Fluffy in the Forest
Severus Snape was walking through the
Forbidden Forest. He was walking for more than an hour now, and he
still hadn’t found Harry Potter. Almost two hours ago Potter
had walked into the Forest with Hermione Granger and Dolores
Umbridge, and they had not come back. Either they were attacked by
beasts that lived in the Forest, or they had left without coming back
on the Hogwarts grounds. Although Severus Snape had no idea at all
how they could have done that, the latter was the most likely. It was
hard to admit, but Potter and Granger were most certainly able to
defend themselves against whatever might attack them.
It seemed that Potter had believed the
vision he saw, although he had at least tried to contact Sirius
Black. And as Potter always found a way to get what he wanted, he
somehow had left the Forest for the Ministry of Magic without anyone
noticing. Thus, half of the Order of the Phoenix was now trying to
get Potter and his friends out of there. But as there was a slim
chance that they were still in the Forest, Severus was looking for
them there. He had randomly picked a few students in the Entrance
Hall, and sent them in the Forest to help. But it had been more than
an hour, and there was still no sign at all of Harry Potter.
Just as Severus decided it was time to
go back, he heard voices not far ahead. He walked nearer and saw
Ernie Macmillan standing in a clearing, arguing with a centaur.
“We don’t help humans!”
the centaur shouted. “Enough humans in our Forest. Leave!”
“I can’t leave,”
Macmillan replied, “I need to find Harry. If you just told me
if you’ve seen him or not, I can go on.”
“You wizards, you think you can
do everything you want! You, and that Ministry woman, and the foal,
and Hagrid, with his – his – well, you know! I’ve
had enough! No more wizards in our Forest!”
Severus had heard enough. It sounded
like Potter, Granger and Umbridge had met the centaurs. But they were
no use, because they never answered your questions. Besides, this
centaur seemed quite overstrung.
“I suggest you leave us alone,
Mister Centaur,” Severus said, stepping forward. “This is
an emergency. We won’t harm you or your forest. If you don’t
want to help –”
“We don’t help humans!”
the centaur interrupted.
“I repeat, this is an emergency.
You don’t need to help; just leave us.”
The centaur opened his mouth, no doubt
to tell that wizards didn’t have the right to ask the help of
centaurs, but then he looked over Severus’ shoulder, closed his
mouth, turned and galloped away.
Before Severus could turn around to
look at what had driven the centaur away, he saw Ernie Macmillan fall
to the ground. For a moment it flashed through his mind that he
should have protected his student, but then something sunk its teeth
into his left arm and he didn’t care about Macmillan anymore.
Somehow, the pain and the smell were familiar. He had a fleeting
vision of a three-headed dog trying to bite his leg off in a dark
corridor. That had been four years ago, when Quirrell tried to steal
the Philosopher’s Stone. But it couldn’t be that dog now
– or could it? He pointed his wand at his left arm and cried
worked last time, and it worked this time. Severus was released and
collided hard with the ground. He quickly sat up and faced his
attacker, while trying to get away from it as far as possible. One of
the heads of the three-headed dog was blinded, but the other two
were already lunging in Severus’ direction. He didn’t
have time to stand up; one of the heads of the dog was less than a
feet away from his own head. He shot a Stunner to the head, but the
dog didn’t seem to feel it. It was ready to jump and bite
Severus’ leg and head off at the same time, when –
three-headed dog was blasted backwards. Looking around, Severus saw
Ernie Macmillan sitting on the ground with his wand in his
hand. Severus quickly stood up, but Macmillan stayed where he was.
“Come on,” Severus said,
“quickly, get away from here!”
“No, wait,” Macmillan
answered, “I can’t walk, it’s my ankle – I
just need to do this.”
Severus looked from the struggling dog
to the boy, who picked up a bit of wood. They were wasting time! The
Impediment Jinx wouldn’t persist much longer. He conjured up a
stretcher to transport the boy back to school. They hadn’t
found Potter in the Forbidden Forest. They had somehow travelled to
the Ministry of Magic. He sincerely hoped that everyone would get out
Ernie Macmillan had now transfigured
the piece of wood into a guitar. To Severus’ astonishment,
Macmillan started to play on it, smiled and pointed.
“Look at Fluffy!” he said
Severus turned his head and spotted the
three-headed dog, who wasn’t struggling against the jinx
anymore. It was sleeping.
“How do you know that?”
Severus asked amazed.
“Oh, Harry told us,”
“Potter?! How – where –
did you find him?”
“No, he told us months ago.”
Of course, Potter had gotten past the
three-headed dog before. And it was no surprise he had told the whole
school about it, just to show off.
“Us? Who’s us?”
“Well – you’re not
supposed to know,” Macmillan said. “I mean, it’s a
secret. And I wouldn’t like to have SNEAK written all over my
Severus understood. It was about that
secret society Potter had founded. He had admired Potter a bit for
the daring to do such a thing right under Umbridge’s nose. And
while he lifted a guitar-playing Macmillan on the stretcher and
started to walk back to the castle, he couldn’t help but think
that, as the boy knew how to get rid of three-headed dogs, even Harry
Potter was starting to become useful.