Disclaimer:  Ring around the rosey a pocket full of posies…oh yes, I HAVE EVIL PLANS TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD AND OWN HARRY POTTER!!!!!!!!!!  But not yet, because J.K. still owns it all.

A/N:  Hi ya!  I'm back again!!!!  I want to thank all of your reviews for once again being a leading motivation in sitting by butt down, and enjoying myself as I type this.  So, umm, here's the deal….it is day two in the Forbidden Forest, and its time for the boys to shape up.  So, if you are all ready to put your weapons down…I'll continue.

Chapter 21

            "Why are we stopping now?" asked Ron.  They were balanced on a log that was over a slow moving stream, but he wasn't quite sure how much longer he could stay on.  Eoin's only response was to pull out two long staffs that were probably a foot taller than him and smooth wood.  He tossed one to Meggie, and one to Draco. 

            "Everyone else off please.  On the count of three you two will fight…"

            "With a stick?" cut off Draco.  "How are you supposed to fight with a stick?  And on a bigger stick? So, we're supposed to stand on a stick and fight with a smaller stick.  This makes a lot of sense!" 

            "It is to learn balance, and confidence," said Eoin.  "If you can defeat an opponent on a log with just the resources of nature around you, then you will most likely stop falling out of trees," said Eoin as Draco flushed pink.  "And there will be no using of magic.  Wandless or otherwise," Eoin had looked directly at Harry, who studied his feet.  He had transfigured a couple of rocks into some eggs this morning, and a leaf into toast.  "Three, two, one…"  Splash!

            "Whoops…sorry Draco."  The wet blonde climbed out of the water and back onto the log.

            "Again," said Draco.

            Eoin shrugged.  "Three, two, one."  Draco shoved his stick against Meggie's and tried to push her off, but her foot swept up behind his legs, she landed in a crouch and he landed in the water. 

            As Draco again reached for dry land, Meggie began looking at the staff as if it was about to grow teeth and bite her.  "I…I didn't know I could do that…Here…someone else take it."

            Eoin took the stick, a smirk beginning to appear on his face.  "It appears that you've found your talent.  A natural fighting ability.  You'll all find that you have different talents that will appear throughout your training.  Now, it wouldn't be very fair to continue pairing you all against Elizabeth here, so Emrys, you and Eric next please."

            Ron came charging from his side of the log with his staff out like a lance, and Harry waited until Ron was almost upon him to level his stick at Ron's waist.  As he tried to dodge Ron's staff he lost his balance and went toppling towards the water at the same time Ron tripped over Harry's and went tumbling down at the same time.  As both came up laughing at the other's plight, Eoin sighed to himself.  "We have a long way to go.  Erin, you and Ethan next." 

            Draco stood on the log, dripping from his two former dips in the ice-cold water.  He stood facing Hermione who was shifting the staff back and forth, not quite sure yet how to wield it.  Draco, this being his third time barely waited for the word to go before he advanced.  Yet, the puddle below him had been growing, and slippery tennis shoes gave way, and he found himself straddling the log, and then slipping around upside down, and falling in headfirst.  "Are you quite all right Dra…Ethan?" asked Hermione, hanging over the edge trying to see where he had landed.  The response was two hands pulling her off the log and into the water next to him, causing him to start to laugh at the look of surprise on Hermione's face.

            "I guess we'll have to start over," sighed Eoin.  "Everyone back on please."  Everyone climbed back on, each creating their own puddle except for Meggie.  "Now, concentrate.  Close your eyes.  Now, you are one with the earth.  Lift your arms…"

            "AHH AMBER NO!!!!"  As the puppy attacked Draco from underneath his legs, he once again fell into the water, causing Ron to begin laughing again, and Harry to shove him in, but in the process, Ron grabbed his shirt and they all ended up in the water. 

            "How can he bloody expect us to fight with a stick!" hissed Ron to Harry as they went off looking for food.  "I mean, it's a stick for goodness sakes!"

            "So is your wand," said Hermione, overhearing their conversation.  "And I don't see you complaining about it being a stick."

            "Except when he broke it," said Harry.  "I believe he thought he was doomed then.  Even before he got that Howler." 

            "Just shut up both of you," said Ron.  "Hey what's this?  Do you think its edible?"

            "No Ron, I think you'll be quite itchy later though," said Hermione.  "It's Poison Ivy."

            "What's that you've got there?" asked Draco coming up from behind.  "Is it edible?  Here let me see it." And before anyone could protest, Draco had taken the plant from Ron's hand. 

            That night two boys spent quite a bit of time up, until they finally admitted their plight to Eoin who laughed at them before tossing them a bottle of some sort of salve for the worst patches, in which they could finally retire into sleep on their separate tree branches. 

            "Again," said Eoin as Draco successfully stayed on the log and Harry went tumbling down.  It had taken ten minutes for that to happen though, and both boys had worked up a sweat.  This time the boys were even more evenly matched then before, and the stalemate was evident.  They still had to abide by the rule of no magic though, but they were learning to use their resources.  Draco had Harry pinned against the log, his back against it and the staffs pressed against each others.  Suddenly a large grin spread across Harry's face and he blew raspberries all over Draco's face.  Draco jumped up screaming something about unsanitary and Harry pushed him over the edge.

            Ron and Hermione were doing just as well, though Hermione had beat Ron four out of five times today, and the fifth time was supposedly because a bee was flying around her and she jumped into the water herself.  Other than that, they were doing fine.

            Meggie had been training with Eoin, and had lost every time to him.  But none of them had seen anyone fight as well as those two did on the log, and nobody had ever seen Eoin break out into a sweat before Meggie began fighting him.  It almost seemed to Draco when he watched them that there was something personal in the fight, almost as if there was some sort of battle for dominance, and that the day that Meggie would win would be the day she'd stop listening to Eoin.  He could almost see the places switched, and Harry fighting Voldemort, and he imagined it would be something like this, though not on a log, and not with staffs. 

            It was a week later when Eoin finally announced that they were moving on.  After a day's walk they ended up in a clearing, and there they found five targets waiting, along with five bows, and five quivers of arrows.  And no proof of where they had come from.  "You'll learn to use them starting tomorrow," said Eoin. 

            "But aren't they rather sharp?" asked Ron warily. 

            "No Eric," said Meggie, "Why would they be sharp?" 

            Amber had figured out now where and where not to go to the bathroom, and when and when not to get in the way.  She usually followed right behind Draco, but when he was busy, she'd sit at Eoin's feet, and wait for him to come back.  That night, Draco brought her up the tree with him for the first time, and she slept in his lap through the night.

            "Rule number one, do not point the arrows at anything but the target, and especially not at anyone.  Rule number two, there is no rule number two.  On one, raise the bow, on two draw the bow, and on three, fire.  Understand?  Then nock your arrows."  He watched the five pick their bows and nock the arrows.  When they had all figured it out, and Ron had realized that his was backwards, they stepped to the ten yard mark.  "One.  Two.  Three."  One arrow grounded two feet away from Harry's feet, Draco's flew over his target, Ron's dropped to the ground, and Meggie's went to the right of her target.  Hermione's had hit the center mark.  Amber excitedly went to retrieve Draco's arrow, and came running back holding it between her teeth. 

            "Umm…Hermione, I mean, Erin," said Ron looking up from the arrow at his feet over at Hermione, "How did you do that?"

            "Lucky I guess?" said Hermione questioningly. 

            "Hermione back up to the next mark.  And again.  One.  Two.  Three."  Again Hermione was the only one who hit it.  "Retrieve your arrows, and then again."

            "I didn't think my arm could ever hurt so much," muttered Meggie miserably. 

            "I didn't think I'd ever get my arrow to go anywhere," said Ron.  "At least I finally hit a target, even if it was Harry's."

            Finding food was becoming routine now, and the boys no longer had to ask the girls for help.  When they got back they found Hermione was all ready done, and she sat there polishing her bow carefully with a piece of cloth.  "Jeez Erin," said Harry, "You'd think you're in love with that thing."

            "You're just jealous Emrys, because Eric hit your target before you did."  As Harry flushed the others laughed, and suddenly they found themselves the focus of Harry's magical wrath as they were drenched in buckets of water that were dancing around their heads.  He stopped quickly though at the sight of Eoin's glare.

 A/N:  So guys, it wouldn't be too much bother for you to review, would it?  C'mon, you just have to click the little button on the left down there.  See?