Disclaimer: I don't own the people, places, or situations
of the Harry Potter universe, nor do I claim to. They belong to
J. K. Rowling, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, Scholastic Books, and
AOL Time Warner. I am making no money. The quote belongs to Darren
Hayes and Daniel Jones, and can be found in the song Hold Me,
on the Savage Garden album Affirmation, released in 2000.
Merlin Talisen, the theory of the Merlin, and the druidic lore
mentioned belong to TQ, who has kindly given me permission to
Chapter Two: The Perfect Slytherin
"I'm willing to do anything to calm this storm
in my heart."
Savage Garden, Hold Me
Raylene gazed idly around the inside of Dumbledore's office
as she waited for the start of another Prefects' meeting early
on Monday morning. The sun filtered lazily through the window
that overlooked the grounds, glinting mysteriously from the numerous
silvery devices around the room.
She couldn't help noticing that, of the eighteen students supposed
to be present at such meetings, only thirteen were there. It did
not surprise her when she realised who the five absentees were
- Pansy Parkinson, Hypatia Bertram, Claude Chauncey, Draco Malfoy,
and, of course, the Head Boy himself. One Slytherin could not
be late without keeping all five of them away. Raylene rolled
her eyes in disgust.
Dumbledore entered, glanced around the room, sighed sharply,
and took a seat at his desk. He rested his elbows on his desk
and placed his hands together in a reflective way, obviously waiting
for the absent Slytherins.
The company assembled in the room waited a further five minutes
before the door opened and Pansy walked slowly in, followed by
a slinking Hypatia, striding Claude, and swaggering Draco. The
four Slytherins took places in the gathering; Raylene was highly
displeased to see Draco sit next to her. She refrained from speaking,
instead turning to Sylvia, who sat beside her. Her pointed way
of ignoring the Slytherin fifth year did not seem to perturb him
at all; in fact, he was probably happier without her looking at
It was a full minute later when Antony finally sauntered into
the room. His pace and stance were, at first glance, lazy, but
Raylene recognised his true attitude as he halted in front of
"I'm pleased you could join us, Mr Bond," the headmaster
said in a tone that seemed light, but which Raylene suspected
held undertones of irritation and scolding.
"With all due respect, professor, I offer my sincerest
apologies," Antony replied, his tone indicating that no respect
was due, and therefore, none was given. Raylene frowned, wondering
how Dumbledore could stand such audacity.
He either missed Antony's tone or chose to ignore it, for he
nodded at the Head Boy, indicating with one hand that he should
take a seat. A simple look from Antony unseated Draco, who leapt
from the chair and instantly hurried to stand behind it. The older
boy made his way to his place beside Raylene with the same attitude
she had recognised in his saunter earlier.
Before she could say anything to him, Sylvia snorted in disgust.
"Tardy and insolent. You're doing well today,"
she said, contempt plain in her voice, even as she spoke Raylene's
"I always aim to please," Antony replied coldly,
his words making Sylvia snort once again, this time in disbelief.
Dumbledore let out a small cough. Sylvia turned to him, smiling
pleasantly, as did most of the other Prefects.
"In light of recent events," Dumbledore began in
a sombre tone, and immediately the full attention of everyone
in the room was on him, for they all knew to which events he was
referrring. "I feel it is necessary to commence an enhancement
of Hogwarts's protection." Raylene nodded a silent agreement,
feeling a sadness sweep over her as she did so. There was now
an empty seat in several of her classes, for Cedric Diggory had
been in her year.
"I would like," his piercing blue eyes scanned the
room, resting fractionally longer on Antony and Raylene than the
other Prefects, "to implement a new policy. Each night, six
of the Prefects will patrol the corridors. There will, of course,
be teachers patrolling also. Patrols will take place in groups
of two, and a schedule will be drawn up. Two to three nights a
week are all that will be required. Please understand," and
his eyes fell specifically on Antony, who met his gaze with cool
indifference, "that this is for the safety of every student."
There was silence as Dumbledore finished speaking.
"Questions?" he said after a few moments.
"How will the patrolling teams be picked?" Sylvia
asked, a sideways glance at Antony showing her reason for asking.
"In the best interests of unity."
No one asked what that meant. They could tell. Dumbledore would
set the teams in the hope of getting students to communicate with
those they would not normally associate with. Including, Raylene
immediately understood, the Slytherins. The thought brought her
She glanced idly at her watch. Arithmancy would be coming to
a close now. Meetings did not always take place during school
time, but today's had. Obviously something had happened to make
this a pressing issue.
When the Prefects were finally dismissed, there were only a
few minutes left of the morning's first class. Instead of walking
all the way to the Arithmancy classroom only to have to leave
the instant she arrived, Raylene trudged straight towards the
Defence Against the Dark Arts room.
She was met not long after she got there by a grim-faced Antony,
who stood silently, staring across the hall. Why is he doing
Defence Against the Dark Arts? Raylene wondered, as she had
done at least once a lesson since the start of sixth year when
she had first commenced Advanced Defence. It was an invitation-only
subject, and she could not bring herself to understand how Professor
Lupin had managed to find enough potential for the subject in
Antony to recommend him for it. Yet he had.
One of the most irritating things about the fact that Antony
studied Defence was that he did so well at it. He had topped the
class the previous year, much to Raylene's annoyance. Then again,
he did that in every subject.
Raylene was pulled from her thoughts by the arrival of the
rest of the class. She smiled at her two best friends, Melissa
Farrell and Feena Fitzpatrick.
"Hey," Feena said as the two girls reached Raylene
"What did I miss?"
"Nothing too hard," Melissa said. "Just a couple
of Transfigurational theories." Raylene winced.
"Ick." Her two friends smiled sympathetically, and
"It's really easy once Vector explains it. Go see her
As she spoke, the door to the classroom opened and a fourth
year class emerged. Raylene saw a girl with hair like fire grin
at Fred and George Weasley, and a small boy push past her in a
The final person to emerge form the room was a petite, fair
woman, who smiled encouragingly at the class, and beckoned to
"You can come in now." She gave them a warm smile
and as they filed in she took a place at the teacher's desk.
Professor Nouvelle was a mystery to most of the students of
Hogwarts. They knew she has been an Auror once, and there was
a rumour she had received the Order of Merlin, but she did not
speak about that. She was a skilled and kindly teacher, yet she
did not have the almost universal support Professor Lupin had
To judge by her voice, she came from somewhere around Kent,
but it was impossible to be sure, for her accent had faded. It
was said that until she had been offered the job as Defence professor
she had been living in Canada, having travelled the world.
She was small and pale, with brilliant bright blue eyes that
held a melancholy look. It was hard to believe from her porcelain
doll appearance that she had actually managed to perform any serious
action in the field as an Auror. Of course, physical strength
did not have much to do with magical talent.
"Good morning," Nouvelle said, picking up the textbook
that lay on her desk. "I told you last week that we are going
to commence a unit of work on Death Eaters and Aurors. So we shall.
Keep in mind, though, that you will need to be preparing for your
reports on your Majors ... Has everybody picked theirs?"
Raylene nodded, as did the rest of the class. Their Majors were
possibly the most exciting part of the N.E.W.T. Advanced Defence
course. Each student picked an area of study that they would pursue
for the year, based upon their interests and skills.
"Very well," Nouvelle continued. "I'd like each
of you in turn to tell the class what they are. Raylene?"
Raylene cleared her throat.
"Um, I thought I'd undertake a study of the history of
fighting the Dark Arts." Nouvelle nodded encouragingly, then
turned to Antony, who sat across the aisle.
"What about Mr Bond?" she asked, and her tone had
a strange quality to it, one that Raylene could not quite place.
It sounded a bit like it was mocking, but that couldn't be right.
No ... it was more like she was ... questioning his ability, or
willingness, perhaps. That didn't fit with what Raylene knew of
Nouvelle, but it was the only way she could come up with of interpreting
the professor's voice.
"Curses and counter curses." Antony's voice was curt,
and he stared blankly at the wall behind Nouvelle.
"Very well." The question went around the room, and
each student replied promptly.
"So," Nouvelle said when the class had all answered,
"we have a good variety. From Miss Faulkner's history to
Miss Fitzpatrick's Auror methods with everything in between, we're
in for an interesting time. I'd like you each to take a bit of
time and research your Majors so that you'll be ready when we
start working on them in earnest.
"For now, however, it's back to the Aurors and Death Eaters.
We'll look at several of the main combatants in the first battle
against Lord Voldemort. Many of the details on the actual intelligence
involved in the arrests is still classified information, however,
what we need to know is mostly in the court records.
"So." With this, she surveyed the class, who watched
her, rapt. This was entirely new to most of them. "Can anyone
tell me some famous Aurors or infamous Death Eaters?"
"Anita Sanderson, Order of Merlin, Second Class."
Nouvelle stopped for a moment, her eyes fixed on Antony's,
for it was he who had spoken. She seemed quite shaken, but raised
her chin slightly, almost defiantly, and turned to the board,
where she drew up two columns.
Aurors was the heading of one, and Death Eaters
the other. Nouvelle neatly wrote A. Sanderson, OMII in
the Aurors column.
"Aramis Bastion, Order of Merlin, Third Class."
"Correct, Mr Bond. Does anyone else have any names?"
Nouvelle asked, a little testily, as she added Bastion to the
Raylene raised her hand, and at Nouvelle's encouraging smile,
ventured "Sirius Black."
Nouvelle nodded and quickly turned to the board, adding Black
to the Death Eaters list.
"Anyone else? There were far more than this. How about
people who weren't Aurors, but who fought the Dark Lord in other
"Sirius Black again."
Nouvelle turned a cold gaze on Antony, who shrugged. "He
did, as I'm sure you know, arrest at least one Death Eater."
"I am aware of that," Nouvelle replied in a curt,
strained voice. "But I believe his actions since have ruled
out any chance of placing him on this list."
"Fine. Death Eaters - Lionel and Sophonis Lestrange."
Nouvelle turned and scribbled L. & S. Lestrange
on the board.
"I'll help," she said, turning back to the lists
and writing busily for several minutes. When she stepped away
from the board, the lists were significantly longer.
(also non Ministry Dark arts fighters)
A. Sanderson, OMII,
A. Bastion, OMIII,
J. & L. Potter,
A. Dumbledore, OMI,
A. & K. McKinnon,
S. & F. Bones,
A. & R. Prewett.
L. & S. Lestrange,
J. Bond XXIV.
"This is by no means a comprehensive list," Nouvelle
said as she stepped away from the board. "Nor does it mean
much to any of you at the moment, I would expect. These names
are just a few of many. We will not learn them all, but we will
learn some. For homework, I would like each of you to choose one
person from each list and write a little about them. Try to choose
one you haven't heard of before." As she made the last comment,
she was looking directly at Antony, who was scowling at her. She
seemed satisfied with his response, and turned back to the board.
Raylene could sense something happening between them, but she
could comprehend neither its nature nor its resons. As Nouvelle
dismissed them, Raylene carefully placed her textbook back in
her bag, taking careful note of the two people she was going to
study, A. Prewett and J. Bond XXIV.
She rifled through her bag and removed her Arithmancy textbook,
so that she could pay Vector a visit over the break. She passed
Nouvelle's desk at the same time Antony did. She thought she heard
him muttering under his breath at the professor, but she could
have been mistaken.
* * *
Merlin Talisen stood silently at her desk, waiting in nervous
anticipation for her seventh year class. She could only hope they
would be as pleasant as most of the fifth years she had taught
before lunch. Of course, the Slytherins in her first lesson had
complained constantly and bitterly about her appointment as Potions
professor, particularly Draco Malfoy. That was only to be expected,
though. There was bound to be some bitterness amongst the Slytherins.
From what past experience Merlin had of Severus Snape, he would
have made an excellent Head of Slytherin (from the point of view
of the Slytherin students).
She waited until the new class should all have arrived, than,
puzzled, stepped outside. They were all lined up, waiting in their
own ways, ranging from raucous to calm, for her. She had been
outside when the fifth years arrived. Did all the classes wait
"What are you doing?" she asked the class.
"Waiting for you," was the snide reply from a tall,
aristocratic looking boy who stood next to Antony Bond.
"What for? You can come straight in."
"Professor Snape had us wait, Professor," Antony
told her coldly, the appraising look in his ice blue eyes making
it clear she was being judged.
"Well ..." Merlin began, momentarily lost for words,
then she took a breath and regained her composure. This was not
going well. "Right. You can come in then."
The class obediently filed in. As Antony and the aristocratic
boy entered, they stopped, shock plain on their faces, and gave
the room a long, searching stare, examining every feature of it,
with disapproval written across their features.
Merlin allowed herself a small smile. Instead of performing
the typical quiz a new teacher would make them endure, she had
ordered the fifth years to help reorganise the room. She had checked
to see which ingredients they had placed together and which they
had not. After all, some Potions supplies could be very volatile
placed near the wrong herb.
With a growing sense of mischief, Merlin watched the two stunned
Slytherins make their way to seats on the right hand side of the
room. They looked positively disgusted.
The dank, drab, and dingy Potions lab was gone. Merlin had
lit a fire in the fireplace, and its flickering flames sent warmth
creeping through the dungeon in spite of the room's underground
location. The golden light the flickering flames gave off played
from the walls, making the classroom seem somehow more inviting.
The stark, boring wooden desks had had a spell performed on them
to allow intricate inlaid designs to play around their edges,
while the walls now held posters showing various difficult potions.
Two of them were enchanted to show each day's ingredients on them.
The Slytherins looked decidedly sulky, while the Gryffindors
had smiles sneaking across their faces as they took their seats
on the left-hand side of the room. An excited buzz emanated from
them, and they kept sneaking excited glances at their new professor.
Merlin picked up the roll from her desk and gave what she hoped
was her best smile.
"Top of the mornin' to you. I'm Professor Talisen."
The Slytherins stared at her, except Antony, who simply directed
his gaze past her and at the blackboard. It seemed a very fixed
gaze. Merlin could feel the mischief-maker she had hidden under
a calm exterior since her own Hogwarts days fighting to come out.
"When I call your name," she said, glancing down
at the roll, a grin threatening to burst across her face at any
moment, please reply with 'present', 'here', or 'yes'.
"Gift!" called out a boy with bright red hair who
sat across the aisle from Antony, next to someone who could only
be his twin, and a grinning boy with dreadlocks.
"Thank you, Mr Weasley. And you would be Fred?"
"There," Fred replied solemnly. Merlin shook her
head slowly, unwanted memories of her own school time flooding
back into her mind ... she pushed them from prominence and continued
up the roll.
"Alexander von Senff."
Each Slytherin student replied with an icy "Present, Professor."
The Gryffindors' answers ranged from "No, Professor"
(Lee Jordan), to an excited "Here!" (Alicia Spinnet
and Tracey Kearney).
The aristocratic boy with Antony Bond turned out to be Vincent
Edwards. Antony himself replied with a contemptuous "Do you
really need to ask?" when she called his name.
After Lachlan Barz of Gryffindor had declared himself present,
Merlin picked up a sheaf of parchment from her desk.
"I'm going to give you a little quiz, just so I know what
you do and don't know."
The Slytherins rolled their eyes. Merlin had been expecting
nothing less, and ignore them, instead handing out the parchment
she had prepared the test on. There was soon silence except for
the scratching of quills, so Merlin had a chance to study her
class. There were eight Gryffindors and twelve Slytherins. Makes
sense, she told herself. After all, these are people who
were born in the last years of Voldemort's first rise.
She made her way back to her desk, lost in thought, and tripped
over her chair. She felt her face go red, and looked up to see
Vincent Edwards and Antony Bond watching her. She immersed herself
in a book, hoping to hide her shame. She had always been clumsy
but she had learned grace. When she forgot it, however, she was
liable to trip over things and break any glass she happened to
be near. Once she had tripped over and almost injured one of her
year mates from Slytherin.
Merlin recognised the names of several of the students. She
had been good friends with Molly and Arthur Weasley, and had even
met the twins once when they were very young. She sighed as she
saw one of them pull a firework from under his desk, and gave
him a warning look. He replied with a sheepish smile, sliding
the firework back into his bag.
Merlin returned to her thoughts. Tracey Kearney's family was
well respected amongst Irish wizards, and the von Senffs, Ridleys,
and Bonds were all old wizarding families represented amongst
the Slytherin students.
When the students had finished their quizzes, Merlin collected
them, then stood in front of her desk, giving what she hoped was
a winning smile.
"Professor Snape didn't leave any notes on where you were
up to. Would anybody care to inform me?"
"We'd just done notes on the Draught of Living Death,"
Antony replied promptly, yet in a manner which Merlin did not
at all like. She found the smirk flickering across his face unpleasant
"Thank you, Mr Bond. Now, do you have any questions you'd
like to ask me? I'm sure you're all a bit curious."
There was a long silence. Merlin raised an eyebrow, and was
about to ask the students themselves questions, when she saw Vincent
Edwards glance almost imperceptibly at Antony Bond, who gave the
slightest of nods.
"Professor," he said in a slow, almost drawling voice.
"What makes you qualified to teach us Potions?" Merlin
could tell immediately that he was remembering her awkward trip.
"Well, I have an Irish Potions Master, Archdruid Level,
awarded for creating the Wolfsbane Potion, but other than that,
not much. Good enough to teach an Edwards?" She noticed the
look that passed between Vincent and Antony, and quickly added
"or should I be worrying about teaching a Bond?"
"What house were you in?" Katie Bell asked quickly.
"At Hogwarts, Gryffindor. At the Tara Druidic Academy,
Hounds. Now, can I ask you a few questions?" The Gryffindors
nodded eagerly, while the Slytherins eyed her with great suspicion.
"Who are the Quidditch captains? Who here plays?" she
Three of the Gryffindor girls and the Weasley twins raised
"Harry Potter's captain," Alicia said. "George
and Fred here are Beaters, and Angelina, Katie, and I are Chasers."
Merlin smiled and nodded.
"What about Slytherin?"
There was a stony silence, which endured a few moments, before
being broken by Vanitra Ridley.
"Oh, Antony's the captain."
Merlin stood in silence for a moment. So, she thought.
Team Potter plays Team Bond again. Oh, Lord ...
Merlin glanced briefly at her watch, trying to force herself
from her memories, and realised it was time to let the students
out. She gave them a smile and dismissed them, watching as they
moved out of the door.
The day had not been highly successful. She now had two hostile
Slytherin classes to worry about. Not a thought she looked forward
to. And as well as that, there was Antony Bond: cold, sarcastic,
and nasty. He had so far been doing an excellent job of appearing
to be a perfect Slytherin, upholding all the house's ideals.
Merlin shook her head, gathered up her equipment, and returned
to her office.