TWENTY-THREE

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The storm had blown itself out by the next morning, although the ceiling in the Great Hall was still as gloomy as the day before, filled with heavy grey clouds as Aurora shoved another pancake onto her plate whilst listening to Fred, George and Lee discussing magical methods of ageing themselves.

"Once your name gets called out, Dumbledore will know you're not seventeen though," Aurora piped up as she stared at the twins.

"By then it'll be too late, little one," George told her, patting her head as if she was a good dog, "once your name gets called out you can't back out. No matter your age."

Aurora rolled her eyes and shoved his hand from her head as she carried on eating her breakfast before the four of them made their way to their first lesson with Professor Moody.

Aurora sat besides Lee as Fred and George were still too preoccupied in their previous conversation.

"Have you two spoken about it then?" Lee asked as the pair took out their books from their school bags.

"Of course not," Aurora said, "to be honest, we haven't had any alone time to actually talk about it. Which I'm glad about- it's best to just forget it ever happened."

Lee sighed dramatically as he threw his arm around the girl's shoulder, "Oh, little Aurora," he said causing Aurora to raise her eyebrows at him as she eyed his arm, "you can't forget it happened. It's the best thing that could've happened to either one of you."

Before Aurora could reply the classroom door flew open as Mad-Eye Moody strolled in. His heavy boots banging on the wooden floor as he made his way to the front of the classroom. His robotic eye scanning all the faces in front of him, stopping whilst he looked sat Aurora who shifted uncomfortably in her seat as she threw Lee's arm off her shoulders and looked down at her desk.

"You can put those away," Moody growled, "those books. You won't need them."

Aurora shared a confused look with Lee as the class placed their books back into their bags, not even daring to ask why. 

"Right then," he said, "I've had letter from Professor Lupin about this class. Seems you've had a pretty thorough grounding in tackling Dark creatures- you've covered Boggarts, Red Caps, Hinkypunks, Grindylows, Kappas, Giants, Obscurials and werewolves, is that right?"

The class let out a murmur of assent.

"But even as sixth years you're still very behind on dealing with curses," Moody said, "So I'm here to bring you up to scratch on what wizards can do to each other. I've got one year to teach you how to deal with Dark curses."

Aurora shared a worried look with Lee as their attention went back to the front of the classroom. 

"Curses. They come in many strengths and forms. I'm not only going to tell you the counter-curse for these curses but also show you what they look like. Otherwise, how are you to know when a wizard is about to pull an illegal curse on you? You need to be prepared. You need to be alert and watchful," Moody's booming voice said, Aurora swallowed, her throat feeling as dry as the desert, "So....do any of you know which curses are most heavily punished by wizarding law?"

Several hands rose in the air, including Fred and George who were looking over the moon with the lesson already.

"Our dad told us about one," Fred said, his chest puffed out proudly, "the Imperius Curse."

Moody nodded appreciatively, "Ah, yes. Your father would know that one. Gave the Ministry a lot of trouble at one time," he walked over to some jars that were on the side. His back turned to the classroom as he reached into the first jar before he turned back around to look at the students; a large spider on the palm on his hand. He pointed his wand at the creature before muttering, "Imperio."

The spider kept from Moody's hand on a thin thread of silk and it began swinging before it did a backflip, breaking the silk thread it landed on Fred's desk where it began to cartwheel in circles. Moody jerked his wand and the spider rose onto two of its hind legs and started to tap dance.

The class was laughing-all except Moody and Aurora. 

The girl stared at the creature, her stomach twisted as she felt sick as she watched Moody controlling it.

"Think it's funny, do you?" Moody growled, "you'd like it, would you, if I did it to you?"

The laughter instantly died down.

"Total control," Moody said quietly, "I could make it jump out of the window, down itself, throw itself down one of your throats...Years back, there were a lot of witches and wizards being controlled by the Imperius Curse. Some job for the Ministry, trying to sort out who was under the curse and who was acting on their own free will. The Imperius Curse can be fought- I'll be teaching you how, but it takes real strength of character, and not everyone's got it. Better avoid being hit with it if you can."

Moody picked up the spider, "Anyone else know one? Another illegal curse?"

Aurora sighed before she lifted her hand up as well as the rest of the class.

"Yes?" Moody said, his magical eye fixed on Aurora.

Aurora cleared her dry throat, her face expressionless, "The Cruciatus Curse."

"You're Black aren't you?" Moody asked, his stare intimidating the young girl who nodded nervously. Moody cleared his throat before he placed the spider back down onto the desk, "The Cruciatus Curse. Crucio!"

As soon as the words left Mad-Eye Moody's mouth the spider began to roll its body, twitching horribly and squealing loudly. However Moody didn't remove his wand, his stare fixed upon the tortured spider. Aurora looked down at her desk, her eyes watering as she listened to the squeals of the defenceless creature. 

"Stop it!" She finally shouted, her chair falling backwards as she stood up causing everyone's attention to turn to her.

Moody moved his wand, the spider stopped squealing but it's leg still twitched. 

"Pain," Moody finally said, "You don't need thumbscrews or knives to torture someone if you can perform the Cruciatus Curse... that one was very popular too. Sit back down, Miss Black. Anymore curses?"

Aurora sighed as she picked up her chair and sat back down, not daring to look up from her hands that were placed on her knees under the table. She could feel the stare of the twins and Lee on her but she didn't want them to see her distraught face. She tried blocking out the sound of the classroom before she heard Moody mutter the last spell, "Avada Kadavra."

As soon as the spell hit the spider a bright green flashed appeared before it fell limp onto Fred's desk. Aurora tightened her jaw before she grabbed her bag from under the table and rose from her seat.

"The class isn't over yet, Miss Black," Moody's voice said, it sounded almost as if he was teasing her.

However, Aurora didn't reply. Her face emotionless as she glared at the Professor and then strolled out of the room, slamming the door behind her.




AN- This will most likely be the last chapter until after Christmas and so Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you all have a wonderful time whether you celebrate the holiday or not. 

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