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Weirdward

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Thankfully, the rest of the ride to Hogwarts went over alright. Danny – and Sam and Tucker – took note of Harry’s disturbance at seeing the Thestrals that pulled the carriages. Did people not know they existed, that they pulled the carts? But they were too far away to involve themselves – they had planned to grab a cart of their own.

Slowly but surely the castle came into view, and the three of them grinned at each other. While they had been in Hogwarts earlier, they hadn’t had a chance to see it, not really. Now, however, they could see the enormous structure. Towers spiked from the building like thorns, dark even against the dimming sky, with the occasional window lit up bright. A massive lake, black as the coming night, laid in front of it, shimmering in the fading light.

The carriages came to a halt in front of the castle, stone steps leading up to giant oak doors. Danny, Sam, and Tucker got out, following the other students into the castle. They couldn’t see the others from Grimmauld Place – maybe they were inside already?

It was almost impossible to make out the Entrance Hall with all the students that rushed through it. Torches flared, lighting up the room, but the mass of teens blocked out the rest of the room. Team Phantom just let themselves be pulled with the crowd towards the double doors on the right, figuring that that was where they were expected to go as well.

Really, couldn’t anybody have told them what was coming? Some kind of planning, maybe? The rules, at least?

They followed the mass of people through the doors and then came to a complete halt.

Four long tables stood in the hall, all filling up with students – all color-coordinated. Sorted by houses, apparently. Another fifth table was set along the far wall, with teachers – or staff – sitting behind it. There were high windows set in the walls, displaying the dark skies outside. Candles floated in midair all along the tables, and silver Wizarding ghosts glided around as well.

Most notable, however, was the enchanted ceiling above them. Currently it was starless, a pure black. But it clearly matched the skies outside, and immediately Danny could imagine it on a brighter day – the stars sprawled above them.

“D’you I could learn how to do that?” he asked, quiet in awe.

“Stay and find out,” Tucker suggested, glancing around the room. He frowned, seemingly disappointed. “Looks like the tables are sorted by houses, so we’re going to have to split up.”

“And I don’t think we’ll get a chance to reconvene after dinner either, not if we want to figure out where the common rooms are. And I bet they’re not together.”

“No, I bet they’re not,” Danny agreed, dragging his eyes from the ceiling to look at his two friends. “Meet tomorrow when we get out schedules so we can see what classes we share?”

“Sounds good.” Tucker nodded, then split towards one of the closer tables. All along it, the students wore clothes lined in blue and bronze, just like Tucker.

“See you tomorrow, Danny.” Sam shot him a smile. “And don’t get in trouble, alright?”

“Me? Never.” He smiled back and watched as she made her way to one of the far tables, students dressed in red and gold. Then with a sigh he turned to the table on the other side of the room. Green and silver – Slytherin, just like him. The evil house, supposedly.

He trudged towards it, looking over the crowd. They seemed to sit without much organization – groups of friends, most likely. Great. Picking an empty spot, Danny sat down heavily, hoping he wouldn’t draw too much attention to himself.

“Who’re you supposed to be?” a haughty voice asked, and Danny looked up from the table he’d been staring at. A boy of his age was staring at him, gray eyes cold but sharp. His white-blond hair was sleek, swept into a neat model.

He looked like a stuck-up prick, honestly. Not the kind of person that Danny would like. But it wouldn’t do to make enemies on his first day, so he shot the boy a hesitant grin and introduced himself.

“I’m Danny Fenton. I’m, uh, new here. Nice to meet you.”

The boy nodded, a single inclination of his head. “American, hm? Are you familiar with British Wizarding families at all?”

“No,” Danny admitted easily, his grin turning a little more awkward. He wished the other would at least give his name – thinking of him as just ‘the boy’ was getting annoying fast, and he didn’t want to come up with a nickname if it wasn’t necessary – because it would stick and he would accidentally use it out loud. “I’m pretty new to the UK, to be honest. Got an offer to attend Hogwarts and didn’t want to turn it down – heard good things about this school.”

“Spoken like a true Slytherin,” the boy agreed, somehow looking both pleased and disgruntled. From a well-known family, Danny guessed, and displeased that Danny hadn’t known him. It was a lot like Sam’s parents whenever people didn’t recognize them.

Finally he offered a hand though. “I’m Draco Malfoy, although you clearly haven’t heard of my family as an American.” Then waved in the direction of four other students their age – two sizable boys, and two girls. “These are Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle, Millicent Bulstrode, and Pansy Parkinson.”

They nodded their acknowledgments, but seemed more interested in continuing their own conversation. All four kept throwing glances in their direction, however, like they were keeping an eye on Draco. The boys especially, reminding Danny of some sort of bodyguards. Strange.

“Oh, well, um. Nice to meet all of you, then.”

Before he could embarrass himself further, the doors to the Hall swung open again. In the opening stood Professor McGonagall, who Danny recognized from meetings at the Order, and a bunch of scared-looking kids. First Years, maybe? Oh, right. The sorting business was a thing that happened. That made sense.

As the buzz of conversation faded away, the new students lined up in front of the staff table. McGonagall placed a stool in front of them, carefully, and stepped back. The ragged looking hat, which Danny recognized from when he, Sam, and Tucker had been sorted, sat on the stool.

Then the rip in its brim opened like a mouth and it burst into song. Danny made a face, and Draco, in front of him, laughed at his surprised expression.

In times of old when I was new
and Hogwarts barely started
the founders of our noble school
thought never to be parted:
united by a common goal
they had the selfsame yearning,
to make the world’s best magic school
and pass along their learning.

Together we will build and teach!’
the four good friends decided
and never did they dream that they
might some day be divided,
for were there such friends anywhere
as Slytherin and Gryffindor?
Unless it was the second pair
of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw?

So how could it have gone so wrong?
How could such friendships fail?
Why, I was there and so can tell
the whole sad, sorry tale.

Said Slytherin, ‘We’ll teach just those
whose ancestry is purest.’
Said Ravenclaw, ‘We’ll teach those whose
intelligence is surest.’
Said Gryffindor, ‘We’ll teach all those
with brave deeds to their name.’
Said Hufflepuff, ‘I’ll teach the lot,
and treat them just the same.’

These differences caused little strife
when they first came to light,
for each of the four founders had
a house in which they might
take only those they wanted, so,
for instance, Slytherin
took only pure-blood wizards
of great cunning, just like him,
and only those of sharpest mind
were taught by Ravenclaw
while the bravest and boldest
went to daring Gryffindor.
Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest,
and taught them all she knew,
thus the houses and their founders
retained friendships firm and true.

So Hogwarts worked in harmony
for several happy years,
but then discord crept among us
feeding on our faults and fears.

The houses that, like pillars four,
had once held up our school,
now turned upon each other and,
divided, sought to rule.

And for a while it seemed the school
must meet an early end,
what with dueling and with fighting
and the clash of friend on friend
and at least there came a morning
when old Slytherin departed
and though the fighting then died out
he left us quite downhearted.

And never since the founders four
where whittled down to three
have the houses been united
as they once were meant to be.

And you all know the score:
I sort you into houses
because that is what I’m for,
but this year I’ll go further,
listen closely to my song:
though condemned I am to split you
still I worry that it’s wrong.

Though I must fulfill my duty
and must quarter every year
still I wonder whether sorting
may not bring the end I fear.

Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
the warning history shows,
for our Hogwarts is in danger
from external, deadly foes
and we must unite inside her
or we’ll crumble from within
I have told you, I have warned you…

Let the sorting now begin.”

As it settled down again, applause broke out across the room. But Danny could hear muttering and whispers as well, and he frowned and glanced over at Draco. “Does it… always do that?”

“The Hat always sings before the sorting, yes.” But Draco’s brow was creased, and he looked vaguely unhappy. “But I cannot say that I’ve ever heard it speak of anything besides the qualities of the various houses.”

Danny wondered why it had deviated now. Was it because of Voldemort? Or was it, somehow, because of him and Sam and Tucker? Either way, it was a good lesson; united, the school would be strong. He’d done it back at Casper High as well, once. When Youngblood and Ember had kidnapped all the adults, he had led all his classmates into a fight to bring them back.

Of course, he had immediately lost all respect he might’ve gained in the process when he bailed halfway through to help as Phantom, but still. He couldn’t have done it without the others – and the divided nature of the houses already seemed troublesome to him. And not just because it had separated him from Sam and Tucker.

The muttering came to an abrupt halt as Professor McGonagall sent a scorching look at the students. Then she lowered her eyes to the long piece of parchment in her hands and called out the first name.

“Abercrombie, Euan.”

A terrified-looking boy stumbled towards the stool and put the hat on his head. The hat ended up sorting him into Gryffindor (with a loud shout – apparently that had remained the same from the private sorting he had done), much to the general disgruntlement of the Slytherins around Danny.

One by one the first-years were sorted as Danny grew increasingly impatient. He was getting really hungry, and the sorting still seemed wrong to him. He could understand grouping people based on their talents and strengths, but the way they were kept apart and encouraged to be rivals… He didn’t like it.

Then finally the last student was sorted, and McGonagall picked up the Hat and the stool and marched away. Professor Dumbledore rose to his feet, having previous sat on a high-backed golden chair at the center of the staff table.

“To our newcomers,” Dumbledore said, his voice strong and ringing and his arms stretched wide, a beaming smile on his lips. “Welcome! To our old hands – welcome back! There is a time for speech-making, but this is not it. Tuck in!”

The crowd of students laughed appreciatively and broke out in applause as Dumbledore sat down again. Then food appeared out of nowhere, across all tables. Bread and sauces and dishes of vegetables and who-knew what else was piled onto the table in front of Danny, and he eyed it appreciatively.

“Dig in,” Draco encouraged, shoveling food onto his own plate with the kind of vigor only starving teenagers had. “There’ll be more speeches after.”

Danny nodded, following the example his fellow Slytherins set, and dug in. Most of the food he didn’t immediately recognize – all British in origin, he assumed – but if he could survive ectoplasm-contaminated food then this wouldn’t kill him either.

As more and more students finished eating, the noise level started rising again. Danny continued stuffing his face longer than most others – in part thanks to his higher metabolism, and in part to avoid awkward conversations with the other students. But then the talking ceased and the food cleared away, and when Danny turned around, he saw that Dumbledore had stood up once again.

“Well, now that we are all digesting another magnificent feast, I beg a few moments of your attention for the usual start-of-term notices.” He gazed around the room, holding everyone’s attention without flaw. “First-years ought to know that the Forest on the grounds is out-of-bounds to the students – and a few older students ought to know by now, too.” Well, that was a good thing to know. Danny wondered why, though. What could they possibly hide in a forest that they didn’t want students to discover, but that wouldn’t endanger them if they didn’t seek it out?

“Mr. Filch, the caretaker, has asked me, for what he tells me is the four-hundred-and-sixty-second time, to remind you all that magic is not permitted in the corridors between classes, nor are a number of other things, all of which can be checked on the extensive list now fastened to Mr. Filch’s office door.” Another good thing to know. No magic in the halls? It made sense, he guessed, but he wondered if there were places where they were allowed to practice magic without supervision. Especially somewhere not limited by houses, so he and Sam and Tucker could train together.

He would probably have to explore the castle as Phantom later. They would need a secret spot anyway, so he could work on his ghost powers as well.

“We have had two changes in staffing this year,” Dumbledore continued, steadfast. “We are very pleased to welcome back Professor Grubbly-Plank, who will be taking Care of Magical Creatures lessons; we are also delighted to introduce Professor Umbridge, our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.”

There was a round of polite but fairly unenthusiastic applause. “Finally got rid of that old dunce Hagrid,” Draco muttered under his breath, but Danny didn’t think he had expected anyone to hear it. It reminded him slightly of the way Vlad would talk about his dad, which was rather discomforting.

“Tryouts for the house Quidditch teams will take place on the--”

He broke off, looking at Professor Umbridge, who had stood up. She cleared her throat with a rather forced “Hem, hem,” clearly intending to make a speech of her own.

Dumbledore looked taken aback, but only for a moment, and sat down. The other teachers weren’t nearly as adept at hiding their surprise, which told Danny that this was not something that normally happened.

“Thank you, Headmaster,” she started, “for those kind words of welcome.”

Her voice was high-pitched, breathy and little-girlish in a forced way, and Danny hated it. She was clearly putting on a show, pretending to be some nice angelic person, and it reminded him too much of Spectra to be comfortable with. That, and her fluffy pink cardigan was awful – Sam must be 3 seconds away from ripping it off and burning it.

Umbridge cleared her throat again – another “hem, hem” – and then spoke again.

“Well, it is lovely to be back at Hogwarts, I must say!” She smiled, her teeth surprisingly pointed for a human. Danny probed with his magic sense, but nope, she was just an ordinary witch. Not a powerful one, either. “And to see such happy little faces looking up at me!”

Was she really the best choice for a Defense teacher? Her magic wasn’t very strong, and she didn’t look like a capable fighter. And DADA was one of the main subjects that the three of them had been looking forward to – the most useful one for them.

“I am very much looking forward to getting to know you all and I’m sure we’ll be very good friends!” She cleared her throat again, but when she continued her tone had gotten more serious. More businesslike, with a dull learned-by-heart sound to them.

“The Ministry of Magic has always considered education of young witches and wizards to be of vital importance. The rare gifts with which you were born,” the corner of Danny’s mouth twitched up, wryly, “may come to nothing if not nurtured and honed by careful instruction. The ancient skills unique to the wizarding community must be passed down the generations lest we lose them forever. The treasure trove of magical knowledge amassed by our ancestors must be guarded, replenished and polished by those who have been called to the noble profession of teaching.”

Professor Umbridge paused to make a little bow to her fellow staff members, and Danny’s face fell a little. This sounded bad. The Ministry, like most magical institutions, was very strict and against hybrids like himself. But DADA would be one of his riskier subjects, with the practical use of magic.

Umbridge gave another “hem, hem” and continued speaking before he could think too much about it. He made a mental note to talk about this later with Sam and Tucker, however, if he could find their common rooms.

“Every headmaster and headmistress of Hogwarts has brought something new to the weighty task of governing this historic school, and that is as it should be, for without progress there will be stagnation and decay. There again, progress for progress’s sake must be discouraged, for our tried and tested traditions often require no tinkering. A balance, then, between old and new, between permanence and change, between tradition and innovation…”

The crowd started getting louder, students putting their heads together to whisper and giggle. Danny tried to focus on the speech – he had to determine how much of a threat Umbridge was – but he still missed out on a bit.

“…because some changes will be for the better, while others will come, in the fullness of time, to be recognized as errors of judgment. Meanwhile, some old habits will be retained, and rightly so, whereas others, outmoded and outworn, must be abandoned. Let us move forward, then, into a new era of openness, effectiveness and accountability, intent on preserving what ought to be preserved, perfecting what needs to be perfected, and pruning wherever we find practices that ought to be prohibited.”

She sat down, and Dumbledore clapped, as did some of the other staff members. A few students joined in, although Danny only did because he saw some of the others at the table do the same and he didn’t want to stand out.

“Thank you very much, Professor Umbridge,” Dumbledore said, having stood up again. “That was most illuminating.” He bowed to her, briefly. “Now, as I was saying, Quidditch tryouts will be held…”

“Very well,” Draco said, after a moment longer. “Pansy and I have to go do our Prefect duties, but Crabbe and Goyle can show you our common room, Danny.”

Danny blinked, surprised at being addressed. “Oh, um. Thanks.” He looked over at the boys in question, neither of which seemed very enthused about Draco forcing him on them. Nonetheless the boy swept off, followed by one of the two girls. The other glanced over at him, then Crabbe and Goyle, and left as well.

Crabbe and Goyle stood up, and Danny scrambled to follow them. “We’re in the Dungeons,” the one with the bowl-like haircut started explaining. “There’s a password as well, so no other houses can get in.”

“Is that an actual rule or something?” Danny asked as he followed the two out of the dinner hall. “What if you want to talk with people from other houses?”

The other boy snorted, his small eyes crinkling. “Why would you ever need to talk with anyone from another house? Especially as a Slytherin, you will find no friends among the others, and definitely none that will support you like your own house.”

That, Danny highly doubted. After all, he already had Sam and Tucker, and he was sure he could count on at least some of the other Gryffindor teens he had spent the summer with. “What about family?” he asked instead. “Or do all family members always get sorted into the same house?”

The boys shared an uncertain glance. “I… don’t know,” the first boy finally admitted, hesitantly. “What do you think, Greg?”

Goyle hummed. “I think they still don’t visit each other in the common rooms, but usually families all go in the same house, anyway. Even if they don’t, they usually only meet in general areas. Or maybe they just don’t talk at all, throughout the school year.” He shrugged.

“That’s… That seems weird, I dunno.” Danny grimaced. He couldn’t imagine not talking to his friends, just because they had been sorted into different houses. “But there is no real rule against it, it just never happens?”

Another shrug from Goyle. “We’re warned not to, but I’m not sure if there’s an actual rule against it. Right, Vince?”

“Exactly.” The two boys started leading him down a staircase and into the Dungeons. “Why’re you asking though?”

Well, he didn’t even really have to lie for this one. “Just wondering about the rules,” Danny said. “No one really told me anything about how things go around here. Just been handed the material for the past four years to make sure I was caught up, got a list of everything I had to buy, and where to get on the train. And a short lesson in the qualities of the houses when I got sorted.”

“Oh yeah,” Crabbe said, his eyes lighting up in realization. “You must’ve gotten sorted separately. Why’re you a transfer anyway?”

“Was offered a chance to receive schooling here at Hogwarts.” Danny kept an eye on the two boys while also watching the area around him. The dungeon corridors were mostly empty, barren stone walls. “And it’s a school well-known for its high-quality education, so.”

Crabbe nodded approvingly, then suddenly both of them came to a stop.

“We’re here,” he explained, gesturing at a seemingly ordinary wall. “You just need to give the password, which changes every fortnight. The new ones gets posted on the noticeboard, so make sure to keep an eye on that. And, of course, don’t tell anyone outside the house. Slytherin only.”

They unlocked the passageway, and the three of them walked in to the common room itself. It was dungeon-like, which wasn’t entirely surprising, with greenish lamps and chairs. The green lighting was somewhat odd, but it actually reminded Danny not only of the Ghost Zone, but also of the ectoplasm many of his parents’ inventions ran on.

Despite being deep underground, windows were set in the walls. Danny was about to question what they looked out on when a giant squid swept by, leading him to realize that this must be the lake he had seen when he’d arrived.

There were leather sofas scattered all around the room, low-backed and black in color, which made Danny glad that Sam couldn’t see it – and hope that the Gryffindor common room wasn’t similar in design.

“The dormitories are off to either side of the common room.” Crabbe pointed towards one of the walls, where there was indeed a door hidden. “Those are the boys’ dormitories, and the girls are on the other side. We use the same ones every year, so I’m not sure where you ended up. Your bags’ll be there, though, since they’re transported from the Express to your bed.”

“Really? That’s convenient.” Danny stretched, badly hiding a – fake – yawn. “I’ll go look for my bed, then. Thanks for showing me the way guys, I really appreciate it.”

Crabbe and Goyle both nodded in acknowledgment, then wandered further into the common room. Danny left to find his dormitory, just like he’d said, even if not for the same reason. He was hoping to get a quick look at Hogwarts as Phantom tonight, and he really hadn’t counted on having to share a room.

But he had to check on the local ghosts. The exact knowledge Wizarding ghosts held differed, and he couldn’t risk getting outed just because he hadn’t expected any of them to know about him being a half-ghost.

Danny ended up finding his stuff in a room with four unoccupied beds, for which he was pretty glad. Some of the other rooms had already had students in them, which was not only awkward, but it also meant he didn’t have privacy while checking on his stuff.

The room itself was much like the common room, made with cold stone and decorated with Slytherin crests. There were four ancient four-posters with green silk hangings, each flanked by windows. Briefly, Danny worried about this – would the lapping of the lake water keep him up? But there was nothing to be done about it, anyway.

His trunk sat at the foot of his bed, with the rest of his stuff on top of it. A dresser sat next to it, however, so he could put it away when he was done with it. Overall, not too bad – definitely no worse than the Order headquarters he’d been in all summer.

As much as Danny had wanted to leave as Phantom, he ended up waiting for the boys he shared his dorm with. He figured that they would want to meet him, and he didn’t want to risk them finding him missing.

The first that entered the room, not long after Danny, had been a tall dark-skinned boy with high cheekbones and long, slanting eyes. He looked at Danny with a rather judgmental expression. After a few long moments, he gave a short nod.

“I’m Blaise Zambini,” he said, short and dismissive. Then he turned to his own stuff and stopped paying attention to Danny.

“Nice to meet you,” Danny muttered in response, but the boy gave no indication that he’d heard. At least he wasn’t directly dismissive, he supposed.

After that came another tall boy, this one thin and stringy. Unlike Blaise, however, this one actually came up to Danny to introduce himself.

“I’m Theodore Nott. Saw you at dinner earlier – you’re some sort of transfer student, right?”

“Uh, yeah.” Danny accepted Theodore’s hand and shook it. “I’m Danny Fenton, nice to meet you.”

“You as well,” Theodore said before he, too, turned to his own bed.

Wow. Were all his dorm mates reclusive loners? That would be really convenient, actually. Less of a chance of them noticing if he snuck out, or of them getting curious or worried and looking for him.

The last of his dorm mates came into the room when Danny had almost nodded off waiting. The boy, dark skinned like Blaise but not particularly tall, gave him a single short nod.

“Harper,” he said, before promptly throwing himself on his own bed and closing the curtain around it.

Honestly, had he wasted so much time waiting just for that? Disappointing. At least none of them seemed outright mean – Danny didn’t know what he would’ve done if he had to share a room with someone like Dash for a whole year.

And they likely wouldn’t come bother him, so he could go and explore the castle without worrying. He closed the curtain around his bed, lying down flat. Certain that they could barely tell if he was in there, he turned invisible and shifted to Phantom.

There was no movement, no indication that anyone had noticed anything off. Grinning, Danny zipped off, turning intangible along the way.

Once he was in the hallways proper he dropped both again, now floating aimlessly as Phantom. The first ghost he encountered was unexpected. Rather than entirely silver in color, this one was dressed in outlandish – and bright – clothes. When he saw Danny he gasped, zipping off without a word.

“That was weird,” Danny muttered to himself. Then his ghost sense went off again – the weak puff of a Wizarding ghost – and he whirled around to face another ghost.

“Ah!” the ghost exclaimed, startled so badly that his head made a questionable twist on his neck. “You startled me, young man.”

“Sorry.” Danny held up his hands, unsure of how to introduce himself. “I’m, uh, new to the school. I figured I should go and introduce myself to the local ghosts while I was here.”

The other ghost nodded, his head jiggling awkwardly. “Yes, yes. I must say, you are very polite for a poltergeist.”

“I’m, uh, not a poltergeist.” Danny rubbed the back of his neck with a sheepish smile. “I’m a different type of ghost altogether. A Ghost Zone resident is how most Wizarding ghosts refer to us, I think.”

“Oh.” The ghost’s eyes widened in understanding – and mild fright. “Yes, I see. But what are you doing here, then?”

“I was invited by your Headmaster,” Danny explained with a shrug. Then he offered his hand to the ghost, “Oh, I forgot to introduce myself, sorry. My name is Phantom.”

Eyes widening even further, the other ghost eagerly accepted the offered hand. “Sir Phantom! Yes, we’ve heard about you! I am Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington.”

“You have?” His hand now released, Danny frowned at the other ghost. “I wasn’t aware that my reputation was this widely spread.”

“We haven’t heard much,” Sir Nicholas admitted with a shrug. “Only that you defeated the tyrannical King of all Ghosts, Pariah Dark.”

“And that’s all?” Danny asked, more insistent. It sounded like they didn’t know about his human form, but still. Better be safe than sorry. “Nothing else, about my hometown or anything?”

“No, although I’m sure many of us would enjoy hearing about that.” Sir Nicholas smiled pleasantly. “Nothing you don’t want, of course, Phantom.”

“I’ll… think about it.” He looked back to where he had seen the poltergeist before. “Who was that earlier, anyway? The poltergeist?”

“Oh, Peeves?” Sir Nicholas scoffed, clearly unhappy. “He’s been here since the founding of Hogwarts, unfortunately. He might be the most mischievous poltergeist in British history. We’ve tried kicking him out of the castle, but not all the ghosts agree.”

“Is he such a problem?”

Sir Nicholas nodded. “Unfortunately, yes. He’s a prankster, but he doesn’t seem to understand that his pranks regularly endanger the students. And we, the ghosts, are powerless to stop him.”

Before he could really think about it, Danny offered, “Want me to keep an eye on him? Since I’ll be around anyway?”

“Oh!” Sir Nicholas clapped his hands together, seemingly pleased. “Yes, that would be very nice, Phantom. I’m sure I’m speaking for all the ghosts of Hogwarts when I say that we would very much appreciate that.”

“It’s what I do.” Danny shrugged. “Protect people from potentially dangerous ghosts, that is.”

“Well, thank you, regardless.” Sir Nicholas clapped him on the shoulder. “I will tell the others that you’ve joined us, then. Only I ask you, if you plan on flying about a lot, to try and stay intangible.”

“So I look like a regular Wizarding ghost?” Danny asked, then he nodded. “Yeah, I can do that.”

“Very good, very good. I must return to my patrol. Have a nice night, Phantom.”

“You too, Sir Nicholas.” Danny gave a short duck as a bow, and the ghost returned the favor.

Looked like he had accidentally acquired another goal here at Hogwarts. Ah well.