Fossils and Frog Spawn.

"I want to find some frog spawn!" Harry exclaimed excitedly as he hurried down the path.

"I want to see the giant squid!" Neville panted, hurrying after him.

"Slow down, boys," their tutor called patiently as he followed them around the edge of the lake. "We have all afternoon."

"Mr Lupin?" Harry said, stopping and waiting for the older wizard to catch them up. "If I catch a frog can we put him in a tank like Grindy?"

"I'll think about it." Lupin straightened the neck of Harry's robe and tweaked one pink little ear. "Did you put on your sun blocker, Harry Potter?"

Harry looked guilty. "I forgot," he admitted.

"Me too," Neville volunteered.

Lupin tsked under his breath and conjured a small glass bottle.

"Mr Lupin?" Harry said again as his tutor sprayed a fine mist on Neville's face and hands. The other boy had his eyes squinched shut as the cool mist settled onto his skin.

"It's your turn, Harry, close your mouth while I spray you."

Harry pressed his lips together and endured the attentions.

"All done," Lupin announced, tucking the bottle into one pocket.

"Mr Lupin?" Harry continued undaunted. "At my old school we had a frog in a fish tank. It was called a, um, terra, um, something. Do you know what it was called?"

"Afraid not, Harry," Lupin admitted, gesturing back down the path. Neville led the way but Harry trotted by the older wizard's side, his face thoughtful.

"How come you don't know?" he wondered. "I thought you had to know everything to be a teacher?"

Lupin smiled. "You have to know a great many things, it's true, Harry," he admitted. "But I'm afraid I don't know too many Muggle words. I haven't traveled much in the Muggle world."

"People always say Muggle world and wizard world, but it's the same world as ours, isn't it?" Harry asked, eyes widening in surprise. "When we went to London we just went in a train, not a space ship or anything."

"You say the silliest things, Harry," Neville said and Harry screwed his nose up at him.

"Do not," he retorted.

"It's never silly to ask questions if you don't know the answer, Neville," Lupin said firmly.

"So there," Harry crowed.

"But it's also sensible to think about a question before you ask it," Lupin said, turning his gaze on his other pupil. "You know very well that wizards and Muggles live on the same world, Harry."

Harry looked suitably chastened and they strolled along for a little way in silence. Neville picked up a long twig and stroked the overhanging bushes as they brushed by them. Beneath their feet the fine powdery sand of the lake shore crunched and overhead a bird wheeled and called in the brilliant bright blue of the summer afternoon.

"So why do people say they're different worlds then?" Harry finally asked.

"Why do you think?"

The boy frowned and glanced at Neville, who had found an interesting rock and was squatting down to look at it.

"Because Muggles don't know about magic?" he guessed. "They don't do they? Back where I lived before the only magic was on TV and stuff." Harry scratched his head thoughtfully. "And on TV it was only magic that did the dishes and washing and stuff."

"Is that so?" Lupin murmured. "Well, Muggles not knowing about us is part of it Harry. What have you found there, Neville?" he called and Neville ran up with his prize.

"It's a rock with a seashell pattern," Neville said excitedly.

"Ahh, very nice. It's a fossil, Neville. That rock used to be a shell, millions of years ago."

"Wow," Neville said. "Look, Harry."

Harry stared at it enviously. "Can I find a fossil too?"

"Let's look, shall we?" Lupin suggested. "A pair would look fine on our science table."

Fortunately Harry located a fossil with a nice clear fern pattern on it and was mollified. The search took the better part of an hour though and they were all ready for a cool drink and a rest in the shade before continuing the nature walk.

"You never finished explaining about the Muggle world and the wizard one," Harry reminded him after draining his pumpkin juice and licking his lips. He crossed his leg and looked down into the palm of his hand where the fossil fern was safely clutched. "Do Muggles have fossils?"

"Yes," Lupin said, stretching his own long legs in front of him and leaning back against the tree trunk. "We all live on the same planet, Harry, the same world. When folk call our worlds different that's just a way of saying that wizards and Muggles don't generally live together. We both have our own laws and rules, our own schools. What else?" he asked them.

"Our own clothes!" Harry piped up swiftly. "I sure didn't like wizard robes at first."

"You said they were dresses," Neville giggled.

Harry nudged his shoulder. "No fair," he protested. "I didn't know, did I, Mr Lupin?"

"Muggle borns always face the same problems," Lupin agreed. "Neville, perhaps you can tell us one more way our worlds differ, wizard and Muggle?"

"That's not fair on me," Neville protested. "I'm not Muggle born."

"No, but you've lived with Harry a long time now. What other differences are there?

Neville thought. "Well," he said slowly. "There's house elves. Harry said they didn't have house elves in his old house."

"Aunt Petunia sure wouldn't have had Mr Pickle in her kitchen," Harry said fervently. "You should have seen her when she thought she had a mouse in there! She set about a million traps!"

"A wizard wouldn't set a trap, would he, Mr Lupin?" Neville said wisely. "He'd just do a spell."

"Exactly. And as Harry pointed out earlier, that's the biggest difference between our world and theirs, and what it always comes back to. We use magic and Muggles can't." He looked up at the sky and heaved a sigh. "Up we get then, boys, if we want to hunt for that frog spawn."

"I wish I'd never lived with Muggles," Harry said gloomily, standing up and brushing the grass from his robes. "It's not fair that Neville and Ronnie know stuff I don't."

"You'll catch up, Harry," Lupin said comfortingly, leading the way back down the path towards the shimmering lake shore. "And I think it's good to know a bit about both worlds. If I knew more about the Muggle world I'd be able to answer your question about a frog tank."

"Terrarium!" Harry said suddenly, smiling in delight. "I just remembered Mrs Taylor saying it!"

"Wonderful!" Lupin praised. "Which quite makes sense, because the word 'terra'..." he paused, narrowing his eyes against the afternoon sunlight gleaming on the water.

The boys followed his gaze and Harry frowned and held up his hands to shade his eyes. "Who's that little boy, Mr Lupin? Are we still in Hogwarts?"

"Where, where?" Neville said, squinting. "Oh, there he is! Why is he running?"

"I don't know," Lupin said slowly. The boy was indeed running, pushing through bushes and casting glances over his shoulder. Unfortunately he was heading straight for the lake shore. "Hie!" Lupin called out suddenly, making Harry and Neville jump. "What are you doing there?"

The boy turned to look at them, stumbling to a stop by the lake side. Without an answer he dropped to his backside and began to tug off his boots, flinging first one and then the other over his shoulder.

"Oh no, you don't," Lupin muttered. "Come on, boys." He broke into a trot and Neville and Harry exchanged a thrilled glance and followed.

"Don't you dare go into that water!" Lupin was bellowing. The boy cast him one more glance, they were close enough now to see the disdainful look on his pale pointed little face, and then he was jumping into the shallows and splashing out.

"Bloody little brat," Lupin muttered as they all skidded to a halt by the abandoned boots.

"He's after my frog spawn!" Harry said indignantly, pointing to a still patch of water by a fallen tree branch.

Lupin had already kicked off his shoes and with one seething glance at his charges tugged his robe over his head and tossed it onto the grass. He wore knee length cotton drawers and he hitched them up grimly and tramped to the water's edge.

"You two boys set foot in this water and you'll both be in bigger trouble than you can possibly imagine," he threatened.

"Oh no!" Neville squealed, pointing at the flailing figure of the silver haired boy. With a splash he seemed to lose his footing and disappear under the surface.

"Buggrit!" Lupin cursed and with a bound he'd sprung cleanly into a long dive, disappearing just as the child had beneath the murky surface.

Harry drew close to Neville and clutched his hand fearfully. This close to shore the trees overhung the lake's edge and the water looked darker and gloomier than the sunlit surface rippling further out. For long moments there was nothing but the distant sound of birds crying out over the forest, and then Lupin's head broke the surface of the water. His shoulders strained and another, smaller head popped up, sputtering and choking, dark silver strands of hair and slimy green weed covering his face.

"Whew," Neville breathed out a huff of relief and Harry's knees shook as they hurried to the lake's edge.

"Of all the stupid, reckless, thoughtless acts," Mr Lupin was saying as he trudged through the shallows, the boy under one arm. They were both covered with the slimy green weed and the tutor's feet squelched in the mud as he scrambled up the slight bank and dropped the child brusquely onto the grass.

"That was very brave, Mr Lupin," Harry exclaimed as the boy sputtered and pushed ineffectually at the wet hair and weed on his face. "But why didn't you just magic him out?"

"Too close to the giant squid," Mr Lupin said, plucking a long strand of green weed off of one shoulder with a grimace. "Magic gets it all stirred up." He looked down at the shivering boy and frowned sternly. "Well, youngster? What do you have to say for yourself?

"How dare you lay hands on me!" the child said, finding his feet and facing the tall wizard boldly. The effect was somehow lessened by the weed still draping his shoulders and the high pipe of his childish voice.

"I just saved your life, boy," Lupin said impatiently. He reached for his robe and pulled it over his head, heedless of the mud and slime still covering him.

"I was perfectly fine," the boy said arrogantly, planting a small fist on each hip. "I'll have you know I can swim like a fish!"

"Mr Lupin saved your life!" Harry said indignantly. "You were drowning!"

"This shore is thick with weed," Lupin said dryly, stroking through his hair and plucking a particularly large specimen from it. "Even the best swimmer can drown tangled in this stuff."

"I was just fine," the boy said again, pushing dripping hair out of his eyes. "Just you wait until I tell my father you dared put your hands on me."

"Oh, I'll be having words with your father, boy, I can promise you that." With a muttered spell Lupin dried himself and then the boy.

Without a word of thanks the child dropped gracefully onto his bottom and began to put his boots on.

"You're really rude," Harry retorted, marching to his tutor's side and facing the boy with his own hands on his hips.

"It's much ruder to point out bad manners than have them," the fair haired child said primly.

"Just what exactly are you doing here anyway?" Lupin said, gesturing Neville to his side as well. "How did you get onto Hogwarts grounds?"

The boy stood and stamped his feet into the boots casually. "My father can go anywhere he likes," the child explained loftily. "And since I'll probably be Head Boy here one day he decided I should come and see the school while he was here." Looking around disdainfully the child screwed up his nose. "I must say I don't think much of it so far."

Harry was outraged but before he could speak Neville had piped up, his fists clenched angrily. "Then why don't you just go home and not come back!" He burst out.

"I say," the boy said, grey eyes widening.

Mr Lupin put a gentle hand on Neville's shoulder. "All right, boys," he said quietly. He looked at the newcomer. "Your father must be on the Board of Governors." He waited for the child's lofty nod. "Professor Dumbledore did tell me they were meeting here today."

"Were you after my frog spawn?" Harry accused.

"It's not yours!"

"Is too!"

"Is not!"

"Enough!" Mr Lupin said firmly. "What's your name, boy?"

"Draco," the boy said sulkily. "And you're going to be sorry you yelled at me. My father-"

"I said enough!" Lupin said sharply and the child subsided sullenly. Lupin blew out a weary breath and conjured up a note out of thin air. "Professor Dumbledore, young Draco is down by the lake shore with me," he dictated to it. "I'm bringing him up right now."

"But our nature walk!" Harry protested.

"I never saw the giant squid!" Neville said in dismay.

"Sorry, boys, but that will have to wait, I'm afraid. Master Draco's father will be waiting for his son up at the castle." He gestured to the path and the two boys slumped their shoulders and began to make their way back.

"This is your fault," Harry hissed as they passed Draco, who poked his tongue out. Harry returned with a gruesome face. "What kind of stupid name is Draco anyway?" Harry sneered.

"Harry," Lupin said patiently. "I know you're disappointed about your nature walk, but there's no need for bad manners, is there?"

"His manners are worse!" Harry defended.

"That's no need for you to be rude in return."

"I don't have bad manners," Draco declared, looking offended.

Lupin came abreast of the boy and laid a hand on his fair silky head. "Why don't you prove that, Draco, and try showing us some good manners?"

With bad grace the boy fell into step beside the tutor, pushing a strand of silver hair behind one ear.

"What were you doing down here by yourself anyway?"

"I ran away from my governess, Miss Twitter," Draco bragged. "I told her I wanted to collect some frog spawn and she just squealed like a girl. So I gave her the slip."

"She must be very worried about you."

"She's probably having the vapours," Draco drawled. "She usually does when I run away from her."

"That's mean," Neville declared. "And Harry's right. What kind of name is Draco?"

"Yeah," Harry sneered.

"Actually, boys, Draco is quite an old and noble name," Lupin informed them. "It means dragon."

"No way!" Harry protested.

"That is cool," Neville agreed reluctantly.

"One day I'll have my own dragon," Draco bragged, strutting along by the tutor confidently. "I shall probably ride on it and train it to flame people I don't like."

"No one can own a dragon," Harry shot back. "And if you did he'd probably flame your hair right off and you'd be all bald and stupid looking!"

"Harry, I won't tell you again," Mr Lupin exclaimed. "Really, what has possessed you today!"

Harry bowed his head. "Sorry, Mr Lupin," he muttered, but just then Neville gave a cry of desolation.

"My fossil!" he shrieked. "I must have dropped it by the lake!"

Lupin stopped and glanced back down the path. "We'll have to come back for it later, Neville."

"Please, Mr Lupin," Neville said, tears welling in his eyes. "Please can we go back and get it? Someone else might find it and steal it."

"I could go back and get it?" Harry volunteered but the tutor shook his head with a sigh.

"No, Harry, I don't want any one of you wandering the lake shore by yourselves. All right, Neville, settle down." He clapped a hand on Neville's shoulder and the boy rubbed at his wet eyes. "We'll go back and see if we can find it, but if we can't we'll just have to leave it for another day, all right?"

"Yes, sir," Neville said, his face brightening. He led the way back down the path with the tutor following him. Now Harry and Draco were walking side by side and after a scornful glance under fine silver lashes Draco leaned over and sneered in a whisper.

"Your brother is a big baby."

Harry's hot temper rose but he didn't want his tutor raising his voice to him again so he contented himself with a fierce glare.

"He is not," Harry hissed. "If you had anything as cool as a fossil you'd want to go back and get it too."

Draco pursed his lips and looked unconvinced. He scuffed at a rock on the path and twisted a leaf from a nearby bush.

"What is a stupid fossil anyway?" he finally asked in a careless voice.

Harry opened his own sweaty palm and revealed his treasured find and the two boys stopped for a moment and examined it.

"Did someone carve it?" Draco asked curiously, peering down at the fossil's surface.

"Uh uh." Harry shook his head. "It was a really and truly fern from millions of years ago. Neville's is even better, his is a seashell."

The two heads, one silky black, the other fine silver bent over the fossil and studied it closely.

"Boys?" Mr Lupin called from ahead. "Keep up."

"There it is!" Neville exclaimed as they reached the muddy shore. The fossil lay on the damp grass and the boy rushed forward and picked it up, face glowing.

"Show me," Draco commanded, holding his hand out, but Lupin vetoed the idea at once.

"We've no time for dilly dallying, boys," he said firmly. "Professor Dumbledore will have my message by now. We must hurry back to the castle."

"Yes, sir," Harry and Neville said obediently.

"Neville," Harry whispered as they all three fell into step behind the hurrying tutor. "Show Draco your fossil."

Neville clutched his prize tightly and shot Harry a disbelieving glance. "I thought we didn't like him?" he whispered back.

"We don't," Harry said swiftly. "But he's never seen fossils before, and yours is cool."

Draco was wearing an offhand expression and shrugged when Neville shot him a narrow glance. "It's not like I care," he said carelessly. "But if you want to show me..."

Neville still looked dubious but he handed it over and the boys walked on, peering over Draco's shoulder as he examined the small sandy rock, its sea shell pattern a graceful curve on one side.

"I say," Draco breathed and Neville's doubtful look faded and he began to smile, a shade smugly.

"We're going to put it on our Science Table at school," he bragged.

"You go to school?" Draco said curiously.

Harry nodded. "Mr Lupin is out tutor," he confirmed.

"Oh, a tutor," Draco returned. "My father's going to get me a tutor next year. He said I'm getting too old for a governess."

Neville held his hand out for his fossil and Draco reluctantly handed it back.

"I shall get my father to buy me one," he said loftily.

"There's no fun in that," Harry said scornfully.

"Yeah, I found mine and then Harry found his," Neville added.

"I searched and searched," Harry expanded. "Mr Lupin said you often find fossils together."

"Nearly there. boys," Lupin said, pausing beneath the shade of a tree and wiping his brow. "Time for a quick drink, I think. Wouldn't want to become dehydrated in this heat."

"I can still taste that muddy water," Draco revealed and he made such a comical face that Harry and Neville both began to giggle. Draco blinked in surprise and for a moment looked as if he might take offence at their mirth.

Mr Lupin interjected. "Have some juice then," he said swiftly, proffering a flask. "It's ice cold.'

Draco frowned at the bottle for a moment and then slowly accepted it. He took a mouthful and held the bottle back out to the tutor who waved a hand to indicate that he should hand it to Harry.

"Sir," Draco said to the tutor and the boys stopped still at the polite tone of voice.

Mr Lupin was looking a trifle shocked himself. He raised a brow curiously. "Yes, Draco?"

"Where did you find those fossils, sir? I'd like to look for one myself."

Lupin shook his head regretfully. "Sorry, Draco, but we've already passed the place. Besides, we don't really have time, do we?"

"Maybe he could come looking with us another time?" Harry said as Draco bit his lip in disappointment.

"Miss Twitter would never bring me," Draco said gloomily. "She doesn't like the outdoors."

"Maybe when you get a tutor?" Neville suggested and Draco shrugged.

Mr Lupin's head lifted and he frowned. "I think I can hear someone. Probably your search party, Draco."

For the first time Draco looked a little apprehensive. "I hope father's not too mad," he said nervously.

"Why'd you run away if you knew he'd be mad?" Harry asked.

"I wanted to see the lake," Draco defended. "I wanted to catch some frog spawn and take it home and grow tadpoles."

"That's what I wanted!" Harry exclaimed.

"Damn, they're heading around the wrong way," Lupin said, head still cocked and listening. "I'll send them up a signal flare."

He held his wand aloft and sent up a silvery flare which startled birds from nearby trees and shot up into the sky before dissolving in a shower of sparks. A moment later another shower, gold this time, erupted from around the lake.

"They've seen it," Lupin said in relief. "We better wait here for them otherwise we might miss one another again." He smiled reassuringly at them. "Won't be long now."

"It's not fair," Draco said, sitting down on a weatherworn old log. "I'll never get a fossil now."

Harry looked down at the fern fossil in his hand. "Maybe Neville's right," he ventured. "When you get a tutor he might let you look for them." He sat down next to Draco on the worn old wood.

"And get some frog spawn and grow tadpoles," Neville added, planting himself on the other side of the boy.

Draco shrugged. "My dad doesn't like me getting dirty and stuff," he said gloomily. "You're lucky, to go to school and everything." One small booted foot kicked at a tuft of grass. "Wish I did."

Harry looked back down at his fossil again. Before coming to Hogwarts he'd been to school, but he could remember what it felt like, being outside of all the fun everyone else was having. For sure if there had been fossil hunts and things like that then he, Harry, would not have been allowed to go.

Impulsively he thrust out his hand and offered his prize on one grubby palm. "Here," he said.

Draco blinked in surprise and Neville gaped at him.

"You're giving it to me?" Draco said incredulously.

Already half regretting his impulse, Harry shrugged carelessly. "If you don't want it," he began, but Draco reached out and carefully took it from his hand.

"I do," he breathed, his pale pointed little face glowing as he looked down at the gracefully decorated rock. Then a small frown knit his brow. "But why?" he asked. "You really like this fossil. Why give it to me?"

"I can get more," Harry said confidently. Then he shrugged and smiled, feeling better at the thought that maybe he could come down here with his dad and search for more. Maybe he'd even find a shell one next time. "It's no big deal."

There was a crashing through the brush behind them and then Hagrid, the groundskeeper of Hogwarts School appeared before them, brushing twigs and leaves from his bushy hair.

"Wotcher, boys," he greeted with a cheerful grin. "The headmaster sent me down here to fetch a lost lamb. Seems Mr Malfoy from the Board of Governors is pinching a bit of a fit up at the castle."

The three boys were leaning back and staring up at the huge groundskeeper; first sight of Hagrid often brought on that reaction, even in people who knew him. But Harry still spared a curious glance at his tutor when he repeated Draco's father's name.

"Malfoy?" he said in strangled tones.

Hagrid nodded and indicated over his shoulder. "Ready, lads?" he invited. "Me and Fang have cleared a bit of a path, if you want to come alonga me."

"I'll race you," Harry challenged recklessly, and when Mr Lupin didn't object he skipped past Hagrid and made a gruesome face at his companions. "Bet I win!"

"No fair, Harry!" Neville wailed as Harry nipped around the huge gamekeeper and disappeared.

"Wait for me!" Draco called and then he was off too, skidding on the sandy path as he vanished down the path.


"Better go after 'em," Hagrid chuckled. "Don't worry, Remus," he said soothingly as Lupin stood as if bolted in place. "Fang's with them."

"Malfoy," Lupin repeated under his breath. "Severus is going to kill me."


Harry was easily winning the race when he made his usual mistake of craning his head around to gauge his lead. A moment later he stumbled over a rock on the path and Draco had overtaken him, fair hair ruffling in the breeze as he sped by.

"I'm winning, I'm winning!" he shrieked, then screeched to a halt as Professor Dumbledore and another man turned onto the path ahead of them.

"Father!" Draco said, darting forward. "I fell in the lake and that man pulled me out and he yelled at me but it's all right because I have a fossil! Look!"

Harry exchanged a nervous glance with Neville. The man standing next to Professor Dumbledore was clearly Draco's father, they shared the same, pale, pointed face and fine, silvery hair. But where Draco was smiling and dirty and panting a little after his race, Mr Malfoy looked cool and cold and a little disdainful as he took in the scene.

"Draco," he drawled coolly. "You're filthy." He waved his wand and flecks of dirt and mud flew off in every direction and then dropped suddenly to the ground.

"My dad can do that spell," Harry observed, and then gulped as Mr Malfoy turned his icy gray gaze on him. Harry jumped as a hand descended onto his shoulder. To his relief it was just his tutor.

"I bet your dad has needed to do that spell many more times than Draco's dad," Mr Lupin said. He was smiling, but Harry thought his smile looked a little strange. It didn't seem to reach his eyes somehow.

"Harry Potter," Mr Malfoy murmured. "And Young Longbottom as well, I see. How fitting that you two should be here together."

Neville's hand reached out and Harry clutched it gratefully. All of a sudden the sunny day seemed a little darker, and the shadows of the forest around them seemed a little scarier.

Draco reached out and took his father's hand, and Mr Malfoy let him, drawing him close to his side. Harry relaxed a little. Surely Mr Malfoy couldn't be too bad then, if he loved his little boy like Harry's dad loved him.

"Draco seems no worse for his little misadventure," Professor Dumbledore said with a smile. "In fact he seems to have found a rare treasure. A fossil, Draco?"

Draco nodded and held out a now clean hand. The fossil rested on his palm. "Harry gave it me," he said, a little more quietly now.

Mr Malfoy's brow raised but Professor Dumbledore just smiled all the wider. "How very kind," he noted, and Harry felt quite proud. Being kind was a good thing, Mr Lupin said so.

"Yes," Mr Malfoy drawled. "Very kind."

He almost made it sound like a bad thing, but Harry was quickly distracted from that thought when Mr Lupin pressed his shoulder and urged he and Neville forward.

"Time to get the boys back for lunch," he said, nodding at the headmaster on the way past.

Harry realised they were leaving, and he turned back around and sketched a small wave at the quiet boy still gripping his father's hand.

"Bye, Draco. Don't lose the fossil."

"I won't," Draco called back, after an apprehensive glance up at his father.

"Sorry I said your name was dumb," Neville added as they were urged up the path and back towards the castle. "It's a very cool name really."

Harry felt like he wanted to say more somehow, maybe invite Draco back to look for more fossils and frog spawn with him, but Mr Lupin didn't seem to be in the mood to linger over goodbyes, and anyway, Mr Malfoy was kind of creepy and mean looking, and Harry didn't like to say too much in front of him.

"Mr Lupin?" Harry panted as their pace increased. "Why are we going so fast? Are we late for lunch?"

Mr Lupin slowed and stopped, looking back over his shoulder at the empty path behind them, and then squinting up ruefully into the sky at the location of the sun. "No, not yet," he admitted, running a hand through his hair. "We have time to get cleaned up first."

"Don't you like Mr Malfoy either?" Neville asked, still panting a little at their rapid pace.

Mr Lupin shot him a startled glance. "What do you mean, either? You can hardly have taken a dislike to Mr Malfoy, Neville, you barely met him."

Neville shrugged. "I din't like the way he looked at us," he said. "Harry and me."

The sound of Professor's Dumbledore's voice and the shrill piping tones of Draco Malfoy drifted up the path, and Mr Lupin glanced back over his shoulder and urged them on again, although not as swiftly as before.

"Don't worry about it boys," Mr Lupin said quietly. "You probably won't ever have to see him again."

Which was a good thing, Harry thought later as he and Neville enjoyed their lunch. Now that he thought about it, he hadn't much liked the way Mr Malfoy had gazed at them either. But it was s a bit of a shame about Draco though. He had been a little snooty at first, but he didn't seem like a bad fellow, and Harry thought he might have been fun, when he wasn't trying to show off or brag.

Harry's dad cut a piece of chicken pie for himself and took a small bite, before dabbing at his mouth with a napkin. He had listened to Harry and Neville's story about the curtailed nature walk and the brave rescue by Mr Lupin. His lips had tightened briefly when Harry spoke of Draco and the gifting of the fossil. And his face had grown quite dark at the mention of Mr Malfoy and his mean eyes.

"Eat your lunch now, boys," he had said coolly. "I'll hear the whole story from your tutor later."

And that had been the end of that.

After lunch and pudding Harry's dad usually walked them back to their classroom at the top of the tower, and left them with a nod, or sometimes an admonition to be good. But today he crouched and drew both boys closer, a hand on each small shoulder.

"Do you know what instinct is, boys?" he asked.

Harry exchanged a shrug with Neville and they shook their heads.

"It's something that we know naturally, without anyone telling us. Understand?"

Harry nodded, a little uncertainly.

"Listen to your instincts, especially about people that you meet. If you instinctively don't like them, then there must be a reason."

Both boys nodded again, and Harry's dad squeezed their shoulders and let them go.

"I think he was talking about Draco's dad," Neville whispered in Harry's ear as the bell rang for afternoon class.

"Yeah," Harry agreed, thinking hard. He and Neville had instincts about Mr Malfoy, and Harry's dad wanted them to listen to them. So they would.

"But I have an in stink about Draco too," Harry whispered back. "I think he's okay. Underneath it all."

Neville thought about it and nodded.

"Yeah," he agreed.

The End