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Lockpor Conservation Centre

Chapter Text

Nine-year-old Harry Potter stared excitedly out the window of the bus as they rolled along a winding country road. His class was going on a field trip today, and the Dursleys had actually let him go! It was more of an unfortunate side effect, really but Harry didn't care. Since Harry and Dudley were in the same class, their teacher, Mrs. Bentley, had given only one permission slip for the two of them. Dudley practically threw a fit over wanting to go, so Vernon had no choice but to grudgingly allow it.

“Okay class,” Mrs. Bentley said from the front of the bus, disturbing Harry's train of thought. “We’ll be arriving in just a few minutes. We’re going to be covering a lot of ground outside today, so everyone make sure to stick with your buddy. We don’t want you getting lost!”

Harry shot a glance towards his buddy. Malcolm was one of Dudley’s gang; a tall, stocky boy with a rather large nose. He caught Harry’s glance and pulled a face at Harry, laughing obnoxiously. It was quite unfortunate that their buddies were chosen for them, Harry mused as he watched Piers attempt and fail to put gum in his partner’s hair from his seat behind her.

Sure enough, they were soon pulling in to a large fenced in area, passing under a wooden arch with the words Lockpor Conservation Centre carved in rough letters. The children were shepherded off the bus by their teacher, who told them to pair with their buddies before going over and shaking hands with a smiling girl who looked to be around sixteen. Harry did his best to keep his distance from Malcolm, who was currently trying to see how hard he could pinch Harry without the teacher noticing.

“Hello there!” The girl said, after Mrs. Bentley quieted them all down. “My name is Daisy, and I’m a volunteer here at Lockpor. I’d like to welcome you all. We’ve got quite a busy day ahead of us. First, we’ll head over to our welcome center where I’ll teach you a little bit about the history of this place, as well as the surrounding area. Afterwards, we’ll go on a bit of a nature hike, during which we’ll stop for lunch. Then we’ll visit some of the animals we keep on the property. Sound good?”

The kids made various sounds of confirmation.

“Excellent! Now, if you’ll just follow me, please. Lockpor was founded in 1984…”

While many of his classmates zoned out during the tour, Harry quite enjoyed it. He particularly liked looking at the models of some of the harder to spot animals that made their home on site. Daisy knew a lot about the area and its history, and she managed to make all the information interesting. She even slipped in a few jokes, which managed to keep the children from becoming completely disengaged.

The a path leading from the back of the centre brought them into the woods, where Daisy pointed out various kinds of plants and the occasional small animal, much to the childrens’ delight. They became more and more restless as it got closer to lunch, so Daisy made sure to bring extra attention to all the edible plants she could find, picking things here and there and handing them to one student or another to try. Harry was thrilled when she gave him a wild strawberry to eat. To the children's delight, they soon came to a large clearing where another staff member was already waiting with a bunch of packed lunches.

“Alright class, time for lunch! “Mrs. Bentley said, clapping her hands for attention. “Please make an orderly line. Once you finish, feel free to explore the clearing- but don’t go past the trees, alright? And stay near your buddies!”

Harry was unsurprised as students mostly ignored Mrs. Bentley’s last statement, shuffling around to visit with their friends. He gave a small sigh of relief as Malcolm went to join Dudley and his gang, the thought of food being a much higher priority than tormenting Harry.

After receiving his lunch, Harry went and found a soft patch of grass to sit on to eat. Knowing that he only had a short amount of time before Dudley would scarf down his lunch and become bored, Harry ate as quickly as possible, stuffing an apple into the pocket of his trousers to save for later. Sure enough, he soon felt something small and hard hitting the back of his head, and turning around, he saw Dudley and his gang snickering as they tried to hit him with bits of rock and dirt that they found on the ground. Harry quickly decided to take a walk around the clearing, hoping that the idea of exercise would discourage the boys from following.

He made his way over to near where they had entered the clearing in hopes of finding more strawberries. He was mildly successful after about ten minutes of searching to find one bush, and glancing around to make sure no one in charge was looking, grabbed a few to munch on. He noticed that many of the other children had started to explore as well, so he made his way further back to the less crowded areas of the clearing.

As he walked around trying to spot mice or other small animals near the edge of the forest, his attention was caught by the sound of what seemed to be an animal’s cry. Harry followed the faint sound to the forest edge, where the ground suddenly dropped off down a hill. Through the trees, he could make out what appeared to be a small black horse. It cried again as it stomped its leg, and Harry became suddenly aware of how skeletally thin the creature was. He wanted to help, but the hill was much too steep, and besides that, the last thing he needed was to get in trouble for leaving the clearing. Doing the only thing he could think of, Harry took out the apple from his lunch and tossed it down the hill, where it rolled to a stop right in front of the horse. It stopped crying in order to sniff the fruit, and after a few moments, it ate it in just a few bites. Harry smiled.

“Hey, Freak!”

Harry turned around to find Dudley and his gang looming behind him. “What is it, Dudley?”

“Is that some strawberries you’ve got there?”

Harry looked down into his hand at the last couple of strawberries he had picked. “Yeah, so?”

“Give ‘em here,” Dudley demanded, holding out a hand.

“But you just had lunch,” Harry tried.

“And I’m still hungry. So give ‘em here.”

Harry, in a decidedly stupid move, decided to throw them down the hill instead. He absently noted that the horse had disappeared while he had been distracted.

“Freak! You’ll pay for that!” Dudley growled, and Malcolm and Gordon laughed as Piers gave him a shove. Unfortunately, it was a bit too hard, and Harry went tumbling down the hill.

When he came to a stop, Harry was unsurprised to find himself aching all over. The worst was his head, and when he dazedly brought a hand to forehead, he found that it was slowly bleeding from a cut near his hairline. He took an inventory of the rest of his body and was glad to find that other than a few other cuts and what he was sure would be plenty of bruises in a few hours, he didn’t seem to be too terribly injured. He looked back up the hill, but found that Dudley and his gang had fled. How was he supposed to get back up?

Harry suddenly became aware of sound of footsteps crunching through the leaves behind him, which sped up suddenly as a voice shouted, “Oh dear!” Harry turned around to see an older man rushing quite agilely through the forest towards him. He was greying at the temples, but a shock of ginger curls remained on the top of his head, and wore heavy duty trousers with grass stains on the knees and a blue button up shirt, with a leather satchel slung across his shoulder. When he got to Harry he knelt to be eye level with him. “Are you quite alright?”

“Uh, I think so?” Harry said. He brought his hand up to run through his hair, only to wince at the reminder of his head wound. He swayed a bit at the pain, and the man reached out a hand to steady him as he checked him over. Surprise flashed in the man's eyes as he studied Harry's forehead, but only took out a clean handkerchief and dabbed some of the blood away from the already clotting injury. “Are you hurt anywhere else?”

“Not really. Nothing big, anyway. I’m a bit dizzy though,” Harry admitted.

The man stared into his eyes for a moment, then looked around the area, paying particular note to the foliage surrounding them. “You must be from a school group. Did you fall down the hill? Is this where you landed?”

“Yes sir.”

“Hmm. Okay. Unfortunately, I don’t have any first aid on me. Are you able to walk? I know a path to get us up the hill. We can alert your teacher, and then I can bring you to get patched up.”

“Okay.”

The path was just behind a group of trees, and it only took a minute before they reached the clearing. Harry spotted his teacher, who seemed to be searching around. Probably for him. Great. “By the way,” the man said as they walked into the clearing. “I don’t think I introduced myself. My name is-”

“Mr. Scamander!”

“Harry!”

Daisy came rushing towards them, followed closely behind by Mrs. Bentley and the rest of the class. The older woman wore an expression somewhere between concerned and crossed as she approached the two. “Harry Potter! Are you alright? What have I told you about following directions!”

“Sorry, ma’am,” Harry mumbled, looking at his shoes as another wave of dizziness hit him. It would be a futile effort to try to explain what really happened.

“I’m so sorry sir, Harry’s quite the troublemaker. I’m sorry you had to go out of your way to-“

“It wasn’t any trouble,” Mr. Scamander cut in. “Actually, I think Harry might have accidentally tripped on a stone and fallen down the hill. My apologies for that. We try to keep the area clear, but sometimes these things are missed.”

“Ah, yes, of course. Well, thank you for bringing him back. I suppose we'll all just head back to the visitors centre to see to his injuries.”

The class groaned in disappointment.

“Actually, I was just on my way there to drop off some samples. I’d be happy to take him with me so that you can stay with your class on the tour.”

“Well, that would be very much appreciated.” Mrs. Bentley said.

“We have a bit more walking to do, but once we get to the animal pens there will be more staff around, and I’d be happy to send someone back with you to check on Harry while we watch the rest of the children,” Daisy added.

“That sounds like a good idea. Thank you Daisy, Mr. Scamander.”

Mr. Scamander smiled. “Not a problem at all, ma’am. And thank you for keeping on top of everything, Daisy, you’re doing a great job.”

Daisy blushed. “Thank you, Mr. Scamander.”

Once Daisy had led the rest of the group out of the clearing and onto the rest of the hike, Mr. Scamander turned towards Harry. “Well. As I started saying before, my name is Newt Scamander. And I believe I caught that your name is Harry?”

“Harry Potter, sir.”

“Well, Harry Potter, it’s very nice to meet you.”

"You too, Mr. Scamander."

Newt held out his hand to the boy. “Shall we?”