~ In which Gryffindor’s Keeper is quite a catch
Draco Malfoy paced in front of the smouldering fire in the Slytherin common room. He had woken early in the morning feeling restless. It was strange lying in a bed of silky sheets, with the sound of Crabbe and Goyle snoring nearby. He had become accustomed to Severus regularly digging him in the ribs and Ginny’s laughter. It had also felt strange having no one next to him while he was sleeping, no one kicking him absent-mindedly in their sleep, drifting off to the hum of crickets and various hoots…
Draco shook himself; he had to pull himself together. He was finally back, back to civilisation. So why did he feel so uncomfortable?
He wondered what Severus was doing; he would most certainly be up. Too bad he was in Gryffindor.
If only he was in Slytherin.
“Oh, hullo,” came a voice behind Severus Snape. “Thought I’d find you here.”
Severus got out of the armchair and turned to face a fully dressed Ginny Weasley. “Used to waking up early?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she answered. “Come for a walk?”
Severus gazed from the common room window, towards the shimmering lake. “All right.”
“Where the hell is she, Harry?” gritted Ron, looking up and down the Gryffindor breakfast table.
“I’m sure she’s all right,” replied Harry, but looking slightly worried himself.
“Calm down, Ron. I asked the girls in her dormitory, they said she just got up early,” said Hermione, buttering a piece of toast and coaxing Ron with it.
“Thanks,” he said absent-mindedly, taking the piece of toast and biting it savagely. “But she better not be with that rat, Malfoy.”
“No problem,” Harry said cheerfully. “Ferret-features has been at his table for ages.”
Seeming to read their minds, Draco Malfoy looked up from his scrambled eggs and scowled at the three best friends. But his scowl changed abruptly as two entering figures greeted him.
“All right, Draco?” Severus said amicably, pulling up a chair.
Ginny smiled vaguely at him, looking around the hall and spotting Harry and the others. “Meet you later,” she called, walking over to the Gryffindor table.
“Where’d you go?” Draco asked, glancing at Ginny’s retreating figure with a frown.
“Walk,” Severus replied through a mouthful of bacon. “Did you wake up early too?”
“Yeah, as you can see, no one else does.” Draco motioned around the empty Slytherin table.
“Meet you tomorrow morning then, six.”
“What? Trying to train us up again or something?”
Severus laughed. “If you want.”
Draco snorted. “What’re you doing for the weekend?” he asked, rolling Severus a tomato.
“What are you doing?” Severus asked back, feeling slightly awkward.
“Well, I was thinking of practising for Quidditch. The first match of the season is only a couple of months away…”
“Seeker must be tough,” Severus said absent-mindedly, chopping up the tomato.
“How’d you know I was Seeker?”
Snape jerked in his seat. “Oh, yeah, er…word gets around…”
“Oh,” said Draco, looking slightly gratified. “So… how about you?”
“Yeah, aren’t you going to try out for—” Draco’s face slightly twisted, “—Gryffindor’s team?”
Severus shuddered. “Not bloody likely.”
This seemed to have cheered Draco up greatly, and he proposed that they both go flying anyway. Severus agreed and they left the hall, Ginny giving them a slightly hurt look when they passed silently by.
“What’s up, Gin?” Harry asked, watching her expression.
But the chatter of about fifty students, all entering the hall at once, drowned Ginny out. Hermione laughed at her mystified look.
“The exchange students, they’re all used to getting up at the same time.”
“Yeah, you must have loads in your year, Ginny,” said Ron, spearing a piece of bacon.
“Most of them are from Beauxbatons,” Hermione rattled off, “but there are a few from Durmstrang—”
“Oh really?” Ginny winked at Hermione, making her blush scarlet.
“Victor’s left school already,” she muttered.
“So, er, about that Transfiguration essay,” Harry interjected hastily, seeing Ron glaring at Hermione and mashing his eggs rather violently.
Hermione glared back at Ron but said snootily, “Well, I’ll be working in the library this evening if you want my help, Harry. I shall certainly expect to see you there, Ron.”
“Washat-men-ta-mean?” Ron asked angrily, through a mouthful of eggs.
Harry caught Ginny’s eye and grinned. Ginny giggled back and felt the sudden urge to jump up and down in joy.
It felt good to be back.
“Hey, not bad, Severus,” Draco commented, as the larger boy swooped through the air and caught the small golf ball.
“Yeah, I know,” Severus replied shamelessly, throwing the ball in the air and giving it a whack with the broomstick.
Draco snorted and started throwing the balls up at great speed. “Try and hit all these back then!”
Severus smirked to himself and gripped Draco’s broom tightly. He was still riding the thrill of discovering his feline balance and grace extended to flying. Before his transformation about a month ago, he’d been awkward and clumsy on a broom. Now these slow-moving golf balls were no match at all.
Draco dived to the ground with a yell as each small white ball hurtled back to the ground. He peeked up and saw Severus moving like lightning, dodging between some, hitting some back up higher, somersaulting, swinging off the broom with one hand and kicking them, it was endless. Draco stared at him open-mouthed and got to his feet.
“I thought you said you were rubbish!” exclaimed Draco indignantly, before Severus dove straight down at him with a worried yell. “ARGH!” Draco yelled, getting shoved to the ground with his broomstick in his side.
He glanced sideways and saw Severus sail through the air and land nimbly on his feet. “WHAT’D YOU DO THAT FOR?”
Snape tried to stifle a laugh but failed miserably and burst out uncontrollably. “Your face!” he gasped between guffaws. “You should’ve seen your—”
But at that moment Draco gave a yell and tackled him; and they were soon scuffling on the ground.
“BOYS!” called a rapidly approaching voice.
Draco and Severus got up quickly and tried to flatten their already perfect hair.
“Why, it’s you!” the voice exclaimed from behind them.
Both boys turned to face the speaker slowly. It was the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.
“You were the one that was fighting before!” Professor Garwood accused, pointing a slender wand at Severus.
Snape and Draco looked at each other.
“Oh, no, I wasn’t,” Snape assured, shaking his head in what he thought was a convincing way.
“Oh, no, he wasn’t,” Draco smirked, nodding his head vigorously.
Garwood raised her eyebrows and gave them a stern stare.
“All right…it was me, er…my name’s Ron Weasley,” Snape added quickly.
Draco sniggered violently and Severus glared at him.
“Well, Mr Weasley, I see the fighting was not serious, just don’t do it again,” she said dryly, turning her heel and walking towards the broom shed.
Severus pulled a face and Draco laughed. “Ha, lucky she didn’t—”
But Draco was cut off as the new Professor stopped and turned to face them once more.
“I shall see you in class, Mr Malfoy,” she said coolly, “and you Mr Snape,” she added.
And so, with her mouth twitching slightly, the Professor resumed her stride and was soon far away.
“Great… I thought we’d get Weasley a detention…” Draco grumbled, as they also moved back to the castle.
Snape shrugged in response. “D’you think she’ll be a good Dark Arts teacher?” he asked after a pause.
Draco grinned. “Not if I can help it!” he declared, swinging his Nimbus over his shoulder.
“Yeah, me too,” Snape gleamed, a not very nice thought forming in his mind. If the current Professor was no good at her job… Dumbledore would have to take him next year…
“Hey, have you looked at your timetable yet?”
“What?” Snape replied, coming back to reality. “Er…no.”
“We’ve got Potions with Dumbledore now! And it’s just Slytherins, I mean, we’re not with Gryffindors anymore!”
“Really?” said Snape, stepping through the wide doors of the Entrance Hall. “That’s rubbish. Are we in any classes together?”
“Yeah, Defence. But, hey! Where is your uncle anyway? Does he know you got back all right and—”
“SNAPEY, OLD BOY!”
Draco stopped in mid-sentence and scowled at the two approaching seventh years. Fred and George Weasley were cascading down the stairs as fast as they could, running straight through a disgruntled ghost.
“Why didn’t you tell us?!”
“It was amazing!”
Snape looked at them uncertainly and started to back away.
“We saw you!” they reassured, slapping him on the back.
“Looked out the window—”
“Saw you swooping and diving—”
“Weaving and whacking—”
“Just what we need!”
“How about it?”
“What?” replied Severus, frowning at them.
“Good on you, Snapey!”
“Knew you had it in you!”
“WELCOME TO THE TEAM!” they chorused, and ran off cheering.
“Team?” he muttered to Draco. “What in…? Oh no…oh no, wait!”
Draco gave a snort of laughter. “Your face!” he cried mockingly. “You should see your face!” Draco shoved him in front of a shiny suit of armour.
Severus stared at his reflection. A look of shock, horror and disgust was staring back at him.
“Say hullo to Gryffindor’s new Keeper,” Draco declared, shaking his head in half-irritation, half-admiration.
“This is stupid,” said Snape, flushing slightly.
Draco’s mocking smirk faded somewhat. “I guess we can’t train together then.”
“Don’t be stupid, Draco,” scoffed Snape. “You need all the help you can get.”
Draco looked at him indignantly then saw his mouth twitch. “Sod off, will you,” he muttered half-heartedly. “Let’s go get some lunch.”
“Is this seat taken?”
Philip Woodley looked up and saw a small and familiar looking redhead standing next to him.
“Go ahead!” he replied with a smile, sweeping the desk clear.
Ginny Weasley sat down with a polite thank-you and set out her books. “There’re a lot of people in the library for a Sunday,” she said, looking around at the full tables.
“Yeah, mostly all the new students, very devoted to their studies, see?”
Ginny looked at the boy’s piece of parchment and laughed. “That’s a nice toad.”
“It’s a dragon,” he said cheerily, holding up his drawing.
Ginny looked aghast. “Oh! Yes! I see it now! Must’ve just been—”
But she soon stopped when she saw his eyes twinkling mischievously back at her. Ginny gave a squeal of laughter and hit him lightly. Her smile faded when Madam Pince and several students gave her disapproving looks.
“I’m Philip Woodley,” the boy winked at her, making her smile again.
“Ginny Weasley!” he interrupted. “O’course I know who you are!”
This earned him a few shushes from the same group of disapproving students. Ginny grinned at him, feeling a sudden giggle coming on.
“I’ve already met your chum, Scrape,” he continued. “Nice lad, tad unstable.”
Ginny straightened her face. No wonder if Woodley was calling him Scrape. She made a mental note to call him that next time she saw him. Come to think of it, she had come here looking for them; they really should be trying to catch up on their missed schoolwork on their weekends.
With a sudden jolt she recognised the boy.
“Why, you were the one fighting with Severus!” she exclaimed. “Did he hurt you?”
Woodley grinned and waved it aside. “Nah, I’m just glad we didn’t lose any house points. Plus, I think it was worth the super welcome we received when we got back.”
Ginny laughed. “You’re in Gryffindor then? I must’ve missed you at the party last night. What year are you?”
“Fabulous fourth,” he smiled. “I can help you with some of that if you like.”
Woodley motioned to Ginny’s big pile of books. Ginny considered the offer. She could see Severus and Draco tomorrow morning, and Harry and the others tonight…
“And did I mention I’m exceptionally brilliant in class?” he added merrily, his eyes twinkling.
“All right,” Ginny smiled at him, grabbing her Ancient Runes textbook. And did I mention you’re awfully cute?
Severus got out of bed and stretched. It was Monday morning and he would be attending fifth year classes for the first time this year. He dressed quickly and realised that he hadn’t even looked at his timetable yet. Pulling out a large, thick parchment from his drawer, Snape glanced at it carelessly.
Dumbledore had put him down for Muggle Studies and Care of Magical Creatures!
He didn’t want to go anywhere near Hagrid’s little ‘pets’, thank you very much. And Muggle studies! He didn’t want to learn about annoying, prying Muggles with all of their ridiculous gadgets. Why had Dumbledore put him down for these subjects when he hadn’t even done them the first time?
Thankfully, those seemed to be the only elective subjects he was taking. He noticed that Dumbledore was indeed still teaching Potions. Snape wondered how the search for a substitute teacher was going, surely Dumbledore didn’t expect to be teaching them all year.
Severus looked across at his bedside clock and started down the stairs in a hurry. He, Draco, and Ginny had promised to meet every morning for duelling practice, starting today. He wondered if he was technically allowed to do this… but he’d already started teaching them in the forest, and he couldn’t just leave it half-finished. Also, he was starting to feel restless again. He really needed the exercise…
“There you are!” Ginny said crossly, as he entered the common room. “We’re supposed to be down there by now!”
Severus put his thoughts on hold, following an impatient Ginny out of the portrait hole to pad quickly down the stairs.
“It’s not like Hagrid to be late, Harry,” said Hermione worriedly, looking around the oval.
Harry glanced in the direction of his hut but Ron just shrugged.
“We saw him yesterday, remember? Probably just slept in.”
Hermione was about to say something when she stopped and stared reprovingly at two smirking figures that had just arrived.
“Snape! You’re late! And as a Prefect—”
“You’re a Prefect, Granger?” cut in Draco with a sneer. “And I thought Gryffindor couldn’t sink any lower.”
Ron went purple and seized his wand.
“No, Ron, don’t,” cut in a quiet voice. “It’s Slytherin that’s wallowing in the mud.”
A threatening murmur passed over the curiously watching Slytherins, and Crabbe and Goyle suddenly stationed themselves around their sneering captain.
“I’d watch how you speak to her, Malfoy,” Harry Potter continued. “You wouldn’t want your reputation as a Prefect to be tarnished.”
Draco stared at the cool wizard before him, a little silver “P” glinting on his robes. He should’ve known Potter would be made a Prefect also.
“Going to grass on him, Potter?” sneered Snape, surprising everyone there.
Harry looked momentarily startled at being addressed like this from a fellow Gryffindor. “Don’t be stupid,” he replied shortly. “Why would I waste my time—”
But at that moment a huge bellow erupted from behind Hagrid’s hut. Simultaneously, a shriek from the Slytherins broke out as Pansy Parkinson lunged at Parvati Patil, clawing at her face. Apparently Parvati and Lavender had been making pug-faces at her while Draco and Harry were talking. Snape watched with amusement until another bellow from behind Hagrid’s cottage snatched his attention away. He looked up and saw he wasn’t the only one no longer watching the fight; Harry, Ron and Hermione were clustered together, discussing something in low voices.
“Hagrid’s in trouble…”
“Well, aren’t we going to…”
“What about them…?”
“What are we studying again?”
“Wyverns,” answered Severus, striding towards them with a sneer on his face.
“Wyverns?” exclaimed Ron.
“That’s what I said,” said Snape, wrinkling his nose in irritation. “Aren’t you going to be all saintly and run off to rescue him?”
“I’ve read about wyverns.” Hermione ignored Snape’s question, her thin eyebrows rising. “Aren’t they a sort of dragon?”
“Yeah, titchy little things, but heaps vicious.” Ron shuddered.
“We can handle them,” Harry said determinedly, nodding at Ron and Hermione.
“You’ve got to be joking,” Draco scoffed, appearing at Snape’s side. “You two? Maybe Granger can smother them to death in that gigantic animal she’s got growing off her head.” He shot a disdainful look at Hermione’s bushy locks.
But a third bellow from behind the hut ceased any retaliation on the Gryffindors’ behalf. So, with one last furious look, Harry, Ron and Hermione sprinted off and disappeared behind Hagrid’s cottage.
“Aren’t you going to help Pansy?” Severus asked.
“Nah,” Draco replied smirking. “She’s having the time of her life.”
And it seemed this was true, as Pansy was clearly getting the upper hand. (This could have been due to Millicent Bulstrode standing over Parvati and secretly kicking her when no one was looking.)
“What’s with you?” Draco asked suddenly, staring at the peculiar expression on Snape’s face.
“I told Hagrid not to teach us wyverns until next term,” he growled oddly, feeling a sudden burst of anger.
“Yeah, well, the big oaf’s done this kind of thing before, who cares?”
Severus gritted his teeth and tried to push aside the memories of working in the garden with Hagrid, fixing paths with Hagrid, having tea with Hagrid…
“Those idiots will just botch it up even more,” he snarled, and strode quickly over to the small hut.
Draco yelled after him, “What? What are you doing? Don’t tell me—”
“Yes,” Snape cut in. “I’m going to go help the big oaf.”
And with black robes billowing behind him, along with the angriest expression on his face imaginable, Severus Snape disappeared behind the hut.
Draco’s mouth fell open. He hesitated for a moment, annoyed at himself for even considering going after him.
“He’s a bad influence on me,” he muttered darkly to himself then marched towards the hut.
Severus rounded the corner and stopped dead at what he saw.
There were about twenty wyverns flying about, dive-bombing Hagrid and the three students helping him. Ron Weasley was holding a squirming wyvern tightly in his arms while several others slashed at him as they swooped past. Harry had pinned one down, but three others were biting at his back while a fourth flew away with his wand. Hermione had lost her cool completely, stunning every creature in sight and screaming at a small wyvern tangled in her hair. In the centre of the chaos was very large and doleful-looking Hagrid with four wyverns under each arm, trying to force them into some kind of crate.
“I’m going to regret this,” Severus thought fiercely, then ran into the throng. He was incredibly angry at that moment, angry that Hagrid hadn’t taken his advice, angry that Potter and friends were smug enough to think they actually stood a chance, angry at Draco for scoffing at him, but most of all he was angry at himself. He was angry for even caring that Hagrid would get in trouble, that Potter and his friends would get seriously injured, and that some Slytherin student twenty years younger than him wasn’t by his side, fighting with him.
“STUPEFY!” he bellowed. “STUPEFY! STUPEFY! STUPEFY!”
The wyverns dropped in surprise at the furious boy hurling jets of light every direction, giving Hagrid and the others a chance to quickly cram them into the crate.
“Stupefy!” said a voice at Snape’s side, and the last wyvern dropped to the ground. Draco slipped his wand back inside his robes and said lazily, “Don’t know what all the fuss was about.”
“You’re here,” said Snape, still gasping and red in the face.
“Good thing, too,” Draco said with a bemused expression. “What would you have done without me?”
Severus was about to reply when something small hurled itself at him, letting out a terrific yowl.
“What the–?” cried Draco.
“Oreo…” Severus breathed, staring at the tiny, dirty, half-starved feline that was trying to burrow itself into his robes.
Draco came closer and frowned at the messy bundle of fur in Snape’s arms. “Isn’t that the cat that attacked me?”
“You were going to curse me, remember?” replied Snape, stroking the kitten grudgingly.
“Well, you insulted me,” muttered Draco, still looking darkly at the purring cat.
The two boys fell silent as a big shaggy figure descended towards them.
“Er…thanks abou’ that, Sev,” said Hagrid gruffly.
Severus looked around and saw that Harry, Ron and Hermione had packed away the last of the wyverns and were staring at them with incredulity.
Draco scowled back at them and put his nose in the air. “Great lesson this has been,” he sneered, and marched off. “See you, Sev.”
“Er… how abou’ you four gettin’ the res’ of the lesson off, eh?” Hagrid said hastily. “Prepare for yer next class maybe.”
“Oh no! We couldn’t—” began Hermione.
“Come on, Hermione, Ron’s bleeding,” cut in Harry, nudging Ron hard in the ribs.
“What?” said Ron. “Oh! Yes! Er…Ouch…my finger.” Ron gave Hermione a pitying look and held up a finger with a tiny cut on it.
“You are not—” Hermione started, but Ron and Harry grabbed her arms and marched away muttering something about, ‘never any fun’.
Hagrid nodded at Snape still cradling the purring kitten in his arms.
“I was goin’
to tell yeh,” he said. “Poor little thing’s been runnin’ wild ever since yeh
disappeared. Ran away into the
Snape nodded thoughtfully to Hagrid then started back to the castle.
“Thanks again, Sev!” called Hagrid after him and hurried back to the class.
Severus didn’t cringe at the nickname as he usually did. He held Oreo carefully in his arms and examined her matted fur.
“You need a good soaking, you know that,” he murmured to her and she nuzzled her nose deeper against his arm.
Severus allowed himself to smile as he thought about Harry, Ron and Hermione yelling and screaming as they were attacked by wyverns. For a bunch of smug Gryffindors, they’d looked incredibly clueless and hopelessly clumsy. But Severus had been quite clumsy himself the first time he was a teenager. He suddenly realised how quickly he had begun to take his extreme fitness and stamina for granted. He had abilities no normal fifteen-year-old boy had ever had. His strength to jump abnormally high, to land so lightly on his feet, to move with wondrous precision and silent grace, with senses tuned to even the slightest twitch, sound or smell, not to mention his cool, feline confidence, were the only reasons he had made it through the Forbidden Forest alive, and definitely why he’d been made Gryffindor’s Keeper.
Oreo mewed and dug her claws ever so lightly into his arm, as if telling him to just accept it and move on.
Severus made a face. “What do you know?”
He reached the main doors and pushed them open, stepping over a lightning-quick foot that was thrust into his path.
“Hullo,” said the owner of the foot.
“Hullo, Draco,” responded Snape automatically, walking on. “How did you escape?”
Draco ran to catch up. “Easy,” he said with a shrug. “What other electives d’you do?”
Severus thought back to his timetable. “Muggle Studies.”
“You do Muggle Studies?” said Draco, unable to suppress a sneer.
Snape grunted and scowled. The two fifth years walked on in silence.
“We have a free period after lunch,” stated Snape, aimlessly.
Draco considered. “Meet you in the library,” he said hesitantly.
“All right, what did Ginny say she had?”
The young Slytherin shrugged. “Dunno, wasn’t listening.” He grinned.
“Neither was I.” Snape grinned back. “She was going on about some boy–”
“With flowing, golden locks–”
“Beautifully porcelain skin–”
“Long, fluttering eyelashes–”
“Crimson lips, more perfect than a rosebud–”
The two boys broke into snorts of laughter.
“Well, at least she’s over Potter,” Draco said eventually, shaking his head in disgust and following Severus into a boys’ bathroom.
Severus said nothing but looked at Draco thoughtfully, remembering the look on Ginny’s face whenever she saw ‘The Great Harry Potter’. He doubted whether her foolish infatuation could ever be cured, especially if Potter started to appreciate those looks she gave him.
“Are you all right?” Draco asked curiously. “You look strange.”
“Yeah,” replied Snape, shaking his head with a frown. “Just... help me wash Oreo, will you?”
Draco smirked and pulled out his wand, directing a torrent of water straight at the alarmed feline. “My pleasure.”
“I am pleased to announce that we will be studying my favourite topic this term, ‘Muggle Theatre’.”
There was a half-hearted cheer from the few students awake, jerking some of the sleeping ones from their daydreams. The Muggle Studies teacher, a well-meaning young man called Professor Mimble, started to pace the room, encouraged by the unusual level of enthusiasm.
part of your assessment, we will be–” But at that moment a loud snore
interrupted the Professor’s speech. “
A pretty Hufflepuff girl jerked awake.
“Why does everyone always fall asleep in my class?” the Professor muttered to himself.
“Oh, but sir, we don’t!” said a serious Ravenclaw in the front row.
“Yes, you’re not nearly as boring as Professor Binns,” said Lane, her voice trailing away as she realised she had said the wrong thing.
Ginny stifled a giggle and poked the sleeping boy next to her. “Pip! Woodley!” she whispered. “You’d better wake up. I think Mimble’s going to crack!”
Woodley sat up and yawned loudly.
Mimble waited for him to finish, his left eye twitching furiously. “Now, as I was saying, part of your assessment this year will involve putting on a Muggle play for the school to attend –”
“BRILLIANT, SIR!” roared Philip Woodley merrily, banging his desk suddenly and making everyone jump. “I think a Muggle play would be a smashing idea!”
Mimble blinked, then continued more enthusiastically. “Yes, good! Good! Of
course we have to figure out exactly which one to do. There’s a particularly
interesting one that originated in North Scotland, or was it
But the class had once again fallen into a daze, with only Ginny and Philip Woodley whispering and silently laughing every now and then.
Both boys looked up and saw Ginny waving furiously from down the corridor. She soon caught up and started chatting eagerly about some kind of vampire squirrel.
“Slow down!” said Snape with mild bemusement.
“Yeah, and tone it down a little,” added Draco, rubbing his ears.
But Ginny was too wound up to retaliate. “Have either of you had Defence Against the Dark Arts yet?”
Draco and Severus looked at each other.
“Before lunch I had Herbology.”
“And I had Charms, why?”
“Professor Garwood’s starting a Duelling club!”
“We should join!” Ginny burst out, practically skipping into the library and earning an icy stare from Madam Pince.
Snape wrinkled up his nose. “Whatever for?”
“We’re already getting duelling practice from Severus anyway,” Draco pointed out, sprawling into a chair.
“Yes, but, it’ll be fun,” coaxed Ginny, spreading out her books and taking a seat.
“You just want to show off,” said Snape amused, crossing his arms.
“I do not–” began Ginny defensively.
“Hey, good idea!” nodded Draco suddenly. “I bet stinking Potter and Weasley’ll join–other Weasley,” he added hastily, at Ginny’s expression.
“If you want then,” Snape shrugged, finally sitting down.
“Can’t wait to see the look on their faces...” Draco’s eyes gleamed and he twirled his wand slowly.
Ginny looked slightly alarmed at his expression. “Just don’t go overboard, you two...”
“Oh, we wouldn’t dream of it, would we, young Malfoy?” drawled Severus, giving a rather nasty smile and looking sidelong at the gleeful Slytherin.
Young Malfoy sniggered.
there’s no Unforgivable Curses, thank goodness,” murmured Ginny, thinking back
to their encounters in the
“I hope you didn’t tell anyone about those,” Severus growled.
“Yeah, well, I’m just glad no one asked why we didn’t just hang around and wait for the Aurors, instead of running away into the forest,” put in Draco. “Some people are pretty thick though–”
But at that moment a huge giggle interrupted his words, which seemed to be coming from Ginny’s direction.
“What on earth–?”
The two boys stared at the idiotically grinning Ginny and raised their eyebrows.
“Over there,” Ginny motioned, waving discreetly to a blonde boy who had just sat down a few tables away. “That’s who I was talking about this morning.”
Draco and Severus swivelled their heads to glance across the room at Philip Woodley.
“Don’t look!” hissed Ginny, whacking them over the shoulders. “Could you be any more obvious?”
“Oh! Right! Sorry,” Draco spluttered, trying to keep a straight face, but mouthing to Severus. “Lips like a rosebud.”
Severus snorted with laughter, and Woodley looked their direction. He saw Ginny, grinned and gave her a wink. Ginny grinned back and gave a sort of idiotic wave. Draco and Severus coughed violently, only to have Ginny give them both a quelling look and grab their shoulders.
“I want you two to meet him,” she said.
“I already have and I don’t care to repeat the experience,” said Severus.
“I don’t care. Come on!”
And with that, the two boys were pushed and shoved over to where Philip Woodley was quietly drawing. Woodley looked up and smiled merrily.
“Hullo, Gin, you too, Scrape,” he nodded, and looked inquiringly at Draco.
“Scrape,” beamed Draco to Severus. “Sev Scrape.”
“Er, this is Draco Malfoy,” Ginny said hastily. “We’re...er...we’ve been…er…he was stuck in the forest with us,” she finished off lamely.
“My name’s Philip Woodley,” the other boy said amicably, extending a hand.
But Draco froze, looking at Woodley with narrowed eyes. He looked from Ginny to Woodley with an expression of incredulity on his face. There was an uncomfortable silence and Ginny cleared her throat.
“My name’s Snape,” Severus said suddenly, making everyone jump. “You always seem to forget that... And I’m going for a walk. Coming, Draco?”
Draco tore his eyes away from Woodley.
“Yeah...you coming, Ginny?” he asked the redhead, giving her an odd look.
“All right,” Ginny hesitated, facing Woodley. “See you in–”
“Potions,” Woodley cut in, his eyes twinkling. “I’ll watch your books.”
Ginny grinned idiotically once more and ran to catch up.
“Watch out!” exclaimed Draco, annoyed as Ginny turned and ran full pelt into him.
“What is it?” she said uncertainly, walking in between them and glancing at Draco’s peculiar expression.
Draco paused and gave her another odd look. “He looks just like me,” he said shortly.
Severus snickered to himself, though wisely keeping quiet.
“Who?” said Ginny blankly, walking slower.
“That Woodley fellow!”
Ginny gave him an incredulous look and shrugged it off. “No, he doesn’t.”
Draco stared at her disbelievingly and grabbed her shoulder. “He. Looks. Exactly. Like. Me!” Draco cried, gesturing at his face.
Ginny looked at his hand on her shoulder and frowned. Draco quickly removed it and gave her an insufferable look.
“No, he doesn’t,” she repeated, ignoring the look of pure infuriation she was being given.
“You are so stupid,” Draco breathed, unable to say anything else.
“You are quite mad,” Ginny replied snootily, resuming her march. “You’re probably just wishing that you didn’t have to look in the mirror every morning and stare at the face of a retarded Slytherin.”
“Oh yes! Keep talking!” Draco cut in angrily, gesturing rudely at her back. “Perhaps one day you’ll say something intelligent.”
Ginny whirled and glared. “Oh, that’s rich, coming from you!” she yelled. “Every second thing you say is something utterly stupid! If you’d only bothered to talk to Philip, you’d see that–”
“I didn’t need to!” Draco yelled back, also losing his temper. “I’m not blind! I know what I saw! If you’re too bloody thick to see it and not even listen to what I’m saying–”
“But what you’re saying is rot!” exclaimed Ginny. “Why don’t you just shut up and listen! Philip’s got warm, green eyes for one; he has a warm, real smile, a warm, charming voice, and a permanent, warm expression on his–”
“PARDON ME!” interjected Draco furiously. “But you’ve obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a damn!”
Ginny gave an inarticulate yell of rage, turned her heel, and marched in another direction. Draco clenched his fists and whirled on Severus.
“WHAT ARE YOU SMIRKING AT?” he snarled.
Snape looked taken aback. “What? Oh! Nothing! Nothing at all...”
“GOOD!” snarled Draco, and strode outside into the courtyard.
Snape raised his eyebrows and tried his best not to look amused. “Hey, I think you have the voice of an angel,” he called out.
Draco swore loudly in response and pulled out his wand, zapping one of the hedges to pieces.
Draco’s stormy mood continued until they reached Defence Against the Dark Arts.
“Boys! You’re late! I’ll take points off next time!” said Professor Garwood sternly.
Snape ignored her and sat down but Draco looked up and glared at the Defence Professor sullenly. “We couldn’t find the stupid classroom. The Slytherins are used to having this subject in another room, so why are we stuck with these stinking Gryffindors in here?”
His retort was met with silence but then all of a sudden a loud angry babble of voices broke out.
“WE DIDN’T WANT TO BE STUCK WITH YOU ROTTERS!”
“HEY, YOU’RE LUCKY WE’RE IN HERE!”
“WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM?”
“QUIET!” roared Garwood.
The voices stopped abruptly and everyone looked at the new teacher.
“As I told the class last week, Mr Malfoy, you are being combined in my class as Professor Dumbledore wishes to teach only one house at a time in Potions,” Professor Garwood said calmly. “So we had better treat each other with respect or I will be giving out detentions, understood?”
There was a sullen murmur and a few grunts in ascent. Draco sat next to Severus, ignoring the annoyed looks from both houses.
At that moment a bespectacled boy with messy black hair entered the classroom.
“Mr Potter! Not you too? What’s your excuse?” the Professor said exasperated.
“Er...” Harry glanced at his friends and Severus could’ve sworn that he had shot a guilty look at him.
“Well, moving along!” Garwood said briskly. “Now, can anyone name one of the Beasts of Terror?” Garwood paused as she looked around the silent classroom. “Or was it only Miss Granger who did her background reading as usual?”
The Professor smiled at the bushy-haired girl and looked around questioningly. Snape turned around and scowled at Hermione’s raised arm. With a sneer on his face he raised his own stiffly.
“Mr. Snape?” said the Professor surprised. “But I don’t expect you to know the answer, especially since you’re–”
“Hellhounds,” cut in Snape coldly. “Granger isn’t the only one with half a brain.”
There was an angry buzz once more and a few grins amongst the Slytherins.
“Thank you for that entirely pointless comment, Snape,” replied Garwood dryly, holding up her hands for silence. “And Hellhounds are indeed one of the most feared Beasts of Terror. Does anyone know how they became to be famous?”
“They’re famous?” mouthed Dean Thomas to Seamus Finnigan, who had turned slightly green.
“Hellhounds were used during the Dark Lord’s reign to hunt down the weaker wizards,” answered a Slytherin, giving the Gryffindors a scornful look. “The ones that weren’t worth the Death Eaters’ time.”
Professor Garwood shuddered. “Thank you, Mr Zabini. They were bred to cause panic among the masses, killers of the weak and innocent. They were supposed to have disappeared alongside their master, but recent events have proved otherwise.”
The class looked curiously at the Professor standing in front of them.
“Can anyone tell me what made the dogs so dangerous?”
Draco threw a sidelong look at Severus but the larger boy was too absorbed in his own thoughts to take notice.
“They had poisonous saliva,” called out Ron, looking up from Hermione’s notes.
Hermione glared at him and Harry suppressed a laugh as she moved them out of Ron’s reach but into Parvati’s.
“Yes, Mr Weasley,” replied the Professor gravely. “Whenever they went on their massacres at least one person was bitten. Very few people survived because of it.”
Garwood paused in front of Severus’s desk and raised an eyebrow. “Your classmate, Severus Snape, survived a deadly bite. Not only that, but along with Mr Malfoy here and Ginny Weasley, they managed to get away and cause a great deal of damage to them.”
The class looked at Severus with new respect, and the Slytherins gave a few smug cheers for Draco.
“In our next double lesson we’ll be able to observe them. Yes, they were secured when you came back,” added the Professor, at a surprised look from Severus. “They’re being kept here until the Ministry comes next week.”
There was a sudden buzz of excitement, and even the Slytherins were looking less bored than usual. Severus frowned. He could have sworn they were dead. And why didn’t the Headmaster inform him of this?
“We were attacked by Hellhounds?” said Draco slowly, the fact just sinking in.
“Too bad it didn’t finish him off,” muttered Ron, looking sideways at Harry.
Harry grinned and was about to reply when an indignant Hermione shushed him. “Ginny was with them, remember?”
Harry and Ron looked at each other guiltily.
“Can anyone name any other Beasts of Terror? Yes, Miss Patil?” interjected the teacher hastily, as Draco turned around to glare at Harry and Co.
Severus zoned out for the rest of the lesson, feeling increasingly restless and wishing he was outside, hacking his way through the dense undergrowth once more…
“Oi! Severus! Lesson’s over, let’s go!”
Severus blinked and the world came back into focus once more. He and Draco were the only ones left in the classroom, with the exception of the teacher.
“Finally,” Snape muttered, gathering up his books.
Severus looked over his shoulder at the serious-looking Professor. He noticed, for the first time, that her hand had an ugly scar upon it. No wonder she’d been hopeless with a wand the night she chased him, she was injured. Wait, did she suspect?
“What is it?” he muttered.
Garwood looked at him appraisingly. “Are you going to sign up for the Duelling Club?”
Snape felt a strange boldness take over him. “Thought I might,” he said offhandedly, running a hand through his short hair.
“You too, Mr Malfoy?” Garwood asked, turning her attention towards the young Slytherin.
Draco looked from Garwood to Snape and cleared his throat. “Maybe,” he muttered, then in a louder voice. “Let’s go, Severus.”
Severus gave him an irritated look but started walking after him anyway. A sudden impulse made him stop at the doorway however, and look curiously back at the seated professor. Garwood had started dictating so a self-writing quill and didn’t look up. Severus stood still for a while before walking quickly away.
“Finally!” Draco exclaimed, ceasing his glare at Harry with all his books on the floor, and motioning to Severus. “Come on. Potter and followers are giving me the willies, they’re everywhere I go.”
Severus grunted and the two boys walked in silence for a while when Draco gave a sudden snigger.
“What?” said Severus, looking around.
“You ought to be ashamed of yourself!” mocked Draco, coming to a halt and shaking his head.
“What?” Severus repeated, coming back to reality.
Draco waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Severus stared at him blankly. Draco winked and gave him a sharp nudge with his elbow.
“WHAT?” roared Severus finally, losing his temper.
Draco grinned and shrugged. “You’ve got it bad for a teacher.”
“WHAT?!” roared Snape again, but this time in a different tone.
“Oh come on,” said Draco scornfully. “You’re potty over her; you should’ve seen your face when she asked if you were joining the Duelling Club!”
The young Slytherin flicked back his hair dramatically and said in a deep, dopey voice, “Oh yes, Professor! I’d love to join your Duelling club...”
He started to make kissing noises when Snape leapt at him with a snarl.
Snape and Draco leapt up guiltily, wishing that anyone else but her had caught them.
“What did I tell you two about fighting?” Professor Garwood demanded, glaring at them in disbelief.
“Well, you see...”
“No excuses! Detention! Come with me to my office.”
Professor Garwood marched grimly before them, as both Gryffindor and Slytherin walked sheepishly behind.
Snape looked at Draco in annoyance. “This is your fault!” he hissed.
“You should be thanking me.” Draco smirked and waggled his eyebrows.
Snape gave an inarticulate growl of rage and stamped promptly on his foot. Luckily, they reached a small oak door before Draco could retaliate.
“Wait here,” Garwood said curtly, and shut the door firmly behind her.
Snape sighed and leant against the cool, stone wall. It wasn’t half as fun receiving detentions as it was giving them out.
“Phew, I’m glad that’s over,” exclaimed Ron Weasley, stretching out in front of the common room fire.
“Yeah, I know,” replied Harry, throwing himself into an armchair.
“But we’re still nowhere!” muttered Hermione, hugging her knees and staring broodingly into the fire.
“Hermione! We’ve watched him for forty-eight hours straight!” cried Ron irritably.
“Day and night.” Harry yawned, staring out the window into the gloomy darkness.
“Yes, but are you sure? Absolutely sure that Snape didn’t take some kind of potion–”
“YES!” yelled Ron, thumping the ground.
“We did have the invisibility cloak, Hermione,” said Harry. “He had dozens of chances to take something, but he didn’t.”
“Besides,” continued Ron, “–just what would he take? Youth potion? It doesn’t have that much of an affect! Polyjuice Potion? How and why would he turn into someone who looks just like a younger version of himself?”
Hermione sighed and continued staring into the fire. “It’s still fishy,” she said stubbornly. “Professor Snape goes away, Snape junior comes here, and we haven’t heard at all from Snape Senior...”
“I’ve written to Sirius,” put in Harry in response. “And he agrees that it does seem dodgy, but he also told me that Snape was really scrawny and rubbish on a broom when he was at school.”
“And why are you so worried, anyway?” complained Ron tiredly. “Dumbledore wouldn’t have let him into the Tower if he was dangerous.”
“I know but… I’ve just got a nasty feeling about him, that’s all. I know he’s friends with Ginny but he knows powerful dark magic, and he’s–”
“Been sorted into Gryffindor,” cut in Harry calmly, “ –and we all know that Snape Senior’s a Slytherin, through and through, so it’s impossible that he could actually be Snape Junior.”
Ron made a triumphant noise and leant back. Hermione sighed but then looked sharply at Harry.
“What is it?” she asked curiously, noticing the weary look on one of her best friends’ face.
“It’s Snape,” replied Harry darkly. “I forgot to tell you...he’s Gryffindor’s new Keeper.”
Upstairs, in the fifth year boys’ dormitories, Severus Snape woke up with a start.
He could’ve sworn he’d heard a muffled bellow of indignation coming from the common room.
A/N: Wyverns and Hellhounds are mythological creatures I’ve taken a few liberties with.