|Harry Potter and the Walking Shadow
Author: Koinaka PM
When Dumbledore shows up at the Dursley's front door to deliver Harry's Hogwarts letter, he is in for a surprise: for the last ten years, Harry has lived in a London orphanage, much like another dark-haired wizard. Is history doomed to repeat itself?Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Angst - Harry P. - Chapters: 6 - Words: 24,303 - Reviews: 1,027 - Favs: 1,643 - Follows: 2,148 - Updated: 03-19-10 - Published: 09-24-08 - id: 4557423
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This hasn't been beta'ed so it may be a bit rough. Let me know if you find any mistakes, and I'll be sure to fix them. It turns out that this chapter is the last I have written, so everything from here on out will be brand new! It's very exciting. I am actually rather happy about the direction the story is taking now, but please let me know what you think.
Also, please do check out my newest story, Adventures in Witchcraft and Wizardry if you haven't already. There's only one chapter for now, but the next chapter should be out by the end of today. I have a fascination with bending things in canon and seeing how one thing can change everything else. In Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore told Snape that Harry's deepest nature was that of his mother's despite having the appearance of his father. What if things were reversed? What if Harry looked like Lily but acted more like James? Also, it is quite different because it is the only story I've ever written that isn't full of angst! Imagine that.
Disclaimer: Do not own. Sigh.
Harry Potter and the Walking Shadow
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 24–28
Of Friends and Bullies
McGonagall reached the group of students at the same time Harry did.
"What's going on here, Longbottom?" she asked. She glanced disapprovingly at the small crowd. Weasley already had his wand out and was pointing it at Malfoy.
Longbottom swallowed nervously. "M-Malfoy's got my Remembrall, Professor."
Malfoy tensed and thrust the Remembrall into Longbottom's outstretched hand.
"I don't need it anyway," he said, snidely when McGonagall had gone. "My father can afford to buy me loads of Remembralls! Unlike yours, Weasley."
"Come on, Potter," Nott said quietly. "Best get to class, yeah?"
Harry nodded. As amusing as this exchange was turning out to be, they had classes, and he had no desire to be late.
Classes that day were excruciating. All anyone, except for Harry, could talk about was the upcoming flying lessons. By the time three o'clock arrived, Harry was thoroughly annoyed.
The Slytherins reached the clearing where the flying lessons were to take place to find two lines broomsticks laid out on the green grass.
"It's really too bad that first years aren't allowed their own broom," Malfoy said to Zabini. "These are truly ghastly."
Harry wasn't entirely sure what a broom would look like, but even he could see these were rather tattered with bristles sticking up at odd angles.
"So, Potter," began Zabini, coolly. "I bet you've never even touched a broom before let alone ridden one."
Beside him Pansy Parkinson shrieked with laughter. "Yeah, you filthy little half-blood."
Before Harry could retort, Madam Hooch appeared and called the lessons to attention.
Harry's broom came to him the moment he issued the command of, "Up!" Not that Harry had had any doubt of it, but still it was nice to catch some of his yearmates in obvious lies. Especially as Finnigan's broom would not even lift the ground, and Weasley's only made several jerky motions. Malfoy's had risen immediately, but Zabini and Parkinson had some difficulty in getting theirs to obey.
When everyone's broom had responded, Madam Hooch continued the lesson. "Now, when I blow my whistle, you kick off from the ground, hard," said Madam Hooch. "Keep your brooms steady, rise a few feet and then come straight back down by leaning forward slightly. On my whistle, three - two - one."
Harry pushed off and rose off the ground, hovering several feet in the air before doing as Madam Hooch instructed and leaning forward to bring his feet back down to earth. Flying was an odd thing, really. It was pleasant enough, he supposed, but he found no real joy in it, though he seemed to be the only one who felt that way.
Save Longbottom, perhaps, who was clutching his broom tightly in his hands, his knuckles turning white with the effort. He was slower than the others, all of the first years had already risen once and were now on their second or even third times. Harry saw him take in a strangled breath before pushing off with far more strength than necessary.
He shot up straight in the air, perhaps twenty feet or so, maybe higher. Even from his position on the ground, Harry could see Longbottom was frozen with fear. He was an unnatural pasty white color, and he was obviously trembling. The next moment, he moved forward in what Harry supposed was an attempt to bring the broom down, losing his grip instead and plummeting to the earth.
His arm made a sickening cracking noise as he landed on the soft green grass.
Madam Hooch rushed over to the fallen boy, taking his wrist gently into her hands and examining it. "Broken," she murmured. "Well, up you get Longbottom. Come along, I'll escort you to the Infirmary. Madam Pomphrey will fix you up in a jiffy." She turned to face the class, then. "I'll be back in a matter of minutes. While I'm away, I expect everyone's feet to remain firmly on the floor. Should any of you choose to ignore my warning, you'll find yourselves in a tremendous amount of trouble."
She gave them a pointed look before leading Longbottom off towards the castle.
"I'm surprised he was even able to lift his fat bottom off the ground," guffawed Malfoy.
Several of the Gryffindors were visibly seething.
"You take that back, Malfoy," spat Weasley.
Malfoy smirked widely. "You know, I don't think I will."
"Hey, Malfoy, look what Tubbottom dropped!" said Zabini, pointing to the ball-like object lying on the ground.
"Yes," breathed Malfoy softly. "Longbottom's Remembrall." He strode over and picked it up before tossing it into the air several times.
"Give it back, Malfoy!" Seamus Finnigan shouted.
Harry's thoughts were pulled to the past. "Give it back!"
"That's not yours!" snarled Weasley.
"Yeah," joined in the Indian girl, Patil.
"You probably want it for yourself, Weasley. You'll never have enough money in a lifetime to buy one. Why should I give it to you? You know, I think I'll just leave it somewhere for the great lump to find - like the roof."
He threw his leg over his broom and holding the Remebrall with one hand and the broom with the other, he rose off the ground.
And Harry felt that same righteous anger flow through him as he had as a child. It was the only gift he'd ever been given. It had been his alone, and they had taken it from him! Had destroyed it. And for no other reason than because they could.
"Give it back."
"Give it back."
"GIVE IT BACK."
The words echoed in his head over and over again, each time louder than the time before, until the voices of the Gryffindors and other Slytherins faded away and all he could hear was his five year old self.
The Remebrall shot out of Malfoy's hand and into Harry's with such force that Malfoy, himself, fell off of his broom. The Slytherins hurried over to Malfoy while the Gryffindors seemed torn between looking at Harry and looking at the fallen Malfoy.
Zabini was helping Malfoy back to his feet when they were joined by Madam Hooch and an enraged Professor Snape.
"Potter, my office, NOW!"
"I didn't do anything wrong," said Harry the moment the two were enclosed behind the doors in Professor Snape's office. Obsidian eyes followed his every move.
"I am well aware of what you did or did not do, Potter, as I was a witness to the last bit of it."
"Oh," Harry said, ineloquently, as he allowed the Professor to direct him to a chair and sat down. He was feeling a bit shaken up. It had been quite some time since he'd had an occurrence of truly accidental magic. He didn't like feeling out of control.
"Have you always had accidental magic of that magnitude?" Snape asked.
"No," Harry lied easily.
"Was it accidental magic that shattered the bones in Octavian Pucey's hand?" Snape asked instead.
"I've already told you that I didn't do anything to Pucey."
There was a long pause before Snape again.
"Get out of my sight, Potter."
Harry didn't need further encouragement.
A tall, thin figure emerged from the shadows after the boy was gone. "You are too hard on him, Severus. He is only a boy," chided the Headmaster softly.
Severus ran a hand across his weary face. "He... unsettles me. There is something about him..." Severus let the sentence hang.
"I know, my dear boy," the Headmaster said, his face showing every one of his years as he remembered another dark-haired boy who was particularly adept at unsettling him. He watched the young man before him for a long moment. "The other teachers say he is a bright child, a bit precocious perhaps, but a joy to teach, and no real disciplinary problems to speak of - despite the numerous detentions he has served with you. What is it that he has done to warrant detention almost nightly since his arrival? Is he truly such an unruly child?"
Pinned under the Headmaster's gaze, Severus Snape flushed lightly. "He unsettles me," he simply stated once more. "I am better able to watch him if he is in detention with me than if he were free to wander about the castle. Bright, yes he is that, and precocious, yes, he certainly is. I'll not deny that, but he is also dangerous, Headmaster! All of the bones in Octavian Pucey's hand were shattered, and they certainly did not come to be that way by themselves."
Albus Dumbledore sighed wearily. "This again, Severus?" He took a long, deep breath. "Has Pucey told you expressly that it was young Harry who injured him?"
"No, but -"
"Did Harry admit to doing so, then?" he asked.
"Of course not - "
Dumbledore simply raised his hand, silencing the man. "Then, I'll ask you not to bring the subject up again. If Mr. Pucey will not admit who injured him, and young Harry denies his involvement, there is nothing more than you can do."
Severus's breath came out in harsh spurts for several long seconds before he was able to calm himself. "Fine," he all but snarled, "but I will keep an eye on him - even if it means he spends his entire seven year stay at Hogwarts with me in detention nightly."
"I would expect nothing less. Just what is it about the boy that unsettles you so, Severus? I do not think I've seen you so troubled in a great many years. Is it how remarkably similar to James he is? Or is it his resemblance to his mother that troubles you so?"
"He is nothing like Lily!"
"Oh, but he is, my dear boy. He has her eyes, exactly her eyes, as I'm sure you recall, and her talent as well," replied the Headmaster lightly.
"You've used that line before," said Severus, bitterly.
"And yet it bears repeating. He is not so different than you were as a boy. His childhood was every bit as unhappy as your own, and I've been told he had no friends in the orphanage at all whereas you always had Lily."
Severus's chest throbbed painfully. Lily...
"Does he seem to be making friends here?" queried the Headmaster.
"No," admitted Severus. "I'm certain he could, if he chose to do so, but he allows no one close to him though Theodore Nott seems particularly interested in becoming his friend."
Once again Dumbledore seemed to age before his very eyes. "Ah, yes, so similar," he murmured to himself.
"Weasley challenged Malfoy to a wizard's duel," Nott told him as the two boys left the Great Hall after dinner that evening and headed towards the library. Harry had a bit of time before his first detention with Snape, and he planned on spending it finishing his Charms essay.
"That's interesting," said Harry, even though he felt nearly the opposite. "Awfully brave of Malfoy... I certainly wouldn't want to find myself under Weasley's wand - considering the state of it... "
"We could go watch," suggested Nott. "It could prove useful."
"I doubt that."
The boys studied in quiet for several minutes before Nott cleared his throat. "Why'd you do it?" he asked, softly.
"Do what?" Harry asked distractedly.
Harry glared at him. "I wasn't helping Longbottom -"
Nott cutt him off. "Then what were you doing?"
"Malfoy is a bully. I don't think much of bullies."
Nott considered this for a moment before nodding. "He is that."
"Too bad it won't be enough to stop him from doing it again," Harry said.
Nott snorted gracelessly. "Did you see the look on his face, though, when he fell? It was priceless!"
Detention that night with Snape went about as well as he could expect. Harry was to prepare ingredients for the man. He did so until ten o'clock when Snape dismissed him with a glare and an insult. The boy's dormitory was in an uproar when Harry arrived.
"I wish I could be there to see the look on Weasley's face when Filch shows up," crowed Malfoy.
"If he even shows up," Zabini said, pointedly.
"Oh, he'll show up," Malfoy promised. "Gryffindor bravery and all that rot." He gave Harry a disdainful look as Zabini and the two thugs snickered.
When it became apparent that Weasley and Longbottom had managed not to get caught by Filch, Malfoy spent the next several days sulking.
"The Gryffindors are up to something," Nott commented one day, nearly two weeks after the flying incident.
Harry raised his head, reluctantly, from his book and followed Nott's gaze until it landed on the four Gryffindors - Finnigan, Longbottom, Thomas,and Weasley - who were huddled over a book. "Hmm," he said after a moment. "I suppose they have been rather tetchy lately. What do you suppose they are up to?"
"I don't know, but it is odd, isn't it? Those four being in the library, I mean. We've never seen them here before," Nott said.
Harry watched the Gryffindors with pursed lips. "How long would you say that they've been acting oddly?" he asked Nott. He hadn't been paying close attention to the Gryffindors since the flying lessons if he could help it. Between serving detentions with Professor Snape, doing his homework, and exploring the castle when he could, he rarely had any free time at all.
"Ever since the botched duel," Nott replied, "I know we should have followed them that night. I think something happened - really happened - and now we'll never know!"
At this, Harry scoffed softly and raised one of his eyebrows, giving Nott an incredulous look. "Nothing has happened," he said, mildly. "Nothing we don't already know, at any rate. Gryffindors aren't particularly known for being subtle, are they? I don't think any of them - least of all Weasley - understands the concept of a secret. You don't think they could actually be hiding something, do you? Besides, you know Malfoy was only setting them up. I spend enough time in detention as it is."
Nott had the grace to look abashed, but he did not agree with Harry. "I do," he insisted. "I overheard them just this morning, before classes. Something is going on - and it involves the forbidden third floor corridor."
Harry's quill dropped noiselessly to his parchment, and the book Malfoy had been pretending to read closed shut with a thud. "The third floor corridor," he breathed, excited. "Are you sure?"
Nott nodded furiously. "Yes," he said. "I heard them! Not all of it, mind, but enough to know they've been there when they shouldn't have been."
"Ah," said Harry, mostly to himself. "I bet that's why they got so many points taken away! I knew that was a bit excessive for breaking curfew. What do you suppose is there?"
It was a question he'd been thinking about for a while.
"Well, that's just it, isn't it? No one knows. I heard some of the older Slytherins talking about, though. They said it must really be something because there's never been an area of Hogwarts you couldn't go."
"We'll have to keep our eyes on them," Harry said, nodding towards the other students. "Like I said before, they're Gryffindors. They'll give something away eventually."
But, surprisingly, the Gryffindors didn't do anything suspicious other than spend more time than usual in the library. It wasn't until a week had gone by that they noticed them acting strangely again. The four boys had spent the entirety of breakfast either huddled together talking or casting wary glances at the Head Table.
"We've got Potions with them today, so I'll see what I can find out," Harry told Nott as they left the Great Hall.
During Potions, the perfect opportunity presented itself because after calling the class to order, Snape immediately asked them to group in pairs.
The four boys were about to pair off when Harry gave Nott a pointed look. He grinned at Harry and then not-so-subtly stuck his foot out and tripped Weasley as he went to move towards Longbottom.
Harry moved smoothly to where Longbottom was standing as the two boys began to scuffle.
"Hello," Harry said to him. "Want to work together?"
"You don't have to," said Longbottom, quickly. "I'm horrid at Potions. I wouldn't want to drag you down."
"I know I don't have to," Harry replied, "but I want to."
"Oh, alright." The boy seemed genuinely puzzled at why Harry would want to work with him.
A red-faced Snape gave them their assignment, stopping briefly to glare in Nott and Weasley's general direction. Harry and Longbottom worked in silence for several long moments before Longbottom's hushed voice broke the silence.
"I never got a chance to thank you for getting my Remembrall back from Malfoy. You didn't have to do that."
Harry gave him a small smile. "Of course I didn't have to," he answered somewhat vaguely. "But I'm not going to let Malfoy get away with bullying everyone."
Longbottom still looked uncertain. Harry sighed inwardly. Gryffindors seemed prone to being particularly obtuse, something that was sure to drive him absolutely mad. "Friend stick up for one another, don't they?" he asked.
"Well, yeah, but we aren't friends," said Longbottom, warily.
"Not yet," he conceded, "but we could be if you wanted."
Longbottom frowned. "You want to be my friend? You've never even talked to me before."
Harry shrugged. "That's because we're in different Houses, and it's not like you've ever tried to talk to me before either. If you don't want us to be friends, that's fine…"
His face lit up, "No, that would be brilliant," he said before Snape appeared at their workstation to check on their progress.
"Well?" asked Nott as they walked into their next class of the day, Defense Against the Dark Arts.
"Well, what?" snapped Harry, moodily. They'd only just arrived in the class and already his scar was throbbing painfully.
"Did you find out anything?"
"Not yet, but now that I've made friends with him, I'm sure I'll be able to find out something. Maybe I can even tag along next time they go to the library together."
That day, Quirrell was even worse than usual, if that was even possible, stuttering nearly every word to the point that his lecturing - what little he did -- was practically incoherent. By the time class was over, Harry had a blinding headache. Quirrell's nervous behavior got worse the closer to Halloween it became.
One night, on his way back to the dungeons from the library, he found himself on the third floor thanks to the ever-changing staircases. Since he was already there, Harry decided to investigate the corridor for himself only to find nothing of interest, unless of course, three-headed dogs that seemed keen on consuming human flesh - his human flesh - were commonplace in the wizarding world.
Since Harry didn't think they were, he thought that must be what the Gryffindors had discovered. Although, as interesting as a three-headed dog was, he couldn't really see what use it would have, especially when you couldn't rightly get near it. Unless that was the point entirely. Was the three-headed dog guarding something?
Nott was playing chess with Malfoy in the common room when a breathless Harry sank onto a nearby couch. The dog - and Harry was very reluctant to even call it a dog, monster was more like it - hadn't been affected by any of the spells he'd used, so Harry had had to resort to running away from it. He almost hadn't gotten away, in fact, as the missing piece of his trouser leg was a testament to.
"Potter?" asked Nott, taking in his friend's disheveled appearance.
Harry shook his head. "Not here." He pulled Nott into their empty dorm room.
"I know what it is on the third floor corridor!"
Nott's eyes widened. "What?"
"A dog - a three-headed dog."
"A cerebus! They have a hell-hound in a school for children. Why on earth would they have a hell-hound at Hogwarts?" He paused before answering his own question. "It's guarding something."
"Obviously," Harry said. "But what?"
Nott shrugged. "It could be anything. Hogwarts is the one of the most protected places in the wizarding world. Only Gringotts comes even close to it."
Harry's eyes widened at the mention of Gringotts. He hadn't paid any attention when Nott had told him about Gringotts being broken into, but if it was the second most secure place in the wizarding world - and Hogwarts was first – "Maybe whatever used to be in Vault 713 is now here at Hogwarts. Maybe that's what the dog is guarding."
The only question was - what was in Vault 713?
The morning of Halloween began in a pleasant enough way. He wasn't sure what to expect as he'd never had a proper Halloween celebration before. Since the nuns at the orphanage had considered Halloween a pagan holiday, they'd never even been allowed to trick or treat.
There was also the small matter of Halloween being the anniversary of his parents' deaths. It wasn't that he was still grieving for his parents. How could he be when he'd never even known them? He could only assume it was because before July he hadn't known that they were dead at all let alone when it had happened.
Harry stared at the decorations in the Great Hall with an expression akin to wonder. It was quite a sight - a thousand live bats fluttered from the walls and ceiling while a thousand more swooped over the tables in low black clouds, causing the candles in the pumpkins to stutter.
"It's really something, isn't it?" Nott commented, looking around at the decorations.
Harry nodded his head in agreement. He was reaching for a piece of buttered bread when Professor Quirrell came sprinting into the hall, his turban askew and terror on his face. Everyone stared as he reached Professor Dumbledore's chair, slumped against the table, and gasped, "Troll - in the dungeons - thought you ought to know."
He then sank to the floor in a dead faint. Harry and Nott exchanged a look.
"Trolls aren't terribly bright creatures, are they?" Harry asked.
Nott shook his head slowly. "No way, they are dumb as a pile of bricks."
Harry's eyes widened. "What's the probability that it let itself into the most protected place in Britain, then?"
"Not a chance in the world," breathed Nott, a look of horror on his face as the hall around them descended into utter chaos.
"Prefects! Lead your students back to the dormitories!" Dumbledore thundered.
The two boys exchanged a look.
"The dormitories? Is he mad? Quirrell just told him the troll is in the dungeons! He can't expect us to go there!" Nott said.
"Oi, come along, you lot," said a broad-faced prefect as she began sheep-herding the Slytherins out of the Great Hall.
Harry's eyes swept across the room just in time to see Quirrell disappear through the doors instead of gathering with the other teachers.
"Hey, Nott," said Harry softly, nudging the boy. "Quirrell seems to have made a quick recovery. He's just disappeared out the front door. What do you suppose he's doing?"
"Same thing Snape is doing, I bet," commented Nott, eyeing the Potion Master who was indeed following Quirrell out the front door.
Their eyes met, and they shared a knowing look. "The third floor corridor!" they hissed in unison.
"Nott! Potter! This way, or I'll let the troll have you!" snarled the same prefect.
"She would," said Nott, groaning. "He'd probably do it as a favor too. You know, being as he's her cousin and all."
Harry snickered, but quickly smoothed his face into an impassive look of boredom. "You go ahead, Nott, I'm going to follow Quirrell and Snape."
"Oh no you don't. Not without me at least," interrupted Nott.
Harry arched an eyebrow at the boy. As if Harry needed Nott to protect him... what a ridiculous idea.
"Look, I know you can take care of yourself, and you don't really need me, but just let me come, will you?" finished Nott.
Harry sighed and bit back a sharp retort. "Fine, you can come. Now, let's go. We'll follow them and act like we're going downstairs with the rest of the Slytherins. Only we'll go up the staircase instead of down them when we get there."
Nott gave him a shrewd look. "What if they aren't going there? We might have lost them by then."
"They'll be there. Where else would they be? You said it yourself, trolls don't let themselves into the most protected place in Britain. The troll was obviously meant to be a distraction, but I refuse to let myself be distracted by it."
They were following behind the other Slytherins, at the back of the line. No one seemed to notice they were purposely lagging behind.
"So, Quirrell is easy enough to explain, but what about Snape?" asked Nott.
"I don't know," Harry said, a frown flitting across his face. "But I intend to find out."
It was ridiculously easy for Harry and Nott to sneak up the staircase while the Slytherins were going down it. However, they weren't alone. They met Weasley and Longbottom on the second staircase.
"What are you doing here, Potter?" snarled Weasley.
"Same as you, I would think," Harry said, eyeing Longbottom who shifted his gaze from Harry to Nott.
Longbottom let out a sigh of relief. "You're going to help us find Hermione, then?"
Harry's brow furrowed. "No," he said, with a shake of his head. "Why would we?"
Now, Weasley looked sheepish. "I might have said some mean things to 'er," he mumbled.
"Who, you, mean?" asked Nott, a bit waspishly. "I never took you for a mean person at all. Just narrow minded and judgmental - a bit like Malfoy, wouldn't you say, Potter?"
He shrugged. "Can't say, really. I try not to think of Malfoy whenever possible."
Harry nearly smirked at Weasley. He hadn't thought it was humanly possible to turn quite that shade of purple. "Well, are you going to help us or not?" Weasley demanded. "She doesn't know about the troll, so we've got to find her before it does."
"Or not," replied Harry, firmly. He hadn't time to go rescuing damsels in distress. Quirrell was making his move on whatever it was that three-headed dog was guarding, and Harry wasn't going to miss his chance to discover what it was because of some foolish girl.
It was obvious -- however -- that this was the wrong thing to say. Weasley narrowed his eyes, and Longbottom had a wistful look on his face.
"Fine," snarled Weasley. "But if something happens to her, I'll hex you myself."
"And why would you do that?" asked Harry, honestly nonplussed. "It's not my fault that your big mouth caused Granger to -- what is she doing anyway? Hiding in a toilet or something?" At Longbottom's nod, Harry continued. "Why is it my responsibility to save her? Go tell a professor if you that worried about going up against a troll. In fact, I suggest you do that. I certainly wouldn't entrust my life to your wand work."
"You're the Boy-Who-Lived," Weasley blustered. "That's what you do -- save people."
Harry quirked an eyebrow at the boy and shrugged. "I'm only an eleven year old kid. It's not my business to save people."
Nott chuckled at Weasley's gaping face. "Come on, Potter. You'd better hurry along, too, Weasley, else the troll may find you, and wouldn't that just be a shame?"
"Good luck," Harry called to them as he and Nott continued to the third floor. The only response from Weasley and Longbottom was a string of insults from Weasley.
"Well, that was pleasant," said Nott. "Did you see his face? Priceless."
But Harry's gaze was fixed firmly on something else. Quirrell, with a pair of very red eyes where his dull brown ones normally were, running away from the forbidden corridor. As if Harry had called his name aloud, Quirrell whipped his head around to where the boys stood. The red eyes were gone though his scar gave an agony-filled throb at the piercing gaze.
"You two should be in your c-c-common room," Quirrell stuttered. "It's not safe to be wandering around while there's a troll loose."
Not even a moment later, Snape came limping into view. Harry had never been so glad to see Snape as he was then.
"There had better been a good reason that the two you are in the forbidden third floor corridor as opposed to in the Slytherin Common room -- where you ought to be," Snape hissed, angrily. When Harry opened his mouth to explain, he snarled at them. "Don't say a word -- I don't care to hear your excuses. Return to the common room -- now. Dally even a little, and I will endeavor to see you on the next train out of Hogwarts. Is that understood?"
Both boys nodded and scurried away down the stairs.
"Did you see his leg?" asked Nott as they made their way back to the dungeons.
He shook his head. He wasn't thinking of Snape at all, rather he was thinking of Quirrell.
"It was all bloody. Like he'd been gnawed on by a dog -- a rather large dog, I would say," Nott said, bringing Harry back into the present.
"Like a three-headed hell hound?" asked Harry, mildly.
"Just like that."
The atmosphere the following morning was solemn.
It turned out that Weasley and Longbottom had gotten to Granger, only not before Granger was injured by the troll. By the time the professors arrived on scene, both Granger and Longbottom were unconscious, and Weasley was standing over the body of an unconscious troll. They weren't sure who was more surprised -- the professors or Weasley.