The Sugar Quill
Author: JK Ashavah (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Dux Dolosus  Chapter: Chapter Two: The Perfect Slytherin
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

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 use them.

 

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 him.

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 Dumbledore

"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 very thoughts.

"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 no pleasure.

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 and stopped.

"What did I miss?"

"Nothing too hard," Melissa said. "Just a couple of Transfigurational theories." Raylene winced.

"Ick." Her two friends smiled sympathetically, and Melissa shrugged.

"It's really easy once Vector explains it. Go see her at lunch."

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 rush.

The final person to emerge form the room was a petite, fair woman, who smiled encouragingly at the class, and beckoned to them.

"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 achieved.

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 Aurors list.

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 ways?"

"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.

Aurors

(also non Ministry Dark arts fighters)

A. Sanderson, OMII,

A. Bastion, OMIII,

R. Sanderson,

J. & L. Potter,

A. Dumbledore, OMI,

A. & K. McKinnon,

S. & F. Bones,

A. & R. Prewett.

 

Death Eaters

S. Black,

L. & S. Lestrange,

E. Rosier,

A. Rookwood,

A. Dolohov,

N. Travers,

G. Mulciber,

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 outside?

"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'.

"George Weasley."

"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."

"Present, Professor."

"Étienne Vevoorne."

"Present, Professor."

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 and disconcerting.

"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 asked eagerly.

Three of the Gryffindor girls and the Weasley twins raised their hands.

"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.

***
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