Author's Note: I'm so sorry I took so long to update. Real Life interfered.

I did have a few questions from gilgamesh987 that I wanted to address. No, Sneak does not know that Grim isn't a real dog, and there is a good reason for that. Crookshanks can tell the difference, but he is part-Kneazle, and apparently Kneazles are some pretty intelligent felines. Sneak is just your average garden snake, and there's really nothing special about him except for the fact that Harry can understand what he says. Although Sneak does know there's something fishy about Grim, which we'll start to see gradually. And about Blaise's parents . . . all will be revealed! Be patient!

This chapter is dedicated to Jim Red Hawk, who sent me the most awesome PM ever! Sorry for making you wait so long, Jim.

I recently received a review from someone who insisted that Blaise was, obviously, a boy in canon. Sorry, honey, this is fanfiction, and the series was started before people realized Blaise was a boy. Blaise will remain a girl in this story.


The Orphan: Book III
Chapter Four: Practical Use of a Time-Turner
August 5, 2009


"Zabini, get it through your thick skull—none of us want that mangy mutt running loose around the dormitory when we're sleeping. Last night, he ripped my extremely expensive Griffin feather pillow. I don't even want to look at him," Pansy sneered.

"Why?" Blaise retorted. "Because he reminds you too much of looking in the mirror? Oh, wait, I forgot, you look more like a pug."

Pansy glared intensely at Blaise, and Blaise heard quiet giggles coming from the beds of Tracey Davis and Daphne Greengrass. Bulstrode just grunted. Eugh.

"Just put the mutt in the bathroom, Zabini."

Blaise rolled her eyes, but, nonetheless, pulled Grim to the door where the third-year girls' lavatory was and pushed him inside. Just as she was closing the door, Grim whimpered and let out a bark.

"I know, Grim. I hate humans, too."

Blaise could've sworn she heard Grim snicker as she plopped down on her bed and fell into a restless sleep.

"Take care of her for me, Cissa," Celaeno whispered to her sister, taking the baby from the bassinet and handing her to Narcissa. Blaise was still sound asleep.

"I give you my word, Aen."

Narcissa turned to leave, and dumped a pinch of Floo powder in the fireplace, intent on leaving. The flames turned green, but just as Narcissa was about to step in, they turned a deep shade of purple, signifying that the fireplace had been blocked.

Celaeno paled. "He knows."

A loud crash was heard downstairs, and then the horrifying sound of thudding footsteps as they moved up the stairs, closer and closer to Celaeno's wing of the house.

"Hide, Narcissa, hide!"

Narcissa was pushed into the closet at the last minute, and the door opened just as Celaeno turned to face it. The open door revealed a tall, dark-haired man. His hair swept slightly past his shoulders in soft curls, and was pulled back by a ribbon. But what caught Blaise's attention the most was his intense blue eyes—just like hers.

Her father.

He had a tall, imposing figure, much taller than that of her petite mother, who was cowering in his presence. Even so, there was a determined set to her shoulders; this was a woman who wasn't about to give in.

The man strode forward, his black robes billowing behind him, until he was standing directly in front of Celaeno.

"Where is she?" he murmured in a voice like deep velvet. "Where is Blaise?"

Celaeno craned her neck to look directly into her husband's eyes. "So that's it, then? You'll kill your own daughter, just because your master told you to? You're not the same man I married, Nathan. What happened?"

"The Dark Lord showed me the wrong in my ways, and if he wants Blaise dead, Blaise will die. You've heard the prophesy, you know what will happen if we allow that girl to live!"

"Yes, I have, and I know that there is no way in Hades I will allow you to kill your own daughter. I have hidden her where you will never find her, and I hope you rot in hell," Celaeno whispered directly into her husband's ear.

Nathan let out a scream of rage, pushing Celaeno away from him and withdrawing his wand from his robes in the same instant.

"Y-Y-You can't do this to me. . . . No! You bastard!"

"Avada Kedavra!"

oOoOo

Blaise arrived to breakfast the next morning nearly ten minutes later than she normally arrived only to see Harry already sitting at the table, an empty seat beside him reserved just for her. Blaise sat down wearily, and was instantly aware of Harry's and Theo's eyes on her.

"What?" she snapped grouchily.

"Blaise. . . ." Harry began hesitantly.

"You look like shit," Theo finished.

Harry turned to glare at him, and opened his mouth to tell him off, but Blaise cut him off.

"It's okay, Harry. It's true."

And it was true. Blaise's hair had been thrown into a messy ponytail, and her robes had wrinkles in them. There were dark circles under her eyes, and if she thought to notice, she would have seen that her tie was on backwards.

"Are you okay? What happened?" Harry asked quietly.

"I'm fine. Nothing happened to me. Just a few nightmares."

Harry could tell that Blaise wasn't up to her usual perky standards—it didn't take a genius to notice. Normally, nightmares didn't make Blaise so . . . haggard. Something was up.

Blaise spooned some porridge into a bowl, adding some sugar, a dab of milk, and a good pile of chopped strawberries before stirring it until it became a pink, lumpy paste. Blaise brought the spoon to her lips and moaned.

"So what's our first class?" Blaise was already feeling better; food usually did that.

"Divination," Harry said as he scooped scrambled eggs and bacon over one half of his toast before folding the toast in half so he could eat it as a sandwich. He took a bite, chewed, and swallowed before adding, "Here's your schedule. Snape gave it to me before sneering, 'Miss Zabini is never prompt for anything, not even her beloved breakfast.' Hmph."

"Thanks."

Ugh. Classes that day did not look good.

Divination with Professor Trelawney in the North Tower followed by Potions, and then after lunch they had a double period of Charms. Then Blaise noticed something sad.

"Oh, great, we don't have Defense until Friday! I was looking forward to seeing if Lupin was any good," she said with a frown.

Harry and Theo looked down at their own schedules.

"Damn," Harry cursed. "I was actually looking forward to Defense. . . ."

Theo frowned. "As was I."

Harry finished his breakfast toast sandwich and went to stand up. "I have to go. I left my books in the dungeons. See you guys in Divination!"

Harry practically ran from the Great Hall and sprinted to the dungeons. He hadn't been lying—he had left his books in the dungeons; his books for Arithmancy, that is. Running into his dormitory, he grabbed the book and hurried out of the Slytherin common room. He had ten minutes to be on the seventh floor for Arithmancy, and he was sure the professor would be very strict.

Just as Harry was turning onto the corridor where his schedule said the Arithmancy room was located, he bumped into a girl with bushy brown hair and a Gryffindor crest on her robes and smiled slightly while helping her up.

"Hi, Hermione."

"Hey, Harry."

"You're taking Arithmancy, too? Oh, wait, of course you are," said Harry, rolling his eyes slightly in a joking manner.

Hermione grinned, and then gave him a meaningful look. "Yes, I've got it right before Divination."

Ah, so this was going to be her first experience with the Time-Turner, as well.

"I'll go with you to Divination."

"Alright. Sit with me in Arithmancy?"

"Sure."

Harry and Hermione walked swiftly into the classroom with a minute to spare, and Professor Vector raised an eyebrow at their entrance. The two quickly found a seat near the middle of the classroom (all the front seats were taken), and Harry looked at the clock.

9:05.

They got out of class at 10:00. He and Hermione would have to hurry to find an empty classroom, turn the Time-Turner once, and they would have five minutes to get to Divination. It certainly sounded easy, but he doubted it would be.

Professor Vector rapped twice on the board with her wand, and pages and pages of notes appeared on the board as the door snapped shut and locked itself. She turned to look at the class.

"Every day, you will get here early to copy the notes from the board. We will spend the class in discussion about the notes and every day, you will have twenty problems to complete for homework. Now get to work."

Luckily, Harry had been prepared for many notes. He had spent two years at Hogwarts already, and although his fingers had steadily gotten used to using a quill, he had a back-up plan for all eventualities, including notes that had to be written quickly. Setting his Self-Inking quill onto the parchment of his notebook, he pointed his wand at it and incanted, "Imitari scriptum." The quill immediately began to copy the notes on the board, and was finished within minutes. The spell wasn't well-known, or at least not in the Hogwarts Library, so it wasn't often used.

Hermione turned and gave Harry a disapproving look from her seat beside him. Harry simply shrugged. Hermione looked at his notes, which were already halfway completed, and made a face before stealthily taking out her own wand and whispering, "Imitari scriptum," to her quill.

Harry grinned, and she blushed.

As the rest of the class was taking notes, Professor Vector began speaking, "Esoteric arithmancy, also called numerology, is the art and science of understanding the spiritual significance and orderly progression of all manifestation. Every word or name vibrates to a number and every number has its inner meaning. The letter and number code, when rightly understood and applied, brings us into a direct and close relationship with the underlying intelligence of the universe.

"Pythagoras, more commonly remembered for the Pythagorean theorem, was primarily a mystic and philosopher. He believed that "all things are numbers" and that numbers represent spiritual entities whose presence is felt in all existence.

"He discovered the mystical significance of numbers, noting that the numbers one through nine stand, macrocosmically, for universal principles. On the personal level, microcosmically, they stand for characteristics, abilities, and events. Pythagoras believed that everything in the universe was subject to predictable progressive cycles. His means of measuring these cycles were with the numbers one through nine, as every number over nine ultimately reduces to one of these digits. The number ten, for example, reduces when a person adds the numbers one and zero to equal one.

"Today, we will be talking about the properties of the numbers one through nine. The number one represents the male principle, the yang; keywords for one are original, independent, and dominant. Two is the duo; and represents the feminine principle of receptivity, the yin. Three combines the qualities of one and two. Four is stability, firmness and security; five is freedom, change and adventure. Six is conscientious and desires to bring harmony, truth, justice, and a sense of balance into its environment. The number seven seeks answers. Eight is power and responsibility. Nine is selflessness and compassion. The numbers are discussed in greater detail in your textbooks."

Professor Vector went on to explain, "All numbers correspond to a certain letter, one to 'A', two to 'B', and so on and so forth. The entire code is in your textbook and you need to learn it thoroughly. When you know the values, you can reduce any word to number vibration by substituting the letters for their numbers and adding them; if needed, the value can then be reduced.

"For homework, I have given you thirty words that you need to find the number vibration for."

Professor Vector passed out the worksheets and went back to stand at the front of the room. "Well? You are dismissed."

The students quietly packed up their things and exited the classroom. Harry and Hermione waited until the corridor was mostly empty, and then entered the unused room farthest from the classroom. Harry reached into his robes and pulled out the Time-Turner, and then turned to look at Hermione, who wasn't doing the same thing.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" he asked.

Hermione shook her head in slight agitation. "There's no sense in both of us using a separate Time-Turner," she said, grabbing part of the chain around his neck and looping it around hers as well.

Harry shrugged. She had a point.

Taking a deep breath, he twisted the device once and it began to spin; it spun faster and faster until it was barely a blur, and then the world a blur, as well. He could see a few people coming in and out of the room, and then it stopped. Harry removed the chain from Hermione's neck and tucked the Time-Turner back into his robes before checking his watch.

9:00.

They had five minutes to make it to Divination.

Harry and Hermione sprinted down the corridor and down the stairs, each ducking behind a suit of armor when they saw themselves talking to each other as they walked to Arithmancy.

"That was odd," Hermione whispered. Harry couldn't help but to agree.

They walked down the corridor; this was where the Divination classroom was supposed to be, but the hall ended in a dead-end.

Finally, Harry looked up.

And spotted a trapdoor. Pulling the handle, the door fell down and a rope ladder fell down with it. Harry allowed Hermione to go first, and then Harry climbed into the classroom just in time to see that Blaise had saved him a seat while Hermione was already seated next to Weaselbee and Longbottom.

Harry sat down next to Blaise and Theo.

"Hey, Harry, where were you? We didn't think you would make it," Theo said.

"It took a while to make it up here from the dungeons, Theo," Harry said as Blaise looked at him curiously.

"You had another class 'before' this one, didn't you?"

"Arithmancy," he whispered. "It was interesting."

"Hmph, really?" Blaise murmured, raising an eyebrow at her best friend.

"Well, it was interesting for me."

Blaise raised an eyebrow at her friend, who squirmed uneasily. Harry groaned. "Okay, okay, fine. It was also a nightmare. The numbers made my head hurt, and I'm sure it's only going to get worse from here."

"That's what I thought."

Harry opened his mouth to retort but was interrupted by their professor, who still could not be seen but whose soft, misty voice could be heard from the shadows.

"Welcome," it said. "I am Professor Trelawney."

The woman stepped out from the cover of shadows, and Harry was immediately reminded of a large insect. She was very thin, and her large glasses seemed to magnify her eyes to several times their natural size. Chains and beads hung from her neck, and her arms and hands were encrusted with bangles and rings.

Professor Trelawney continued, "It is so nice to see you in the physical world at last. Sit, my children, sit."

They all climbed awkwardly into armchairs or sank onto poufs. Harry, Blaise, and Theo sat around the same round table.

"Welcome to Divination, the most difficult of all magical arts. I must warn you at the outset that it you do not have the Sight, there is very little I will be able to teach you. Books can take you only so far in this field. . . ."

Harry and Blaise tuned out the rest of the professor's speech, and were only brought back to reality when she said loudly, pointing at Neville Longbottom, "You, boy, is your grandmother quite well?"

"I-I think so."

"I wouldn't be so sure if I were you, dear."

Longbottom gulped.

Professor Trelawney continued placidly, "We will be covering the basic methods of Divination this year. The first term will be devoted to tea leaves. Next term we shall progress to palmistry. My dear," she shot suddenly at Blaise, "beware a red-haired man."

Blaise's eyes suspiciously went to Ronald Weasley, who was grinning at her with a hint of malice. Blaise sneered.

"Now, I want you all to divide into pairs. Collect a teacup from the shelf, come to me, and I will fill it. Then sit down and drink, drink only until the dregs remain. Swill these around the cup three times with the left hand, then turn the cup upside down on its saucer, wait for the last of the tea to drain away, then give your cup to your partner to read. You will interpret the patterns using pages five and six of Unfogging the Future. I shall move among you, helping and instructing. Oh, and dear"—she caught Longbottom by the arm as he made to stand up—"after you've broken your fist cup, would you be so kind as to select one of the blue patterned ones? I'm rather attached to the pink."

When Harry and Blaise had had their teacups filled, they went back to their table and tried to drink the scalding tea quickly. They swilled the dregs around as instructed, then drained the cups and swapped over.

"Right," Blaise said. "What can you see in mine?"

"A load of soggy brown stuff?"

"Broaden your minds, my dears, and allow your eyes to see past the mundane!" Professor Trelawney cried.

"Right, well, you've got a—a buoy?"

"What's that?"

Harry glanced at Blaise with a raised eyebrow. "It's a floating device." He continued with his explanation, "It apparently is a symbol of hope, and means you have good friends in all weathers. Aw."

Blaise's cheeks pinked.

"And then you've got a cobra, which is a warning of grave danger. Now that's a strange combination. You're in grave danger, but you have hope and good friends."

"You need your Inner Eye tested, if you ask me."

Harry snorted and shook his head. "What've I got?"

"Well, hmm . . . It looks kinda like an acorn, which means 'A windfall, unexpected gold.' Excellent, we can share! And, uh, this looks like an animal . . . maybe a hippo?"

Professor Trelawney whirled around as Harry chuckled.

"Let me see that, my dear," she said, sweeping over and snatching the cup from Blaise.

Professor Trelawney was staring into the teacup, rotating it counterclockwise.

"The falcon . . . my dear, you have a deadly enemy."

Blaise snorted and said, "Well, duh."

"The club . . . an attack. Dear, dear, this is not a happy cup. . . . The skull . . . danger in your path, my dear. . . ."

"Well, this just gets better and better," Harry mumbled sarcastically.

Professor turned the cup a final time, gasped, and then screamed.

"My dear, you have . . . the Grim."

"The what?"

"The Grim, my dear, the Grim! The giant, spectral dog that haunts churchyards! My dear boy, it is an omen—the worst omen—of death!"

The class was silent, and then Harry decided to add more drama. He gasped. "Oh, no! The horror!"

Blaise giggled, and Theo was gazing at him with his mouth slightly open.

"I think we will leave the lesson here for today," said Professor Trelawney. "Yes . . . please pack away your things. . . . Until we meet again. . . ."

Harry, Blaise, and Theo descended the ladder in silence and made their way to Potions quietly. Finally, Theo spoke.

"How could you react in such a way to being told you're going to die?" he asked Harry.

Harry turned to look at him, slightly surprised. "When you've faced death so many times, being told you're going to die by some barmy lady isn't exactly the most fear inducing experience."

"Right. . . ."

The three of them entered the classroom and took seats at the back on the Slytherin section of the room. This was their second lesson today with the Gryffindors, and the two Houses were still quite decidedly split between the left and right portions of the room.

Professor Snape strode into the room just as the bell rang, as usual.

"Today will be a theoretical lesson, luckily for some of you," the professor drawled, his gaze lingering on Neville Longbottom and Ronald Weasley. The two Gryffindors sighed in relief.

The rest of the class period was spent taking notes on the intricacies of brewing the Hair-Growing Solution, and in the middle of Snape speaking about how the belladonna leaves interacted with the goat's kidney, Harry and Blaise started playing hangman to pass the time.

Just as Harry had Blaise stumped over an eleven-letter word that was, insisted a certain part of your body (the word was "bellybutton"), Snape came by, snatched the parchment from their desk and said some derogatory words in a quiet tone the Gryffindors couldn't hear.

Blaise waited until Snape had walked back to the front of the classroom and restarted his lecture before tearing off another piece of parchment and scribbling a note on it before passing it to Harry.

We need to prank Snape. Ideas?

oOoOo

The prank Harry and Blaise were devising for Snape was still a work-in-progress on Friday of their first week back at Hogwarts. The day for the third year Slytherins' first Defense lesson had finally arrived, and as if that were not bad, it was the last lesson of the day. The third years had heard reluctant praise of Remus Lupin from Slytherins both older and younger and were eager to see for themselves just how good of a teacher Lupin was.

The day passed agonizingly slowly, with Harry slugging through Ancient Runes, Transfiguration, and Charms before lunch with the help of his Time-Turner. Their first lesson after lunch was History of Magic, which the Slytherins eagerly slept through with the help of carbohydrates running through their system. By the time Defense Against the Dark Arts started, the class was wide awake and attentive.

Professor Lupin was already in the classroom when the students arrived, and he waited for everyone to be seated before speaking.

"As you may already know, my name is Professor Lupin, and I am your new Defense instructor. Your previous instructors were decidedly . . . well, horrible, and I intend to rectify that. In the time before the Yuletide holidays this class will be covering Dark creatures, and the remaining part of the year will be spent learning how to conduct defense in a duel, offense if we have the time. Any questions?"

The class was silent.

Lupin smiled slightly. "Good. Today will be a practical lesson. Wands out and books away. Everyone come and stand around me."

The Slytherins did so with minimal fuss, and the Gryffindors with more chaos. When the students had done as they were told, Professor Lupin waved his wand, the desks and their bags cleared away and stacked against the wall.

"Today we will be studying Boggarts. Can anyone tell me what that is?"

Hermione put up her hand.

"It's a shape-shifter," she said. "It can take the shape of whatever it thinks will frighten us most."

"Precisely," said Professor Lupin, who gestured behind him towards the large wardrobe. "I have taken the liberty of temporarily removing this wardrobe from the staffroom for this class. Inside is a boggart. Boggarts like dark, enclosed spaces. Wardrobes, the gab beneath beds, the cupboards under sinks—I've even met one that had lodged itself in a grandfather clock. This one moved in yesterday afternoon, and I asked the headmaster if the staff would leave it to give my third years some practice.

"The boggart sitting in the darkness within has not yet assumed a form. He does not yet know what will frighten the person on the other side of the door. Nobody knows what a boggart looks likes when he is alone, but when I let him out, he will immediately become whatever each of us most fears.

"This means that we have a huge advantage over the boggart before we begin. Have you spotted it, Harry?"

"There are so many of us that it won't know what form to take."

"Correct. It's always best to have company when facing a boggart, as it will become easily confused. Now, the charm that repels a boggart is simple, yet it requires force of mind. You see, the thing that really finishes a boggart is laughter. What you need to do is force it to assume a shape that you find amusing.

"We will practice the charm without wands first. After me, please . . . riddikulus!"

"Riddikulus!" said the class together.

"This class is ridiculous," Draco Malfoy sneered, causing Pansy Parkinson to giggle and simper.

Professor Lupin appeared not to have heard him. "Good. Very good. But that was the easy part. You see, the word alone is not enough. And this is where I need a volunteer . . . Neville?" Professor Lupin beckoned Longbottom forward, and the shaking Gryffindor did so with visible hesitation.

"Right, Neville, first things first: what would you say is the thing that frightens you most in the world?"

Longbottom's lips moved, but no noise came out.

"Didn't catch that, Neville, sorry," said Professor Lupin cheerfully.

Longbottom looked around desperately, as if someone would come to his rescue, and then nervously whispered, "Professor Snape."

Nearly everyone laughed. Even Longbottom grinned. Professor Lupin looked thoughtful, and then leaned forward to whisper in Longbottom's ear.

Longbottom nodded slowly.

"If Neville is successful, the boggart is likely to shift his attention to each of us in turn. I would like all of you to take a moment now to think of the thing that scares you most, and imagine how you might force it to look comical. . . ."

The room went quiet. Harry frowned in thought . . . What scared him most?

His first thought was Lord Voldemort—a Voldemort returned to full strength. But before he started on the seemingly impossible task of trying to make Voldemort funny, his eyes flickered over to Blaise.

Her eyes were closed and glinting wildly around her eyelids as she thought. Her nose was scrunched, and made the small smattering of freckles on her nose look oddly cute. And Harry realized that, no matter how much Voldemort scared him, losing Blaise would hurt so much more.

And if trying to make Voldemort funny was a seemingly impossible task, how was he supposed to do that with facing an image of Blaise's dead body?

"Everyone ready?" asked Lupin.

Harry felt a lurch of fear. He wasn't! But everyone else was nodding and Blaise had a fierce, determined look on her face and a death grip on her wand.

"Neville, we're going to back away. Let you have a clear field, all right? I'll call the next person forward. . . . Everyone back, now, so Neville can get a clear shot—"

"On the count of three, Neville," said Professor Lupin, who was pointing his own wand at the handle of the wardrobe. "One—two—three—now!"

A jet of sparks shot from the end of Professor Lupin's wand and hit the doorknob. The wardrobe burst open. Hook-nosed and menacing, Professor Snape stepped out, his eyes flashing at Neville.

Longbottom backed away, his wand up, mouthing wordlessly. Snape was bearing down upon him, reaching inside his robes.

"R-r-riddikulus!" squeaked Longbottom.

There was a noise like a whip crack. Snape stumbled, and suddenly he was wearing a light pink, professional ballerina's tutu with lace-up pointe ballet slippers and performing a pirouette to Swan Lake.

There was a roar of laughter; the boggart paused, confused, and Professor Lupin shouted, "Lavender Brown! Forward!"

Brown faced down a giant asp, and although she didn't know it, the snake was constantly hissing about how he found her blonde hair blinding and wished she would disappear. Parvati Patil faced down a faceless mummy, and Seamus Finnigan faced a banshee. Pansy ran screaming at the sight of her own deformed face, and Draco, oddly enough, feared the same thing as Weaselbee: a giant spider.

When Blaise was called forward, she strode forward confidently, but when the boggart changed with a crack! and became a mangled, bloody, obviously dead version of Harry, it obviously wasn't what she expected to see.

Blaise, normally so composed, wasn't. She collapsed to the floor, crying and screaming and clawing at Professor Lupin, who came forward and took her away with orders to Neville to finish it off. Lupin deposited Blaise into Harry's arms, and the girl immediately clung to him like a lifeline. Harry rapidly felt his shoulder become wet with her tears, and he could feel the stares of his classmates as Blaise gripped him tightly.

"Shh, Blaise, it's okay," Harry whispered in her ear so that no one could hear him but her. "I'm here, I'm alive."

Blaise's sobs got quieter and she looked up at his face, as if not quite believing him.

Harry continued, "That was my worst fear, too."

"You dead?" questioned Blaise.

"You dead."

"O-oh."

Professor Lupin cleared his throat, and Harry and Blaise straightened, Blaise wiped her cheeks free of tears.

"I'm fine," she said. "I just wasn't expecting—"

"I understand," Professor Lupin interrupted with a kind smile. "That is enough for today, I think. For homework, kindly read the chapter on boggarts and summarize it for me . . . to be handed in next lesson. That will be all."

The class exited the room in silence despite the riveting lesson.

oOoOo

In spite of the downtrodden atmosphere that afternoon before dinner, or perhaps because of it, Harry and Blaise decided to go ahead with their prank for Snape. One could even say that the class with Lupin had inspired them.

But when Snape walked in late for dinner, fuming, wearing a pink ballerina's tutu, lace-up pointe slippers, and doing the occasional twirl (surprisingly gracefully) their forks clattered to the table and their jaws dropped while the rest of the school burst into raucous laughter.

Someone had stolen their idea!

Blaise spluttered. "They—They . . . grr!" The girl stomped her foot on the floor and pouted.

Harry, however, was much more coherent. "Their pranking style is so much like ours. . . ."

The two exchanged a look, frowning. Both were thinking: Is there a copycat?

Although Snape had already been pranked, Harry and Blaise decided to go through with their planned prank anyway; after most people had already gone to bed, with the Invisibility Cloak in hand, they stalked silently out of the Slytherin dormitory and down to the part of the dungeons where Snape's office and connecting rooms were.

The office door opened without hassle, and the two made their way to the back of the room, where an almost hidden door led to Snape's private quarters. This door also opened easily. The man was obviously not expecting any form of attack within Hogwarts. Hmph. Idiot.

Harry and Blaise tiptoed their way towards Snape's bed, a large queen-sized four-poster bed with the curtains open. Snape was sleeping on his back with his hands at his sides; even in sleep he had a deep frown marring his face and looked as if he could take points at any given moment.

In their haste to reach their unfortunate victim, both hurried forward at a slightly quicker pace. Blaise never noticed the standing cauldron bubbling with liquid on a table to her right, and the tip of her elbow caught the cauldron and caused the solution inside to roll forward and onto the floor, splattering and fizzing as the acidic draught ate away at the stone floors of Snape's bedroom. Snape had woken in an instant, and already had his wand out, pointing it in various directions around the room.

Harry had frozen in panic until Blaise leaned in close and whispered hastily, "Time-Turner!"

Harry wasted no time in pulling out the delicate hourglass and wrapping the chain around both of their necks; Blaise took a tight hold of the invisibility cloak, and Harry, in his haste, twisted the hourglass far more times than necessary.

The world moved in backwards motion around the two young Slytherins hidden under the Cloak, and when the world stopped moving there was the sound of running water coming from another door that must have led to the loo.

"What time is it?" Blaise hissed.

Harry looked at his watch; there was no longer any need to squint in dark surroundings as the room was flooded with light from several torches.

"Nearly time for dinner," Harry said, and then he paused. Nearly time for dinner. . . Snape hasn't been pranked yet, and we're in his private quarters. . . .

"Blaise!"—Blaise jumped slightly at the excitement in Harry's voice—"It's before dinner! Snape hasn't been pranked yet. We were the ones who pranked him at dinner!"

Comprehension dawned in Blaise's eyes and her sapphire irises began glittering as a plan formed. "You stand watch at the bathroom door under the cloak and come get me when he gets out. I'll cast the spells." Blaise was already moving to get out from under the cloak.

Harry groaned. "Why do I get look-out duty?"

"Because you're the bloke," she shot back.

That was true.

Harry grumbled to himself as Blaise got out from under the cloak and made her way to the doorway to cast the necessary spells. A few simple transfiguration spells, a spell to make sure the effects only lasted on Snape—she didn't want to curse herself or Harry if they had to walk through the doorway again before the prank took effect—and a charm to make sure the prank lasted for, eh, a couple hours.

Finished, she peeked her head into the door and where she suspected Harry to be. "Harry?"

Harry's disembodied voice floated from somewhere around the bathroom door. "What?"

"Check on Snape."

"What?"

"Just do it!"

"Why?" Harry whined.

"Because you're the bloke!"

That was true. Again.

Harry carefully opened the door and released the breath he hadn't realized he was holding when it cracked noiselessly open. He peeked inside.

And shuddered.

Snape hadn't bothered to close the shower curtain, apparently he had unparalleled privacy. Harry's eyes widened in horror.

So much sallow skin.

So much grease.

Harry squeaked and ran toward Blaise who was standing in the doorway motionless, unaware of the monster inside the bathroom. He grabbed his friend and pulled her out of Snape's rooms, out of his office, and finally into the corridor.

Blaise looked at her friend in confusion as he tried to claw his eyes out.

"What is it, Harry? What's wrong?"

"The grease . . . so much grease. . . ."


Author's Note: And that's it for this chapter! Most of Vector's speech is taken from the introduction in the book Numerology and the Divine Triangle written by Faith Javane and Dusty Bunker. It's a great book if you're interested in just what Arithmancy is, and perfect to use for practical application. The Divination class and part of the Defense class were, for the most part, taken from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Special thanks to Curse of Immortality for his awesome beta work. He hasn't read over the revised chapter, but I was anxious to post since it has been quite a while.

If anyone has prank ideas, feel free to send some.

And review, por favor?