Anyway, Teddy's spending a Saturday with his new friends, playing the D&D-like game Muggles and Minions. There's a group of eleven, with representation from all the Houses. Teddy, his Hufflepuff friend Bernice, and his new Gryffindor friend Ruthless Scrimgeour have volunteered to go get lunch, but as the elves have been making the school's lunches, they get chased out and told to wait. They opt to wander around. As they pass classroom eleven, Bernice stops suddenly, seeing a kappa.
Table of Contents and Summary So Far
Teddy stopped walking and gaped at the figure in the door of classroom eleven. It was about the size of Rosie Weasley, had green scales, and made scrabbling and sloshing sounds as it dove toward them, grinning obscenely. A sunburst caught at the top of its head, and Teddy saw a little pool of water, hedged and protected by a round ring of bone. Instinctively, he rushed forward, pushing it back into the classroom. Ruthless came in beside him.
Kappa, he thought, his mind scrambling furiously through the piles of creature books he'd been obsessed with as a little boy, the shiny new ones that Granny had bought, the battered old ones from the box in he'd found in his parents' closet when he'd moved from the nursery into their room. Kappas belonged in the water, he remembered, seeing a picture in his mind of a little green monkey-shaped creature swimming in a river. They belonged in the water, and they caught swimmers and either strangled them or sucked out their entrails through their--
Teddy went hot in the face and backed up against the edge of the door, putting solid stone against the kappa's favorite entry point. He reached over to Ruthless and shoved her back against the other side of the door. Bernice was standing between them.
"Get help!" Teddy hissed at her. "I think if we get the water... but.."
Bernice nodded smartly and ran off toward the Great Hall. Teddy didn't imagine it would take long for her to get Robards or Flitwick.
"Try to make it bow," he told Ruthless.
"The water on its head. It won't be strong if it loses the water. And, er... keep your bum to the wall."
She squinted at him through her thick glasses. "Are you making this up?"
"No, I swear. I had books when I was little. My dad used to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts."
The kappa made a sudden, jerky move toward them, and there was no time to explain further. Teddy flicked his wand at it, but the only spell he could think of was "Lumos," which accomplished nothing at all. He kicked at it instead, and it grabbed for his trainer.
Ruthless hit it with a Jelly Legs Jinx and it sprawled onto the floor. A bit of water sloshed from its head, but it righted itself before losing everything. It ran at Ruthless.
Teddy raised his wand and said, "Petrificus Totalis," but he either needed practice or a different wand--or, he supposed, kappas were a difficult animal to hex--as he succeeded only in shocking the kappa, making it jump several feet in the air, and infuriating it.
"I've got help!" he heard in the corridor, then Bernice burst into the room--not with Robards and Flitwick, but with the entire Forest Guard and most of the Muggles and Minions players. Teddy stared at them, perplexed.
"Teddy says watch your arse," Ruthless told them.
The Guard fanned out around the confused, jumpy kappa.
"We need to get it out of the castle!" Frankie declared. "It's not safe to have it wandering around. It could hurt someone."
"Er..." Teddy began. "Shouldn't we, well..." But he couldn't follow it up. He tried to imagine Uncle Harry deciding that teachers should handle this tiny little problem, and couldn't quite do it. Plus it would hardly look good if the year's only Gryffindor slunk off to get an adult while all of his mates from other Houses stood their ground. He straightened his back and raised his wand again.
"Lupin!" Tinny called. "What do you know about them?"
"Water demons," Teddy answered. "Dangerous. Plus... what Ruthless said. About your arse. It likes to suck out your innards through there."
This was greeted with several blank stares, and a "That's nasty" from Tinny.
"Do you think it got out of the lake?" Roger Young asked.
Something seemed off about this to Teddy, but he couldn't put his finger on it. They weren't exactly native, but Hagrid had the Forest stocked with dozens of things that weren't; he wouldn't be surprised to find out that the lake had its fair share as well. When you came down to it, the Giant Squid wasn't even native. "It must've," he said. "Mustn't it? Where else would it come from?"
"Then we should get it back there," Frankie said. "And then find out just who decided to let it into the castle," he added grimly, his eyes narrowing, and Teddy guessed that he meant them to look steely.
"Make it bow," Teddy said for the second time. "Make the water spill off of its head. It'll go weak and we can just carry it."
"Good call, Lupin," Bernice said, stepping forward with her shoulders squared. She bowed at the kappa.
Zachary hurried over and hovered behind her, saying, "I've got your bum, Bernice."
"Who's got yours?" she snarled, looking so deeply serious that Teddy felt the first hint of laughter rising up in his belly. He stifled it... for a moment.
Zachary seemed to realize that he had nothing behind him, and spun around so was arse to arse with Bernice, trying to match her movements by touch. Beside Teddy, Ruthless snorted, and he could see her mouth pressed tightly shut, her cheeks reddening. He felt his own wild laughter bubbling up. It came out in a clear explosion, and a moment later, Tinny started up, bending over. Roger ran over to her to guard her, but glanced at Zachary and Bernice and started laughing before he got there. The kappa glanced from one pair to the another, looking for all the world like Victoire watching her younger sisters in a particularly juvenile mood, and that thought got Teddy laughing all over again.
Frankie, on Ruthless's other side, let out out a guffaw, and deliberately bumped his bum into hers. She bumped back once, but when he did it again, she raised her wand and sent him reeling into the far wall. The kappa chased after him, but quite unfortunately for it, Ruthless's spell had a lot of power behind it, and when Frankie hit the wall, he pistoned his arms out and went shooting backward, off-balance, straight into the kappa's path. He knocked into it at full speed, twisting his feet against it and sprawling both of them onto the floor, dazed. Frankie shook his head, remembered what he'd run into and scrambled up, hands covering the seat of his trousers, but the kappa didn't move.
The laughter was still coming in breathless fits, echoed by everyone in classroom eleven, when Teddy realized that his trainers were wet, and the kappa had been down much longer than it should have been just from the shock of bumping into a thirteen-year-old, even a big one. He could see this dawning on his friends' faces as well, their laughter draining down to hiccups, their faces pale.
Roger Young said it first: "Is it... dead?"
Frankie took a few steps forward, his eyes wide, and knelt beside the kappa. He put his fingers on its neck, then replied with relief, "Its heart's beating. What happened?"
"The water," Teddy said, pointing at the puddle on the floor. "It spilled. It lost its strength."
"Will it die without it?" Donzo asked.
"Someone should get a teacher," Ruthless suggested. "They're probably still in the Great Hall..."
Bernice shook her head, looking confused. "They were all gone already when I went through."
"We should get it back to the lake ourselves, then," Frankie said. "We can save it. It's not too late." An odd sort of shadow seemed to cross his open, friendly face, then it was gone, and Teddy was sure he'd imagined it. He gathered up the kappa and headed for the doors at a good clip. The rest of them looked at one another awkwardly, then followed.
The day had come up hot and humid and walking outside the cool stone walls of the castle was like walking into a steaming cauldron. Teddy felt like he was swimming through the air as he squeezed to the front of the group and ran ahead to catch up with Frankie.
"It'll be all right when we get water into its head again," he offered.
Frankie grimaced. "I just meant to get it out of the castle!"
"Right, and you couldn't do it with it trying to get to your entrails."
Frankie looked at him strangely; apparently, his personal sense of the heroic meant getting rid of it without incapacitating it or hurting it in any way.
They reached the lake shore and Frankie put the kappa down. "Hold him up, Ted," he said. "So he doesn't spill again."
Teddy sat cross-legged on the ground, then pulled the kappa's body upright. He could see the cone-shaped hollow at the top of its head quite clearly, ringed by purplish veins. Frankie ran to the water, scooped some up in his hands, and splashed what little he'd managed to carry into the hollow. The kappa stirred minutely, then was still again. Frankie ran back.
The rest of the group caught up, and Bernice saw Frankie running with his hands full of water. "I know a fourth year spell for this!" she announced, then raised her wand and said, "Accio water!"
Teddy realized what was going to happen an instant before the lake suddenly drew back from its banks with a horrible sucking sound, drawing itself into a great mountain of water that was pointing directly toward them. From halfway up the mountain, a trapped merperson dove down into the depths. Ruthless ran forward waving her wand wildly and yelling "Finite incantatem! Finite incantatem!"
The water fell back with a great splash, and then it was rushing toward them, borne not by magic but by the rules of gravity, foaming with unspent energy--
Teddy blinked. A five foot high wall of water was standing not a foot from his nose, foam trailing upward. Beyond it, he could see another swell of the lake, much higher. It was like standing at the bottom of a ravine.
Except that, at the bottom of a ravine, he wouldn't be able to see a grindylow swim serenely by.
He looked over his shoulder and saw Professors Sprout, Longbottom, Robards, and Hagrid coming down the slope, wands drawn, redcaps capering gleefully around their ankles.
Students and staff looked at one another, and Teddy saw Professor Longbottom pressing his lips together, trying not to smile.
Professor Sprout cocked her head to one side, raising her her eyebrows at Robards. "Well, Professor Robards," she said, "it seems we won't have to go back to looking for your missing kappa after all."