Calvin gave the letter to Hedwig and watched as she flew off. Soon she’d disappeared into the starry night, and he was left watching nothing in particular. It was later than it should have been, as he’d put off writing the letter for the entire weekend, which was par for the course for him, really. The only reason his homework ever got done on time was because the four of them usually did it together, with Hermione prodding them along.
Not that most of it was hard, exactly; Transfiguration essays were the worst, because they required lots of writing about very technical things. History of Magic essays, on the other hand, just required him to write about practically whatever he wanted – Professor Binns seemed to grade only the length of the essay, apparently. Probably. He couldn’t be sure, because he never actually saw him grading them, but when he’d hand his work to Harry, who would then hand it in to Professor Binns, it would always come back with full marks.
Charms was what Calvin did in his spare time anyways, so he was constantly impressing Professor Flitwick with his proficiency in the subject. In that he was engaged in a friendly rivalry with Hermione, who of course constantly sought to be the at the top of every class.
This rivalry was present in Transfiguration as well, which just came naturally to Calvin. He didn’t think much of it, because to him it didn’t seem like it was anything special: you imagine the thing, you get the thing. How? Magic, of course. The technical process wasn’t of particular interest to him. He had more important questions.
“Is she a person who turns into a cat, or a cat who turns into a person?” he pondered aloud one time on their way out of the Transfiguration classroom. “There’s no way to know!”
“Of course there is,” replied Hermione, rolling her eyes. “Cat’s can’t turn into people. She’s an animagus.”
“Or is she a cat who is a homomagus?” said Calvin, raising a finger.
“How would she know how to act like a person if she were a cat, then?”
“Well she obviously knows how to act like a cat, and you’re saying she’s a person, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work the other way around.”
“Fine, but if Professor McGonagall is actually a cat, and not a person – I can’t believe I just said that – then she wouldn’t be able to do magic.” The bushy-haired witch turned away, sure the conversation was finished.
“Or,” said Calvin, smiling widely, “every animagus is really a homomagus, a very rare type of animal who can transmogrify into a human, and also use magic.”
“Oh, but people turning into cats isn’t? You know what, I bet you she can’t use magic in her cat form.”
“Yes, animagi are unable to use magic while in their animal form, that’s true.”
“Or, homomagi are only able to use magic in their human form! Wait, what if all animals, or at least a portion, are actually wizards! Except that only the few of them that have the ability to be homomagi can use the magic, because it’s only accessible to humans?”
Hermione just shook her head.
Ron, however, had his mouth hanging open. “Woah. That could be true, mate. We’d never know.”
“Um, but don’t they have parents? You know, human parents?” asked Harry.
“If the Ministry wanted to keep it a secret, they’d memory charm every homomagi and then do the same to a wizard couple,” explained Ron, eyes widening further. “There’s no way to know.”
Such conversations were frequent where Calvin was involved.
The night air chilled him as he made his way back to the dormitory, leaving the owlery behind him.
Sheesh, can’t they heat the halls or something? There’s gotta be a spell for that, so why do they leave it cold? You know what, I bet Dumbledore’s also into ‘building character.’ That’s gotta be it.
“Hi-ho cherry-o,” he told the Fat Lady. She swung open, revealing the moonlit common room, which was currently lit by another faint light source as well.
The chairs and couches were pushed up against the sides of the room. In the cleared space stood Harry, wand out in front of him, and in front of his wand shimmered a curved wall of barely visible white light.
The black-haired boy lowered his wand, and the light disappeared. Calvin saw Harry’s silhouette shake itself and then bend its knees, balancing on the balls of its feet. The next second he was leaping to the side, rolling across the carpet, jumping to his feet, whisper-screaming, “Protego!” The shimmering white wall shot out of his wand to hang in front of him. Again Harry dismissed it. Again he crouched, sprang, rolled, jumped, saying, “Protego!”
Calvin watched without moving, not wanting to startle his friend. Minutes passed. Harry changed spells.
“Depulso!” The crumpled ball of parchment which he’d thrown in the air soared across the room. This was repeated many, many times, until Harry kneeled on the floor, panting. His wand dropped from his fingers. A moment later he reclaimed it and struggled to his feet.
“You’re not going to stop this, are you,” Calvin said, stepping further into the room.
Harry whipped around and brought his wand up in an instant. Then he stumbled, and his hand went to his head. Calvin hurried over to help him to one of the armchairs that now rested along the wall by the fireplace.
“I don’t know if you guys have forgotten,” said Harry seriously, putting his wand down next to him. “But for all we know, Voldemort could be coming back.” He held his head in his hands, shoulder blades pointing towards the ceiling. “If we don’t stop Snape, then the man who killed my parents, who tried to kill me – the man who terrorized all of wizarding Britain and took countless lives – will return. This goes beyond trolls, Calvin.”
I’m an idiot, of course he’s taking it so seriously, he has a personal history with the guy! Calvin berated himself. I can’t tell him to not train at night. First of all, extra training is just a smart thing to do, and secondly he would never listen to me. He’d probably take offense that I’d be trying to stop him, which is reasonable, as there’s no logical reason for him to stop besides ‘You’ll be tired, and maybe not do so well in classes,’ which withers under the shadow of impending Dark-Lord-resurrection.
So Calvin sat down across from his friend, and said, “How can I help.”
Harry blinked at him. “You- you’re not going to tell me to forget about it, that I shouldn’t be up this late?”
“Nope,” replied Calvin, smiling lightly.
“Oh. I was ready to give a whole talk about being able to defend ourselves, not just against the chance of Voldemort’s return, but against any hazard, and how Hogwarts doesn’t seem to be all that safe, and being prepared is always good, and…well, anyway. Thanks.”
“So, what other spells have you been practicing?”
Harry picked up his wand. “Protego, mostly. I figured an all-purpose defensive spell would be the most singularly useful thing I could learn right now. Then I thought about the troll, and how you and Hermione used the Summoning Charm as an attack. It made me realize that what’s really amazing about magic is its versatility. So I decided to learn some spells that aren’t for anything specific, unlike stunners or shielding sharms, and then I could use them in different ways.”
He stood up, catching himself as he began to stumble. Once steady, he walked to the middle of the room, where a few crumpled balls of parchment littered the carpet. “Depulso is the opposite of the Summoning Charm – it repels things. But it’s not an object-specific spell like Accio; more of a beam that affects whatever it’s pointed at, like the Hovering Charm.” Harry picked up one of the balls of parchment. He tossed it to Calvin. “Throw that at me.”
Calvin looked down at the ball of parchment. Then he lobbed it casually over his shoulder and grabbed a book from the table to his left. “I saw you repelling those. Let’s see how you do with something heavier.”
“Uh, I haven’t practiced with any-”
“I know, but if you only practice things you know you can do, you’re not really stretching your limits, are you. Ready?” He grinned and hefted the book. Harry gulped. “Ghost runners on first and fifth,” said Calvin, looking left, then right. “Bottom of the thirteenth. It’s seventy-two to seventy for the team at bat. Three runs will win the game. Any less means another chance for the other team to grab the win. The crowd is holding its breath. The pitcher winds up.” Calvin windmilled his arm, lifting his back knee up high. “Fire in the hole!” he announced with a strong step forward, releasing his hold on the weighty textbook. It flew towards Harry, pages flapping.
“Depulso!” The book practically stopped in midair, moving ever so slightly back towards Calvin before dropping to the carpet with a muffled thump.
“Huh, it didn’t get repelled.” Calvin went to pick up the book. “I guess Depulso just exerts a certain amount of force in whatever direction you point it, so if the object is heavy enough or moving fast enough, it just cancels out? Can you control how much power you put into it?”
Harry slumped into the armchair again, wiping a hand across his forehead. “I’ve just been putting everything into it, but I think I’d be able to put less power into it, if I tried. Not right now, though, I’m drained.”
“That reminds me of the spell Hermione showed me while we were in the Library finishing up my homework,” said Calvin. “It was…arrest something, movement, or momentum. That was it, arresting momentum! It just stops things from moving, takes away all their momentum.” He dropped the textbook onto the table. “Depulso can do that by pushing in the opposite direction just as hard as the object is pushing, but the momentum spell just takes away all momentum, no matter what. Or it could just be redirecting the momentum to push in the opposite directing, I guess, canceling it out.
“Wait, no, if it took away the momentum and made it push in the opposite direction, it would travel in the opposite direction just as fast as it was traveling in the first place.” Calvin frowned. “Maybe it sort of, copies the momentum? And then applies it in the opposite direction?”
“It would look the same either way, though,” said Harry, rubbing at his eyes.
“Right, but if it is taking away the momentum, where does it go? I mean, I know magic can somehow make it look like things appear and disappear, like with Aguamenti, and the Vanishing Spell. But the Vanishing Spell can’t just be erasing them from existence, that doesn’t converse matter or whatever – so it must just be putting them somewhere. They still exist, so there’s probably a spell to call them back too!
“You think the same thing would work for the momentum spell?”
Calvin nodded excitedly. “That’s exactly what I was thinking – if you take away the momentum, can you give it back? Can you store momentum? Can you use it on something else? Imagine being able to redistribute momentum. Say someone’s running at you,” he said, miming running. “You just take their momentum,” he stopped moving. “And then give it back, but in the opposite direction!” He threw himself backwards, slamming onto the couch cushions beside Harry. “Or, you could take it away and then give it to, to a book or something! Have it hit the guy in the head! Normally that would take two different spells, and therefore more time and energy, but if you’re just moving the momentum around, it would be way easier!”
Harry grunted. “Can we save the hypothesizing until we’ve had some sleep?”
“Man, what was the name of that spell. Arrest Momentum? No, it had some flair, like Arresti, or Arrestum.” Calvin hopped up, and handed Harry the textbook. “Here, toss this up, I’m terrible at hitting my own pitches.”
Harry shrugged and threw the book into the air in front of him.
“Arrestum Momentum!” The book reached the top of its arch, and then made its way back down to hit the carpeted floor. “Okay, that wasn’t it. Arrestal? Arresto? That sounds like it, actually. Once more,” he told Harry, handing him back the book, whose pages were not all that smooth by now. He decided not to tell Hermione about this. Harry threw the book. “Arresto Momentum!” The book hit the floor with nothing odd happening in the interim. “No, I definitely felt something that time. The spell just didn’t take. One more time?” he said hopefully, smiling toothily at Harry.
“Last one.” The exhausted black-haired boy tossed the book.
“Arresto Momentum!” Thump. Calvin stared at the book for a moment before turning to Harry. “…One more time?”
“Mmphgmrrk,” mumbled Calvin, rolling over and gathering his blanket over his head. “Goway.”
“You’re going to miss the Ballyhoo Breakfast Radio Show,” said Ron, nudging the near-comatose Calvin. “The twins’ll bug you about it.”
“Deyk’n dowaddey wan’,” he grumbled in response.
“What is it with you two?” asked Seamus, leaning over Harry’s still-snoring form. He turned to Calvin. “You’re not on the Quidditch team too now, are you?”
“There wasn’t even any practice last night,” said Ron, sighing. “They were probably having a crazy Calvin-inspired adventure or something late into the night. I told you to invite me the next time you do that,” he told the hibernating Calvin. “You can’t have all the fun to yourself.”
“Mmyeah, get almos’ eat’n by Fluffy ana troll an’ then tell me that.” Calvin burrowed deeper into his cover. “Now goway an’ lemme sleep another five hours.”
“I know I’m not really one to talk, but you should only need about eight hours of sleep, or at least that’s what my mum says.”
“Righ’, so lemme sleep five more hours,” answered Calvin, sitting up and pulling the curtains around his bed.
There was a second of silence as Ron understood what Calvin meant. “You only went to bed three hours ago?” sputtered Ron. He walked over to Harry. “What on earth were you doing?” he demanded of the sleeping boy.
“On’y wuh more,” mumbled Harry, eyes twitching behind his lids.
Ron walked back to Calvin’s bed and yanked open the curtains, but the spiky-haired boy was already dead to the world once more.
“Come on, we can cover for him,” said Dean happily, sliding a pair of overlarge sunglasses onto his face. He pretended to hold a microphone in front of him. “Welcome to breakfast hour with the Hogwarts Ballyhoo Brigade, the source of absolutely everything interesting and even mildly exciting that happens within these walls! Today’s schedule looks slightly similar to that of last week, but we’re sure we can find some way to shake it up. I’ll hand it over to Wonald now. Wonald, what’s the weather wook wike?”
“Cloudy with a one-hundred-percent chance of something unpleasant in your bed tonight if you drag me into that madness,” Ron said seriously, walking towards the door.
“That’s an odd forecast,” commented Seamus, following him out.
“And now for the menu musical!” shouted Dean, pulling the door closed behind him.
Silence reclaimed the dormitory. Both Calvin and Harry remained completely motionless, except for the rise and fall of their chests, for the next few hours. When they awoke, Harry found that he had a terrible head-cold. Calvin helped him to the Hospital Wing.
“You are severely under-rested,” Madam Pomfrey told Harry as he lay on one of the white-sheeted beds, head propped up with extra pillows. “You’ve been overworking yourself, plain and simple. I’m afraid you’re going to have to sit out the next Quidditch match if this keeps up, young man,” she said, hands on her hips. “As well as practices.”
“No, I can-” Harry paused as a cough settled in his throat. “I’ll be fine, I can’t miss a game!” he protested insistently. “There’s no one to replace me! We’ll lose!”
The medi-witch looked down at him sternly. “Then I suggest you regain your strength quickly. No practices in the mean-time – we’ll see how you’re doing later this week. You,” she added, turning to Calvin, “are not sick, and will be returning to classes this evening. Your head of House will hear about it if you don’t.”
“It’s not your fault, Calvin,” said Harry as the medi-witch walked away.
Calvin laughed. “No kidding, this would’ve happened eventually – you’ve been overworking yourself for weeks. I just happened to join you for your latest practice session.”
“Well, you did extend the session by four or so hours,” said Harry with a wry grin. “If I’d had the strength to get up from that couch, or a pair of earplugs, I’d have gone to sleep.”
“Is there an earplug charm? One that just makes you unable to hear?” Calvin was tapping his wand absentmindedly against his knee.
“If you can take away momentum, I’m sure you can take away noise.” The messy-haired boy snorted, then coughed a few times and breathed out hard to clear his nose. “Let me know when you find it, it will really come in handy when I’m back in the dormitory trying to block out Ron’s snores.”
“You can just use Arresto Snorum,” chuckled Calvin. Then he cocked his head. “Wait, would Arresto Momentum make his lungs stop moving too? Does it stop all movement, or just in a singular direction, and the greatest of them? If it stopped all movement it should freeze things, because it would stop all the atoms from moving and bring it down to zero Kelvin. Hey, it reacts to gravity!”
“What?” Harry’s brow was furrowed, and he was looking at Calvin with a distinctly confused expression.
Calvin gestured with his wand, pretending to draw a circle in the air. “The earth is spinning and moving through space simultaneously, but Arresto Momentum doesn’t stop our movement in any of those respects – only our movement relative to the earth!”
“Well, yeah, if it stopped us from following the earth’s movement we’d die.”
“There goes my idea for stealing momentum from the earth using a momentum redistribution spell.” Calvin stood up and began to pace. “There’s got to be one, I just have to find the incantation.”
“It’s Latin, isn’t it?” said Harry, shifting the pillows behind him and sitting up straighter. “The ‘Momentum’ will obviously stay the same, it’s just the first part that needs to be changed. Arresto means to arrest, probably, as in the stop.” He glanced at Calvin. “Do you happen to know the Latin for redistribute?”
“No, but there’s got to be a Latin/English dictionary of some sort in the Library. I’ll go find one,” said Calvin, slipping his wand into his pocket and heading to the door of the Hospital Wing.
“You’re supposed to be going to the next class though, right?”
“Our next class is History of Magic.” Calvin grinned. “I’ll be back with the dictionary as soon as I find it.”
Madam Pince did not bother to hide her surprise when Calvin approached her desk to ask her about a Latin dictionary. He only ever took out what he called ‘useful’ books, as in, books with practicable magic, and books on magical creatures. There were over a dozen Latin dictionaries, and each seemed to be from a different time period. Calvin took the most modern-looking one, and with a promise not to set it on fire or damage it in any way, he headed back to the Hospital Wing.
As he walked, thoughts he had not been awake enough to notice came to his attention. This is serious. Harry is in the Hospital Wing right now because of the fear of Voldemort returning. Whether or not it’s even possible doesn’t matter any more. I need to do something.
“You found it?” asked Harry with a cough, propping himself up as Calvin walked into the silent room.
“Yeah, this one looked the newest, but there were a bunch of other ones too. I’m not sure what the differences are.”
“Well, let’s see it, then.”
Calvin pulled a chair over and set up the large dictionary on the bed. “We want to redistribute the momentum.” He flipped through the book to the R section. A minute passed in silence. “They don’t have redistribute.”
Harry looked up. “What about transfer?”
“That’s actually a better word for it anyway. Alright.” Pages crackled. “There are a lot of different translations for transfer.”
“There’s no way to know which one is used for the spell.”
Calvin rubbed his hands together and smiled thinly. “We’ll just have to go through all of them.”
Calvin’s shoe sailed through the air and bounced off of Harry’s mattress, coming to a rest on the floor on the other side.
“Feel anything?” the messy-haired boy said, then brought his arm up to cough heavily into it.
Calvin shook his head.
“There’s only one more: trafero.”
“Well then, trafero it is! Give me my shoe, will you?”
Calvin caught his shoe and tossed it back out. “Trafero Momentum!” Bounce. “Popsicle sticks. It wasn’t any of them.”
“Want to try another word?”
“How about redirect?”
Harry turned back a handful of pages, then another handful. Then a single page. “Okay, the first one’s redigo.”
Harry flung Calvin’s shoe by the laces. Calvin bobbled it for a few seconds, then caught it. Then he tossed it forward again.
“Mr. Calvin!” shouted a stern voice, immovable as a mountain, sharp as the edge of a glacier. The shoe bounced off Harry’s mattress. Professor McGonagall stomped into the Hospital Wing. “You are supposed to be in class, not practicing spells that do not exist.” She glanced at Harry, who had pulled the covers up to right below his eyes. “And definitely not disturbing students who are supposed to be resting.”
“Professor McGonagall, what’s the spell for redistributing momentum from one object to another?” asked Calvin, hopping over to retrieve his shoe.
“What?” The Scottish which looked more than slightly confused at the question. “Which class is this for?”
Calvin dropped onto Harry’s bed and pulled on his shoe. “Oh, it’s not for a class. I was just thinking that since Arresto Momentum takes away momentum, there’s probably a spell that can use that momentum and give it to something else, but not by using the momentum taken by Arresto Momentum, just as a spell on its own, redistributing the momentum with a single spell. It would be able to work like Depulso on moving objects, in a way, but would be much more useful besides, probably wouldn’t take nearly as much energy to cast, and can push the objects in any direction.” He looked up at the stunned Transfiguration professor, tilting his head in innocent curiosity. “Is there a spell like that?”
Professor McGonagall clearly didn’t know what to say. Her mouth hung slightly open as she shifted her gaze to Harry, who had pulled his covers completely over the top of his head. Then she turned back to Calvin. Her voice was low as she said, “You just described a spell used by Aurors and duelists. Traducto Momentum.” She blinked. “Are you telling me that you can cast the two charms you mentioned?”
Calvin finished tying his shoe and jumped to his feet. “Well, Harry can do the Repelling Charm, and I spent all last night practicing Arresto Momentum. We figured out some useful stuff. Watch this – geronimo!” he yelled, taking a running leap over Harry’s bed. Midair, he pointed his wand at his chest and said, “Arresto Momentum!” His flight ended prematurely, and he seemed to hang in the air for a split second before dropping onto the mattress below him, bouncing a few times.
“Did you have to land on my foot?” Harry exited his cocoon of covers and leaned forward to rub at his toes as Calvin slid off the bed.
“See? Now I can go skydiving without a parachute!” said Calvin, smiling widely. Then he wobbled slightly, and sat down hard on the mattress. “Woah. My magic’s all wonky still from last night.”
“Don’t use your wand for the rest of the day,” Professor McGonagall told him. “That goes for you as well, Mr. Potter.” She shook her head in disbelief. “Two first-years magically exhausting themselves practicing charms they haven’t even been taught. If not for the part where one of you ended up in the Hospital Wing because of it, I would be telling you how very Ravenclaw that is. No,” she said to Calvin as he attempted to get to his feet again. “You stay here too, I’ll get Poppy to take a look at you.”
She narrowed her eyes at both of them, frowning ever so slightly. “I expect the two of you to have more sense in the future, and not run yourselves ragged every time you practice a new spell?”
They both nodded.
“Professor McGonagall,” started Calvin, looking thoughtful. “Can any student start a club?”
“It has to be approved by their head of House, but yes. What did you have in mind?” asked the green-clad witch, expression wary.
“A club for practicing and experimenting with new spells, ones that aren’t taught in class.”
Professor McGonagall was now the one looking thoughtful. “Normally such a thing would not be done, but I can see you two would be continuing on this track anyway, and better to do it in an official capacity. I will see if I can find a teacher willing to supervise such a club – and not every spell will be allowed. There will be a catalog of spells allowed to be practiced, and no transfiguration unless otherwise stated.” She tapped her chin. “This could work.” Her gaze hardened as Calvin’s grin grew wild. “There’s a chance. I will halt this project if you abuse it in any way, Mr. Calvin. This is not a dueling club, and no spells will be used upon another student’s person, is that clear?”
Calvin nodded enthusiastically, his wild grin unchanged.
“Only the spells expressly allowed by the supervising teacher.”
Calvin grinned wider and nodded.
“And do not attempt to use the Momentum Transference spell I mentioned, it’s far too dangerous.”
The same grin answered, accompanied by a generous nod.
“No experimenting with transfiguration under any circumstances,” said the stern witch, eyeing him suspiciously.
He grinned. He nodded.
“No making up spells.”
Grin and nod.
Professor McGonagall looked back and forth between Harry and Calvin, lips pursed. “I have your word that you will follow all of these instructions?”
They both grinned and nodded happily.
“And if a teacher tells you not to do something that even these rules allow, you listen to them.”
There was more grinning. More nodding. Professor McGonagall was looking extremely uneasy.
“And…and no pranking of any kind.”
More grins and nods. Her eyes flicked back and forth between them.
“Well. Good. I will let you know what is decided.” She walked quickly out of the Hospital Wing with one last, vaguely fearful glance back over her shoulder.
Harry and Calvin burst into laughter, which led to another bout of coughing by Harry.
“Sometimes,” wheezed Calvin, “being compliant can be a rebellion of its own.”
“It’s like she was just waiting for you to challenge her on one of those,” chuckled Harry, grabbing a tissue from his bedside.
Madam Pomfrey hurried in a minute later, and ushered Calvin onto a bed of his own, where she made his swallow a sweet-smelling potion that tasted like liquid glitter that was supposed to help ‘regenerate his magical reserves’ or something technical like that.
Calvin returned to the common room alone that night, as Harry was still confined to the Hospital Wing with a bad cough and cold.
“What happened? Are you okay!?” exclaimed Hermione as Calvin climbed through the portrait hole into the common room.
“Is Harry still in the Hospital Wing?” said Ron.
Calvin stopped mid step. “What? How do you guys know we were in the Hospital Wing?”
“The Hospital Wing flyers said something mysterious had happened to you guys,” Ron answered, unwrapping a piece of chocolate and popping it into his mouth.
Calvin laughed and dropped into an armchair. “Those things are still up? I thought Filch would’ve found them all by now, at least.”
Hermione shook her head. “They’re not the same ones you put up for when Harry was hurt. These are parchment, and you made yours out of printer paper. So other people must still be putting them up. There was one outside of the Great Hall that just had a list of all the anagrams of ‘Hospital Wing.'”
“What, so piling?” asked Calvin nonchalantly, stretching.
Ron stared at him. “Uh, what?”
“Yes, that was one of them,” giggled Hermione. Then her expression turned worried. “Is Harry okay?”
Calvin leaned forward. “You know how he’s been rather tired lately?”
“It’s like he’s not getting enough sleep,” said Hermione, nodding.
“I haven’t noticed anything,” said Ron, looking at them both. “What are you talking about?”
“Harry’s been up late every night for weeks, practicing spells for self-defense,” answered Calvin. Then he shrugged somewhat guiltily. “Last night I may have kept him up a bit later than usual, but it would’ve happened regardless. He’s just got a cold now, and his magical reserves have been ‘continuously stretched’ according to Madam Pomfrey. Mine are ‘completely exhausted,’ which is exactly how I feel.”
“Well why’s he doing that? Quidditch practice would be more than enough for me, honestly,” Ron said, licking melted chocolate off his fingertips.
“It’s because he thinks about something other than his stomach, Ron,” Hermione replied, rolling her eyes. “Remember when we were talking about what the Philosopher’s Stone might do, and said that it might be able to bring back Voldemort? No wonder he’s up every night, he’s probably scared out of his mind!”
“Oh. Right, he killed Harry’s parents. You talk to him, Hermione, tell him he doesn’t need to worry about it, so he doesn’t keep doing this.”
Calvin shook his head grimly. “He won’t stop just because you tell him. Not if nothing changes.”
“Then something needs to change,” said Hermione. “His class work’s been suffering, and if it continues he might fail Transfiguration!”
“That’s really what we should be focusing on in the face of what we were just talking about?” said Ron, raising both eyebrows.
Hermione’s face flushed and she gestured helplessly. “Well, classes are still important, even if you don’t take them seriously.”
“I do take them seriously!” argued Ron. “Some of the time.”
“Regardless, we need to help Harry somehow,” said Hermione. She shot a dark glance at Ron. “It’s not healthy, what he’s doing.”
“I’m with you there,” the redhead answered. “Got any ideas?”
Calvin clasped his hands in front of him. “Ronald, if you had to describe these times, what word would you use?”
“You’re not allowed to call me that.”
“Would you perhaps use the word,” Calvin grasped at the air, miming searching for something. “…Desperate?”
“I’d use the word ‘bedtime,’ actually.”
“Did you hear that?” said Calvin suddenly, cupping a hand around his ear.
“I think it was the times.”
“Great, you’re spouting nonsense again.”
“The desperate times. They’re calling…” Calvin trailed off. “They’re calling for something. What are they calling for, Ron? Do you know what desperate times call for?”
“Oh, Merlin, no,” said Ron, covering his face with his hands.
Calvin stood up abruptly, and a thin slice of a smile carved itself across his face, faint and cruel. “Yes, Ron. Desperate times,” he hissed with a dark sneer. “…call for desperate measures.” He began to chuckle, a low chuckle starting deep in his chest, crawling up and out to sweep across the room.”
“I’m going to bed.” Ron scampered out of his chair and up the stairs to the dormitory.
“Calvin, please…don’t do anything rash, okay?” pleaded Hermione.
The spiky-haired wizard just kept up with the deep chuckle, shoulders rumbling. “Hehehe, hahahaha, HAHAHAHAHAHA!” He coughed, then turned to face the rest of the people in the common room, all of whom were now staring at him. “CAPTAIN FINNIGAN, I REQUIRE YOUR ASSISTANCE! TO ME!” His voice crashed through the sudden silence, and an answering crash followed the echoes.
“I HEAR THE CALL OF DESTINY, AND I ANSWER!” Seamus marched quickly across the room, and everyone’s eyes were upon him as he came to a stop before Calvin. He snapped his feet together and whipped his hand up in a salute. “WHAT IS IT YOU REQUIRE OF ME, OH BRIGADIER OF THE BALLYHOO BRIGADE?”
Calvin spun his wand and caught it with both hands, then pointed it at Seamus. “I NEED YOU,” his voice rang out. “TO BLOW SOMETHING UP!”
By Tuesday, Harry was out of the Hospital Wing. By Wednesday, he was back to his nightly practices. Calvin joined him, but made sure they kept the practices short, and switched off casting. By Thursday Ron had decided to join them too. That practice went a bit later than they’d planned.
Friday’s Potions class arrived, and Calvin set his plan in motion.
“Finished,” he said brightly, handing his parchment containing immaculately written potions instructions to Professor Snape.
The Pharaoh of Fear glared at him and snatched the parchment from his fingers. His eyes whipped back and forth across the page. They glanced up at Calvin, and narrowed. “What do you think you are doing.”
Calvin had to suppress a shiver as the Potion master’s gaze met his own. He smiled. “Copying the potion instructions. This is Potions class, is it not?” he said, gesturing to the students behind him, all leaning over their cauldrons and chopping ingredients.
“This…” drawled Snape, glancing back down at the parchment in front of him. “It is adequate. You may join the class on the today’s assignment.” His eyes drew a groove in the air as they rose to meet Calvin’s. “You will not play around with a real potion as you have done with this,” he said, icy words dropping from his pale lips to shatter upon the floor. “This is your only warning.”
Calvin nodded and tried not to whimper. The Apotheosis of Apathy looked out at the working students. Seamus was the only one not working with a partner. As planned.
“Weasley, you will join Finnigan at his fire. Boy,” the potions master said, flicking a hand dismissively at Calvin. “You will work with Longbottom.” He lowered his head and began scribbling checks and x’s on the next paper in the stack to his left.
“Wha- Neville’s here?” He craned his head round to catch a glimpse of the round faced boy rolling his eyes. “Can’t I work with-”
“No.” Snape’s voice was emotionless, flat and without inflection. It left no room for argument.
Calvin walked over to Neville, thinking hard. I needed to be partnered with Seamus, as he’s the only one who can definitely make a large enough explosion to warrant a detention. Snape would have blamed it on me, of course, if I were working at the same cauldron. Now how do I get detention without appearing like I’m trying to?
He arrived at the cauldron he was sharing with Neville, and looked around the room. At the back of the classroom he saw Draco hunched over his own cauldron, focusing intently.
“Hey Draaaaaaco,” called Calvin. The blond-haired boy whirled around to glare at him. “It wasn’t meeeeee,” he sang. “I didn’t doooooo it!” Draco’s eyes smoldered with barely restrained rage. Calvin folded his arms theatrically. “You’re being a giiiiiiiit!”
Draco turned shakily back to his cauldron. As Calvin watched, Draco leaned over to one of his first-year bodyguards. The hulking boy nodded curtly, then gathered up a few ingredients from the wooden board in front of them. He waited a moment while Draco dipped a glass vial into his cauldron and then capped it, handing it to the boy.
Perfect, Calvin thought to himself. Now to let them sabotage our potion. He surreptitiously poured a small container of black sludge into the cauldron, then swept a pile of finely chopped mushrooms onto the floor.
“Oh, Neville, it seems some of the mushrooms have fallen. Perhaps we should pick them up.”
Neville looked over, then grimaced and fell to his knees, gathering the pieces. “Man, it was going so well, too. Now I have to cut up another one.” Calvin joined him, scattering the pieces as he flailed his hands across the floor.
Behind them, Goyle made his way up to Snape’s desk. As he passed their cauldron, he seemed to trip, and had to throw out a hand to catch himself against the desk. Then he found his balance, and lifted his hand up and over the cauldron, continuing on his way. Calvin smiled as he heard the contents of the cauldron begin to bubble. He tossed a piece of mushroom over his shoulder into it, and the bubbling increased.
“Oh, there’s a few more over there!” he said, elbowing Neville and indicating some mushroom pieces about twenty feet away.
“What, how’d they get all the way over there,” moaned Neville, stumbling to his feet and heading towards the wandering mushroom pieces. Calvin followed quickly, glancing back at the cauldron. Angry red steam flew to the ceiling in gradually darkening clouds.
“What have you done, boy,” snapped Snape, pushing his chair back and standing up. He’d taken a single step around his desk when the smoking cauldron suddenly shot a geyser of blood-red potion into the air. The liquid steamed as it hit the ceiling, and the stones above it began to drip molten rock.
“Everyone vacate the classroom,” commanded the Entity of Endless Suffering, pulling the collar of his teachers robes up to cover his mouth. The clouds of now-crimson smoke were spreading across the ceiling, and drops of melting ceiling were falling everywhere. Snape gave a deliberate wave of his wand. The glowing drops turned to pebbles as they fell through the air, pattering noisily off of cauldrons and desks.
Once the room was empty, the Potions master joined them in the hallway. “Detention with me this weekend, boy,” he said, clearly furious. He didn’t like having his class time interrupted. “And next class we will start you on a potion more suited to your lack of talent. Everyone else will redo their potions from today, whether or not you have handed it in. The room will take a few hours to clear out. Dismissed.”
“But I’d already finished!” complained Hermione as the crowd of students dispersed. She narrowed her eyes at Calvin. “I suppose this was all according to plan?” she said huffily, shifting her bag on her shoulder.
Calvin smiled and skipped past her. “Yes, actually. Walk with me, Harry,” he said to the black-haired boy as he passed him.
“You’re not walking, you’re skipping,” Harry replied. “I don’t skip.”
“Even if we were going to see Mugwump Man?” questioned Calvin, turning and continuing to skip backwards.
“What’s that got to do with it?”
“He’s the epitome of what a wizard should look like.”
“So?” he hurried to keep up with Calvin.
“And he’s wonderful, wouldn’t you say?”
“I guess so…”
Calvin skipped forward to meet Harry, and pivoted, hooking arms with him. “Then we’re off!”
“To where?” asked Ron, brow furrowed.
“To see the wizard.”
“Not a witch, a wizard.”
“The wonderful wizard?” said Harry, raising an eyebrow.
“That’s which wizard, exactly?” asked Ron.
“No, not the witch-wizard, the wonderful wizard!”
“Why’s he called the wonderful wizard?”
Harry shrugged, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. “Because of the wonderful things he does.”
“Doodedeedoodedeedoo!” sang Calvin happily, skipping off down the hall.
“So how does one go about seeing the Headmaster?”
They were wandering through the halls, asking students at random; nobody seemed to know the location of Dumbledore’s office.
“This is hopeless,” Harry said, leaning back against the wall and sliding to the floor.
Calvin looked around. “We need to find someone who’s been there before.”
“The main reason a student would have gone to the Headmaster’s office is if they got in a lot of trouble,” replied Hermione, frowning.
“A lot of trouble?” laughed a voice to their left. One of the- Fred stepped out from behind a suit of armor. “Us?”
“Why, I’ve never been so insulted,” said a voice to their right. George walked up to them, shaking his head.
“We don’t get in lots of trouble,” Fred whispered conspiratorially, leaning down to eye level.
George approached from the other side and leaned in too. “We get in heaps of trouble,” he whispered, expression serious as Professor McGonagall explaining to them the rules of transfiguration. He leaned closer. “Heaps.”
“So you know where Mugwump Man’s office is?” asked Calvin excitedly.
“That depends,” said Fred, turning to the spiky-haired boy.
George nodded solemnly. “Yes. Our knowledge of the location of the headmaster’s office is conditional on your answers to one or more questions.”
“Our question is this: why do you want to know?”
“Also: how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?”
“Also: what is a tootsie pop?”
Calvin grinned. “I’m preparing for my detention this weekend by asking Mugwump Man how much Snape knows about the Stone and what’s guarding it, then I’m going to use that information to see if Snape really is after the Stone to resurrect Voldemort. If you use a drill, it takes approximately zero licks. A tootsie pop is a lollipop. No.”
“That was the answer to your next question: am I kidding about Snape? The answer is no.”
Fred’s eyes widened. “You really think Snape is after the Stone? How do you know that the Stone can resurrect You-Know-Who?”
“We don’t,” shrugged Ron. “Hermione just mentioned a while ago that since we don’t know what it does, we can’t rule that out, and now they’re running away with it.”
“Hmm, either way, whatever Snape wants, we don’t want him to get it.” The twins nodded at each other. “Alright, we’ll take you to Dumbledore’s office.”
The twins lead them through a number of corridors and up one flight of stairs, then into another hallway, bare except for a single gargoyle situated in the middle of the hallway, its back against the wall.
They walked down the hallway and stopped in front of the gargoyle.
Fred gestured with a flourish. “Here we are.”
“The office of the great Albus Dumbledore,” said George, smiling at the wall.
“Um, okay, but where is it?” said Ron.
“Ronniekins, you must look beyond what you see,” scolded George.
“Beyond what I see? What in the world’s that supposed to mean?”
Calvin jumped forward. “Ooo, it’s a hidden entrance.” He started feeling along the gargoyle’s wing, searching for a lever of some sort.
“Five points to the house of Destiny!” said Fred. “Though you won’t find the way in like that. It’s password protected.”
Calvin glanced at the redheaded twin. “So what’s the password?”
Fred shrugged helplessly. “No clue.”
George started walking off, back the way they’d come. “Well, that was a nice walk, but we’ve got to get back to our work.” He winked. “Wouldn’t want to fall behind.” The twins rounded the corner, whispering amongst themselves.
“I don’t think they were talking about schoolwork,” said Harry.
“Hacky-sack,” said Calvin.
The gargoyle failed to give any sort of indication that it had heard the correct password.
Calvin scuffed at the floor with his shoe. “Rats. I thought that would work. Anyone else know what the password might be?”
“Try ‘knackered knick-knacks.'”
“What’s that mean?” asked Calvin, turning around.
An old, tall wizard with a long flowing beard and half-moon spectacles smiled at him, eyes twinkling. “I suspect it means knick-knacks that are knackered,” said Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts. And a bunch of other things.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione all gulped at the same time, and began to think of different ways to explain what they were doing.
Calvin didn’t even blink. “I need to ask you how much Snape knows about the Stone and what’s guarding it so that I can trick him into revealing something he shouldn’t know, thereby proving that he is trying to steal the Stone to possibly resurrect Voldemort because Harry is slowly killing himself over worrying about it by staying up late every night practicing his spellwork in order to be able to defend himself and others because he believes that if anyone gets hurt while with him, or possibly not while with him, it is his responsibility, and while this might be stupid, it’s just how he thinks so something needs to be done to remedy the situation, don’t you agree?” He looked up at Dumbledore, his eyes questioning.
The old wizard laughed, a resonating, mellow sound bursting from his throat to dance through the air. “My dear Calvin, Professor Snape is no more likely to steal the Stone for Voldemort than I am to suddenly retire and move to Atlantis.”
“Is that because Voldemort can’t be resurrected by the Stone, or because Snape isn’t evil?” asked Calvin, arms crossed.
The Headmaster’s laugh cut off, and he simply stared at Calvin for a moment, then shook his head and smiled. “You are quite the detective, aren’t you? It speaks good things about you that you would go to such lengths for a friend. You are a credit to your house.” He looked down his spectacles at Harry. “I suggest that you listen to your friends’ advice, as they are only trying to look out for you. I understand that you proposed the idea of a practice club to your head of House?” Harry nodded. “I will see that it happens – do not neglect your studies to pursue your late-night activities.” Dumbledore glanced at a white-gold pocket watch that had suddenly appeared in his hand. “If you will all kindly excuse me, I seem to be late for an appointment in my own office.” He stepped up to the gargoyle and whispered something into its ear. The stone creature stepped smoothly to the right, as the wall split to reveal a spiral staircase.
“Out of curiosity,” spoke Calvin as Dumbledore stepped onto the staircase, “how likely are you to retire and move to Atlantis?”
The spiral staircase began to move, each step following the one in front of it like the steps of an escalator. Except that these stairs were made of stone. And to their sides were stone. And beneath them was stone. The stairs kept moving.
Dumbledore smiled warmly. “I would not retire for all the money in the world, for there is meaning in this job, and purpose.” The spiraling staircase bore him out of sight. His next words drifted down to them as the gargoyle slid back into place. “But that does not mean there are not those who would choose to retire.”
The wall became flat and unbroken once again. The gargoyle stood motionless, hunched, wings spread slightly beyond its back. The four first-years stood motionless, minds still processing the Headmaster’s words.
“He didn’t really answer your question about Snape, did he,” said Harry.
“Not directly,” replied Hermione, frowning. “I think he was using the retirement comment as a parallel to Snape stealing the Stone.”
Calvin nodded. “Mugwump Man wouldn’t retire, but someone else might.”
“Does this mean someone is trying to resurrect Voldemort?” whispered Ron, blood draining from his face. His freckles stood out against the white skin like tiny flecks of ink.
“He didn’t confirm that,” Hermione said quietly.
“But he didn’t deny it, either,” said Calvin. “Which he would definitely have done if it wasn’t a possibility. There would’ve been no reason not to. So!” he shouted, holding a finger up in the air. “Who do we have as a suspect?”
“There’s Quirrel,” said Harry, unconsciously reaching into his pocket and gripping his wand. “You thought he might have let the troll in, right?”
“I thought he was working with Snape,” corrected Calvin. “But if Snape isn’t trying to get the Stone, then he can’t be. Which means my theory that he let the troll as a distraction so that Snape could get the Stone doesn’t hold any hot chocolate any more.”
“You mean it doesn’t hold any water,” corrected Hermione.
“If it doesn’t hold any water it’s not likely to hold hot chocolate either,” Calvin replied.
Ron spoke up as they started back to the common room. “Wait, I thought we weren’t trusting Dumbledore’s judgement concerning Snape, seeing as he’s mad as a garden gnome in a tutu.”
“I don’t know about you, but after hearing Dumbledore in person, I’m inclined to believe him – someone’s trying to steal the Stone, it’s just not Snape.”
“So if Snape’s guarding the Stone just like the other teachers, why was he heading to the third-floor corridor during the troll attack?” said Harry.
Hermione brought a strand of hair to her mouth. “If you were guarding something in your house, and suddenly the door was broken down, what would you do?”
“Make sure the thing I’m guarding is protected,” answered Ron, nodding in understanding. “So you’re saying Snape was just checking on the Stone.”
“That still doesn’t explain why Quirrel was in the dungeons when the troll got in,” Harry pointed out.
“As a distraction for himself to get the Stone?”
“If I set up a distraction,” said Calvin, rolling his eyes, “I wouldn’t then go tell everyone about it and knock myself out.”
“He did seem rather conflicted when he came into the Great Hall with the warning,” Hermione mused.
Ron laughed. “Rather conflicted? He was practically tearing himself in half!”
“There’s definitely something odd about Quirrel, that’s for sure. If he is the one trying for the Stone, though, we should keep an eye on him,” said Hermione.
“I like Quirrel’s class,” grumbled Harry. “We actually learn things.”
Ron sighed. “I’m just waiting till he teaches us the Stunning Spell. Now that’s useful. Wish we’d have known when we went up against the troll.”
“Actually, mountain troll’s are resistant to most types of spells, that included” said Hermione. “And we won’t be learning Stunners until third-year.”
“What?! But that’s one of the most widely-used self-defense spells!” exclaimed Ron. “Hope McGonagall includes it in the club catalog thing.”
Hermione shook her head. “I doubt it, the Stunning Spell is most useful against animals and other wizards – I got the impression that’s not what the club was going to be about.”
“Well then, our nightly practice sessions shall continue!” proclaimed Calvin.
Harry smiled and said, “If you insist. Dumbledore did say I should listen to my friends’ advice.”
That night, Hermione joined them in the common room for spell practice.
“Only this once, because I want to see what exactly you guys are doing – I can’t afford to be tired in classes.” The bushy-haired witch looked around at the three boys rolling their eyes. “Well someone has to make sure all our homework gets done correctly!”
“No, no, you’re right,” said Calvin placatingly. “We definitely wouldn’t want the quality of our essays to drop.”
“Right,” Hermione nodded. “Okay, how do we start?”
Harry scratched at the back of his neck and looked around uncomfortably. “Um, I’ve just been working on the Shield Charm and a few others like Depulso. Calvin’s doing the Shield Charm too. It’s definitely something everyone should know.”
“I’m also practicing Arresto Momentum,” said Calvin happily.
Hermione gaped at them. “You guys, those spells are far beyond our grade level!”
“Hermione, I don’t think a lot of the spells they don’t teach us are because they’re too difficult – some might be because we don’t have enough raw magical power, but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to perform at all.” Calvin grabbed ‘The Standard Book of Spells, Grade Three’ from the table. “Gerd and Froge lent this to me.” He flipped it open to a certain page, and held the book out to Hermione, who took it from him curiously.
“This is Reparo. I learned it from a book I got at Diagon Alley.” She looked up. “Why is this a third-year spell?”
Calvin shrugged. “You tell me. It’s ridiculously useful, and it’s a single-point casting.”
“That’s what Calvin calls a spell that isn’t constant,” explained Harry. “Stunners, Reparo, and the Cutting Charm are all single-point castings, while spells like Agumenti and the Shield Charm are continuous castings.”
“Right,” said Calvin. “And generally speaking, continuous castings should be harder, due to the constant drain of magic – but we’ve already learned both the Hovering Charm and Agumenti from Professor Flitwick, while spells like Arresto Momentum aren’t even part of the curriculum. I don’t think it has anything to do with the level of difficulty in some cases, it’s just that the school year is only so long, and they have to prepare us for whatever’s on the exams first and foremost.” He shrugged and took back the spellbook. “So we’re just improving our curriculum.”
Hermione frowned, then nodded seriously. “Okay. That does make sense.”
They pushed the furniture of the common room to the sides, clearing a space large enough for the four of them to practice comfortably. Hermione decided she would start with the Shield Charm. She picked it up quickly, which she was visibly surprised at, and was soon able to have her shields hold up to a full-power Cutting Charm from Calvin.
Ron was practicing Depulso with Harry, and they had some fun repelling objects back and forth across the room, seeing how long they could keep it in the air.
“Give me back my shoe!” demanded Calvin, leaping off the arm of a chair to try to snag his footwear as it zoomed past.
“Depulso,” Ron said in reply, and the shoe reversed, heading back to Harry.
“Accio shoe!” The shoe jerked out of its flight-path and was pulled towards Calvin, who stepped forward and kicked out at it, saying, “Hiyah!” His foot slid perfectly into the incoming shoe, and he stood there, grinning, leg still in the air. “I did it! Woohoo!” Then he gave a yelp as the shoe suddenly pushed him backwards, and he toppled onto the ground.
Behind him, Hermione hid a smile and looked away as Calvin turned around. She began to whistle, gaze roaming around the room.
“Don’t think I don’t know that was you – you’re the only other person here who knows the Summoning Charm. That wasn’t fair, I was savoring my success.” He pushed himself to a kneeling position.
She put a hand to her chest, aghast. “Are you accusing me of foul play?”
Calvin bent down to tie his shoe, pointing his wand at Hermione as he blocked her view with his head. He whispered something, then got to his feet. “I am. I challenge you to a contest of Summoning – whoever Summons that book first, wins!” He pointed to the spellbook on the table by the side of the room. “Go!”
Hermione whipped her wand towards the book and shouted, “Accio book!” But her voice came out high-pitched and squeaky, and she was so surprised that she forgot to pay attention to the book she had just summoned. Her hand slapped against her mouth as her eyes went wide. Then the book collided with her stomach. She staggered, lost her balance, and fell.
Calvin was rolling on the floor, laughing, tears streaming down his face. Harry and Ron were cracking up as well, though trying not to look as amused as Calvin.
“What did you do to me!?” Hermione squeaked, then clamped her hand across her mouth again and glared at Calvin.
The spiky-haired boy collected himself and wiped at the tears of laughter covering his face. “Oh man, that was the best thing I’ve seen all week. The look on your face!” He started laughing again, great galloping laughs from his stomach. “Priceless!” he gasped.
“What did you do?” Hermione blinked in confusion. “Hey, it’s gone. What was that?”
When Calvin had once again caught his breath, he dropped onto one of the couches, still smiling widely. “Yeah, it doesn’t last very long if you don’t put a lot of power into it. It’s a spell that makes someone sound like they swallowed helium. The incantation is Helio Sonum.”
Hermione stood up and brushed off her robes. “Well, it looks like I won that challenge, then, seeing as I was the one to first Summon the book.” She headed to the stairs that led to the girls dormitory, throwing a glance and a wicked smile that looked out of place on her back at Calvin as she passed. “I’d watch your back if I were you next time we’re practicing spellwork,” she quipped lightly.
“Does that mean you’ll keep practicing with us?”
She started up the stairs, not looking at him. “It means I’d watch your back if I were you next time we’re practicing spellwork.” Then she was gone.
“You’ve done it now, mate,” chuckled Ron. “Hermione’s out for blood.”
Calvin yawned and shrugged. “Makes it more fun. I’m done for tonight, how bout you?”
“We can do more tomorrow, we have all day,” said Ron, starting for the staircase.
“Calvin doesn’t,” said Harry, smiling. “He’s still got detention with Snape – part his elaborate plan to reveal Snape’s efforts to steal the Stone, remember? Hey Calvin, how’d that plan work out for you?”
Saturday was to be spent scrubbing the floors of the Potions classroom. Luckily, he had help.
“My fur’s getting soggy,” complained Hobbes, shaking drops from his paw.
“Yeah, well my knees are killing me. I’m a two-legged being, and I’m not meant to crouch down on hard stone floors.” Calvin pulled out his wand. “I’ve got an idea.” He attached the sponges to the bottoms of his feet with Sticking Charms. Snape had told him that he was not allowed to use any magic to clean the floors besides for Agumenti, but technically, the sponges were still the things cleaning the floors. After doing the same for Hobbes, along with an added water-repellent charm, they began to skate.
They figure-skated their way across the stones, Calvin’s wand providing a small stream of water in front of him as he glided along. They pirouetted and twirled, leaped and danced. They finished with hours to spare.
Calvin looked around the bare classroom. All the usual bubbling vials and cauldrons had been cleared out, along with the teacher’s desk and the bookshelves. Parts of the ceiling still resembled a Salvador Dali painting. The floor, though, was now spotless. “Well this is boring.”
“Do some magic,” suggested Hobbes, lying down and stretching.
Calvin sat down and tried to transfigure his robes orange. He’d turned the entire left sleeve a blinding shade of orange by the time he lost interest. Hobbes had begun to snore. Calvin stared at the wall for a few minutes, pretending he was watching television. That soon lost its charm. He wandered over to the napping tiger and lay down against him, settling into a hazy sleep. They both woke up an hour or two later, and talked lazily for a while.
“What? No they aren’t,” said Calvin. “You’re making that up.”
Hobbes nodded. “I’m telling you, it’s the truth.”
Calvin poked his head out into the hallway. Snape’s office was just down the hall, and the door was shut.
“Professor SNAAAAAAAAAAAPE!” yelled Calvin. The office door swung open, and the black-robed Overlord of Calamity rushed out, eyes stabbing angrily at Calvin.
“What is it!” he demanded, his voice cold as his heart.
“Do people grow from spores?”
The Potions professor closed his eyes and breathed out slowly through his nose. When he looked at Calvin again, he was gritting his teeth. “You called me out here in the middle of brewing a delicate solution to ask if people grow from spores?” he hissed incredulously. Then he turned and stalked back into his office, slamming the door behind him.
Calvin re-entered the classroom. “He must not know.”
The next week saw the first few days of winter, but there was no snow until Thursday. The grass crunched with frost as Calvin ran outside. Flying lessons had been canceled, which left the rest of the afternoon free.
“Dean, tell me I’m not dreaming,” whispered Calvin as a tiny speck of white drifted lazily down to the ground in front of him.
“You’re probably not dreaming, unless you walk and talk in your sleep, and sleep with your eyes opened, and are perfectly aware of what’s happening around you while you’re sleeping, in which case I don’t really think that counts as sleeping.”
“So, basically, no,” added Seamus. “You are not sleeping.”
“Oh hey, it’s snowing,” said Ron, holding out a hand and watching as a snowflake melted upon it.
“It’s snowing,” said Calvin softly. Then, louder, “It’s snowing! It’s SNOWING!”
“Yeah, mate, that’s what I said.”
Calvin dropped to his knees and threw his arms up, staring into the depths of the sky. His eyes locked on a dark grey cloud right above them. “All hail the snow cloud!” he cried emphatically. “ALL HAIL THE SNOW CLOUD!”
Dean kneeled next to him. “ALL HAIL THE SNOW CLOUD!”
Harry and Seamus joined them on the ground and added their voices. “ALL HAIL THE SNOW CLOUD!”
The twins appeared out of nowhere and prostrated themselves upon the frozen grass. “ALL HAIL THE SNOW CLOUD!” they yelled, offering up plates of steaming porridge to the sky.
“Ron,” said Hermione softly. “I think we should run before we catch whatever they have.”
“Join us!” called Calvin. “Join us in celebration of all that is white and soft and frozen! Join us in celebration of the crystalline form of water!”
Hermione turned to Ron, who seemed to be considering it. “Don’t you dare.”
“Join us, brother!” called Fred.
“Join us!” echoed George.
Ron smiled and dropped to the ground. “Tis the season,” he said with a shrug.
Hermione covered her face with her hands and pretended not to know who the people kneeling on the ground were.
Together, the seven boys cried out to the sky. “ALL HAIL THE SNOW CLOUD!”
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