Laocoon's Children: The Fugitive from Azkaban
AU. When Sirius and Remus go looking for Peter Pettigrew, they make a wrong turn and someone else finds him first. Eight years later, Sirius owns a book store and Remus manages it for him. When Harry stumbles into the store and they find out the truth, they decide it's time to be Stealing Harry. (SB/RL slash relationship in later chapters.)
Remus showed no sign he remembered his dream the next morning, and Sirius didn't press him. He wasn't certain he wanted to know. And if Remus dreamed again after their midnight upset, it was
either much more quietly or Sirius slept deeper.
There was no shortage of distractions, at any rate: rambling shopping outings with the boys, Remus' meetings with Dora to ascertain where she'd left off teaching and where he ought to start, dinners with the Tonkses, and preliminary preparations for the move to Hogsmeade. Remus had made Sirius swear not to buy any furniture without Remus' presence, and much private teasing about interior decorators had followed. Sirius left for Hogsmeade the night before the Hogwarts Express was scheduled to leave and while Harry sensed that something was askew between his godfather and his professor, he doubted it was very grave. Not considering how unhappy Remus had been to see Sirius leave.
Besides, Harry had more important things to concern himself with -- more important to him, at least. Thirteen is a perilous age and its politics are much more seriously played than those of any government. He wanted to see Padma again and find out how she was getting on. He had to talk to the Hufflepuff captain about Draco's prospects, not to mention re-convincing Draco to go out for the team. And he had to make sure that everyone knew the first person who talked down about the new Defence professor was going to feel the full weight of Slytherin's disapproval. Harry hadn't much authority amongst the sixth and seventh years, but if he could convince them that Remus was a friend of Professor Snape, they'd adopt him readily enough. Most of them already knew Remus from his infrequent appearances in the newspapers, usually in the background of some photograph of Sirius.
Even with all the weight of the new school year on their shoulders and a full moon not far past, they made a merry gang on their way to the train platform. Ted and Andromeda cracked jokes about the weight of Neville's trunk and Harry and Draco plotted mischief just out of Remus' earshot, strutting proudly ahead of the new Defence professor. Remus himself was tall and impressive-looking in his perfectly-pressed brown professor's robes, his new briefcase carried lightly in one hand. True, he also looked pale and a little frightened, but Harry knew he wouldn't show it to the students. Remus had thrown himself in front of a killing curse before; he could handle Hogwarts students just fine.
He kept a lookout for Padma and her family, but even so he missed them and saw Dobby first. The house-elf, dressed in a variety of clothing apparently sewn entirely from socks, shrieked with joy and bolted straight for Draco.
"Master Malfoy!" he shrilled, dancing from foot to foot in front of Draco, who eyed him with amusement and just a hint of annoyance. "Master Malfoy! Look, it is Dobby! Dobby has returned to you, Master Malfoy!"
"I see," Draco said drily. "How was your summer, Dobby?"
"Dobby has looked after Mistress Padma!" Dobby nearly babbled, as Padma leaned around a column and waved at them, laughing.
"Hiya, Padma!" Harry called. Padma's mother Sara leaned around the column also, narrowed her eyes, and rested a hand warningly on Padma's shoulder. Padma scowled.
"Looks like she's still mad at you for getting Padma into trouble," Draco said.
"Mad at me? Like she's not mad at you?"
"Course not," Draco said loftily. "I gave her a house-elf."
"If you'd given me Dobby, I'd hold a grudge," Harry answered.
"Come on lads, you might as well load up now," Remus called, standing on the bottom step of a train doorway.
"We'll stay here until the train's away," Andromeda said. "Give us hugs -- mmmh -- and go on. Mind your manners and be nice to the first-years!" she called after them as they ran off.
Harry led the way past Remus up into the train car, searching for an empty compartment. Behind him, he heard Remus welcome the Patil twins aboard and then call out, "Find us somewhere roomy, Harry!"
Harry peered at the glazed, frosted glass of the last compartment left, which appeared to only have one person in it -- but it didn't look like a student.
"This is the last one!" he called back. Remus pushed through the crowd of children and opened the carriage door.
"Excuse me, do you mind if we -- "
He broke off suddenly. Harry peered around his elbow and saw a small, rather stout wizard in pinstripe robes occupying the window side of one of the benches.
"I'm so sorry," Remus said. "This compartment's probably reserved -- "
"Nonsense!" said Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic.
Remus was familiar with the concept of the Minister, and he'd seen photographs of Cornelius Fudge many times, but he'd never expected to come face to face with him. He didn't like Fudge's politics much and had often made fun of him to Sirius over the morning newspaper. Fudge had been in office when Umbridge's werewolf laws went through, and while he hadn't backed them, he hadn't exactly fought them, either.
"Come in, come in," Fudge was continuing. "There's room for four or five, really. Professor Lupid, isn't it?"
Remus cleared his throat and let the others push their way in ahead of him.
"Lupin, Remus Lupin," he said. "We can certainly find another compartment, Minister."
"Not at all, don't be silly. This must be young Harry," Fudge said, all but pulling Harry into the small compartment. Draco and Neville had already squashed each other into the seat opposite, totally ignoring the leader of British Wizardry, and Padma seated herself next to Neville, elbowing him sharply when he and Draco didn't stop wrestling. Parvati had apparently wandered off, probably to find her Gryffindor companions.
"I'm bound for Hogsmeade, and I thought I might take the train up. So much more pleasant than floo travel, and it gives one time to get a bit of quiet work done," Fudge said. Remus gave it two seconds' thought and decided Fudge was, if nothing else, a first-rate liar in person. "You've been appointed Dark Arts professor, haven't you?"
"Defence Against the Dark Arts," Remus said, putting the slightest emphasis on the first two words. "It's quite exciting, really," he added, somewhat uncomfortably. "Draco, Neville, settle down or you'll be the first students ever to get a detention before the school year actually starts."
"Boys will be boys, eh?" Fudge asked. Harry perched on the bench next to Padma, which left Remus to share the other bench with Fudge.
"Only when absolutely necessary," Remus replied absently. "I hope your business in Hogsmeade isn't unpleasant."
"Not in the least, though I shall probably have a few rather tiresome meetings. I don't suppose you're staying in town?"
"No, up at the school. I do know people in town, though; Harry's godfather is living in the Three Broomsticks right now while he searches out a flat."
"Ah! I was under the impression he lived in London."
"Well, considering everything, he thought it best to be a bit closer to Harry," Remus said significantly. Fudge nodded and glanced at Draco.
"Of course, you haven't been properly introduced," Remus said. "Harry you've met; this is Draco Malfoy, of Hufflepuff -- "
"Ah! I was a Hufflepuff boy myself, you know!"
"Neville Longbottom of Gryffindor, who lives with Draco's aunt Andromeda -- "
"How d'you do," Neville said politely.
"And Padma Patil of Ravenclaw. Who'll have your job one day, I imagine," Remus said, grinning at her. She smiled back shyly.
"Quite a jolly band! Are you all looking forward to the new year?" Fudge inquired.
"Yes, Minister," Harry said. "We start new electives this year, and we get Hogsmeade visits."
"Ah yes!" Fudge said. "Lovely little town. Quite historic."
"It's the only Wizarding village left in Great Britain," Padma said.
"Sure, but that's not why I want to go," Neville said. "I want to see Honeyduke's."
Remus glanced at Harry, who looked as entranced as Neville did. Honeyduke's had been around when he was a boy, and always inspired the same reaction in children -- awe and a sort of covetous longing. In another year or two, the only thing that would inspire that kind of look would be girls -- or boys, he supposed, all things being equal.
His gaze fell on Draco, who looked as though he was trying to hide some disappointment or other. Probably that he didn't get to sit next to Padma, Remus thought with a grin.
The door slid open then and Dobby appeared, arms stacked high with sweets and cauldron cakes.
"Dobby has brought snacks like Master Malfoy requested!" he announced, wobbling unsteadily into the compartment just as the train shrieked loudly and jerked into motion.
"By jove, they have relaxed the rules a bit if children are allowed to bring house-elves to school now," Fudge observed.
"What're you going to do with him, Draco?" Harry asked. "He can't live in your trunk all year again."
"Dunno. Maybe he can get a job in the kitchens? He's been socked, he's a free elf. I don't know why he insists on following me around. I only paid you through the end of summer, you know," he said to Dobby.
"He was a very good elf," Padma said. "You shouldn't let him go to just anyone, Draco."
"You know, Sirius might be able to use him," Harry suggested. "He's going to be living alone all year and he's not really that good a cook, and he never does his laundry. He'd pay his wage, too."
Dobby turned enormous, bulbous eyes on Harry. "Master Sirius...Black?" he asked, tone full of awe.
"Um, yeah," Harry said.
"Dobby would be in the employ of Master Sirius Black?"
"He's very nice, really," Harry said. Remus wondered for a moment why Dobby would want so much confirmation, and then it occurred to him that the Blacks had a certain reputation, above and beyond Sirius' fame as a handsome, wealthy bachelor.
Dobby drew himself up to his full height proudly. "Dobby would be proud to serve Master Sirius Black!" he proclaimed.
"I'll write to him when we get to school," Harry assured him.
"Er, but for now...maybe you could...find somewhere quiet and...go there," Draco said. Dobby obediently tucked himself under the bench and wrapped his arms complacently around his legs. He sat so still Remus wondered if he was breathing.
"That reminds me, Harry, I got you a birthday present," Padma said, digging in the bag at her feet. She produced a small, gaily-wrapped package and offered it to him.
"Hey, ta Padma, you didn't have to," Harry said, accepting it with pleasure.
"Well, it was a bit of a production. Mum and dad are not best pleased with any of my friends. Except Draco," she added, and Draco shot Harry a smug look. Remus' internal amusement leapt up a few notches. "Eventually I talked Dobby into getting it for me without telling on me to mum and dad."
"A sneakoscope!" Harry said, taking a small, top-shaped object out of the paper-wrapped box. "Cool!"
"Very useful things, when they work," Remus said. Harry stood it up on his palm and spun it experimentally. It kept turning in slow, lazy circles, whistling softly. "It all depends on how sensitive they are."
"How d'you mean?" Neville asked.
"Well, the spinning-top is powered by a certain form of energy put out by a charm that detects ill intentions -- it's the same basic principle as a foeglass, except that in this case the magic is much more active, not quite so passive and dependent upon the person carrying it. D'you know what a foeglass is?" Remus asked, and Neville shook his head.
He launched into an explanation of the theories behind the foeglass charm, more than happy to have an audience to share his information with. It was a good forty minutes before he realised that all four children were listening raptly and a few more had paused in the doorway to listen as well. Fudge was calmly reading some kind of legal brief near the window, and Dobby had crept out to sit on Remus' shoes.
"Er. So that's why a sneakoscope's charm is the most important part," he finished lamely. "And why the really professional ones are highly calibrated by experts."
"Have you ever used one?" Padma asked.
"Well, no," Remus admitted. "Most of the time when I travelled, I traveled light. I mean, you could use a sneakoscope, or you could just always assume that you're in danger, and keep a sharp eye out. An old friend of mine says constant vigilance is the key. And an alert mind, you know, is much easier to carry than a dozen amulets and sneak-detectors and that kind of thing."
"You're a born lecturer," Fudge said, looking at him over the edge of his paperwork. "I can see why Dumbledore hired you."
"Thank you, Minister," Remus replied. "Really, though, it's mostly the students -- they're a very agreeable audience."
At that point Harry and Neville broke out a pack of tarot cards (newly bought for Divinations class) and began some kind of furious card-game that Remus recognised as a distant variant on Egyptian Ratscrew. Padma placidly found a book and buried herself in it while Draco cheered Harry and Neville indiscriminantly, depending on who was winning at any given moment. Remus decided Padma's example was probably a good one, and took a book about Macedonian hexwork out of his briefcase.
The time passed quickly enough that he'd nearly forgotten the presence of the Minister for Magic at his elbow until a quiet snore told him that the Minister had drifted off to sleep. He didn't blame him; it was getting quite dark out.
Draco, who was gazing out the window, glanced over his shoulder at Remus.
"We must be nearly there, don't you think?" he asked. "Hard to tell in the fog."
"The fog's probably a sign," Remus replied. "Yes, I think -- "
He broke off as the train started to slow down.
"Grand! Time to put our robes on," Draco announced. "I'm starving, I can't wait for the feast -- "
"We can't actually be there yet," Remus said, putting out a hand to stop him. Padma and Neville looked at him, confused. Harry was asleep as well, head crooked in the corner of the compartment.
"Then why are we stopping?" Padma asked hesitantly.
Remus shook his head, listening intently. The pistons on the engine began to fall away, but the wind was howling against the glass and rain had begun to pelt down. Something felt wrong, quite wrong, and quite horribly right, as well. As though he'd done this before.
Neville opened the door a crack, stepping carefully around Harry, and put his head out.
"Nothing in the -- ow!" he said, as the train stopped entirely with a jerk, throwing him on top of Harry. Harry promptly woke and shoved Neville off him, and Remus caught the boy's wrist in his hand.
"Sit down," he ordered. Neville obeyed, looking startled. Even as he sat, the lights flickered and went out.
"Ow, Neville," Padma said. "Mind your feet."
"Sorry," Neville muttered.
"Have we broken down?" Harry asked sleepily.
"No," Remus said, never more sure of anything in his life.
"Remus, something's moving," Draco said worriedly, pointing to shifting shapes in the fog beyond the train. "Someone's coming aboard."
"Stay where you are," Remus ordered. "Don't move. Stay away from the window," he added. Ice was beginning to form in the corners of the glass. "I'm going to make sure everyone's all right."
He held out his hand and called up a small ball of green flame in his palm, one of his favourite tricks from school and a handy tool at any time. The flickering light illuminated four worried young faces and the still-sleeping form of Cornelius Fudge.
He opened the door with his other hand, wand tucked between two fingers, and stepped catlike into the corridor, nearly tripping over another student.
"Sorry," she gasped. "I was going to ask the driver what was going on -- "
"Get inside a compartment," he ordered.
"Yes, sir," she answered, brushing frizzy hair away from her face. A young man stumbled into them and Remus, with a growing sense of horror, recognised Ron Weasley.
"Both of you. Right now," he said, opening the door of the compartment next to his own and pushing them into it. "Stay there."
That was apparently enough for the rest of the train car; the few heads that had been poking out to see where the light was promptly pulled back. Several doors slammed shut.
He walked warily down the corridor to the front of the car, pushing the door open and stepping out into the fog. Little tendrils swirled and dipped around him, but he couldn't see any more from here than Draco had seen through the window -- just dark shapes moving in the distance. Maybe they were nothing more than birds.
But that was a lie, and Remus knew it. And when he turned around in the doorway there was his proof, because a cloaked figure was standing at the other end of the train car, one grey, slimy hand resting on the door to a compartment.
The door to his compartment.
Time stretched out and seemed to fracture into fragments as Remus hurtled headlong back through the carriage, towards the impossibly tall, ghostly figure that was now opening the door and now reaching inside and now making the most horrible sucking noise as it inhaled --
"Expecto Patronum," he shouted, skidding to a stop in front of it. A silver dog leapt out of his wand ahead of him, and its huge jaws clamped ethereally around the Dementor's arm, throwing it sideways even as the shiny white teeth passed straight through it. The dog circled again, driving it towards the door, and Remus had the presence of mind to look around for any others that might have crept onto the train. A shadowy figure rushed at him from the direction he'd come, and he very nearly sent a patronus straight through the train's driver.
"What in bloody blue Asgard is going on?" the man asked.
"Dementors. Check the other compartments," Remus ordered, propping the door open with his hip. The man ran onwards and Remus was confronted with a scene out of his worst nightmares.
He dimly registered that the Minister was huddled in a corner, terrified; Padma and Neville were clinging to each other on one of the benches. Draco knelt on the floor and looked up at him with a ghostly-white face framed by silver hair that glowed green in the dwindling light.
Harry lay on the floor, arms and legs sprawled limp, head cradled in Draco's lap, glasses gone.
Remus dropped to his knees next to Draco and took Harry's face in his hands. He was breathing, thank god, and even as Remus checked his eyes they were fluttering open.
Remus helped him sit up and lit the tip of his wand so that he could hold both of Harry's shoulders.
"What happened?" Harry asked. Remus fought the urge to pull the boy against him and cry; Harry was thirteen, too old to be cried over -- and Remus was supposed to be a teacher. Teachers didn't cry in front of their students. He fumbled in his pocket for a bar of chocolate.
"Eat this," he said, tearing it open and offering it to Harry with only slightly shaking hands. He broke off a piece for Draco, and gave the rest of the bar to Padma, who bewilderedly shared it with Neville and the Minister. "It'll help. Do you feel cold?"
Harry nodded, nibbling on the chocolate with wide eyes.
"What was that thing?" Draco asked.
"A Dementor," Remus said grimly. "One of the Dementors of Azkaban."
Surprisingly, the squeak of fear that followed the announcement came not from the children or Dobby -- still trembling under the bench -- but from Fudge.
"I was told they'd be guarding Hogwarts, but nobody mentioned they might search the train," Remus continued, still holding tightly to Harry's shoulder. "Is everyone all right?"
"The chocolate helps," Padma said in a small voice.
"Good. Minister..." Remus turned to him. "Do you know the patronus spell?"
Fudge shook his head, chocolate clenched in one hand.
"Bloody hell..." Remus rubbed his face. "All right. Eat the chocolate. If another one comes, everyone scream as loud as you can, right? I've got to make sure none of them got up to any more mischief in the other cars."
"Remus -- " Harry grabbed his wrist as he rose. He stopped, ready to stay at a word from Harry. The boy looked up at him, pleadingly, and then let go of his hand.
"You have to see if everyone is okay," he muttered.
"I can stay -- "
"We're all right," Neville said. "If another one comes, we'll scream."
"Right," Remus said. He gave Harry one last, measured look, and then went out. He had hundreds of children now, not just one, after all.
"I'm not paid enough for this," he muttered, passing out into the fog and hurrying quickly into the next car down, where someone somewhere was crying.
When Remus was gone, Draco got his hands under Harry's arms and helped him up onto the bench. Padma wrapped her arms unabashedly around Harry's neck; on the other side, Neville studied him with solemn eyes.
"What happened?" Neville asked. Draco seated himself next to Fudge, on the very edge of the bench and ready to leap up at any second.
"It just felt -- cold," Harry said. "So cold. And -- miserable."
"Like you'd never be happy again," Draco put in. Harry nodded. "We all felt that, didn't we?"
"I heard screaming," Neville said.
"Me too," Harry whispered. "And then I couldn't move, and everything went sort of...white around the edges..."
"You fell over," Draco said. "On me, mostly."
"S'okay," Draco said. "And then...this big white thing came out of nowhere and knocked the Dementor over, and Remus came back." He glanced at Fudge, who was still holding the chocolate, watching them. "It isn't poisoned, you know," he said. "You should eat it."
This seemed to snap the man out of his stupor, and he looked down at the chocolate, then out at the window.
"Ah -- yes, this is a rather unexpected turn of events," he announced distractedly. "I'm afraid I can't be delayed -- very important business meeting in Hogsmeade -- you'll forgive me if I Apparate..."
They didn't have time to complain even if they'd been capable of it; with a loud bang and a puff of sulfur-scented air, the Minister for Magic disappeared.
"Coward," Padma said contemptuously.
"Too true," Draco agreed feelingly. "I was working up to ask him something important, too."
Padma slowly released Harry and sat back, finishing the slightly melted chocolate and licking her fingers.
"What were you going to ask him?" Neville asked. Padma shook her head at him. "It'll take our minds off -- that thing."
Draco looked morose. "Mum wouldn't sign my Hogsmeade form. I thought -- " he raised his voice over their stunned objections. "I thought the Minister might. I mean, he's the Minister for Magic, that's as good as a parent, isn't it?"
"Why won't your mum sign it?" Neville demanded.
"Says she thinks Hogsmeade'll distract me from my studies."
"Yeah, but she's probably right, this time," Draco sighed. "It is distracting and I can always use more time to study, you know how I am."
"Then we won't go either, will we?" Neville said, appealing to the other two. Harry and Padma exchanged a hesitant look. "Oi! TRAITORS!"
"No, it's just -- "
"It's okay," Draco said. "Really. Anyway, someone's got to go and bring back sweets and all. Really, it'll be fine."
They all jumped as the compartment door slid back again, but it was only Remus. He hesitated on the threshold.
"Where's the Minister gone?" he asked.
"He Apparated," Neville volunteered.
"Apparated? To the school? Good of him to -- "
"No," Harry said. "He Apparated to Hogsmeade."
"Didn't want to be late to his meeting, he said," Padma put in.
Remus frowned, sitting down just as the train jerked to life and the lights flickered back on. He closed his hand, dousing the green flames.
"He left you here in the dark? Well, it's only what he's been doing to the country," Remus mused. "All right, everyone feeling better now?"
"Yes," they chorused.
"Good. We're only ten minutes from Hogwarts at top speed, and I've sent an owl ahead. You," he said to Harry, "are going straight up to the infirmary."
"Aw, Remus, I'm fine -- "
"Be told, Harry," Remus said, in a severe voice that none of them but Harry had ever heard before. Remus didn't often step into Sirius' shoes, but when he did, he meant business.
"We'll come too," Neville said, glancing at Draco, who was still a little pale.
"That's just as well," Remus said. "You'd best get your robes out. I'm going to have to leave you -- I'll be wanted in the Great Hall."
"We'll miss the sorting," Harry said, but the protest had gone out of his voice.
"Boring, anyway," Padma said, studiously yawning. The train began to grind slowly to a halt, just as the sign for Hogsmeade Station passed their window.
They clattered out into the crowd of nervous students, all of whom were much quieter and more well-behaved than average. The younger ones were huddled in a group around Hagrid, the groundskeeper, who looked even larger when surrounded by eleven-year-olds. The older children were filing into large carriages that waited on the road which wound from the train station up the hill to Hogwarts.
Padma stopped so suddenly that Harry nearly plowed into her.
"What's up?" Neville inquired, brushing past. "I'll save us a carriage!"
"All right, Padma?" Harry asked. He watched Remus climb into the frontmost carriage, and saw a brief flash of silver hair -- Dumbledore was sitting inside. Dobby, on orders from Draco, tottered after Remus officiously.
"I've never seen a Thestral before," Padma said, pointing to one of the spiked, horselike creatures that drew the carriages.
"How come she gets to see one and I don't?" Draco demanded. "I'm the only one now! AND the only one who's actually seen a real live dead person lying in a coffin."
"Come on, Draco," Neville said, rolling his eyes. He hauled open the door to one of the carriages and all but thrust Draco inside.
"It isn't fair!" Draco protested.
"It's not like we picked it, you know," Harry said.
The bickering over the Thestrals continued until they reached the school. Harry almost made it into the Great Hall, but he couldn't quite duck away from Madam Pomfrey fast enough. She led them through the echoing hallways to the hospital wing, clucking over Harry like a hen with only one chick.
"Mr. Lupin wrote that you had a bad fall, is that so?" she asked, as she opened the door.
"He fell on me," Draco said, still aggrieved, then blanched when she turned and began fussing about him, too. Neville and Padma sat on a nearby bed and shared a chocolate frog as amused spectators.
"Dementors in the trains, I'm sure I don't know what the Ministry is thinking," she said, investigating Harry's eyes thoroughly and then pressing some strange metal device to Draco's chest, over his robes. "Well, you both look all right and there's no concussion. Let's just get you a nice restorative potion and send you down to the feast, shall we?"
"I don't need one, really," Harry protested, but she'd already vanished into the other room.
"Hey, before she comes back," Padma said. "I didn't get to show you until now. Look what I've got!"
She tugged at a thin gold chain around her neck, pulling it out from under her shirt. Dangling from the end was a tiny glass-and-gold hourglass, held in place by two or three rings of flat gold with odd inscriptions on them.
"It's...pretty?" Neville said.
"Is that what I think it is?" Draco demanded, scooting forward for a closer look. His face ended up about half a foot from her shirt, which was gaping open to allow the necklace out, and she gave him a gentle shove to bring his chin level with hers.
"Better," she said, and he blushed. "And yes. It's a time-turner."
"Really?" Neville asked. "I've never seen one."
"What's a time-turner?" Harry said.
"I got it from the Ministry so I could take more classes, catch up a bit on what I missed last year, that kind of thing," Padma said. "It's very top-secret. They only gave out two this year, I guess a Gryffindor got the other one. That's what I heard when I was getting mine, anyway. I had to sign all sorts of papers not to tell anyone about it."
All three boys looked at her.
"Well, none of them were hexed, and anyway you lot won't tell," Padma said. "Plus I had to promise not to misuse it."
"what's it do?" Harry asked, but Padma quickly shoved the necklace back under her shirt and sat up straight. A second later Madam Pomfrey came bustling back into the room.
"Drink up," she said, pouring out four helpings of an awful-looking green potion. "Then you may go down to the feast."
Harry and Draco immediately leapt into a competition to see who could finish theirs first, while Neville held his nose and tried to down it in a single gulp. Padma glanced around, made sure Pomfrey wasn't watching, and then poured hers out the window. From below came the stuttery complaint of a bird nesting in the shrubbery.
"Now, off you go," Pomfrey said, herding them out the door. "And enjoy the feast!" she called after them, as they raced each other to the Great Hall.
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