The days before the next lesson, days without hearing anything about Lockhart, passed much too quickly. Before the second year Gryffindors and Slytherins knew it, they were having Defense Against the Dark Arts again. However, when the students reached the classroom, Lockhart was not there.

"Probably still in the Hogwarts Beauty Spa," Dean Thomas laughed to Seamus Finnegan.

"Hogwarts has a beauty spa?" Seamus asked.

Dean shrugged. "If they don't now, there's bound to be one by the time Lockhart leaves the school."

Hermione was the only one who looked sad about Lockhart's absence. She sat at her desk reading one of Lockhart's books, and looked up hopefully at the door every ten seconds.

"What's the matter, Granger? Miss the pea-brained teacher?" Draco asked her rudely.

"He's not pea-brained!" replied Hermione defensively.

Draco beckoned to Crabbe and Goyle. "Look here, boys! I think Granger fancies Lockhart! Idiot and the Mudblood. What do you think of it?"

"Mudblood!" exclaimed Ron, turning around to Draco. "Don't call her that! Take this!" Ron raised his wand, but Harry grabbed his arm and stopped him.

"Harry!" Ron said, looking quite aggravated. "You don't stop me when I'm about to give Malfoy the payback he rightfully deserves!"

"No, it's not that," said Harry quickly. He pointed at Ron's broken wand. "It's just… maybe I better do it?"

"Oh, fine," Ron agreed, crossing his arms.

"Ah, Potter, going to fight for your Mudblood girlfriend?" Draco sneered. "Trouble is, she's in love with someone smarter than you."

"Rictusempra!" Harry cried, and a blast of light came out of his wand at Draco, who fell over laughing.

Draco managed to get up and shout "Tallentellegra!" back at Harry before dissolving into laughter again.

Harry was now forcibly made to dance, and then Lockhart walked into the room and saw the sight of both boys holding up their wands and struggling to say a jinx through their curses.

"You can duel! Yes, you can duel!" Lockhart cried. "Why didn't anyone tell me?"

"Because you talked about yourself the whole day and never gave us a word in edgewise?" Ron muttered.

"Professor?" Hermione asked the beaming Lockhart. "Are you… Are you going to perform the counter curses?"

Lockhart hesitated, a slightly uncomfortable look briefly passing in his eyes, but he was back to his normal overly-cheery self when he said, "Miss Granger, if you do them, I'll award Gryffindor ten points.

Hermione beamed and expertly performed the counter curses. Harry muttered a thank you, while Draco just eyed her.

"You! Harry! Come up here!" Lockhart called.

"Are we reenacting your books again?" asked Harry, not bothering to conceal the miserable tone in his voice.

Lockhart didn't seem to have noticed.

"No, we're starting our new class project!" he said. "Mr. Malfoy, you come up here too."

"What kind of project is it?" asked Blaise Zabini.

"It's called 'Dueling Club'," said Lockhart. "Now, you two are both good duelers?"

Draco smirked confidently while Harry mumbled, "I suppose."

"Good. Harry, come here," said Lockhart, leading Harry a few feet away from Draco so that they were facing each other. "Now when Mr. Malfoy points his wand at you, I want you to do this…" he moved his wand around his fingers complicatedly, it slipped, rose in the air, and then fell to the ground.

"You want me to perform stupid looking Muggle baton-twirling with my wand and then drop it?" Harry asked.

But Lockhart had moved on to Draco.

"And you are going to do this…" Again Lockhart moved his wand around, and this time when it slipped it blew up a sculpture.

"Hey, I could get used to this…" said Draco, grinning.

"Good, something like that," said Lockhart, brushing his hands quickly. "Here is the exciting bit!" he called to the class. "It's not just your standard duel! Who else is good at dueling?"

Ron raised his hand. "My wand is kind of broken, though…"

"That's fine! Step up here, Mr. Weasley!" said Lockhart. "And one more! How about… Mr. Finnegan?"

Seamus stepped and joined them.

"Now at the count of three, raise your wand and shoot a spell. We'll have a four-way duel!" shouted Lockhart. "One… two… three!"

It was pandemonium with spells being shot in every direction. Seamus had completely missed and resulted in burning a little black hole in the wall, and Harry and Draco's spells had hit each other and then hit Lockhart in the face. He was now body-bound and yet trying to dance at the same time.

Whimpering slightly, Hermione hopped up from her desk again and performed the counter-curses on Lockhart.

"Thank you, Miss Granger! Ten points to Gryffindor! Five gold stars!" he said.

"Gold stars?" said a confused Draco, shaking his head. "What in the Dark Lord's name…?"

"I believe that's what you might have gotten in your primary school for achieving well?" asked Lockhart. Hermione nodded.

The conversation was cut short by Ron finally turning around and revealing to all that he was belching up slugs because his wand had backfired.

"Ewww!" squealed Lavender Brown. "Eww! There's a slug on me! Eww!"

"Don't fear! I saved a whole village from slugs before!" cried Lockhart. He pointed his wand at Ron and said, "Slugonisio!" Far from stopping the slugs, the slugs shot out of Ron's mouth more rapidly. "Um… Mr. Weasley, maybe you should just go over to the Hospital Wing…"

Ron didn't waste a second and scurried out of the classroom fast as he could.

"All right, let's just try that again, you three," said Lockhart.

"What about us?" asked Parvati Patil.

"You just sit back and watch the magic that you classmates are creating!" said Lockhart.

"You mean we're not in the Dueling Club?" Lavender asked sadly.

"Now wait a minute! Just because you're not in the Dueling Club doesn't mean you're not in the Dueling Club!" Lockhart told them.

"Yes, it does!" said Draco. "How can someone not be in the Dueling Club and be"- he made quotations with his fingers- "in the Dueling Club? It's stupid!"

"We need people to be Seconds!" announced Lockhart. "To take over in case someone gets hurt, like Mr. Weasley did. Or if people die!" he added, his cheerful tone still not falling. "Who here can be a Second?"

Pansy Parkinson and Blaise Zabini raised their hands, both shouting, "I want to be Draco's Second!" Draco grinned at the rest of the class.

"Good, good, and now for the rest of you that haven't been assigned something, stand up," said Lockhart.

"Can I… can I design special dueling outfits?" Neville asked.

"Certainly, fancy pants!" exclaimed Lockhart. "And make sure mine has an air of savoir fair!"

"You mean you're in the Dueling Club?" Hermione asked him eagerly.

"Yes! I will be the leader!" he said. "Now… Crabbe, Goyle, Miss Bulstrode, I want you to be on security and make sure no one knows what we're doing. As decent as learning the skill of dueling is, I'm not sure it goes along with the current curriculum! Mr. Thomas, I want you to be the designer of our merchandise, and also, while I'm busy, you will address my fan mail envelopes."

Dean muttered something to Neville that sounded an awful lot like, "Merchandise? Fan mail? He must be crazier than I thought…"

Only Parvati, Lavender, and Hermione were left to be given a position. Lockhart looked at them. "And you three… you'll be groupies. Your job is to worship the Dueling Club! And you get to name our club too!"

Parvati and Lavender giggled excitedly, but Hermione looked disappointed.

"All right!" Lockhart clapped. "In order to have a good dueling club, you need to study your influences! Who are your influences? Miss Patil?"

"Professor Trelawney!" said Parvati, and Lavender added an enthusiastic nod.

"Ah, I see… Wait a minute! No! Someone else tell me…er… Mr. Thomas?"

"Dumbledore!" shouted Dean. After he shouted it, all the Gryffindors applauded in approval.

"No, no, no!" Lockhart said, waving his hands impatiently. "One more go. Mr. Malfoy?"

"The Dark Lord!" cried Draco proudly.

"No!" repeated Lockhart, who hadn't even registered that Draco's idol was an evil wizard who had done so much destruction and killed so many innocent people. Lockhart was only listening for his own name. "Your influence is me! Just me! Haven't you been paying attention to everything I've written in my books?"

Harry would have dearly liked to roll his eyes with Ron at this moment, but because Ron was not in the room at the moment, he would just have to tell Ron later.

Hermione raised her hand again. "Oh, yes, Professor! I just love how you duel!"

"See?" said Lockhart. "Take a lesson from Miss Granger and adore my dueling style!"

Harry definitely knew he needed to roll his eyes now.

"Okay, now. To be a member of the club requires dedication," said Lockhart. "So you all will have to repeat after me: I pledge allegiance-"

"I pledge allegiance-" echoed the class.

"To the Dueling Club-"

"To the Dueling Club-"

"In Defense Against the Dark Arts class."

"In Defense Against the Dark Arts class."

"And I will duel-"

"And I will duel-"

"With my body, mind, and soul-"

"With my body, mind, and soul-"

"And I will read the books of and listen to my fabulous Professor-"

"And I will read the books of and listen to my-" there was a mumble of words that didn't sound anything like 'fabulous'- "-Professor-"

"Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defense League, and five-time winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile award!" Lockhart finished.

This last line confused the class very much. There was a loud mumble of people trying to remember the line.

"Gilderoy Lockhart, Fourth Class of the Order of Merlin-"

"No, I think it was second-"

"And seven-time winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Pants Award-"

"No, it was Honorary Member of Witch Weekly's Smiling Defense League-"

"Order of Defense, Fifth Award Class-"

It was only Hermione who got it right.

"Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defense League, and five-time winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award!" she recited.

"Very good, Miss Granger!" said Lockhart. "Ten more points to Gryffindor!" he looked at the class. "It's about time to leave. Now listen. Because the Dueling Club is so cool, everyone will want to be in it. So you can't tell anybody. Understand? No one."

"Oh, but Professor," Draco said in a mock-whine. "What if a reporter for The Daily Prophet is interviewing me and wants to know what great ideas are coming from the idea of Gilderoy Lockhart? Can I tell them?"

Lockhart looked very troubled by this question, which appeared to be the exact reaction Draco wanted. He gave a grin toward Crabbe and Goyle.

"Well… no! No, don't tell! Just tell The Daily Prophet that they'll have to wait to see what brilliant ideas I'm unveiling," Lockhart answered, quite satisfied. "Now, for homework, I want you all to look up some handy spells that would be very useful if you ever found yourself in a duel. Class is dismissed!"

The class exited in a bustle of discussion.

"Really, if we're getting to duel people and finish them off every day, this class might not be half bad. I'd like to finish off Lockhart, myself," Draco was saying to Crabbe, Goyle, Pansy, Blaise, and Millicent.

"Wouldn't blame him at times," Seamus Finnegan added to Dean Thomas as they left.

Hermione had also overheard Draco's comment and frowned at Harry. "That wasn't very nice. Lockhart really has come up with a great idea. I think a Dueling Club is just what this school needs."

"Hermione, he just increased the amount of slugs that Ron was vomiting up," Harry stated.

"Yes, and I do hope Ron is all right. Hopefully it's gone down so he won't be burping up slugs all over the books when he does his homework."

"I don't think Ron will be doing that work anytime soon," said Harry.

"But he must! Just look at it, you and Ron are in the actual dueling group! Even though I really don't understand the idea of four way dueling," said Hermione.

"I don't understand why you aren't being able to perform the spells with us," Harry commented. "You'd know more about them than anyone else. What good is it for you to go be a fan girl over Lockhart?"

Hermione turned a bit pink, but continued on. "I just wish I had more of an active part. I mean, I'm not complaining, but I wish there was more I could do for the Dueling Club."

"I'm sure there's plenty. You might as well help him run the class," said Harry. "I'm just a little concerned about what Lockhart's going to do with this thing."

Hermione nodded at him, and together they walked off to the Hospital Wing.