A/N: A very late Holiday gift for those on follow. Life and three fests interrupted but now that they are wrapped up, enjoy another update. - DG
"Maybe I am like my Dad that way, with a mean streak."
"How many times have you intentionally hexed another student out of sheer cheek?"
Harry stopped and turned to the older wizard before him. "Aside from Draco Malfoy, who was complicit in Dumbledore's murder and nearly killing my best friend, only Death Eaters but no other students."
"No one? Are you sure?"
"Practice with others in Dumbledore's Army was practice and not malicious or with cheek."
"Then I fail to see your mean streak, Harry."
"But then there's Draco Malfoy. The git got under my skin the first time I met him, being poncy and a right foul git. He tried to turn me off being friends with Ron and continued to be nasty to me, and my friends, for the entire time we were at Hogwarts."
"So did you ever hurt him without cause or provocation?"
"No but I snooped on him a few too many times and got me nearly kicked out often enough."
"Did you ever intentionally hurt him, with malice and cruelty?"
Harry thought back to the fight in the haunted toilet, the one where Hermione brewed Polyjuice their second year, and where he met Moaning Myrtle.
"No, but I did nearly kill him with a spell I didn't know how bad it was."
"Care to explain?"
Harry sighed. "Well, I was going off to confront Malfoy for all of the odd happenings sixth year. Katie had been cursed, Ron being poisoned twice and nearly dying the second time, and him being sneaky. I dunno. He saw that Katie had returned and stopped, like he'd seen an Inferus. He turned and ran off and I went off after him, to confront him, because I just knew that he was responsible."
"And was he?"
"Yes, he was. Dumbledore pointed out to Malfoy that he was being sloppy in trying to kill him, and that he could have been put under protection. He'd not hear anything of it. But anyway, when I went to confront him, he turned his wand on me and we dueled in the bathroom."
"I hit him with a spell and nearly eviscerated him. Snape was there straightaway and saved his life, and I was upset for nearly killing Malfoy with a spell I didn't know how deadly it was."
"Is that why you are so hesitant to use anything stronger than first year spells against anyone?"
Harry cleared his mind again, trying to forget using Unforgiveables on multiple occasions in the last year.
"I wouldn't say I hesitate, sir, especially when its mission related and there's a job to do."
"So you have used them." Kingsley's statement wasn't a question.
"I have. I'm not proud of using them, but I've only done them when they were the last resort."
Kingsley stepped close and Harry refused to back down. "When you sign that contract as a trainee Auror with me, you will not use them, unless it's in defense of your own life, the life of another Auror, or a civilian. There is absolutely no reason to use Cruciatus or Imperius on anyone – ever. But for the last one – there will be times you're called on to use it – but only with express permission from me, Director Robards, or Senior Auror Jones. Pull that stunt without express permission and I won't care that you took down Voldemort; I'll strip you of your badge immediately. No amount of justification or rationalization makes you the deciding judge on when to use them." Kingsley huffed. "Sorted?"
"Yes, sir." Harry didn't break contact until Kingsley looked away.
"Now that subject is settled, let's look at another."
Harry picked up the next vial in the tray and cracked the seal on it. After the last memory he was a little apprehensive at what he would find in here.
He poured it into the Pensieve and put his face in, waiting for the feeling of falling without concern for the very sudden stop that usually ended falling.
"I know this room."
"I do too."
Horace Slughorn stood at the front of the dark bricked classroom, with his enormous moustache, corpulent belly, rich deep green robes, and a matching green hat. His hair seemed a bit darker than when Harry knew him, and he still bellowed like before. Yet at the front, on opposite sides of the potions classroom sat his Mum along with another witch. On the other side was Snape, sitting by himself, at the front table. Harry looked around and saw James and Sirius in the far back, with Remus and Peter at the table next to them. They were passing notes with their wands, and occasionally sending a flying parchment to Snape at the front. When he wouldn't take it, they charmed it to poke him in the ear until he banished them.
"Today we have the instructions for brewing an antidote to Pensioner's Pneumonia. It's not set in the Ministry curriculum but since it's a poisoner's favorite general potion, you should know how to brew an antidote. I have high hopes for this class and their NEWTS, which is why I am teaching ahead and away from the materials set out. It's tricky and wicked hard, especially if you don't get it just right in the first three steps. You don't know if you've brewed it correctly until administering it the patient – and if they perish, you brewed it wrong."
Harry went back to where his Dad sat along with his best mate. They weren't paying attention, as Harry learned to expect.
"So I told Evans that if she'd go out with me, I'd have the elves make her favorite dish. And you know what she said?"
"Did she make a dog's dinner of it?"
"You're a riot, Sirius. But she did. She looked at me like I had fallen face first into Dragon dung. Imagine that! You'd think I was still the tosser I was a month ago."
"Well, she did say you had a very big head."
"Hush, both of you," Remus whispered harshly at the silly lads next to him. "I don't care that you're a whiz, Sirus, or that your father wrote the book on these potions, James, but shut your gobs. Not all of us have galleons galore to coast, or that you know this stuff better than you know what Alice Selwyn has under her robes."
"She wears these nice dresses, and the flounce when – " James piped down with the glare from Remus.
Harry looked up from his Dad and saw Severus working feverishly over his parchment, nose an inch from the paper in front of him, writing furiously across the instructions. Harry wandered up to the front, passing through Slughorn who was nattering on about meeting Henry Potter years ago when he was apprenticing with him as a young man. Harry realized that he was talking about his Great-Grandfather, a man he knew nothing about. Neither Sirius nor Remus ever mentioned Henry Potter.
"Made his fortune brewing Sleekeazy's potion, he did. So many witches who fried their hair in the new century trying to have big bushy hair – " Harry snickered to himself, laughing at how Hermione used it well enough, he reckoned. " – that they needed this new potion to calm it down, straighten it out, and make it look reasonably natural for debonair witches in London. He sure did, made his fortune then retired to Cornwall to live off the proceeds. But so I am told, by mutual friends of course, that he still dabbles in potions experiments. Isn't that right, James?"
James looked up and straightened his glasses. "Well, Dad does sometimes and has since Henry died, but those are only stories to me since he died decades before I was born."
"And such a loss that was. He was an excellent Potioneer, and one I learned so much from."
Harry went up front and froze. Lily Evans was seated at the front, pointedly ignoring the parchment note sent to her from across the room, courtesy of Severus. Each time that it poked her, she burned it to ash before banishing it away."
Harry stepped closer.
"Why is he still bothering you, Lils? You told him off in front of everyone, especially after calling you a terrible name in front of everyone. I thought he'd have scampered off after that."
Lily sighed and turned back to her notes, not seeing how Severus conjured another charmed parchment sheet to send across the room. "How many times has he been caught out of bounds, well after midnight, sleeping at the front of the Gryffindor door, hoping to catch me out on rounds? Isn't it a dozen now, in a month?"
Alice smirked. "And it just so happens that the only times you're out on rounds is when he's not there. I dunno how you're managing that."
"Sure you do, considering you helped me with it."
"Well, yeah, and it is brilliant, mind you. You'd think after a month's detentions and you ignoring him completely would give the hint that he's gone for good."
"I know but between him and that toerag Potter, and that arsewart Black whose always with the sod, I can barely catch a moment's peace between them both. It's a wonder they aren't dueling again in the hallways over my honor – neither of which are interested in. It's like they are fighting over me when I don't want either one of them, as a friend or more."
"You could tell them that you're dating Marlene McKinnon."
"Oh Lord, that would be so much worse, even if I was interested. They'd have a cockfight then, for sure, desperately trying to win my affections back when they are both sods and I want nothing to do with them."
"So how do you tell them both off without getting into trouble yourself?"
"Well, I could lock them in a broom cupboard and let them fight it out for good."
"That's an image I didn't need to consider."
"And you're right because ignoring them isn't working either. They just won't give over that I refuse to talk with either one of them, one for being horrid and the other for being equally horrid but also a cocky little shit."
"So which one is which?"
"It alternates day to day." Lily refused to look behind Marlene, considering she felt Severus attempts to get her attention.
"So if they continue to bother you?"
"I've considered going to McGonagall and letting her handle this problem. She might claw them up some once she'd one with them," Alice snickered, "or she might give them detention for a month. It'd serve them right when I refuse both."
"I'm surprised it's not been worse, actually. You know James tried to blackmail you into going out with him."
"Yeah and Severus called me that name. I knew he didn't like Muggles at all, and knew I was sensitive to such nasty language but I never expected him to refer to me that way. I was his friend but I guess it was more a friend he could use rather than an actual one. Did I ever tell you about the time he hurt Tunie?"
Harry walked back to where Kingsley was standing, between Remus and James, watching Horace walking through him repeatedly.
"He might be a bit of a codger, but he is also one hell of a Potions Master. I'd have never made it into the Aurors without his teaching or extra lessons."
"Snape was ok but I didn't get better until I got a book sixth year for Professor Slughorn's class that had different instructions in it. Hermione was so mad that I finally was better than her at something magical, well besides Defense. I thought she was going to have a conniption fit when – "
Harry stopped and froze. He saw James taking notes and it was very distinctive. "Damn."
"What?" Kingsley stood off to the side, observing Harry walking through Slughorn and across the room.
"It's that book, and the additional notes in it. It wasn't Snape's copy of it. For years I thought it was his, because the instructions were so similar but varied in one or two small details, ones that made the potions work faster, or brew better, or more potent."
Harry pointed to the handwriting in James's notes and the way he wrote his F's and N's and T's. They all flourished, like the instructions in the potions book he had to hide in his sixth year and was incinerated the next in the Fiendfyre in the Room of Requirement.
"They were in Dad's handwriting. I'd swear to it."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I never realized it." Harry went to the front and saw Snape's handwriting. They were distinctly different. "I'm sure of it. Snape was excellent but they weren't his original notes. I'd bet you ten galleons Snape learned from Dad's notes and profited from it."
"Snape always knew what he was doing. But it also wouldn't surprise me he nicked your Dad's book to know why he was so good."
"Yeah, but it seems that being a thief and stealing dad's efforts should be added to it." Harry stopped and saw Severus had opened the book – the one he had his sixth year. Sure enough, in the front, he saw it written in Snape's handwriting, Property of the Half-Blood Prince.
A/N2: I will be writing the next chapter next week and get ahead again. - DG