A/N In case you forget, I do not own Harry Potter or anything else in his world. I make no money and do this for pure enjoyment. Hope you enjoy the chapter.
Susan and Hannah returned to the Hospital wing the next morning to find Harry already awake and speaking to Madam Pomfrey.
"Morning Harry, how's your arm feeling." Susan asked as she sat on the edge of the bed.
"Good as new, actually according to Poppy, it's better than it was before I broke it. Poppy says that twice when I broke my arm it hadn't healed properly. With having to regrow all the bones over that is no longer a problem." Harry said happily. His smile then turned cheeky as he glanced at Madam Pomfrey "I guess Lockhart really did help." Poppy just rolled her eyes at her favorite patient. Susan smiled back at Harry but the smile never reached her eyes as she thought about the people who had broken his arms and left it to heal untreated. "Poppy said I can leave anytime. Just let me change and we can go to breakfast."
The two girls stepped from behind the curtains and allowed Harry to change back into his clothes. When he was done they made their way down to breakfast were the rest of Hufflepuff was waiting for them. When they sat down, Harry was immediately drawn into talk of the previous day's Quidditch match while Susan started eating her breakfast while talking to Megan and Sally-Anne until the morning post was announced with a rush of feathers and parchment. Susan looked up as two owls landed next to her. One was her expected Daily Prophet and the other was Artie brining a letter from her Auntie. Susan first picked up the letter from Amelia and started to read it.
Dear Susan and Harry,
I hope that your arm is feeling better Harry, knowing Poppy, it is probably in better condition than it was before you broke it. I spoke with the Headmaster and he has arranged for the Hogwarts House Elves to keep an eye out for Dobby. If he pops in again, he will be stopped by the other elves and brought to the headmaster's office. I have been able to identify the owner of Dobby. He is owned by the Malfoy family, so we can assume that whatever Dobby is trying to keep you safe from he is responsible. My suspicion is that it has something to do with the petrification of Filch's cat but I can't for the life of me think of how it occurred. I'm going to do some more digging and see what I can find in reference to the Chamber of Secrets and petrification. Keep me up to date on anything new and see you in a week for Christmas.
Susan passed Harry the letter for him to read and she picked up her paper. She opened it up and let out a triumphant cheer.
"What happened Suzy?" Hannah asked.
"Just some of the best news I've read in a while. I'll read it to you."
Gilderoy Lockhart Exposed as a Fraud
By: John Edward Taylor
Last afternoon Gilderoy Lockhart, Order of Merlin 3rd Class, and Honorary member of the Dark Force Defense League, and Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was arrested for using a healing spell on a minor without a license and causing further injury to said student. The Student in question who the DMLE refused to name due to him being a minor was injured during Saturday's Quidditch game. Instead of being taken to the Hospital Wing as is the correct action in such cases, Mr. Lockhart attempted to heal the player's arm himself ignoring the student's please for the hospital wing. His attempt to heal the arm caused all the bones in his arm to vanish forcing the student to spend the night in the hospital wing to regrow almost 30 bones, not a pleasant experience for those of you who have not had the experience. He was immediately arrested by Madam Bones who was in attendance for the game and taken to the Ministry for questioning. Mr. Lockhart's troubles were not over though, during questioning some inconsistencies in Mr. Lockhart's books came up. Under the effects of Veritaserum, Mr. Lockhart admitted to taking credit for other people's accomplishments while embellishing the story and whipping the memories of the people involved. At the time of publishing, we were unable to reach his publishers for comment. Headmaster Foote was informed about this and Lockhart was immediately terminated. Madam Bones was able to supply an Auror who is on temporary medical leave for the remainder of the year to fill in for the opening created by Lockhart's termination. We will continue to keep you updated as this story develops.
Susan put the paper down and looked over at her friend with a smug smile on her face. "I told you that ponce was a fraud."
"Yeah, yeah you were right as always Suzy. No need to rub it in my face." Hannah replied rather dejectedly.
"At least now we will get a proper DADA instructor for the rest of the year" said Susan.
"I think the best part is that now we won't have to suffer through Harry's horrible acting anymore" teased Hannah. Harry replied to by sticking his tong out at her. Susan knew that Harry wasn't going to miss being dragged to the front of the class to act out scenes from Lockhart's books.
Up at the staff table, the conversation was revolving around the same topic as the students.
"I'm not surprised by this at all, my Eagles have been complaining about his classes all year" Professor Flitwick was saying. "I remember him in school and the boy's spellwork was horrible. His writing was good but he could not keep up with the practical portions."
"That's another DADA teacher who hasn't lasted a year" Headmaster Foote said. "I looked at the records and it seems that no DADA teacher has lasted longer than one year for almost 20 years. I am begging to believe those rumors that the position is cursed."
"Surely if the position was cursed then Professor Dumbledore would have already dealt with it." Professor McGonagall stated defending her old colleague and friend. "I know towards the end of his tenure he made some questionable decisions but I would think that he would have done something if there was a curse."
Professor Foote glanced over at his Deputy. She still was rather loyal to that meddling old fool who had preceded him. "I am not too sure about that Minerva. He has allowed the education at Hogwarts to slip over the years. I think over the Christmas Holiday I will see what I can find out. I would appreciate your assistance Filius and you also Severus. Both of your expertise may be useful." He received two nods of acceptance from the two named professors.
"If I could also speak with you after breakfast Headmaster, there is something I would like to discus with you." Snape said.
"Of course Severus, would you like to join me in my office?"
"That would be best Headmaster." The two men finished their tea and rose from their seats and made their way to the headmaster's office. Once in his office Headmaster Foote took his seat behind his desk and motioned for Severus to take one of the seats in front of the desk.
"So what can I do for you Severus?" Professor Foote began.
"I would like to tender my resignation after this term Headmaster. I can stay on until the Christmas Holidays but after that I would like to explore new opportunities. I understand that this might be short notice so I have taken the liberty of making a list of Potion Masters for you to look over for my replacement."
Professor Foote leaned back in his chair. He was a little surprised by this. He expected Snape to be rather stubborn and try to hold on to his post. "What brought this on Severus?"
"I have no love of teaching nor do I have any talent at it. In my youth, I made some poor decisions and my former Master ordered me to apply for the post in order to spy for him. I turned spy in order to try to protect someone but when that failed, I stayed on to keep myself out of prison. Dumbledore also kept me on for the future as he believed the Dark Lord would rise again. With Dumbledore gone, I have no reason to stay. I can finally be free to pursue my own research."
"Very well Severus. Send me you list for your replacement, and I will write you a letter of recommendation. I won't lie to you and say you will be missed but this is probably the best solution for everyone."
Snape rose from his seat. "Thank you Headmaster. I will have it on your desk by the end of the day." Snape turned and left the office in a much better mood then he had been in for a while.
In the wake of the truth behind Lockhart's lies coming to light, his publisher was forced to refund the money of many angry Hogwarts parents who had to buy his books for class. Many a female heart was broken all throughout Britain and many men had satisfied smirks on their face that they quickly hid whenever said female was around. In Hogwarts, term was quickly coming to an end and all the students were putting their nose to the grind stone in preparation for end of term tests. The news of Professor Snape's immanent departure brought cheers from ¾ of the school and even a few Slytherins wore satisfied smiles that were quickly hidden when the news came out. The rumor was that the new teacher would start at the beginning of the New Year and was a Potion Mistress from the Continent that Professor Foote had somehow wooed away from Beauxbatons and would be starting in the New Year.
In no time at all, Susan, Harry, and Hannah found themselves on the Hogwarts Express heading back to London for the Christmas Hols. The three Hufflepuffs had decided to pack lightly only bringing a backpack each with some school books and clothes. Together with Neville, Daphne, Tracey and Justin, they found a compartment and enjoyed discussing everything from their Christmas plans, to speculation about the new teachers. Justin and Harry even tried to explain Football to Daphne and Tracey who had never heard of the game before.
Over the year Harry and Justin had built up a healthy rivalry in the dorm debating their favorite football team. When Manchester beat Arsenal a few weeks ago Harry had plastered Manchester posters all over Justin's bed. He assured Susan that they would come down eventually and that Justin would have done the same thing if Arsenal would have won. She just shook her head at the boys and their sports. They had even talked her Auntie into letting them go to a game together during the break with Justin's father, Sirius and Kingsley who had become good friends with the two former marauders.
When the train arrived in London Susan was the first off followed by Harry and Hannah. After bidding their friends good bye and promising to see them at Hannah's parents Christmas party on Boxing Day, she moved through the crowed to find her Auntie waiting.
"Welcome back kids" greeted Amelia with a warm hug for both her and Harry. "Hold on and we can go straight home. I know Puck has dinner almost ready for you and she is quite excited to have you two back home."
The kids grabbed her arm and they apparated back to Bones Manor. Susan heard a content sigh from beside her and saw Harry shrugging off his back with a huge grin on his face. "It's so nice to be home" Harry said to no one in particular. He picked up his pack and Susan's and went upstairs to put them in their respective rooms. Susan turned to her aunt seeing the same happy smile on her face that Susan knew was on hers.
Amelia turned to Susan and must have seen something in her face as she watched Harry take their packs up to their rooms because her smile got bigger. "Soooo is there something you want to tell me Suzy? I've seen that look on girls before and always in relation to a boy."
Susan could feel her cheeks heating up. "No auntie there is nothing to tell" she said not quite meeting her Auntie's eyes.
"Right" Amelia drawled. "Just remember I'm here to talk if you want. Shall we go see how Puck is doing on dinner?"
Relieved the interrogation was over for now Susan quickly agreed and they went in to the kitchen where they were shortly joined by Harry. During Dinner they talked about their plans for the Holidays. "Tomorrow, we are flooing to Sirius's house in London and spending the day shopping and doing things around London. I was able to get tickets to the Nutcracker at the Royal Albert Hall tomorrow for all five us. Puck has already taken care of clothes for it and we will change at Sirius's place and eat dinner before the ballet."
Susan was excited. She had been trying to convince her Aunt to get tickets to see the Nutcracker since she was 8 after learning about it in school. Now, not only was she going to see it with her family, but she was going to see it in one of the best concert halls in the world. She turned to Harry who also looked excited. "That will be great Auntie. Thank you so much for getting us tickets."
"It was actually from one of my contacts from The Metropolitan Police who got me the tickets. He is a squib and we work together when we have to coordinate with the local authorities. He is a Commander in the Met and apparently this is a benefit to support victims of what the Muggles are calling The Troubles. During Voldemort's first rise, the Ministry used the problems in Northern Ireland as a cover story for some of his bigger 'demonstrations'. Just between us, I think because of that, wizards have caused The Troubles to last longer than it probably would have."
"Sounds fun, I've always wanted to go to the theatre" said Harry. With that the three finished their dinner and went to bed.
The next day found Susan stepping out of the fireplace in an old house in London. Susan quickly moved out of the way as Harry came crashing in right behind her. Giggling she helped him to his feet right as Amelia came through the floo. "Good morning you three" greeted Sirius with three hugs for the new comers. "Welcome to my home. I know it's not much to look at but Moony and I are working on making it presentable. The old House Elf that was here keeled over and died when he found out that I owned him so we have been working on this all on our own. Come on I'll give you a tour."
Sirius started to show them around the old house and Susan had to admit that it gave her the creeps. It looked like the house of some very dark wizards. The furniture and all the walls were done in dark wood with snakes for door handles. "No one has lived here in almost 8 years ever since my dear old mother died. As you probably noticed, they were not the nicest of people. You could say that I was the black or shall we say white sheep of the family. We've cleaned out most of the pests that moved in and started sorting out some of the more dangerous stuff left in the house. The bedrooms are all clean and ready to go. I have a room for each of you if you guys ever want to come and stay." Susan saw Harry perk up at this at the idea of spending more time with his Godfather and honorary Uncle. Susan just smiled happy for her friend
After the tour that was joined half way through by Remus, the five of them caught the tube into central London. Susan loved Christmas in London, the decorations, the lights, and the happy people. Everything just seemed so magical. Even the light snow that was falling only made it better. They spent the day splitting up between partners and shopping meeting up for lunch in a pub in Knightsbridge. After lunch they made their way to Diagon Alley and did some shopping in the magical shopping district. At around 3, the group flooed back to 12 Grimmauld Place with their money bags considerably lighter. Susan giggled when Harry literally collapsed on the couch. "I don't know how you girls can stay standing. I'm exhausted."
"Oh Harry, it was just a little shopping. We didn't even get to hit the shoe department or go shopping for new clothes." Susan got a mischievous look on her face. "I guess we will just have to take you out again so we can do that." She laughed again at the panicked look on his face.
"No that's ok Suzy; I don't think I would be the best person to take clothes shopping. My fashion sense is almost nonexistent."
"Ok kids, time to get ready" Amelia said poking her head into the room.
Susan nodded and left the room heading for the bathroom to take a shower. After her shower she went into the room Sirius had set aside for her and found a beautiful marine blue gown hanging in the wardrobe. A huge smile blossomed on Susan's face as she looked at the dress fingering the material. The dress was made of silk and felt smooth and light under her fingers. She quickly started to put on the dress and looked in the mirror appreciating how it looked. The marine blue matched her strawberry blond hair perfectly and highlighted her pale complexion. The sheath body had a slightly dropping neckline with a straps connected to sleeves that reached half way down her forearms. She turned when she heard a knock at the door. Opening the door she found her Auntie waiting there wearing a dark maroon evening gown.
"Oh Susan you look beautiful. Want me to help you with your hair and some makeup?"
"Thanks Auntie that would be wonderful" Susan replied smiling. Together the girls went back into the room with Susan sitting in front of a mirror with Amelia behind her teasing her hair. Amelia then applied some light makeup and declared her done.
"You look so grown up Suzy. I know you mother would be so proud of the woman you are becoming." Amelia pulled out a small box from her purse. "This was your mothers. Your father got it for her for their first Christmas together." She opened the box up to reveal a solitary diamond pendant on a fine gold chain. She draped it around her neck and clasped it. "She would have been so happy to have been the one to help you get ready for your first formal affair." Both girls wiped tears from their eyes and quickly collected themselves. "Ok the boys are probably waiting downstairs. Let's not keep them waiting."
Together they left the room and walked down the stairs to meet the waiting men. When they entered the entry hall she saw that each of the men had donned tuxedoes for the evening with vests and bow ties. Harry's was black with accents of dark green on the vest and the bow tie that helped to bring out his eyes. Susan couldn't take her eyes off him. He looked so handsome. He even tried to tame his wild hair with little success. Harry turned around and Susan suppressed a giggle at the look on his face. He stared at her open mouthed and wide eyed. Sirius noticed as well and went to meet them at that foot of the stairs.
"You ladies look lovely this evening." He extended his arm for Amelia which she accepted with a smile and he escorted her to the door. Harry still hadn't moved and it took an elbow from Remus to get his brain working again. He shook his head as if trying to clear it and approached Susan.
"You look beautiful Suzy" he stammered out his face turning crimson. He looked to his godfather and seemed to pluck up some courage extended his arm in a valid attempt at mimicking his godfather's suaveness. The attempted was spoiled slightly at the increasing blush that was on his face when Susan took his arm.
"Thank you Harry, you look quite dashing yourself tonight." Her blush matched his as they walked to the door were Amelia, Sirius and Remus were waiting. Sirius helped Amelia into her coat and then donned his own coat. Again Susan noticed Harry watching his godfather and then attempted to repeat his actions helping Susan into her coat. The group then apparated to a secluded alley by a fancy restaurant in Kensington within walking distance to the Royal Albert Hall. After an enjoyable meal they walked to the hall.
The evening was a complete blur to Susan. It was quite possibly the best night of her life. They had great seats for the performance with Harry sitting next to her. Even the time spent in the lobby with her aunt making small talk with some of her contacts in the Met was enjoyable. She attributed it all to being on the arm of a certain green eyed wizard for the entire evening. Harry seemed to be enjoying himself just as much as her. Susan could see that he enjoyed being out in the Muggle world where no one knew who he was or was clamoring for his attention. Here he could just be Harry, and he seemed to love every second of it. When the evening came to a close Amelia, Harry, and Susan apparated home to Bones Manor. Susan thought the evening couldn't get any better but she was wrong. Harry escorted her to her room and to her surprise and delight gave her a small kiss on the cheek with his face turning scarlet again before he quickly made his way to his own room. Susan changed and crawled into bed happier then she had ever been.
After their night out the rest of the Christmas holidays sped up. Sirius and Remus came over on Christmas day to open presents and spend the day together. On Boxing Day they all went over the Abbots for their annual Christmas party. Susan was happy to see her girlfriends again and show them the pictures of them at the Nutcracker. Hannah had a knowing smile on her face while Susan told all about the evening were every other word seemed to be Harry. Daphne and Tracey took the opportunity to introduce Harry and Susan to their parents. Both their fathers worked in the Wizengamot with Mr. Abbot in the Neutral Coalition while Daphne's mother was a Healer at Saint Mungo's. Harry spent 15 minutes asking her questions about working as a Healer only stopping when it was time for dinner.
The next few days were spent lazing around enjoying the break from school. Two days before heading back to Hogwarts, Harry went with Sirius and met Justin and his father to go to the Arsenal game in London. Susan was hoping for a nice quite time at home when her aunt cornered her in the kitchen.
"Ok missy, spill. I saw the way you looked at Harry and him at you."
Susan squirmed in her seat cursing her luck that her aunt was an accomplished cop with keen observation skills. "Fine, there is nothing going on with me and Harry" Susan said in an exasperated voice her face turning scarlet. "But yes, I like him a lot. I don't know how he feels though. Actually, knowing boys, I doubt he knows how he feels either." Both girls giggled at this Susan still sporting a blush matching her hair.
"You're probably right. Boys usually take longer to get past the cooties stage than girls. Add that to Harry's life before and he might take a little while to realize what he is feeling. Just be patient with him and don't rush him. I know it might be hard but you are both still young and there is no reason to rush things."
Susan nodded. "That's what Hannah said also. I just get worried sometimes. What if he sees me just as a sister? Most of our friends are girls with the exception of Neville and Justin and all of them are rather pretty. Harry is just so sweet and handsome and…" she trailed off with a dreamy look on her face. She quickly shook her head. "What if he starts to fancy one of them?"
Amelia laughed softly to herself. "I don't think you will have to worry about that Suzy or him thinking of you as a sister. I think Hannah has that spot locked down. I suspect when Harry figures out his feelings you will be the first one to know. Just look at the way he looks at you and how he doted on you when we went to the Ballet. He tried so hard to imitate Sirius and act the perfect gentleman. Just give him time and he will not disappoint you."
Susan smiled at her auntie. "Thanks auntie. It just worries me sometimes especially when I think about how many girls have crushes on Harry."
"They have crushes on the Boy-Who-Lived. None of them know Harry and Harry can tell the difference."
Susan nodded at this. She had seen Harry ignore people who only seemed to want to be friends with the Boy-Who-Lived or stare at his scar. The youngest Weasley came to her mind along with that Creevey boy. None of them noticed how uncomfortable the attention made Harry. "Your right Auntie, I will just have to be patient." Susan smiled at the thought of her green eyed friend. 'I will be patient, but he is mine, he just doesn't know it yet.' Before she knew it, Susan was back on the Express with her friends heading back to Hogwarts.
A/N There you have it, another chapter in the can. I know it was little light on plot and heavy on the fluff. I didn't expect this chapter to turn out this way but am happy with how it went anyways. Let me know what you think. The Ballet was a spur of the moment idea and I just ran with it. Let me know what you think. Please read and review.