Chapter 5: Ronald's Interference

A few days had gone by after the sorting and, so far, all the classes went by, undisturbed, with the exception of James and Sirius barging in Transfiguration one day, late. But today was not going to be an ordinary day. The sun had disappeared behind a very large, dark gray rain cloud. The air had grown quite cold, unusually cold for September, and raindrops spattered the window noisily in their decent from the sky.

So what was so unusual? Today was the very day that Ronald was to make his first rounds about the school, sitting in on classes, taking notes on teachers and otherwise, being annoyingly nosy and giving out detentions for absurd reasons.

James, Sirius, Remus and Peter were all in the library working on the already growing amounts of homework that had been given out over the course of the week. Well, at least Remus was, and Peter made an attempt to, only to be distracted by Sirius' constant prods in the ribs to give him answers.

"Find it yourself, Sirius," Remus said with an annoyed tone.

"But it's so much easier to ask for the answer, and lay off Remus. I was asking Peter."

"Find it yourself," Peter added with a smile.

James was sitting on the far side of the three, staring off somewhere into space, with an opened book in front of him on the completely wrong page, plus it was upside down.

"Psst.. Oy, James!" Sirius poked the half-awake boy.

No response. Sirius poked harder. Still, no response. Then, he saw what James was concentrating on.

Sitting across the aisle was the beautiful young redhead, Lily Evans, sitting with Scarllette.

Sirius' face took on a sly grin.

"Ah, I see," he whispered into James' ear. Sirius looked down at James' notebook.

Inside were dozens of hearts, encircling the letters J.P. & L.E' spread across the paper. Sirius turned a page and there was a partially written love note.

"Hey, Remus, check this out," he said, picking up the notebook and reading the note aloud. "Lily, your eyes are as green as freshly cut grass, your hair, as fragrant as a dozen roses, your skin, as smooth as silk."

Peter laughed.

Sirius grabbed a quill and sloppily finished the letter.

"I... love... you... Love... James... Potter," he said as he wrote the last words. He scribbled a few more and folded it up as James regained consciousness.

"Oy! What are you doing?" James said, yanking the notebook from Sirius' reach.

"This." He got up and walked over to Lily and handed her the note. "This is from your good buddy, James," he said with a grin as he walked back across the aisle.

"What did you give her?" James demanded to know.

"Ssh!" Madame Pince walked by and whispered harshly.

James nodded and she walked back.

"Your love note," Sirius said, watching Lily unfold the note and read it. He saw her blush and then she turned mad.

She stormed across the aisle with the note in hand. "What is the meaning of this, Potter?" she asked.

"I - it wasn't - Sirius did it!" James sputtered.

Lily stomped off with Scarllette laughing behind her.

"Great. She hates me now. Thank you, Sirius," James said, laying his head down on the upside down book.

"Maybe if you two had just done your work, this wouldn't have happened," Remus suggested.

James shot him a look.

"I was just saying," Remus said. "Sorry."

"Don't be," James said, sighing and pulling his notebook over to him and flipping his book over. "What-" he began.

"295," Remus said.

"Thanks." James looked out of the window. The rain had eased up and was now coming down in tiny raindrops, and the sun had managed to find a hole in the clouds. He sighed and set his quill down on a piece of parchment. He quickly started scribbling down a few words.

It was silent for a while and them Remus looked at his watch and said:

"Great Scott! We have ten minutes to get to Defense Against the Dark Arts!"

The four of them got packed in a hurry and ran out of the library, Madame Pince following them, yelling at them to stop running.

"Hey, I just remembered.." Peter said, as they came to a stop in front of the portrait of the fat lady. "James, you owe Sirius two Sickles and Sirius, you owe James two Sickles."

"What? Why?" Sirius said, panting.

"The other day, you and James made a bet. James bet that you would get detention first. Well you both got a detention when you ran into Ronald, remember?"

"Oh, yeah.." Sirius said, rubbing his nose.

A couple of days before hand, the four was running down the hall to make it in time for Transfiguration when Ronald had opened a door and Sirius ran into it, giving him a bloody nose. Both Sirius and James had received detentions that day, cleaning the trophy room without magic.

"Quit squabbling, give each other two Sickles and give me the password!" cried the fat lady.

"Arachnid," Remus said and they went to their dorms.

James got out two silver Sickles and handed them to Sirius. Sirius handed them back.

"There we go," Sirius said.

They all stumbled down the stairs and through the common room. Several minutes later, they had arrived at the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom door.

Peter pushed it open and they took their usual four seats in the back.

A few minutes later, the professor walked down the steps leading from his office to his classroom.

His disheveled brown graying hair settled down in a heap on his head as he sat down in his chair behind his desk with a thud. He moaned and rubbed his knee. He stroked his goatee with the other hand.

"Did you finish your essays?" he asked in a rough but calm voice. His face crinkled up into a smile, the many wrinkles from his age gaining more along the way. The room was silent. "I'll take that as a yes. Bring them up to me, please."

The room was filled with the sound of chairs scraping the floor, talking and laughter. When the noise stopped, Professor Belby continued on with his lesson.

"Turn to page three hundred fifteen. Now today, we'll be studying the wonderful creature known as the Fwooper." He got up and hobbled over to the chalkboard containing a diagram of the funny looking bird. "Fwoopers are African birds with bright plumage. Popular for their quills because their feathers are so brightly colored. They seem harmless at first, but if exposed to its song for too long, the listener will be driven to insanity." He was cut off by the opening of his classroom door.

"Oh, don't mind me, Professor. Continue."

It was Ronald, doing his first rounds for the day.

Professor Belby nodded as Ronald began talking to one of the Slytherin's in the back.

"Now the Fwooper -"

"Fwoopers?" Ronald interjected.

"Yes, fwoopers," Professor Belby said.

"Shouldn't they be learning about, oh, I don't know.. werewolves?"

"Don't you think that would be a bit too advanced for first years? I mean, being at the beginning of the year and all?" Professor Belby seemed confident in his answer.

"True, but this seems like a very smart crowd."

"Well, I don't think so. Not that I don't think that my students can handle it, but it's not something I teach at the beginning of a year and I have taught many years, I assure you, Mr. Dante, that I know what I am doing." Professor Belby was beginning to get annoyed.

Ronald walked to the front of the class.

"What good is a Defense Against the Dark Arts professor if they don't teach their students defense against the Dark arts? How do you know that your students aren't werewolves?"

"Well then, they wouldn't need defense against themselves now would they?" Professor Belby shot with a smile.

"Just a suggestion," Ronald huffed as he made his way back to the back of the classroom. "Continue."

"Very well. Now the fwooper," he continued, but was cut off again.

"Yes, yes, I think we know what its name is now, but if you don't mind me asking, which I'm sure you don't, do you? Never mind. Where does it hide when it spots a werewolf?" Ronald said, rather sarcastically, sitting with his legs crossed, his hands placed neatly atop his knee.

"It's a bird, sir. It flies," one courageous student said.

"Right, very good, Miss Brighton," Professor Belby smiled.

"I figured that out by that silly little drawing of it, which is quite lovely, by the way. Did you draw it? Never mind, but what if it has a hurt wing and cannot fly? Then what?" Ronald burst out again, switching legs and placing his hands back on his knee.

"You know," whispered Sirius to James, "Ronald kind of reminds me of a fwooper, and his song is driving me to insanity."

James laughed.

"I heard that!" Ronald said, standing up and slamming his fist down on the desk in which he was seated.

Sirius froze to his chair.

"Why don't I give a demonstration on how a werewolf might attack that silly little bird with a broken wing?" Ronald said, glaring at Sirius. He walked over in front of Sirius' desk. He grabbed Sirius' arm and Sirius yelped out in pain. "I look nothing like a bird."

"Could've fooled me, you know, with that nose. Let go of him!" James yelled, standing up.

Ronald's eyes flickered red. He turned his face downward and rubbed his nose. "My nose is fine!" The corner of his eye twitched and he pointed with his free hand toward the chalkboard. "I don't look like that.. that.. THING!" His ears burned with embarrassment from being called a bird. He released his grip on Sirius and took hold of James' and Sirius' ears. "Come! To my office!"

"Don't you think it wise to go to Dumbledore's office?" Professor Belby insisted.

"I don't have to answer to him," he said as he dragged the two boys from behind their desks. "Continue with your lesson." He walked out of the classroom and shut the door behind him. A few seconds later the door opened again and he said, "Oh, and.. don't forget to add werewolves to your lessons." He shut the door once more and disappeared to his office with James and Sirius.

The long walk to Ronald's office seemed to take forever. Down long, endless hallways, and into some of the deepest parts of the old castle. Pathways lit by only a few torches, and some, no torches at all.

At last, they reached his office and he pulled open the heavy wooden door and pushed James and Sirius in.

They fell onto the dirty Persian rug that was placed in front of Ronald's desk which, perched atop it, was a shiny ax.

James flinched.

Sirius was sitting up, holding his knee.

Ronald slowly shut the heavy door behind him. He was hidden by a shadow cast in the near dark room by a large armoire.

The heavy curtains on the windows were covered in dust, the sunlight managing to find its way in through cracks and tears in the curtains, spotting the rug and the desk with fragments of light.

The shelves on the bookcases lining the walls were filled with books on ancient torture devices, famous villains, and the sort. The armoire was filled with jars containing multicolored liquids with eyes, noses, ears, fingers and an array of body parts, some rather large ones at the top containing human heads.

"Like my office?" Ronald said, walking slowly to his desk where he sat down in an old leather armchair. "I find it rather quaint myself."

James stood and said nothing, his eyes darting around to room to try and find a way out.

Sirius drew himself up from the floor and looked at the desk, noticing the ax.

"Sir, I must ask," Sirius said, rather nervously in a high pitched, almost squeaky voice. "Have you ever killed anyone?" He pointed to the ax.

Ronald leaned forward and propped his head up on his desk with his arm. "Yes. Yes, I have." He pointed to the jars. He got up and circled around his desk, taking Sirius up in a one-armed hug and pulling him over to the armoire.

While Ronald was pointing to the many jars and describing all the messy details, James was over at the window.

Outside he could see the lake. The rain had cleared up now, and the sun was out. They were almost at ground level, but it had seemed that they had gone deep under the dungeons.

"That's nice and all.. but, I really don't want to see severed heads right now. I just want to get OUT of here.." Sirius said, pulling himself away from Ronald.

"Sirius," Ronald began, "You remind me of a younger, less good looking me!" Ronald grabbed Sirius, who had tried to dart away and pulled him up into a big hug, almost crushing Sirius.

"Your hurting me!" Sirius yelled. "JAMES!"

Turning around, James ran to Sirius and pulled him away from Ronald.

Ronald backed away and straightened his robe. "Ah, well. You're getting there." He smiled and sat back down at his desk.

"James! I don't want to be like him!" Sirius yelled, grabbing the collar of James' robes and pulling him right to Sirius' face.

"Calm down. I won't let you be like him."

"Good!" Sirius said, and he released his grip.

"In the mean time," James turned to Ronald, "Don't you think you're getting a little.. soft?"

"Soft? Me? Never!" Ronald cleared his throat. "Why don't you run along and play while I talk to Sirius here?" He got up and drug James to the door and opened it, throwing him out, closing the door behind James.

"HEY!" James yelled, banging his fists on the door. "LET ME IN!" he yelled. No answer.

James ran off to Dumbledore's office as quickly as he could.

The gargoyles at the entrance to Dumbledore's office asked for a password, but James didn't know the answer. Just then, Professor McGonagall came around the corner.

"Professor! Professor, I need to speak with Professor Dumbledore!" he said, trying to catch his breath.

"Well, whatever for, dear?" she said.

"It's Sirius."

"Oh, not again."

"No, Ronald has him."

"What? Why?" she asked, a worried look on her face.

"Well, we said some things to him in Defense Against the Dark Arts and now he's got him all along in his office.. with an ax!"

"An ax!" she proclaimed and she stood at the gargoyles and said 'chocolate frogs' to them.

They jumped aside, and the wall opened up. A large spiral staircase was beginning to make its way upward to his office and James jumped on it.

"Thanks, Professor."

"Anytime." She smiled.

"PROFESSOR!" James yelled when he reached the wooden door.

The door slowly opened and Dumbledore appeared behind it.

"Yes?" he said, slowly.

"Sirius! Ronald, in his office.. ax! Heads in jars, killing.. AND HE HUGGED HIM!" James stammered.

"What? Slow down, dear boy. I can't understand a word you're saying."

"Sorry.. Sirius is in Ronald's office. We got in trouble and he brought us there, then he kicked me out and Sirius is in there with him alone. And he's got an AX!"

Dumbledore pondered this for a while and said, "Very well," and followed James to Ronald's office.

Dumbledore knocked very softly three times and it opened slowly, revealing only Ronald's head.

"Ah, Dumbledore. Nice to see you," he smiled.

"DUMBLEDORE!" Sirius yelled from somewhere in the office.

Sirius jumped up and down behind Ronald, trying to force him out of his way so that he could run as fast and as far as he could away from Ronald and his dungeon for an office.

"Can we come in? Or rather.. can you come out?" Dumbledore asked Ronald.

"Sure," he said, and Sirius made a mad dash to the door.

James caught him by the neck of his robes and he stopped.

"Can I help you, Professor?" Ronald asked politely, but with a note of arrogance.

"Yes, I think you can. Could you please tell me why you were holding young Sirius hostage?"

"Hostage? I wasn't holding him hostage. I was simply.." he paused to find the word. "Befriending him."

"Are you sure it wasn't beheading him?" James yelled anxiously.

"I haven't a clue what you're talking about," Ronald claimed.

"You have an ax in there! I knew what you were going to do!" James yelled.

"Settle down, James. An ax? I thought that it was clear that we were to have no weapons be brought in bya student or teacher." Dumbledore was strangely calm through all this.

"It's not a weapon, Professor, it's merely a decoration. Seems to be the theme of my room anyway." Ronald said, looking around at his office.

"Well, they're all right now. Can I be assured that nothing more will become of this?" Dumbledore asked.

"Certainly, but I can assure you that there was nothing to begin with. Only a few smart remarks. That's all." Ronald said, with an evil grin on his face.

"I will leave you to your work now. Boys, I think you ought to return to your classes now. I'll send Professor Belby a note later. Thank you for your time, Ronald."

"No problem, Professor." He walked back in his office and closed the door.

"Go on," Dumbledore said. "I have the strangest taste for some tea right about now. Ah, well. See you two later, then?"

"Yes," James said.

"James! He wants me to be his," he paused to swallow the lump in his throat. "His friend!"

James looked at Sirius oddly and gasped. "Well then, we need to stay far away from him as we possibly can. That means not going out when we don't need to."

"Yeah," Sirius nodded.

They finally reached the classroom, and at that time, the bell rang. They met Remus and Peter at the door.

"What happened?" Remus asked, wanting full details.

"I almost got my head chopped off!" Sirius said, rubbing his neck.

"Come on, let's get to the dorm before he comes looking for us," James said.

"Who?" Peter piped in.

"Ronald," Sirius said.

They all made their way up the staircases to the door, gave the fat lady her password and went up to the dorm where James and Sirius each gave accounts on what happened, Sirius', of course, being far more descriptive and interesting than James'.

"Wow," Peter exclaimed at Sirius ended his story, somehow ending up in the far corner of the room. "I'm glad you're still alive!"

"Yeah me too," he said, rubbing his neck once more. "The thought of him hugging me still sends chills down my spine."

James laughed. "Well, another day, another adventure, eh, guys?"

"Yeah!" they all exclaimed.

"Just.. when are you going to take us on an adventure?" Peter asked.

"Oh, don't worry, Peter," Remus said. "I have a feeling that we're going to be on quite a few adventures with them very soon. As for now, I have to go see Dumbledore." Remus' mood quickly changed and he seemed hurried and distraught.

"Uh.. Ok," Sirius said, and Remus left.

"Wonder what got into him?" James said.

"I don't know, but he was muttering something about moon charts in Defense while you were gone," Peter shrugged.

"Moon charts?" James asked.

"Yeah.. something like that."

"Must be for Astronomy or something," Sirius suggested.

"Yeah," James said. "I'm sure we'll find out later."

Peter and Sirius nodded and they went about their normal, if you can call it that, lifestyle.