Hogwarts and the Wolf in the Fold

Voldemort puts a spy into Hogwarts.
Set during the year of the Half-blood Prince.

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16. A First Look at Harry Potter


 A First Look at Harry Potter

The next morning David woke up early and set about planning the day ahead. It was going to be a busy one. He had herbology first thing, followed by charms straight after that. After the morning break there was a double lesson of transfiguration, which spread over either side of the lunch break. A free period followed in the mid-afternoon, but then the day would end with another visit back to the charms classroom.
The most exciting part of this day was that the first lesson would be spent in the company of Harry Potter. He would get to see the object of Voldemort’s interest and to find out one or two things that might prove of interest to the Dark Lord.
He washed and dressed, then collected his school things ready for the lessons ahead. He put the library books, quills, ink and parchment into a shoulder bag and went out to breakfast.
Dusty yawned and gave David a look through one half-open eye, but didn’t bother to follow him this time. David sensed that Dusty had been watching him and also understood that there was no need for the familiar to follow him to every lesson that he took. He was safe enough here in Hogwarts.
David greeted the Hufflepuffs whose names he could remember and nodded to acknowledge some of the others. He also saw Jack and Alice coming into the dining hall from the other side. They waved over at him and he returned the greeting with a smile.
He couldn’t help smiling nowadays. Everyone he had met appeared to really like him and they were all so friendly. He supposed that they were just making more of an effort with him because he was new to the place.
Breakfast was as good as the previous day and David helped himself to second helpings of sausages and bacon.
Susan Bones came over and tapped him on the shoulder, just as he had stuffed the last sausage into his mouth all in one go. David spluttered and tried to say ‘morning’.
“Hi, David. How did you enjoy your first day yesterday?”
He nodded and shrugged his shoulders apologetically and tried to swallow the sausage bit by bit. Susan could see him struggling, so she sat down and waited for him to get his breath back.
When his face had stopped chewing and swallowing she handed him a serviette and said.
“You’ve got egg on your chin.”
David tried to look down at his chin and rubbed vigorously with the tissue. Susan laughed and said.
“Only joking. Are you ready for herbology? We can go together if you like.”
“Yeah that’ll be cool. What’s Professor Sprout like?”
“Oh, she’s nice and she knows everything about magical plants and fungi.”
“Good job.” Said David.
“Otherwise this is going to be a really short lesson.”
They both laughed and Susan led him out of the hall.
As they walked together and chatted about their Care of Magical Creatures homework, Susan pointed out the greenhouses that they would be working in. They still had ten minutes before the lesson began, so she took him into greenhouse one which held the owl-level plants. These were less dangerous than some of those grown in greenhouse two, but not always.
Susan told David about the mandrakes that were grown from seed in greenhouse one and then were transferred into larger pots when the roots had reached baby-sized. These plants were then moved into greenhouse two where security was a lot tighter.
Indeed, when Professor Sprout arrived at greenhouse two she was carrying a huge set of keys that opened the locks on the main door and the restricted areas inside.
“Sorry I’m late.” She wheezed.
“Had to rush round to Hagrid’s to get the spare set of keys. Mine are currently lodged inside a Martian mantrap plant on my windowsill.”
The students all giggled.
“They are excellent plants for keeping valuables safe in, but a bugger when they refuse to open and let you retrieve them.”
The keys jangled in her hand as she located the large brass one that opened the front door. Inside, the air smelled musty and very warm. It was also very humid and there was a low keening noise coming from somewhere at the back.
It was a large greenhouse, comprised of four long glass structures with wooden benches running along their central area. The four structures were side by side and joined by doorways that led from one into the other. You passed from one area into the next through doors that each had a padlock and needed to be opened by Professor Sprout.
The arrangement was such that there were footpaths edged with lawn running down the sides, with wooden tables and seating here and there. From these, people could sit and view the plants inside the greenhouses.
The students gathered around the table in the first greenhouse and waited for Professor sprout to return from unlocking the other doors. There were eighteen people taking advanced herbology and the majority were wearing Gryffindor jumpers under their robes.
David looked around the table and spotted Harry Potter across from him. He was chatting with the girl and red-haired boy that David had seen on the train. David could see now that all three had badges shining on their robes.
“What are those badges?” He asked Susan and nodded towards the three friends.
“The ones with a big ‘P’ on them are prefect’s badges and Harry Potter has the lion badge to show that he is captain of the Gryffindor quidditch team.” She whispered.
He looked back over at them, but the three didn’t notice that they were being observed.
David wondered once again what is was about the Potter boy that had caused Voldemort to go to all this trouble. He didn’t look special in any way.
In his daydreaming, he forgot that he was still staring over at Harry. He came to his senses to find Harry looking directly at him. It took a second for him to realise what he was doing and before he had a chance to blush and look away, Harry grinned at him and then turned to talk to Ron Weasley.
“I suppose you know all about Harry Potter, even in France?” Susan whispered again.
“No.” Said David.
“What’s all the fuss about him?”
Susan looked shocked.
“You don’t know about Harry Potter and you-know-who?”
David looked blankly at her and Susan stared back in disbelief.
“He’s..” She began, but was interrupted by the entrance of Professor Sprout.
The Professor was carrying a large terracotta plant pot that held a three foot tall green plant that was swaying as she trundled along the walkway. She was holding the plant at arm’s length and wearing thick dragon-hide gloves.
As she plonked the plant onto the table there was a slight rattling sound. Professor Sprout dodged a whipping tendril as the plant made to grab her face and she turned to address the class.
“Venomous tentacula.” She said.
“A very dangerous plant and one to watch out for when out climbing in the hills. They like a sunny position and can survive in dry and arid conditions. They are found world-wide, their seeds being spread when the seed pods explode.”
“It used to be thought that the seeds were spread by birds who ate the seed pods, but this is patently ridiculous. Any bird that lands on the plant will be grabbed by tendrils and then poisoned by venomous thorns.” She continued.
“Any bird that managed to swallow one of the seed pods would come to a very nasty explosive end.” She finished by tapping a brown seed pod which ‘banged’ and threw out small torpedo-shaped shaped seeds in all directions.
To the students’ surprise, the seeds began to roll end-over-end. Presumably trying to find a nice place to plant themselves.
“Take a plant pot, dragon dung mixed with grit and then pop one seed in at a depth of about one inch.” Called Professor Sprout above the din of people laughing and trying to catch the seeds.
David looked around the floor for the seed that had bounced off the tip of his nose. He found it and picked it up. The seed was definitely trying to move on its own, so he grasped it between his forefinger and thumb and using his right hand he filled a small pot with smelly dung and thrust the seed into it.
The seed instantly began to bury itself deeper into the dung, using a wriggling action.
‘Weird.’ Thought David.
“What’s the point of these plants?” David asked Professor Sprout.
She gave him an incredulous look and replied.
“The venomous tentacula has many medicinal uses. Its venom is an important ingredient in the wolfsbane potion, used to arrest the development of a werewolf into a full-blown monster.”
“Take down these notes.” She said to the whole class and they all rummaged around in their bags to retrieve quills and parchment.
Professor Sprout then treated them to a twenty-minute presentation on the virtues and uses of the venomous tentacula.
“You were right about her knowing everything about plants.” Whispered David to Susan.
“She must be completely obsessed.”
“Not quite as obsessed as Neville Longbottom.” She replied and nodded over at Neville, who was holding up a magnifying glass to the plant and looking at it in great detail.”
David watched Neville and was filled with admiration at the natural ability that he must have possessed, for dealing with such a dangerous plant.
The rest of the lesson passed very pleasantly, with David and Susan sharing her copy of the reference book. They noted down all the extra information that Professor Sprout gave them and they watched as Neville was given the task of re-potting the plant into a bigger container.
David took an occasional glance over at Harry Potter to see what he was up to, but there was no chance of overhearing what he and his friends were chatting and laughing about. Nobody else seemed to take any interest in David and only Susan could have noticed him, if she had been paying more attention.
Straight after herbology, David and Susan made their way up to the charms corridor and waited outside the classroom for Professor Flitwick to arrive. Most of the students who had been in herbology were also there, but a few had obviously chosen not to carry on to NEWT level and they had disappeared elsewhere. A couple of other students had replaced them, particularly a couple of giggling girls who were talking about a ‘dream diary’ or something. David asked Susan what one of those was.
“It’s just a record you keep off all the dreams that you have every night. It’s used for making predictions about the future. We used them in divination classes.” She answered.
“Oh, I never studied that at Beauxbatons.” Said David, running through a few of the memories that he could access.
Before too long, Professor Flitwick could be seen hurrying up the corridor. His robe tails dragged along the floor behind him and David gave a secret smile to himself.
A quick flick of the wand by the little charms Master made the door fly open and as he moved inside, his swished this way and that. The candles all lit up in their holders and the tables squashed themselves together against the walls at the side of the classroom.
“We’ll be performing practical spells today.” He squeaked.
“Get together into pairs and we will have a go at trying out the ‘persuasion’ charm. Can anyone tell me the incantation that we need to use to perform this spell?”
Immediately, the brown-haired girl that David had met on the train and who was a friend of Harry Potter threw her hand up into the air.
“Yes, miss Grainger?” Asked the Professor.
“Obedius, sir.” She replied.
“Correct. Five points for Gryffindor.” He shouted.
“This spell is a quick way to try to persuade a person do something that you want. It does not force them to do it, as does the ‘imperius’ curse, but makes them more susceptible to agreeing to do it.”
“The imperius curse is of course forbidden by law, but the persuasion charm can be used by anyone. So, what I want you to do is to follow the wand movement that I am doing now.” He moved his wand around in a complicated little figure of eight.
“Then speak the charm and imagine the other person doing something unusual. With any luck we will see someone hopping around like a frog, or pretending to eat an invisible apple. Good luck!”
They broke up into pairs and David naturally went with Susan and they found an empty space in the room and began to practice.
There was a lot of giggling and laughter as the students each thought of something funny that they wanted their partner to do. David wanted to make Susan cluck like a chicken and unbeknownst to him, she wanted to make him get down on one knee and sing an aria.
They each took it in turn to try to persuade the other, but nobody in the room was having much luck. Professor Flitwick went around amongst them and showed them the correct way to move their wand.
Eventually, after twenty minutes of hard toil, everyone turned around at the sound of someone barking loudly. It was Hannah Abbott and her partner Hermione Grainger was smiling widely. There was uproar as Hermione asked Hannah if she was okay and what it felt like, only for Hannah to reply with dog-like barks and yelps.
It didn’t look like Hannah even knew that she was acting so peculiarly. The puzzled look on her face as she tried to talk to other people was causing gales of laughter.
Professor Flitwick chuckled and came to her assistance.
“Very good, miss Grainger. Now stand still, Miss Abbott and I’ll put you right.”
Hannah gazed at him, as if it were he who had something wrong with him.
“Finite incantatem!” He cried and her voice changed in an instant.
“Woof, woof, what’s wrong. I’m speaking perfectly good English.”
There was more laughter and Hermione explained to her that she had been barking and not talking normally.
It was a fun note on which to end the lesson and Professor Flitwick told them to practice the spell ready for the next lesson last thing that afternoon. David had enjoyed himself so much that he had totally forgotten that Harry Potter was also in the class and that he hadn’t made any attempt to listen in on him and his friends.
‘Ah well, we’ve got double transfiguration after the break.’ He thought to himself. ‘I’ll see if I can sit nearer to him.’
Susan suggested that they go to the great hall to get glasses of pumpkin juice and a few cakes and biscuits. David followed her and soon found himself chatting to Colin Creavey, who had just come from a double lesson of divination with Firenze the centaur.
“We were outside this morning lying on our backs and looking at the clouds, trying to find shapes and creatures that might mean something or other.” He told David.
“What are centaurs like?” Asked David.
“They are really amazing.” Replied Colin.
“He looks just like a man, but with a bigger head and shoulders than normal. His horse body is huge, like a carthorse. He has been banished from the herd that lives out in the forest, so he has a room or stable or something down by the south tower.”
They chatted happily through the break period and David told Colin that he’d see him again soon.
Susan grabbed David in time for them to make their way along to the divination classroom. Professor McGonagall was already waiting there for them. She was sat at her table at the front of the classroom, shuffling through a pile of parchments.
She saw the one that she wanted and pulled it out, then waved her wand at the blank chalkboard which immediately filled with text and a drawing of bubbles containing words and joined by arrows. It was something complicated.
“Sit down everyone and be quiet. Welcome back to transfiguration. This year I will be introducing you all to NEWT-level transfiguration spells and methods. We will be integrating charms and potions that you learned during your OWLS, so I hope that you were all paying attention in those subjects too.”
The students all looked around at each other and understood straight away that this year was going to be a difficult one.
David had managed to manoeuvre Susan to a table directly behind Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. An ideal position from which to overhear anything that might be said.
Pleased with this little piece of luck, he took out his parchment, quill and ink and began to copy down the information that was written on the board. At the same time, Professor McGonagall outlined the forthcoming term’s objectives.
It turned out that the figures on the board were the subjects that would be taught and how they linked together to provide an overall framework for understanding how advanced transfiguration is achieved.
David had thought that they would be simply learning more complicated spells that would allow them to transfigure bigger and bigger animals, but it turned out that transfiguration was a lot more complex than that.
“We will also be learning how to transfigure using non-verbal spells.” She carried on.
“So there will be less wand-waving and shouting going on and there will be a lot more concentration and application of spellwork.”
There were groans all around and so it was that the lesson began.
David listened carefully as Professor McGonagall talked, but he also tried his hardest to catch any conversation between Harry Potter and his friends.
He didn’t get much joy that lesson, but he crossed his fingers and hoped that there might be something during the second lesson after lunch.
However, his luck wasn’t in that day. After an excellent lunch sat at the side of Susan, he had sat through the next transfiguration lesson and the following charms lesson and heard nothing from the three Gryffindors at all.
He went back to his room later that day to check if Dusty was alright and was cheered up by the greeting that he received. Dusty sped over to him as soon as he opened the door and started to peck happily at his ear.
He tickled Dusty under the beak and told him all about the day he had just had. He didn’t know why he was talking to the familiar in this way, but somehow thought that he might understand.
He suddenly noticed that there were a number of packages on his desk. They must have been delivered while he was in class earlier. He went over and opened them up. It was the book order from Flourish and Blotts.
He lined the books up on the desk and threw the wrapping parchment into the waste paper bin. There was a small crisis when his new monster book of monsters woke up and made a bid for freedom, forcing David to stamp on top of it and tie it shut with a cord from the curtains. He then took Dusty with him into the Hufflepuff common room and sat down in one of the flowery armchairs near a window.
Once again, he hadn’t been there too long before Susan Bones had found him and joined him in enjoying the view out into the garden. They were fast becoming friends together.
Susan told him that she was finding it hard to concentrate in class because of what had happened over the summer.
“Why what happened?” David asked her.
She gave him a shocked look and then seemed to understand that he probably would not have heard about it, with him living in France of course.
“My aunt Amelia.” She began, but stuttered and became upset.
“I’m sorry, Susan. I didn’t mean to upset you.” He said with a note of concern in his voice.
“She was killed by you-know-who.” She managed to say and wiped away the tears forming in her eyes.
David looked at her blankly.
“You-know-who?”
“You don’t know who he is?” Susan looked at him in disbelief.
“You know. Haven’t you heard of him in France?”
David felt awkward and a little unnerved. Was this something that he really should know?
Susan looked deep into his eyes and whispered.
“He-who-must-not-be-named?” She looked at him in despair, then gulped and then in a hushed whisper said.
“Lord Voldemort.”

 

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