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In The Swing

September 3, 1992, 2:30 PM, Charms Classroom, Hogwarts

Adam Clarke

Entering the Charms Classroom, I felt a small bit of surprise when I saw that Professor Flitwick was already there, waiting for us. He seemed to be lost in thought as he muttered spells under his breath.

The diminutive man looked up when we walked in and smiled warmly before gesturing towards the seats, welcoming us into his class before shifting his focus back on the task at hand.

The students slowed down in an attempt to spy on what he was working on, but none of them saw a thing. They gave up quickly afterwards. Likely, he had concealed something with magic, judging by the faint film of power settled over a pile of objects stacked in front of him.

A mass use of the Disillusionment Charm? I thought to myself, impressed. And here I thought I had taken that spell to its ultimate form, but I guess there are always ways to branch out and improve myself, huh?

It was both an exciting and humbling thought, and the class hadn’t even started.

Taking my seat, I exchanged greetings with familiar and unfamiliar faces alike. The air buzzed with anticipation as everyone slowly settled into their seats, waiting for the Professor to be done with whatever it was that was consuming all of his concentration.

Just in time, too. I thought as the man took his spot at the podium and began to roll call.

Once he was done, he set the roll of parchment down and looked over every single one of us, his small stature not hindering the authority with which he commanded the room.

As the rays of mid-afternoon sunlight streamed through the tall windows, casting a warm glow on the students’ eager faces, he beamed with excitement.

Clasping his hands together, Professor Flitwick cleared his throat, the sound echoing gently through the room. The students fell into a hushed silence, his one gesture sufficient to cow them all. With a small twinkle in his eye, he began his welcoming speech.

“Good afternoon, my dear Third Year students!” His voice was as squeaky as ever, though no less commanding. “Welcome back to Charms! It does me good to see you all so ready and eager.”

His words hung in the air, creating an air of giddiness that seemed to swirl around the room. Professor Flitwick nodded to himself as he continued to address the students.

“You may find that we’ll be doing things a little differently, this year.” He said. “As you know, with the League approaching, there will be a Dueling Tourney involved. As such, I have been kindly requested to… coach the students in my Charms Class on how to Duel.”

Excited whispers broke out, but were quickly silenced by the Professor’s raised hand and the sudden, uncharacteristic, stern expression on his face. The once jubilant atmosphere turned somber, weighed down by the man’s countenance.

“Hesitantly, I have accepted.” Flitwick said, though he kept his face stern and his eyes slightly narrowed. “However, should I ever find that any of you have used my teachings to conduct yourselves in a manner unbefitting as members of this great establishment, there will be consequences.

No one said a word for a long moment, the Professor’s words taking root in the students’ minds by dint of them never having expected such a jovial and loose man to be so negative all of a sudden.

The awkwardness of it all did not last long, as Flitwick’s expression faded back to the familiar, almost fatherly figure everyone was more comfortable around. A few people even looked relieved.

“Now, with that said, we will begin this year, not with a Dueling spell, but one meant to reveal that which is hidden.” Flitwick said, pausing for a moment. “I speak, of course, of the Revelio Charm.”

Flitwick wasted no time, delving into the spell’s usage, its wand movement and incantation as he told the story of the spell’s inception.

“You may thank a former Hogwarts Professor for the existence of this spell.” Filius revealed with a twinkle in his eye. “Created some six hundred years ago by Scarlet Yaxley, the school’s then-Charms Professor. She was known for her penchant for mischief— in fact, the entire reason she created the Charm was to encourage the students to go out and explore the Castle to discover treasures she had hidden within its depths. Of course, I hope you don’t expect me to do the same.”

The class had a bit of a laugh before Flitwick gestured for everyone to pay attention.

“Now, for the spell itself; observe.” He said and tapped his wand on something invisible on his desk. “Revelio!

A soft, yellow light enveloped the item, taking the shape of a cube but not actually revealing what the item was. That got my attention. So it’s not just me?

I’d, of course, thoroughly tested the Revelio Charm extensively on my Disillusionment Charm in an attempt to understand the limits of what it could do— especially after my ill-thought out excursion to Diagon Alley the year before. However, I could always instantly dispel my Disillusionment Charm. I’d never seen it have this half-way effect before.

Seeing what Professor Flitwick had done raised quite a number of questions, none of them illuminating.

So, Auror Turner’s revealing spell had worked, in part. He’d known my exact position, and he could see my movements well enough to dominate me in a duel. Yet, he could not see anything more substantial than that.

Was this the case for all wizards? Was my Revelio Charm simply better than theirs, or was there some hidden element I wasn’t aware of? Was there some kind of power requirement?

If that were the case, why hadn’t Auror Turner been able to reveal me during our fight in Diagon Alley? Did the spell work differently on people, maybe?

No, that can’t have been it… I knew from extensive reading that it could also instantly dispel disguises from people. But if that were the case, then why? Did it truly require some kind of baseline power to fully break another person’s spell? Or, maybe it could be that disguise removal needed a different approach than dispelling an illusion?

The closest analog to the Revelio Charm which I could think of was Curse Breaking; it was a category of magic centered around the ability to either bypass, negate or outright break curses or enchantments through a series of spells requiring desire, willpower, intent and determination. I supposed that Revealing Charms and the like fell into this category as well.

Perhaps Turner’s determination to unveil me was weaker than my determination to not be caught? I thought, mentally nodding to myself. It would explain a lot… But then, why would Flitwick’s spell not instantly reveal a simple object with no willpower, desire or determination? Is he showing the base effect of the spell, considering that his students are, after all, just kids?

Professor Flitwick continued speaking, completely unaware of my inner thoughts as he demonstrated the spell a few more times, his hands animatedly going through the gestures and his voice excitedly casting it.

The man’s enthusiasm was infectious, causing the students to lean in closer, their eyes shining with mirth and fun. A moment later, I heard a series of thuds in front of every student, including myself.

“As you may have been able to tell, I have placed a small wooden object much like the ones I have in front of every student.” Flitwick said, smiling with a bit of amusement. “I’m sure I do not have to tell you what to do. Begin when ready, and remember: the incantation is ‘Revelio’.”

And so everyone drew their wands and got to work. I kept my own wand on the table for a few moments, deciding to watch the other students try the spell out.

A few mutters of ‘Revelio!’ came and went, and no one succeeded. This continued for around another minute before the Professor decided to give them some encouragement.

“Remember, class.” Flitwick chimed, his tone warm and reassuring. “The Revelio Charm reveals hidden objects or concealed magical beings. Focus your intentions, visualize what you seek, and let the magic flow through you.”

He held his wand over another invisible object. “Observe the motion closely. A precise and fluid gesture is key to channeling your intent effectively.”

Tapping the tip of the wand on the item, he spoke clearly. “Revelio.

Once again, the invisible item was engulfed in a yellow mist, congealing into the shape of a cube.

“Try again.”

And so they tried again— with somewhat more success, this time around. A few of the students were able to cover their objects in a yellow mist, but that’s as far as it went.

“Ah, Mr. Black.” Flitwick’s voice came from beside me, startling me. I turned to see the man standing beside my desk, his upturned eyes glancing at me with a certain curiosity. “I see that you have not attempted the spell, yourself?”

“Oh, no, sir.” I said, quickly snatching my wand from the table. “I was only watching the students. I apologize.”

“Think nothing of it.” He said, nodding towards the invisible object. “Go on, now.”

I grasped the invisible object, getting a feel for its dimensions— a wooden pyramid, in my case. I exhaled and, with barely any thought put into it, tapped the wand against the invisible pyramid’s top, incanting: “Revelio!

Yellow light enveloped the object, dispelling the Disillusionment Charm and revealing the wooden pyramid in its entirety.

“Well done!” Flitwick said, his excitement drawing the gaze from the other students. “Ten points to Ravenclaw. You’ve practiced this spell before, I take it?”

“Yes, sir.” I said, though I felt a little uncomfortable. “After all that’s happened, I decided it’s better to be safe than sorry, you know?”

“…Of course.” Flitwick said, my words having put something of a damper on his excitement. “As expected.”

I gave a polite smile, not sure how else to respond to that as well as the awed and jealous looks sent my way. “Thank you, sir.”

“You’re most welcome.” Flitwick said before going to help a few more students. I exhaled before losing myself in a haze of thought, completely zoning myself out in an attempt to stave off my boredom and restlessness.

“Psst, Clarke.” One of the Hufflepuff boys next to me said, breaking me out of my trance.

“His name’s Black now.” Another kid said.

“Whatever.” The same boy said, scoffing at his friend before turning back to me. “Got any tips?”

“Sure.” I agreed easily. “First, tell me what you’re trying to do, and then maybe I’ll be able to tell where it’s going wrong. You’re… Trenton, right? We talked a few times last year.”

“Yeah, that’s me.” The Third Year Hufflepuff named Trenton confirmed before looking at his invisible object. “Anyway… Well, I’m casting the spell, doing the movement and it’s not working.”

I resisted the urge to palm my face.

I hated that phrase: ‘It’s not working’ could literally mean anything.

Still, I held my knee-jerk response back, instead doing my best to help him out.

“All right; it’s not as simple as that.” I said. “There’s a whole list of little steps that seem obvious but most people don’t do.”

“Like what?”

“First one is, ‘what’s the shape of the object?’” I said, gesturing towards the empty spot before him.

“Well… How should I know? It’s invisible, remember?” Trenton said, getting a few nods of agreement from the other kids.

I keep thinking human stupidity oughtn’t surprise me, but here I am. I thought to myself and pushed my instinctive answer down. “…Grab it.”

The boy at least had the sense to look sheepish at such a simple solution. “Oh. I didn’t even think about that.”

I nodded, giving a mental sigh. Perhaps I was being too hard on the kid. Having gone through all of these experiences, I couldn’t exactly blame anyone for genuinely not knowing something— especially children, now could I?

Still, people’s lack of deductive reasoning always annoyed me.

“Now you can feel it in your hand.” I said, moving past my own weird emotions. “Get a sense of what its contours are, how big it is, how rough it is— it’s almost close to Transfiguration, like that. You have to somewhat understand what it is you’re looking for before you can reveal it, right?”

“Um… Yeah.” The boy said. Despite his hesitant answer, the expression on his face changed into one of determination.

There it is. I thought, feeling a slight thrill at the boy’s sudden change. He’s onto something.

A moment later, Trenton placed his item on his desk before tapping his wand on it. His enunciation was careful, and his will seemed precise. “Revelio!

A yellow mist covered the object, congealing into the shape of a three dimensional rectangle. The boy smiled, looking towards me for acknowledgement.

“Good job.” I said with a nod. “You got it.”

“Five points to Hufflepuff, Mr. Trenton, for a well executed Revelio Charm.” Flitwick said as he approached again, giving the boy an encouraging smile before he turned to me. “And a further five points for you Mr. Black, for aiding another student. You both should be proud.”

“Thank you, sir.” Trenton and I said.

The familiar sound of the school bell reverberated through the room, drawing the end of Charms Class. Professor Flitwick raised his wand, silencing the last lingering whispers.

“Class, before we part ways, I have a bit of homework for you all.” Professor Flitwick announced, smiling as he saw the somewhat dismayed looks on his students’ faces. “Now, now, it won’t be anything you can’t handle.”

The mild murmur of discontent told me the students didn’t agree with him.

“As for the specifics of your homework…” He continued. “I expect each of you to write a short essay, no more than six inches in length, detailing your experience with the Revelio Charm. Describe the wand movements you found most effective, any challenges you faced, and how you approached overcoming them. Feel free to include any insights or observations that arise during your practice.”

“And remember.” Professor Flitwick added as the students eagerly reached to put away their parchment and quills, stopping them with his final words. “To truly master a Charm, one must infuse it with intention and confidence. Believe in your ability to wield the magic within you, and let it flow freely.”

The students nodded, and continued to wait, a testament to how much respect Flitwick had from them. Seeing this, the man shook his head and smiled. “Off you go. Enjoy the remainder of your day!”

Most of them grinning, the students damn near-bolted out of there, myself included.

Leaving the Charms classroom behind, I stepped out into the mild September air, the lightest hints of autumn already swirling through the grounds of Hogwarts. The afternoon Sun bathed the castle and its surroundings in a warm golden light, casting long shadows that stretched across the path ahead.

With my bag slung over my shoulder, I began the familiar journey from the Charms Wing towards Hagrid’s house.

The rhythmic sound of my shoes striking the stone floor somehow soothed me amidst the bustling energy of the school. As I passed the courtyard, I caught glimpses of students engaged in animated conversations, their laughter floating through the air.

As I continued on, the landscape began to change. Stone paths and lush greenery gave way to more rugged terrain, with scattered boulders and wildflowers dotting the landscape. The sound of a babbling brook in the distance reached my ears, its melodic flow growing stronger with each step.

With renewed vigor, so too did I press forward, my anticipation building as Hagrid’s home finally came into view. Its quaint structure nestled amidst the towering trees, a humble sanctuary that seemed to emanate warmth and hospitality which contrasted the great, Forbidden Forest behind it. Smoke curled lazily from the chimney, a comforting sign that Hagrid was within.

Hopefully, he was making some of his rabbit stew. I hadn’t had the chance to savor it in months. God help me if he’s making tea…

Before I even made it to the man’s door, it swung open, revealing Hagrid’s beaming face. His eyes twinkled with genuine affection.

“Come in, come in! I’ve got somethin’ special cookin’ just for ya.” His booming voice greeted me, his warm, broad smile infectious.

“Hey, Hagrid.” I smiled back as I entered the cozy interior. I was greeted by the comforting aroma of cooked meat and the crackling of a warm fire. The room was filled with an eclectic mix of odds and ends, their presence a testament to Hagrid’s varied interests.

“Siddown, I’ve had a bowl waitin’, should be just the way yeh like it.” Hagrid said and, with a smooth gesture belying his size, gently placed a warm bowl in my hands.

“Erm…” I said, looking at him a little awkwardly. “Thank you. How was your summer?”

“Very busy.” Hagrid said, fiddling with a few things before taking a seat in his massive chair. “Yeh’ve no idea. With all that’s going ter be happenin’, there’s bin no end to preparations.”

“The League?”

“Yes, tha’.” Hagrid said, snatching a bowl of his own and filling it to the brim. He gave me a look before speaking again. “Aren’t yeh going to eat?”

“Was waiting for you.”

“Feh.” The man scoffed as he began to taste the fruit of his labor. “Told you before, and I’m tellin’ yeh again, yeh don’t hafta wait fer me to start eatin’.”

“So you have.” I smiled and joined him in the meal. “But that doesn’t mean I’ll listen.”

“Yeh’re a strange one, all right, Clarke.” Hagrid said. “Or I suppose it’s Black now, isn’t it.”

“You can keep calling me Clarke, if you like.” I said with a shrug, savoring the rich taste of the meat. “Or Black— doesn’t bother me either way.”

“Righ’.” Hagrid said, nodding. “Well, there’s bin no end of requests from the League. Big challenges, events, and erm— other things.”

The way he said that last part made me wonder if there was something going on. “Do they know about Norbert?”

Hagrid shook his head mid-bite and I waited until he was done. “No; not as far as I know, anyway.”

“That’s a relief.” I said.

“Perfessor Dumbledore’s been keepin’ her under wraps.” Hagrid said.

“Wait, her?” I said, pretending to look shocked before the more genuine expression of amusement replaced it. “Wait, it’s a ‘she’ and you’re calling her Norbert anyway?”

Hagrid shrugged, and that was the end of that discussion.

“Fair enough.” I said with a light snort.

“It’s strange, though.” He murmured lowly, but I still heard him.

“What is?”

“Oh, it’s nothin’.” Hagrid said, shaking his head. A moment later, he caved and decided to spill. “Well, nothin’ dangerous or bad, really.”

“Okay…” I said, wondering where he was leading with this.

“Well, y’see— Norbert, she’s…” Hagrid said. “She’s been quiet these last few days.”

“Quiet?” I repeated, feeling a little bewildered. “That doesn’t seem right.”


“That doesn’t seem right at all.” I said again, recalling the information I had on Dragons. “Dragons are wild and vicious, always attacking at the slightest chance. They aren’t docile in any way.”

“I gave yeh the book on ‘em, remember?” Hagrid said in a moment of amusement before the smile died away to show a troubled look. “Which is why what she’s doin’ is not righ’. Jus’ lyin’ there, like she’s waitin’ for something.”

“Really…” I said. “Is she sick?”

“Not seen any signs of tha’.” Hagrid said, shaking his head. “None of the usual signs that point to disease or lack of energy— she’s eatin’ just fine. The best food the House Elves can cook up, too. They’re rather happy to be takin’ care of Norbert.”

“I would imagine so…” I said, picturing a House Elf riding the back of a Dragon. Wouldn’t that be something?

I finished my bowl in the ensuing silence and set it down, enjoying Hagrid’s company as I pondered the problem. Eventually, I spoke. “So she’s not sick, she’s not going hungry… Has she been roaming?”

“Every day, she’s out huntin’.” Hagrid said, though he looked a little uncomfortable as he muttered something under his breath. I caught the name Aragog and realized what was going on.

“Anything she’s eating that could poison her?” I tried.

“She’s a Dragon.” Hagrid said as if it explained everything.

“Good point.” I said, scratching the back of my head in confusion. “She’s getting everything she needs… Could it be that she just needs a mother?”

“I thought about tha’.” Hagrid said, nodding. “But as far as Dragon Handlers know, their charges don’t form bonds with their kin beyond ensuring that the eggs hatch. Nothin’ close to what we would consider bonds, anyway.”

“Okay.” I said, leaning back in my seat and giving myself time to think. “How long has this been going on?”

“Two days, now.” Hagrid said, shrugging. “Got real quiet on the first o’ September, and then seemed normal on the second, but still not at all violent— ‘cept when she’s huntin’, o’ course. Other than that’, she’s jus’ been docile.”

“That’s just strange.” I said, giving the man an apologetic shrug. “Sorry, I’ve got no clue— you’d need to ask someone who knows about it, like the Headmaster. He’s the one who found different uses for Dragon’s Blood, right? He might know what the issue is.”

“Righ’.” Hagrid said. “Ter be honest, though, it doesn’t seem like a problem, so far. Norbert’s just been quiet.”

“Yeah, you’re right.” I agreed. “Not something to bring up to the Professor, especially considering how busy he must be with making sure this League goes well, and all.”

I felt something niggling at the back of my mind and realized that it was Absol’s affectionate tug, beckoning me in the general direction of her family’s regular haunt.

“I suppose it’s time to feed the herd.” Hagrid said, picking himself up and heading towards the exit. “It was nice seein’ yeh, Adam.”

“Huh?” I said in confusion as I followed him outside, watching him grab a shovel. “What’re you doing?”

“Goin’ ter feed them.”

“Without me?” I said in confusion.

“Well, with yer new— well, father, I suppose— yeh don’t really need to help me ‘round anymore for the money, do yeh?” Hagrid said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“For the money?” I repeated with a shake of the head before giving him an insulted look. “I want to do this. Maybe in the beginning, it was about the money, but you’re my friend, Hagrid. I’ve grown to cherish this time— and the work is really good for me, too.”

The man stared at me for a second, his face looking both pained and happy at the same time. “Aye, I’ve grown ter appreciate this, too.”

Then, gruffly, he thrust the shovel in my hands, sending me stumbling back.

“C’mon, then.” He said, leading the way. “Yeh’ll be needin’ that, soon enough.”

Smiling, I followed. We took the well worn path skirting around the Forest all the way to the usual working spot. Hagrid set me to work, and I spent the next hour just shoveling Thestral droppings and moving them to the Greenhouses.

On the last leg of my final trip back, I blinked as a shadow fell over my face, signaling that something was heading towards me at great speeds. Startled, I flung myself away from the cart.

I tripped and fell into a roll, my world going topsy turvy for a few moments before I righted myself. I turned to face the threat, only to see Absol, and she was… letting out a laugh-like chirp?

“You— you scared the shit out of me!” I yelled, taking a step forward in anger.

~Got you!~ Absol’s ecstatic voice banished away any of my irritation as she approached me. She tapped her head gently against mine. ~Did you see that?~

I exhaled and relaxed right where I was. “Yes. Yes I did.”

A moment later, I got back up and wrapped my arms around Absol’s neck. “I missed you.”

~Missed you too.~ Absol said happily, letting me have my strange human emotional moment before pulling me along. ~Come on, food!~

“Ease up, will ya? We only just reunited!” I said, but Absol was having none of it.

~Food now! Cuddles later.~

I couldn’t argue with that…

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