Harry Potter pushed his glasses up his nose and read the piece of paper in front of him. "Describe using diagrams where appropriate the correct way to operate a kettle." This was the first question of his muggle studies test. He dipped his quill into the ink and carefully wrote his name at the top. He looked at the question again and then underlined his name. He tried to draw a kettle. It ended up looking like an orange. He added a handle. Now it looked like a suitcase. He added a couple of arrows and a few helpful words saying things like "button" and "pour water in here." He looked under the paper to carry on looking at the graffiti on the table. Someone, he didn't know who, had scratched a crude picture of Professor Snape on the desk. This graffiti moved though. Whenever he lifted up the paper, Snape started dancing around the desk and putting his tongue out at him. It certainly brightened up an otherwise dull lecture though!
He looked up at Professor Crippel. He was quite different to any of their other teachers. He was dressed in white trainers, stone washed jeans and a football top. He also had a baseball cap on backwards. His long white hair was tied in plats down his back. He was grinning at them from the front of the classroom. His desk was covered in all sorts of junk, from kettles to phones.
"This question won't be in your test," said the Professor, leaning nonchalantly on his desk, whilst trying to fix something into his ear. "But it does give you a good idea of what to expect."
"If it won't be in the test," whispered Ron to Harry, "what is the point of us being here?"
Professor Crippel turned to face Harry and Ron. "This is a study session, your muggle exam is in three weeks time and if you are going to whisper have a care not to do it when I am trying out a hearing aid!"
Hermione's hand shot up. "Sir!" She shouted. Professor Crippel leapt to his feet and pulled his hearing aid from his ear.
"Please don't shout at me!"
"Sorry sir. I just wanted to know how much of the final result is the test based on?"
"Fifty percent of the final mark is on the test, twenty five percent is on coursework, and the final twenty five percent is on a presentation on muggle theatre you all have to give."
Harry, who had been looking at the picture of Snape doing the can can, shot to attention at this. "What presentation is this?"
Ron who was sitting next to him, also looked up at this. Harry looked over at him and mouthed. "Did you know about this?" He shook his head at him. He looked over at Hermione who stared at the ceiling and shook her head.
"I'm sure I gave you the notes on it last week," said Professor Crippel. He scratched his head, dislodging his baseball cap, and looking at his desk. "Oh just a minute, they are here under these deeveedee players!" He pulled the notes out, dusted the biscuit crumbs off them and handed them out, whilst walking round the classroom. "It only needs to be a five minute piece of theatre or even a muggle magic show, but don't cheat in it! I'll be keeping all wands at the front! Sleight of hand only!"
"What's the point of that, sir?" Asked Ron, putting his hand up and talking at the same time. "We've been taught proper magic for years."
"If you want to understand the muggles you have to become a muggle. Just convince me for five minutes, that you are a muggle."
"What sort of presentation?" Asked Harry.
Professor Crippel shook his head. "Haven't you been paying attention in any of my lessons?"
Harry looked over at Ron who shook his head.
Professor Crippel looked over at Harry and used his slow voice he reserved for the terminally thick or for muggles. "We've got a day trip to Oxford tomorrow to collect muggle items for the presentation. Wear your muggle clothes."
Hermione put her hand up. "How are we getting to Oxford sir?"
Professor Crippel, put his hand to his face. "Don't any of you pay attention? It was in my notes, the ones I've just given you. Meet here at 1pm tomorrow. Class dismissed."
Harry marched out of the classroom. Oxford? Tomorrow? He had jeans and t-shirt. He wasn't bothered about looking like a muggle. The rest of his class though? Half of the class came from wizarding families; he dreaded to think what they would look like. He'd seen what some of the wizarding community had looked like at the Quidditch world cup. He gave a small smile. Most of them looked more out of place in muggle clothes than they would do in their robes. Ron and Hermione ran to his side.
"Wait up, Harry, where are you going?" Said Ron.
"Double potions, if you hadn't forgotten?" Said Harry, looking curiously at Ron. "Are you sure that forgetfulness spell Malfoy cast on you last night isn't still working?"
"What forgetfulness spell?" Said Ron. "That reminds me, where is that sneaky so and so beetling off to?" It was true. Malfoy was looking very thoughtful and whispering to Crabbe and Goyle as they left. Whatever it was Malfoy was saying it seemed to cause no end of amusement to his friends. Probably looking for someone else to bully.
They walked through the corridors. The pictures in the corridor were all empty? Harry and Ron were just commenting on this when they saw the final picture. It was a picture of a big feast and all the characters from the paintings were eating and having fun. Harry saw the Fat Lady there, who normally stood guard over the Gryffindor common room. She raised a hand in greeting to them, whilst finishing off a roast turkey with the other hand.
"So that's how she keeps her figure," said Hermione primly. "Come on we had better hurry before the stairs change again!" She stopped in front of them. The stairs had just moved to the next floor. Malfoy, Goyle and Crabbe were grinning at them from the other side of the hallway, from which the stairs had just been moved. Malfoy got out his wand and touched it to the doorway he was in and muttered an incantation. The doorway seemed to fade in color. The staircases seemed to avoid that doorway now.
"Sorry about that Potter!" Shouted Malfoy across the chasm. "I know how you hate to miss Potions." He looked suddenly worried. "Gosh I hope Snape doesn't punish you all for this? I mean if he docks you 40 points Slytherin would be in the lead!" Crabbe and Goyle started laughing and they all disappeared into the gloom of the corridor.
"That complete git!" Said Ron, waving his wand threateningly at the retreating backs of Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle. "Explodio custardo!" A custard pie erupted from Ron's wand and exploded messily over Harry, Ron and Hermione.
"Ron!" Shouted Harry and Hermione together.
"Sorry," said Ron, wiping custard from his face. "Fred and George told me that one. No wonder they asked me to not try it when they were about."
Harry and Hermione wiped the custard from the faces and looked at the edge of the hallway. All around them they could see the magical stairs changing levels and moving from door to door.
Hermione looked at her watch. It started squeaking at her. "Late! You are late for Potions! Run! Run!" Hermione looked at the staircase below them.
"We'll have to jump," said Hermione.
"Jump!" Said Harry. He looked down about one hundred foot straight down. Of course there was not much chance of hitting the floor, they would probably be smacked by a moving staircase before that.
"You've been higher than this in Quidditch?" Said Hermione.
Harry looked at Ron, he also looked nervous. "Hermione we were flying on brooms at the time."
"Have you any better ideas?" Said Hermione.
This was stupid. Harry took five steps back. Steeled himself and ran at the gap…
Hermione shouted. "No Harry, don't!"
His arms held out in front of him he managed to grab the edge of the doorframe. The breath was knocked out him and a quill from his bag fell out and fluttered down to the ground. He had done it! He clambered up, wheezing and holding his sides where they had been bruised.
"Harry you idiot, you might have been killed!" Shouted Hermione from the other side of the chasm. Her face was a mixture of relief that he had survived and annoyance that he had tried it in the first place.
Harry still couldn't talk, because he was winded.
Hermione got out her wand and said "Jumporium jumporus," and pointed it at her feet. She then leapt easily across the chasm and landed next to Harry.
"Are you sure when Malfoy hit Ron with that forgetful spell he didn't get you as well?"
"I forgot about that one," Harry managed to whisper out.
"Evidently." She turned round to face Ron, who was looking at them in round-eyed amazement. "Come on Ron, just say the spell and jump!"
Ron pointed his wand at his feet. "Jumporium jumporus." Ron took a couple of steps back and leapt across the gap, straight into Harry and Hermione. Harry was sent flying into an old suit of armor that clattered noisily to the ground.
"Sorry Harry, sorry Hermione!" Said Ron, holding Hermione's hand to help her to her feet. He was taking a bit too long about it as well, thought Harry.
Coughing slightly Harry got his feet. With a clanking sound the suit of armor, muttering muffled medieval curses clambered back onto its stand.
"Come on boys! We've got to go!" Hermione ran down the corridor, leaving a slightly bemused looking Ron and Harry.
"Girls." Said Ron looking at Hermione and then ran after her. Harry, his breathing back to normal now ran after Ron.
Why were they running for one of Snape's lessons? Oh, yes, they didn't want to be late.
They ran down the corridor and through the black door that was the entrance to Snape's lesson. Harry tore into the lesson and sat down next to Ron.
Snape was at the front of the class. His lip curled up (for a moment Harry thought he was about to sing like the graffiti Snape) "Potter, glad you could make it. I thought you were too busy giving interviews to your fans to pay attention to classes."
"Sorry sir," Harry mumbled. Why did he always pick on him? Ron and Hermione were just as late.
"All three of you late? I'm docking you ten points each of Gryffindor," hissed Snape.
Harry hated himself for thinking that last thought. He knew it would do no good but he would have to say something. "Sir, Malfoy stopped the staircase to this room."
Snape turned to look at Harry, his eyes glittering. "What did you say?"
"It was Malfoy he…"
"The magic required to stop the staircase in Hogwarts is powerful dark magic. It is way beyond your level. I will not hear these excuses. You are docked another ten points for making up such foul rubbish. You will also have a detention where I will teach to tell lies against your classmates."