Dawn arrived at breakfast the next morning with the braid gone from her hair. She had it tied back in a pony tail, with Malfoy’s wand still stuck in it. It attracted a few looks from other students as she passed, but no one made any comments about it. She, Hermione and Ginny joined Harry and Ron at the Gryffindor table.
Harry looked at the wand in Dawn’s hair. “You do know he isn’t going to apologize don’t you?”
“I do consider that to be a fairly low probability event,” said Dawn.
“He’s going to try some other way to get it back…and he isn’t going to be nice about it.”
“I’m not too worried about what he can do without his wand.”
“He’s got friends too, you know,” said Harry.
“You mean those two gorillas who are always with him?” asked Dawn. “Though I suppose I shouldn’t insult gorillas like that.”
Ron laughed. “Crabbe and Goyle, and you’re right: gorillas are smarter, better looking, and don’t smell as bad.”
“Gorillas won’t curse you in the back, either,” said Harry.
“Hey, I’m from Sunnydale,” said Dawn. “I’m used to watching my back.”
Professor McGonagall came down the table at the end of breakfast, handing out class schedules to students. She frowned slightly at the wand in Dawn’s hair but she didn’t make any comment about it either. She handed Dawn her schedule. “Summers, your schedule is a little out of the ordinary. If you have any questions, come see me before your first class.”
“Yes, Professor,” said Dawn. McGonagall continued down the table. Dawn unrolled her schedule and looked at it. She saw that her Defence Against the Dark Arts class was marked as being taken with Gryffindor, but her fourth year classes were being taken with different houses. She was taking Transfiguration with Hufflepuff, and Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures with Ravenclaw and Slytherin. There was no indication which houses she was taking Potions, Muggle Studies or Ancient Runes with. She glanced at Hermione’s schedule and saw that she had those three classes at the same times as her though. “So why isn’t the house indicated for these three?” she asked.
“Because there’s only the one class,” said Hermione. “There aren’t enough students taking them to teach them separately. All houses take them together…though you won’t find any Slytherins in Muggle Studies.”
Harry took a look at Dawn’s schedule. “So, we’ve got Defence Against the Dark Arts together this morning, and then we don’t see each other for the rest of the day.”
“There’s always lunch,” said Dawn, “And the morning and afternoon breaks, and Hermione and I have Ancient Runes together this afternoon.”
They finished their breakfasts and returned to Gryffindor tower long enough to collect the books they’d need for their morning classes. They arrived at the DADA classroom shortly before class was due to begin. The door was open so they went in. About half the class was already there and Dawn found she recognized most of them, either from the train or the near slumber party that had taken place in her dorm room last night.
They found themselves seats. Dawn sat in between Harry and Ron, and Hermione sat on the other side of Ron.
Professor Lupin entered the class at eight sharp. “Good morning.”
A chorus of “good mornings” answered Lupin as he moved to the front of the class. Dawn had a look around and saw that everyone seemed genuinely happy to see him.
Lupin leaned against the front of his desk. “Well, I’ve been looking over your test results, and reports from the last two years, and I see that you have received an excellent introduction to counter curses, and the theory of defensive magic, and I have heard that most of you have taken matters into your own hands and taught yourselves more than just the theory.”
A chuckle went around the room, and several people glanced toward Harry.
“This year we are going to be going into more advanced defensive magic. You are going to learn more about the Unforgivables, and how to counter them. You are also going to learn some offensive magic, for, as one Muggle once put it: the best defence is a good offence. Be warned though, there will be no tolerance for the use of offensive spells outside of the classroom.
“We are also going to be starting the study of some of the more dangerous Dark Creatures this year. Those creatures that are sometimes referred to as demons. Some of you will find that we have an excellent resource with us this year on that subject.
“As you all know, I am a werewolf, so there will be a couple of days each month when I will be unable to teach the class. The Wolfsbane Potion I take to keep myself from trying to kill you all, leaves me too ill during the day to teach. For those days I have arranged to have some guest lecturers come in. Some will be Aurors from the Ministry of Magic, others will be something of a surprise, but I am sure that you will find them most educational.”
Professor Lupin looked at the eager faces of his students. “So, to begin with a little review. Who can tell me one of the basic defensive spells?”
Hands went up all around Dawn. She glanced around, feeling rather conspicuous about the fact that she seemed to be the only one who didn’t have a hand up. “Neville?” asked Lupin
“Expeliarmus, to disarm them.”
“And another?” He pointed to one of the girls. “Lavender?”
“Impedimentia, to stop an attack.”
“Incantum Reverto, to deflect hexes.”
“Very good.” Lupin went around the class, getting a defensive spell from just about everyone. Dawn was starting to wonder if she belonged there.
Lupin stopped asking for spells. “All right everyone. It’s been a few months since you’ve had a chance to practice. Let’s divide up into pairs, and try out some of those spells. We’ll start with Expeliarmus.”
Harry paired up with Dawn. She was looking very uncertain. “Don’t worry about it,” he told her. “This is an easy one, you can do it no problem. Just point your wand at mine, and say ‘Expeliarmus!’” He held his wand loosely in front of him.
“Okay…” Dawn aimed her wand. “Expeliarmus!”
Harry’s wand flew out of his hand, and bounced off the ceiling. Dawn smiled, feeling pleased with herself. “Hey, it worked!”
Harry shook his hand. His fingers were stinging a bit. “Yep. It worked.” He recovered his wand.
Lupin had been watching them. “Very well done, Dawn. Now, an important part of this spell is being able to do it quickly. Your opponent isn’t usually going to just stand there while you disarm him, so this time, when I say ‘go’ I want you and Harry to attempt to disarm each other. Are you ready?”
Dawn and Harry held up their wands and nodded.
“Expeliar—!” Dawn’s wand went flying from her hand. Harry had finished the spell first.
“Excellent!” Lupin recovered Dawn’s wand.
“Excellent?” asked Dawn.
Lupin smiled. “I think you’ll find that most of this class would do well to get out two syllables of that spell against Harry.” He looked around and saw that Neville, Ron and Hermione were practising as a trio, since there were an odd number of students in the class. After watching them for a moment he called Neville over. “Neville, I think you and Dawn are pretty evenly matched. Harry, why don’t you work with them, while I go check the rest of the class?”
Professor Lupin was right. The first time Neville and Dawn tried to disarm each other he lost his wand. The second time they managed to disarm each other.
After five minutes Lupin called a halt, and they moved on to other spells. Dawn stayed partnered with Neville, with Harry demonstrating the spells and coaching her while Professor Lupin worked with the rest of the class.
By the time the class had ended Dawn was feeling better about her place in it. She was performing many of the spells just as well as the rest of her classmates. Professor Lupin assigned them a twenty-four inch essay on the appropriate use of defensive magic, and ‘suggested’ that they review chapter seven of Curse and Counter-Curse before their next class. Dawn knew that the suggestion was mostly aimed at her, since she hadn’t even read it a first time yet.
Dawn’s next class was Herbology, with the fourth year Ravenclaws and Slytherins. Harry and the others had Charms next, so she made her way to the greenhouses on her own. She found that the students who had arrived ahead of her were gathered into two distinct groups. She had made a point of looking over the fourth year kids at the Ravenclaw table at breakfast, so she was able to identify which group was which. She went up to the Ravenclaw group, feeling very conspicuous. She was a head taller than most of them. “Hi guys! Looks like I’m going to be in your class this year. I’m Dawn Summers.”
“Um, are you sure you’re in the right place?” asked one of the boys. “You look a little old for this class.”
“And you’re in Gryffindor,” said one of the girls.
“Yeah, well, I got a late start at this magic thing,” said Dawn. “So I’m taking some fourth year classes, and they couldn’t fit the fourth year Gryffindor classes into my schedule, so I’m taking Herbology, and Care of Magical Creatures with you guys.”
Another guy was looking at the wand in Dawn’s hair. “Did you really use the Imperius Curse to make Malfoy give you his wand?” he whispered.
“What?” asked Dawn. “No! I just slammed the compartment door closed on his wrist to make him drop it.”
“Oh!” said a girl. “What spell did you use for that?”
“No spell,” said Dawn. “Just my hand on the door.”
“You didn’t use magic at all?”
“Nope. Just quick reflexes and muscles.” Several of the students were looking at Dawn like she’d grown a second head or something. “What? like you can’t do anything without magic?”
“No!” said one of the girls. “It’s just that against Malfoy…He’s known to be pretty quick with a curse, usually in the back.”
“Well, that’s pretty much how this started. He tried to curse me in the back.”
They kept talking, getting acquainted, until Professor Sprout arrived. She quickly called the class to order, and escorted them into a greenhouse. There was a long table in the centre on which Dawn could see about twenty potted Devil’s Snare plants. She had gotten to be quite familiar with them over the two weeks she had spent there that summer. Part of each of her Herbology lessons with Professor Sprout had been spent helping her care for them. They had grown quite a bit more during the week she’d been away.
Professor Sprout had them take up positions on either side of the table. Dawn took a spot at one end on the Ravenclaw side, while the Slytherins took positions on the other. Everyone had a plant in front of them. Dawn looked down the table: no one was actually trying to touch the plants, either because they knew what they were, or they knew better than to touch an unfamiliar plant in here.
Professor Sprout stood at the end of the table. “Can anyone tell me what these plants are?”
Half a dozen students, on both sides of the table, raised their hands, including Dawn. Professor Sprout pointed to a red headed Slytherin girl. “Sandra?”
“Devil’s Snare, Professor.”
“Correct! Five points for Slytherin. Now who can tell us something about it?” More hands were raised. Professor Sprout selected the Ravenclaw boy who had asked Dawn if she was in the right place. “Mark?”
“Devil’s Snare is a carnivorous plant that grabs its victims with strong tendrils. It holds them fast, and strangles them.”
“Very good! Five points for Ravenclaw. What should you do if you are captured by a Devil’s Snare?” Sprout selected another of the Slytherins. “Eric?”
“The Devil’s Snare is afraid of fire. It will release whatever it has hold of if you produce a flame from your wand.”
“Excellent!” said Sprout. “Another five points for Slytherin! Now, what do you do if the plant has grabbed you in such a way as to keep you from your wand?”
There weren’t nearly as many hands in the air now. Professor Sprout selected Dawn.
“If you relax and don’t struggle the plant may relax its hold on you enough that you can pull free, or reach your wand.”
“Correct! Five points for Gryffindor! The operative word of course was ‘may.’ There is no guarantee that it will do so. Some of these plants are quite tenacious.
“Now, when I tell you to begin, I want each of you to take your wand in hand, and with your other hand reach out and touch the Devil’s Snare in front of you. Let it grab hold of your hand. Try to relax, and when the plant releases its hold on you, try to pull free. You must not pull away too soon, and you must pull quickly when the opportunity comes, or the plant will grab hold of you even more strongly. Do not use an Incendio charm to create a flame from your wand unless you have not been able to pull free before your hand starts to become numb. It is not necessary to touch the flame to the plant. Just bringing the flame close is sufficient. I will deduct points for any singed plants. You may begin.”
Dawn drew her wand and held it ready. She reached out with her left hand and tickled the Devil’s Snare plant in front of her. Its tendrils whipped out and wrapped tightly around her hand. She wasn’t the least bit worried. She had done this several times already.
Dawn relaxed her arm, letting the Devil’s Snare just hold her while she looked at the other students around her. Most of them had been much slower about letting the plant get hold of them.
The plant started to relax its hold on her, but Dawn didn’t pull away. She kept watching the students around her. The girl to her right—Laurie Davis—tried to pull away too soon, before the Devil’s Snare had really let go of her, and she suddenly found she had twice as many tendrils wrapped around her hand.
Dawn kept waiting, letting the plant relax even more. When she felt the last of the tendrils release its hold on her, she snatched her hand away. Tendrils whipped after it, and nearly caught her again before she was out of range.
Dawn looked at Laurie’s hand. She could see that the plant was starting to relax again. “Wait,” she said. “You have to wait until it has really let go of you.”
Dawn heard someone say “Incendio!” and looked down the table. One of the Slytherin boys had blue flames coming from the end of his wand, and he moved it toward the plant in front of him. He snatched his hand away as soon as the plant let go of him, and stepped back from the table. He shook his hand, and flexed his fingers to try and get the circulation going again.
Dawn looked back at Laurie’s hand. One finger that had a small tendril wrapped tightly around it was looking kind of purple, but the rest of them looked okay. The other tendrils wrapped around Laurie’s hand were looking pretty limp. “Wait a bit longer,” she told Laurie. “Let it let go of that finger. … Okay. …” Dawn could see the purple fading. “… Now!”
Laurie yanked her hand away from the plant. Tendrils whipped at her, but they only caught air. “Thanks!”
“No problem,” said Dawn.
“So how did you become such a Devil’s Snare expert?” asked Laurie.
“I spent two weeks here this summer, helping Professor Sprout take care of them while I got a crash course in the basics. Devil’s Snare is about the only plant I am an expert on. If you ever want to kill a house plant, ask me to take care of it for a couple of weeks.”
Dawn looked across the table. The Slytherin boy opposite her had somehow managed to get both his hands captured by the Devil’s Snare, and he’d dropped his wand. His hands were turning purple. She looked and saw that Professor Sprout was occupied at the far end of the table. “Would you like some help with that?” she asked.
He looked embarrassed. “Would you?”
“No problem.” Dawn raised her wand. “Incendio!” A blue flame appeared at the tip of it. She brought it down close to the plant and it suddenly released the boy’s hands and curled up into a ball.
The boy rubbed his wrists. “Thanks.” He bent down to pick up his wand off the floor.
“You’re welcome.” Dawn held her hand out across the table…being careful to keep it out of the plants’ range. “Dawn Summers.”
“Rob Harding.” He shook her hand. “So, did you really break Malfoy’s wrist?”
“No!” said Dawn. “I might have bruised it a bit.”
“Oh…too bad. I knew that story was too good to be true,” said Rob. “My first year here, he got scratched by a Hippogriff. To hear him tell it the beast nearly killed him. He spent the next two months malingering.”
“So, I take it you aren’t a member of the Draco Malfoy fan club?” asked Dawn.
“Not all Slytherins are useless gits,” said Laurie. “One or two are decent human beings.”
“And some of us are so sneaky and conniving that we can convince pretty and smart Ravenclaw girls that we’re nice, clumsy guys who got put into Slytherin by some cruel twist of fate.” Rob smiled at Laurie.
“You will also find that quite a few of the younger Slytherins are not fond of Draco Malfoy,” said Laurie. “He doesn’t limit who he picks on to just the members of the other houses. You made a lot of friends yesterday…and a lot of enemies.” She nodded at one of the Slytherins farther up the table. “Eric Hamelin there has started a pool, on just how long it takes for Malfoy and his friends to take his wand back.”
Dawn gave Eric a look, while she let the Devil’s Snare in front of her take hold of her hand again. “What sort of odds is he giving on ‘never’?”
“You expect to hold onto it forever?” asked Rob.
“No,” said Dawn. “I figure some teacher will ask for it before things get too out of hand. I was really expecting Professor Snape to ask for it last night. I also expect at least one attempt by Malfoy to take his wand back before the end of the week.” Dawn grinned. “I do not expect it to succeed.” The Devil’s Snare had relaxed its hold on her again, and she pulled her hand back.
Dawn left the Great Hall after lunch and headed across the lawn toward Hagrid’s hut for her first Care of Magical Creatures class. She saw Eric Hamelin up ahead laughing with some of the other Slytherin boys. She ran to catch up with him. “Hey Eric! What’s the close date on your pool?”
Eric frowned at her. “What do you mean?”
“Your pool on how long it takes Malfoy and his friends to take back his wand. There has to be an end date. What is it?”
“End of classes on Friday,” said Eric. “But no one expects it to go that long.”
“Anyone expecting him to get it back by apologizing?”
“And how much does it cost to get in?”
“And what does the winner get?”
“Nine tenths of the pot,” said Eric. “Split among those who picked the same time. The pot is currently ten Galleons and six Sickles.”
“Fine.” Dawn looked at Eric’s friends. “Could you guys give us some privacy to conduct a little business?” They looked at Eric for a moment and he nodded at them. They continued on their way without them. Dawn pulled a Sickle out of her pocket and held it up. “This says I still have Malfoy’s wand at the end of classes on Friday, or he’ll have apologized.”
Eric looked at Dawn for a moment. “Alright.” He pulled a notepad from his pocket and made a note in it. He gave the book to Dawn and she saw that he’d written: Wand Pool, 4:00 PM Friday: Malfoy’s wand still in Summers’ possession, or Malfoy apologizes — Dawn Summers. “Initial at the bottom,” he told her.
Dawn took his quill and initialled the page. She handed the book back, and gave him her Sickle. Eric wrote Payment received, initialled that and ripped the page from the book and gave it to her. She saw that the page below had a copy of what they’d written on it.
“Thanks,” said Dawn. “Oh, by the way, Have Crabbe and Goyle entered your pool yet?”
Eric looked at her. “Not yet.”
“I’ll give you a Galleon if they do, and you tell me what time they pick.”
“I’ll consider your offer,” said Eric.
“Thanks!” said Dawn. “Let’s go see what Hagrid has for us, shall we?”
Dawn and Eric were among the last students to arrive outside Hagrid’s hut. Eric rejoined his group of friends, and Dawn joined Laurie and Rob. Hagrid led everyone around to the paddock behind his hut, and Dawn thought that they were going to be getting a lesson on Hippogriffs, but she saw that Buckbeak was off in the far corner, ripping strips of meat off the carcass of some creature. At the front of the paddock, near Hagrid’s hut, was a herd of small, deer-like animals. Several of the students gasped when they saw them.
“All righ’ then!” said Hagrid. “I can see tha’ some of you know what these are. Who can tell tha res’ o’ the class?”
Several hands went up, including Rob Harding’s. Hagrid chose him. “They’re Trivets!”
“Tha’s right,” said Hagrid. “Now who can tell us sumat about ’em?”
“They’re an endangered species,” said Laurie. “It’s illegal to keep them in captivity.” There was a note of accusation in her voice. Hagrid was well known for skirting around the laws dealing with the keeping of magical creatures.
“Tha’s why these aren’t in captivity,” said Hagrid. “Hogwarts is on the southern border of the Scottish Trivet Reserve. These here are wild Trivets.”
“Why are they still here then,” asked Eric. “Trivets are notoriously shy, and usually flee at the first sign of people being around.”
“They don’ run ’cause they know me, an’ they trust me,” said Hagrid. “If I warn’t here, you wouldn’t see hide nor hair o’ them. So, why are Trivets endangered?”
“Trivet horn is an ingredient in many potions, especially aphrodisiacs,” said Sandra. “But removing their horns kills them.”
“Tha’s right,” said Hagrid. “What else?”
“Trivets can apparate anywhere, even Hogwarts,” said Rob. “They just have to know someone at wherever they’re going to, so a lot were captured to try train as messengers, but only about one in ten was trainable, and the others quickly died in captivity.”
“Tha’s right,” said Hagrid. “Trivets do not take to bein’ domesticated. The measures you have to take to keep a captive Trivet captive are harsh. Firs’ chance they get, and they just disapparate away on you, so most captive Trivets die before they can be trained.”
Dawn leaned against the fence, looking at the Trivets. “They’re beautiful.” She watched one small Trivet, about three feet tall, break away from the herd and gambol over toward her. She held out a hand, and the Trivet nuzzled it. She looked at the triangle of golden horns coming out of its forehead.
“Well now, tha’s unusual,” said Hagrid. “Trivets don’ generally take a likin’ to someone so quickly.”
“I guess this little fella just has good taste,” Dawn scratched behind the Trivet’s ear. “Don’t you fella?”
“Tha’ there’s a filly, not a fella,” said Hagrid. “Yer can tell from the arrangement of tha horns. Male Trivets ha’ one horn on top, an’ two on tha bottom. Female Trivets are tha t’other way ’round.”
Some of the other students approached the fence, and the Trivet suddenly vanished, with a loud crack! It seemed to echo from across the field. “What happened?” asked Dawn.
“She apparated.” Hagrid pointed to where the echo seemed to have come from. “There she is o’er there.” The little Trivet was at the far side of the paddock, not too far from Buckbeak. It galloped back toward the herd.
“Alrigh’ then!” said Hagrid. “Trivet’s are one magical creature tha’s been nearly driven to extinction by wizards. Can someone name another?”
Nearly every hand in the class went into the air.
|Chapter 23: Apology Requested||Contents||Chapter 25: Quidditch Practice|