Chapter 15

It was considered just as well that the visitors had left before the little contretemps in first year herbology.

Achille Crouch-Villeneuve, cousin of Lynx, was inclined to know it all. He was, as Lynx put it with all the scorn she could muster, a Ravenclaw's Ravenclaw. Not according to Achille were such things as buttons with legs or unwholesome concatenations for him. He did not realise that Krait considered him both lazy and slapdash; his belief in his own ability was considerable and whilst he was no potioneer he managed well enough mostly to avoid too much censure and shone well enough in other classes from raw talent to conveniently forget his odd failures. He believed accidents only happened to the stupid and said so frequently.

Which is why when Achille managed to squirt Romneya Coulter in the face with stinging sap, both Lynx and another friend of Romneya's, Kate Rosier, rounded on him.

Kate was the daughter of a deatheater and was trying to live it down; she had a strong streak of compassion that had flowered happily with her father out of the way in Azkaban after the Department of Mysteries affair; but she also had a violent temper.

Achille yowled when two little girls slapped him hard, one on each side and said

"It was an accident!"

"Oh yeah?" said Lynx "YOU always say accidents ought not to happen, only stupid people have accidents. You KNOW Romneya has a skin condition you creep!"

"I didn't! And it WAS an accident, I'm sorry!" howled Achille in real terror as Lynx was advancing on him, wand in hand starting to mutter the words of the bat bogey hex.

"CHILDREN!"

Madam Sprout was not always the most imposing of witches being short and plump and motherly, her slightly dilapidated hat usually awry on untidy grey curls and her fingernails generally in deepest mourning; but THAT tone of voice generally got the attention of all the students.

"They attacked me Madam Sprout!" wailed Achille.

"He squirted Romneya on purpose, Professor!" said Lynx indignantly.

"I never!"

"You liar!" said Kate.

Romneya was sobbing gently and Madam Sprout turned her attention to her, rapidly smoothing on some soothing cream. Then she turned her attentions back to the other three.

"Achille, apologise properly to Romneya"

"I said Sorry Madam Sprout!"

"Well say it again, I want to hear it."

"Romneya, I am sorry, I didn't do it on purpose, it took me by surprise. And I didn't know you had a skin condition until Lynx said. I guess I was wrong about people having accidents, all right?"

Madam Sprout nodded.

"Let us hope you will in future remember this and be less self satisfied and less sneering of the mistakes of others" she said; and it may be said with some satisfaction herself for Achille was wont to make derogatory asides about Hufflepuffs. "As for you two girls, this is a herbology class not a display for two wild animals. As you are so fond of such wild behaviour you may undertake a detention in the care of Hagrid digging up samples of herbs I require from within the Forbidden Forest. You may also apologise to Achille for doubting his integrity; just because he is arrogant and insufferable at times and less capable than he believes himself to be does not mean he is a liar."

Lynx had to admit that Madam Sprout was fair handed. She called Achille as he was whilst ticking off her and Kate.

"If you told the truth, I apologise" she said "You should be more careful in future not to leave yourself open to being doubted."

"I also" said Kate "Apologise for any misjustice; and I hope that it was unjust because the alternative is not nice Achille."

"All right, I was stupid. I admit it!" said Achille "I thought care and attention eliminated all risk, and I thought I had displayed enough care and attention here. I was wrong. Anyone can be wrong, n'est ce pas?"

"What even a Ravenclaw? There's hope yet that you might even turn out to be a human being" said Lynx.

Madam Sprout cleared her throat.

Lynx beamed at her.

It seemed to disconcert most Professors quite well when she was in trouble and prevent her from getting into too much more!

The minor mischiefs of the first year weevils paled into insignificance beside the trouble Dione Parnassus started creating once bereft of her friendship with Elisa; with Madam Malfoy out of the school she had triumphantly assumed that Elisa would come crawling back to her side; but Elisa remembered that Krait had told her that Sephara was good at sewing and begged her to help her cut out and make a baby dress to send to Krait, to show Krait that she was keeping up the sewing. Sephara thought it a wonderful idea, and promptly drew Elisa into her own circle of friends. Sephara equally promptly went on Miss Parnassus' hate list and the angry girl developed a new spell just to embarrass the other girl which enchanted the effluvia from anal eructation to glow in various unpleasant colours. That Dione's first attempt to hex Sephara with the fart-fluorescing jinx caught Kinat instead – who thought it was cool and proceeded to show off to his friends – was irritating. That the marauders took it as a personal quest to find out from whose wand the spell had originated – making it harder to target Sephara – was worse. Kinat might have found it funny, but his friends were certain that whoever had developed the spell had not intended it that way. They were inclined to suspect Derwent and Porteous as proven racists, assuming that Kinat had been the intended target; and leaped on them to cast priori incantatem with the suspects' own wands for a ghost image of the previous spell. Leaped upon by marauders, the two were too scared to protest; and nobody was more surprised than they when the Marauders apologised to them.

On general principle they questioned Lionel Dell, in case he had slid into the fourth form prep room; and Dell asked what it was all about.

"A spell to fluoresce farts" said Hawke.

"Wow! Cool!" said Dell. "How does it go?"

"It isn't your spell then that you cast on Kinat?"

"Wish it was! I'd use it on the stuffier professors. And you guys as well I guess, just for kicks" added Dell.

"Not on Kinat because he's a goblin?"

"No, I guess I've been learning a lot about goblins" said Dell "They've had a raw deal… I got over that silliness. Shouldn't have listened to older fools without brains."

"Can't say fairer than that" said Hawke. "If you find out who did it we want to know….on general principles."

"Sure" said Dell.

Panassus meantime succeeded in jinxing Sephara when the boys were talking to Dell; and Myrtle, who still had a rather toilet-minded outlook pointed it out.

Ellie cast Finite Incantatem absently to cancel any spell effects.

"Sephara?" said Hawke "Well maybe it's just some general troublemaker…"

"I was walking past Sephara just before I realised….reckon she was the target all along?" demanded Kinat "Wonder how long it lasts…"

"Quick, feed him beans so it isn't wasted" said Romulus.

"Too late" said Ellie "Finite Incantatem is an area of effect spell, you were in it too, Kinat."

"Damn!" said Kinat cheerfully.

Foiled in her attempt to embarrass Sephara, Parnassus turned back to Elisa.

"Hey, teacher's pet, eat dirt!" she called "Unscourgify os!"

She screamed suddenly as from the end of her wand emerged a stinking demon-like creature with a wide and gaping mouth grinning evilly and made up of filth. She threw her wand from her and fell backwards, scrabbling away from it on the floor.

The wands of the marauders and friends were concentrated and seven spells of dismissal hit the creature at once.

The wand twitched once or twice and lay still.

Hawke picked it up and cast priori incantatem a couple of times. The first showed the dirt demon, the second the fluorescing fart jinx.

"Hmm mystery solved" said he. "Parnassuss, for someone who can invent such a cool jinx as that, why the blazes did you do something as stupid as trying to reverse a cleaning spell and make it bony?"

"Bony? I wanted dirt in her mouth!" sobbed Parnassus, still frightened.

"Wrong part of the declension" said Hawke "Os the mouth goes os-oris, so you would have had to have used ore, IN the mouth; bone is os-ossis so it was close enough to give it skeletal form. Lecture on Latin over, but lecture on idiocy barely begun; you should know those fool girls who tried to reverse a cleaning charm in whasserface, Claire's bed summoned a dirt monster, why did you think it'd be different for you?"

"B- because they reversed evanesco which is banishing so I figured the reverse of banishing was summoning so a reverse cleaning was all right!" said Parnassus, still too shocked to do anything but answer fully.

"All right, there's some dodgy logic in there I guess" said Hawke. "What's wrong with the good old fashioned slug-vomiting curse?"

"I forgot about it" said Parnassus sulkily.

"MUST you encourage her?" asked Myrtle

Hawke shrugged.

"If she's going to do it she might as well do it right. Besides, how can we keep our protective and curse breaking spells up to scratch without Voldemina here to practise on?"

"Voldemina? Is she that significant?"

"She's as significant as Tom Riddle, anyhow….anyway, that fart fluorescing jinx is worthy of notice. Credit where credit is due" said Hawke.

And Voldemina as a nickname stuck, at least for the rest of the term.

"I think" said Sephara "It's time Parnassus, you and I had a head to head; I don't know why you're jinxing me but it has to stop or I'll call you out."

"You? Call me out? You lousy squib, I'll show you a thing or two if you do! You and the way you're helping your filthy cousin to steal Elisa with that precious sewing kick of hers!"

"Oh that's what it's in aid of is it?" said Sephara "Well I do call you out, in the duelling club."

Notice of a grudge fight was filed with Professors Flitwick and Snape, the ones in overall charge of the duelling club. Neville had a quiet word with Sephara.

"Are you happy to go ahead with this?" he asked.

Sephara nodded.

"I need to put her in her place" she said. "I can do it now too; I have the blood that sings of what I know and what I feel. But thanks anyway" she smiled at him.

Neville smiled back warmly. Sephara was quiet and gentle; but she obviously had steel where it mattered. As he had discovered steel in himself.

Those who turned up early, hoping for good seats for what the irreverent referred to as a Bitch-witching had a bit of a shock in store.

The piste was in use by Professors Snape and Black who were in a full body-contact type of duel with it appeared no spells barred up to and including the frightening and green-flashing killing curse. What was perhaps more frightening was the relative silence of the bout, neither using spoken spells, the only sound being the sound of feet, hands and torsos meeting flesh, and the occasional grunt.

The early comers hung around the doorway, unwilling to go in, too scared to do anything but stare in fascinated horror.

"They must really HATE each other!" whispered a tiny Hufflepuff.

A few more flashes, Professor Snape somersaulting backwards out of the way of some unknown curse and the Marauders arrived, escorting Sephara, and peered over the heads of the weevils.

Abraxus put two fingers in his mouth and gave a piercing whistle; and the combatants broke off.

"Merlin's beard, is that the time?" said Sirius.

"'Fraid so sir" said Abraxus.

"Well well, doesn't time fly when you're enjoying yourself!" he said. "Same time same place next week Severus?"

"Better cut down on over indulgence in the meantime, you were blowing towards the end."

"Was I then! I thought it was you puffing like a grampus….."

The professors jumped down and went towards the showers, bickering gently.

"Do they really really hate each other?" demanded the small Hufflepuff of Abraxus.

"Good grief no….they're best of friends. How else could they trust each other with such deadly duels?" said Abraxus. "Don't try this at home kids; you've been privileged to watch the two best duellists in the world even though they don't enter competitions. What they do is too dangerous to be permitted in competition."

"Why do they do it?" the child persisted.

"To stay well honed in case they ever have to fight another Voldemort of course" said Abraxus "And for fun; they can let off all their pent up frustrations over having to teach some of the dunderheads that some of you are by letting it out on someone hard enough to cope with what they want to do with you. And so shall I if you don't stop asking silly questions."

"The first rule of fight club is we don't talk about fight club" murmured Hawke who had esoteric film preferences. Abraxus cuffed his twin across the back of the head with two fingers and Hawke grinned.

Sephara faced Dione Parnassus serenely; and watched for her to make the first move.

It was a stinging hex.

Sephara neatly countered it before Parnassus had finished pronouncing it. She countered with bluebell flames, and Parnassus had to put them out quickly before she could go on.

"Go on Voldemina, you can do better than that!" called Romulus.

"Uh? You're supporting HER?" queried Kinat.

"Well she hasn't a hope…. I felt kinda sorry for her" shrugged Romulus.

Sephara had learned well, countering every spell Parnassus threw, and if she loosed off less offensive spells than her opponent, they were well considered ones that often got through the other girl's defences. Parnassus started getting frustrated and lost her temper. All her best curses were failing!

It never once occurred to the girl, however, in all her frustrations to use any of the unforgivable curses; and she could hardly avoid knowing about them in light of recent history.

At last she body charged Sephara; who had also been learning self defence in the MSHG.

She side-stepped and made a push-down of the angry Parnassus.

"Expelliarmus" she said; and the other girl's wand flew from her grasp. "I think that's a win for me, Parnassus unless you want to try wandless magic."

"I can't do wandless magic" said Parnassus sulkily.

"A victory for Miss Yaxley" said Flitwick "After a foul move by Miss Parnassus; you KNOW body contact is forbidden. Nevertheless, Miss Yaxley, I hope honour is satisfied?"

"Perfectly thank you Professor" said Sephara. "Thank you for refereeing."

Little Flitwick smiled warmly at Sephara; she was such a nice polite child!

Francis Davenport was not exactly a close friend to the marauders now, but he was at least neutral and joined some meetings of the MSHG when he could manage to get up; and he looked upon the four as capable of sorting any problems.

Accordingly he approached Hawke looking miserable and angry.

"Hawke, can you help me?" he asked.

"I can try" said Hawke "What's up?"

"Well you see" said Francis "It started when I had this really vivid dream… it was about the quidditch quarter final, and I KNEW who was going to win one of the matches. It was still with me when I woke up, see?"

"Uh-huh" said Hawke cautiously "I'm no great fan of dreams myself, not after the fuss Powerless Polly used to put on them….though it works for the likes of Callum Prince."

"I'm no seer most of the time" said Francis "Though I generally do pretty well in class, Madam Spikenard said I might have enough talent to be an insurance assessor if I worked hard enough; and that's well paid so I have been working hard. But I was so certain, I put together everything I could pawn and I borrowed from Ralph as well, and I – well I bet the lot."

Hawke groaned.

"And the team you backed burst out in Dragon pox half way through and you're in debt?"

"No! Far from it! I bet on Poland, you know they were real outsiders this time, now Wronski's retired. only barely scraped into the quarter finals with Ladislaw Zamojski getting one more quaffle in before Sweden's seeker caught the snitch and won by one point; and I'm sure you heard, they then went on to win the quarter final decisively!"

"Well, congratulations then!" said Hawke "You must have been on twenty to one for that… that should be a nice profit! Where's the problem?"

"The problem's Grang" said Francis "The goblin I laid the bet with. He's now claiming it wasn't legal to make the bet because I'm under seventeen, coming over all sanctimonious. He says he'll think about returning what I bet, but it might teach me a lesson to just keep it. And even if he does return it, well there's a week's interest on the stuff I pawned!"

"Little Bastard!" said Hawke. "Works for Kordach, does he?"

Francis nodded.

"I think so" he said.

"Well then" said Hawke "Kinat and us twins can certainly do something because Kinat knows where a lot of goblin bodies are metaphorically buried; and our Uncle Lucius knows Kordach and, if I know Uncle Lucius, probably has something on him. If we can't threaten this Grang directly I'm sure Lucius can lean on his boss. Look, I'll tell you what, we'll pool resources so you can redeem your pawned stuff before you have to pay any more – that goblin pawn shop in Hogsmead comes close to being usurious - and you can pay us back when we've extracted the dibs from Grang. That means it don't matter if it takes a week or two for Lucius to threaten Kordach appropriately."

"Would you Hawke? That – that's really decent of you!"

"Look Francis, before Abraxus' parents adopted me I was as poor as you, maybe poorer because I was dumped on a senile old uncle who didn't always think about minor things like eating. My parents left him money for my upkeep for a few years – less years than I was with him – before they disappeared on some research trip and he hid it somewhere. And then forgot where. I know poverty; and how much one week's pawn interest can mean. Tell me how much you need and I'll go scrounging."

Grang was an unprepossessing looking goblin, furtive and mean looking, the epitome of the wizarding concept of a goblin who could have served happily as the front cover picture on Rita Skeeter's book 'The evil economists', a supposed exposé of sharp goblin practises. He smiled ingratiatingly at four Hogwarts students who entered his small betting shop in Hogsmeade.

"Ah, young gentlemen! How may I serve you?"

"By coughing up the twenty-to-one dibs you owe our friend Mr Davenport" said Hawke.

"Oh dear, I'm afraid that's not possible" said Grang, trying to look sorrowful and not quite succeeding "Underage betting on international matches is illegal, you know."

"No, actually it isn't" said Abraxus "Because we checked the law. Betting on international matches below the age of fourteen is illegal, and Mr Davenport, in common with the rest of us, is over fourteen."

"Well, I should have to check that out of course, ask Professor Dumbledore and so on; I don't suppose he'd like that, Dumbledore doesn't like his boys betting, does he?"

"Albus Dumbledore would rather have his boys treated properly and legally than worry about whether they've been betting or no" said Hawke "And as a last resort we shall go to him; but I don't think we'll need to. Kinat."

"Grang, you are on probation already because of a certain fraudulent transaction you undertook at Gringott's whilst, I believe the phrase is, 'Flying a Kite'" said Kinat "And you are posted as being irregular in your actions over paying out. I know you also own the pawn shop through a shell, and hope to extract all you can from Mr Davenport through that even if he DOES go to Dumbledore to make you cough up. Abraxus."

"But you see, old sport, we don't NEED Dumbledore" said Abraxus. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Abraxus Malfoy; and this is my Twin Hawke. And our Uncle Lucius – who is a very fond uncle of ours – is known very well to Kordach. In fact, Uncle Lucius knows so much about Kordach that if he ever WHISPERED to your boss that he was displeased with you, you'd be lucky to get away with broken legs and your head cursed backwards. Romulus."

Grang had gone a pale dirty greenish grey at having Kordach's name bandied about so freely. Romulus smiled sweetly.

"Now you might also have noticed, friend Grang, that the four of us bear a certain scar. We were out there during the battle of Hogwarts killing werewolves and Deatheaters, so you may see that we are not exactly helpless little schoolboys but hardened warriors who can eat people like you for breakfast. In fact" he added meditatively "It might give us indigestion, but it would certainly get rid of the evidence. Hawke."

Grang gave a whinny of fear. Hawke smiled genially.

"And there are even better ways of hiding the evidence" he said "We are extremely skilled at transfiguration and I can quite see you living out the rest of your life as the rat you really are; AFTER we've let Kordach play with you. It'll be more fun that way. I never saw a rat with its head on backwards before."

"All right – all right!" gasped Grang, sweat pouring down his face "I'll give you the money for your friend! Just tell him never to bet in my shop again!"

"I rather fancy he'd already come to that conclusion old boy" said Abraxus. "We'll help you count it out, shall we? We are excellent arithmancers, I'd hate to think we might have to shop you to Kordach just because your adding up was a little inaccurate….."

Grang opened his mouth to swear; looked at their faces and swallowed hard.

"Wise move" said Romulus "We'd hate to have to cast the slug-vomiting curse on you for using naughty words to sully our sweetly innocent and youthful ears."

Francis almost wept with gratitude when the marauders gave him his money.

"We haven't taken out the sum of the loan yet" said Abraxus "We thought you might enjoy gloating on the full amount first."

Francis managed a shaky grin.

"And on top of that, what do I owe you for getting it for me? By way of commission?" he asked.

"Oh nothing at all old boy!" said Hawke "It was worth it just to put the frightners on that little creep Grang. It's one of the attractions of bullying I suppose, forcing your will on others; but it's even sweeter to bully the bullies and see their hard shells crumble before one's superior abilities. I LOVE bullying bullies and creeps!"

Abraxus and Hawke also decided to write to Lucius anyway; and ask him to apprise Kordach that one of his men had caused some trouble – adequately sorted out – but that if they were he, they'd be keeping him on a shorter leash.

Lucius presumably took them at their word, because a couple of days later Ellie, buying sweets in Hogsmeade, reported that a goblin in a pearl grey pointed hat and spats accompanied by a couple of troll bodyguards was talking to Grang, who looked rather green.

"They didn't do anything violent" said Ellie "But I kind of got the impression they didn't need to."

Mr Abraxus and Mr Hawke Malfoy got a beautifully written letter by owl next morning, signed by Kordach, thanking them for their concern for his good name by bringing a few irregularities to his notice.

"You will find the rates in the pawnbroker's will be more reasonable in future" it said "As well as betting winnings paid on time I am most distressed that the young gentlefolk of Hogwarts have been discommoded by the greed of an underling; I assure you he will behave more properly in the future."

"Heh, he doesn't want to lose business" said Hawke "Distressed over us kids, I don't think so; distressed at losing revenue more like."

"True" said Abraxus "But then, a relatively honest crime lord, who makes sure the leaders of society don't hate him enough to dislodge him will make more than someone after a quick dirty buck."

"Y'mean he's sort of trying to placate us so we don't have him killed when we're grown up?"

"That about sums it up I guess" said Abraxus "I understand he's trying to go approximately legit now there's more fairness for goblins; and y'know I guess we want to encourage that."

The others nodded.

There was something in what Abraxus said.

The only other excitement at the end of term was the exams, Ginny with her NEWTs and David, Grace and Erich doing OWLs.

Grace did not much care what results she got in the seven OWLs she was taking; she was planning on marrying Draco in the holidays anyway and was not coming back for NEWTs. Erich was taking a fairly standard nine OWLs; David was theoretically taking ten as he was fitting in astronomy as an extra; though as he already had an OWL in DADA he had not needed to attend those classes. So long as he got the grades for the six NEWTs he wanted to take he was not much bothered; but he had enjoyed studying Muggle Studies, Astronomy and Herbology – to help with potions – and had not had a choice about studying Charms which was one of the compulsory OWL studies. He was not as good as some at Transfigurations – ridiculous as that might be, as McGonagall said for an animagus – but knew he stood a good chance of high marks in Potions, Care of Magical Beasts, Geomancy – the first year it was offered as an OWL – and Arithmancy . The OWL in DADA from the battle for Hogwarts that he already had, had been awarded at 'O' David having been cited as being one of the leaders of the battle. As David had mostly fought the dark arts with Kalashnikov, he wondered if it was entirely fair; but then, as he reflected, he could produce a corporeal Patronus and had the knowledge of how to make automatic weapon fire more effective by the use of hollow point silver nitrate bullets as a defence against werewolves. And he could counter most jinxes and curses wandlessly and wordlessly too; so it was fair enough.

The Geomancy exam was interesting; there were questions about such things as unplottable places, how to work out how to apparate to places you had never seen and drawing a map of the principle ley lines of Britain. The practical involved being taken blindfold somewhere by apparation, and told to return using ley lines by broom. Times taken returning would be taken into account for marks.

David was back before the examiner, an Auror, expected him and had to interrupt the man at his cup of tea to report in.

The Auror was delighted at such talent and beamed happily at David as he recorded his time.

There were no real surprises in the practicals of Charms or Transfigurations; David had heard various previous people talking about them. It was a matter of displaying certain skills and it was no surprise that he had to still dancing teacups as part of one exam and change the colour of a rat; and undertake the transfiguration of various objects and animals in the other, amongst other things. The written exams were more variable of course, testing knowledge rather than talent and skill, but David wrote knowledgeably enough about light-related charms for that exam and about the theory of similarity in transfigurations. In Herbology he subdued his fanged geranium by growling at it; as the examiner murmured, an unconventional but effective solution; and successfully and safely collected bubotuber pus. He wrote about the care and nurture of various plants and how to avoid being killed when digging up mandrake. OWL level only required knowledge of this in theory not practice. In Astronomy he wrote about the proper motions of the planets, identified several stars by colour and proximity to others in pictures, labelled the stars in several constellations and calculated the passage of Mars across the field of stars for a nine month period. It was a tough exam. Arithmancy he enjoyed more, calculating the amount of magical energy required to open a given volume of wizarding space, and using numerology to determine which of three boyfriends a young witch should marry based on their names; and investigating the numerological significances of the names Tom Marvolo Riddle and Voldemort.

As David and others of the MSHG who were interested in Arithmancy had done this study long before it was a safe question to ask, in order to better confound Voldemort, David wrote fluently and well, pointing out also the differences if 'Lord' were added to Voldemort if one did not use the full anagram; and noting that Tom Marvolo Riddle was arithmantically significant like Voldemort itself at seven; but that 'You-know-who' might actually be unfortunate for anyone who used the name unless they were Chinese but that coincidentally it had been significant for those who opposed Voldemort, eight being, for various reasons, a particularly unlucky number for him. . He enjoyed himself and was sorry when the exam ended.

He got a little sidetracked in Muggle Studies and – as he admitted afterwards – wrote too much on the production of electricity rather than on the significance of its use. But in Potions he was delighted to have to produce the Draught of Peace as his practical; a challenging potion but one David had no trouble with. As plenty of students around him seemed to be having trouble he knew he should score well. Since the written paper also seemed easy, one question being to list the different amphibians used in various potions and their uses. David was happy. He knew that his last exam was Care of Magical Beasts and he had no fears that he would do badly there!

The written exam involved various types of magical snakes, and David wrote cheerfully of runespoors, Ashwinders and Basilisks; and also about what were the major foods of a selection of listed beasts. The practical involved the de-infesting of a magical item infested with chizpurfles and feeding a hippogriff. The examiner brought his own which was a skittish mare who was having trouble with Buckbeak who was very interested.

David said

"Excuse me" to the examiner and distracted Buckbeak with some meat and led him firmly away and tethered him – with an apology and a quick caress – before returning to the examiner.

"Don't bother to go on, I can see you can handle hippogriffs more than adequately" said the examiner "And my thanks. He's a big fellow that one."

David grinned. He was fond of Buckbeak.

And then it was all over; and the end of the term swiftly on the heels of the exams and Ginny Weasley celebrated leaving school by booby trapping a cauldron to explode marshmallows all over Severus and his final class of third years.

The third years voted her the best head girl the school had ever had; and Severus eyed them sternly, set them a really tough essay as a holiday task and held a class on how to make perfect cocoa to drop their marshmallows in if they wanted.

And another year was ended.

It had been a very busy one; especially for the Marauders.

The End - of another year. Next year the Marauders are taking their Owls... the title will be 'Head Boy of Hogwarts' and it's time for the Triwizard again.

Anyone who has been having trouble editing I pass on Taylur's excellent advice; go into the History on your web searcher and find when you last edited it, that will take you to the page. thanks again Taylur.