My house belongs to the bank, my work belongs to my boss, Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling and this disclaimer belongs to DerLaCroix.

Tempest of the Fae

Chapter Forty: Petrified

(A/N: Yes I'm finally back, and I've finally found a beta that returns my emails. So all you lovely minions should thank Warrior Priestess for making this chapter possible.)


Harry, Hermione, and Luna sat in the Room of Requirements, everything they knew about basilisks was spread out before them; however, it painted an even grimmer picture than they had expected. The ritual to make a basilisk was dark and it should have set off alarms if it had been performed within the wards. However, if they were made outside and then brought in, the alarms still should have sounded.

Either way, the wards were in worse shape than they had thought. Dumbledore's near-constant tinkering and tweaks had weakened them more than even Hathfojd had suspected. They had also hit a wall with witnesses besides Crookshanks, the portraits had apparently all been charmed to not notice anything, and the house elves had been busy with the feast.

Hathfojd had exercised his limited control over the house elves to search the castle without success. Either the basilisks were well hidden, or not at Hogwarts. They weren't sure which they hoped was true.

Harry had tossed out the idea of making some type of serpent detection ward. The trouble was that basilisks were more magical construct than a normal snake, so they had no idea if it would work. Or even how to tell if it was working. If it didn't work, then the only way they would know was to have it already placed when an attack occurred.

Dobby was currently searching through all the female dorms looking for anything that could be a Horcrux, though without any idea what it was or how it could be hidden they knew it was a long shot.

"I hate to say it, but I think our best chance is to wait until the winter solstice and use the tracking ritual," Hermione said with a sigh. She knew they hated the thought of waiting as much as she did. But barring an incredible amount of luck that they didn't seem to have, it was the only option she gave much of a chance to.

"Colin was the next attack, after the Gryffindor-Slytherin game. I'm going to tag him with a tracking charm and follow him under my cloak." Harry said.

"There is no guarantee that there will be an attack again, or that he'll be the victim." Luna pointed out. "But I agree there isn't much else that we can do."

"We could have Dobby keeping an eye on the map for any students out that night, it might help us narrow it down if there is an attack but it's not Collin," Hermione suggested.


The next morning a special issue of the Quibbler was released with the results of Harry's contest to discredit Lockhart. It had taken a few extra days because Xeno has insisted on verifying every claim that he could. Arrangements had been made for everyone at Hogwarts to receive a copy.

As the hurricane of owls flooded the great hall the normal conversations dropped off, nearly everyone was eager to discover who had won the prize.

The three had been surprised when Xeno had sent a letter the night before, or, rather, very early that morning, letting them know that the winners were a group of five students. Two Ravenclaws, one Hufflepuff, and two Gryffindors. The shocker though was that the Gryffindors were Lavender and Parvati.

The two Gryffindors had taken an approach everyone else had missed and listed the reasons that Lockhart's beauty tips were impractical or outright lies. It turned out that he had been selling away space in his books to whichever beauty supplier would pay the most for a mention.

The number of pictures that Xeno had included of Sirius forced to try out most of those same beauty products were a much-needed lift to their spirits after their depressing planning meeting.

Lockhart was less amused and began to shout for no one to read the magazine. When that failed, he rushed up and down the house tables grabbing every copy that he could. Several students saw him coming and stuffed their copies into their bags. When Lockhart tried to remove their Quibblers from their bags the students ran for the doors.

Only for them to be slammed shut by Dumbledore. "Attention students! For this moment forward the publication known as the Quibbler is banned from school grounds. Please leave your copies on your house tables as you make your way to class. However, you may wish to wait for this morning's Daily Prophet, I am sure it will be even more entertaining than usual."

"Does anyone else have a bad feeling about this morning's paper now?" Hermione asked.

"Yes, though Dumbledore banning the Quibbler is one of the best things he could have done. Daddy will be thrilled." Luna said happily.

"How is Dumbledore banning the Quibbler a good thing, Luna?" Harry asked.

"Because it is like Daddy always says, 'If no one is opposing you then you aren't doing anything great' He'll be ever so happy to hear this. Also, Dumbledore has basically admitted that the story is true." Luna explained.

"I guess that's tru-" Hermione trailed off as a second wave of owls descended on the tables and delivered that morning paper. Splashed across the top was a massive headline.


By Muddle Bable Sour

The article rambled on for a bit but it basically said that Harry was going around petrifying pets, that several people were terrified of his dark actions, students cowed at the sight of him, and that everyone was worried he'd move onto people and do something more permanent than petrification. It went on to hint that he was only escaping punishment because of a technicality, the backing of the dark house of Black and/or the fear people had of him.

There was a great deal of murmuring among the students, some pointed at Harry as they whispered to their neighbors. That didn't surprise Harry. What did was when several fellow Hufflepuff's ripped up their copies of the Daily Prophet. Such shows of support were still surprising to him.

"So Potter, how does it feel for the truth to come out?" Ron asked arrogantly, a twisted smirk on his face. Maybe now he'd be able to move up his plans to deal with Potter, as soon as he got around to making those plans.

Ginny carefully picked up her own ripped copy of the Daily Prophet. She crumpled it into a small ball and the next time Ron opened his mouth she shoved it past his lips. "Only an idiot would believe that drivel. Then again, since you decided to fly a car to school I shouldn't be surprised that you think it's correct."

Ron was attempting to pull the paper from his mouth and argue against Ginny at the same time, succeeding in neither. Ginny gave a disappointed sigh before she gathered her things and left the great hall, her copy of the Quibbler still tucked safely in her bag.

Dumbledore called out "Five points from Hufflepuff." As she left. This was easily offset by the number of points they gained from everyone who showed support to Harry by ripping up their paper.

The Headmaster had been thrilled with the way things were going that morning, a scan of the student's surface thoughts showed that many were leaning towards Harry being behind the attack. True, there were plenty who didn't, but they'd cave to the pressure of their peers soon enough.

The day became much less pleasant when Madam Bones had arrived to ask questions like 'Why was Harry a suspect, what technicalities were there, what evidence was there that he was behind the attack?' She wasn't happy when he had attempted to explain that there wasn't any evidence that he could… explain. But surely a dark person willing to do dark deeds was enough.

Well not to her, for someone who had no remorse or compassion for people who had made simple mistakes, she seemed entirely too willing to protect Harry from his actions. A horrible thought struck him, what if Madam Bones was working with the Potters? Could James have already gotten to her? Would she go along with his dark plans, if he was honest he could easily see her doing so to avenge her brother who had also been in the Order?

That would explain why she was so unwilling to work with him. To his potion-addled mind, it was the only explanation. The trouble was what to do about it? The Minister wouldn't help him without proof and there was so much else that needed to be done. Too much for him alone, but without Severus, he had no one he could turn to for his more questionable needs.

After a great deal of thought, he decided to do nothing for the moment. Better to keep at least one of his enemies where he could watch her.

The following morning brought more complications, namely that the Prophet had been forced to print a retraction by Madam Bones, Sirius, Cortus, and Author. It went on to say that there was no evidence to link Harry to the attack, that it was a friend's cat that was attacked, and that Harry had an airtight alibi. Thankfully the mistrust was still present in all the houses but Hufflepuff, well if you didn't count those who already disliked Harry.

Still, he had come to realize that this was a long game, he'd widdle away at Harry's reputation. It would limit his influence among the students and might even be enough to draw out James. And even if it didn't, well Severus never had the chance to repair his own reputation by revealing all he had given for the light, Dumbledore thought it was a poetic justice that the Potter name would soon be mud as well.


The quidditch match went without incident, and that night they had Dobby keeping an eye on Colin, the first person who was petrified last time around. As they had talked, they had realized that all they knew about what had happened to Colin that night, was that he was brought into the hospital wing in the early morning. They didn't know when he had been petrified or what he had been doing before he had been petrified. Although they suspected that he had been out after curfew, they couldn't be sure if he had been petrified before then, and just found until the next morning.

That evening, after everyone else had gone to bed the three of them snuck out and headed towards the location where Colin had been found the first time, but so far the first year had remained in his dorm. Had Harry bothered to glance towards the part of the map where they were, he would have noticed that they weren't alone.


Ginny crept along the corridor, she'd seen Hermione and Luna sneak out of their dorm and decided to follow. She wasn't even sure she wanted to know what they were up to, she didn't know what she'd do if she caught them in a broom cupboard with Harry. She might finally have been able to get her head around the Boy-Who-Lived not being who Harry really was, but as far as boys went, Harry was still very nice.

All three of them were like that. Aside from Bill, no one had ever treated her so nicely. The twins were close, but they were older and had their own friends and things to do. Charlie was okay but had made her feel more like a pet than a sister, although, he treated most people that way so it was understandable. Percy had a stick shoved up his arse and was obsessed with rules, he just treated her like an annoyance. Then there was Ron. He'd quickly become the worst of her brothers, constantly yelling at her since they came to Hogwarts. Mostly because she refused to help him with assignments. Though he recently, he seemed to be getting in on time now, and she thought his scores were all right.

But Harry, Hermione, and Luna took the time to just talk with her. They helped her with assignments and would hang out with her sometimes. Really, it was all too confusing for her.

That didn't mean she'd let the chance for a little blackmail material slip by her though. She was related to Fred and George after all. She'd seen the girls meet up with Harry and sneak out of the common room, but when she had followed, they had vanished. Not sure where they would have gone, Ginny decided to just sneak around on her own for a bit and see if she could find them. The twins had told her enough stories of how they'd done it, that she was reasonably sure she wouldn't be caught.

Ginny wandered through the silent halls of Hogwarts. The deep night was peaceful, and she found herself enjoying her stroll among the sleeping portraits. She was just thinking that it was time to return to the Hufflepuff common room, she hadn't seen any sign of Harry, Hermione or Luna when she saw a small snake slither across the corridor.

It turned its head towards her.

Bright yellow eyes pierced her soul. She felt her heart stop in fright before she toppled backward.

Voldemort stepped out of his hiding spot. {{Excellent work.}}

He crouched to examine the victim, he hadn't been expecting such a wonderful, or ironic prize. It was the girl who had been his first host for less than a single night. A friend of Potter. From a family of blood traitors. Yes, she was a suitable meal for his pets.

It was a shame that they were not yet strong enough to kill with a glance. But with her petrified, they could take their time and eat their fill. Now, he just needed to spirit the child away, back to his lair, so his pets could feed, uninterrupted.

As if his thoughts had summoned the unwanted intrusion, whispered voices carried down the hall. There was definitely more than one person, coming towards them. For a moment, Voldemort hesitated. A single student disappearing was fine, there were a dozen explanations. Multiple children would complicate matters, not to mention draw unwanted attention, that he wasn't ready for. His control of his host was good but he wasn't ready to test it in a fight yet, even against students. A fight would surely alert the portraits that something was wrong.

Reluctantly, he decided to leave the child, but cover his tracks. Quickly, he conjured a note and gathered the basilisks. He smiled as he hurried away from the voices. It was a bit of an open secret among the staff that Dumbledore believed James Potter had escaped death. So he'd fan the flames of the Headmaster's paranoia a bit more. He was rather enjoying the show.


The time traveling trio had finally given up their hunt after Dobby had confirmed that Colin was safely asleep in his dorm. It seemed that for once, history wasn't going to repeat itself. They were quietly discussing their plans to attempt and fix the schools wards to alert them if a basilisk appeared in the school when they came around the corner and found Ginny, petrified on the floor. A stuck to her read:

Those who have betrayed me will pay with their children -James Potter

"What's going on here?" True to form, when the world went wrong it went all the way around the bend. There stood Slughorn in a long nightshirt, complete with a floppy nightcap and holding an antique lantern.

"Sir, we just found Ginny like this," Hermione said.

Slughorn crouched down and examined her. "Petrified."

"Just like Crookshanks."

"What were you three doing out at this time of night?" Slughorn asked as he levitated Ginny towards the hospital wing.

"Oh, this is our weekly search for broom cupboards, Hermione won't let us use them yet, but when she finally gives in we want to know where as many of them are as possible. I would dearly like to complete the Hogwarts broom cupboard challenge." Luna explained.

"Miss Lovegood, your mother gave me the same excuse when I caught her and your father out after curfew."

"Who do you think told me about it?" Luna asked, with her wide-eyed innocence.


Dumbledore wasn't sure if he should be giddy that such clear evidence had fallen into his lap that James Potter was still alive, or upset because of the fit Molly would throw when she learned her youngest child, and only daughter had been petrified. In a stroke of genius, he decided to put that off for now and instead contact Madam Bones.

"So, this note is your proof that James Potter is alive?" Madam Bones asked. She wasn't happy at being woken in the middle of the night for anything less than an emergency.

"Yes, now that you have it, the Ministry can act, I purpose-"

"Shut up." She rubbed her head, this was, well she wasn't even sure what to call it really. "Is this even James Potter's writing?"

"It is very easy to change one's handwriting in various ways."

"It's even easier to just sign someone else's name."

"But, it was found with a petrified student, whoever did it was clearly very dark."

"A what?! Why didn't you tell me that sooner?"

Dumbledore waved off her concern. "The child will be fine, it was young Miss Weasley actually. Clearly, James is upset about the law granting her family co-custody of Harry and seeks to scare them off."

"Okay. Dumbledore listen and listen well. You have no proof beyond this note, which in itself isn't much. But I will investigate. You will tell me everything you know about this so I can sort it out. While I do that you'll do your job, and inform the victim's family since I doubt you've done that yet." If he had, she'd bet her left leg that Molly Weasley would be there screaming.

"Very well, she was discovered by Professor Slughorn. While she was the only one petrified, she was found in the company of Mr. Potter, Miss Granger, and Miss Lovegood. I think it's safe to assume that Harry had some hand in the matter."

"No! it is not safe to assume that! You're doing it again Dumbledore. Without any hard evidence, you're trying to accuse Mr. Potter of very serious crimes. If I hear one whisper that you've told someone that you suspect him of something like this without actual evidence, you'll find yourself locked up for interfering in an investigation. Are we clear?"

"Very well. I'll go make the floo call, shall I? You'll find all of them in the hospital wing." Dumbledore frowned as he watched her leave. He had given her the proof, given her a chance. Despite how much he didn't want to believe it, it would appear that he was correct and that she was working for, or with, James. It was very disappointing. Well, he'd just have to keep fighting the good fight on his own until he could expose them. As in revealing their crimes, not their bodies. He chuckled at his own wit.


Harry, Hermione, and Luna sat around Ginny's bed. They had convinced Madam Pomfrey to let them stay since sooner or later someone would want to speak with them, and it would be convenient if they were all there.

"Is it wrong that I'd prefer that Colin got petrified again instead of Ginny?" Harry asked.

"Probably, but I agree," Luna said with a glance at Hermione.

"All right. Fine. Me too. She's nothing like she becomes, she's kind of like a sister now." Hermione admitted. She hadn't wanted that, but damn it, Ginny was a good person right now. If they could save her from what she'd become, all the better. She knew both Harry and Luna felt some guilt over Ginny being petrified because she did as well.

"At least she'll be up soon," Harry said. As soon as they'd figured out that they'd be dealing with petrification again, they'd had Sirius stock up on restorative draught. It hadn't been cheap, but it was better than leaving it up to Dumbledore or having children lose weeks or months of their lives while petrified.

They had contacted Sirius as soon as they had arrived and he'd promised to bring a dose of the restorative draught in the morning.

They glanced up when Madam Bones entered and headed towards Madam Pomfrey's office.

The doors flew open as Molly rushed in. "My baby girl! My poor baby girl!"

"It'll be all right Mrs. Weasley. Sirius will be here soon with the restorative draught." Harry offered weakly. Yes, he hated Molly, but she was clearly concerned for her daughter.

"Why would he have that?" She demanded.

Well, there went any sympathy he had for her. "He had some left over after Crookshanks was petrified."

"Oh Harry, thank you. You're always so thoughtful. You must care a great deal for Ginny." Molly said with a smug glance towards Hermione and Luna.

"Well of course we do," Harry said, purposely misinterpreting her. "Ginny is like a sister to us."

"Oh yes, I always wanted a little sister," Hermione added.

Molly looked devastated for a moment before she hid it. "Oh. Yes. Well, Dumbledore said the three of you found her. Why weren't you in bed?"

"Sometimes we explore the castle at night. We were looking for the Gryffindor common room so we could plan a prank on Fred and George." Harry lied.

Molly clearly didn't like that answer, but before she could start ranting, Madam Bones arrived and asked to speak with them. Professor Sprout had arrived while she spoke to Madam Pomfrey and she stood in for their guardian. None of them objected as they explained again what had happened.

They were just finishing up when Sirius arrived with the restorative draught. Professor Slughorn checked it over just to be sure before Madam Pomfrey administered it. It didn't take long for Ginny to wake up with a gasp. She was immediately crushed by Molly. It took both Madam Pomfrey and Madam Bones to free Ginny from her mother's grasp, so they could ask her what happened.

Ginny hesitated and glanced at Harry, Hermione, and Luna.

Harry quickly guessed what happened. "We found you petrified in the hall while we had snuck out to explore."

"I, I saw you three leave and I decided to follow you but I lost you so I just walked around for a bit. I saw a snake, it had yellow eyes. When it looked at me, I-I just froze. I don't remember anything else." Ginny said.

"How big was the snake?" Madam Bones asked.

"I do not believe that is important," Dumbledore said.

Harry was surprised that he hadn't noticed Dumbledore come in. He hadn't thought that Dumbledore could make a quiet entrance.

"And why is that?" Madam Bones asked tightly.

"It is clear that Miss Weasley has had her memories altered by James Potter to cover his tracks," Dumbledore explained.

"Yet you think he left a note with his name on it." She pointed out.

"Yes, he is certainly clever, diverting our attention away from where he doesn't want it. He is not hiding the fact that he committed the crime but rather the method used." Dumbledore thought it was a brilliant move, but James was a hundred years too late to tango with the likes of him.

Sirius turned to Madam Pomfrey. "Is he on one of those muggle drugs that makes you crazy?"

"Legally I'm not allowed to speculate on such matters, it was in my contract." She replied.


Ginny was allowed to leave the hospital wing in time for breakfast with Hermione and Luna volunteering to keep an eye on her. Naturally, the Hogwarts rumor mill had already done its job and everyone knew that Ginny had been petrified. Most of the rumors also mentioned that Harry had had something to do with it. The more vicious ones said it was because Ginny had refused to join his harem.

So it was hardly surprising when they entered the Great Hall for breakfast and Ron jumped up, wand at the ready. "You keep your filthy paws off my sister! Berchen!"

The dark-coloured bone-breaking curse shot towards Harry. He wasn't worried about himself, or Luna, or Hermione, their protective charms could handle it. But Ginny was still standing next to them. The others had the same thought as three shields snapped up to stop the curse.

"Just what kind of idiot are you Ronald? Your sister is standing right next to us!"

Ron frowned for a moment. "You're using Ginny as a human shield!"

Hermione turned to Ginny. "Did he suffer head trauma as a child?"

"Mr. Weasley! Twenty points from Hufflepuff and a week's detention." Professor Sprout said as she rushed over. "That was disgraceful. Mr. Potter, Miss Granger, Miss Lovegood, ten points each for those shields."

"Come now. Surely Mr. Weasley was just concerned about his sister." Dumbledore said.

"That does not excuse his behavior. I'll be interested to see what Mr. Black and Mr. Cortus think about this as well." Sprout said.

Inwardly Dumbledore groaned, just what he needed.

While the Headmaster was pondering the trouble that would soon reach him, Harry, Hermione, Luna, and Ginny sat down at the Hufflepuff table, where most of the house was eager to hear what had really happened. Ginny was touched that the twins had also come over to check on her. Not that she'd admit it. Percy seemed wholly uninterested in her wellbeing.


Just like the previous time around the following month was relatively quiet. There were no more attacks, but the time-travelers thought that might have been because they'd made sure the rumor that there was a basilisk running around the school got out. They had hoped letting the students know would give them a better chance of not being caught.

Most nights the three of them snuck out and returned to Potter Manor, where, with Slytherin's help, they attempted to discover a way to track the basilisks at Hogwarts, and a way to deal with the entire killing with a glance problem. While thankfully the one that had gotten Ginny was small enough not to be able to outright kill yet they weren't counting on it to stay small for long.

At the start of December Harry had a stroke of genius, and after two nights' work, showed his idea to Hermione and Luna. "Well, what do you think?"

Hermione examined the pair of glasses, they had thick lenses and some runes carved around the frame but she didn't see any way they could protect the wearer from a basilisk glare. "All right explain what we're supposed to be seeing?"

"Mirrors," Harry said proudly.

"We tried mirror sunglasses with Slytherin, the sheep still died." Luna pointed out. They had already gone through a couple flocks in their experiments. Thankfully Slytherin was more than happy to eat them so they didn't go to waste.

"Not mirrored, two-way mirrors lined up like lenses," Harry explained.

Hermione popped out one of the lenses, sure enough, it was actually a set of two small two-way mirrors pressed back to back. With the frames hiding the seam they could easily pass for thick lenses glasses. "Harry this is brilliant."

"Thanks, it'll at least keep us from getting killed. I tested it last night and the sheep was only petrified but I think if we take some of the shed skill we collected from the chamber, specifically the part around the eye we can make a filter for them. I'm hoping you and Luna can figure that bit out." Harry said.

It took another week for them to figure out how to make the shed skin into a usable filter, though it gave all of them a headache if worn for too long as the filter turned everything bright yellow. Personally, Harry thought it must also have done something else as everything always seemed too much sharper when he looked through them with an almost painful amount of detail.

Once they knew the glasses worked they made several extra pairs and handed them out to their friends, or offered them to people who had been petrified last time. Ginny nearly broke their ribs when they gave her a pair.

Both Hermione and Luna knew she had occasional nightmares about the little basilisk.


Lockhart looked over the latest assignment from Harry. "Mr. Potter, this really won't do."

All his plans had come crashing down with that stupid contest, and he wanted some revenge. How to get that revenge had eluded him though. That was until Mr. Weasley had come around asking for advice on how to get people to listen to him. Personally, Lockhart thought the child was insane, but he did seem to know a lot about Potter. With that information, Lockhart had come up with a plan to humiliate the brat and repair his own reputation at the same time.

"I'm afraid I'll have to give you detention. Thursday night you will help me host a dueling club. That's right children, because of these attacks the headmaster has allowed me to revive the old dueling club. I look forward to seeing you all there. It will be held in the Great Hall following dinner." Lockhart flashed his sparkling smile to the class.

"Well so much for avoiding that nightmare," Harry grumbled.

"Well at least if you have to duel Draco this time, he probably won't try to kill you with a snake." Hermione offered.

"Which just means I probably won't duel Draco. There are plenty of other people who still want me dead." Harry pointed out.


The night of the dueling club arrived with Harry being dragged around by Lockhart. "This way, come on. You'll be helping me demonstrate the proper way to duel, go on up on the platform."

With a sigh, Harry stepped up, seemed he'd be playing Snape's old roll and humiliating Lockhart that evening. Not that the professor needed any help. He was trying to give a speech that boiled down to how impressive he was and how lucky the students were. What he didn't know was that most of those who had turned up were hoping to see him either humiliate Harry or be humiliated by him.

Slughorn stood off to the side watching the pompous man. He knew a thing or two about public relations and Lockhart was painful to watch. You didn't tell people how great you were, you dropped hints about great things and let them reach their own conclusions. That was why despite how popular the man was Slughorn had never attempted to add him to the Slugclub. Which he suspected was part of the reason Lockhart had asked him to help host the dueling club.

Of course, Slughorn had his own reasons for accepting. He was holding a Christmas party that Sunday and had been unable to invite the three guests he truly wanted there. He seemed to always be one step behind them and was worried that holding them after class to ask would come off as desperate. However, if he was unable to speak with them after the club, he wouldn't have any choice.

Lockhart finally finished speaking to scattered applause, applause that seemed more to be polite than anything else. He jumped up onto the dueling stage and stumbled but he quickly recovered and dramatically tossed off his cloak. "Now don't worry, Hufflepuff will still have their star seeker come the next term."

Harry rolled his eyes as Slughorn counted down for them to begin. He twisted to the side to avoid Lockhart's first spell and then hit him with an overpowered disarming blast as Snape had done last time. But the effect was a bit more dramatic, as Lockhart tumbled right off the dueling platform.

He climbed back to his feet doing his best to hide his scowl. "Excellent work, of course, I wasn't treating you as a threat but you're very quick for a second year. A few more years of practice and you might be up to an adventure or two. Nott, you expressed an interest in dueling I believe, why don't you take my place so Harry can have a more even duel?"

Nott jumped onto the dueling platform and took his position.

"Disarming and shields only I think. Three, two, one, go!"

Harry was prepared for Nott to conjure a snake like Malfoy had, but the Slytherin didn't. Instead, he sent three disarmers at Harry who dodged the first two, shielded the third, and returned fire with his own spell. In just seconds it was over with Nott on his back.

As Harry stepped down he briefly thought that they'd managed to at least dodge this annoyance. He was wrong of course.

Nott sat up and scowled, Slughorn was trying to talk to him but he didn't care. Potter had embarrassed him again. None of his plans ever worked and he was sick of it! "Serpensortia!"

Harry spun, as a large black viper shot from Nott's wand and landed heavily on the ground. Before its tail had even landed it was shooting across the stone floor toward Harry Hermione and Luna. They tried to stop it but the snake twisted in impossible ways, fueled by Nott's rage. Dozens of spells missed the deadly creature as it prepared to strike.

{{Stop!}} Harry shouted, immediately the snake froze, twitching as it tried to fight the command. Having been conjured, it's will was an extension of its summoners but Nott's rage could not overcome the parseltongue. {{Don't move}}

Quickly, Harry flicked his wand and removed the snake. He turned back around, only to find that Ron and several others had imposed themselves between him and the girls.

"You've done it this time Potter, everyone saw. You're a dark wizard! Only the worst of the worst can speak snake, there'll be no hiding yourself now." Ron grinned triumphantly.

Hermione felt her eye twitch in annoyance. "Ronald Weasley! Just how stupid are you? Parseltongue is a language, it's no more evil than French."

"That's still pretty evil!" Someone in the back shouted.

"He's evil! He has to be you all saw him talking to that snake! Why else would You-Know-Who have gone after him as a baby but to get rid of the competition? How else could a baby have beaten him, but with the darkest of magic? He's bewitched Granger and Lovegood, are we gonna stand for that?"

Hermione and Luna had had enough. Each conjured a giant hissing spider.

Ron screamed and tore out of the great hall with the conjured spiders hot on his heels.

In the silence that remained a few students lowered their wands, but many more kept them trained on Harry, unsure of what they should do.

Dumbledore walked through the students. "Mr. Potter, I believe it would be best if you came with me."


(A/N: Thank you all for reading, hopefully, I'll be able to update regularly from now on.)