Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Hindsight9 Reviews
School starts, trouble follows
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Severus wondered if Wills timed his letter with malicious intent. Severus always paid Wills for the information he received and that forced him, this time, to make the trip to Gringotts when the Alley was packed with brats and their parents.
Severus reflected on the information;
Malfoy had one of his gatherings. He called it a father-son banquet this time and all the sons of Hogwarts age were invited. I am very glad my children are still too young. I don't doubt you will have to deal with some nightmares in the Slytherin dorms this year as the entertainment was of the special kind Malfoy enjoys.
Malfoy is planning a trip the middle of September, he has heard of some dark artifact in Eastern Europe and was bragging that he intended to acquire it as an offering to the Dark Lord upon His return.
I personally have enjoyed the past decade in relative peace. If my fortunes were not tied so tightly to Malfoy's I believe I would cease attending his gatherings.
Once the boys had gone and Malfoy was in his cups he was bemoaning the fact that he thought you were going to usurp his place at the Lords right hand. Do you have any idea what he was going on about? The rest seemed just as confused as I.
Macnair was bragging that he'd made a new friend in the Ministry a woman by the name of Edgecombe in the floo office. She is in need of money and Macnair offered to vouch for her to Malfoy. They were gleefully speculating on how far she might go to secure her loan or possibly an outright gift.
I have acquired several texts that you may be interested in. I've enclosed the list and cost of each.
So a trip to the bank to pay for dark arts potion books and information had to happen on the busiest shopping day of the year.
A short time later Severus felt that the day hadn't been totally wasted. He'd paused just outside of Flourish and Blotts where a crowd had gathered and glanced at the window where the sign proclaimed a Gilderoy Lockhart book signing and past the sign into the shop just in time to see Arthur Weasley fling himself at Lucius Malfoy and dozens of books go flying in the tangle of arms and legs. A chuckle from beside him announced the presence of Sirius Black watching as Hagrid waded in and separated the fighting pair. They exchanged amused looks as Malfoy, sporting a black eye, stalked from the bookstore.
"Glad he didn't notice me," said Black, "he's been trying to invite me over for a 'family' gathering so he can meet Harry. I don't really want anything to do with him." He eyed Severus for a moment, "He seems to think I owe him something for supporting my petition for Harry's guardianship. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you Snape?"
Severus raised one eyebrow and smirked at Black, "I might. Remind me and I'll tell you the story the next time I'm over. You may find it amusing."
"Sirius," said Harry coming up to them. "Mr. Weasley got into a fight with Draco Malfoy's dad; he said nasty things about the Weasleys. Oh hello, Professor, how are you today?"
"Quite well Mr. Potter, if you'll excuse me I must be on my way," he said with a slight tilt of his head as he started for the bank once more.
Severus swept into the first potions class of the year, Slytherin and Gryffindor second years to find four of his students missing. As he frowned the four came through the door and the Slytherins' laughter rang in the classroom.
Severus scowled at the four, slime covered Gryffindors, "Potter, Longbottom, Weasley and Granger, so glad you could join us. Is this some new fashion statement?" he inquired.
"No sir, Peeves delayed us and someone must have given him water balloons that he filled with something disgusting," said Harry factually.
Severus sniffed and whipped out his wand vanishing the slime and casting a freshing charm. "Two points from each of you for being late now take your seats so that we may get started."
"Come," called Severus when a knock came on his office door. He supposed that it was a Prefect come to tell him of a weepy first year with homesickness but was surprised when Marcus Flint, Captain of the Quidditch team, entered with the rest of the remaining previous year's team. "Gentlemen?"
"Excuse me, sir, but we wanted to ask about Quidditch," said Flint. Severus frowned as he noticed how pale Higgs was and said, "Go on."
"Well, sir, Malfoy's been bragging that his Father bought new brooms for the team, he told Higgs that he'd be taking his spot at seeker this year. When I told him to shut up he, Malfoy, said that I need to listen to him or I might find my spot being replaced as well," said Flint with some anger.
"So you came to find out from me if what Mr. Malfoy claims is true," said Severus with a nod. The group nodded and Flint said, "Yes, sir."
"Good, it is true that we have seven new Nimbus 2001 brooms for use by the Slytherin quidditch team. Mr. Lucius Malfoy is our benefactor however my agreement was for open Quidditch trials, not giving young Malfoy a place on the team. What I'd like it to throw open the try-outs house wide so we may field the best team this year. I see no need to throw away an advantage of top of the line brooms on mediocre players." Flint looked eager and the rest of the boys were nodding as well, so he continued. "If we have enough it may be worthwhile to field a full reserve squad as well to aid in practice and give upcoming younger players some experience before they are needed."
"I understand Professor, thank you," said Flint.
"As for young Malfoy, I'm afraid that you will have to deal with his mouth, Mr. Flint. Perhaps the seventh year Prefects will aid you in this endeavor. He needs to learn his place after all," said Severus with a small smirk.
"Sir isn't Mr. Malfoy on the Board of Governors?" inquired Flint in surprise.
"He is," agreed Severus, "as are the parent or grandparent of two Ravenclaws, three Hufflepuffs, a Gryffindor and two other Slytherins." He saw the look of comprehension cross Flint's face and nodded. "If that's all gentlemen?"
As they murmured their thanks and left, Severus sat back in satisfaction if – when Lucius complained he'd simply explain that Draco had no tact. A pitiful lack in a Slytherin.
Severus was not surprised that weekend when Harry knocked on his door. The boy threw himself into a chair with a sigh.
"Is there a problem, Mr. Potter?" he inquired, pouring a cup of chocolate.
"I hate that Lockhart git," said Harry sullenly.
Severus raised an eyebrow, "Oh, may I ask as to what Professor Lockhart had done to deserve your enmity?"
Harry's brows drew together and he asked, "My what?"
Severus smiled slightly, "Your anger, why do you hate him, Harry?
"We had a test all about him and he set pixies loose in class then ran away. He wants to give me advice about fame and he keeps touching me," said Harry spitefully.
Severus sat up and asked sharply, "What do you mean touching you?"
Harry blinked and then scrunched his face in disgust, "Ew, not like that. He put his arm around me for a picture in Diagon Alley and then he did it again the other day so that Creevey kid could take one."
Severus relaxed slightly with a sigh, "Have you considered complaining to your Head of House?"
Harry shrugged, "What could she do about it?"
"Perhaps nothing with one complaint but if enough students complain then she will have a reason to approach the Headmaster," he shrugged one shoulder, "sometimes nothing can be done but if no one complains then you are assured of nothing being done."
Harry nodded slowly with a thoughtful expression. "I think I understand what you mean, Professor, thank you."
"Other than that how has the rest of your week been?" Severus asked.
Harry smirked suddenly and asked, "Have you ever noticed how many pictures of snakes there are in the castle?"
Severus's eyes narrowed and he said, "There are several in the Slytherin common room. Can you speak with these snakes?"
Harry nodded and his smirk changed to a grin. "I can talk to the ones in the small hall just off the main one by Gryffindor. There aren't any other portraits there to see me."
"A wise choice. Are you going to tell me what they had to say?"
Harry giggled slightly and shook his head. "Not yet, Professor."
"Very well, let's discuss Occlumency then," said Severus.
When Severus received more post from Wills sooner than he was expecting, he was glad it was a day when Harry had Potions and he could ask the boy to stay after class. He decided to look into a way that they could contact each other in an emergency without having to hunt through the castle. He didn't want to take the chance that Harry would go snake hunting without him, promise or no.
Malfoy ordered me to procure several rare and expensive ingredients as soon as possible. He claims that he is in contact with the Dark Lord. I want no part of the Dark Lord so have decided to take the money and run. By the time you receive this I will have left the country. I had hoped that he was gone for good. I am unsure if Malfoy was merely posturing or was telling the truth for once. Perhaps the ingredients will tell you something of what he is planning. I've enclosed the list.
Malfoy also informed me that you have turned against the Dark Lord. He says you are to be killed at the first revel following the Dark Lords return. I know he spoke to Macnair and Nott as well but said that we were to act normally with you for now. If you truly have turned take heed and run.
I don't know if he will be able to find me or even kill me through the Mark but I have a family to think of and I intend to get them as far away as possible in the hopes that even if I die they will be safe.
If this information is of use to you please forward payment to my Gringotts account in the usual manner the goblins will forward it on. Don't look for me.
Severus paled when he read the letter. It was very bad news. He needed to warn Harry not to trust the children of the Death Eaters, and he needed to see Lupin as soon as possible; they needed to decide if and what to tell Albus. He started looking over the list of ingredients hoping to be able to deduce the ritual that Lucius might use. The war it seemed was about to begin again.
"I don't doubt that your informant believes his information but I can't believe that a man like Lucius Malfoy would allow himself to be possessed as Quirrell did, Severus. I think it more likely that Lucius was playing some game with the remaining Death Eaters. I cannot think of any rituals that might need these ingredients," said Dumbledore.
Severus gritted his teeth and took a deep breath and then spoke with ridged control, "Headmaster, I will not respond to any summons, be it from the Dark Lord or Malfoy. You may not value my life but I do."
Dumbledore smiled gently and said chidingly, "Now, Severus of course I value your life, I just don't believe that you are in any danger at this time. Voldemort is a powerless wraith."
"We should take steps to monitor the Death Eaters and especially Malfoy's actions more closely," said Severus angrily.
"I can do nothing at this time. We must wait until Voldemort has regained a body, Severus," then he peered over his glasses and the twinkle left his eyes. "I don't believe I should have to tell you not to share this information with anyone else," he said.
Severus nodded jerkily and stomped out of the room.
Severus sat with Lupin discussing possible rituals; the list of ingredients had narrowed some of the possibilities when Black walked in.
"What are you doing here?" he asked Severus bluntly as he threw himself into a chair.
"I could almost wish you were still teaching, Lupin. Dangerous as you are as I wouldn't have to put up with Black, then, to have a civilized conversation," said Severus acidly.
"He brought my potion and some important information Sirius, you could, at the very least, try to be polite," said Lupin tiredly.
Black grimaced and asked, "So how's that Lockhart ponce working out?"
Severus rolled his eyes and began to relate what he knew of the pixie incidents.
Severus carried the lightened carton of vials for the infirmary up the spiral staircase. Few students knew of the hidden way. The spiral stairs went from the lowest dungeon all the way to the seventh floor and was mostly used by the staff. At the main level Severus paused and looked upward unsure of what he had heard. With a sigh he climbed the next flight to the second floor to investigate. The landing there was very small and had one small corridor, more an alcove than hall, leading off it that dead-ended in only five feet at a bricked over doorway. Severus heard the small hissing sound again and peered around the corner to find Harry Potter standing in front of a picture.
"Mr. Potter?" he questioned, one eyebrow rising.
Harry looked up and grinned cheekily, "Hello, Professor."
"What are you doing?" asked Severus.
"Just taking a short cut sir," Harry said, "and I really should be getting along to dinner."
Then the boy turned directly away from the painting at a right angle to the bricked over doorway and walked through the wall.
Severus frowned, first at the apparently not so solid wall and then at the picture. It was of a small black haired boy in knee pants and tunic shirt with bare feet and a black robe wadded up under his head, napping on the grassy verge of a pond. A unicorn grazed in the background. As he watched the portrait there was a slight movement of grass and Severus thought he saw the tail of a serpent disappear.
He turned back to the wall and put out a hand. With a bit of pressure it started to pass through. Severus stepped through the illusion to find himself in a niche behind a suit of armor on the second floor. He looked carefully and identified his position and then turned to re-enter the stairwell only to find a now quite solid wall. Severus scowled and reminded himself to ask the boy the secret. Not to mention how a second year had found it when even he wasn't aware that exit was there.
He had to take the long way around to the main staircase and down to the infirmary, scowling all the way.
Harry lounged back into the chair; cup of chocolate in his hand the other stroking the viper on his lap. "She says the white mice are tastier that the gray ones, Professor and she wants to know when you are going to find her a mate."
Severus rolled his eyes, as if one viper was not enough. "I hadn't thought about a mate. Perhaps she would be happier at Grimmauld Place with your godfather to cater to her whims."
Harry shook his head. "No she likes you, besides Sirius is scared of her. I could take her back the dorm if you want," he offered.
Severus grinned at the thought of tormenting Black with snakes and then shook his head as the rest of the comment registered. "I do not think that would be a good idea. Vipers are not on the approved list of pets and familiars. Besides which do you not have an owl?"
"Yeah and owls eat snakes. Hedwig doesn't come to the dorm though."
"She must stay in the lab, Harry," said Severus sternly.
"Okay, it was just a thought. I'd probably get caught talking to her anyway," he added as she wound her way up his arm to rub her head against his cheek.
Severus shuddered slightly and changed the subject. "Are you looking forward to the Halloween feast next week?"
Harry sighed, "I promised Sir Nicholas I'd go to his death day party. I didn't know it was the same time as the feast. Hermione says it wouldn't be polite to change my mind now."
Severus smirked, "She is correct but perhaps you won't have to stay long."
Severus was on his way back to his quarters from dinner when he found Minerva and Binns in the corridor. He was quite willing to ignore them when Minerva motioned for him to stop. He really didn't want to listen to Binns' drivel this evening as he had a new Potions Quarterly in his rooms.
"—so I gave them a detention with their Heads of House," Binns was saying.
"I appreciate that, Professor but are you sure you have the names right? I don't recall any boys with the names Pinkness and Rafferty in my house," said Minerva with a sigh.
Severus smirked to himself, Binns had given several detentions over the years to his Slytherins and never had one of the miscreants approached him to serve the detentions.
"I'm quite sure who they were Minerva, Gryffindors; Pinkness and Rafferty, Slytherins; Flacker, Goon, and Beasley," said Binns in mild disapproval.
Severus had very little warning of what was to happen next. He was facing the intersection of the next corridor and heard the cackling of Peeves and the sound of running feet. He had a brief moments thought of being able to take points for running when Peeves swooped around the corner and through him leaving him with a shiver down his spine. The two slime covered figures rounded the corner as well and shouted an incantation.
The spell splashed harmlessly across Severus's chest right where Peeves had dashed through him. The second spell hit Binns in the back, where he stood next to Minerva. A look of surprise crossed the ghostly face as he said, "Oh, look at the lig--" before he shimmered and disappeared with a faint pop like a soap bubble.
Severus blinked once and heard Minerva say, "Oh, bloody hell!" next to him. He watched as the two slime covered boys, Potter and Longbottom he discovered, paled and Potter said, "Oops." He tried, tried hard to suppress it but within moments had burst out laughing as Peeves from behind him began to screech, "Murder, murder most foul!" as he flew on down the corridor.
Minerva found her wits and said, "In all my years, Potter, Longbottom, 50 points each and a week's detentions. There is no magic to be done in the Halls," then she turned on him, "Really Severus this is no laughing matter." He laughed harder as he wondered whether she was taking or giving the points.
He thought he had the laughter under control until he glanced at the abashed look on Harry's face and the chuckles began again. Minerva was correct though, it wasn't funny at all but dear gods he couldn't wait to share the looks on those faces with Lupin and--. He stopped that train of thought, sobered that he wished to spend time with that pair.
Minerva was now leading them to the Headmaster's office. The boys trailing her and Harry whispering furiously at Longbottom. Severus wasn't looking forward to answering the questions he knew would be coming when the old man managed to find out that he had helped teach Harry that spell.
The Headmaster twinkled merrily at them when they entered the office then used his wand to vanish the slime covering the boys. Severus leaned against the mantel while the others took seats.
"Ah, company, would you like a lemon drop?" asked Dumbledore.
Longbottom brightened slightly and made to accept before he caught sight of his Head of House's face and subsided with a small shake of his head never meeting Dumbledore's eyes Severus noticed. He glanced at Harry. He wasn't meeting the Headmaster's eyes either. Severus nodded to himself, while ostentatiously the actions of small boys feeling guilty Severus felt that Harry had actually learned and apparently shared at least one of the lessons of good mental defense.
"Now," said Dumbledore pulling Severus out of his musing, "who would like to tell me why we are here?"
Minerva opened her mouth but Harry interrupted. "It's my fault, Professor. Someone gave Peeve water balloons but he's been putting that slime stuff in them and this was the second time he got us. I only intended to teach him a lesson. I never thought that Professor Binns might be in that hall, I-- we never see him anywhere but his class room."
Dumbledore nodded thoughtfully and held up a hand to stop the flow of words from Harry. Severus smothered another chuckle at the thought that the old man truly had no clue what the boy was talking about even though he was acting like he did.
"Minerva?" inquired Dumbledore.
"Apparently Potter and Longbottom exorcised Professor Binns," said Minerva dryly. Dumbledore eyes stopped twinkling and he straightened slightly in his chair.
"I beg your pardon, Minerva but do you mean Professor Binns is gone?" he asked.
Minerva nodded and Severus smirked and added, "Popped like a soap bubble."
Dumbledore turned on Harry, "Mr. Potter am I to understand that you've been using dark magic?"
Severus blinked at the old man wondering just how he could jump to such a conclusion and Minerva drew in a startled breath.
Harry frowned at the Headmaster and said clearly, "No sir, the spell was Exorcize Spiritus. That's not dark at all. Really it's one of the lightest spells. I did my research this summer Professor. It wouldn't have hurt Peeves as poltergeists are a bit different than regular ghosts. It would have just made him unable to manifest for awhile since he is made of other people's emotions instead of a human soul that hasn't moved on."
Dumbledore's eyes narrowed slightly, "Just what sort of research were you doing, Mr. Potter?"
Harry's eyes dropped and he said softly, "I was researching a way to stop Voldemort if he is ever in someone else's body again, sir. I don't want to have to kill someone else like Professor Quirrell."
Severus could see the surprise in Dumbledore's face at this.
"Harry, my boy, Professor Quirrell's death was not your fault. You are only a child, perhaps you should let others worry about Voldemort for now?" said Dumbledore.
Harry nodded slightly and continued to stare at the floor.
"Headmaster, I've already taken fifty points and given each boy detentions with myself, I believe that is enough punishment for this incident?" Minerva said softly.
Dumbledore eyed Severus momentarily as if to ask if he would object. He merely shrugged.
"Very well, why don't you boys run along then and Mr. Potter I trust I don't have to tell you not to use that spell again. I don't want to lose more ghosts," said Dumbledore.
The boys hustled out of the office and Severus wished he could go with them instead he moved over to the sideboard and took the decanter and three glasses out of the cupboard. He sat them on the desk and poured, then threw himself into one of the chairs and allowed a grin to creep onto his face.
Dumbledore frowned at him and said, "You seem very cheery, Severus."
The grin changed to a smirk and he said, "I heard Minerva swear in front of students."
Minerva blushed and Dumbledore chuckled out an, "oh, my dear," at her. Then he sobered and asked, "So, do either of you have any suggestions for a new History teacher?"