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Chapter 15 : Malfoy's Tutor and Azura's Warning
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Whatever his beliefs, though, they did not include getting caught in a headlock by Harry-Fucking-Potter. The very idea of Potter beating him in anything made his stomach churn. He wanted to puke. If he could breathe.
Harry, on the other hand, was positively beaming. He had been in countless headlocks by his chunky cousin, Dudley, and his gang, so he could thank them for his current technique.
From the front of the classroom, leaning against her desk with her arms crossed, Azura gave a feral smile of satisfaction. She enjoyed watching the physical pain of people who deserved it, and acknowledged her instincts were correct when pairing Harry and Malfoy together.
But, she thought, with a sigh, though watching Malfoy’s face purple was entertainment in itself, she didn’t reckon Madam Pomfrey would want a passed out student in her hospital wing-however deserved.
When she cleared her throat, the students knew to stop immediately and wait for instruction. Though it had only been a week, this was made clear the very first day.
“That certainly was an improvement from yesterday, though some of you still need practice.” She shot a glance at Malfoy, who was busy rubbing his near-to-swollen neck. He shot her a look of pure venom, which only increased the size of her smile.
“Have a seat and take out your textbooks. I want you to begin on chapter two and I’ll give you further instructions before the end of class.”
As everyone sat, she herself took a seat behind her large mahogany desk and, after propping her feet up, waited a beat.
“Mr. Malfoy, can you come here a moment, please?” She studied her manicure as she said it.
Malfoy blew out an annoyed breath before rising from his desk. Now what?
The folded arms and sour face was expected. Both were aware she was his least favorite teacher and neither tried to hide this fact. And because she expected an outburst from what she was about to tell him, she kept her voice barely above a whisper and gave him a leveled look.
Removing her feet from her desk, she folded her hands and leaned forward.
“Mr. Malfoy, school’s been in session for a week and you have not shown any signs of comprehension.”
Malfoy scowled, making Azura grin at the unrepeated thought that went through his head.
Sitting back, she continued. “I’m very surprised at you. You come from a long line of dark wizards and this is your worst class.”
“I’m not used to muggle combat.” He grumbled.
Azura thought of the unsatisfactory parchments he’s handed in, but let that slide.
“Alright. I’ll give you that much. I understand you’re not used to physical labor.”
Malfoy scowled at her comment.
“But, you are the most behind in my class, and I bet that just burns you to know both Weasley and Potter are ahead of you.”
She was right. It did burn.
“Which,” she continued, “is why I’m going to recommend a tutor.”
Yup. Here comes the outburst.
A few curious students glanced up at the sudden change of decibel, then went back to work.
“Seems to me the only thing your father passed down to you was the attitude gene. I want Miss Granger to tutor you.”
At the sound of her name, Hermione glanced to the front of the room, growing cautious of the conversation.
“She’s obviously the best choice, Mr. Malfoy. Take her or the dire grade.”
“Miss Granger, can you come up here for a moment?”
Vigilantly, Hermione set down her book and approached Azura’s desk. She wondered what was said that had Malfoy’s face turning furious colors and what she had to do with it.
“How’s your schedule?”
“Good. You’re to tutor Mr. Malfoy here in both his physical and intellectual studies. It seems he’s behind."
Hermione had respect for most of the teachers on staff, and, with the exception of one occasion, usually kept personal opinions to herself. She did not outburst in refusal or protest like she wanted, and Azura gave her points for control. But her opinion was read clearly on her face.
“Professor Julius, I think you-"
“Picked the perfect girl for the job.” She finished, patiently. “Sending anyone else, Miss Granger, would be a waste of time. I know you’re busy, which is why I’m willing to give you extra credit points for this assignment.”
The last statement had Hermione reconsidering. Taking in a deep breath, she turned to Malfoy, who’s angry flush of color drained a bit, but his fists were clenched.
Before Hermione could even accept the assignment to herself, Azura followed her gaze to Malfoy. “If you so much as breathe foul in her direction, Mr. Malfoy, I will fail you. Understand?”
“Yes.” He answered through gritted teeth.
Satisfied, Azura turned back to Hermione. “Make sure you use small words, Miss Granger. I have an avid determination to pass my students. Let’s make sure he understands.”
Neither Ron nor Harry knew why Hermione showed up to the common room that night in a foul mood. Nor did they bother to ask. The fact that she stormed into the room and slammed her books on the table was warning in itself. And if that wouldn’t keep them away, the daggers flying from her eyes did.
An hour later, when his eyes were crossed from studying, Harry climbed upstairs to bed and fell instantly asleep.
He dreamed in shadows. Though his eyes were closed, he squinted in sleep trying to make out the forms in his subconscious.
He heard voices next; a woman’s, then a man’s. Then he heard laughter.
The figures were locked in an embrace, whispering things incoherent to Harry. They sounded happy. Deliriously happy.
Harry tossed in his sleep, desperately trying to make out the figures that were nothing but shadows.
Then, the man put an arm around the woman’s shoulders, and she put hers around his waist.
Another figure entered, a man. Harry could see him standing next to the other man. He then held up his arm. Something was in his hand, but Harry couldn’t make out what it was.
The man began to mumble, periodically glancing at the other man and woman.
Then, applause broke out, and right before Harry fought his way out of the dream, he heard, loud and clear, a group of people shout “to the Potters!”
Harry shot up, wiping away beads of sweat that had formed on his brow, trying to steady his rapid breathing.
Ron’s snoring on the opposite side of the room told Harry his gasp wasn’t loud enough to wake him. Dean and Seamus were also sleeping soundly.
Feeling a little more clam, he was just about to lie back down when something caught his eye in the doorway. He squinted, trying to make out the figure, but could only see a shadow.
One blink, though, and the shadow was gone. Harry was unaware that the shadow in the doorway had been watching him throughout his dream. And that shadow was Sirius Black.
Lily rolled her eyes as Sirius continued to pace. He’d been at it for hours and showed no signs of slowing down.
“Well, darling, something must be on your mind.” She sat across from her husband, chessboard between them.
Sirius mumbled something as Lily gave an order to one of her pawns. James gave her a look of disbelief as his knight was bashed in the head and her pawn claimed checkmate.
She smiled sweetly as James scratched the back of his head in puzzlement.
“I’m close.” Sirius said, to nobody in particular. “Very close.”
Lily frowned and James sighed.
“I hope you know what you’re doing, mate.”
The smirk Sirius sent him was far from humorous. “I want to be a part of his life again. Not being there is killing me.”
Lily wiped at a stray tear as James put an arm around her. “You got two more years with him than we did, Sirius. And we’re his parents. I think we understand.” The last was said in a whisper.
Sirius stopped his pacing to stare at her. “I’m sorry.” Then sat down. “This blows.”
James linked fingers with Lily and stared at their joined hands. “Sirius?”
“When you do show yourself to him, keep us informed, okay?” He looked up and met Sirius’ gaze.
Sirius grinned. “Okay.”
Oliver Wood tried his best not to sigh in frustration as he crouched down and studied the almost-unconscious Alexis Jordan, Lee Jordan’s little sister. He didn’t blame her, not really. Or tried not to.
He tried to tell himself that the school brooms were next to useless and that any of them could have backfired and hit any of his students in the face on a command. But Alexis Jordan did not get the nickname broomface because she had a hairy nose.
The truth was, whatever command Alexis gave, the broom would rise and smack her dead in the face, explaining her current sprawled position on the Quidditch pitch. Wood was ready to deem her hopeless.
“Lex. Lex, love, how many fingers am I holding up?” He held up his index and middle finger as she groaned and turned her head.
“I’m sorry, professor. I can’t count higher than six right now. Ask again later.”
Wood sighed again and studied her bloody nose. “Do you know where you are?”
“Too many questions, professor, way too many questions.”
Wood rose and pointed to Jacob Zabar. “Take her to the hospital wing. We’re about to lose her.”
Wood then rubbed a hand over his face. “Alright. We’ll end lessons early today. I don’t want to send any more of you lot to Madame Pomfrey.”
When the last of his students had migrated off the pitch, he took a moment to himself.
Sitting down on the dewy grass, he crossed his legs at the ankles and leaned back. Closing his eyes, he breathed in the atmosphere.
The day was beautiful. Cloudless sky, jovial sun, chirping of birds; perfect.
He loved the smell of the grass the most and associated that particular sense to his beloved sport. Quidditch was his life, though some people believed he teetered on the edge of obsession. That didn’t bother him in the least. He loved it; the excitement, the danger, the risk. But it was also moments like this, where he took in his surroundings before the big adrenaline rush began, that pumped his blood. It was his moment, his peace.
Wood almost jumped out of his skin at the sound of Azura’s voice, and she immediately felt guilty. She didn’t want to disturb him at first. He looked so damn cute with that dreamy look and half smile on his face. She didn’t have to peek inside his head to know he was relaxing. No, she didn’t want to disturb him, but they weren’t going to get anywhere with him avoiding her and her allowing him to do so.
“Bloody hell.” He said, pressing the heel of his palm into his heart. It always seemed to beat faster whenever she was around.
She couldn’t help the smile. “Sorry.” She sat next to him, mimicking his position.
His breath hitched just a bit as he caught just a whisper of whatever scent she was wearing. Something light and sexy. Shit.
“Beautiful day.” She continued. “Perfect Quidditch weather.”
“Yeah.” He didn’t give two fucks about the weather. Come on you dolt, day something. “So, erm, class over with?”
“Mmm. Went for a walk then saw your little…episode.” She half smirked, making his throat go completely dry.
“Yeah, erm, that always happens. Lex is hopeless.”
Azura’s grin widened. They were getting somewhere.
All he could think about was devouring that pouty little mouth of hers, then taking her somewhere where they could… He shook himself from the thought before it got too creative, then wondered why she was staring at him so…amused.
Giving him a throaty laugh, she leaned close to him. He all but salivated. “Hungry?”
His voice came out in a squeak. “Pardon me?”
“It’s lunch time, Oliver, and I for one am never some to pass over a meal. Walk me to the Great Hall?”
“Huh? Lunch? Right. Lunch. Okay.”
As they stood and began to walk towards the hall, McGonagall stood on the other side of the pitch, worry lines etched in her brow, suspiciously eyeing her niece and the man she was sure she was after.
Azura was only mildly irked that Wood didn’t sit next to her at lunch. And when he left without a good bye, or an offer to walk her back to her classroom, she didn’t show any signs of irritation. But damn it, she thought, as she walked down the hallway, she wanted to kick something. She knew how Oliver Wood worked. He was determined, goal oriented, and fought hard for everything he wanted. He was cocky and driven. She knew he wanted her, so what was his deal?
She was so lost in thought that she narrowly missed running directly into McGonagall. And by the look on her face, she wasn’t in a particularly cheerful mood.
“Hey, Aunt Minnie.” She said it cautiously, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. “Did you need to talk to me?”
“Inside, Azura, before your students arrive.”
Uh-oh. “Yes, ma’am.” McGonagall always had a way to make her feel like a child with her hand caught in the cookie jar.
Once inside, McGonagall got to the point. “You seem a little distracted.”
“A little.” What is she getting at?
“Thinking, perhaps, a little too much of Professor Wood?”
If she had whacked her over the head with a broom and accused her of being a death eater, she wouldn’t have been any less shocked.
“I, erm, what?”
“You know the rules, Azura. It isn’t wise for professors to date each other. Now, I know you fancy him-"
“I don’t fancy him.” She interjected.
McGonagall’s response was a level stare. “Azura, I may not have the full effect of you and Season’s gift, but I am family. I see more than you think. I cannot tell you whom you can and cannot see, but I will warn you. Don’t say I didn’t.”
She didn’t give Azura any time to respond, and swiftly left the room.
Azura’ only comment was, “well”, to an empty room.
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