“All right chaps, today I have a special treat for you,” Professor Sprout said, briskly striding into Greenhouse Five. Though this was a seventh-year class, they’d had only a handful of lessons in there, as it contained rare, highly dangerous plants used for Professor Sprout’s personal research.
“This should be good, Padfoot. I don’t think I’d have been able to stand another lesson of trying to distinguish between mooncalf and dragon dung,” James said cheerfully, leading the class inside.
“I guess.” Sirius shrugged. He wasn’t even in the mood for the stupid lesson at all. He’d had another fight with Regulus the previous night and couldn’t sleep; apparently his dear old mother had decided that disowning him didn’t mean she couldn’t recruit Reg to try and change his mind. As much as he hated the lot of them, hexing his brother didn’t really make him feel better.
Even in his gloomy, sleep-deprived state however, he still managed a double-take when they entered the greenhouse. Three massive Venomous Tentacula plants loomed in the centre row, one for every pair. The class lingered at the door, not willing to approach them.
Professor Sprout went on to explain the many properties of the Tentacula, but Sirius wasn’t paying too much attention.
“The Tentacula has many thick, spiky vines which it uses to grab living prey, and once it has a firm grip, it will expel highly poisonous venom, paralysing its prey. We were extremely lucky to obtain these three, and I thought that today, we can re-plant them and help them adjust to their new habitat. You must exercise extreme care and a high level of alertness. You may use a Severing Charm in case of an attack.
“Please move it to one of the three prepared sites along the wall, keeping it as far away from the other plants in the process, as they can get very competitive. You’ll need to re-plant it and add a fresh layer of fertiliser, and then we’ll go to work on feeding them.” She nodded towards a big sack of something bloody in the corner.
The class slowly took up their positions and got to work.
“Ouch!” Sirius looked around furiously to find James grinning behind him. “Get a move on, Sirius. Sloth is a sin, you know.”
Reaching the last plant in the row, James said, “Okay, you levitate and I’ll make the hole in the new pot.”
“Right. Wingardium Leviosa.
” Sirius thought that, on any other day, this would have been a lesson he’d enjoy, but at the moment he could only idly wonder if he could possibly send one to his mother for Christmas.
“Sirius! SIRIUS, LOOK OUT!”
Shaking off his daze, Sirius only then realised that his wand had veered to the left, causing his Tentacula to collide with the next one over. Somehow, even with the sounds of the plants fiercely ripping at each other and the girls’ high-pitched squeals, he still managed to hear Professor Sprout’s furious scream.