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A seam had split on Hermiones bag. Harry wasnt surprised; he could see that it was crammed with at least a dozen large and heavy books.

Why are you carrying all these around with you? Ron asked her.

You know how many subjects Im taking, said Hermione breathlessly. Couldnt hold these for me, could you?

But Ron was turning over the books she had handed him, looking at the covers. You havent got any of these subjects today. Its only Defense Against the Dark Arts this afternoon.

Oh yes, said Hermione vaguely, but she packed all the books back into her bag just the same. I hope theres something good for lunch, Im starving, she added, and she marched off toward the Great Hall.

Dyou get the feeling Hermiones not telling us something? Ron asked Harry.

Professor Lupin wasnt there when they arrived at his first Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson. They all sat down, took out their books, quills, and parchment, and were talking when he finally entered the room. Lupin smiled vaguely and placed his tatty old briefcase on the teachers desk. He was as shabby as ever but looked healthier than he had on the train, as though he had had a few square meals.

Good afternoon, he said. Would you please put all your books back in your bags. Todays will be a practical lesson. You will need only your wands.

A few curious looks were exchanged as the class put away their books. They had never had a practical Defense Against the Dark Arts before, unless you counted the memorable class last year when their old teacher had brought a cageful of pixies to class and set them loose.

Right then, said Professor Lupin, when everyone was ready. If youd follow me.

Puzzled but interested, the class got to its feet and followed Professor Lupin out of the classroom. He led them along the deserted corridor and around a corner, where the first thing they saw was Peeves the Poltergeist, who was floating upside down in midair and stuffing the nearest keyhole with chewing gum.

Peeves didnt look up until Professor Lupin was two feet away, then he wiggled his curly toed feet and broke into song.

Loony, loopy Lupin, Peeves sang. Loony, loopy Lupin, loony, loopy Lupin

Rude and unmanageable as he almost always was, Peeves usually showed some respect toward the teachers. Everyone looked quickly at Professor Lupin to see how he would take this; to their surprise, he was still smiling.

Id take that gum out of the keyhole if I were you, Peeves, he said pleasantly. Mr. Filch wont be able to get in to his brooms.

Filch was the Hogwarts caretaker, a bad tempered, failed wizard who waged a constant war against the students and, indeed, Peeves. However, Peeves paid no attention to Professor Lupins words, except to blow a loud wet raspberry.


:

  1. A blank silence greeted Hermiones words. She looked around at all the faces upturned to her, rather disconcerted.
  2. A chill that had nothing to do with the iced champagne was stealing through Harrys chest.
  3. A dark figure came bustling toward them, and Harry saw a glint of silver to the light of their wands. They had found Gryffindors sword.
  4. A large group of people was bunched around the bulletin board when they returned to the common room.
  5. A loud rattling noise behind them announced Hermiones reappearance with the box of S.P.E.W. badges.
  6. A mixture of gratitude and shame welled up in Harry. Had Lupin forgiven him, then, for the terrible things he had said when they had last met?
  7. A motherly-looking Healer wearing a tinsel wreath in her hair came bustling up the corridor, smiling warmly at Harry and the others.
  8. A paralyzing terror filled Harry so that he couldnt move or speak. His Patronus flickered and died.
  9. A roaring, billowing noise behind him gave him a moments warning. He turned and saw both Ron and Crabbe running as hard as they could up the aisle toward them.
  10. A vivid image of the shrieking, spitting portrait of Siriuss mother that hung in the hall of number twelve, Grimmauld Place flashed into Harrys mind. I bet there has, he said.
  11. A whistling in Harrys ear told him the Bludger had just missed him again; he turned right over and sped in the opposite direction.




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The end of the lesson in sight, Snape strode over to Neville, who was cowering by his cauldron. | Professor Lupin gave a small sigh and took out his wand.

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