TITLE: Trading Spaces
RATING: R (slash warning m/m)
PAIRING: HG/SS, HP/DM, HP/HG (friendship)
AUTHORS' NOTE: COMPLETE!! This story takes place in Book 7, much speculation abounds. We've drawn some ideas from some other wonderful Harry Potter fic (Pawn to Queen, The Fire and The Rose, Avatar, Artful Facade). We will be updating every two weeks, possibly with more than one installment, depending on fate and life. Any constructive criticism is greatly appreciated.
SUMMARY: What do you call a cross between a Gryffindor and a Slytherin? A prefect! Don't worry, it's not "what would happen in he had been sorted into . . ." Dumbledore works in mysterious ways as Voldemort grows in power and daring. Other than that? Shippyness, Snogging, Shagging, Snippy and Snarky! Trust me, it'll all make sense in a little while.
Attention: This story has been re-edited!! Formatting issues were resolved, typos were corrected, and oh year -- NEW CONTENT ADDED!! The new content is interspersed throughout the story, but equals about 50+ pages. Also, I will be adding an epilogue with a teaser. Please review! I am writing a sequel, so if you have any thoughts, or would be interested in reading, let me know . . .
Chapter One: Trading Prefects
Hermione Granger and Harry Potter smiled as Hogwart's School of Wizardry and Witchcraft came into view. They were happy to see the place they had learned to call home. They were also relieved that they had survived their trip aboard the flying taxicab. The purple taxi was emblazoned with a green sign that read 'Witch Way?' and the ride had been terrifying. They'd swooped and swirled, narrowly missing the sides of buildings and the like. Thank goodness the thing was protected by an invisibility spell or the Muggles would have confused it with a U.F.O.
They paid the driver and then hopped down from the taxi. Their bags shot out of the trunk and landed at their feet along with the cages that contained Hedwig and Crookshanks.
"I think I've been on this ride before. Least we didn't end up in the surly tree." Harry said dryly. Hedwig ruffled her feathers and squawked at her owner as if it were his fault. Crookshanks hissed and began to lick his fur back into place. While it wasn't stellar service, it was efficient. The driver swung it around and then it disappeared as it cloaked itself and took off. They both turned to look at the old castle once more.
Home. It was odd to think of such a dignified gothic building as home but, nevertheless, she and Harry did. They were both looking forward to their final year but they were also filled with trepidation. It had all finally come to a head. Voldemort and his Death Eaters were closing in and it was only a matter of time before there was a final confrontation. Harry and Hermione both knew that the battleground would be Hogwarts.
"I prefer the regular sort of cab." Hermione said disdainfully, trying to achieve a light mood. For right now, she just wanted to enjoy being here. She'd worry about everything else when she had to.
"I'd have to disagree with you, despite the terrifying speed." Harry said. "Every time I went in one with The Dursleys I had to ride in the trunk, squished against the luggage."
"So, it's an improvement to have to dodge it?" Hermione offered. Harry merely smiled. "At least you don't have to live with those beastly Dursleys ever again."
"Next to summer at The Dursleys, Voldemort doesn't look so bad." He joked and was rewarded with a smile.
They began to run up the stairs, eager to begin a new year regardless of the difficulties involved. They left their belongings at the entrance gate. The house elves would be down to collect them as well as their familiars and take them to their chambers. She couldn't keep from feeling self-satisfied, every single one of them were currently receiving wages and taking vacations. Freedom was contagious. Their two pets were completely spoiled by the staff. Hermione had no doubt that Hedwig would be dining on the finest owl treats that Hogwarts owned and Crookshanks would be given a big bowl of cream.
The school grounds were uncharacteristically empty but soon they would be filled with bustling students and harried professors. Harry and Hermione had both been made prefects and they were looking forward to their newfound power and station. Unfortunately, there were only two prefects per House so Ron wouldn't be one as well. However, Ron didn't seem to be upset about it, he'd always disapproved of his brother, Percy's prefect status. The redhead rather enjoyed making mischief and wouldn't look forward to ruining it for other students.
Harry swung his satchel onto his shoulder as they continued their walk to the entrance. Hermione couldn't believe how much he changed. He was easily six-foot tall and his frame had acquired a good deal of lean muscle. But some things never changed. His hair was still a wild shock of brown, which only parted to reveal the lightning shaped scar on his head. His wire-rimmed glasses were small and the left eyepiece was twisted.
She fished her wand out of her back pocket. "Occulis Repairo." She waived the wand in the air and the metal dutifully obeyed her command and straightened out. "Honestly, Harry, it's a simple spell, I'm sure you could remember it if you tried."
His grin was cheeky. "Why should I? You do it so well." She rolled her eyes at him. Harry noted that Hermione had changed too. She was taller, nearly 5'7. Her curled hair had been controlled so that it fell in soft defined curls instead of its once tangled, bushy appearance. It must have taken some expensive hair care products and some magic as well. "The question is, what am I going to do if they break when you aren't around?"
"Call an optometrist but I doubt that they could do as good of a job as me." She said smugly. "And it certainly wouldn't be as fast." They ascended the final staircase together. Hermione's expression softened. "You'll never have to do that, Harry; you're saddled with me forever." She had a feeling that theirs was a lifelong friendship. Ron, Harry, and she would surely have adjoining rooms at Wizarding Restland. If they lived that long.
He smiled warmly at her. "I'm not going anywhere either."
"Speaking of friends, how's Ron?" Hermione asked curiously. "I saw you got owled by him this morning only I was too busy packing." They hadn't heard from him in awhile. He'd been spending most of the summer with his new girlfriend, Madeleine Mabb, a sixth year Ravenclaw. Because of the mysterious "special circumstances" that were alluded to in their letters from Professor McGonagall, they had to come in two weeks early for extra prefect training.
When they got to the top of the grand staircase, they were greeted by Professor McGonagall herself.
"There you are." She said as she spotted them. "Mr. Potter, Miss Granger." She said warmly. "You both had a good holiday, I trust?"
"Yes, professor." Harry answered. "Hermione and I went with her parents to Rome."
"Such a lovely place." She remarked.
"Yes, it was. We had a great time. Did you have a good holiday, Professor?" Hermione asked politely.
"Oh. Yes. Quite." She said with a distracted air. "Unfortunately, I have to leave you. I'm afraid that there is much to do here. Preparations to be made. Precautions." She nearly whispered the last. She cleared her throat. "Please, proceed to the prefect's lounge where you'll find some refreshments laid out. We'll discuss the housing situation this evening. The professors, the staff, and the prefects will be meeting in the school governance chambers in an hour to discuss this year." She gave them a vague smile before she bustled off, presumably to attend to another task.
Harry and Hermione exchanged looks, thinking that being a prefect was going to be a greater responsibility than they'd bargained for.
Harry consulted his watch for the eighth time and looked over at Hermione. "All set, then? We're going to be late."
"I guess so!" She said. She had already taken out her schoolbooks for the year and was indexing them. "But I should really get on this."
"I worry about you sometimes, Hermione." Harry voiced.
Hermione glared at him. "We'll just see who becomes valedictorian, shall we?"
"I've no doubt that it will be you. You are the best student ever at Hogwarts, Hermione." Harry teased as he went to the door. "Now, let's go and get this meeting out of the way. I have no desire to be trapped in a small room with Snape any longer than I have to."
"You should get used to it." Hermione gave him a grim look. "We have Triple Potions this year. That means that sometimes we'll have three classes a day with him."
"Kill me now." Harry muttered.
"I'm sure if you ask Professor Snape he'll happily oblige you." She said sweetly as they found their way to the meeting room.
When they arrived, Professor Dumbledore and Hagrid were deeply involved in conversation. Professors Sprout and Flitwick were sipping tea. Professors McGonagall and the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Slub, were laying out information packets on the tables. The table was adorned with a banner that showed all of the Houses united under the heading of Hogwarts. One side of the table was for professors and staff and the other side was for prefects. All the chairs were decorated with each of the four Houses' symbols.
Harry and Hermione approached the headmaster and the gamekeeper.
"Professor, nice to see you." Hermione said to Dumbledore.
"Professor." Harry nodded.
"Welcome back to Hogwarts." Dumbledore intoned with a gleam in his eyes. It was clear that they were two of his favorite students. "I trust that you will both be excellent prefects." They both ducked their heads, pleased with his compliment.
The half giant beamed when he saw two of his three favorite students. "Hello there, Hermione, Harry." Hagrid said as he enveloped them both in a huge hug, nearly pulling them up off the ground.
As Hagrid finally released them, Professor Snape strolled into the room. He caught site of Harry and Hermione and smiled - rather unpleasantly, the expression dripping with a dark sort of satisfaction. He sat down in his customary chair, which was emblazoned with his house's logo. Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson sat down in the chairs opposite Snape.
"Shall we begin?" Snape made it clear that he thought this was a waste of his valuable time.
Harry and Hermione reluctantly approached the table. Unfortunately, their House was located next to Slytherin. Harry sat beside Malfoy who sneered at both of them.
Draco eyed Harry and drawled, "Miss me, Potter?"
"You wish, Malfoy." Harry shifted in his seat; half wishing he could have made Hermione sit next to Draco. There was something about him, his self-assured smirk and mocking, slow-paced voice that got under Harry's skin.
Malfoy delivered a quick kick to Harry's chair, nearly knocking him to the floor. When Harry and Hermione glared at him, he shrugged. "Oh, I thought your chair was unsteady." He smirked. "Just trying to help."
Hermione noted that Snape watched this without comment. If they'd dared to do that to Malfoy, Gryffindor would have lost points already. When his head turned, to say something to McGonagall, she leaned over and said one word in a whisper to Malfoy, "Ferret."
Draco actually shuddered at the memory of Mad Eye Moony turning him into one of the furry creatures. He muttered under his breath, crossing his arms over his chest. He promised himself he'd get even with her later. Maybe in Potions class.
Harry chuckled as she settled back beside him and he gave her hand an affectionate squeeze under the table. Despite much conjecture about possible romances amongst the Golden Trio, the only thing the three of them held was a deep affection and connection, created by hardships and overcoming them together. Snape turned to stare at both of them but made no comment.
Hagrid, Filch, and Madam Pomfrey all sat at the end of the table. As Dumbledore took his seat at the head of the table, everyone quieted down. "First of all, I wish to welcome all of you back to the start of another year at Hogwarts," he said. "I believe this will be an . . . interesting year." He grew graver. "I know that you are all aware of Lord Voldemort's presence in the area?" They all nodded. Draco Malfoy couldn't keep the smirk off his face. "And the recent Death Eater attacks." He appeared to steel himself. "There have been several Muggle murders as well as ritual killings of Muggle-born witches and wizards."
Harry and Hermione continued to hold hands and Harry rubbed small circles on Hermione's skin with his thumb in a soothing gesture. She bit her lip as she realized that she would be a natural target for Lord Voldemort. She was close to Harry as well as being Muggle-born. Harry glanced at Malfoy to gage his reaction to the information. His face was set in inscrutable lines, though a muscle twitched in his jaw. Harry arched a brow at him, mouthing, "You ok, Malfoy?"
Malfoy looked perplexed for a second, and then glared at him. Leaning close enough that his breath brushed Harry's ear, he murmured, "Sod off, Potter."
Harry bit his tongue to hold back a sharp retort and turned away. Ron had written to Harry frequently to keep him abreast of news in the Wizarding world, particularly anything sensitive he had learned from his father. At some point over the summer months, Lucius Malfoy had sent his son to his wife, Narcissa and come out in full support of Voldemort as one of his most trusted and valued Death Eaters. While, as far as the public was concerned, the eighteen year old was innocent, secretly the ministry was afraid that Lucius had started the process on initiating his son into the inner sanctum of the Dark Lord. They had considered preventing him from coming to Hogwarts this year, especially when it was discovered that Lucius still regularly corresponded with the boy, but Dumbledore had interceded on his behalf, saying that everyone was innocent until proven guilty, and every son had the right to speak to his father.
Dumbledore steepled his hands as he regarded them all. "I thought very seriously about closing the school." There was a general outcry from the students but he held up a hand. "I have decided to keep it open though. However, I know that Voldemort will be coming for Hogwarts. He's always wanted this school. Voldemort wishes to turn this school into a dark academy to produce more Death Eaters. He also wants another confrontation with me, as well as-" His eyes rested on Harry. "Others who dwell here." His gaze briefly flickered to Professor Snape. "Therefore, I think that we will all be safer together. Making a stand as a group. Hogwarts will remain open to the very end." He gestured to Professor McGonagall. "Minerva, why don't you give them the details of our plan?"
"We have all decided to make some unorthodox changes for everyone's protection," she announced as she unrolled a piece of parchment. She placed her spectacles on and began to read. "An emergency plan for each House has been drawn up. You will all familiarize yourself with the plan and drill it with your dorm mates. All prefects will be doing nightly rounds in the dormitories at the hours of 7, 9, and 11. At the end of each round, you shall report to the Head of the House and discuss anything unusual or out of the ordinary. Aurors have been dispatched from The Ministry of Magic and they will be on 24 hour watch should you need them. All 6th and 7th year students will be receiving additional Defense Against the Dark Arts instruction in order to better protect themselves and the other students. All of the exits and entrances will be heavily warded and safeguarded with passwords that you will change weekly." The rest of the students, except for Draco Malfoy who continued to regard them all with scorn, seemed to agree with the changes because they nodded and murmured noises of assent.
"And now for the most unusual change." She placed her spectacles on the table. "You will all be switching Houses." There was a sound of protest from the prefects and she held up her hand. "Listen, please. House loyalty and competitiveness has always been encouraged at Hogwarts. However, we cannot afford that luxury at this time. First and foremost, you are all HOGWARTS students, not just Gryffindor or Hufflepuffs and you must remember this."
"Therefore," Professor Dumbledore continued. "All prefects will be traded to the opposing house. Gryffindor will be prefects for Slytherin and vice versa. Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws will also exchange prefects."
Harry and Hermione gulped. They would be working for Professor Snape? They both gave him a sideways glance and he was giving them a look from an American movie, something along the lines of 'Your ass is mine.' No wonder he'd looked more smug than usual. They dragged their attention away from their predicament and once more focused on Dumbledore. "This serves several purposes. As Minerva said, I want to impress the importance of school allegiance upon students verses House allegiance." He looked meaningfully at Draco Malfoy who was busy eyeing Professor McGonagall in much the same way Harry and Hermione were contemplating Snape. "I also want you to be objective in dealing with student indiscretions." In other words, he didn't want House loyalty to lead to having Junior Death Eaters in their midst.
Another, hidden purpose in this decision was to publicly curtail the activities of Draco Malfoy. He was clearly expected to be the head of any Death Eater movement and would now be surrounded by honest and brave Griffyndors. Harry Potter and Hermione Granger would be in contact with Slytherin students. Dumbledore had every faith in the young people and he knew they had part to play in this wizard war. If any trouble were to begin at Hogwarts, it would start with Slytherin House. He also wanted both of them to be under the protection of Severus Snape.
"This means, ladies and gentlemen, that you now belong in two Houses," Professor McGonagall announced. She waved her wand and the opposite House crest appeared just below their prefect badge and next to their other crest. Harry was horrified, his nightmare had come true. He was now a Slytherin, even if it was an honorary sort of membership. "You will also be sleeping in the dormitory of your new House." There was a chorus of groans but she ignored them in favor of addressing Malfoy and Harry. "Since you both play the same position for your House quidditch team, you will alternate between the two sides. To build good will." For once, both Harry and Draco were in agreement about something. They both hated this.
"But, Professor-" Malfoy started.
"I don't-" Harry began.
"For pity's sake," Snape snapped. "There is more to life than that mindless game. I suggest that you both channel your energies towards more meaningful pursuits." He gave Malfoy some sort of a hidden message with his eyes and Draco subsided.
Both Harry and Hermione were informed by Professor Dumbledore about the nature of Professor Snape's association with the Death Eaters and his current role as double agent, as it were. Harry, however, still didn't trust him. And they both didn't like him.
"Are there any questions?" Headmaster Dumbledore inquired. The prefects were all moodily silent. "Fine, then. I suggest that the Heads of House take their new prefects over to their new accommodations and go over whatever else you see fit."
Everyone nodded. Hermione watched longingly as Professor McGonagall invited Pansy and Draco to her quarters. Not that those two would appreciate her concern or her patience.
Snape stood up abruptly. "We'll meet in my chambers. Come!" He commanded as he strode out the door.
Harry looked like he was going to be sick. "Now, he's treating us like dogs," He complained. "I know that this is the least of our problems, but . . . Snape." He said pointing to the area their new supervisor vacated, as if that was all the explanation that was necessary.
"I know," Hermione said sympathetically. They walked out into the corridor but found it empty. "He certainly moves fast."
"He probably turned into a bat and flew there," Harry groused.
"Lumos!" Hermione said, lighting the way to the tower with her wand. "Harry, I know that you don't like Snape." Ever mindful of security, she whispered the Mushmouth Murmur which would make there conversation sound like gibberish to anyone who heard it but them. "I also know that you hold him responsible for what happened to your parents, but--"
"Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater," Harry intoned. He thought the lot of them were responsible for both what they had done as a group as well as Lord Voldemort's actions.
Hermione let the subject drop. She hated Snape with a fiery passion but she had to admit that he was as brave as any Gryffindor for spying on Voldemort. She respected him for that. Even if he had given her an A- on her final exam last year.
They arrived at his door, which was located at the base of the Slytherin Tower. Harry grasped the doorknocker and knocked three times. From behind the door, he heard, "Enter!"
Neither one of them had ever been in his quarters before and they couldn't help but be fascinated by it. The entire structure was imposing, high ceilings with arched doorways. The walls were done in gray brick, which seemed to give off a forbidding air. It looked a lot like the dungeons. They were in a foyer of sorts and they followed the noise of a crackling fire to the living room. There were Ever-Burning candles on several surfaces, including small tables in the corners of the rooms. One wall of the room was filled with books, which were shoved into over-stuffed bookcases. There was a glass-encased display cabinet, which held several dark arts items such as the Blade of Bane, which killed every human it struck. There was also the illegal Menacing Mist potion.
Snape sat in a high backed chair, waiting for them. There was a tray of tea on the coffee table and he was sipping some from an ebony teacup. Hermione thought he almost looked regal with his formal robes and his indomitable air. "Mr. Potter, Miss Granger, you finally decided to grace me with your presence. Fifteen points a piece from Gryffindor for your tardiness."
Harry's chin rose. "Shouldn't you be subtracting them from Slytherin?"
"When I am pleased with you. . ." He smirked. "Which, I daresay, won't be often, I shall award points to Slytherin. When I am displeased with you, I shall take them away from Gryffindor." One of his long, elegant hands gestured for them to take seats opposite him, which they did reluctantly. "But we have more pressing matters than your pursuit of the almighty House Cup."
Snape's eyes met Hermione's. "I didn't think I'd live to see the day that Miss Granger didn't speak before spoken to." Hermione scooted to the side of her chair so she could be as close to Harry as possible. "Stop cowering, Miss Granger, and have some tea to calm your ridiculous case of nerves."
"Yes, you were." She viciously clamped down on her jaw and poured herself a cup of tea. He eyed Harry. "Waiting for an engraved invitation, Mr. Potter?" Harry dutifully poured himself a cup and brought it to his lips but hesitated. "There's no poison in it." Snape assured him. Harry took a sip. "This time." He let it dribble back into the cup. "Ever heard of manners, boy? I suggest you get some, Potter."
Hermione's eyes widened at her own cup of tea and she placed it back on the table. "You wanted to go over some things with us, Professor?"
"Yes, I do." He removed his wand from a hidden pocket and waived it. Two rolls of parchment appeared on their laps. They unrolled them to reveal a multitude of rules and regulations for prefects. "I suggest that you learn and memorize these as I will be quizzing you over the next few weeks. For every rule you fail to remember, I will penalize Gryffindor one hundred points."
Harry opened his mouth to protest. "You are in my House now, Mr. Potter. You will be living under my rules and there won't be any mollycoddling. You will be expected to be punctual, respectful, work hard, keep order, and do exactly as I say."
He handed them stacks of maps of Hogwarts. They denoted the nearest exit for Slytherin House, which was thoughtfully marked with a green line. It also detailed all of the exits and entrances to the building. "You will post these in the dormitories and then organize drills for the other students. You will keep me abreast of your progress and if there are any problems."
Hermione saw Harry nearly tremble with suppressed anger. To his credit, he remained silent. She was angry as well but she had learned long ago how to keep it in check.
Snape was clearly enjoying himself. He sat back in his chair, watching them both like a bird of prey that had captured two delicious and elusive mice. "As, Professor McGonagall mentioned, you will be expected to patrol the dorms each evening. However, Mr. Potter will also be conducting aerial patrols of the school. It's time that we finally put those quidditch skills to use," Snape said with an air of superiority.
"Aerial patrols!" Hermione repeated "But that's dangerous. He could--"
"I'm sure the indestructible Mr. Potter will be fine. What's a moonlit broom ride compared to a confrontation with Voldemort?"
"It'll be fine, Hermione," Harry said, glaring at Snape. "He's right. Some of us are just better at everything."
Snape set his lips in a grim line before addressing Hermione. "And you, Miss Granger, will help me in the laboratory. We are going to put together an arsenal of potions that will be available when we need them."
"You mean that I'll be brewing potions with you?"
"For the foreseeable future, Miss Granger."
"Just the two of us?"
"Yes, have you developed some learning impairment? Perhaps being partnered with Neville Longbottom these many years has taken a toll on your mental faculties."
"Alone in the dungeon?"
"Do you have a problem with that?" He asked tightly.
"N-no, of course not, sir." Hermione gulped. So this was what Hell was like. She stared into the glittering, triumphant eyes of Professor Snape. And she was about to become better acquainted with Satan.