Disclaimer: If you think I own Harry Potter then would you be so kind as to tell me who was buried in Grant's Tomb?
For the Battles—By Howl
It was indeed a rare incident when one was found without the other. This just happened to be one of those moments in time where such an incident had happened.
Fred Weasley, without his look alike twin, was standing at the potions table, chewing his lip and briefly wondering if this was how Professor Snape had been driven to living in the dungeons, constantly pouring over his potions. It wasn't, to his start and horror, hard to get wrapped up within the potion.
Mind this potion was for jest and pranks, something to play on Umbridge no less, and definitely not something the Potions Master would approve of. Possibly the ingenious behind the created potion, yes, but he'd never admit it, but he would just scoff at the reason that it was even being made. He might, Fred mused, take it as an insult.
Prior to contrary belief, he had to a certain extent, a harboring respect for the bat-like Professor who thrived on making Gryffindors pay for every little mistake they might just make here or there. Oh yes, peeved it was easy to become at the man, and spiteful insults came to the tongue as easily as water, but that didn't always account for his harboring respect of the man. Even his twin had that same respect.
Possibly they had adapted it after so many years of hiding out in the dungeons, making potions for all their pranks, and realizing just how hard the art of potions truly was. It was definitely not like cooking, as some people believed it to be.
Sweat resting on his brow, Fred fought to keep his attention locked on the stewing potion before him. It was resting now, a hearty apple red, and in five minutes, to the dot, if he missed or messed up the next ingredient, that hearty apple red would become his deadly foe. Oh yes, his attention most be wrapped.
George wasn't with him. Mainly because there were moments in time where they broke off with their own creative genius and went in different ways. This was Fred's own thing, while George had his own thing going with a certain girl upstairs, several levels above him. No, this prank, this potion, was all of Fred's own doing.
Sometimes it hurt the twins when their mother scolded them rather than congratulate them on their success ingenious. She just didn't realize how much thought, skill, and work went into the pranks. Then again, if she did she might blow a casket, saying that they could very well be using their brains and such talents on the good of the world.
But they were. In such dark times now that the war was back on everyone needed a good life. They needed to realize that no matter what happened, there was still life in the world.
Fred shook his head. When in the hell had he gotten so sappy? Oh yeah, when Dumbledore consulted George and him last week about some jokes. That old, but great, man sure did love his pranks. Those words above weren't of Fred's, though they were constantly in his mind, but those of Dumbledore's.
Yes, he thought in relief, I'm not going sappy. What would that do for my reputation?
Five minutes to the dot, Fred gently let lose the hair of the bat, and stirred counter-clockwise three times. They never did this good in Potions class (yes they did make it into N.E.W.T. Potions Class, for obvious purposes.) Mainly because they feared just how Professor Snape would react and with that man's mind he was bound to connect the dots rather quickly to a hidden lab not too far down from his office, to be truthful.
Sighing in relief when the apple red didn't become his deadly foe, Fred finished up his potion when suddenly he heard shouting. Raising his fiery red headed head up, he looked curiously toward the hidden door. That sounded a bit like a frustrate Snape.
Oh well, nothing new there. Shaking his head, he went back to his potion, when he heard quite a distinguished crash. That sounded like a bottle of ingredients smashing, he realized as he started.
He longed to run, oh did he ever, to the door and look out to see what all the chaos was about. But he couldn't leave his potion in fear…in fear that he might end up messing up his potion. It was a tender moment for his potion; he had to keep concentrating on it.
How the hell did Snape do this in school? He thought bitterly in his mind as he worked with impatience yet with patient hands, through the rest of his potion.
Then he was done. Not completely but to the point where it could be left alone safely and not become the greatest blast of the century in Hogwarts corridors. It would be a blast to rival that of Neville Longbottom's.
Racing to the hidden door, he gently picked out his head and peered down the corridor. Dank and dark as always. Yet there was a light on to Snape's office. There were raised voices, and Fred instantly recognized as one being Umbridge. His blood boiled at the mere thought.
He made to draw back. Whatever mess it was that Snape had gotten into with the bitch, there was no reason that he needed to interfere.
That is until he heard his little brother's best friend's name mentioned.
Harry was like his own, adopted brother, and if that bitch so much as spoke another ill word of him, she would have something coming. She already did as it was and it was not good to infuriate a Weasley even more than they already are. Especially with they had special means of revenge such as the twins.
Glowering, Fred turned back to his potion, and though it wasn't quite done, he swooped some up into a bottle, before spinning back around and marching out of the hidden lab. Yes, he thought, this will be worth it. Too bad his brother wasn't there. He would love such an event.
"Remedial Potions! I highly doubt that has anything to do with a Pensive. Now give that here. I bet you were allowing Potter to put memories in there." Umbridge croaked in that annoying voice of hers that could cause pain to little children's ears, Fred was sure of it. They'd definitely loose their innocence to hearing such a voice.
"Surely you really don't think I'd allow anyone, especially Potter," he spat his words as he spoke. "To use this. No! You may not see this, now kindly leave my office. He'd in Remedial Potions because his thick skull doesn't understand anything. You know this. Everyone knows this. Now—leave—this—office."
"You will, by order of the Minister, give me that Pensive." Fred was creeping up carefully, while dropping with a steady hand (learned from years of practice) the potion onto a pebble.
"I will not!" Snape snarled in a death-defying voice that Fred was sure would have any good sturdy Ravenclaw flinching.
"You dare defy me!" Umbridge cried out in a tone that was complete disgust and distrust. "This is unthinkable! Unconceivable! Why the Minister was right! And here I thought he might've just been a little bit mistaken. Oh no, he wasn't…why…why…"
"Why what?" Snape demanded, his anger flaring through him, a 'certain' incident causing him to have no self-control.
"How dare you!" Umbridge screeched and Fred chose that moment in time to toss the pebble in. With Snape's sharp eyes spotting the slightest fray of the rope in one of his student's robes, Fred didn't doubt that he had seen, while he was positive that Umbridge hadn't.
And that was all that matter.
The potion took a second to act because it wasn't completely done, but when it did, the results were spectacular.
The pebble didn't act like most of their pranks would've normally acted. No outlandish occurrence, no bang or pop, just a subtle seeping that he would never forgot. The pebble had been charmed before this all began too therefore its reaction with the potions was the desired result.
Slowly, was a seeping snake, which it was actually created to portray, a thin, wisp like smoke, rose up from the pebble that had landed at Umbridge's feet, and began to gently wrap around the legs, moving upward slowly.
She had gone into an accusing rant at Professor Snape that Fred couldn't concentrate on. Much like class, he thought dryly.
He's eyes gleamed with an unhealthy addiction to the love of chaos, a gleam that Peeves the Poltergeist would've been proud of, and he was nearly holding his breath were the smoke had completely wrapped around Umbridge's lower part of her body.
This was it he realized with a jolt of excitement.
It there it was indeed. What happened next would be something that Fred, let along Professor Snape, would ever forget.
Umbridge suddenly became aware of the snake-like wisp that clung to her round lower part of her bottom, and for a minute she could only gape in surprise.
"Why," Snape said snidely. "Why did you stop?"
"AHHHHH!" Umbridge suddenly screamed in pure terror and began to frantically dig into her pockets while the smoke took on the last and final stage. It began to expand, spread outward like wildfire, and she was trying to swat it away with one hand, jumping up and down, and digging in her pockets with the other. "Help me!" she demanded in a piercing voice.
"With what?" Snape asked, trying and successfully sounding confused. "With this…this thing! Get it off of me!"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Snape said with a frown that said he thought she was stupid.
"It's huge, look at it, and it's…it's talking to me!" She screamed, her want finally withdrawn from her pocket, and pointed shakily at the smoke. Fred started. He had no idea that it would talk. A side-effect, he mused to himself.
"Talking Professor?" Snape asked slowly, talking a tone that made it obvious he thought he mad.
"Yes! Oh my Merlin, get it off of me!" and she started to shout spells through the smoke that was indeed talking. Nothing of any sense, all rambles, but to frighten lady out of her wits, it was quite obvious that it was making all the sense in the world.
"Professor!" Snape shouted, standing up. "I insist you cease this very moment! I do not know what you see or what you speak of, but shooting spells around my office will not be allowed, nor will it help. Now what is the matter?"
Umbridge wasn't listening though. She was having a panic attack, shouting out curses that would have even some of the nastiest kids in school, blushing. Snape was evens shocked that she knew such spells.
Fred and Snape both fell into an awed silence, neither having expect this.
Then the last part of the spell happened, a giant creature with bunny ears and bunny ears arose from the expanding smoke of the waist, and Umbridge screamed in plain terror. With a cackling dive, the bunny monster, dived forward, swooping her up, as she threw up her arms in pure terror.
However, it was just smoke, and it passed over and through her like it was nothing. Leaving only a thin trace of green and pink, two horribly matching colors, upon her skin and clothing.
She stared around, obviously not seeing the color change, as she lowered her arms. Spinning around in three, four, five circles, looking for whatever it was, she realized that Snape was staring at her like she was mad, not to mention dangerous.
She instantly snapped back into place, a smile firmly placed onto her toad face.
"This never happened, understood?" she snarled through her snarl.
"None of this whole meeting?" Snape asked with a raised eyebrow and seeing he was setting terms Umbridge hesitated. This was her power, her right. Yet Snape could spread a rumor faster than more people in Hogwarts could. His students took his word as the gospel.
"Yes," she nodded curtly and with that she spun around, smile firmly plastered on, and walked out of the office as Fred ducked into the hidden shadows. He realized it hadn't been as funny as he thought it would be, but then again the circumstances had been completely wrong.
Yet his revenge had been met…for the moment.
That smile, the one that was plastered onto her face, was definitely going to be little first years frightful dreams for that night.
Sighing in relief once she was gone from the corridor, Fred straightened up, and made to head back to the hidden lab when suddenly a clearing throat started him. Spinning around he found a looming Snape standing in the doorway of his office, arms crossed, a dangerous glint in his eyes.
"In," he ordered curtly and Fred knew there was no escaping. Bowing his head, he walked into the office, warily by the looming Professor Snape, and sat down in the indicated chair. He loved, though he would never openly admit it, Professor Snape's office.
"What did you think you were doing?" Snape demanded, strutting behind his desk, but not sitting down.
"Nothing," Fred shrugged. "Giving her what she needs."
"No doubt," Snape said quietly to himself. "What you did was dangerous, Mr. Weasley. Do you realize that? You could've jeopardized everything."
"How?" Fred asked, astounded.
"By acting so rashly! Setting off such a dangerous potion that obvious wasn't complete. It could've damaged her—"
"Who'd be able to tell?" Fred said quietly under his breath.
"And that could've put everything I worked for in jeopardy." Snape continued, obviously ignoring the moment.
"Like becoming a sycophant so she won't suspect you of something…dark? Huh? Or so you can keep yourself here in school, while the rest of the bloody staff gets their arses whooped about?" Fred felt his temper rising. "What I did was what she deserved. I don't care what you say or what you think! Anyway, it sounded like you had lost control of the situation anyway!"
"Don't you raise your voice to me Mr. Weasley!" Professor Snape said in a deadly hiss that startled Fred to the very core of his soul. "You might not realize it, but we're in a war. Things are meant to be done to keep people secure…such as you said, being a sycophant to that toad. That trust she has in me in the end might come in handy!"
"You don't think I know we're in a war?" Fred asked. "I got a brother, two to be exact, official and unofficially, who are directly involved. Yes, I know we're in a war."
"Touching," Snape snarled. "But you and your brother, the twin, play on a whole other chessboard, Mr. Weasley. You don't acknowledge just what this world needs. We don't need jokes, we need a win. You and your brother live in a blissful state upon that other chessboard, you will never understand. Therefore you are never to pull a stunt—"
"We all live on the same chessboard!" Fred interrupted, unable to contain it any longer. "It's like you said, Professor, we're in a war. War's are fought in a different way and can be won in different ways. You said you never know what might come out of you being a sycophant to Umbridge, and you never know what might come out of being a prankster in this war." Professor growled at him for a minute, seconds it looked like from attacking him.
"Get out," he snarled. "Just get the hell out. I don't see why I even try. With you, Potter, anyone. It's all bloody useless. Our fates rest in a bunch of fools." He sat down in a chair, almost as if giving up, and Fred, already on his feet from his first, turned to leave.
"You know Professor," Fred said slowly. "I might not know a lot about History, but if you ask me…a war never ends. Sure there's a pause, a stop in the middle for a peacefully, truce filled timeout, but in the end it'll start back up. Maybe not back in the same century, or maybe not until the next million years. Wars can never be won; they're always continuing, different people, and different reasons.
"The only things that can be won are battles, which make up wars. George and I might not be upon the same chessboard as everyone else, but we've got our own part in the battles. Maybe through our pranks we can bring a way for people to realize there's still life out there, beyond that of death and darkness. That's what Dumbledore said, and that's what matters. We have our own battles, just as Harry does. Harry might be more important, you might—no you are—more important than ours. But it's still a war…a battle."
Snape wasn't even looking at him when he finished what could be known as his longest and never heard again speech. Sighing, he turned back around and made to leave.
"Why then do we have a war…if we can never truly win?" Snape asked, his tone indifferent, and his lips set.
"For the battles of course," said Fred with a shrug. "Battles mean everything…no matter how they're played." With that Fred left without a thought and instead of returning to the hidden potions lab, he turned and went back to Gryffindor Tower.
He needed to be around people now. Snape was just too hard to be around for long bouts of time. He just seemed to always make you feel…so different.
Shaking his head, he trooped throughout the school in silence. Listening for any of his and his brother's pranks that might be played.
The next night Fred went down there with his brother, to work on the potion. It wasn't nearly as funny as he had thought it would be, and he hadn't even mentioned what happened to his brother. Maybe with George's help, they could come up with something better, more creative, ingenious.
"I'll get the things," George smirked eagerly, the same glint he always carried in his eye with making a new potion, appearing. Fred nodded, carrying his own glint, and he walked over to the cabinet.
Opening it, he was startled to find it restocked. Full of ingredients that he had never dreamt to lie hands on. Ingredients from Professor Snape's own stock, things that not even Hermione knew existed.
Startled, he picked through the cabinet when George saddled up the cauldron. Then he spotted a note, small, scribbled, and tucked beneath an ingredient bottle. Gingerly, he picked it up and looked at it, an odd smile forming his mouth.
"What's up with you?"? George asked, walking of. "Bloody hell," he gaped openly at the ingredients. "How—how—" he looked at his brother, obviously stunned.
"I have quite the tale to tell," Fred informed and George nodded his head in a way that 'obviously'. "Let's do it over our inventions though." Nodding, the twins turned and went to their inventions.
For a brief second, Fred glanced at the note, and then placed it into his pocket before turning to tell the tale of last night.
In his pocket, there rested a note that would somehow change everything they had ever known. A few simple words written that only Fred understood—
For the battles.----S.S.
Katie and Katie please read this!
Author's note: Right…Snape's still in it, just not Harry. Sorry for all those who love the two, but I just needed to bring Snape's life to another person. Fred is another great character.
Now this is for all those who talk to me of AIM. Such as Katie and Kalba. I don't get on that screen name anymore, so e-mail me at please!!!!!!!!!! If you read this. Anyone else who wants to can too if they want to.