Harry held his breath - Pansy had just been called up, and she was skeptically looking at the shakily held together contraption. There was tin, and silver, and the gargoyles didn't exactly hold the thing up, now that Harry saw it. They were more decoration than structurally useful.
The gaps were wider than Harry was tall, and he had a moment to worry. How was she going to survive this? The room was tall enough that the structure went up a good three stories in places.
Then Pansy nodded firmly and drew her wand.
Harry abruptly felt very, very stupid. How had he forgotten about magic again? This was a magic class, obviously the obstacle course was about using magic to navigate. Except for the very dumbest of people, obviously, as Goyle and Crabbe probably hadn't needed...
Actually, maybe they had - in the form of shrinking spells.
Harry fought the urge to think that this was a cruel joke on the boys. His thoughts were private, after all, and if they'd been using the spells, well, they were the folk most likely to need them, in daily use, being substantially bigger than most. He didn't think they were going to be like Hagrid, living on Malfoy's estate in small cottages.
Pansy's spells glittered. When she needed to cross that gap, she crossed it on a pane of glass, that glittered. Harry was vaguely surprised at all the spells she was using.
And then he was abruptly very, very thankful that he wasn't going now. He concentrated on Pansy's spells, spinning his wand in the half-formed gestures he always made when he was practicing spells and didn't want to shoot the damned thing. Sure, he could just concentrate and fix the problematic superstructure - but that wouldn't be cricket.
More importantly, why hadn't he realized that this was a Thing That Spells Could Fix? It was a blind spot - magical construction! He'd never expected something like that to come up in Defense - but Pansy, for whatever reason, had managed it...
Padma Patil was next, and she squeaked on every single open-air death-defying task. It was plain as day she was afraid of heights. She gathered herself and pushed through, nonetheless. Perhaps she was afraid of Snape's reaction if she froze in the middle?
Tracy Davis did freeze, twice. The first time, Snape just left her hanging there, staring up as the seconds rolled by. Eventually she gathered her courage to continue.
"Harry Potter," Snape's voice intoned.
Harry gulped. He started skittering up the incline, only to feel himself start to slide backwards. All he could think of was cleaning cloths, though, so what he conjured was sandpaper - gritty sandpaper that only impeded his slow fall to the ground. He stood up, at the bottom, grateful, at least, that the other students couldn't see him there. He wondered how many other students slid as he did. He conjured cleats, for his hands and his feet - pointy ones, and then he started climbing, using hands and legs to brace himself. It was a lot easier than tree climbing, that was for sure!
He put the cleats through the thin metal. And heaved himself upward.
In short order he was at the top, breathing hard but not ever in any danger of sliding downwards again.
At the top, after he'd climbed up a ladder that was more of a rope now (but he knew how to climb ropes, and was light enough that it was little trouble), he found the airgap. What was the spell Hermione had used? Fulgurite. Harry intoned it, but he didn't see the glassy pattern on the rock that now stretched to the other side of the gap. Tentatively, he toed the structure, seeing if it would hold his weight. It did, so he crept out on hands and knees, his wand in his teeth.
Harry was never so glad to be on solid earth as he was when he got down from there.
And class was over. Harry hadn't even realized he was going last, he'd been so focused on how to overcome the task.
[a/n: Ha! More reviews mean more story! And I don't care if you tell me I suck, I really don't. Just, if you're going to say that, be specific.