Okay PLEASE don't kill me.I didn't mean to take so long, but I don't exactly have alot of time at the moment.Anyway I know you've been waiting for update so here it is.

Oh and I DON'T OWN IT!

--

MUDBLOOD AND MURMURS

Harry spent a lot of time over the next few days dodging out of sight whenever he saw Gilderoy Lockhart coming down a corridor.

"Why hide?" Sirius asked, "why not just throw a couple of good jinxes at him?"

"Becuase my son knows better," Lily said, ''unlike some people." she added looking pointedly at Sirius.

Sirius tuck his tounge out.

"Remember what I said about that face sticking,Padfoot?" Remus asked smirking.

Sirius pulled his tounge his tounge back in quickly and instead glared at his freind.

Harder to avoid was Colin Creevey, who seemed to have memorized Harry's timetable.
Nothing seemed to give Colin a bigger thrill than to say, "All right, Harry?" six or seven times a day and hear, "Hullo Colin," back, however exasperated Harry sounded when he said it.

"That would start to get creepy," James said,his eyebrows raised.

"You mean like John?" Sirius asked smiling.

"Oh,stuff it,Sirius." James said glaring.

"Who's John?" Lily asked confused.

"This kid a couple of years below us.All through his first and second year,he followed James around constantly.Hero-worshiped him.'Bout drove James nuts." Remus answered grinning.

"Bloody kid,woulnd't leave me alone." James said glaring.

"Aww,I think it's kind of cute," Lily giggled giving James a kiss on the cheek.

James smiled forgetting all about be annoyed.

Remus and Sirius rolled their eyes at each other.


Hedwig was still angry with Harry about the disastrous car journey and Ron's wand was still malfunctioning, surpassing itself on Friday morning by shooting out of Ron's hand in Charms and hitting tiny old Professor Flitwick squarely between the eyes, creating a large, throbbing green boil where it had struck.

"Hope he doen't get in trouble," Lily said winching.

"He won't," Remus said, ''Flitwick's had worse I assure you." He added rolling his eyes.

"Like the time we turned his hair blue." Sirius said smiling at the memory.

"Sirius!" Lily scolded.

"What?" Sirius asked, ''it matched his robes."

Lily groaned and put her head in her hands.

So, with one thing and another, Harry was quite glad to reach the weekend. He, Ron and Hermione were planning to visit Hagrid on Saturday morning. Harry, however was shaken awake several hours earlier than he would have liked by Oliver Wood, captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
"Whassamatter?" said Harry groggily.

"Quidditch practice!" said Wood. "Come on!"
Harry squinted at the window. There was a thin mist hanging across the pink and gold sky.

"Dawn?" Lily asked ''He got him up at dawn for quidditch practice?"

"He must really be obssed with it." Remus sighed ''Even James isn't that obssesed,he at leaset lets us have breakfast."

"I'm not obssesed!" James said.

"You are so." Lily said.

"But I --" he started.

"James who was it that,jumped twelve feet off his broom so he could catch the snitch?" Lily asked.

"Well I had..." he started again.

"And who was it that,stood up on his broom Thirty feet in the air to catch the snitch?" Lily asked.

"Well if I hadn't the Slytherins would have..." he started again.

"And who was it that,flew..."

"Okay! Okay! You made your point!" James said.

Lily smiled.

Now he was awake, he couldn't understand how he could have slept through the racket the birds were making. "Oliver," Harry croaked, "it's the crack of dawn." "Exactly," said Wood.
He was a tall and burly sixth-year and, at the moment, his eyes were gleaming with a mad enthusiasm.

"He probably is mad." Sirius said rolling his eyes.

"It's part of our new training program. Come on, grab your broom and let's go," said Wood heartily. "None of the other teams have started training yet,

"That's because they actually have some sanity." Remus said shaking his head.

we're going to be first off the mark this year ..."
Yawning and shivering slightly, Harry climbed out of bed and tried to find his Quidditch robes.

"Good man," said Wood. "Meet you on the pitch in fifteen minutes."
When he'd found his scarlet team robes and pulled on his cloak for warmth, Harry scribbled a note to Ron explaining where he'd gone and went down the spiral staircase to the common room, his Nimbus Two Thousand over his shoulder.

"If I was him, I would have waited unitll he was gone,and then went back to bed." Sirius said.

He had just reached the portrait hole when there was a clatter behind him and Colin Creevey came dashing down the spiral staircase, his camera swinging madly around his neck and something clutched in his hand.

"Oh,joy," Sirius muttered,rolling his eyes.

"I heard someone saying your name on the stairs, Harry!
Look what I've got here! I've had it developed, I wanted to show you -"
Harry looked bemused at the photograph Colin was brandishing under his nose.
A moving, black and white Lockhart was tugging hard on an arm Harry recognized as his own. He was pleased to see that his photographic self was putting up a good fight and refusing to be dragged into view.

The three Mauraders and Lily laughed.

"Even Harry's picture hates Lockhart." Sirius said smiling.

"Who wouldn't?" James asked.

"Good point."

As Harry watched Lockhart gave up and slumped, panting, against the white edge of the picture.
"Will you sign it?" said Colin eagerly.
"No," said Harry flatly, glancing around to check that the room was really deserted. "Sorry, Colin, I'm in a hurry - Quidditch practice."
He climbed through the portrait hole.
"Oh wow! Wait for me! I've never watched a Quidditch game before!"

"He's never watched a qudditch game?" James asked increduasly.

"He's a muggleborn,James." Lily explained.

Yeah,but still.."

"Obssed." Lily stated.

James clamped his mouth shut quickly,and then glared at Sirius and Remus who had started to laugh.


Colin scrambled through the hole after him.
"It'll be really boring," Harry said quickly,

"Really boring?" James repeated quietly,his eyes wide.

"Looks like he inheareted some of my genes afterall." Lily said smiling.

but Colin ignored him, his face shining with excitement.
You were the youngest house player in a hundred years, weren't you, Harry?

"Wicked." James wishpered smiling.

Weren't you?" said Colin, trotting alongside him. "You must be brilliant.
I've never flown. Is it easy? Is that your own broom? Is that the best one there is?"

"This kid never shuts up,does he?" Sirius asked.

"He's curious." Lily explained.

"He's a blabber-mouth." Sirius retorted.


Harry didn't know how to get rid of him. It was like having an extremely talkative shadow.
"I don't really understand Quidditch," said Colin breathlessly. "Is it true there are four balls? And two of them fly round trying to knock people off their brooms?"
"Yes," said Harry heavily, resigned to explaining the complicated rules of Quidditch. "They're called Bludgers. There are two Beaters on each team, who carry clubs to beat the Bludgers away from their side. Fred and George Weasley are the Gryffindor Beaters."

"Figures those two would be Beaters," Remus said, ''usually the people who play as Beaters are like human bludgers themselves."

"I play Beater." Sirius said.

"I know," Remus added.


"And what are the other balls for?" Colin asked, tripping down a couple of steps because he was gazing open-mouthed at Harry.

"Well, there's the Quaffle - that's the biggest red one - is the one that scores goals. Three Chasers on each team throw the Quaffle to each other and try and get it through the goalposts at the end of the pitch - they're three long poles with hoops on the end.

"And the fourth ball -"

"- is the Golden Snitch," said Harry, "and it's very small, very fast and difficult to catch. But that's what the Seeker's got to do, because a game of Quidditch doesn't end until the Snitch has been caught. And whichever team's Seeker gets the Snitch earns his team an extra hundred and fifty points."

"And you're Gryffindor Seeker, aren't you?" said Colin in awe.

"YES! He's Seeker,just like I am!" James cried

Lily smiled an just shook her head.

"Yes," said Harry, as they left the castle and started across the dew-drenched grass. "And there's a Keeper, too. He guards the goalposts. That's it, really."

"That's it?" James asked, ''but there's a lot more to quiddicth than that.There's..."

"James," Lily moaned.

"Sorry," James said.

"Hey,James.Why is that we can never stop you rambling about qudditch.But all Lily has to do is say one word and you stop?" Remus asked smirking.

"Oh,shut it,Moony." James said.

But Colin didn't stop questioning Harry all the way down the sloping lawns to the Quidditch pitch, and Harry only shook him off when he reached the changing rooms. Colin called after him in a piping voice, "I'll go and get a good seat, Harry!" and hurried off to the stands.

"Oh, please don't." James said.

The rest of the Gryffindor team was already in the changing room. Wood was the only person who looked truly awake. Fred and George Weasley were sitting, puffy-eyed and tousle-haired, next to fourth-year Alicia Spinnet, who seemed to be nodding off against the wall behind her.
Her fellow Chasers, Katie Bell and Angelina Johnson, were yawning, side by side, opposite them.

"There you are, Harry, what kept you?" said Wood briskly.

"A creepy little stalker," Sirius answered.

"Sirius!" Lily yelled.

"What?!'' "Sirius yelled just as loud.

"Well,he...Never mind.Never mind." LIly said shaking her head in hopelessly.

"Knew that would work," Sirius whispered to Remus who looked at Sirius shocked then snickered.

"Now, I wanted a quick talk with you before we all actually get onto the pitch, because I spent the summer devising a whole new training program, which I really think will make the difference ..."

"That's probably all he did all summer," Sirius commented.

Wood was holding up a large diagram of a Quidditch pitch, on which were drawn many lines, arrows and crosses in different-colored inks.

He took out his wand, tapped the board and the arrows began to wiggle over the diagram like caterpillars. As Wood launched into a speech about his new tactics, Fred Weasley's head drooped right onto Alicia Spinnet's shoulder and he began to snore.
The first board took nearly twenty minutes to explain, but there was another board under that, and a third under that one.

"Oh for crying out loud!" lily exclaimed.

"I like qudditch,but this guy is obbsessed," James added shaking his head.

"He's a loon." Sirius corrected.

Harry sank into a stupor as Wood droned on and on.

"So," said Wood, at long last, jerking Harry from a wistful fantasy about what he could be eating for breakfast at this very moment up at the castle, "is that clear? Any questions?"
"I've got a question, Oliver," said George, who had woken with a start. "Why couldn't you have told us all this yesterday when we were awake?"

The Mauraders and Lily laughed.

"He has a good point,"Lily said smiling, ''he went to all the trouble of making those diagrams and no one was awake to see them anyway."

"Yeah,you would think he's realised by now that they're not as obssesed with quidditch as he is." Remus said.

"Probably not," Sirius said, ''he's too busy being obssesed with qudditch that he doesn't pay attention to much else."

"Wow,Sirius." Jame said smirking. ''You actually made sense."

"It happens occasionaly," Sirius asid smirking also.

"Don't you mean rarly?" Lily asked.

"Hey!"

"I agree with you Sirius," Remus said smiling, ''I like the way her mind works."

Sirius mock glared.


Wood wasn't pleased.
"Now listen here, you lot," he said, glowering at them all. "We should have won the Quidditch Cup last year. We're easily the best team. But unfortunately, owing to circumstances beyond our control ..."
Harry shifted guiltily in his seat.
He had been unconscious in the hospital wing for the final match of the previous year,

"Unconscious?!" Lily exclaimed.

"Must be something that happened with Voldemort." James said frowning.

"My poor baby!" Lily cried.

James nodded.

meaning that Gryffindor had a player short and had suffered their worst defeat in three hundred years.
Wood took a moment to regain control of himself. Their last defeat was clearly still torturing him.

Lily shook her head. ''completely obssesed."


"So, this year, we train harder than ever before ... OK, let's go and put our new theories into practice!" Wood shouted, seizing his broomstick and leading the way out of the changing rooms.

Stiff-legged and still yawning, his team followed.

"They're so tired they're not going to be able to be able to practice." Lily said shaking her head.

"Once they get in the air that'll wake them up." James said.

"And you of course would know this," Sirius said smiking.

"Shut it, Padfoot."

They had been in the changing room so long that the sun was up properly now, although remnants of mist hung over the grass in the stadium. As Harry walked onto the pitch, he saw Ron and Hermione sitting in the stands.

"Aren't you finished yet?" called Ron incredulously.

"With a crazy captain like that its not likely they'll be finshed within the next five hours." Remus siad shaking his head. "Lucky James isn't that obssesed."

"I'm not obssesed." He protested.

"Well what about the time you..." Lily started.

"Okay.I get the point." James cried putting his hands up in surrender.

"Haven't even started," said Harry, looking jealously at the toast and marmalade Ron and Hermione had brought out of the Great Hall. "Wood's been teaching us new moves."

"Except they haven't learned anything because they were all asleep." Sirius said rolling his eyes.

He mounted his broomstick and kicked off the ground, soaring up into the air. The cool morning air whipped his face, waking him far more effectively than Wood's long talk.

It felt wonderful to be back on the Quidditch pitch.
He soared right around the stadium at full speed, racing Fred and George.
"What's the funny clicking noise?" called Fred, as they hurtled around the corner.

"How much to you wanna' bet it's that obssesive little stalker and his camera?" Sirius asked.

"Sirius!" Lily yelled

"What? He is. Constantly following Harry around and taking pictures of everything.He's obssesive and he's stalker." Sirius finished.

"That doesn't --. Lily started. "Forget it," she said shaking her head.


Harry looked into the stands. Colin was sitting in one of the highest seats, his camera raised, and taking picture after picture,

"See.I was right." Sirius said, ''As I always am." he added grinning.

Lily scowled at him. "Sirius,if you don't wipe that grin off your face I'm going to disembowl you." she threatened.

Sirius' grin slid off his face quickly.

the sound strangely magnified in the deserted stadium.
"Look this way, Harry! This way!" he cried shrilly.
"Who's that?" said Fred.
"No idea," Harry lied, putting on a spurt of speed that took him as far away as possible from Colin.
"What's going on?" said Wood, frowning, as he skimmed through the air towards them. "Why's that first-year taking pictures? I don't like it. He could be a Slytherin spy, trying to find out about our new training program."

"He's completly parinoid!" Lily exclaimed.

"It's all in the love of the game, Lily Flower." Sirius said smiling.

"It's not just 'in the love of the game'.It's more like he's ' in love' with the game.And Don't call me Lily Flower!" She reprimanded.

"Yes, don't call her that,Sirius.Only James can call her that." whispered Remus.

Sirius laughed.

"And just what is so funny?" Lily demanded.

"Lily, I wouldn't ask if I were you." James said.

"Why not?"

"Because knowing those two, it can't be anything good."

Sirius and Remus just smiled sweetly at them.


"He's in Gryffindor," said Harry quickly.
"And the Slytherins don't need a spy, Oliver," said George.
"What makes you say that?" said Wood testily.
"Because they're here in person," said George, pointing.
Several people in green robes were walking onto the pitch, broomsticks in their hands.

"But Wood booked the pitch so they can't use the feild." James pointed out.

"Knowing those slimy Slytherins, they'll have some excuse." Sirius said narrowing his eyes at the book.


"I don't believe it!" Wood hissed in outrage. "I booked the pitch for today! We'll see about this!"
Wood shot towards the ground, landing rather harder than he meant to in his anger, staggering slightly as he dismounted. Harry, Fred and George followed.

"Flint!" Wood bellowed at the Slytherin captain.

"This is our practice time! We got up specially! You can clear off now!"

I highly doubt they're going to care," said Siruis rolling his eyes.

"Do they ever?" asked James.

"No.Not really."


Marcus Flint was even larger than Wood. He had a look of trollish cunning on his face as he replied, "Plenty of room for all of us, Wood."
Angelina, Alicia and Katie had come over, too. There were no girls on the Slytherin team - who stood, shoulder to shoulder, facing the Gryffindors, leering to a man.
"But I booked the pitch!" said Wood, positively spitting with rage. "I booked it!" "Ah," said Flint, "but I've got a specially signed note here from Professor Snape.

"Of course," said Sirius nodding his head. "I knew they'd have some way around it.

"No actually you said 'some excuse'" Remus replied.

"Same difference."

"No.It's not."

'I, Professor S. Snape, give the Slytherin team permission to practice today on the Quidditch pitch, owing to the need to train their new Seeker.'"
"You've got a new Seeker?" said Wood, distracted. "Where?"
And from behind the six large figures before them came a seventh, smaller boy, smirking all over his pale, pointed face.

It was Draco Malfoy.

"Ugh.We have to read about him enough already.He had to be on the quidditch team too?" Sirius asked in disgust.

"Well, maybe the book won't talk about quidditch too much." Lily said.

"Lily! How could you suggest such a thing?" James asked in horror.

Lily rolled her eyes.

"Aren't you Lucius Malfoy's son?" said Fred, looking at Malfoy with dislike.

"If I had to look at his ugly mug,I'd probably throw up," Sirius said,with a look of disgust on his face.

"Funny you should mention Draco's father," said Flint,

"Don't you mean Draco's father is 'funny looking'?" James asked.

"You mean ugly looking," Sirius corredcted.

"That too."

as the whole Slytherin team smiled still more broadly. "Let me show you the generous gift he's made to the Slytherin team."
All seven of them held out broomsticks. Seven highly polished, brand-new handles and seven sets of fine gold lettering spelling the words "Nimbus Two Thousand and One" gleamed under the Gryffindors' noses in the early-morning sun.

"Good for them.I'm glad they got new brooms," Sirius said.

"Pardon?" James asked lookin at him wide-eyed. Lily and Remus were looking at him shocked as well.

"Well, I mean they're players don't know which end of the broom is up.So they need all the help they can get.But with the Gryffindor's, doesn't matter what kind of brooms they have.They'll still beat the Slytherins, because they having something those morons don't have.Talent." Sirius explained.

"Well said, Padfoot," Remus said smiling with the other two.

"I try." he said smiling back.

"Very latest model. Only came out last month," said Flint carelessly, flicking a speck of dust from the end of his own. "I believe it outstrips the old Two Thousand series by a considerable amount. As for the old Cleansweeps," he smiled nastily at Fred and George, who were both clutching Cleansweep Fives, "sweeps the board with them."
None of the Gryffindor team could think of anything to say for a moment. Malfoy was smirking so broadly his cold eyes were reduced to slits.

"Makeing him even uglier." Sirius said. ''If thats even possible." he added.

"Oh look," said Flint. "A pitch invasion."
Ron and Hermione were crossing the grass to see what was going on.

"What's happening?" Ron asked Harry. "Why aren't you playing? And what's he doing here?"
He was looking at Malfoy, taking in his Slytherin Quidditch robes.

"I'm the new Slytherin Seeker, Weasley," said Malfoy, smugly. "Everyone's just been admiring the brooms my father's bought our team."

"You mean bought to get you on the team." Remus muttered rolling his eyes.


Ron gaped open-mouthed, at the seven superb broomsticks in front of him.
"Good aren't they?" said Malfoy smoothly. "But perhaps the Gryffindor team will be able to raise some gold and get new brooms, too. You could raffle off those Cleansweep Fives, I expect a museum would bid for them."

"That's a low blow." Lily said narrowing her eyes.


The Slytherin team howled with laughter.

"At least no one on the Gryffindor team had to buy their way in," said Hermione sharply. "They got in on pure talent."

The three three Marauders and lily cheered.

"I knew I liked her." James said smiling


The smug look on Malfoy's face flickered.
"No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood," he spat.

Remus growled.

"Why that little..." James muttered furiously.

''Hit him Harry," Sirius cried, ''punch him in right in the nose."

''Listen to your godfather Harry."

All the mauraders froze and looked at Lily.

"What?" she asked.

"You just...you just agreed with Sirius.And you told Harry to punch Malfoy." Remus said his eyes still wide.

"So?"

"So when did you start agreeing with Sirius and start encourging Harry to do something against the rules?" Sirius asked

"Because I know how Hermione feels.It's awful to be called a Mudblood." Lily explained.

James pulled her into a one-armed hug and kissed her on the top of the head.

Harry knew at once that Malfoy had said something really bad
because there was an instant uproar at his words. Flint had to dive in front of Malfoy to stop Fred and George jumping on him, Alicia shrieked, "How dare you!" and Ron plunged his hand into his robes, pulled out his wand, yelling, "You'll pay for that one, Malfoy!" and pointed it furiously under Flint's arm at Malfoy's face.

"At least Hermione has the whole Gryffindor team sticking up for her." Remus said.

"Yeah, that will probably make Hermione feel a little better,having all them stick up for her like that." Liy said.

"I think they should just take Malfoy,and sh--"

"Sirius!" Lily and the other two mauraders yelled.

"As much as I agree with you,y-"

"James!" Lily yelled.

''What? Malfoy was jerk."

Lily just rolled her eyes.

A loud bang echoed around the stadium and a jet of green light shot

"Get him,Ron!" Sirius yelled,sitting up a little straghter in his chair.

out of the wrong end of Ron's wand, hitting him in the stomach and sending him reeling backwards onto the grass.

"Or not," He said,slumping back down in the chair.

"Ron! Ron! Are you all right?" squealed Hermione.
Ron opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. Instead he gave an almighty belch and several slugs dribbled out of his mouth onto his lap.

"Ooh, poor Ron." James said winching

"Good curse, wrong person." Remus said shaking his head.

"Yeah, that is a fun curse to cast on someone." Sirius said.

"Who did you use that curse on?" Lily said raising her eyebrow.

"Well...we...I mean...it was just...but...and..." Sirius stuttered.

Remus and James had both their hands over their mouths trying to cover up the laughter.

"One of you could help." Sirius said glaring at them.

James and Remus burst out laughing.

"Well,Sirius?" Lily said.

"I...I...I.." he stuttered again, ''oh,come on Lily have a heart."

Lily's lips tiwtched, but she still hid her smile.

"Sirius." She said sternly.

"Well if we had just...with what happened..."

Lily started shaking with silent giggles.

"If it had just...or they had...I mean..."

Lily couldn't stand it anymore,and started laughing.

Sirius looked at her and blinked several times.

"You were just teasing me?" He said still staring at her.

Lily nodded,still laughing.

"Well,I never!" Sirius said,sticking his nose up in the air.

James,Lily, and Remus all started laughing harder, Sirius soon joining in.


The Slytherin team was paralyzed with laughter. Flint was doubled up, hanging on to his new broomstick for support. Malfoy was on all fours, banging the ground with his fists.

"Curse those little..."

"Sirius!" the other three yelled.

"What?" he asked.

James grabbed a pillow and hit Sirius on the back of the head, then he turned back to Remus and said, ''keep reading, Moony."

Before Remus could start reading, James felt something hit him on the back of the head.Turning around he saw Sirius sitting in his chair looking at him innocently.

"Did you hit me on the back of the head with a pillow?"

No, of course not.Never." Sirius said shaking his head and smiling sweetly.

"I'm watching you, Black." James said mock threatingly.

"You do that, Potter." Sirius returned in the same manner.


The Gryffindors were gathered round Ron, who kept belching large, glistening slugs. Nobody seemed to want to touch him.
"We'd better get him to Hagrid's, it's nearest," said Harry to Hermione, who nodded bravely, and the pair of them pulled Ron up by the arms.
"What happened, Harry? What happened? Is he ill?

"Uh,no.No he's perfectly fine," Sirius said sarcastically, ''It's got to be that annoying first year again.He's the only one who can ask questions that fast." he added.

"Sirius." Lily sighed tiredly.

"What?"

She opened her mouth to tell him off but changed her mind.


But you can cure him, can't you?" Colin had run down from his seat and was now dancing alongside them as they left the pitch. Ron gave a huge heave and more slugs dribbled down his front.
"Oooh," said Colin, fascinated and raising his camera. "Can you hold him still, Harry?"
"Get out of the way, Colin!" said Harry angrily.

"Okay, I have to admit he's is getting a little annoying," Lily said shaking her head.

Sirius smiled.

Lily glared at him. "Don't think you've won, Sirius Black.I agreed he was annoying.But I don't agree that's he's a blabermouth."

"One step at time, Lily.One step at a time." He retorted leaning back in his chair, his arms behind his head.

Lily raised her eyebrows, shook her head, and turned back to Remus so he could continue reading.


He and Hermione supported Ron out of the stadium and across the grounds towards the edge of the Forest.

"Nearly there, Ron," said Hermione, as the gamekeeper's cabin came into view. "You'll be all right in a minute ... almost there ..."

They were within twenty feet of Hagrid's house when the front door opened, but it wasn't Hagrid who emerged. Gilderoy Lockhart, wearing robes of palest mauve today, came striding out.

"Oh,no," James moaned, ''poor Ron.If Lockhart sees him he's going to be in even worse trouble."

"Quick, behind here," Harry hissed, dragging Ron behind a nearby bush.
Hermione followed, somewhat reluctantly.

"Doens't she know looks aren't everthing?" Sirius asked, ''not that he has any, that is."

"Says the man who who spends two hours on his hair alone." James teased his freind, who just glared at him.


"It's a simple matter if you know what you're doing!"

"Which you obviously don't," Remus said.

Lockhart was saying loudly to Hagrid. "If you need help, you know where I am! I'll let you have a copy of my book - I'm surprised you haven't already got one. I'll sign one tonight and send it over. Well, goodbye!" And he strode away towards the castle.

Harry waited until Lockhart was out of sight, then pulled Ron out of the bush and up to Hagrid's front door. They knocked urgently.

Hagrid appeared at once, looking very grumpy, but his expression brightened when he saw who it was.
"Bin wonderin' when you'd come ter see me - come in, come in - thought you mighta bin Professor Lockhart back again."

"If there was even the slightest chance it could be him again, I wouldn't even open the door." James said.

"Why bother hideing? I'd just kinx him.Bet he wouldn't come back then." Sirius stated.

'Becuase some people don't have a serious mental problem like you do," said Remus.


Harry and Hermione supported Ron over the threshold, into the one-roomed cabin, which had an enormous bed in one corner, a fire crackling merrily in another. Hagrid didn't seem perturbed by Ron's slug problem, which Harry hastily explained as he lowered Ron into a chair.

"Better out than in,"

"I guess he does have a point," Sirius said making a face.

he said cheerfully, plonking a large copper basin in front of him. "Get 'em all up, Ron."

"I don't think there's anything to do except wait for it to stop," said Hermione anxiously, watching Ron bend over the basin. "That's a difficult curse to work at the best of times, but with a broken wand ..."
Hagrid was bustling around, making them tea. His boarhound, Fang, was slobbering over Harry.

"Ugh!" cried Lily.

"Better than he is right now, at least." said Remus.

"Yeah, he's still a puppy right now, and he isn't paper trained yet," James explained, "don't knoe why Hagrid keeps him around, really."

"Well, Sirius isn't trained either, but we still keep him around." Remus said.

James roared with laughter, while Remus jsut grinned at his scowling freind.

"Remus,maybe you should get back to reading now," Lily said still giggling.

"What did Lockhart want with you, Hagrid?" Harry asked, scratching Fang's ears.
"Givin' me advice on gettin' kelpies out of a well," growled Hagrid, moving a half-plucked rooster off his scrubbed table and setting down the teapot. "Like I don't know. An' bangin' on about some Banshee he banished. If one word of it was true, I'll eat my kettle.

"Bravo, Hagrid." laughed Sirius, "truer words were never said."

It was most unlike Hagrid to criticize a Hogwarts teacher and Harry looked at him in surprise. Hermione, however, said in a voice somewhat higher than usual, "I think you're being a bit unfair. Professor Dumbledore obviously thought he was the best man for the job -"
"He was the only man for the job," said Hagrid, offering them a plate of treacle fudge, while Ron coughed squelchy into his basin.

"An' I mean the on'y one. Gettin' very difficult ter find anyone fer the Dark Arts job. People aren't too keen ter take it on, see. They're startin' ter think it's jinxed. No one's lasted long fer a while now. So tell me," said Hagrid, jerking his head at Ron, "who was he tryin' ter curse?"

"Just some slimmy little worm, with the face of a ferret." Sirius said.

"Awful combination," said Remus shaking his head.

"What do you expect from the spwan of a Malfoy and one of my dear cousins?"


"Malfoy called Hermione something. It must've been really bad, because everyone went mad."
"It was bad," said Ron hoarsely, emerging over the table top, looking pale and sweaty. "Malfoy called her 'Mudblood', Hagrid -"Ron dived out of sight again as a fresh wave of slugs made their appearance. Hagrid looked outraged.
"He didn'!" he growled at Hermione.
"He did," she said. "But I don't know what it means. I could tell it was really rude, of course ..."
"It's about the most insulting thing he could think of," gasped Ron, coming back up. "Mudblood's a really foul name for someone who was Muggle-born - you know, non-magic parents. There are some wizards - like Malfoy's family - who think they're better than everyone else because they're what people call pure-blood."

"And lucky for me, I'm related to over half the bloody families like that," Sirius said scowling.

"Don't worry about it, mate." said James patting him on the back.


He gave a small burp, and a single slug fell into his outstretched hand. He threw it into the basin and continued, "I mean, the rest of us know it doesn't make any difference at all. Look at Neville Longbottom - he's pure-blood and he can hardly stand a cauldron the right way up."
"An' they haven't invented a spell our Hermione can't do," said Hagrid proudly, making Hermione go a brilliant shade of magenta.
"It's a disgusting thing to call someone," said Ron, wiping his sweaty brow with a shaking hand.
"Dirty blood, see. Common blood. It's mad. Most wizards these days are half-blood anyway. If we hadn't married Muggles we'd've died out."
He retched and ducked out of sight again.
"Well, I don' blame yeh fer tryin' ter curse him, Ron, " said Hagrid loudly over the thuds of more slugs hitting the basin. "Bu' maybe it was a good thing yer wand backfired. 'Spect Lucius Malfoy would've come marchin' up ter school if yeh'd cursed his son.

"Of course he would, the foul, slimmy little..." Sirius started.

"Sirius!" yelled Lily.

"Well he is!"

"That's besides the point!"

Least yer not in trouble." Harry would have pointed out that trouble didn't come much worse than having slugs pouring out of your mouth,

"Too true." said Remus.

but he couldn't; Hagrid's treacle toffee had cemented his jaws together.

Sirius winched. "Remember when it took two and al half hours to unstick my mouth after eating at Hagrid's that one time?" he asked

"Of course, I'd never had so much peace and quiet before.it was pure bliss." Remus teased with a mock wistfull on his face.


"Harry," said Hagrid suddenly, as though struck by a sudden thought, "gotta a bone ter pick with yeh. I've heard you've bin givin' out signed photos. How come I haven't got one?"
Furious, Harry wrenched his teeth apart.
"I have not been giving out signed photos," he said hotly. "If Lockhart's still putting that about -"

"I'll kick him in the teeth," James said finishing the sentance.

"James!" Lily yelled.

"What?"

"After Harry is born, I forbid you to speak like that."

"But thats years from now."

"I don't care."

"But Lily..."

"Don't 'but Lily' me James Potter."

The couple continued to fight while they're freinds watched looking slightly bored.

"We should really get back to the book," Remus said.

"Don't tell me.Tell them." said Sirius.

"Yeah right."

"Aw, com'on, Moony.I thought you were brave."

"Brave yes, suicidal no."

"Hang on, I'll get they're attention."

"It was nice knowing you."

"Yeah,yeah.OI! Lovebirds! You think you could stop fighting like an old married couple for five seconds."

"SIRIUS BLACK!" both James and Lily yelled.

"Impersonating my mum will get you no where.Now lets get back to the book, please." Sirius said.


But then he saw that Hagrid was laughing.
"I'm on'y jokin'," he said, patting Harry genially on the back and sending him, face first, into the table. "I knew you hadn't really. I told Lockhart yeh didn' need teh. Yer more famous than him without tryin'"

"Bet he didn't like that," said Harry, sitting up and rubbing his chin.
"Don' think he did," said Hagrid, his eyes twinkling.
"An' then I told him I'd never read one o' his books an' he decided ter go. Treacle toffee, Ron?" he added, as Ron re-appeared.
"No thanks," said Ron weakly. "Better not risk it."

"I wouldn't risk it even if I wasn't sick." Sirius said making a face.

"Sirius!" Lily cried.

"What? Haven't you ever had his cooking before?"

Lily shook her head no.

Sirius grinned "Well, in that case, try it sometime you'll love it."

"Sirius!" James yelled hitting his freind on the back of the head, "That happens to be my future wife you're trying to trick."

Sirius rolled his eyes and muttered something that sounded like, "Love sick."


"Come an' see what I've bin growin'," said Hagrid, as Harry and Hermione finished the last of their tea.

In the small vegetable patch behind Hagrid's house were a dozen of the largest pumpkins Harry had ever seen. Each was the size of a large boulder.
"Gettin' on well, aren't they?" said Hagrid happily. "Fer the Halloween feast ... should be big enough by then."

"What've you been feeding them?" said Harry.

"Probably a health dose of magic." Sirius said grinning.


Hagrid looked over his shoulder to check that they were alone.
"Well, I've bin givin' them - you know - a bit o' help."
Harry noticed Hagrid's flowery pink umbrella leaning against the back wall of the cabin.

"See, I was right," Sirius stated grinning again.

"Yes, you were, Sirius.Must you annouce it everytime, though?" Lily asked exasperatedly,

"He can't help it Lils, it doesn't happen very often.So when it does he has to annouce it." Remus explained.

Lily laughed.

"You know I don't think I say it enough how great a freind you are, Moony." said Sirius sarcastically.

"No you don't, Padfoot," Remus answered.He laughed when Sirius just glared at him.

Harry had had reason to believe before now that this umbrella was not all it looked; in fact, he had the strong impression that Hagrid's old school wand was concealed inside it.
Hagrid wasn't supposed to use magic. He had been expelled from Hogwarts in his third year, but Harry had never found out why - any mention of the matter and Hagrid would clear his throat loudly and become mysteriously deaf until the subject was changed.

"He does that to us too," James said nodding his head.

"Always was a terrible liar," Sirius stated.

"An Engorgement Charm, I suppose?" said Hermione, halfway between disapproval and amusement. "Well, you've done a good job on them."
"That's what yer little sister said," said Hagrid nodding at Ron. "Met her jus' yesterday." Hagrid looked sideways at Harry, his beard twitching. "Said she was jus' lookin' round the grounds, but I reckon she was hopin' she might run inter someone else at my house." He winked at Harry.
"If yeh ask me, she wouldn' say no ter a signed -"
"Oh, shut up," said Harry.

"I think it's sweet," Lily cooed.

"You would," Sirius said.

"What's that supposed to mean?" liy asked her eyes narrowing.

"Nothing.Nothing.Just never mind." he replied quickly.


Ron snorted with laughter and the ground was sprayed with slugs.
"Watch it!" Hagrid roared, pulling Ron away from his precious pumpkins.
It was nearly lunchtime and as Harry had only had one bit of treacle fudge since dawn, he was keen to go back to school to eat. They said goodbye to Hagrid and walked back up to the castle, Ron coughing occasionally, but only bringing up two, very small slugs.
They had barely set foot in the cool Entrance Hall when a voice rang out. "There you are, Potter, Weasley." Professor McGonagall was walking towards them, looking stern.

"Never a good look," Sirius said, ''tried telling her that too once.Wasn't pretty." he added wincing.

"You'd think that seeing as you always get in more trouble for telling her these things,you wouldn't say anything." Lily commented.

"But it's fun to see the look on her face," Sirius said, ''before she starts yelling that is."

"You know I bet McGonagall is just counting down the days until graduation when you won't be able to torment her anymore." Lily said.

"I hope so," said Sirius with a smirk.

Lily sighed and rested her head on her hand.


"You will both do your detentions this evening."
"What are we doing, Professor?" said Ron, nervously suppressing a burp.
"You will be polishing the silver in the trophy room with Mr. Filch,"

"Ooh,I feel sorry for him," James said wincing, ''wonder if Harry's will be any better."

said Professor McGonagall. "And no magic, Weasley - elbow grease."
Ron gulped. Argus Filch, the caretaker was loathed by every student in the school.
"And you, Potter, will be helping Professor Lockhart answer his fan mail,"

"You've got to be kidding," Lily said raising her eyebrows

"Well,now we know who's got the worse detention," Remus commented.

said Professor McGonagall."Oh no - can't I go and do the trophy room, too?" said Harry desperately.
"Certainly not," said Professor McGonagall, raising her eyebrows.
"Professor Lockhart requested you particularly.

"He just enjoys torturing the poor kid doesn't he?" Sirius said.

Eight o'clock sharp, both of you."
Harry and Ron slouched into the Great Hall in states of deepest gloom, Hermione behind them, wearing a well-you-did-break-school-rules sort of expression.

"I hate that look," Sirius grumbled

"That's only because you see it so often." Remus pointed out.

Harry didn't fancy his shepherd's pie as much as he'd thought. Both he and Ron felt they'd got the worse deal.
"Filch'll have me there all night," said Ron heavily.
"No magic! There must be about a hundred cups in that room. I'm no good at Muggle cleaning."
"I'd swap any time," said Harry hollowly. "I've had loads of practice with the Dursleys.

Both James and Lily glared at the book.Remus who looked up and noticed this said ''guys,to you think you could glare at something else.That look is starting to creep me out now."

"Sorry,Moony." James said sheepishly.

Answering Lockhart's fan mail ... he'll be a nightmare ..."
Saturday afternoon seemed to melt by, an in what seemed like no time, it was five minutes to eight, and Harry was dragging his feet along the second-floor corridor to Lockhart's office. He gritted his teeth and knocked.
The door flew open at once. Lockhart beamed down at him.
"Ah, here's the scallywag!" he said.

"Scallywag?" Siriuis asked with raised eyebrows, ''man,do I pity that kid."


"Come in, Harry, come in."
Shining brightly on the walls by the light of many candles were countless framed photographs of Lockhart.

"Self-centered much?" Lily asked.

He had even signed a few of them.
Another large pile lay on his desk.
"You can address the envelopes!" Lockhart told Harry, as though this was a huge treat.

"Oh,thank you ever,ever so much!" Sirius cried sarcasum heavy in his voice.


"This first one's to Gladys Gudgeon, bless her - huge fan of mine."

"Must be something wrong with her head," Sirius commented.


The minutes snailed by. Harry let Lockhart's voice wash over him, occasionally saying, "Mmm" and "Right" and "Yeah". Now and then he caught a phrase like "Fame's a fickle friend, Harry" or "Celebrity is as celebrity does, remember that".

"Stupid as stupid does would be much better," commented Sirius.

The candles burned lower and lower, making the light dance over the many moving faces of Lockhart watching him. Harry moved his aching hand over what felt like the thousandth envelope, writing out Veronica Smethley's address. It must be nearly time to leave, Harry thought miserably, please let it be nearly time ...And then he heard something - something quite apart from the spitting of the dying candles and Lockhart's prattle about his fans. It was a voice, a voice to chill the bone-marrow, a voice of breath-taking, ice-cold venom.

"This doesn't sound good," Remus said frowning.

"You think,Moony?" Sirius asked sarcasticly.

"Oh,shut it,Padfoot."


Come ... come to me ... let me rip you ... let me tear you ... let me kill you ..."

"What?" James said,looking pale.

Lily was looking pale too.She,once again,had James's arm in a vise-like grip.


Harry gave a huge jump and a large lilac blot appeared on Veronica Smethley's street.
"What?" he said loudly.
"I know!" said Lockhart. "Six solid months at the top of the bestseller list! Broke all records!"

"Oh,for crying out loud! Who cares?!" Lily screamed.

The three Mauraders looked curiously at her.

"What!" she snapped.

"Oh,nothing!"

"Not a thing!"

"Yeah,nothing at all!"

"No," said Harry frantically. "That voice!"
"Sorry?" said Lockhart, looking puzzled. "What voice?"
"That - that voice that said - didn't you hear it?"
Lockhart was looking at Harry in high astonishment.
"What are you talking about, Harry? Perhaps you're getting a little drowsy? Great Scott - look at the time! We've been here nearly four hours!

"Four Hours?" James asked increduasly. "He's got to be kidding me."


I'd never have believed it - the time's flown, hasn't it?"
Harry didn't answer. He was straining his ears to hear the voice again, but there was no sound now except for Lockhart telling him he mustn't expect a treat like this every time he got detention.

"Oh,yes marvilous treat.Best detention I ever had!" Sirius said once again speaking sarcasticly.


Feeling dazed, Harry left.
It was so late that the Gryffindor common room was almost empty. Harry went straight up to the dormitory. Ron wasn't back yet. Harry pulled on his pajamas, got into bed and waited.

Half an hour later, Ron arrived, nursing his right arm and bringing a strong smell of polish into the darkened room.
"My muscles have all seized up," he groaned, sinking on his bed. "Fourteen times he made me buff up that Quidditch Cup before he was satisfied. And then I had another slug attack all over a Special Award for Services to the School. Took ages to shift the slime ... How was it with Lockhart?"

"Best time of my life!," Sirius said sarcastically.

"Sirius." Lily said.

"What?"

But instead she just shook her head in a hopeless sort of way.

Keeping his voice low so as to not wake Neville, Dean and Seamus, Harry told Ron exactly what he had heard.
"And Lockhart said he couldn't hear it?" said Ron. Harry could see him frowning in the moonlight. "D'you think he was lying?"

"Why not?" James said, ''he's probably lied about everything else."

But I don't get it - even someone invisible would've had to open the door."

"I know," said Harry, lying back in his four-poster and staring at the canopy above him. "I don't get it, either."

"Aliright who wants to read?" Remus asked waving the book in the air.

"I'll read it," Lily said.

Remus tossed her the book,she turned to the next chapter and started to read.

--

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