The next morning, Spike was ready. She’d practiced a couple of new spells on her minions last night (who thought magic was funny when you were prepared for the effects). She waited as the table cleared and the students left for class. Hecuba hung back, clearly hoping that the Coveted Coven would invite her to walk with them to Potions. Spike pretended to relace her boot, wand tucked in her hair, where it would be handy to grab. As Narcissa tossed her hair in preparation for the exit, she grabbed her wand. Wait for it, wait for it . . . now! “Podes lentesco!” she hissed, and Hecuba’s feet stuck fast to the floor.
Spike hurried from the hall, the last person to leave save for Hecuba, who clearly couldn’t. The warning bell chimed.
“You can’t--! Wait!”
At the door, she stopped and turned. “You’re right. I can’t wait. Snape is pretty strict about attendance. Even if he’s not the actual teacher anymore, he still looks over the list of chronic tardies. I believe your name is right up there, isn’t it?”
“You can’t leave me like this!” Shock and outrage were vying for dominance.
Spike pretended to think it over. “Right again. I can’t do that. Someone might hear and come free you before dinner. Langlock!” Hecuba’s eyes widened as her mouth vanished. “Much better.”
Spike smiled even as she was assigned Detention washing glassware for being tardy. It was worth it. Hecuba would be shoveling out the stables for a month once all the teachers whose classes she missed were done with her.
The next day, Hecuba tried casting the new spell. “Podes lentesco!” she cried gleefully, and Munificent stopped dead, dropping her pumpkin juice and spattering the draggled hem of her third-best robes. She tried to join in the laughter, but it was a pallid thing. Spike shook her head. There’s only so much you can do; at some point, they all have to live their own lives.
“Podes lentesco!” Hecuba’s wand was pointed at Spike, to no effect. “Podes lentesco!” Spike kept walking, not even slowed by the spell. Hecuba leaped in front of her, pointed directly at her feet and tried a third time. “Podes lentesco!”
Spike twitched the hem of her robe aside to display her new socks.
“For every curse, there’s a countercurse. Pays to learn them. Langlock!” Hecuba was once again silenced. Without wandless magic, there was no way she’d get out of that unless she went to the Infirmary again.
Spike strolled away, heading up the stairs to the Forest, humming the old Latin song Gausis Podes. “Happy Feet,” to the Muggle world.