as though someone closet had ejected all of its contents. It was stiflingly warm, and the fire which was burning under the crowded mantelpiece was giving off a heavy, sickly sort of perfume as it heated a large, copper kettle. Pansy reached up to loosen her tie, she was already beginning to sweat. The shelves running around the circular walls were crammed with dusty-looking feathers, stubs of candles, many packs of tattered playing cards, countless silvery crystal balls, and a huge array of teacups.
"What a horrid stench," Jenna whispered wrinkling her nose in disgust. "I can taste that awful perfume, or whatever it is." Before Pansy could reply a soft, misty voice came from the back.
"Welcome," it said. "How nice to see you in the physical world at last."
Pansy grimaced as Professor Trelawney came into view. Trelawney moved into the firelight, and they saw that she was very thin; her large glasses magnified her eyes to several time their natural size, and she was draped in a gauzy spangled shawl. Innumerable chains and beads hung around her spindly neck, and her arms and hands were encrusted with bangles and rings. Pansy had only seen the professor several times before, the woman rarely ever ate in the Great Hall. "Sit, my children, sit," she said, and they all clambered awkwardly into armchairs or sank onto poufs. Pansy and Jenna sat around a round table by themselves. The chair Pansy was sitting on was lumpy and uncomfortable. Pansy scowled as she shifted around trying to get comfortable. "Welcome to Divination," said Trelawney, who had seated herself in a winged armchair in front of the fire. "My name is Professor Trelawney. You may not have seen me before. I find that descending too often into the hustle and bustle of the main school clouds my Inner Eye."
"Inner eye?" Pansy muttered to Jenna who rolled her eyes. "In her dreams."
Professor Trelawney delicately rearranged her shawl and continued, "So you have chosen to study Divination, the most difficult of all magical arts," Pansy and Jenna exchanged incredulous looks, "I must warn you at the outset that if you do not have the Sight, there is very little I will be able to teach you. Books can only take you so far in this field, many witches and wizards, talented though they are in the area of loud bangs and smells and sudden disappearing, are yet unable to penetrate the veiled mysteries of the future," Professor Trelawney went on, her enormous, gleaming eyes moving from face to nervous face. "It is a Gift granted to few. You, boy," she said suddenly to Crabbe, who almost toppled off his pouf, "is your father well?"
"I think so," said Crabbe looking confused.
"I wouldn't be so sure if I were you, dear," said Professor Trelawney, the firelight glinting on her long emerald earrings. Pansy covered up a snort with a cough as Crabbe looked worriedly at Goyle. "We will be covering the basic methods of Divination this year. The first term will be devoted to reading the tea leaves. Next term we shall progress to palmistry. By the way, my dear," she shot suddenly at Pansy who looked taken aback, "beware a red-headed man."
"What a load of tosh," Jenna murmured before smirking and leaning her head towards Pansy's. "Maybe you and Ron Weasley will get into a lovers quarrel." Pansy's eyes widened as she scowled.
"That's disgusting," Pansy hissed quietly.
"In the summer term," Professor Trelawney went on, "we shall progress to the crystal ball – if we have finished with fire-omens, that is. Unfortunately, classes will be disrupted in February by a nasty bout of flu."
"Students always get sick around February," Jenna mumbled to Pansy who nodded her head.
"I myself shall lose my voice," Trelawney said with an incline of her head.
"Oh, thank Merlin," Pansy whispered to an amused Jenna.
"And around Easter, one of our number will leave us forever." A very tense silence followed this pronouncement, but Professor Trelawney seemed unaware of it. "I wonder, dear," she said to Millicent, who was nearest and shrank back in her chair, "if you could pass me the largest silver teapot?" Millicent, looking relieved, stood up, took an enormous teapot from the shelf, and put it down on the table in front of Professor Trelawney. "Thank you, my dear. Incidentally, that thing you are dreading – it will happen on Halloween." Millicent's eyes went wide and Pansy suppressed a snort at the expense of her dorm mate. "Now, I want you all to divide into pairs. Collect a teacup from the shelf, come to me, and I will fill it. Then sit down and drink, drink until only the dregs remain. Swill these around the cup three times with the left hand, then turn the cup upside-down on its saucer; wait for the last of the tea to drain away, then give your cup to your partner to read. You will interpret the patterns using pages five and six of Unfogging the Future. I shall move among you, helping and instructing."
When Pansy and Jenna had had their teacups filled, they went back to their table and tried to drink the scalding tea quickly. They swilled the dregs around as Professor Trelawney had instructed, then drained the cups and swapped them.
"Okay," said Jenna, as they both opened their books at pages five and six. "What can you see in mine?"
"A bunch of soggy tea leaves," said Pansy dryly. The heavily perfumed smoke in the room was making her feel sleepy, and her boredom wasn't helping.
"Broaden your mind, my dears, and allow your eyes to see past the mundane!" Professor Trelawney cried through the gloom.
"Oh yes, we must broaden our inner eye," Pansy said in a perfect imitation of Trelawney, her fingers wiggling and her movements over exaggerated. Pansy and Jenna looked at each other and burst into laughter.
After lunch which had been spent discussing their new classes and professors, all of the third year Slytherins walked to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. Professor Lupin wasn't there when they arrived so they all sat down in the back of the classroom. Like Harrison's first two years the classroom looked different since there was a new teacher. The room was filled with posters of dark creatures and a Grindylow was swimming around in a tank on Remus' desk. The Gryffindors soon walked in, Ron, Dean and Seamus glaring at the Slytherins as they did so. Neville smiled when he saw Harrison and took the seat on his left that the latter had saved for him. Harrison was glad that Neville didn't change how he acted around him after learning who Harrison's father was. After exchanging greetings Remus walked in, he smiled vaguely and placed his tatty old briefcase on his desk. He was as shabby as ever but looked healthier than he had on the train, as though he had had a few square meals.
"Good afternoon," Remus said. "Would you please put all your books back in your bags. Today's will be a practical lesson. You will need only your wands." A few curious looks were exchanged as the class put away their books. They had never had a practical Defense Against the Dark Arts class before, unless you counted the memorable class last year when their old teacher had brought a cage full of pixies to class and set them loose. Harrison doesn't like the man, but if the lesson was going to be a practical one then he was going to like him more than Lockhart or Quirrell. And if he was able to "accidentally" curse Ron in the process, than it would be even better.
"Right then," said Remus, when everyone was ready. "If you'd follow me." Puzzled but interested, the class got to its feet and followed Professor Lupin out of the classroom. He led them along the deserted corridor and around a corner, where the first thing they saw was Peeves the Poltergeist, who was floating upside down in midair and stuffing the nearest keyhole with chewing gum. Peeves didn't look up until Remus was two feet away; then he wiggled his curly-toed feet and broke into song.
"Loony, loopy Lupin," Peeves sang. "Loony, loopy Lupin, loony, loopy Lupin —" Rude and unmanageable as he almost always was, Peeves usually showed some respect toward the teachers. Harrison suppressed a snort, Draco however didn't bother to suppress his. Blaise leaned up against the stone wall and crossed his arms over his chest, amusement dancing in his eyes. Everyone looked quickly at Remus to see how he would take this; to their surprise, he was still smiling. Harrison's eyes took on a calculating glint, he knew that Remus was most likely going to attempt to impress the class.
"I'd take that gum out of the keyhole if I were you, Peeves," he said pleasantly. "Mr. Filch won't be able to get in to his brooms." Peeves paid no attention to Professor Lupin's words, except to blow a loud wet raspberry. Remus gave a small sigh and took out his wand. "This is a useful little spell," he told the class over his shoulder. "Please watch closely." He raised the wand to shoulder height, said, "Waddiwasi!" and pointed it at Peeves. Harrison raised an eyebrow, he had never heard that spell before. However, he didn't doubt that Remus invented himself. With the force of a bullet, the wad of chewing gum shot out of the keyhole and straight down Peeves's left nostril; he whirled upright and zoomed away, cursing.
"Cool, sir!" said Dean in amazement. Ron and Seamus were grinning like idiots next to him.
"Easily impressed," Leo murmured in Harrison's ear.
"Thank you, Dean," said Remus, putting his wand away again. "Shall we proceed?" They set off again, he led them down a second corridor and stopped, right outside the staff room door. "Inside, please," said Remus, opening it and standing back. The staff room, a long, paneled room full of old, mismatched chairs, was empty except for one teacher. Snape was sitting in a low armchair, and he looked around as the class filed in. His eyes were glittering and there was a nasty sneer playing around his mouth.
As Remus came in and made to close the door behind him, Snape said, "Leave it open, Lupin. I'd rather not witness this." He got to his feet and strode past the class, his black robes billowing behind him. At the doorway he turned on his heel and said, "Possibly no one's warned you, Lupin, but this class contains Ronald Weasley. I would advise you not to entrust him with anything difficult." Ron turned red as Draco and Blaise snickered.
Remus had raised his eyebrows. "I was hoping that Ron would assist me with the first stage of the operation," he said, "and I am sure he will perform it admirably." Ron's face went, if possible, even redder and Draco and Blaise immediately stopped laughing. Snape's lip curled, but he left, shutting the door with a snap. "Now, then," said Remus, beckoning the class toward the end of the room, where there was nothing but an old wardrobe where the teachers kept their spare robes. As Remus went to stand next to it, the wardrobe gave a sudden wobble, banging off the wall. "Nothing to worry about," said Remus calmly because a few people had jumped backward in alarm. "There's a boggart in there."
Most people seemed to feel that this was something to worry about. Lavender gave Professor Lupin a look of pure terror, and Seamus Finnigan eyed the now rattling doorknob apprehensively. Harrison looked at the wardrobe warily. Harrison wasn't scared of boggarts, they couldn't physically harm a person. But he was scared about what his boggart might be, if it was his father in jail or something of that nature he would be in trouble. He could see Draco and Leo looking apprehensively at the boggart, Leo's face turned into a stony mask but the apprehension was still visible in his eyes. He knew that Leo feared his parents being proven as Death Eaters and being sentenced to life in Azkaban. Harrison scowled, parents being sent to Azkaban was most likely a lot of Slytherin and Ravenclaws worst fears. It would be a happy day when his father won the war and Death Eaters were celebrated instead of convicted.
"Boggarts like dark, enclosed spaces," said Remus. "Wardrobes, the gap beneath beds, the cupboards under sinks — I've even met one that had lodged itself in a grandfather clock. This one moved in yesterday afternoon," Blaise snorted at the professors wording, "and I asked the headmaster if the staff would leave it to give my third years some practice. So, the first question we must ask ourselves is, what is a boggart?"
Daphne raised her hand.
"It's a shape-shifter," Daphne said when Remus pointed to her. "It can take the shape of whatever it thinks will frighten us most."
"Couldn't have put it better myself," said Remus kindly. Ron scowled, Harrison's eyes narrowed at the read head. No doubt Ron thought that Remus being an ex-Gryffindor and a member of the Order would make him inclined to favor the house of lions. "So the boggart sitting in the darkness within has not yet assumed a form. He does not yet know what will frighten the person on the other side of the door. Nobody knows what a boggart looks like when he is alone, but when I let him out, he will immediately become whatever each of us most fears. This means," said Remus, choosing to ignore Lavender's small sputter of terror, "that we have a huge advantage over the boggart before we begin. Have you spotted it, Harrison?"
Harrison was surprised that the man called him by his first name but he didn't show it. "Because there are so many of us, it won't know what shape it should be. It would attempt to turn into more than one thing, resulting in transforming into something not remotely frightening."
"Precisely," said Remus. Ron's scowl grew and he moodily crossed his arms. "It's always best to have company when you're dealing with a boggart. He becomes confused. Which should he become, a headless corpse or a flesh-eating slug? I once saw a boggart make that very mistake — tried to frighten two people at once and turned himself into half a slug. Which as Harrison put it, is not remotely frightening. The charm that repels a boggart is simple, yet it requires force of mind. You see, the thing that really finishes a boggart is laughter. What you need to do is force it to assume a shape that you find amusing. We will practice the charm without wands first. After me, please… Riddikulus!"
"Riddikulus!" Said the class together.
"This lesson is ridiculous," Draco muttered under his breath.
"Good," said Professor Lupin. "Very good. But that was the easy part, I'm afraid. You see, the word alone is not enough. And this is where you come in, Ron." The wardrobe shook again, as Ron looked nervously at Remus. "Right, Ron," said Remus. "First things first: what would you say is the thing that frightens you most in the world?" Ron's lips moved, but no noise came out. "I didn't catch that, Ron, sorry," said Remus.
Ron looked around rather wildly, as though begging someone to help him, then said, in barely more than a whisper, "Spiders." The Slytherins laughed as memories of last years welcoming feast entered their minds causing Ron to turn redder than his hair.
Remus looked thoughtful. "Okay, Ron. When the boggart comes out it will take the shape of a spider." Ron's red face went pale. "You must think of something to make the spider funny, picture it clearly in your minds eye and you will raise your wand — thus," he flicked his wand, "— and cry 'Riddikulus' — and concentrate hard on making the spider funny." There was a great shout of laughter from the Slytherins as the wardrobe wobbled more violently. "If Ron is successful, the boggart is likely to shift his attention to each of us in turn," said Remus. "I would like all of you to take a moment now to think of the thing that scares you most, and imagine how you might force it to look comical."
The room went quiet. Harrison thought...what scares me the most? Losing my father...or anyone I love...my best friends, Aunt Cissy, Aunt Bella, Uncle Lucius...Dumbledore winning and my dad losing. Harrison scowled at the thought, he didn't want to partake in this lesson. Harrison looked around noticing that people had their eyes shut tight. He could hear Ron muttering to himself, "Take its legs off." Harrison smirked, he knew that Ron had become even more terrified of spiders after the incident in the Great Hall.
"Everyone ready?" said Professor Lupin. "Ron, we're going to back away," he said. "Let you have a clear field, all right? I'll call the next person forward… Everyone back, now, so Ron can get a clear shot —" They all retreated, backed against the walls, leaving Ron alone beside the wardrobe. He looked pale and frightened, but he had pushed up the sleeves of his robes and was holding his wand ready. "On the count of three, Ron," said Remus, who was pointing his own wand at the handle of the wardrobe. "One — two — three —now!"
A jet of sparks shot from the end of Remus' wand and hit the doorknob. The wardrobe burst open. A black spider the size of a small elephant crawled out of the wardrobe, hairy and menacing. Pinchers clicked loud and menacing as Lavender screamed and Jenna took a step back, running into Theo. Ron stared wide eyed at the spider, his mouth open in a silent scream and his body frozen.
"Go on Ron," Remus encouraged. Ron looked like he was going to pass out and Draco was snickering into his hand. Blaise's snort when Ron took a step backwards and tumbled was covered up by the spiders noises. Seamus grabbed Ron's arm and pulled him up as the spider advanced. Seamus and Dean exchanging worried looks as Ron appeared to take a deep breath.
"R — r — riddikulus!" Ron squeaked, his wand hand shaking as he pointed it at the spider. There was a noise like a whip crack. Suddenly bright orange roller blades appeared on the spider and it began to stumble causing most of the class to laugh. The Gryffindors at the sight of the stumbling spider and the Slytherins at the look of terror on Ron's face.
Remus smiled and shouted, "Parvarti! Forward!"
Parvarti walked forward, her face set. There was another crack, and where the spider had stood was a bloodstained, bandaged mummy; its sightless face was turned to Parvarti and it began to walk toward her very slowly, dragging its feet, its stiff arms rising. Parvati's eyes widened as she leveled her wand at the mummy's chest.
"Riddikulus!" cried Parvarti. A bandage unraveled at the mummy's feet; it became entangled, fell face forward, and its head rolled off.
"Seamus!" Roared Remus. Seamus darted past Parvarti, his wand held steadily in his hand. Crack! Where the mummy had been was a woman with floor-length black hair and a skeletal, green-tinged face — a banshee. She opened her mouth wide and an unearthly sound filled the room, a long, wailing shriek that made the hair on Harrison's head stand on end — "Riddikulus!" shouted Seamus. The banshee made a rasping noise and clutched her throat; her voice was gone. Theo rubbed his ears as Lavender ran up to face the boggart. Crack! The banshee turned into a rat, which chased its tail in a circle, then —crack!- became a rattlesnake, which slithered and writhed before —crack! — becoming a single, bloody eyeball.
"It's confused!" Remus shouted. "We're getting there! Dean!" Dean hurried forward. Crack! The eyeball became a severed hand, which flipped over and began to creep along the floor like a crab.
"Riddikulus!" yelled Dean. There was a snap, and the hand was trapped in a mousetrap.
"Excellent! Abigail, you next!" Abigail Carrow looked startled to be called on but she moved forward. Crack! A giant manticore appeared and several people screamed, Lavender looked faint.
"Riddikulus!" Abigail bellowed, and the manticore turned pink while everyone laughed, and the boggart exploded, burst into a thousand tiny wisps of smoke, and was gone.
"Excellent!" Remus cried out as the Gryffindor's broke into applause. "Excellent, Abigail. Well done, everyone… Let me see… five points to Gryffindor for every person to tackle the boggart, and five to Slytherin for Abigail's turn." Harrison could tell his friends were annoyed, none of them got a chance to earn points. Harrison was annoyed but part of him was glad, he didn't want to see what his boggart would turn into. "And five points to each Harrison and Daphne for answering questions."
After Defense Harrison and his fellow third year Slytherins had Herbology much to Jenna's annoyance. They went over safety procedures they would need to follow that year for working with the more difficult plants. After Herbology Harrison and his friends were enjoying their dinner when Dumbledore stood up. Harrison noticed the solemn look on Dumbledore's face and his mind began thinking of every possibility. He knew his father had a raid planned for that evening but it wasn't supposed to happen until later. Dumbledore raised his hands and the Great Hall fell silent. Draco sent Harrison a curious look and he shook his head, he had no idea what this was about.
"As you are all aware, several days ago Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban," Dumbledore began and whispers broke out. Harrison noticed Leo and Cass exchange significant looks at the mention of their second cousin. Dumbledore held out his hands for silence. "This afternoon it was decided that Hogwarts needed extra protection." Umbridge smiled smugly from her seat, her pink cardigan standing out. "As of this evening Hogwarts will be playing host to some Dementors, the guards of Azkaban." Several frightened sounds and incredulous looks exploded around the hall. Several people looked as though they were questioning Dumbledore's and the Ministry's sanity. "They are stationed at every entrance to the grounds," Dumbledore continued, "and while they are with us, I must make it plain that nobody is to leave school without permission. Dementors are not be to fooled by tricks or disguises – or even Invisibility Cloaks. It is not in the nature of a Dementor to understand pleading or excuses. I therefore warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. I look to the Prefects, and our new Head Boy and Girl, to make sure that no student runs foul of the Dementors." Harrison suppressed a snort, Dementors didn't care one sickle if someone was guilty or not. Harrison rolled his eyes when he saw Percy puff his chest out with pride and look around impressively, as though he had just been named supreme ruler of the universe.
"On a happier note," Dumbledore continued, his features morphing back into that of a jovial grandfather. "This Saturday will be the first Hogsmeade trip of the school year. Every common room will have a list of the Hogsmeade dates for the rest of the school year on the house notice boards. For those of you who haven't heard of Hogsmeade privileges, this is something only open to those in third year and above." Dumbledore smiled as his eyes swept over the room. "Enjoy the rest of your evening." Dumbledore sat down and began a whispered conversation with McGonagall.
"Dementors at Hogwarts," Tracey said. "I wonder whose idea that was."
"It certainly wasn't Dumbledore's," Theo murmured. "He looked angry just speaking about Dementors."
"It was most likely fathers," Draco told them. "It would make him look like he was trying to protect the students of Hogwarts from a mad man while at the same time infuriating Dumbledore."
"And of course Fudge will agree with Uncle Lucius," Leo smirked. Harrison listened to his friends discuss the Dementors half-heartedly. He was calculatedly watching Dumbledore and McGonagall who were speaking in quiet whispered. They looked as though they had forgotten where they were. Harrison suspected it was about the Order since he had seen Dumbledore waved his wand no doubt casting privacy charms, since those on either side of them appeared to not be hearing anything. Harrison wanted to read their lips but he could only see their profiles. He scowled when Dumbledore stood up and left the Great Hall followed by McGonagall.
It was several minutes past midnight and the sky was as black as coal, the only light came from spells being cast from every direction. Screams and spells could be heard all around and explosions would ring out through the air every minute or so. Bellatrix effortlessly slashed her wand through the air as she walked leisurely over the dead bodies that littered the ground. Lifeless faces stared up at the sky, fear or pain etched on all of them. Limbs hung on to bodies by nothing more than muscle tissue or bones. Blood tarnished the ground she walked on as she made her way towards a group of masked Death Eaters. Bellatrix smiled cruelly when she saw twelve crying and screaming Muggles tied together in a circle. The Muggles struggled at the ropes that held them causing laughter to echo around the once peaceful Muggle village.
"Your people once burned us alive," the loud cruel voice of Rabastan rang through Bella's ears. "And now we've come to collect payment for that crime." With a flick of his wrist Rabastan's wand was out and with another flick a jet of fire was shooting towards the giant conjured tree trunk they were tied around. Suddenly the air was filled with blood curdling screams, screams of desperation and agony. Bellatrix watched with glee as the Muggles began to burn, their faces illuminated by the orange flames. The pain they were feeling was almost palpable and the smell of burning flesh filled the air. Jeering and laughing from the Death Eaters was almost as loud as the screams of the tied up Muggles. Behind Bellatrix laid the quiet country village where the remaining Muggles began to run in the opposite direction, the odd looking metal things they had tried to attack the Death Eaters with littering the ground.
"Go get them," Lucius ordered a group of Death Eaters. They immediately ran after the fleeing Muggles as the screams of those dying a fiery death began to wane. Bellatrix grinned at the sight of the flesh melting away from a woman's face, leaving behind a skull which promptly clattered to the ground. The magical fire soon disintegrated the Muggles and the remaining Death Eaters cheered as Bellatrix pointed her wand into the air. Several others pointed their wands into the air emitting green and silver sparks.
"Morsmordre!" Bellatrix bellowed and a green light shot from her wand. The night sky was illuminated by the dark mark floating above the village, a snake slithering through skulls. The cheers of the Death Eaters grew, until more than a dozen pops were heard and jets of red light flew towards them. Bellatrix was immediately alert, she erected a shield and began firing off curses at the red clad aurors. Bellatrix dodged out of the way of several stunners and she had to resist the urge to laugh at the spells the Aurors were sending, it wouldn't do to give her identity away. Some Aurors were against killing if they could help it so they would send stunners and other pathetic spells. Bellatrix was amused by their naivety, a fellow Death Eater could just unstun or unbind them. However, on the occasion you were up against an Auror willing to kill you needed to be on your guard. Bellatrix twirled her wand and sent an Auror back into a stone wall, a loud crack was heard and she smirked from under her mask.
"Stupefy!" A feminine voice shouted and Bellatrix spun around in time to deflect the stunner. Her eyes became alight with a twisted sense of triumph when she recognized the Auror as Nymphadora Tonks. She had seen a picture of her sisters daughter, her niece, not that Bellatrix would ever claim the half blooded blood traitor as a member of her family. Nymphadora Tonks had been an Auror for over a year, and Bellatrix had wanted to meet her during a raid. To kill her traitorous sisters child would be satisfying. Bellatrix wanted the girl to suffer first so she began firing off stunners to Nymphadora's surprise since Death Eaters rarely used stunners, it was only when they wanted to take someone alive. Nymphadora dodged several stunners while sending several of her own.
"Stupefy!" Bellatrix yelled for the sixth time, and it finally hit its target. Bellatrix smiled as her niece fell to the ground, her wand slipping out of her hand.