The Sugar Quill
Author: Madhuri (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: The Magizoologist in Training  Chapter: Chapter Two
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Chapter 2


All that Newt could see were flashes of green and brown… Trees, he thought dazedly. Isn’t my life supposed to be flashing in front of my eyes now?

A gigantic orange eye suddenly came into view, and then a glimpse of silvery-grey feathers. Before he knew it Newt was suspended in mid-air by Eddy’s surprisingly strong talons. Gently, almost timidly, Eddy drifted towards the ground and released his grip on Newt as the boy tumbled onto the grass.


Newt sat up, reeling from the experience. His vision was unfocused, almost blurry, and his limbs felt numb. He caught sight of Eddy standing over him, looking as worried as it was possible for a Hippogriff to look, and Newt suddenly felt a wave of emotions wash over him. Fear, anger, concern… guilt. He opened his mouth to say something, but all that came out was a dry, choking sound.


The next second Newt was surrounded by his classmates, all chattering at the top of their voices. Patrick helped him up, looking very concerned. Newt leaned on his friend for support; he didn’t think his legs could support him just then. He wished everyone would stop staring at him. Just then, he saw something that made his knees really buckle under him.


Professor Pokeby was striding towards the group, looking so livid that Newt fully expected her to start breathing fire any moment.


"50 points from Gryffindor, Scamander. Be grateful it’s not more. Never in my entire career have I ever seen such foolhardy behaviour. You could have very well broken your neck! Honestly-"


But sometime during this harangue Newt had managed to find his voice again. "50- 50 points? All at once? From Gryffindor? But Prof-"


"Shut your mouth Scamander. And don’t forget to report for your detention tonight."


"Detention? But if you’d just let me-"


"Quiet. The rest of you, get back to your towers. Class is dismissed. Scamander, you come with me. I’ll need to have a word with your Head of House."


Nearly every Gryffindor shot Newt a look of death before retreating to the castle. Newt barely had time to register what had just happened when he found himself outside Professor Dumbledore’s office. Professor Pokeby had just gone in to ‘have a word about his improvident ward’ and he could hear her raised voice even through the heavy wooden doors. Before he knew it, he was sitting in front of Professor Dumbledore, while Pokeby continued to fix him with a look that made him wish he could melt into a puddle right there in the middle of the Transfiguration teacher’s charmingly decorated suite.


"If you don’t mind, Priscilla, I’d like to address Mr. Scamander privately… I assure you that he will be suitably dealt with." said Dumbledore.


Pokeby looked as if she were highly doubtful of Dumbledore’s methods of ‘dealing’, but she left the room anyway.


Dumbledore sat on the edge of his desk and looked at his young student solemnly. "I hope you realise that you very nearly got expelled for that little mishap of yours."


"I didn’t do anything," said Newt wearily.


"I’m fairly sure that’s the case, even though I’m obliged as your Head of House to deduct 20 more points… Although I’m still not quite clear on what actually happened."


Newt was distraught at this news, but sat up a little straighter in his high-backed chair. "Sir… you know Eddy? My mother’s Hippogriff? The one I was riding?"


Dumbledore nodded.


"Well, I was just demonstrating to the class how to fly a Hippogriff, and everything was going fine when Eddy suddenly starting flying towards the Forbidden Forest. He… He looked really sick, Professor. Almost as if he didn’t know what he was doing. And I don’t remember much after that. I remember I kept trying to make him change direction, but the next thing I knew he’d jerked me off his back. Luckily, Eddy managed to catch me, and I made it safely to the ground, but… I’m scared Professor."


"Well, you have every right to be. You’ve just been through a very traumatic experience and it’s perfectly understandable to-"


"No, Professor," said Newt, shaking his head impatiently. "I’m scared for Eddy. He’s never acted this way before. I’m worried about him."


"Oh!" said Dumbledore, looking surprised. He then removed his glasses and massaged his eyes. Eddy wondered what he was thinking. "Well, it is rather natural for you to be so concerned about your mother’s Hippogriff, Newt, but-"


"Proffessor, Eddy’s as much my Hippogriff as he is my mother’s. I helped raise him, and I’m really concerned. I think he’s sick. I think Professor Pokeby should take a look at him. Maybe we could contact a magivet somewhere in Hogsmeade. Maybe-"


‘I think that the best solution now is for you to rest a while and recover." said Dumbledore in a kindly tone. "You still look very pale. Maybe it’s best if you visit the nurse."


"Professor I feel fine. What about Eddy?"


Dumbledore smiled. "I’ll be contacting your mother. I think it’s best that she take Eddy home with her again. After all, no one knows him better than she does."


That’s true, thought Newt. But it still hurt that Eddy had to be taken away so soon. And it hurt that he couldn’t help his best friend with whatever was bothering him. True, Eddy was old, and so maybe this trip to Hogwarts was more than he could have dealt with. Maybe Newt shouldn’t have been so imaptient. Of course he should have listened to his mother. And anyway, she was coming back to take Eddy with her. He’d be fine.


He’ll be fine, said Newt to himself, with a confidence he didn’t feel. Dumbledore’s voice seemed to be coming from a long distance away. "And now, if you are positive that you don’t feel the need to visit the nurse, I suggest you go to the Great Hall and have lunch before the House-Elves clear away those excellent Peppermint Humbugs we’re having today."


Newt nodded faintly and left the office.



Newt was lost in thought as he entered the Great Hall. He noticed an empty seat next to Patrick at the Gryffindor table. Newt rushed forward and sat down next to his friend, trying to ignore the dark looks that he was being subjected to by nearly every one of his housemates around the table. News sure travelled fast.


"What happened?" asked Patrick in a low voice.


"It’s not as bad as usual. Another 20 points from Gryffindor and detention tonight." He shrugged.


Patrick shook his head darkly and tutted. Newt glared at him. "It’s not my fault, okay? Eddy’s sick… something’s happened to him." Patrick still didn’t look convinced, and so Newt repeated, "It’s not my fault!"


Patrick kept quiet for a few seconds, and then turned around and faced him. "It’s just… do you have any idea how hard the rest of us work to earn those points? You just keep bumbling around and losing them left and right… How on earth are we supposed to make them up now? We’re losing to Slytherin and it’s nearly the end of the year!"


Newt was absolutely stunned. He had always known that this was probably what went through people’s heads every time they saw him, but he had never expected someone to actually say that to his face. He definitely hadn’t expected his best friend to.


The two boys continued to stare at each other, and Newt’s shock gave way to anger. "I’m telling you it wasn’t my fault!" he repeated again.


Patrick just rolled his eyes and turned back to his plate of sausages.


Right at that moment, Patrick’s younger sister, Porpentina, showed up at their table and Newt inwardly groaned. She was undoubtably the last person he wanted to see at that moment. There was no love lost between the two and neither of them had ever bothered to hide the fact.

"Here are your notes back, Patrick. Thanks." she said, handing back a large sheaf of parchments to her brother. Newt absently wondered what she was doing studying material that she wouldn’t have to wade through for another year. But then, he reminded himself, he shouldn’t have expected anything else.


"So Newt," Porpentina said, turning to her bête noire. "I heard you got detention for flying a Hippogriff into the Forbidden Forest."


Newt snapped. "Bugger off, Slytherin." he muttered darkly.


Porpentina’s eyes flashed menacingly for a moment, but she didn’t say anything. She merely flipped her dark braid over her shoulder and stalked back towards the Slytherin table.


Patrick wheeled around to face Newt again. "Oh, so now you have to go and insult my sister as well? What’s the matter with you?"


Newt turned beet red. "What’s the matter with me? You’re supposed to be my best friend and you won’t even listen!"


"As if you ever listen to me! You just don’t care about the rest of us do you? Face it Newt, you don’t give a damn about anyone but yourself! All you care about are your precious little beasts! You know, why don’t you just live in the Forbidden Forest!"


"I might just do that if it means I’ll never have to see your stupid mug again!"


Newt was aware that quite a few students were turning around in their seats to witness this rather entertaining row, but he was past the point of caring. Without another word, the two best friends got up and left the Great Hall in separate directions. Newt hadn’t even sampled the Humbugs yet.



That night, Newt felt worse than he’d ever felt before in his life. His detention was mercifully light- dusting off the telescopes, without magic (not that it made any difference to Newt), in the Astronomy Tower. However, Newt suspected that this was because of the fact that it was Professor Orion’s turn to supervise detention. The Astronomy teacher had never given Newt the impression of being competely ‘there’, and had unsurprisingly wandered off a few minutes ago muttering vaguely to himself. Newt idly wondered whether the Professor had had a nasty Apparition accident and ended up splinching half of his brain. He didn’t expect the teacher to be back anytime soon.


Thus, with practically nothing to do, and no one to worry him, Newt was left completely alone with his extrememly distressing thoughts.


He couldn’t believe the way he’d acted that afternoon. Newt had avoided the Gryffindor tower all evening, and as they’d had no classes after lunch, he’d spent his spare time wandering around the grounds and sneaking a peek at the Hippogriffs (now tied up near the Gamekeeper’s hut) every now and then. Anything to avoid facing what he’d done.


Newt felt physically sick. It was his stupid rashness, all the time. Thinking before he spoke. Kicking off before he’d even gotten the broom off the ground. Patrick didn’t mean any harm, he’d just been upset, and rightly so. I always bung everything up, don’t I? thought Newt angrily. He’d just alienated the one person who’d put up with him in all his years in Hogwarts. Maybe if I had just apologised immediately, Patrick would have forgiven me. Of course he’d have forgiven me! He’s the nicest person I know. But of course, Newt hadn’t apologised, and now it was too late.


He closed his eyes, and leaned against the circular wall of the tower, hearing the school owls hoot above him and an Augurey cry from the Forbidden Forest below. Newt shivered, despite knowing better. He even felt bad about snapping at Porpentina. I should probably apologise to her too, thought Newt, frowning. Of course, knowing her, she probably wouldn’t let me off the hook until I’ve groveled at her feet in public and volunteered to be the test subject of one of those nasty potions she’s always brewing.


Newt scowled even harder at that.


He then sighed and started towards the humungous telescope near the front of the room. It’s already clean, he thought, frustrated. They might as well let us do something interesting during detention! But then, that would sort of deafeat the whole purpose then, wouldn’t it? I might as well be a Muggle for all I’ve learnt about magic here! he thought angrily as he gave the telescope another furious wipe with his rag.


Realizing that he was making absolutely no noticable progress at all on the device, he threw his rag across the room angrily. Newt stomped over to the tower’s largest window and tried to concentrate on the hooting of the owls overhead. That sound had always seemed to comfort him before.


He looked sadly at what he could see of the Forbidden Forest from where he was standing. He let his gaze wander over to Ogg’s hut a few metres away from its edge. The Hippogriffs were sleeping peacefully on the ground, tied up to the fence around the dwelling. To Newt, they seemed almost transcendentaly beautiful under the moonlight. One of them seemed to be hard at work chewing away something. Newt randomly wondered what Ogg was feeding them. All at once, the Hippogriff stood up, and sprinted away into the Forbidden Forest. Newt lunged as far as he could out of the window to see what was going on, and just managed to catch a glimpse of silver-grey feathers before they dissapeared behind the trees.


Eddy! Newt panicked. He must have chewed away on the ropes binding him? What’s he doing?


Heart in his throat, Newt ran blindly out of the Astronomy tower.


He needed to save Eddy. But he also needed to get help.



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