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Chapter 4: A Charming Companion
The week following the start of the school year, Harry walked into Charms class along with Hermione and Ron. Harry had to take the odd free desk while Ron and Hermione shared a desk further along.
Harry settled himself down but as Professor Flitwick rose to begin the class, someone sat next to Harry. It was the new Ravenclaw girl, Laura Worthing. She busied herself with her books as Flitwick began to speak.
"Today we start a series of lessons on self-improvement and enhancement charms. Some of these of course are illegal, especially in certain settings. But many are very useful to know. The one we will study today helps to recover recently lost items, even memories. It is very short term and not very strong but is handy if you've just misplaced something or forgotten what you were about to do. It is called the Recognosco charm."
"Sir, would it not be easier to cast an accio spell?" asked Seamus, smugly.
"Yes, that is fine if you know what it is you misplaced." smiled the professor.
Draco Malfoy sniggered at this and looked around at the group of Slytherins around him for approval.
Harry suddenly thought that Laura seemed to be staring at him. He sneaked a sideways glance and saw she was actually looking across him at an angle. He turned his head and followed her gaze. It was the two new Slytherins, Edwin Godber and Galfrid Brisking. They were both similar in height. Brisking was rather stockier and heavy-jawed with short black hair which contrasted with his companion's long straggly hair. Neither seemed particularly interesting or attractive enough for a girl like Laura Worthing to be looking at.
"Perhaps I shouldn't say this but I'd watch those two if I were you." she said.
"Sorry?" Harry turned to Laura, almost falling out of his chair which he'd tilted back slightly. He straightened it up.
"I kind of overheard something on the train here. Well, not exactly heard." she paused. "I'm Laura by the way, Laura Worthing. I'm not a seer, not even a perceiver or sensorum. Well, maybe a failed one or something." She sighed. "But I do get vague indistinct impressions that often prove to be based on fact."
"I'm Harry Potter. Why do you think I should watch them." asked Harry, tentatively.
Laura gave a tight smile to indicate everyone knew who Harry Potter was, "On the train ... they seemed to be discussing you and ... well it was just a negative feeling I had. I'm just saying, is all." She broke off.
Flitwick continued. "Would you please now take some personal but unimportant item, a quill, a piece of paper with your name on it ... anything small. I'd like you all to wander around the class and conceal that item wherever you wish while at the same time observing where everyone else is placing their item. No attempt to conceal your actions now. This is not a contest."
The students rose and began what seemed to be a fun diversion, taking advantage for a little humorous chatter. It felt much like a childish party game.
"I get that all the time. Don't worry about it." Harry said to Laura as he pushed a small piece of blotting paper between two cabinets.
"Yes, but this was more ... there was more a sense of intent, of intention about it. Remember, on the train here they'd not yet even spoken to you yet had they? Didn't even know you enough to..." she placed a fuzzy mascot behind a stack of books.
"No, I never even saw them until the sorting."
"Now each of you write down a list of all the items you remember, who placed them and where." continued Professor Flitwick, rather more excited than most of the students.
As they wrote their lists Harry looked at Laura and murmured resignedly, "Yes, seems that unusual things are more usual around me though."
"Please, no conferring. It must be your own list; the things you remember." declared Flitwick.
"If I sense anything else I'll let you know." whispered Laura secretively.
"Oh, OK then. Thanks." answered Harry, determined not to show his disinterest. She was a lovely girl. Ron caught his attention. Harry's partnering with Laura had not gone unnoticed and Ron was making physical and facial gestures of pretended and obscure encouragement.
"Now." continued the professor flapping his arms as if he were about to tell everyone some wonderful news. "Write a second list of anyone who is NOT on your first list; the ones you seem to have forgotten. Then you can give me your lists."
As he followed Laura to hand in his list, Harry could not help but enjoy the way Laura walked - but quickly looked away as she placed her list on Flitwick's desk and turned to go back to her seat.
"Now, Mr. Longbottom. Tell me, can you please return Miss Corran's bookmark?" asked Flitwick.
"I erm... I don't think I saw..." said Neville.
"Ah! You might think you never saw where she put it but perhaps you were mostly pre-occupied with other items because Miss Corran was somewhere in your line of vision." contradicted the professor.
"I'm not sure I..."
"Very well. Now try the charm. Remember, angled swishes across your face as you do the incantation..."
"Recognosco!" shouted Neville.
"No, no. No need to attack it so strongly. Just gently and quietly repeat it while you swish."
"Recognosco, recognosco, recognosco." murmured Neville quietly. His face suddenly lit up in amazement. He strode over to the tall cupboard, stood on a chair, and retrieved the bookmark.
"Well done, Mr. Longbottom, well done indeed." smiled the professor as Neville gave Daisy her bookmark with a nervous smile.
"Now let me see..." Flitwick rifled through the lists. "Miss Worthing." He sounded puzzled. Laura looked attentively. "You seem to have remembered every single item. Is that right?"
"I don't know sir."
"All of them? You didn't forget a single one? Even though you could hardly be attentive to them all at once?" Flitwick looked concerned.
"I'm sorry, sir. I didn't think about it. I just wrote them out..." Laura tailed off. She seemed annoyed with herself.
"Most interesting." Flitwick looked at her curiously. His eyes moved briefly to Harry's look of innocence. Flitwick's face seemed to indicate he suspected they might have colluded.
"Very well then."
After the lesson, Ron was asking "What was that all about?"
"Dunno. We didn't compare lists. I did notice she finished quickly but I thought that meant she only remembered two or three not twenty. I got eight. How about you."
"Same. But I did see Draco signalling to Crabbe and it actually put me off trying to figure it out so I think I would have got nine in the time we had."
Hermione exchanged looks with Harry "Highly illogical. You attempt to cheat then after failing, you convinced yourself that you are better than you thought you were if you had not but instead you are worse than if you had not at all."
Now it was Ron's time to exchange looks with Harry. "Wha? So, if I... say again?"
"Don't worry about it Ron. I'll concede you your nine." said Harry, supportively with a wink at Hermione.