He had little else to do these days. His romance with Elizabeth, the muggle girl he had met had fallen apart due to distance, and though he received regular owls from Damien, it wasn’t the same since his only Slytherin buddy had moved and transferred to Durmstrang.
So Dueling club had become Laun’s main source of fun.
As he entered the Slytherin common room though that sense of fun felt perilously close to disappearing. He came upon a huddled mob of his Slytherin “brothers” all looking intense, not quite murderous this time at least though.
“Just the man we were looking to see.” the head of the group grinned with a smile that seemed to show far too many teeth to be believed. “I wanted to have a little discussion with you, my friend, if you don’t mind.”
“I do, but I have a feeling you’re going to have it anyways with or without my permission so just go; I’ll try to retain most of it…” Laun said with a sigh.
“That’s the spirit, lad,” Peter smiled again. The lake’s green light made his blue eyes take on a brownish glow that reminded Laun of exactly how much excrement that exact same color was coming out of the older boy’s mouth. “So you have your next duel today right?”
“You know I do, and we both know you wanna talk to me about just that so if we could skip the preliminaries get to to the main event that would be jim dandy.”
“That’s what I like about you, Orris-Whitmoor,” his oily voice oozed out of his mouth from the much too toothy smile, “get right to the bloody point. I and my friends would like for you to throw this match with our good man Rosier.”
“Oh, is that all?” Laun smiled, “Well of course I will. I’d do anything for you after all our years of friendship,” Laun said mockingly. “Get real, Petey.” He ended in a very serious tone.
“Listen, Laun,” his voice came out as a deadly hiss, “We all know that you are friends with the blood traitor, and we don’t want to to have to go through the pain and torture of having to face him. Besides, Rosier and I have something very special planned for him, and we wouldn’t want you to have the shame of embarrassing our house by losing to that little kiss ass.”
Laun just looked at Porsblat for a moment.
“Oh, Petey, are you even trying at this? You could be so much better at this whole villain thing. You hate me, I’ll give you that, but you also know me; you had to know doing the smarmy ‘we’re best friends’ act was a bad move, never mind openly inferring that by doing what you want me to do would lead to you torturing Tom in I’m sure a very inventive, humiliating way despite knowing very well that we are friends. Did you even think about the best way to actually achieve your goal here?”
Peter’s eyes hardened. The grip on the back of Laun’s neck tightened and his nails dug into his neck. “Bottom line, Laun, you are either with us or we make your life a living hell understand me?”
Laun didn’t push Peter off he instead got closer to him their noses practically touching and gripped his shoulder just as tight.
“I’m going to be dueling, I’m going to win, and just for fun I may just make time to forget I’m a prefect and show you what Hell truly is. We clear, Petey?” Laun said, his green eyes practically on fire in the emerald light.
He then roughly released the taller boy and shook off his grip, only to turn and leave the room without another word.
Laun was partially laughing as he walked down the hall, still picturing Peter’s face when he didn’t back down. He tried to turn his thoughts back to the spells he had been practising.
“Good morning, Mister Orris-Whitmoor.” The African wizard’s voice echoed across the dungeon’s walls.
“Good morning, sir!” Laun beamed back at the professor.
“You seem to be walking with purpose today,” he lowered his voice conspiratorially as he placed a fatherly hand on the young boy’s shoulder, “What brings you out of the common room today?”
“I’m next in the dueling tournament. I’m going against Devon Rosier, in mere moments.” Laun said trying to be humble and boast at the same time.
Qasim laughed, his head rocking back slightly. “Ah I remember those days. I’m glad that Professor Flitwick brought that back. And Devon Rosier is your opponent? I’m sure Professor Snape would be proud of both of you.”
“I sure hope he is!” Laun smiled honestly.
“So what is your plan, son?” Qasim threw his arm around Laun.
“I memorized a lot of spells, and of course my trademark has always been ‘Rictusempra,’ but I may try and wing it… I work best in the moment… I mean I work pretty good…in the moment.” Laun said accidentally allowing his manner to become too casual before tensing up again.
Qasim nodded thoughtfully. “Winging it is not always the best thought, son.” His hand was warm on Laun’s shoulder. “When you face an opponent, you always need to have a plan. That is the first rule of any battle. You have to have a game plan. You go without a plan, and you fail yourself.”
“I just need to… never let him get a chance to get me cornered.” He flashed back on the group of Slytherins waiting for him in the common room, “I’ve got to go on the attack and never let up.” He now remembered the rush of standing up to Porsblat.
Amen nodded. “That sounds like a good plan. Just remember to always keep your mind open and your emotions in check.”
“Use them right? Not the other way around?” Laun smiled.
Amen’s eyebrows raised slightly as he stared at Laun. After a few moments, the African wizard started to laugh.
Laun had heard Qasim laugh before, but never with such abandon. If someone had told Laun he would have seen one of his personal heroes in such a moment of uncontrolled emotion, he would have thought he would have been uncomfortable but instead he just smiled all the more.
“Good lord, lad,” Tommy threw his arm around Laun, “you are almost late for your own duel.”
“Sorry, Professor Qasim gave me kind of a pep talk!” Laun practically squealed.
“Focus, Laun,” Tom smacked him playfully on the cheek, “Rosier is gonna be rough, but you can get him.”
Laun laughed. “Oh, I know I can. I know it for a fact.”
Tom’s lips curled in a smile. “And how, dear boy, do you know that?”
Laun looked over to the other Slytherin students and then turned to Tom, and said in a hushed tone, “Rosier is big with the meaner of that little clique – very close, they talk all the time, and just before I met up with Qasim, Porsblat came up to me and asked me to throw the fight. They don’t think he can do it.” Laun smiled widely.
“Nice,” Tom smiled, “well, then have at them.”
“Porsblat askit ye tae throw the ficht?” Orlando appeared seemingly from nowhere behind laun. “Tha’s no verra sportsman lik. Especially frae oor heid boy.”
“Maybe in an odd way he was trying to inspire me to win all the more?” Laun laughed to himself, and in his own weird way, only half joking.
Now the Hufflepuff was watching Peter curiously. “Porsblat is crafty, Ah’ll gie ye tha. Thare’s ayweys an angle. Ahm sairy, mate. Ahe dinnae think it wis oot o the guidness o his hert.” He looked at Laun. “He disnae lik ye.”
“Ah jalouse gif ye win he’s enjoy watching the twa o ye duke it oot.” He pointed between Tom and Laun. “Than, gif a miracle strikes, face ye hisself efter surviving oor ginger.”
Laun had that look he got sometimes, part dreamy and part thoughtful.
“I don’t know, I mean I know he’s horrible but I find it hard to believe anyone could be totally evil; through and through. It just seems so… boring.” Laun shrugged.
The Scot appraised the boy for a moment, not quite sure if he agreed with him or not. He found his thoughts lingering on the man who had killed his father and pushed it away.
“Ah didnae say he wis He Wha Muist No Be Namit,” smirked Fooze, “juist an arsehat.”
Laun chuckled, “I’ll give you that.”
“Porsblat’s a prat, Ah’ll gie ye that,” Danny said as he joined the group. “Bit while he kin nae be Ye Ken Wha, he wid huv made a guid death eater.” Looking around the group he added, “Whit did he dae noo?”
After the others briefly filled him in, Danny shook his head. “Oi,” he said with a scowl. “How come cannae he ever catch up wi’ ony o’ th’ weird accidents that happen aroond this schuil?”
Foozle looked up with a misty expression and a shake of the head. “Dare tae dream…”
“Now, now you guys. You shouldn’t wish harm on other people. What if something horrendous, like truly bad happened to him tomorrow? How would you feel about what you just said?”
“Wouldn’t bother us.” They all said flatly.
“Anyway,” Rose shifted the conversation away from wishing accidents on potentially deserving people. “I’m sure your duel won’t be boring at all. And really, there should be no complaints no matter who wins… since it’s Slytherin against Slytherin.”
“Oh, they’ll complain.” Laun smirked half-heartedly, casting an eye towards his his Slytherin housemates.
The tiny blonde smiled and gave him a hug. “You’re going to be amazing. So go out there and dazzle us!”
There was a loud whistle and the dueling club fell silent. “If I could have Mister Rosier and Mister Orris-Whitmoor up on the stand please?” The tiny Ravenclaw squeaked.
Laun squeezed Rose’s hand briefly and went up to meet Devon, who was grinning like a serpent with a rat in its mouth.
“Devon.” Laun nodded, and Rosier just sneered.
“You should just lay down.” Devon hissed as he bowed to Laun.
“And miss this?” Laun just kept smiling as he bowed back.
“Infucatus lux lucis!” Laun shouted suddenly, lunging forward slightly. From the tip of his now outstretched wand came wispy streams of colored light, mostly reds and yellows, melding a mixing together as the wound around Devon’s head every so often touching his skin, sparking him as if electrically charged.
The other boy’s eyes flew about as he was shocked again.
“Stupefy!” Laun shouted throwing his next spell.
The red jet of light shot toward Rosier. Devon rolled out of the way of the main blast of the spell, still clipping him and sending him sprawling hard onto the wood of the dueling platform. “Bombarda!” A silver blast of energy issued from Devon’s wand toward Laun.
The incantation was poorly aimed, thanks to the hard fall Rosier took, and Laun easily sidestepped it.
“Petrificus Totalis!” Laun said excitedly.
Devin, still on his backside, attempted to roll out of the way but with no luck as the spell hit him mid tuck.
There was another whistle, and Flitwick climbed the stairs to stand next to Laun. “There we have it. Mister Orris-Whitmoor is our winner.”
The room erupted into cheers with the noticeable exception of the Slytherins in the crowd.
Laun smiled and allowed himself to briefly enjoy the moment before going over to Devon and releasing the spell. He attempted to help the other Slytherin up but he violently batted his hand away.
“Just you remember, blood-traitor,” Devon spit, “No matter how much you want to be you’re not one of them,” He gestured to Laun’s friends, “And you are sure as hell not one of us!” Devon got up and followed after the other Slytherins who looked at him with disgust.
“Well, I gather you decided not to lay down?” Tom said laughing as he patted Laun on the back.
“But look at how happy you made them.” Rose waved a hand at the departing Slytherin crowd then flashed Laun an impish little grin. “Now they get to complain and plot and grumble. It’s exactly what they wanted.”
“It’s whit thare guid at,” Foozle replied with a wink to Ambrosia, “compleenin an grummling, Ah mean.”
“Yeah… darn Slytherins.” Laun mumbled to himself, though his friends didn’t hear.
Lando gave the dueling victor a thumbs up. “Brutal win, mate. Verra nice.” His grinning face looked between Laun and Tom a few times. “Ah reck the neist roond is gauntae be a nail biter.”
Laun looked at Tom with a small smile.