Slowly, other people arrived, in knots and singly.
Malfoy, as expected, didn't arrive.
Goyle didn't wait for him, either. "Today, we'll start with a bit of a lecture on the dangers of the deep." Goyle's voice was leaden, strong, ductile in a strange way that still meant heavy. "Water is the element of lies, of trickery... and of love."
"But those are just associations. Today we'll look at the truth, at the Pooka, at the Undine, at the Grindylow - the carnivorous mermaid, and the Leviathan, ruler of all the undulating creatures."
Harry Potter was certain that four sentences was far more than he'd ever heard Goyle say about anything. The lecture went on, informative, and yet... strangely devoid of that something.
Harry found his own hand raised in the air, seemingly without him thinking about it.
Goyle looked at him, and asked, "Yes, Potter?" His voice rumbled like an avalanche - Harry could feel it in his ribs.*
Crap. Harry thought, scrambling for his question, "Can't we just... avoid the water?"
Goyle's lips turned up slowly, and then became a smile, that grew garishly wide. "Isn't that what they'll be expecting you to do?"
Harry Potter nodded, "So if everyone avoids the water, you can gain an advantage from lurking within it?"
"The way of the crocodile," Goyle said, nodding. His lecture continued, going into surprising depth on awareness, on how tactile it could be in water.
Goyle gestured, and a solid wooden door appeared. "We'll go in teams. Black, Yellow, White, Red. Split yourselves as you will. Winner's the one left standing." Goyle didn't need to say more.
Harry assembled into Team Yellow (noting, absently, Ron in Team Black, and Hermione in Team Red) - there were a lot of Hufflepuffs here, he noticed, as he smiled at Susan. "Ready?" Hannah flicked her wand at Harry, casting the softest Lumos he'd ever seen.
Goyle opened the door, "White Team, go." They went through the door, wands out.
Harry wasn't so sure of that approach - the lecture had been on water. Still, if their wands were out... "Yellow Team, go." Goyle said, and Harry quickly copied what White team had done.
It was wet out here, a swamp - Harry's eyes struggled to adjust to the gloom. At least they weren't stepping straight out into the last team. "Down," Harry hissed, only to find that everyone had already found cover - except himself, of course.
"What's going on?" Susan spoke, softer than a whisper, as she approached Harry.
"Nothing," Harry said, "Radio silence, ears on standby."
Zach softly chuckled at the odd lingo. Susan turned around to glare at him, her hands on her hips looking odd when she was half hunched over.
There was the sound of spellfire in the distance - splashes and the whooosh of fire, and hollered indistinguishable words.
Harry bolted for the sound, his team right behind.
Two groups of students shouted spells at each other, Goyle a solid presence at the side of one of the teams. Was he on the team? Harry'd never have done that with his own class - but this was Creatures, not fighting exactly...
Harry and his team paused on the top of the hill, "What do we do?" Hannah timidly asked.
A stunner flew into her from behind. Hermione said, "Maybe think of that before you are near enough to know what's going on?" Her superior smirk was worse than Malfoy's, honestly.
Harry banked two stunners into her position, Hermione shielded, and the battle was on. Their teams seemed to merge, as individuals moved away from ranks and into more life-saving positions.
What Harry hadn't noticed was how close they'd been stumbling to the other altercation.
"Death Eater!" Colin cried, and his brother Dennis shot a full body bind at Greg Goyle. Tom, another young Gryffindor, followed it up with a stunner.
Two spells cast in quick succession, but it had been Colin's shout that had put an end to the fighting. Everyone else had stopped, cold.
Harry could see the Dark Mark, on Goyle's right arm.
Why doesn't he look surprised, or afraid?
*Tigers' roars vibrate at the frequency of the human ribcage. The More You Know!
[a/n: Reviews welcome. Corrections also welcome, although I would encourage anyone to think before posting them. This, again, got a little out of hand.]