Gilderoy yawned widely, pushing the blonde hair from his eyes. He forced his tired eyes to focus on the textbook in front of him, telling himself that this was the last book he would try before moving on to a different charm. He took a large gulp from the flask of Wakefullness Potion he’d bought from one of the Ravenclaws as he did so. After over a week of late nights spent preparing for his exams, the potion was beginning to lose it’s effectiveness and he needed more and more of it to keep going. That didn’t stop him, however- he needed to make up for five years of slacking somehow.
Anyway, it was clearly working. After Merlin-knew-how-many hours of studying, he finally found a tip which might help him. This book clearly instructed him to wave his wand in a sort of figure-eight- Gilderoy had been simply flicking it in a single circle.
He pulled the cat he had been practising on towards himself (he wasn’t sure, but he thought that it belonged to one of the first years in his house) and picked up his wand once again.
He gave his wand a classy flourish in a figure eight, ending with the tip pointing at the cat. “Obliviate.” His mind was flooded with images: he saw himself lying against his mother’s warm and furry chest alongside half a dozen other lumps of squirming fur, crouched in terror inside a cage as the landscape flashed by the window outside, puffing his fur out and hissing at the other cats in the Slytherin common room as he met them for the first time…
And just as suddenly, he came back into himself with relief. He hadn’t spent all those hours working out just to end up trapped in the cat’s plump body. Remembering what he’d been doing, he looked down at the cat. It was staring around itself with a slightly dazed look, as though it had never seen the Slytherin Common Room before. Gilderoy didn’t think it had looked quite so dumb before, so he decided to assume that his spell had worked. He allowed himself a brief smile of triumph, thinking it was a shame that no-one else was awake to see it.
Now that he finally had Memory Charms worked out, he realised that he had better move on to something else. Cheering Charms, perhaps- he seemed to be good at these mind control spells tonight, after all. He quickly turned to the index to find the chapter covering those.
The next thing he knew, someone was shaking him awake. “Oi, Lockhart. We’ve got our Charms exam in half an hour.”
Gilderoy started upright. Bright sunlight was streaming in through the tiny windows set high up the Common Room walls, and students were heading for the Great Hall in various states of wakefulness: some of them already in full makeup and chatting away to their friends, others still half asleep.
It was obviously morning, and the ugly face of Lemuel Crabbe was looking down at him. “Thanks,” he said sleepily, but Crabbe was already halfway out of the Common Room, clearly keener on breakfast than worrying about Gilderoy.
Gilderoy got up from the desk and wandered through to the bathroom, thinking that he would still have time to master Cheering Charms before the beginning of his exam. What he saw in the mirror when he got there drove all such thoughts from his mind, however. His hair was a mess: it was flat on one side and sticking out all over the place on the other. There were dark circles under his eyes and his skin was pasty. He would have to apply liberal amounts of Sleekeazy’s Hair Tonic before he could even consider facing an examiner. It was more important than even his last minute revision: he was sure that a female examiner would be prepared to consider a few bonus marks for his smile. It certainly deserved it.
Three quarters of an hour later, Gilderoy hurried into the corridor outside the room where the Charms practical was due to take place. It was lined with students, most of them looking worried and not one of them nearly as handsome as he was now. He smiled to himself. After dealing with this lot, the examiner would be putty in his hands.
A few minutes later his name was called and he was led into the room and shown to one of several tables, opposite a short and rather plump witch. She had lank grey hair and when she smiled in greeting, her face creased into a mass of wrinkles. “Gilderoy, is it? I’m Madame Vaisley, and I’ll be examining you today. Try not to be too nervous. I know it’s easier said than done, but I don’t bite. At least, not hard.” She smiled again.
Gilderoy laughed, although he thought the joke rather pathetic. He was wondering why the woman hadn’t tried a Smoothing Salve on her face- perhaps she realised that even without the wrinkles she would never be pretty. “I’m absolutely charmed to meet you, Madame Vaisley,” he said, in his smoothest voice. “That’s a beautiful necklace you’re wearing, if I may say so.”
Had expected her to melt immediately, but instead she just looked surprised. Her hand jumped to the necklace: a delicate silver chain from which a small silver dragon hung. “Thank you. Now, shall we get started?” Without waiting for an answer, she continued. “First, I’d like you to make the colours in this picture glitter.” She pulled a picture from a stack of props at the side of the desk and placed it in front of him.
Gilderoy stared at it, absolutely clueless as to how to proceed. He searched through his memory for anything in his five years of education which might help, but all he could remember was a set of navy blue robes embroidered with sparkling silver thread that his mother had bought him in his third year. “Um… I’m afraid I don’t know, sorry.”
“That’s quite alright,” she said reassuringly. “Very few students manage to complete all the tasks we set for them.”
Gilderoy felt the first twinge of unease. He suddenly wasn’t at all sure he’d be able to complete any of the tasks. “I expect they’re all too charmed by your beauty to be able to think straight, Madame.” He flashed her his trademark smile, fully expecting her to be flattered at the very least.
She wasn’t. “I’m not entirely sure that comments like that are appropriate,” she said, her tone cold. “Now, if you could make this plate spin and hover for me…” She again reached towards the pile of props at the side of the desk, this time to pull a plate towards them.
Gilderoy stared at the plate, completely dumbfounded. He was sure that he could remember making things hover at some point in his first year, but that had been ages ago. Surely they weren’t expected to remember something from so long ago? And as for making it spin, he could as soon have transfigured it into solid gold. “Uh… I’m afraid I really don’t know.”
“Alright, then. Perhaps something a little simpler.” He could hear the sympathy in her voice and hated it. He didn’t want her sympathy. He glanced around the room. The other students seemed to be doing much better, he realised with a sinking heart. One of them was even using his wand to direct a hovering violin in a rendition of “Greensleeves”.
Gilderoy turned back to his examiner as she placed a feather on the desk in front of him. “As your last task, would you be able to make this feather move across the desk for me?”
Gilderoy stared at the feather hopelessly for a few moments. He honestly had no idea. He’d spent all that time on Memory Charms, and they hadn’t come up at all. His studying had been absolutely useless, he realised. Even his looks hadn’t helped him.
Suddenly, there was a loud “Bang!” on the other side of the room. “DUCK!” someone screamed. Gilderoy did so. Several shards of well-polished wood flew over his head. He got up slowly, and was disappointed to see Madame Vaisley doing the same. He glanced across the room. The student who had been playing the violin was covered in blood and apparently unconscious, and as the other students and examiners rushed to help her, Gilderoy had an idea.
A stupid, dangerous idea, perhaps- but it was the best one he had. Maybe his last minute revision wouldn’t turn out to have been so useless after all. He raised his wand in the air, and Madame Vaisley turned her attention back to him, opening her mouth to say something.
Hastily, Gilderoy imagined himself performing wonderfully in all the tasks she had set him. He twisted the wand in the figure-of-eight flourish he had practised on the cat last night. “Obliviate.” And with all his mental strength he pushed the images of himself succeeding into her head, praying that it would work.
As he lowered his wand, the examiner gave him a dazzling smile. There was an oddly blank look in her eyes. “Very well done, Master Lockhart. I think that will suffice. I’m sure you’re eager to get out and enjoy the sunshine.”
“Very much, Madame,” Gilderoy said, flashing another smile at her. He didn’t bother to point out that it was pouring with rain outside.
“Well, off you go. You’ll receive the results of your examination by owl at some point over the summer.”
“Thank you, Madame,” Gilderoy said. He got up and was shocked to realise how shaky his legs felt. He was fairly sure that what he’d just done wasn’t entirely legal. Still, what did it matter?
As he left the room, he heard Madame Vaisley suddenly exclaim, “Oh dear! What’s happened to him?” She hurried over to help the bleeding boy.
Gilderoy grinned internally, feeling smugly superior to the violin boy. Served him right for showing off and attempting to do more than he was capable of. Gilderoy was certain that he’d never be so silly himself.
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