The Golden Thread::Book Two::Chamber of Secrets::

Harry's Bad Day (Part Three)

After they'd finished lunch Harry, Ron and Hermione headed out into the courtyard. Harry and Ron plopped down on one of the benches, Harry leaned his head on Ron's shoulder. Hermione elected not to sit on the bench with them, she instead sat in front of them in the grass leaning against their legs as she buried her nose in Voyages with Vampires again. She was still a little red in the face and avoided looking at them. Harry and Ron exchanged a look and then began to talk about Quidditch. After a few minutes Harry got the feeling someone was watching him. He took his head off Ron's shoulder and looked around, he saw a small boy with brown hair staring avidly at him. He was holding what looked like a muggle camera and the moment Harry met his eyes he went bright red.

"Umm..Alright there, Harry? I'm Collin Creevey. I'm a Gryffindor, too." He took a step toward the trio and held up his camera hopefully "D'you think..well could I..could I get a picture?"

Harry went as red as Collin "A picture.." he said blankly.

Collin nodded and took another eager step forward.

"So I can prove I've met you! I've heard all about you, everyone's told me about how you stopped you-know-who when he tried to kill you" His eyes shot to Harry's forehead, Harry flattened his bangs nervously. He hated when people stared at his scar. Collin ignored this and continued "And a boy in my dorm says I can develop my pictures in the right potion and make them move!" He took a deep breath and then went ranting on "It's amazing here isn't it? I never knew all the stuff I could do was magic until I got my letter. Dad's a milkman and he couldn't believe it either so I'm taking tons of photos to send home and it would be awesome to have one of you." He then looked as if he had a sudden idea "Hey, maybe your friend could take it." He said pointing at Ron who tilted his head at Harry, a playful smile pulling at his lips.

If you even THINK about it I'll hex you into next week. Harry thought, glaring at him.

Collin, who had obviously missed this silent exchange, continued "Then I could be in it with you..oh and could you sign it?"

Suddenly a loud, scathing voice came from behind Collin "Signed Photos? You're giving out signed photos, Potter?" It was Draco Malfoy, along with his cronies Crabbe and Goyle. Harry Ron and Hermione all stood up, , their glares leaving him no doubt that they hadn't forgotten their altercation in Diagon Alley.

"Line up, guys, Harry Potter's giving out signed photos!" Malfoy continued, his eyes full of malice. Harry felt his hands ball into fists

"Shut up Malfoy." He hissed "I am not!"

"You're just jealous." Collin said. Harry wished he would shut up.

"Jealous? Me? Not hardly, I don't want a foul cut on my forehead thanks. I don't think getting your head slashed open makes you too special myself."

Crabbe and Goyle snickered stupidly

"Eat slugs Malfoy." Ron snarled. Crabbe and Goyle cracked their knuckles and glared at him.

"Manners, Weasley." Malfoy drawled "You wouldn't want to bite off more than you can chew." he then turned back to Harry with a twisted smirk "Why don't you give Weasley here a signed photo, Potter." he said "It'd be worth more than your whole house." Harry glared at Malfoy and beside him Ron whipped out his spellotaped wand. Hermone grabbed his arm and shook her head

Look out! She thought.

"What's going on here?" Glideroy Lockhart was striding toward them through the crowd of students "Who's giving out signed photos?" Harry opened his mouth to speak but Lockhart didn't give him the chance "Shouldn't have even asked! We meet again Harry." He threw an arm around Harry's shoulders and pinned him to his side, just as he had in Diagon Alley. Harry flinched, his body going stiff. Ron was glaring at Lockhart and Hermione had taken his hand to stop him before he could make a dumb move. Harry saw a smirking Malfoy disappear into the crowd.

"Well then, Mr. Creevey." Said Lockhart, flashing Collin a smile "How about a double portrait, can't go wrong with that and we'll both sign it for you!"

Collin fumbled for his camera, Harry felt his face burning with embarrassment and the physical contact and people staring at him was making him feel jumpy and uncomfortable.

Harry..It's okay, don't worry. Hermione thought.

Collin snapped the photo and Harry heard the bell that signaled afternoon classes

"Off to classes now, the lot of you!" Lockhart said before sweeping off with Harry, who was wishing he knew a good vanishing spell, still clamped to his side. Ron and Hermione started after them, Hermione looking worried and Ron looking agitated.

"Word to the wise Harry.." Said Lockhart as he steered them into the castle through a side door "I covered up for you back there..if I was in the photo too your schoolmates won't think you're setting yourself up so much." He was deaf to Harry's answering stammers and attempts to wriggle away from his grasp as he swept him down a corridor "Just let me tell you that handing out signed photos at this stage in your career isn't smart. Looks a bit bigheaded, Harry. There may come a time when you have to carry a stack wherever you go like me." He chuckled "But I don't think you're quite there yet." They reached Lockhart's classroom and Lockhart let him go at last. Harry pulled his robes straight and stalked into the classroom where he plopped himself into a seat at the very back of the class and piled all of his Lockhart books in front of him to avoid looking at the real thing. The rest of the class began to file into the room including Ron and Hermione who took seats on either side of him and discretely took his hands under their table

You okay, Harry? Ron thought

Yeah..I guess. Harry replied

You want me to hex him? Ron suggested

Sure. Harry thought, shrugging

GUYS! Hermione interjected

What? Harry and Ron answered together. She didn't get a chance to answer, Lockhart had cleared his throat at the front of the room and silence had fallen. He reached over and grabbed Neville's copy of Travels with Trolls and held it up to show them his own winking photo on the front cover.

"Me." He said, pointing at it and winking, too "Gilderoy Lockhart..honorary member of the dark force defense league, Order of Merlin third class and five time winner of Witch Weekly's most charming smile award..but I don't talk about that one. I didn't get rid of the Bandon Banshee by smiling at her after all." He paused and waited for them to laugh, nobody did but a few smiled weakly.

"I see everyone has a set of my books. Excellent. I thought we could begin the class with a little quiz. Nothing to worry about just checking how well you've read them." Lockhart said, he then walked up and down the rows of tables handing out papers. Once they'd all gotten one Lockhart returned to the front of the classroom and sat down behind his desk.

"You have thirty minutes..and go!"

Harry sighed and looked down at his paper:

1. What is Gilderoy Lockhart's favorite color

2. What is Gilderoy Lockhart's secret ambition

3. What, in your opinion, is Glideroy Lockhart's greatest achievement to date?

Harry's mouth fell open, he looked over at Ron who was staring down at his own paper with a disgusted look on his face, he then flashed a glace at Hermione who was already scribbling away intently. Harry rolled his eyes. With a sharp jolt of annoyance he returned to Lockhart's stupid quiz. It went on for three sides of paper right down to the last question:

54. When is Gilderoy Lockhart's birthday and what would his ideal gift be?

Half an hour later Lockhart collected the papers and ruffled through them "Tisk tisk. Hardly any of you remembered that my favorite color is lilac. I state that clearly in Year with the Yeti. A few of you also need to read Wandering with Werewolves more closely as well. I say in chapter twelve that my ideal birthday gift is harmony between all magic and non-magic peoples, although I wouldn't say no to a bottle of Firewhiskey."

Harry could feel annoyance and disbelief coming off of Ron in waves. Dean and Seamus were sitting in the front row shaking with suppressed giggles. Hermione however was listening to Lockhart with rapt attention. Harry felt another jolt of annoyance and shared a look with Ron who looked just as annoyed by their friend's attitude. Hermione always paid more attention than anyone else in class but this way she was staring at Lockhart seemed excessive even by Hermione's standards.

'Mione? what's wrong with you? Ron snapped

She didn't answer

Hermione? Harry tried

Shhh.. She snapped. She then gave a little start as Lockhart mentioned her name

"But, Miss. Hermione Granger knew that my secret ambition is to rid the world of evil and market my own range of hair care potions!" He flipped Hermione's paper over "As a a matter of fact...full marks! Where is Miss. Granger?"

Hermione, trembling slightly, raised her hand.

"Excellent, well done indeed, take ten points for Gryffindor!" Said Lockhart beaming toothily at her "Now then! To business!" He reached behind his desk and lifted a large cage with a cloth cover onto it.

"Be warned." Lockhart said "It is my duty to arm you against the foulest creatures known to wizard kind. You may face your worst fears in this room! All I ask is that you remain calm, no harm will come to you whilst I am here." Harry couldn't help it, he peered around his stack of books to get a look at the cage. Dean and Seamus had stopped lauging now and were eyeing the cage with worried expressions. Neville was trembling in his seat.

"I ask you not to scream.." Said Lockhart quietly "It may provoke them!" the whole class held it's breath as Lockhart removed the cover of the cage to reveal that it was full of tiny electric blue creatures their voices were so high pitched that it started to give Harry a headache almost instantly.

"Yes!" He said dramatically "Freshly caught Cornish Pixies."

Seamus couldn't help himself he snorted with laughter "Pixies aren't exactly dangerous are they?" He asked

Lockhart smiled at him "Don't be so sure, they can be devilishly tricky little things..let's see what you make of them!"

And he flung open the door of the pixies' cage. It was all out insanity. The pixies shot in every direction and by the time they were done Neville was hanging from the light fixture, which he then fell from as it gave way, the window had been broken and the classroom was in complete shambles. When the bell rang there was a mad dash for the door. Before Harry, Ron and Hermione could make it out however, they were spotted by Lockhart

"I'll ask you three to just round up the last of them." He said and then vanished into his office.

Can you believe this?! Ron thought as he was bitten on the ear by one of the remaining pixies

He just wants to give us some hands on experience. Hermione replied, using a clever little freezing charm on three pixies at once and stuffing them back into the cage

Hands on? Harry demanded as he tried to grab a pixie that was dancing just out of his reach, sticking it's tongue out at him 'Mione, the guy has no idea what he's doing!

Rubbish! Look at everything he's done in his books!

He says he's done. Snarled Ron who had just been bitten again.

All in all this had been one very bad day.