Chapter 12: And… Action!
"Hey, Potter, what are you doing here? Ravenclaw won't have flying lessons until tomorrow!"
True, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff flying lessons are tomorrow, but today the Gryffindors and Slytherins are having the first lesson of the year. Since there's a decent possibility of either Neville getting hurt by being Neville or someone with bad luck getting hurt by using a damaged broom - not sure which of the two options caused the incident in canon - I'm going to watch with a Wingardium ready in case something like that happens.
"I'm just going to watch, Malfoy. I want to see if your flying skills match your tales of narrowly escaping helicopters."
Sure enough, flying lessons started, Malfoy got told that he'd been doing it wrong all along, and this time it was Goyle who got the damaged broom and went off like an unguided rocket. Well, not quite like a rocket, that would have a completely different acceleration, brooms seem to max out at a certain velocity based on quality, why am I thinking about broom physics instead of doing something?
Luckily Wingardium isn't a spell that has to be aimed precisely at its target, it's enough to aim roughly in the right direction and specify the target and its desired motion in your mind.
"And that's why I asked Professor Dumbledore to consider upgrading the school brooms, but no, not enough budget,'' I complained as I carefully lowered Goyle to the ground while his broom continued flying in wild spirals.
Madam Hooch examined him. "He's a bit shocked but no serious injuries. Good catch, Mr. Potter, ten points to Ravenclaw. That could've ended a lot worse."
If Flitwick had seen that charm it'd have probably a lot more than ten points…
Meanwhile, Madam Hooch went chasing after the broom and Malfoy seemed like he didn't know what to think about me saving his minion.
"You know, Potter, you're right. It's a travesty how the school gets mismanaged so much that it can't afford decent brooms. I'll write to my father, he'll do something about it."
A variation of "my father will hear about this", but for once not directed at me. Neat.
"Isn't he, like, really rich? He could probably donate a set of modern Nimbuses for the entire school, you know, to make sure people know he's a respectable member of society."
One Death Eater with less money and better brooms for the school seem like a decent deal to me. It's not like anyone who knows that Malfoy just bought his way out after the last war would be swayed by Malfoy buying publicity again.
Unfortunately, Draco didn't react well to me mentioning his father.
"What's this about, Potter? Last week you said he was a Death Eater, now you suddenly want money from him? Right after that big theatre yesterday where you supposedly told Albus Dumbledore how to run the school? Let me guess, you two planned the entire thing so that the Boy-Who-Lived could be the saviour of Hogwarts, because saving the world obviously wasn't good enough. Did you also do this? Sabotage my friend's broom so that you, you Hero could save him?"
Oh my god, he's more paranoid than the average Indy!Harry, seeing manipulative!Dumbledore everywhere.
"Draco, I knew that the brooms were in bad condition and when Goyle's broom malfunctioned, I reacted. That's all."
"Oh, like a first year could cast a levitation charm like that! You had your wand out before and just pretended to cast while Dumbledore or someone else caught Goyle! You think you're some kind of noble hero, but you're not, and I'll prove it. Wizard's duel, Potter. At midnight, in the trophy room."
Choo choo, the canon train will arrive at midnight duel station in five minutes. Doors will open on the left, please mind the gap. Seriously, who is running this universe?
Author's Note: I am. And I had a nice idea for the duel before deciding to not do the remembrall chase, because you aren't in the same class as Malfoy and Neville. Now shut up and let me continue with the story!
Terry responded to my summary of events by quoting Star Wars.
"It's a trap."
"Of course it is. The trophy room is on the other side of the castle. If I'm there at midnight, chances are high I'd get caught for being out late, especially if he's going to tip off Filch. The question is, what are we going to do?"
"I'd say we go with the established theme", answered Lisa with a smile. "Improving education."
Professor Flitwick was quite pleasantly surprised to see me, Hermione, Terry, Lisa, Anthony, William and Cho in his office.
"Welcome, welcome. Rolanda told me about what happened at flying class today, Mr. Potter. Very impressive use of the levitation charm."
"Thanks, but that's not why we're here, Professor. We actually wanted to ask you about establishing a school club. Now, while technically it's Professor Quirrel's subject, you're our Head of House, you're more likely to still be employed next year, and you're probably more knowledgeable about the subject."
Dinner in the Great Hall, Déjà Vu. Well, it's something that's going to happen practically every day from now on, but this is the second day in a row that something important is happening here.
Professor Flitwick stood up. "Today, a few students approached me with a wonderful idea they had. Many in this school probably know that before I became a teacher here at Hogwarts, I spent some time doing competitive dueling. And from today on, I will do my best to educate a future generation in that noble sport. I am pleased to announce the Hogwarts Dueling Club."
The look on Malfoy's face when he realized… glorious.
"The club will meet every Saturday afternoon, but we'll start today after dinner. Two of the students who have expressed interest in the club have agreed to perform a small demonstration."
After dinner finished, Dumbledore waved his wand, levitated the tables into the center of the Great Hall and transfigured them into a stage. With another wave, a shimmering barrier appeared surrounding it, probably some sort of shield to stop any spells from hitting the audience.
I and Malfoy walked towards the stage, him visibly angry but trying not to show that this wasn't what he'd planned. His expression slowly turned into a cruel smile.
"I'll get you for this, Potter,'' he whispered.
"You wanted a duel, you got it."
Meanwhile Flitwick explained the rules. "Very well! We will be using the beginner tournament rules. No dangerous spells. I will count to three, then the opponents shall cast. Is everything clear? Good, then, one, two,"
Malfoy's curse splashed harmlessly against my protective shield. I kept my eyes on him and adressed the audience.
"As you can see, Draco opened with a Body Bind, circle and root, intent to harm and immobilize. Since it's a simple category B curse I parried with a basic Shield Charm, circle and swish, intent to protect. Now I shall demonstrate a counterattack, diagonal swish and spiral, intent to affect negatively but not to harm, Expelliarmus!"
I didn't expect Malfoy to know an effective counter to the disarmer, so I wasn't surprised when his wand flew into the audience. Over at the teacher's table, I noticed Quirrel glaring at me. Well, let's have him think that I just performed my signature move.
"Excellent! What an excellent demonstration!", Flitwick seemed overjoyed. "Twenty points to Ravenclaw, and twenty to Slytherin for explaining the concepts of dueling! If you are interested in the Dueling Club, the first official meeting is this Saturday, 3pm, here in the Great Hall."
And that's how I started a school club just to get back at Malfoy. Well, not really, it was mostly to make sure everyone learns how to fight even if the annual Defence Professor is incompetent, just in case I fail at stopping Voldemort. I really hope it won't come to that, so let's pretend I did it to embarrass Malfoy in front of the entire school for now.