Harry and his friends were eager to start classes again, once again to learn and practice magic. One of their first classes was the Defence against the Dark Arts with their new teacher Professor Smead. There was nothing particularly striking about the Professor, an average man, average height, average weight, just average. When they thought back to their previous teachers he was a little disappointing. But, Harry thought, he knows how to fly, remembering the Professor from their Quidditch match.
The lesson was an update on one of their very first ones, only this time there were piles of feathers in front of each student.
Professor Smead explained
‘In your first year you learnt to raise one feather with the spell Wingardium Leviosa.
I now wanted them to raise all the feathers in front of you using the same spell but without speaking. Use your wands to indicate the movement and direction you want the feathers to go but only think the spell. Magic is like a second language, your incantations need to come directly from your mind’
The class took out their wands and started to gesture and point at the feathers. The feathers sat their ignoring all the efforts much to the amusement of the Professor. In fact such were the actions and face pulling of his students; he fell off his chair he was laughing so hard.
He did manage to congratulate the only student to successfully manage the spell between hiccups and bouts of laughter. Hermione of course had managed the spell with little effort, her feathers floating above her head in a gently rotating circle.
Before the end of the class, all the students had managed the feat and had thoroughly enjoyed sending the feathers aloft, shooting them at each other, before dumping the lot over the Professor who took it all in great humour and was an instant success with the class.
As they left, all talking loudly and at the same time a cry went up from the courtyard.
As one they rushed down the stairs, through the corridors, joined by other students as they crowded out of their classrooms, pushing and shoving to get outside to see what the commotion was.
A gigantic flying house, drawn by a dozen winged golden horses as large as elephants, flew through the air towards the castle. Its once immaculate powder blue extra was scorched in many places. As the horses hooves touched the ground with a giant crash the courtyard was flooded with magical light and teachers appeared all around the square, along the balconies and grounds, wands at the ready, alerted to the unannounced and unscheduled visit my the castle’s defences, renewed and enhanced during the rebuild. As the carriage landed, its golden wheels showing more signs of damage the horses snorted and pawed at the ground. Hagrid rushed out into the square ignoring the angry shout from Professor McGonagall and quickly calmed the horses, his giant size a match for theirs. As soon as the carriage had settled, out leaped Fleur Delacour, not waiting for the steps to be in place such was her urgency. She looked around widely until she spotted Professor McGonagall. All strength seemed to leave her, her shoulders sagged and she started to shake and sob. Other girls and boys dressed in the Beauxbatons uniform started to emerge from the carriage, all were unkempt and dishevelled, a million miles away from the immaculate image and pose they had displayed during the TriWizard Tournament.
The Professor quickly took charge
‘Professor Flit, Mrs Jones, take them through to the dining hall and see if we can get them something to eat. Fleur come with me’
As the Professor put her arm around Fleur’s shoulders she spied Harry, Hermione and Ron in the crowd.
‘I suppose you three had better come too, where I can keep an eye on you’
Ushering the four young wizards and witches in front of her, Professor McGonagall herded them through the corridors to an empty classroom, where a big pot of tea and a plate of sandwiches were already waiting on the table. Ron went straight over and helped himself, stopping with half a sandwich in his mouth
‘What?’ he said, his voice muffled by the food
Hermione turned to the others
‘Why is he ALWAYS eating?’
Even Fleur managed a thin smile at her incredulous tone.
‘Bill’s the same’ she said fondly.
Once they were all seated, cups of steaming tea in front of them, Fleur told them why she has arrived in such dramatic fashion.
‘When Madam Maxime learned that Voldermort was gathering his forces to attack Hogwarts she pulled together the strongest of us to join you and fight him. But before we could leave, the Wizards of Durmstrangs, together with Goblins arrived during the night and took us all prisoner. We were unable to come to your aid, we’re so sorry.’
Fleur’s voice broke at the last and she quickly took a sip of tea to regain her composure.
‘For the last year we have been held prisoner within the walls of the Academy then this morning they were gone, and they took the Witches’ Eye with them’
‘aww that’s gross, what would that want with a witches’ eye?
‘It’s not that kind of eye’ informed the Professor, her thoughts clearly turning over the problem.
‘I think we should let Fleur get some rest then all meet in my office in an hour, I need some time to think’
She raised her hands to forestall the arguments that tumbled out of lips of all gathered there.
‘I know you are all keen to run off and help but no one, I repeat NO ONE, is to leave the school or do anything other than come to my study in an hour. AM I CLEAR?’
The Professor gave a stern look to each and every one of them, waiting for them to nod their acknowledgement before fixing her stare to the next.
All squirmed under her gaze, with Harry and Ron colouring a little with guilt whilst they tried to look innocent of any such thoughts.
Satisfied the Professor swept out the room, leaving behind a hubbub of noise as they began to ask more questions of Fleur. Ron helped himself to another sandwich.