Harper listened through the door as Peeves went whooshing away, leaving Filch cursing in his wake, still trying to ignore the insistent tugging of Neville on her dressing gown.
When she was sure they were out of danger, she finally turned to Neville to see what the problem was, only to discover the danger hadn't even started yet.
They weren't actually in a classroom like she'd supposed, they were in a corridor. More specifically, the forbidden third floor corridor.
At least now, they knew why it was forbidden.
Watching them from the other end was the most monstrous dog Harper had ever seen. It was so large it completely filled the space between the floor and the ceiling. Its size was not even the most extraordinary thing about this dog. No, what kept this dog apart from the rest was the fact the beast had three heads.
It began moving towards them, slowly but surely. Harper felt like her brain had turned to lead. It was getting closer, its growls getting louder and more deafening. Every instinct was screaming at her to run away as fast as possible. She fumbled for the doorknob behind her but was unable to hold it firmly enough to turn, her hands were too sweaty and shaking too harshly from fear.
This wasn't fair! She didn't want to duel Malfoy, she'd quite happily beat him but did it really need to be at midnight of all times? She really wouldn't even be here if Ron hadn't accepted that duel for her, she'd have told Malfoy to stop being so pathetic and to stop trying to pick a fight with a goddamn girl, winning wouldn't make him look like the big man and losing would make him look worse than ever. For him, the risk wasn't worth the gain so why was he so desperate to get her attention?
And now, she was going to die. Thanks to Malfoy's ego and Ron's pride, she was about to become dog food.
The dog was practically on top of them. Harper wondered what she would feel first, claws or teeth. She was just about to close her eyes – if death was coming for her, she didn't want to see its face – when she saw something colourful out of the corner of her eyes. It took her a few seconds to realise what it was.
It was a dog toy. A rather large one, almost the size of her, but it was definitely a dog toy.
Harper felt like she was looking at the creature in front of her with new eyes. It was a dog. Enormous, terrifying and deadly, yes, but still just a dog.
A plan came to her in an instant and she could help but think it was crazy enough that it just might work.
'Otherwise, these are going to be terrible last words.' She mumbled to herself, ignoring the looks she received from the others.
The squared her shoulders and took a determined step forwards. She raised her arm and pointed one threatening finger towards the overly large animal. Everything in the room seemed to freeze, even the dog.
Harper took a deep breath and narrowed her eyes.
'Bad dog!' she said, firmly.
Hermione, Ron and Neville were looking at her like she was mad. However, Harper couldn't help but notice that the dog now seemed wary.
'You are a very bad dog!' She tried to channel Aunt Petunia as much as she could, making sure her voice held as much disapproval as possible.
The dog seemed to curl in on itself ever so slightly. It ears drooping like a scolded puppy.
'This is very naughty!' Harper told it.
The dog whined and took a step back.
It's working! Her mind screamed at her, it's actually working!
'Bad dog!' She said again, 'Get in your bed!'
Harper wondered how comical she looked, a four foot nothing little girl telling off the biggest dog to ever exist. She felt a little bit like a superhero, full of strength.
'You heard me,' she said when the dog did nothing but whine and retreat slightly. 'I said get in your bed! NOW!'
She punctuated her shout with a stamp of her little foot. The dog gave a final whimper before it turned around, it claws scrabbling slightly on the stone floor, and ran back to the other end of the corridor. Harper watched in half hysterical amusement as the dog curled up on a giant pile of blankets. The three heads fighting over which pair of eyes the paws would cover.
Harper clapped her hands as though dusting them off and turned back to her friends, a self satisfied smile firmly on her lips. Her friends were looking at her as if she'd just shot someone. Utter shock and disbelief.
'Should we get moving?' She asked, 'It probably won't take Filch long to realise we were near the forbidden corridor when we lost him, he might come back and check.'
That seemed to enough to shake them out of their stupors, at least long enough to get them back to Gryffindor Tower.
Harper began to feel a bit like a shepherd as she guided her friends through the dark corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She couldn't understand why they were so stupefied at what had happened.
They lived in an ancient castle, hidden in the highlands of Scotland and studied magic. That wasn't even mentioning the ghosts that roamed the halls, the giant squid in the Black Lake or the kind of creatures that inhabited the Forbidden Forest. Was a large three headed dog really that unusual?
Harper didn't think so, not when she put it like that. She glanced at her friends, Hermione seemed to be coming around quicker than the boys. No doubt logic was reasserting itself now she wasn't actually looking into the jaws of death.
It was the magical raised of the bunch that were having the hardest time with what just happened. Sure, the dog was enormous but it was still just a dog. It can be soothed and scolded and praised just like any other pet.
Did wizards expect everything to be big and flashy and dramatic?
Couldn't the simplest solution ever be the best one?
Harper knew she had got lucky tonight. There had been every chance in the world that the dog wouldn't listen to her because she wasn't its owner. But as she didn't have a stick or a steak to throw and distract it, telling it off had been the best option and she was thankful that it had worked.
She had learned a lesson though.
Sometimes the simplest solution seems too easy but that doesn't mean it won't work.
Wizards seemed to overlook the most obvious things and she was going to remember it next time she found herself in a tricky situation.