Forgive me if this starts off a bit weird, I started it at three in the morning and continued it the next afternoon when I was actually awake. I hope you enjoy this short little prelude of sorts to my and Miss Vesdemort's 'Hogwarts University'.
Disclaimerus: Me no own, you no sue. The only characters that are ours are the ones not from HP, but inspired by it.
Authors Notes: This is a sort of answer to the Severitus challenge. The difference between this and her original challenge is that this is set after Harry has already graduated from Hogwarts secondary school and is now a student at Hogwarts University, a very selective and highly respected institution of higher learning. This is going to be a very long story, and I doubt that my coauthor and I will bring the truth about Harry and Severus out until at the least chapter seven if not after that. There will be new characters and new houses, but don't worry all will be explained over time throughout the story. Reviews are always welcome, but flames will be fed to my Fire Kraken. Blessings be.
As always Harry, Ron, and Hermione were glad to be getting on the Hogwarts Express. This year was special though, because it was their seventh and last year at the school.
Trying to find an empty compartment was hard because of all the first years, however they did find one that was for the most part empty. It was like the one in which they had found Professor Lupin back in their third year, empty save for a sleeping professor. This professor was different from Lupin however in that 'it' was a 'she'. She appeared to be around Lupin's age, with a waist length auburn braid over her shoulder, and dark blue half-moon framed sunglasses covering her eyes. Her robes were green with sliver sleeves, open to reveal black slacks, a white blouse covered by a black vest; black boots on her feet.
Neither Ron nor Harry could contain the soft "Wow" that escaped them.
"Do you think that she could be the new DADA professor?" Hermione asked softly so as to not disturb the professor.
"Probably," Harry answered, "we do seem to get a new one every year."
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Potter, Weasel, and the Mudblood. Getting ready for another year…"
Draco was cut off when the woman professor yawned and opened her eyes to glare at him.
"Great, another Malfoy." The professor yawned again as she took in the other occupants of the room. "And a Weasley, I see. Umm you four are all I need. Insufferable morning people."
Turning her glare on Hermione the professor explained in sleep-deepened tones, "I never get up before noon if I can help it, and morning people drive me insane."
At that moment the food trolley lady stopped at their door, "Can I get you dears anything?"
The professor scowled at her, "Coffee, black, six teaspoons of sugar."
The trolley lady smiled indulgently at the grumpy professor and conjured up the requested beverage. "Just as you've always liked it m'dear, piping hot and full of sugar. It's good to know that your tastes haven't changed since you were a student."
"Nice to see you too. Just hand over the coffee and no one gets hurt."
The trolley lady handed over the steaming mug and laughed as the younger woman swallowed it in one gulp.
Sighing contentedly the professor handed the mug and a few sickles to the waiting lady. "Thanks Candace that hit the spot." As soon as Candace had taken care of the students, the professor turned to them and smiled apologetically. "Sorry bout earlier, I just am not myself without that first cup of coffee or tea in the morning. Name's Professor Alendi Dragnon from Hogwarts University and you all are?"
"And I'm Hermione Granger. Are you really a professor at the University? I read that only fifty students are invited to attend per year. Is that true?"
"Yes, I am a professor at the University, and yes, only fifty are allowed per year. There are two hundred students total and in this years upcoming class only thirteen are from Hogwarts itself."
"We are reputed to be the best University of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the world, or so I've always heard tell."
Draco sneered at the professor. "So what are you doing on the Hogwarts Express then? Surely not recruiting students."
"I'm taking this week off from my classes to observe the thirteen selected students, so that I can, at the end of the week, announce if they are indeed the best choices for the university."
"Oh I'd love to go there." Hermione was practically drooling at the thought that thirteen of the best students had been selected for the most prestigious magic university in the world.
"As many others do my dear. However the standards for those who are to be invited are quite possibly the highest of any university, save for perhaps several muggle universities."
"Once you enter this hall you will be sorted into one of the four houses. They are Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. You will then join your classmates and the feast will begin."
Alendi stood at the back of the group of eager and nervous first years with a small smile, watching as they took their first steps towards becoming full witches and wizards, and for some of them eventually becoming students at the University. During the sorting she stood just within the doors of the great hall and waited for Headmaster Dumbledore to announce her.
When the sorting was over Dumbledore stood and addressed the students giving the standard warnings that the Forbidden Forest was off bounds and that Hogsmeade visits were for those with permission only. "For those of you who are not in Slytherin... I'm sure, will be glad to know that Professor Snape is on a short sabbatical and will return at the start of next month. And now to introduce a special guest who will be staying with us for this coming week to observe the student body, Professor Alendi Dragnon is from our sister school, Hogwarts University. Professor if you could?" Dumbledore indicated Snape's empty seat at the head table for her to sit at.
"Of course Professor Dumbledore. But if I may I would like to make an announcement to everyone." When he indicated that she could continue Alendi started to slowly walk the length of the hall as she spoke. "As you heard I am Professor Alendi Dragnon, of Hogwarts University. I am not here to judge any of you. Those who are to be invited to the university have already been chosen. There are three from Slytherin, three from Gryffindor, three from Ravenclaw, and four from Hufflepuff. The decision of the entry committee cannot be revoked, except if one of you decides to do something extremely stupid in the next week. Should that happen I have the authority to un-invite you. However, that would be most unpleasant, because should the committee decide otherwise I would make your classes with Professor Snape seem like a walk in the park, once I get you in my classes, and to be sure, you will all get me as a professor at some point or another. And don't think it's an idle threat either. Who do you think Severus learned it from?" Alendi sat down while the entire hall was dead silent, except for the bright peals of laughter coming from the professors. "Well why aren't you all eating?"
As soon as all of the occupants of the hall were eating again Professor McGonagall leaned over and whispered to Alendi, "Well done."
"I thought so. Nothing better than putting the fear of God into students, don't you agree Minerva?"
"Only if they're Slytherin's Alendi."
Alendi gave Minerva a sideways glance before she started to laugh. "But Minerva, I was in Slytherin."
Minerva's eyes showed a mischievous amusement. "But dear, everyone knows you're a Gryffindor at heart."
"If I were meant to be a Gryffindor, Minerva, I'd be a Gryffindor, not a Britholden girl."
"Well that's true enough. Do you suppose that any of the girls invited this year will make it into your house?"
"Maybe. You never know, after all Luna Jinxy was sorted into Britholden, and she was a Hufflepuff. I never saw that one coming."
"None of us did." Minerva looked thoughtful for a moment. "Who else got in that year from Hogwarts? I can't seem to recall."
Alendi's smile faltered, falling into a very Snape like scowl. "Our dear Ms. Riddle. As much as I love the girl, she's scary."
"Considering her relations, it's no wonder."
The serious expressions on both women's faces drew the attention of the three friends from Gryffindor.
"What do you think they're talking about to make them become so serious all of a sudden?"
Ron rolled his eyes at his girlfriend, Hermione. "They're probably talking about the greasy git..."
"Well he is one. Honestly 'Mione, they're probably talking about who got invited to the University."
"He might be right Hermione," Harry said softly.
Hermione turned her head to glare at her and Ron's best friend, but paused once she got a good look at him. "Where are your glasses?" His glasses were gone, no longer hiding the brilliant green of his eyes, which were set in a pale face framed by straight chin length black hair. "And your hair..."
Harry blushed under his friend's scrutiny. "I let my hair grow out over the summer."
"But the glasses Harry. What did you do with them? I mean you were wearing them when you were at the Burrow last month," Ron's eyebrows were scrunched together in thought. "Weren't you?"
"I was; but I didn't really need them. I never have; not really."
Hermione tilted her head sideways to stare at him. "Then why wear them?"
"At first it was because the Dursley's made me, you know, to keep the other kids away from me. And then later it was because of my father. It made me feel closer to him, having something in common with him."
"But why aren't you wearing them now?"
Harry looked thoughtful for a moment. "I think someone took them while we were taking a nap after lunch on the train. It's the only time I took them off today and the only time when someone could have taken them."
"I bet it was Draco," Ron stated.
Harry shrugged, "Maybe. It's no real loss though."
"It doesn't matter much. I hated those things anyways."
The next couple of days went by uneventfully, except for Longbottom's usual melted cauldrons. Professor Dragnon had agreed to take over teaching the Potions classes while she was there; Professor Snape not due back for another two weeks.
"Honestly Mr. Longbottom, how on god's green earth were you able to melt your cauldron when we were making nothing harder than a basic pain relieving draught?" Alendi sat heavily on the stool behind Severus's desk and started to rub the bridge of her nose. "It's a good thing you'll never have me for any classes past this week Mr. Longbottom. Five points from Gryffindor for the melted cauldron, and ten points to you Mr. Potter for your quick reaction time in rescuing Mr. Longbottom and Ms. Granger." Glancing at him she sighed. "You may go visit Madam Pomfrey to get those boils taken care of. And that'll be five points from Slytherin for laughing Mr. Malfoy and Ms. Parkinson." She glanced at her watch. "As soon as you finish your potions and clean up you may all go."
Sitting in the classroom after classes that evening grading papers, Alendi was interrupted when Professor McGonagall knocked on the door and entered.
"Good evening, Minerva."
"How were your classes today?"
"They were fine. Longbottom, on the other hand, melted his cauldron."
"Wouldn't be the first time." Minerva shook her head. "The boy is hopeless when it comes to just about everything, except Herbology."
"Is he going to a University for that then?"
"Of course. He's going to be invited to Oxford University's Laren School of Nature Studies and Herbology."
"That's wonderful. Not very many students' get invited to that school. It's highly competitive to get in."
"Yes, I know. Hogwarts has only had six ever invited to go and twelve accepted as applicants."
"Quite the coup."
"Indeed. Nearly as prestigious as getting invited to Hogwarts University."
"More so actually, seeing as more students are invited from Hogwarts for the University than are invited to Laren."
"True. Thirteen from this year alone."
"And twelve from last year, three from the year before."
"And nine from Ms. Riddle's year. Who are this year's invitee's?"
Alendi smiled at that. "You know I'm not supposed to tell until the end of the week. But since I know you won't tell anyone and because there are only two days left..." Alendi motioned for Minerva to sit. "I'll tell. Who do you want to know first?"
Minerva thought for a moment. "Hufflepuff."
Alendi laughed softly. "Figures. Tara Hintly, Susan Bones, Justin Finch Fletchly, and Mary Jently."
"Richard Stone, Kevin Lint, and Barbara Barados."
"Sabina Weilsey, Severa Valfoy, and our dear Mr. Malfoy."
Minerva grimaced. "Dear indeed, and his cousin as well."
Alendi nodded. "I've heard of her problem with authority."
"Problem? Problems. As far as she's concerned, she knows everything, and the only reason she's in school is because she won't disgrace her family name."
"Oh, one of those. No matter. If she is sorted into Britholden, Vesdemort will work on her. If not-" Alendi shrugged. "Then she won't last very long."
Minerva nodded. "Gryffindor."
Alendi smiled again. "You'll be quite pleased with who's been invited from your house."
"Ms. Granger, Mr. Potter, and Mr. Weasley then I presume."
Alendi nodded. "Got it in one, as the Americans say."
Minerva looked very pleased. After a moment she stood. "Well, I must be going. How would you like to see a Quidditch game this Saturday?"
"I'm going to talk to Madam Hooch and see if we can arrange a game between Slytherin and Gryffindor."
"How about suggesting three games? One game be against Hufflepuff and one against Ravenclaw, then one between the winners."
"Good suggestion. I'll see what can be arranged." Minerva moved to the door. "I'll see you later at dinner."
"Good evening, Minerva."
That Friday it was posted in all the common rooms that a non-season tournament between the houses would take place that weekend.
"Look at this Harry! We're playing Ravenclaw first. Slytherin'll flatten Hufflepuff of course so we'll be playing Slytherin on Sunday."
Harry nodded absently at his overexcited friend. He was too busy trying to work out a puzzle in his mind. "Ron, what do you think of Professor Dragnon?"
"...we need another Beater though, lost the one that graduated. Maybe Dean or Seamus will play, or Larry Flint from third year. I heard that he's a good beater." Ron paused when he realized that Harry was staring at him blankly. "What?"
Harry repeated his question.
"Professor Dragnon." Ron thought for a moment, his eyebrows scrunched together. "She's good at potions. Much nicer than the greasy git. Why?"
Harry shook his head. "I don't know. She seems familiar, but I can't place her though."
Ron shrugged. "Maybe she was a friend of your Mum's in school."
Harry nodded and stared into the fire in the common room's fireplace, slipping deeper into the wing chair he was sitting in, unconsciously mimicking Professor Snape's scowl. "I'll have to check the photo album then."
Hermione slapped Ron's arm. "Don't be a git. Hagrid owled all of the friends of Harry's parents for the pictures. If she was a friend of theirs then naturally..."
Ron's eyes widened with comprehension. "She'd be in there; I knew that. Any ways, as I was saying, maybe we should have that third year Larry Flint be our new beater."
Harry just ignored his friends after he rolled his eyes at Ron's little comment. He was deep in his thoughts, trying to understand what, if any, connections Professor Alendi Dragnon had with his parents.
"So, are you going to tell him?"
Alendi looked up from the potions essays she was grading to look at the wizard standing in the doorway. "Tell who what, Albus? Tell Mr. Potter that I was his mother's best friend in school, and that I dated his father? What good'll that do?"
Albus smiled benevolently and looked at her over his glasses. "Any connection with his parents would be most warmly welcomed by our young Harry."
Alendi shook her head and looked at the floor, her face a study in emotional pain. "It hurts too much, Albus. The pain of their betrayal...and then Severus cut me off and won't answer any of my letters..." Alendi let out a sob when Albus place a comforting hand on her shoulder, leaving it there as she collected herself. "It's not fair, Albus," she said weakly, her voice hoarse from the repressed tears.
"Life is rarely fair, child, but that is why we all must do our best to make the world into a better place. Talk to him; tell him about his mother."
"I can't... not yet," Alendi said, knowing that Albus would be disappointed in her. Albus frowned down at her for a moment, before shaking his head sadly.
"This may be your last chance to tell him."
"He's been invited. I'll talk to him when I'm ready."
Albus smiled sadly. "Don't take too long or you'll lose the chance to get to know your best friend's son. And that would be a great loss, for both of you."
"I will someday, Albus. Just not today."
That Sunday afternoon, the entire school gathered to watch the conclusion of the mini-tourney. Slytherin was going up against Gryffindor after they had spectacularly beaten Hufflepuff the day before.
"And that's another spectacular block by Gryffindor Keeper Ron Weasley. Go Ron!"
"Sorry Professor, just calling it like it is. And Gryffindor has the quaffle. Score! And the score's now Gryffindor 120, Slytherin 100. Go Gryffindor!"
"Sorry Professor...Potter makes a sudden dive. Has he seen the Snitch? Slytherin seeker Draco Malfoy's hot on his heels. And that was a beautifully deflected bludger by Gryffindor's newest beater, third year Larry Flint. Welcome to the team Larry."
"And Gryffindor's best ever seeker-"
"-Harry Potter has once again triumphed-"
"-over the Slytherins. Gryffindor wins 290 to 100!"
Alendi patted Minerva on the back, trying to get her to calm down. Minerva was red cheeked after having yelled at Dean Thomas throughout most of the game. Dean seemed to have followed in his predecessor's path, by inserting house loyalties into his running commentary of the game.
"It's all right Minerva. It's just a bit of fun."
"But the announcer should be unbiased in their reporting."
"I hate to tell you Minerva, but even the Pro announcers are like that."
"I know..." Minerva trailed off.
The stadium went silent as Headmaster Dumbledore stood and held his hands up for quiet. "Thank you all for participating in this special miniature tournament. This has been the first time in a number of years for our guest professor to see a Hogwarts game, she herself having been on her house team in her day. I propose an exhibition match between Seekers. Professor Alendi Dragnon versus our Gryffindor seeker, Mister Harry Potter. Ms. Dragnon?"
Alendi looked surprised at Albus. "But Albus, I was only the reserve seeker."
Albus smiled as he turned to look down at her. "Only because you let Severus catch the Snitch first."
"That was never proven."
"Good then." Albus turned back towards the audience. "Mr. Potter?"
Harry flew near to the professors' stands. "I'm game. She'll need a broom though."
Alendi glanced at Harry as she stood and moved to the edge of the stands. "Accio Infinity Draco," she said as she quirked her left eyebrow at Harry. "Think you can beat me little boy? I'm a top rate Quidditch coach and professional seeker."
"So, I've already got a spot on the Chudley Cannons after university, and standing offers from three other teams."
"Holyhead Harpies," Alendi paused as her Infinity came to a dead stop between her and Harry. "Seeker for six years; Britholden House seeker, four years; Slytherin chaser and reserve seeker, six years. Add on coaching my house team and refereeing for the past three years." Alendi mounted her broom, fondly patting the silver, green, and purple etching of a dragon on the handle. "Still think you can beat me little one?"
"Any day," Harry said before flying to the middle of the pitch, closely followed by Alendi. Once stopped he continued, "I don't brag either."
"It's not bragging, I was stating a fact. It's normal for exhibition matches for both seekers to tell each other of their training. Keeps everything on the level."
Harry nodded. "Gryffindor seeker, seven years at the end of this season."
Alendi bowed slightly and looked at him expectantly when she straightened until he mirrored her. "Every formality. Exhibition matches are like duels, formal to all hell." This prompted Harry to start laughing, Alendi quickly joining in. Both fell silent when Madam Hooch came up between them.
"Clean match, both of you. Everything within the pitch, including the stands, are in bounds. Everything else is out."
"And Madam Hooch is about to release the Snitch...and it's off!"
Alendi flew after the Snitch, Harry at her side, followed closely by the bludgers. Alendi dodged one, cursing softly, as it came whizzing at her head. "Bloody hell, that was a close one."
Harry ducked the second bludger. "What's with the bludgers?"
Alendi glanced at him quickly. "Makes things more interesting for the audience." Alendi paused as she, quickly followed by Harry, went straight up along the wall of the Hufflepuff stands, leveling out fifty meters above it.
"Bloody hell, I lost it." Alendi glance at the ground a hundred meters below, searching for the Snitch. "The bludgers are also to keep us on our toes. Mr. Potter!" Alendi cried his name as Harry did a sudden nosedive straight at the Slytherin stands. Catching sight of what he was after, Alendi followed, narrowly dodging one of the bludgers as it crossed her path.
"And it's a race to the Snitch. Who's going to catch it? Gryffindor's very own Harry Potter or the beautiful visiting Potions Professor? It's anyone's guess. Potter's the youngest seeker in a century and very much naturally talented. The Professor has a first generation Infinity and Harry has a first generation Firebolt. Both are evenly matched, so this game's all up to the skill of the...OH HOLY MERLIN! Both Potter and Dragnon have taken a ten meter fall and the Snitch is nowhere in sight. Could either of them have caught it during the fall?"
Alendi struggled to breathe, as she lay unmoving at the base of the Slytherin stands, Harry lying next to her, groaning in pain. "Bludger, that hurt."
"Ditto, kid. Ditto." Alendi groaned as Professor Dumbledore helped her stand up, Harry letting out a low curse as Madam Hooch helped him up.
"So, who caught it?" a snobbish male voice from the surrounding crowd asked.
"Ten points from Slytherin Mr. Malfoy." Alendi motioned for Minerva to come near her. Once she was within reach, Alendi handed her something. "Experience over blind luck Mr. Potter. Even if sometimes it doesn't prevent midair collisions and horrifyingly painful falls."
Harry laughed as he held up his empty hands to the crowd. "There are first times for everything. Even me not catching the Snitch."
Minerva held up the tiny golden ball. "Professor Dragnon wins the exhibition match by catching the Golden Snitch. Congratulations Professor."
Alendi smiled before her eyes rolled up and she fainted dead away, Albus barely catching her before she hit the ground.
The next morning Alendi awoke in the hospital wing, the sun streaming through the windows and lighting up the ward.
"You seem to have made many fans among the students."
Alendi turned her head away from her contemplation of the windows to where Headmaster Dumbledore stood next to her bed. "When do I get released?"
Albus had his usual benevolent smile on his face as he sat on the foot of her bed. "This afternoon. Dean Palmerdore has already been informed of your delay. He is having the prefect of Britholden House continue to teach your classes until you return."
Alendi nodded. "Karen Bailfree of Salem. She's a good girl, that's why I chose her over the other two fourth year girls in my house to take over my classes for the past week. She's scheduled to start work at the American Ministry in June. Miss Riddle will be prefect next year. Brilliant student. Scary, but brilliant."
"Ah, yes, our dear Ms. Riddle. I remember when she transferred into Hogwarts for her seventh year. Severus' favorite student, if I recall."
"Yes, she's mentioned that. She's quite proud of the fact that she's the only student, ever, who can claim that."
"Yes, well... to each their own I suppose." Albus stood and moved to leave. "You may make the announcement at dinner this evening. The Express will be ready to take you to the University in the morning. It leaves at 11 o'clock sharp."
Alendi nodded. "Thank you, Albus." She looked at the previously ignored pile of candy, cards, and gifts on the bed next to hers. "Fans indeed."
"Those who are invited, be patient, you'll get your letters soon enough, making my announcement of your candidacy official." Alendi smiled. "Just kidding. All invites are final as of tonight. They are as follows: Barbara Barados, Ravenclaw; Susan Bones, Hufflepuff; Justin Finch-Fletchly, Hufflepuff; Hermione Granger, Gryffindor; Tara Hintly, Hufflepuff; Mary Jently, Hufflepuff; Karen Lent, Ravenclaw; Draco Malfoy, Slytherin; Harry Potter, Gryffindor; Richard Stone, Ravenclaw; Severa Valfoy, Slytherin; Ronald Weasley, Gryffindor; and Sabina Weilsey, Slytherin."
Alendi smiled at the excited faces and the cheering of the students. She was glad to be going home in the morning, but she had admitted to herself that she would miss teaching Potions. 'Teaching Harlotry is all fine and well and good,' she thought. 'But Potions are my passion. Ah well, perhaps I can convince Dean Palmerdore to let me have Potions if anything happens to Tamera. Heaven knows Tamera Sabet is not the brightest Potions Mistress out there.' Alendi sighed. 'Ah well. No use worrying about it now. I'll just have to arrange something with my girls in regards to Madame Sabet.' "Yes indeed, we'll see about that."
Minerva leaned over. "See about what?"
Alendi jolted out of her thoughts and looked at the woman who was sitting next to her at the great table. "Pardon?"
"You said that you'll see about something. See about what?"
The half lie came to Alendi's lips easily, "Just a little Potions extra credit for some of my third and fourth year girls."
Minerva nodded. "Well, good luck with it then."
"Thank you," she said as she stood and turned to leave, lovingly patting the pair of round black-framed glasses in her pocket. She had packing to do. 'Next year's going to be interesting at the University, to say the least.'
Next: Welcome to Hogwarts University