A Lost Friend
By: USA Tiger
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling, Pokémon to WB and Nintendo, and Ranma 1/2 to Rumiko Takahashi.
Author note: This chapter is betaed by Asilyessam.
"Miss Granger, please stay behind," Professor McGonagall said a couple of days later.
"Yes Professor," Hermione said softly her head bowed. Ron looked confused as to why the professor had kept Hermione behind or as to why Hermione looked sad.
"Come on Ron," Harry said as he grabbed Ron's arm and pulled his taller friend toward the door. "She'll catch up later."
"Harry, has Hermione been acting strange to you lately?" Hermione heard Ron ask before the door shut behind her friends. She continued to look down at the top of the student table in front of her as McGonagall came to stand in front of her.
"Miss Granger, Mr. Potter came to me yesterday with quite a tale," The Deputy Headmistress said. Hermione didn't lift her head or say anything, her long curly hair hiding her face. "He said you used a spell on Mr. McLaggen during the Quidditch tryouts causing him to miss a shot thus ensuring Mr. Weasley was given the Keeper position. Is this true?"
"Yes Professor," Hermione said softly. McGonagall sighed softly as she sat down beside the girl.
"I am disappointed in you Miss Granger," She said, watching as Hermione seemed to hunch in on herself a little at the words. "What in the name of Merlin processed you to do this?"
"Harry didn't tell you?" Hermione asked as she finally looked up at her favorite professor.
"Mr. Potter told me of what you did but not the reason. He said you should be the one to explain your reason," McGonagall told her. Hermione hung her head again as she told the older woman why she had enchanted McLaggen to miss the last shot, of how he had been flirting with her passively and what he said about Ron and Ginny. Listening to herself, Hermione mentally cringed as she fully realized how foolish she sounded. As she finished McGonagall sighed and stood up, pacing in front of one of her most promising lions. "You realize how foolish you have been over this don't you?"
"Yes Professor," Hermione said. "I shouldn't have let McLaggen's words or actions get to me. And I broke the trust Ron and Harry had in me, making them both seem like cheaters."
"I believe you truly are sorry for what you did but I still must punish you Miss Granger," McGonagall said. Hermione sighed as she looked up and nodded her head.
"I'll fully accept any punishment you assign me," she said.
"Very well, as of now, your Prefect status is suspended until I feel you can be trusted with the position again. 50 points will be taken from Gryffindor, and you will also serve detention for the next two weeks, either with me or one of the other professors," McGonagall said. Hermione paled slightly, she had worked very hard to be a good Prefect but knew it could be worse; her position could have been taken away all together. The Professor could have taken a lot more points as well, Hermione counted herself lucky it was only 50. "And you will apologize to Mr.'s Potter, Weasley and McLaggen in front of the Gryffindor house."
"Yes Professor," Hermione said accepting the punishment.
"Alright Miss Granger, I think that will be all. I will see you tonight for your first detention," McGonagall said. "When you see Mr. Weasley, please tell him I would like to speak to him."
"Yes Professor," Hermione said as she stood and gathered her school bag then left the classroom.
"There you are Hermione," Ron said, he and Harry had been waiting down the hallway for her. "Hey… what happen to your Prefect badge?" Hermione looked down at the front of her school robes where her Prefect badge was pinned, the badge now had a diagonal black line over the stylized 'P'.
"I've been suspended from being a Prefect," Hermione said after taking a deep breath.
"Why?" Ron asked startled, he didn't ever think he would hear something like that from Hermione. Hermione shook her head and unpinned her badge, placing it carefully in her school bag.
"Not now Ron, the Professor told me she wants to speak to you," She said.
"Why, am I in trouble?" Ron asked then paled. "Merlin, I'm not being suspended too am I? Mum will kill me."
"Just go see Professor McGonagall," Hermione said. Ron gulped and headed to the Transfiguration classroom. Hermione and Harry stood in the hallway for a few seconds more before Harry pulled his bag higher up onto his shoulder and turned away. "W-where are you going?"
"To see Snuffles," Harry said. "Alone," he added over his shoulder before heading around the corner. Hermione sighed, her shoulders slumping slightly then headed down the other way toward the library, figuring she might as well start on her homework.
"Luck," Harry said to the painting guarding Sirius and Hedwig's rooms. The luck dragon laughed and winked at Harry before swinging open making a small smile appear on Harry's lips, sometimes the ever cheerful Falkor could put a smile on his face.
"Hey there Pup," Sirius said from the table in the middle of the room. Harry walked over then burst into laughter when he saw Sirius and Hedwig. Both wizard and owl-turned-witch were splattered in ink, a stained quill in one of Hedwig's hands as she shakily attempted to write out the letters of the alphabet on a scrape piece of parchment.
"Merlin, what happen here?" He asked with a grin.
"We got really, really bored," Sirius said with a laugh of his own as he leaned back in his seat. "Hedwig decided she wanted to learn how to read and write. Sometimes your owl scares me Harry, she's scary smart."
"Well she's not really my 'owl' anymore Paddy, she's stuck in that form for now on," Harry reminded Sirius as he put his school bag down and sat. Dobby popped into the room, happily greeting his favorite human then snapped his fingers making a tray of gingersnaps and a pitcher of pumpkin juice appear before popping back out. Hedwig paid no attention to any of them, the tip of her tongue sticking out as she continued to practice.
"Still, for someone who was an owl her whole life, she picks up on things quick," Sirius said. "She keeps going like this you'll never be able to tell she wasn't always a human."
"I always told you Hed was bloody smart," Harry said. Hedwig finally looked up at those words, gave her chick a smile then turned back to her letters.
"Yeah yeah you did," Sirius agreed with a bark-like laughter and a wide grin before it turned serious and he leaned forward, his arms resting on the table. "I spoke to Dumbledore the other night after you and the others left." The grin was quickly wiped off Harry's face and he leaned forward as well.
"What did he say? Malfoy obviously didn't get into any trouble since he's still allowed to walk around the school," Harry said.
"That bloody old coot said he wasn't going to do anything with Malfoy," Sirius said. Harry frowned and shook his head.
"But why?" The teen asked.
"He thinks the little shit can be saved," Sirius said with a sigh as he ran a hand through his hair. "Voldemort gave Malfoy Jr. a mission to kill Dumbledore."
"What?! And the Headmaster is letting him stay?" Harry exclaimed startling Hedwig who jerked and ended up splattering more ink on herself and the table.
"Believe me, I asked the same thing," Sirius said with disgust. "And so did Cologne. But Dumbledore thinks Malfoy won't be able to go through with it and is hoping to offer him a chance to come over to our side I think."
"He hurt Katie," Harry said with a scowl of anger.
"I know Pup, even Snape tried to hell Dumbledore not to underestimate him," Sirius said then sighed. "That's another thing, Snape. Dumbledore is dying Harry." Harry felt a jolt of shock and disbelief run through him.
"Dying?" he repeated. "As in… 'dying' dying?" Sirius let out a short sigh and nodded.
"I know, hard to believe right? Albus is one of those people who you think would be around forever, even if he's getting up there," the man said. "He was cursed Harry, you've seen his hand." Harry nodded, pushing his glasses up on his nose.
"Yeah but he doesn't say anything about it," He said.
"He was cursed with a 'Withering Curse', I don't know where from," Sirius explained. "If Snape hadn't slowed the spell down, the Headmaster would have been long dead by now. But Snape wasn't able to stop the curse, it's still killing him and Albus said he'll be dead by the end of the school year. So he wants to use his death since he's going to die anyway as a way to cement Snape's place as a spy."
"How?" Harry asked. Sirius sighed and rubbed his scruffy chin knowing Harry wasn't to be happy with the news, hell he wasn't happy about it.
"Snape is going to kill him," he said. Harry's green eyes widen and he opened his mouth to say something then quieted when Sirius held up his hand and shook his head. "I know Pup, I wasn't happy about it either but seems Snape doesn't have a choice in the matter. Cissy came to Snape after Voldy gave her son his mission, hoping he could help Malfoy. Bella was with her so the best Snape could do was promise to complete Malfoy's task if he's unable, Bella made him make an Unbreakable Vow."
"So if Malfoy doesn't kill the Headmaster, Snape will have to," Harry said. Sirius nodded and sighed.
"That about sums it up," he said. Harry became quiet, thinking as he watched Hedwig practice writing, letting the sound of the quill scratching on parchment fill the air. He absently thought he should get his former owl a pencil and notebook paper to practice on instead, it was less messy that way.
"What does the Order think about that?" Harry asked at last. Sirius let out a frustrated huffing breath as he slouched down in his seat and crossed his arms over his chest.
"They don't know," He informed his godson. "And Dumbledore had no intention of informing anyone. He thinks the less people that know about this plan, the less chance of Snape's position of spying being compromised. He wouldn't have told me or Cologne if we hadn't have pushed him."
"That's… really stupid," Harry said. "How was he supposed to hand over anything he found if everyone in the Order thinks he turned on the headmaster?"
"We asked him the same thing," Sirius said. "I don't know what he had planed but now… now he wants me to be Snape's contact in the Order." The scowl of anger on Sirius's face was enough to tell Harry what he thought about that. "And I agreed to it, in the end and so did he." Harry did not see that ending well, Sirius and Snape hated each other. But the talk about Snape reminded Harry of something he had meant to ask Sirius before the whole incident with Malfoy and Katie happened.
"Siri, yesterday I went to that stupid Slug Club party that Slughorn was throwing and he said Mum and Snape were friends?" The question in his voice was clear and Sirius blew out another breath.
"Yeah, they were at one time," he confirmed. "I think they grew up in the same neighborhood or something. They tried to keep up their friendship while at Hogwarts, but they had problems. One was from Lily being a Gryffindor and Snape a slimy snake. Snape was also hanging around people that became Death Eaters like Bella, the Carrows and such."
"So what happened?" Harry asked.
"Remember that memory you questioned me about? The one you saw us bullying Snape?" Sirius asked. When Harry nodded he continued. "Well after Snape called Lily the 'M' word, she cut him out of her life for good. They were already having problems with their friendship before that but calling Lils that vile word was the last straw." Harry thought back on the memory he had seen in Snape's Pensive the year before, the Muraduers coming up to Snape after exams and using a spell that strung Snape up in the air by his ankle. His mother Lily had made her father James let Snape down and Snape had called his mother a 'Mudblood'. Then remembering the spell from the memory, Harry suddenly realized that it was the same spell that Ron had used on him by accident after reading in the potions book.
"Sirius, who's the 'Half-blood Prince'?" Harry asked his godfather. Ron had said 'Prince' was an old dark pureblood family name and Sirius, who was from a dark pureblood family himself, might know. Sirius blink in surprise and sat up in his chair.
"Where did you hear that name?" He asked.
"At the start of the school year, Ron didn't have a potions text book, he didn't buy one since he didn't think he would be in the class," Harry explained. "Cologne told him he could use one of the old text books left behind. The one Ron got had 'Property of the Half-blood Prince' written in the front." Sirius blink then started to chuckle softly then laughed as he ran a hand through his black hair.
"The only person that can be is Snape," He said at last.
"Snape?" Harry asked but somehow just wasn't surprised, the hand writing had looked familiar but Harry could never place it.
"Yeah, Snape's a half blood, his mother was a Prince but she married a muggle," Sirius explained. "It was quite a scandal and my dear old Mum and her 'friends' loved to gossip about it. And loved to put me down about how a 'filthy little half blood' was better at dark spells that I was." He rolled his eyes in remembrance.
"…. Where did Dad learn that spell that he used on Snape in the memory? Ron found it in Snape's old book and used it on me by accident," Harry asked.
"Prongs learned it from Snape," Sirius said. At the confused disbelieving look on Harry's face Sirius chuckled. "James and me caught Snape using the spell on a first year Hufflepuff. James always was good at picking up spells and he figured it out pretty quickly. One of the reasons he went looking for Snape after the exams was to get back at him for picking on the firsty. We might have pranked Snape a lot pup but he gave back as good as he got, he was no innocent little lamb. Harry, I want you and Ron to be careful with that book. In fact maybe suggest to Ron he find another one, that greasy git is smart, not only with potions but with spells. That spell was one he invented and I can assure you he invented a lot more than that one. A lot more dangerous ones. You should never attempt a spell you find in a book if you don't know what it does."
"What about the altered potions recipes? Snape wrote a lot of good ones down," Harry said. Sirius shrugged his shoulders.
"Copy them if you want but I bet your Mum has the same ones in her books, her and Snape were the best in our class," He said. "Maybe even the best in the school. She could have taken her masters in both potions and charms if she wanted to, if it hadn't been for the war."
"Alright, I'll talk to Ron about it," Harry said then turned to Hedwig to help her with her writing. As he helped her Harry made a mental note to see if he could get her that lined paper and pencils, at least those were less messy.
The first thing Harry saw when he returned to the Gryffindor common room was Ron sitting in one of the stuffed arm chairs his arms crossed over his chest and ears as nearly red as his hair glaring in the direction of Hermione on the other side of the room who sat in another chair looking miserable as she looked down at the book in her lap. Harry didn't think she was really reading it or really saw it. He sighed softly to himself, he hated it when the three of them were fighting but Hermione crossed a line when she made McLaggen miss that shot.
As he crossed the common room Harry heard the whispers from his house mates, already the word had spread on what had happen.
"So how bad is it?" Harry asked as he sat down next to Ryoga on the couch, putting his school bag on the table in front of it.
"Well Ron screamed and yelled at Hermione in front of the whole common room," Ryoga said, grinning to himself as Harry leaned back against him and he wrapped an arm around the smaller boy. "I think Ranma is more disappointed than anything, he was holding Hermione's secret over her so she wouldn't be so pushy about his homework."
"Oh poor thing," Harry said dryly with a roll of his eyes making Ryoga chuckle softly. About that time Ron had noticed that Harry and moved over to sit across from the other teen.
"I can't believe Hermione," the red head groused.
"I know Ron, I'm mad at her too," Harry said. "But she's already been punished for cheating." Ron snorted, this was worse than when Hermione went behind Harry's back and told McGonagall about the Firebolt!
"So what are you going to do about the whole thing?" He asked.
"What did the professor say?" Harry asked.
"She said I can't keep the position since I didn't get it fairly," Ron said crossing his arms over his chest and slumping into himself. Harry fought not to roll his eyes again.
"We're just going to hold tryouts again for you and McLaggen and I guess anyone else who wants to try again," he said instead. "All you have to do is try out again."
"But… but what if I don't make it this time?" Ron asked, his hands fisting in his hair.
"Ron, you and McLaggen was very close," Harry assured his friend. "I will choose the best for the team but I think you got a very good chance."
"Maybe we shouldn't let you head the tryouts," McLaggen said as he stood behind the sofa. "Maybe you shouldn't even be team captain if you're going to just let all your friends take up the team spots." Ryoga turned his head and glared at McLaggen, making a small growling sound which had the other teen step back just a bit. Harry sighed and sat up, turning in his seat to face the other.
"I'm the one who told Professor McGonagall as soon as I found out about the incident," Harry said. "I'm running a clean team here McLaggen, you'll get your chance again. It'll be a fair tryout this time."
"Oh yeah? And how do I know that?" McLaggen said crossing his arms over his chest. "I told you at the tryouts that something was wrong and to give me another shot. You didn't seem to want to listen then." The common room had gone quiet, everyone watching the two teens interact.
"Yes you did," Harry agreed. "But at the time I had no idea what had happened. To me it looked like you just missed the shot. If it will make you feel better, I'm sure Professor McGonagall or Madam Hooch will be happy to sit in on the try outs to make sure no one cheats."
"Yeah sure, make it fair for everyone right?" McLaggen looked at Harry as if he thought Harry was still responsible for what happen. Harry shrugged his shoulder.
"Then I'll ask them tomorrow and see what time is good for either of them," he said. McLaggen huffed and turned away walking back to his own group.
"I can't believe he's blaming you for this," Ron said red in the face as he glared at McLaggen's back.
"Why not?" Harry asked. "I always get blamed for everything else that seems to go wrong." Harry was use to being the scapegoat of the wizarding world. Don't get him wrong, he hated that but he was use to it. Then remembering something much more important than Quidditch, Harry leaned forward to speak softly. "I learned who the Half-Blood Prince is." Ron blinked, his anger gone in a flash.
"Really? Who?" He asked, they had been trying to figure this mystery out for a while.
"You're not going to like it," Harry warned. "It's Snape."
"SNAPE!?" Ron yelped then blushed bright red as everyone in the common room became quiet and glanced over at them, even Hermione looked up in surprise. He hunched down on himself and gave a nervous, embarrassed laugh until everyone turned back away. "What do you mean it's Snape? How did you even find out?" He asked in a hissed whisper.
"I asked Snuffles, he's a pureblood too I thought he might have heard of the name," Harry explained. "He said it could only be Snape, he's a half blood and his mother was a Prince."
"Well I guess that explains why those potions recipes were so good," Ryoga mused. "Slughorn said that him and your Mom were really good at that." Ron groaned and rubbed his face.
"I can't believe I'm using that greasy git's potions book," he said, voice muffled behind his hands.
"Snuffles also warned me about being careful about the spells in the book, Snape was pretty good at inventing spells and made some pretty dangerous ones," Harry added.
"Great," Ron said as his hands dropped to his lap. "What am I going to do now? These are the best potions grades I've ever had but I don't want to keep using that git's book."
"So why not get another copy of the book and write down the alterations?" Ryoga asked.
"I don't think I'll be able to find one," Ron said with a shake of his head. "When Professor Cologne offered to tutor other students, all the rest of the used books were taken. And I…well I can't afford a new one." The tips of Ron's ears became red as he admitted that. Harry rolled his eyes.
"Oh just switch with me," he said. "The book I bought is brand new and I have all of Mum's alterations in her journals plus Cologne is teaching me her tricks."
"Ummm… are you sure Harry?" Ron asked. While his pride usually kept him from just taking charity…. Well he was trading the book for a new one and it would be nice to have a mostly new book….
"Sure, I won't mind," Harry said with a shrug of his shoulder.
"Thanks mate, I'll go switch them out," Ron said with a grin and hoped up to run upstairs.
"You sure it's safe?" Ryoga asked as Harry settled back against him again.
"I'll just keep Siri's warning in mind and not use any of the spells in the book," Harry said. "Or just get another one next Hogsmeade weekend and put that book up someplace safe." When Ron came back down he had both books and was writing down the alterations a young Snape had made in the book he was getting from Harry. He made sure to avoid all of the spells in the margins.
"E-excuse me," Hermione said from the front of the room. When only a few people turned her way, Hermione cleared her throat and tried again. "Excuse me, if I could have everyone's attention!"
She flushed bright as all eyes were suddenly on her and cleared her throat again.
"I would like to issue a public apology to Harry, Ron and McLaggen," She said hands clasped in front of her. "I'm sure most of you have heard what has happen and have witnessed Ron rightfully tearing into me but for those who don't know…" here Hermione took a deep breath. "I cast a Confundus Charm on McLaggen so he would miss a shot at the try out and assure Ron a place on the Quidditch team. But!" She raised her voice to be heard over the clattering of voice getting everyone's attention again. "But neither Ron nor Harry knew about what I had done or had any part of it. As soon as Harry found out, he is the one to informed the professors about what I had done to correct the mistake. So I would like to apologize to him making so much trouble for him, to Ron for making it seem he cheated when he did not and to McLaggen for messing up his tryouts. And to everyone else for causing trouble and losing 50 points. Thank you, that is all." Hermione quickly walked from the room and headed up the stairs to the 6th year girls' room with a rush of whispers and yells following her.
"I'm still mad at her," Ron said after a few minutes.
"I'm angry as well but we'll have to forgive her at some point," Harry pointed out. "We've all made stupid mistakes the last couple of years, this isn't the worst thing ever. We'll redo the try outs and you'll show everyone you really do deserve a spot on the team." Ron grumbled a bit more but agreed, handing Harry Snape's old potion book when he was done coping Snape's notes.
Snape really was brilliant Harry mused as he laid in his bed flipped thought the potions book and comparing to his mother's note. They had both made a lot of the same alterations, which made sense as they had worked together for many years so they had the same thought process. And the spells… well Harry had no idea what they did as Snape never wrote down just what the spells were for. He also remembered Sirius's warning about not trying them out.
Snape had also written down his own thoughts in the book that Ron had never paid any attention too. Reading some, Harry was amazed how alike they were in some ways. Snape did not have a happy childhood, and if Harry hadn't known that the Half-Blood Prince was Snape, this would have been something he could sympathized with and in a way he still did. But Snape had made his own bed and allowed himself to become a bitter man.
Harry tried to decide what to do with the book. He could keep it of course but his curious nature might lead him to trying out some of the spells at some point. And he also really didn't want to keep the journal/book of his hated professor. So no, he would send out Isamu with an owl order form for a new book.
Then he thought about hiding the book somewhere… but that always lead to the chance of someone finding it. So unless he could find a really good spot, the room of requirements was a possible idea, Harry couldn't leave it laying around.
And then it hit him, what if he just returned the book the Snape? It wasn't as if Snape would learn anything new from the book and it did belong to him. Harry doubted Snape ever intended for the book to end up being used by anyone else with all the notes written inside. He would not, of course, hand the book to Snape personally. Harry could only imagine all the nasty things Snape would say to him if he did, such as blaming Harry for stealing the book when they both knew it wasn't true.
No, Harry would have to return it anonymously. Maybe by school owl. And if Snape lost the book again… well that wouldn't be Harry concern anymore now would it?
Feeling good about his plan, Harry tucked the book into his trunk and climbed back into bed. He cleared his minds and set his shields then fell into a deep sleep with his hand clutched around the snitch charm around his neck.
If there was one thing that was a bane of his existence outside of Potter, the idiot students he had to teach or the Dark Lord, it was grading schoolwork.
Snape sneered as he tried to make head or tails of what he was reading. Really, was it too much to ask for everyone to learn how to write? He finally gave up and wrote a large red 'T' on the front of a scathing note about learning how to write properly. Sighing, Snape let the parchment roll back up and it put it on the done pile then put down his quill rubbing his long potion stained fingers against his forehead.
"I am surrounded by idiots," he murmured to himself with a groan. He had been up half the night for a last minute meeting with the Dark Lord, his arm with the dark mark was still throbbing from the summoning, then spent the other half with Dumbledore telling the old man everything he had learned at the meeting. And despite what people thought of him, Severus really did tell Albus everything he had learned. He had written off the Dark Lord for good after he had killed his beloved Lily. Now he was dead set on seeing the monster of a man gone for good.
Then it had been time for breakfast and classes, so all he could do was down a Pepper-Up potion and go through the motions. Then it was on to grading. Oh how he wished he could set the whole pile of papers on fire and be done with it. At least he didn't have to tutor the Saotome boy anymore, Snape shivered as he remembered the dangerous cat-like girl attacking him and the pain that came from it.
Taping at his office window caught his attention. Turning to look, he saw one of the school's tawny owls at it with a parcel held in its feet. Sighing but welcoming the distraction none the less, Snape stood and walked over to the window to open it. The owl flew in and dropped the package on the desk then flew right back out again. Raising an eyebrow as he closed the window back, Snape studied the package.
It was roughly book shaped, not that it put his mind at ease. Books could be very dangerous after all. Sliding his wand from the holster on his arm, Snape cast every detection spell he knew and even some he came up with himself. When all the spells came back negative Snape finally banished the brown paper the book was wrapped in.
It looked…. Like a school book. There was something familiar about it and when Snape picked it up he saw it was a sixth year potions book. His mouth suddenly dry, he slowly opened the book and looked at the inside of the front cover.
Property of the Half-Blood Prince
It was his potions book. He recognized his hand writing, which wasn't as refined as it was now. His legs suddenly feeling very shaky, Severus all but collapsed into his desk chair. He hadn't seen this book since his seventh year at Hogwarts, somebody in his house had thought it would be funny to hide all of his books around the school, he assumed it had been one of the younger years. He had found all of his books except this one. Not even the years that he had been a teacher had he been able to find this book, he had always assumed it was lost forever.
Who had found the book? And how had they known it belonged to him? Only the darkest Pureblood families had known he was a descendant of the Prince family through his mother. Snape checked for a note but couldn't find one, he had no clue as to who had found and sent the book. Unless they used one of the spells he had created and had written in the book, Severus had no way of knowing.
He did for a moment entertain the idea that Potter was the one who had found the book…. But just as quickly discarded the idea, that idiot boy would have no way of knowing the book belonged to him nor would he have returned the book if he had known. Plus he had seen the potions book Potter carried around, while it was the same book it was a brand new copy.
For now, Snape would just put the book away where no students could find it. He had a pretty dangerous spells inside and the last thing he needed were dunderheads casting spells they knew nothing about.
As he stood to go put his old potions book away, a knock at the door caught his attention. Frowning, Snape cast Tempus to check the time then sighed. Placing the book on his book shelves, but not noticing that it was slightly sticking out, he walked over to the door and opened it.
"You are late," He said looking down his hooked nose at Malfoy.
"I don't understand why I'm even here," the blond said with a small scowl of his own.
"Do not play daft with me Draco," Snape said as he stood aside for the younger man to enter then shut the door, the privacy wards snapping up as soon as it was shut. "You little activity with the Bell girl? Does that ring a bell?" Draco rolled his eyes and groaned at the pun that Snape may or may not have intentionally made and all but threw himself into the chair in front of Snape's desk.
"They have no way to connect me to that," He said. "After all… I was in detention with McGonagall." He smirked a little as he said this but it didn't reach his gray eyes and lacked the cockiness that had been there the previous years. Severus looked at the teen as he sat down in his own seat, Draco looked horrible. The boy's face was drawn and pale, dark circles under Draco's eyes and even his hair was lax and lacked the shine it always had. Draco was also thinner than he had been in the past, his clothing starting to hang off his bony frame. The pressure of both of Draco's missions from Voldemort was weighing down on him.
"I wouldn't be so sure of that," Snape said. "You were seen by several people at Three Brooksticks but only a few were able to connect you to the attack." Draco frowned a bit then scowled.
"Potter," he spat in anger. "Always sticking his nose where it doesn't belong. He's watching me you know, I can always feel those eyes on me. I swear since the first day back here he's spying on me."
"Have you caught him doing this?" Snape asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Well… no," Draco admitted. "But he must be hiding under that cloak of his. At least I think so…" he leaned forward and cradled his head in his hands, the fingers intertwining with his hair. "I thought he was spying on me on the train… I swore there was some else in the compartment with me when we were leaving… but I couldn't find him. But I know it was him."
"I believe this mission is starting to get to you Mr. Malfoy," Severus said. "You look horrible and it's easy to see that the stress is starting to eat at you."
"I'm fine," Draco said softly. "I have to complete my missions."
"You will not be able to if you are too exhausted to-" Snape started to say.
"I said I'm fine!" Draco yelled slamming his hands on the top of the desk. He then recoiled a bit at the glare Snape leveled him with and quickly withdrew his hands.
"You are not fine, Draco," the dark man said. "Keep this up and you will not be able to do as the Dark Lord asks of you. You have until the end of the year and Yule has not even past yet. You have time." Draco snorted and crossed his arms over his chest as he leaned back in his seat. He didn't think it was easy, he was given the impossible task of killing Dumbledore of all people. The Malfoy heir was not stupid, he knew he was being set up to fail, there was no way he would be able to kill the great leader of the Light. The second mission was just as if not more important. Find a way to get that bloody cabinet to work, so far nothing he had tried worked but he had to find a way.
"Do not concern yourself about me Professor, I'll complete the tasks given me," Draco said after a few minutes. Severus frowned and opened his mouth to say something more when frantic knocking at the door interrupted him. With a wave of his wand Snape opened the door and one of his 5th year prefects stumbled in.
"Sir, fight in the common room," the girl said in a breathless tone. "I was sent to fetch you." Snape gave an irritated sigh as he stood.
"We are done for now," he said to Draco then swept out of the room after the girl. Draco let out a sigh of relief as he was alone and let the tension in his shoulders bleed out and reached up to rub his face. While he wouldn't say it to Snape's face, he really was tired. His whole body ached and his head constantly pounded with a stress headache. After a few seconds Draco withdrew his hand and gave the room a tired look.
He had… never been in here by himself before he realized. It was always when Snape was in here, he didn't like people within his space when he couldn't help it. As such Draco had never gotten the chance to really look around at his leisure. He still didn't have much time, Snape would have whatever the fight was resolved soon enough then would likely kick Draco out… if he didn't expect him to already be gone. He gave the room another look over the spotted the book sticking partway off the shelf.
Curious, Draco stood and walked over to the bookshelf and removed the book. It was a potions text, a sixth year one just like the one they were using now. Cracking open the front cover, the blond spied the words written inside. Snape, he knew, was a Half-blood from the Prince family… was this his potions book from when he was in school? His curiosity piped even further, Draco started flipping through the pages and saw altered potion recipes and the spells.
Draco's father always said Snape was brilliant…. Even more so than most Pure Bloods. He had mentioned a time or two that the potions master had invented spells as well, powerful spells.
Before he could change his mind, Draco slid the book into his pocket and walked out of the office, closing the door behind him and walking down the hall quickly with his new prize.
When Severus returned to his office, he had forgotten all about the book.
Harry leaned against the low stone wall and watched as Cologne sparred against Shampoo. Harry liked watching his new friends fight, it was fascinating to see Ranma, Ryoga, and Shampoo, and of course Cologne, move. They moved so quickly and were so powerful. Harry had even taken to trying to use some of the same moves and techniques in his Machop form. Ryoga's style, he found, was best suited for his Machop form.
Harry wasn't the only one who enjoyed watching the spars, many of his fellow Hogwarts students would come out to watch. When it was Shampoo it was mostly the male half of the population, with Ryoga it was female. It was half and half with Ranma depending on what form he was in at the time. Most of the students were Muggle-borns as well, he could hear some of them now comparing Shampoo to muggle action movie actors like Jackie Chan or Jet Li or even Chuck Norris…. Harry would admit he had no real idea who these people were as he wasn't well versed in muggle movies thanks to his up brining.
Then there were the Purebloods, they seem pretty split on what to think of all of it. Those from outside of Great Britain, few that they were, didn't find the three Asian teens' martial arts all that strange. Harry had even heard Cho Chang and Su Li from Ravenclaw discuss relatives of theirs from China who practice martial arts. On the other hand, the local Purebloods…. Well it just depends on who they were.
"It's a disgrace that they even let them practice that muggle fighting here," Malfoy's voice said from the court yard below Harry. Harry rolled his eyes and leaned further over the wall to look down at the blond. He was not at all surprised that Malfoy would voice how much he disliked muggle style fighting. "Of course that muggle loving fool would allow this... this…" Harry watched as Malfoy waved a hand around as if he was searching for a word. "Nonsense to go on," he finally said as if 'nonsense' was the nicest word he could thing to say. "It's useless to even learn and would never beat spells and curses."
What happen next even Harry had a hard time seeing as one second Cologne was fighting against Shampoo and the next she was next to Malfoy.
"OW!" Malfoy was driven to his knees and held his head where Cologne had hit him over the head with her staff.
"Yet for all your talk, you weren't even able to block a love tap," Cologne said tisking in disappointment at Malfoy. Harry grinned slightly as Cologne brought Malfoy down a few notches.
"That… you caught me by surprise that's all," Malfoy growl as he quickly jumped to his feel only to be knocked onto his back as Cologne swept his feet out from under him then quickly, almost too fast for the human eye follow, pressed a couple of spots on the blond's chest. Malfoy's gray eyes widen as he found himself unable to move. "Wha-what did you do to me?"
"I only used a couple of pressure points, you will be able to move again soon," Cologne said. Sure enough Draco soon found himself being able to move. The blond Pureblood scrambled to his feet and pointed at the shrunken old woman.
"How dare you?! When my fa-" Draco's mouth snapped shut as he remembered that Lucius was not about to do anything from Azkaban. "Muggle tricks, you would still loose in a real duel."
"20 points from Slytherin," Cologne said. "Keep it up boy and I'll make it 30 more and put you in detention with either myself or Filch." Malfoy's face redden in anger and embarrassment but he turned on his heel and stalked away out of the courtyard. Harry grinned and chuckled softly to himself, that was almost as good as the time Hermione socked Malfoy across the jaw in their third year or the time Harry had tossed mud balls at Malfoy, Goyle and Crabb while under his cloak (also third year) or when the fake Moody had turned Malfoy into a ferret in his fourth year.
Cologne's eyes narrowed as she looked around the courtyard as the students whispered, many of the Pureblood children agreeing with Malfoy. The gears in her head started turning as she turned back to Shampoo and barked instructions at her Great Granddaughter in Chinese.
"A demonstration?" McGonagall asked at the weekly teachers' meeting. "A demonstration of what?"
"Many of the students here in the school, those of Pureblood families mostly, believes that martial arts are useless in the face of magic," Cologne said. "They need to get over this silly notion of theirs that magic is the answer to everything. The non-magical in the world could easily wipe the floor with them if their wands were taken away. And even if they did manage to keep a hold of their wands, there are still ways that those you call muggles could win. The various schools of martial arts are just one example."
"So what do you purpose my dear?" Dumbledore asked curiously.
"I would, as I said, like to set up a demonstration. If someone would agree to go up against me in a magic versus martial arts duel, I can easily show how I can easily defend myself against magic if not win," Cologne explained. "It all depends on how good my partner in the demonstration is."
"I think it's a wonderful idea," Flitwick said with a clap of his hands. "And I volunteer to be your opponent."
"I don't understand, just what will this accomplish?" Sprout asked confused.
"I've dueled many witched and wizards from China and Japan and even some from the United States," Flitwick explained. "Many used some form of hand to hand combat during my time on the dueling circuit. I quite enjoyed my battles against them, always kept me on my toes. I look forward to fighting someone whom only uses martial arts."
"I am hoping that the students will see that spells aren't the only way to fight and that it's not a sure win," Cologne added to Flitwick's comment. Then under her breath she added, "Though I'm not sure if it will get through their thick skulls."
"I think it will be quite educational," Dumbledore said with a pleased smile. McGonagall shook her head, she didn't see the point in it but knew that now Albus was on board with this insane idea, there would be no stopping it. Cologne looked pleased as did Flitwick, both were looking forward to the upcoming duel!