Urian tried, he really tried, but he couldn't shake Patience. "Go away!" he told her for the ninth or tenth time as she pushed their desks together and opened 'A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration' between them.

"Stop being so stupid." she answered calmly. "You need a friend don't you?"

That silenced him. He surely did, but if Grandfather heard he was hanging around a Mudblood -

At that moment the Transfiguration teacher, a small witch with a red mouth to wide for her heart shaped face, hurtled into the room and he had to concentrate on other things.

After a frustrating hour of trying to turn matches into needles Urian was too depressed to care about getting away from Patience.

"Nobody else did it either." she reminded him.

"At least yours turned gray."

"Yeah, gray matches, very impressive." she shrugged. "The book said it would be hard."

But Urian's match hadn't changed at all. Wasn't magic supposed to come easier to Purebloods? And if it didn't - well even the best families produced the occasional Squib!

Suddenly Patience waved energetically. "Oi! Hi Pru!" her sister with the mousy braids was coming towards them walking between two boys Urian recognized from the train platform, Bevis Longbottom and Gregory Goldsmith. He looked quickly away, pointing his nose at the ceiling and reminding himself yet again that it didn't matter what Half-bloods and Blood traitors thought or said.

"You on your way to Transfiguration?" Patience asked. "Let me tell you it is hard!"

Because he was looking at the ceiling Urian was the first to see a squirmy mass of snaky green coils appear with a whump overhead and give a startled cry that was quickly echoed by others as the coils increased, starting to fill up the corridor. The five first years crowded into the shelter of a nearby pillar, forced to cling tightly together as the thing expanded. Somewhere on the other side of the wriggly green mass somebody was laughing insanely - only to cut off in a gulp as a door appeared in the wall revealing Professor Potter standing on the steps of a narrow stair.

The coils promptly expanded into the new space knocking the Headmaster right off his feet. A collective gasp of horror came from those students able to see and Urian squeezed his eyes shut expecting an explosion. When it didn't come he opened them cautiously to see the Professor flat on his back on the floor gazing calmly up at the snaky mass above him.

"Ourboros spell, eh?" he fished his wand from his sleeve and made a slicing motion. Immediately the single ourboros divided into dozens, smaller but taking up just as much space, and all growing and crowding people even harder against the walls. "Hmmm...that didn't do much good did it?" the Professor observed calmly. He thought a moment then made a circular motion with his wand. The coils began to shrink rapidly, vanishing in little greenish puffs of smoke until the corridor was once again clear.

The Dean girls and their friends continued to huddle in the lee of their pillar. None of the other students scattered up and down the hall dared move a muscle, all eyes fixed in terror on Professor Potter as he got to his feet, tucked away his wand and brushed himself down.

"No magic in the halls." he said calmly, not looking at all angry. In fact, though it was hard to be sure, his green eyes seemed to be twinkling with laughter. "Ten points from all Houses." then, terrifyingly, his eye settled on the huddle of first years and he walked towards them. "Hello, Bevis, Prudence." he said as if nothing at all had happened. "How is your first day going so far?"

Pru swallowed hard. "F-fine, Professor." she managed. Then: "This is my sister Patience."

The green eyes shifted to her. "Yes, I remember from the Sorting. You seemed very pleased to get Slytherin."

"I was." she said, a little defiantly, adding; "This is my friend Urian Malfoy."

Urian forced himself to meet the Professor's eyes and was shaken by the kindness he saw there. "Mr. Malfoy." the Headmaster looked away. "And this is Mr. Goldsmith isn't it?" flashed them all a smile. "Don't be discouraged, the classes always seem impossible to start with." and walked away, leaving the five youngsters staring after him.

"How did he know?" Greg asked the air wonderingly. Surely, surely Harry Potter had done everything perfectly from day one! Or had he?

"The first and most important rule of Defense Against the Dark Arts is to stay calm." Professor Ronald Weasley told his class of Ravenclaw first years. "I know that's easier said then done - how well I know! - but you must keep your head."

"Even when facing giant spiders." said Harry from the back of the room, turning all heads.

"Especially when completely surrounded by bloodthirsty giant spiders after following your stupid git of a best friend into the Dark Forest!" Ron said emphatically. Then, pleasantly. "Good afternoon, Headmaster, what can we do for you?"

"A word, Professor, if I may?"

"Of course." Ron walked down the aisle towards the door. "At least pretend to read chapter one till I get back, eh?" the students giggled nervously. "Not but they probably will, being Ravenclaws." he commented in the hall. "What's up, Harry?"

His friend gave him a comical grimace. "I just took ten points from Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff."

Ron grinned broadly. "Funny sort of feeling isn't it? Handing out punishments instead of getting them. What for?"

"Magic in the halls. A rather tricky ourboros spell. Good work on somebody's part."

"Davy Finch-Fetchley and/or Toby Goodfellow." Ron nodded. "Those two are responsible for most of the mischief around here, but damn good students for all that. Sort of a cross between the twins and Hermione." Harry laughed. "That all?"

"No, of course not. I just talked to Remus and he's agreed to take on Dumbledore House. I'll send out the letters tonight and the students should be arrive day after tomorrow. I'll need you to prepare some counter-curses."

"Sure. What do we have coming?"

"An evil eye."

"No problem. Dumbledore solved that one back when we were boys."

"A serpent leg."

"Poor kid, that's a nasty one." Ron conjured parchment and quill out of the air and started writing.

"A toad mouth."

"Beats slugs."

Harry smiled faintly. "Just. A morpheum curse."

Ron whistled. "Somebody got a hag mad at them, eh? Right. That all?"

"No. Last but not least a levity curse."

Ron looked up. "Never heard of that one. What's it do?"

"Me neither." said Harry. "Seems to have been invented for this poor little girl. Apparently she annoyed an irritable great aunt once to often. She has no gravity - in any sense of the word."

Ron thought about that. "You mean she floats -?"

"And laughs constantly. Very eccentric behavior, think Luna at her dottiest."

"Good thing I like a challenge." Ron observed making more notes. "I take it the usual remedies aren't effective?"

"Would I be asking you for help if they were?"

"Right. Hermione, Severus and I will put our heads together and see what we can come up with. Sounds like Remus is going to have some interesting students."

Harry smiled. "He'll have the lot eating out of his hand in no time."

Urian followed Patience reluctantly down the passage to the boys dormitory, not arguing because after a whole morning in her company he knew it was useless.

"Watch the door." she told him, and set to work looking under the green hung beds and digging through the chests at their feet. Urian watched uneasily, keeping one ear tuned to the stairway. "Aha!" she said almost at once, producing his 'Standard Book of Spells', 'History of Magic', and 'Magical Theory'. His other books were discovered hidden in assorted bedside drawers.

Then Urian heard the voices of two or three of his roommates in the passage and looked at Patience in a panic. She just flashed him a grin and crawled under his bed. Urian quickly climbed on top and opened his copy 'Fantastic Beasts', pretending to read as the other boys trooped in. They stopped dead and he raised his eyes long enough to give them a cool look. "I decided I needed my books after all."

They snuck uncertain looks at each other, muttered unintelligibly, collected some rolls of parchment and left. The moment their footfalls died away Patience crawled out from under the bed, dusty and gleeful.

"Perfect! You were just perfect!" she beamed.

Urian grinned happily back, realizing that he was going to be friends with a Mudblood - a Muggle born - whatever Grandfather thought or said.