Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Second Fiddle

Prank A Mockingbird

by Crucio_Crusade 3 reviews

Harry Potter is aware of the wizarding world. The only problem is he grew up apart from it. When he explored the magical world, he found danger, wonder, and friendship.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Harry, Hermione, Neville, Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [?] [V] - Published: 2006-10-16 - Updated: 2006-10-16 - 3421 words

Disclaimer: This fan fiction was based on the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. I do not claim ownership on any character created by J.K. Rowling, and no money is collected from this story. This is one way I show appreciation to J.K. Rowling's works. Other names or places on this story are fictional. Any similarity to actual name is purely coincidental.

Chapter 18: Prank A Mockingbird

The members of the Order of the Phoenix were gathered at the headmaster's Hogwarts office. They had just returned from Budleigh Babberton. The battle was fought hard, but in the end, they prevailed with no loss of lives. It would have turned into a bad situation for the aurors if the Order members didn't aid them. As it happened, the Ministry aurors had even managed to take prisoners.

"Madam Pomfrey, how is he?" James Potter inquired with concern.

Madam Pomfrey seldom attended Order meetings. When she did, it was always to report on the health of the wizards who went into battle. Thankfully, she could report the seriously wounded wizards and witches were recovering nicely. But that wasn't what James wanted to know. He was asking about the health condition of his estranged son.

"I have done everything I could. We will have to wait until he wakes up." Madam Pomfrey sympathetically looked at James. "I have to warn you. He may not be the same after tonight. He severely suffered from a long exposure to a Cruciatus Curse."

James lowered his head in grief. His hands clenched in suppressed anger at his lap. Lily would be devastated. She had refused to join the meeting, so she could stay with Harry. "Do not sell your son short, James," Mad Eye kindly consoled. "His will is stronger than any wizard his age. I'm sure he will pull through."

"You hardly know him. How can you be so sure?" James asked tightly.

"I may not believe in Divination. But, I trust my own instinct. And, it's telling me he will be alright," Mad Eye firmly answered. James raised his head, and stared hard at the crusty auror. After a moment, he nodded and sat up straight. If there's anyone who knew what he's talking about, it's Mad Eye Moody.

Dumbledore smiled secretively. How many times had Alastor denied he was a softie on the inside? A hundred? A thousand? And yet, here he was consoling a fellow Order member. He caught the slight squinting of Alastor's good eye directed at him. He immediately composed his face into a neutral expression. Perhaps, now was not the right time to ponder the issue.

A flash of flames drew his attention at Fawkes' direction. His Phoenix had disappeared again. Dumbledore resignedly sighed and wondered where he went this time. He turned his gaze at the other people in his office, and found them expectantly waiting for him to start the meeting. He pushed aside his concerns for the Phoenix, and turned his attention to the matters at hand.

Dumbledore stood up and addressed the group. "Ahem...Fellow Order members... I would like to introduce to you a former professor of Hogwarts, Horace Slughorn. He taught Potions while he was here. And, he was also Head of Slytherin House." He sat down and turned to Slughorn who was sitting on Professor McGonagall's right side. "Horace, would you tell us what happened?"

Slughorn nodded. "Before I start, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to your son, James. Without his help, I would surely be dead right now," he said with sincerity. "I hope he recovers completely from his ordeal."

"Perhaps, you should say that to Harry when he wakes up. I or Lily has nothing to do with it," James replied sadly.

Slughorn curiously looked at James for a moment. Then, he turned to the rest of the Order members, and began retelling his account. "Since Voldemort rose into power, I have feared for my life. I have tried every means possible to evade capture. Tonight, my luck ran out. He found me. Or rather, one of his Death Eaters found me. He sent one of his Lieutenants to kill me and to retrieve one of my prized potions, /Felix Felicis/." Slughorn shuddered at the thought. If Voldemort got his grabby hands on it, he could manipulate situations to his own advantage.

"Excuse me Professor Slughorn. What exactly is /Felix Felicis/?" Mrs. Weasley asked, a little embarrassed.

"Well, Severus, would you like to answer this one?" Slughorn amusingly looked across the room at the Potions Master who was sitting near the window. Snape exasperatedly rolled his eyes. He made one mistake at answering this same question at a Potions test, and the old walrus never let him forget it. James and Remus both briefly lowered their heads to hide the big smiles on their faces. Except for Professor Dumbledore and Slughorn, everyone turned their extremely curious eyes to Snape.

"I know the answer to that one," Remus piped in acting like an eager schoolboy. "It's..."

"Remus..." Dumbledore cut in calmly. "I believe Horace asked Severus the question." He humorously looked at Remus from the top of his reading glasses. The marauder subsided with a made up sulky look on his face. James amusingly thumped him in the back. Snape, on the other hand, was glaring daggers at them. "Severus, if you please..."

With as much dignity as he could muster, Snape slowly stood up. He dramatically cleared his throat. He looked at everyone in the room to see if he had their undivided attention. He hated to repeat himself. He briefly glanced at Mrs. Weasley before he studiously recited the potion's salient points. "Felix Felicis is also commonly called a good luck potion. Once consumed, the potion gives the drinker an exhilarating sense of confidence and a tremendous amount of opportunity. Until the effect wears off, all the drinker's actions will tend to succeed. However, if taken in excess the potion causes giddiness, recklessness, and dangerous overconfidence. It is also highly toxic if consumed in large quantities."

"Very good, Severus. I couldn't have explained it better myself." Slughorn beamed proudly at the Potions Master as if he was still a student. Snape just rolled his eyes again in response before stiffly sitting down. Slughorn curiously turned his attention to the two smiling marauders. "Have you two correctly answered that question as well?"

"We didn't answer the question at all Professor Slughorn," James replied good-naturedly. "We felt we already had high grades that twenty more points wouldn't make any difference."

"Excuse me professor, could we get back to your /Felix Feluces/... I mean /Filex Felices/...Crud...your good luck potion?" Tonks asked blushing with embarrassment. She surreptitiously glanced around to see everyone doing their best not to laugh. "Why would You-Know-Who need that potion? Surely, he's not that desperate, yet, is he?"

Slughorn interestedly turned his attention to the pink haired auror. "And, you are?"

"Oh, I'm sorry, professor. My name is Tonks," she said a little bit defensively. She hoped the old professor wouldn't ask for her first name.

Slughorn thoughtfully regarded the young auror. "Well, Auror Tonks, no, I don't believe he's desperate. I don't believe he needs it for himself. But, consider this. Knowing what Felix Felicis can do, what would happen if every Death Eater drinks this potion before a battle?" His question had an adverse effect. He saw some were horror-struck. Some sat stiffly with tense demeanors. "Exactly... it will tip the battle in You-Know-Who's favor. We may as well give up, if that happens." Though, he said his last words in jest, nevertheless, he saw the Order members' expressions hardened. They looked more determine.

"Where is the potion now, professor?" Tonks asked with trepidation. "Please, tell me they didn't get it." There was a surprising flash of flames near the vaulted ceiling. Tonks, along with every Order member, swiftly drew her wand and pointed it at...

Fawkes. He was hovering in mid-air. He gracefully flew near Snape and dropped something. Dumbledore noticed it was a letter which the Potions Master hastily picked up. Fawkes flew back to his golden perch and watched intently as if expecting something would happen. Snape slowly read the letter. Then, he grimaced in annoyance. Everyone thought the letter contained unpleasant news. They saw his lips opened wide, and then clamped shut without making a sound.

It seemed like he was having some sort of internal struggle. His face ran into different range of expressions that were comical to say the least. Then suddenly, to everyone's surprise, he began to sing. Softly at first, then, it grew louder. It would have sounded nice, if Snape didn't fight it. He had a rich baritone voice. As it was, it came out sounding like a dirge.

When Snape stopped singing, everyone was silent. Nobody knew what to make of it. "That was awful! No wonder you're in a bad mood all the time. I would too if I sing like that." Tonks quickly covered her mouth, horrified. She didn't mean to say those words out loud. She looked round the room to see the others' reaction to what she said. Everyone's faces showed shock, except for James and Remus. They were trying hard not to laugh. But, their bodies were shaking as if in ague.

The silence was shattered by a very loud belly laugh. Everyone's attention turned to Mad Eye. He was laughing so hard that when he leaned back on his chair. He toppled over still laughing. The sound of Mad Eye's bear-like laugh started a deluge of laughter. Even Fawkes was trilling loudly on his perch. The only one who wasn't laughing was Snape. He was busy scowling at everyone.

"May I see that letter, Severus?" Before Snape could tear it to pieces, Dumbledore had already summoned it out of his hand. Like Snape, he started to sing when he began reading it. Unlike Snape, the headmaster sang with glee even though his voice came out like a tomcat meowing at the moon. His recital brought down the castle, so to speak. There were loud cheering, clapping, and laughter. The headmaster inclined his head in a gracious bow, accepting the accolade.

"Who sent it, professor?" Mrs. Weasley asked curiously, although she already had a feeling where it came from.

Dumbledore had a big smile on his face. He turned to Professor McGonagall who was sitting nearest on his right. "Would you please pass this to Molly, Minerva?" Everyone's eyes followed the letter as it passed from one hand to another. Bill offered to read it for his mum when he held the letter. But, Mrs. Weasley adamantly refused. She wanted to confirm her suspicion.

Dear Professor Snape,

We hope this letter finds you in good health. With You-Know-Who terrorizing your wrinkly arse, we believe this could help. We wrote this song to help lift your sad spirit and put a smile on that ugly mug you call face. Please sing, sing, sing to your heart's content.

Take me out to the Quidditch match

Take me out with the House

Buy me some butterbeers and chocolate frogs

I don't care if I watch here all day.

Let me hoot, hoot, hoot for the House team

If they don't win it's been jinxed

For if you catch that snitch then we win

At the old Quidditch match

Your very concern former student,

Harry Evans

When she stopped singing, she was practically fuming. "Those two... never a serious bone in their body," she angrily said to no one in particular. "They even try to pass their silly prank to that poor, poor Evans boy." Seeing the back of the letter was unmarked on one end, she refolded the letter and asked for a quill and ink bottle. She decided to send it back, so her sons would get a taste of their own prank.

Tonks saw the angry mother wrote Fred and George's names on the parchment. "Mrs. Weasley, before you send it back, could I get a copy?" she asked cheerfully. James and Remus also asked for a copy. Professor Flitwick was more than happy to perform the Duplication Charm.

"Professor Dumbledore, could Fawkes send this letter for me? I don't know how they got your Phoenix to deliver it, but it's only fitting to send their prank back without delay." The headmaster agreed with a smile. Mrs. Weasley handed him the letter. Fawkes flew to the headmaster's table and took the letter. In a no nonsense words, an irate Mrs. Weasley told the Phoenix to give it to her twins. With a flash of flames, the phoenix was gone.

The meeting resumed after Fawkes left. However, it was intermittently disturbed by Tonks, and Remus humming the catchy tune. When the Order meeting drew to a close, it was almost twelve midnight. Dumbledore kindly asked Slughorn and Snape to remain.

Dumbledore, Slughorn, and Snape were finally the only ones left in the headmaster's office. Curiosity was evident in Slughorn's face while Snape feigned a bored expression. The headmaster gestured for the two to sit closer. He waved his wand and a pot of tea and cups on saucers appeared. He poured Slughorn and Snape their tea and levitated them to his guests. He relaxed on his own chair carefully balancing his tea. He smiled fondly when his eyes rested on his sleeping Pheonix. Fawkes didn't take long to deliver the letter to the twins. Did the twin mischief-makers fall to one of their own pranks?

Snape irritably watched as Dumbledore chuckled at his own private joke. "Headmaster, could you tell us why you asked us here? I have a lot of work to finish before school starts," he said surly. His grating voice cut through Dumbledore's private musing.

"Of course, you do," Dumbledore replied unfazed. For a moment, it appeared he was pondering about what he was going to say. "As you know, every year, I go through the process of selecting the best candidate for teaching the Defence Against the Dark Arts." Snape's expression cleared up just a little bit. "This year, I am disappointed to say, I found no candidate with the right qualifications." The headmaster looked Snape straight in the eye. "Would you, Severus, accept the posting as teacher for the Defence Against the Dark Arts?"

Snape sat up straighter. He studiedly arched his right eyebrow to show mild surprise. Without showing any sign of his inner excitement, he slightly inclined his head and said, "I accept your offer, headmaster. May I know who would take my place as Potions teacher?"

"Ahhh... That is where Horace comes in." The headmaster turned to the retired professor. "Would you, Horace, accept the posting as Potions teacher?" Dumbledore saw Horace questioningly raised his eyebrows. He saw the retired professor's eyes lost their focus. He thought Horace was deliberating his options. He immediately added, "Of course, there is no need to decide right now. After all, school wouldn't start in another three weeks."

Slughorn tiredly rubbed his temple for a moment. "No. No. There is no need to wait. I can give you my decision right now." He was fortunate Dumbledore needed a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Otherwise, he would be homeless right now and as well as wanted by Voldemort. Oh, he would miss his retirement. "I accept your offer. Thank you, Dumbledore."

With eyes twinkling, the headmaster inclined his head in acknowledgement. "Now then, I am sure you two are very tired, and have very important matters to do." Dumbledore gave Snape a teasing look. "So, I will not detain you any longer. Meanwhile, I shall order the house-elves to move your belongings to your new quarters. Good night, gentlemen."

Dumbledore watched the two wizards leave. Horace wasn't his intended choice as Potions teacher. But, this arrangement turned out better than he planned. Horace knew Tom Riddle better than anyone else. He had to find a way to convince Horace to reveal everything he knew about Tom. Dumbledore's thought, then, went back to Neville, the lynchpin to all his machinations.

Severus Snape was quietly walking towards his new office in the second floor. He didn't need to watch where he was going. He could traverse these hallways with his eyes closed. He had acquired a lot of valuable information for the last couple of months. So far, the Dark Lord hadn't asked for any specific information from him. He hadn't volunteered any either. He would hold on to all the information he knew and use them as a last resort.

Another puzzling turn of event was the posting as a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. He had coveted that job for a long time. All of a sudden, it was handed to him in a silver platter. He couldn't help feeling he was being masterfully manipulated. Dumbledore was planning something. To what end, he had no idea. He made a turn at another corner. His new office was adjacent to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom. As soon as he canceled the Locking Charm on the door, his dark mark grew painfully hot.

Earlier that same night, back at Grimmauld Place, Ron and Neville had already changed to their nightclothes. They both sat cross legs in the middle of their own beds, talking to each other. They had no intention of going to sleep just yet. It was only twelve minutes after ten. They were still a little excited. The little information Charlie shared with them didn't satisfy their curiosity. It merely raised more questions to their over imaginative mind.

How did Evans end up in the middle of a battle? What was he doing there? What did the Death Eaters do to him? Why didn't they kill him before they retreated? There were so many questions with little or no answer. After a while, they fell silent. Both of them thought over the questions they asked between themselves.

Suddenly, Ron looked up with a wicked grin on his face. "Do you think Snape receive it by now?"

Neville glanced at the clock on top of his side table. "Oh, I'd say he's singing very cheerfully right about now." He wickedly grinned back at Ron.

"I still say we should have waited until the welcoming feast at Hogwarts," Ron insisted grumpily. But, his face immediately turned ecstatic when an image flashed through his mind. "What I would give to see the look on his face when he started singing. He probably sings like a toad." Ron burst into a gale of laughter at the thought. When he calmed down a little bit, he curiously asked Neville. "How did you get Fawkes to deliver the letter anyway? I thought familiars only follow orders from their bonded. Better yet... How did you call him here?"

Neville smugly smiled. "Well, I hate to brag..." Neville stopped to look at the fingernails in his right hand. He blew a warm breath on his fingernails, and then polished them on his nightclothes. He was hit in the face by a pillow for his effort. Neville glared at Ron who glared back at him. Neville unhappily relented in their staring match. "You're no fun."

"You're no fun yourself. Now tell me... How did you do it?" Ron eagerly sat on the edge of his bed, and leaned forward a little bit. He didn't want to miss any detail.

Neville seemed to be gathering his thoughts. "I don't know why, but Fawkes, somehow, likes me." Ron questioningly raised his eyebrows. "Yeah, I know. It's weird. But, whenever I call for Dumbledore's help, Fawkes would always appear."

"That is weird," Ron agreed, puzzled. He looked thoughtful for a moment, which was unusual. Then, out of the blue, he asked, "So, do you want to go to Fred and George's room?" It was Neville turn to look questioningly at Ron. "You know... tell them what we've found at Evans' room."

Neville gave Ron a big smile. "Good idea, mate. Let's go." Neville bounced off from his bed and headed straight for the door.

"Wait, Neville." Neville turned around and gave Ron a puzzled look. "Aren't you going to change first?"

Neville looked down at his nightclothes. He saw nothing wrong with it. "Whatever for? We're decent enough. Now, quit dawdling, and let's go. The night isn't getting any younger, you know." Ron resignedly sighed and followed his best friend out the door.


Felix Felicis definition - Excerpt from /HP Lexicon/, Encyclopedia of Potions.
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