Title: The Convict Trio and the Wings of the Heir (11/?)

Name: Voldie For Prez

Email: hsfnww@yahoo.com

Category: Humor

Keywords: Lupin, Snape, Sirius, Merlin, Armani

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: All Four Books, FB

Summary: AU fic. Lupin and Snape get into a fight at lunch. Eventually hauled off to Azkaban, they escape (with Sirius Black in tow) and set off to clear their names. Includes a teacher named Nads, Voldie playing Quidditch, snazzy Armani suits, Merlin's sense of humor, stinkbomb potions, but only a tiny bit of snogging. We're so sorry.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Sonores and Nads are ours.

Author's Note: We'd.. umm.. like to thank JKR, fer making the incredibly diverse world that we mold like putty and make fanfics out of. Lari would like to thank Kels for getting her started in Harry Potter RPing. BTW, we're two people, really. I'm Akane and that's Lari. *points to invisible people* Her AIM is Mwaar Haar and mine is Scary BogMonster. Err.. that's pretty much it. XD Lari would like to say...'MWAAR! Yah, we're crazy.' XD XD

--------------------------------

Working At the Ministry (of Magic)

--------------------------------

Author's Notes: Akane: Mwaar. I never thought we'd get this far, but there's already plans for a sequel. Fear for yer sanity. XD Lari isn't available at the moment... *glares at Lari* but I'll speak for her. Mwaar. Anyway, the next chapter shouldn't take as long coming out as this one did.. *knocks on wood* But que sera, ne? XD Hey. I used three languages in one sentence.

--------------------------------

"I've never seen such a............"

"Gruesome scene, isn't it?"

There was a pause. "...Wizards are capable of such a thing?"

"Aye, there be Dark wizards at work, laddie."

"You don't think it's...You-Know-Who, do you? Are his followers causing another uproar after all this years?" The (unnamed and faceless... cough) Department of Magical Homicide Investigation wizard fidgeted uneasily as he shot the blood-soaked dungeon apartment a nervous look. He looked to be rather worried about the whole ordeal; really, whoever heard of a murder on Hogwarts grounds? And to think, his own sons were attending this school. Good thing Albus Dumbledore had finally returned to keep the students and staff under his watchful eye.

"I wouldn't put that past him," warned Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody. This was the second time during the school year that he made an appearance at Hogwarts. "It's my job to think like Dark wizards...and this is definitely the work of a Death Eater gone loony." A few lingering staff members were grimly offering any useful information to the Magical Law Enforcement Squad, doing their best to ignore the... thing on the floor. Sonores scowled as deeply as she could in order to hide the smirk she'd just been aching to display. On the other hand, Knum grinned openly beside the banshee. As per usual.

Moody frowned suspiciously at Nad. The hell was he so happy about? He swept his magical eye over the Professor, stopping as he gazed at the man's right arm. Was that what he thought it was...? The Auror scowled fiercely and stepped (*CLUNK-step-CLUNK-step-CLUNK-step*) toward the smiling >D.

"Something you want, Alastor?" our beaming professor asked of the single-legged man. Moody's marred face twisted strangely as he regarded Nad with a piercing glare, both magical and normal eyes fixed upon the oddly cheery form.

"...What are you grinning about, laddie?" Alastor growled. He was in no mood to beat around the bush.

"Really! Is it such a crime to try and keep the spirits up with a smile?" Nad proclaimed. "No need to be rude about it." "Keep the spirits up??" Moody snarled in response. "Liar! You may have fooled everyone else in this room, Nad, but you sure as hell won't get past me."

Nad's expression faltered slightly. "Whatever are you talking about, Alastor? Forgive me for asking..." A few Aurors and staff members standing close by were casting the pair wary glances, unsure of what Paranoid Moody was suspecting this time.

Alastor's hand hovered by his wand subconsciously as he continued to glare at the Potions Master before him. "I can see the mark on your arm, Death Eater."

Nad smiled amicably and held up his right arm. "Oh, you mean this?" he asked with the utmost innocence as he pulled his sleeve back to reveal...

An angry, black Dark Mark tattooed into the flesh of his right forearm.

If the bloody room (pardon the pun) was quiet before, it was dead silent now. It was so quiet that not even a flea could hop about unheard. Everyone present slowly turned to gape at Knum in shock and apprehension. Aurors drew their wands, leveling them at the man in question. Moody's look was one of triumph--no one could call him paranoid this time.

Eh. He should have saved it, for what Nad did next certainly dashed Alastor's moment.

He calmly rubbed the Dark Mark and laughed, smearing the 'tattoo' with his thumb. He shrugged off the confused stares he received and motioned to the smeared mark with his now magic marker-covered thumb. "It's just a simple drawing!" The confused, blank stares melted into angry glares. Nad's laugh became a nervous chuckle. "It was only a joke. I thought it would help to brighten the mood up a bit!" The Hogwarts staff sighed in exasperation; they'd never understand Knum's warped sense of humor. The Aurors present, however, were still glaring at the known prankster, obviously unappreciative of his attempts at a good laugh.

Nevertheless, Moody was still unconvinced. He scowled deeply and tried to catch a glimpse at Nad's left arm. Much to the old Auror's dismay and frustration, Knum was doing an excellent job at keeping his limbs in motion--Alastor just couldn't keep up with the younger man's movements.

Meanwhile, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore was speaking to a quite flustered Cornelius Fudge by the large "Severs Snap Wuz H33|2" scrawled upon the once-clean wall.

"Cornelius, I do not believe that Severus was responsible for this," a grave Dumbledore stated slowly and calmly. "He would not be obvious enough to declare his presence in such a way."

"I have no other leads here, Dumbledore!" the Minister of Magic hissed. "It is not possible for us to have four convicts running amock. Three is bad enough!"

"And why does that give you reason to place the blame on Severus?"

"He wrote his name on the wall, Dumbledore." Fudge explained impatiently. "What more evidence do we need?"

"Don't be daft, Cornelius," Dumbledore frowned. The twinkle in his eye had long since dissipated. "Why would the murderer himself write his own name upon the wall? With poor grammar and spelling, I may add..."

"As much as I hate Snape," Moody butted in, keeping his magical eye trained upon the smiling form of Nad, "this just isn't his style. Unless he's completely lost his mind, I don't think it was him."

"Sirius Black, then!" Fudge announced. "Doesn't matter which of the three it was, they're all guilty in the end. Either way, we are stationing Dementors in this school--"

"No," Dumbledore said forcefully, coldly. "Dementors are horrible creatures, Cornelius. I will not have them stationed at this school!"

Fudge shot the Headmaster a glare. "My job is at stake here, Dumbledore. Neither you nor I can afford any more murders to occur here in Hogwarts." With a snort, the Minister of Magic turned away from the elder wizard. "I'll allow them to perform the Kiss. A seek and destroy mission--condemned to a fate worse than death on sight. Save the lot of us the trouble of the legal process and make the Magical Community feel safer."

Needless to say, Albus was not happy. "You are making a mistake, Cornelius. Mark my words, if you condemn an innocent man to the Kiss, you will be considered an untrustworthy Minister of Magic." Fudge did not seem to care about--nor did he believe--Albus' words. He gave Dumbledore a hard look.

"If you do not allow us to send in Dementors, we'll have to forcefully remove you from your position as Headmaster to ensure the safety of the students. Don't make us do that, Dumbledore."

Despite the fact that Dumbledore truly disliked the idea of the emotion-draining Dementors wandering the school grounds, he had no choice but to relent. "Only at the entrances. I will have none of them wandering the castle corridors."

Fudge frowned but nodded at the request. "Done. You've made the right choice, Dumbledore." He turned away from Hogwarts' Headmaster and strode over to the members of the Department of Body Analyzers and Cleaner-Uppers (also known as the Janitorial Department--made specifically for cleaning up bloodstains, body parts, and other dirty work). They were busily placing Gilderoy's mangled head into a small container to be sent to his living family members (a la Peter Pettigrew's finger, anyone?).

"Uh...Sir?" The Still-Unnamed wizard piped up timidly. "My husband/wife works for the Muggle police, and they have this ingenious method of using fingerprints-"

"Muggle method?" Cornelius asked incredulously. "No muggle method could surpass magic, *****(for purposes known only to the author, we have removed the wizard's name.)! Don't be foolish."

The poor, nameless wizard frowned in response, unsure of how to take this. In the end, it was his job at stake... "Yes, Sir." Well, what else could he say?

"Our work here is finished, then," Cornelius declared as he pulled out a portkey (actually a muggle tire, minimized to a size small enough to be carried and then enlarged for use) to use to return to the Ministry building. "I'll send for the Dementors later today, Dumbledore. Expect them no later than the afternoon." He motioned for all those present to touch the portkey. It was time to depart. Nad, cheerful as ever, waved goodbye to the suspicious Mad-Eye Moody, settling his arms down at last.

A mistake.

Alastor's one natural eye widened as he finally caught sight of Knum's left forearm...

Just as the room blurred and the familiar tugging sensation of portkey travel commenced.

"FUDGE!!!" Moody roared as the entire group reappeared by the Ministry building. "THAT IMPOSTER OF A PROFESSOR!!! Nad--he was a bloody Death Eater! The one who murdered Lockhart!!! WE MUST GO BACK!"

The Minister of Magic snorted disbelievingly at the notoriously paranoid Auror. "You're delusional, Moody. We all saw that it was only a temporary tattoo. You must have mistaken the smudged Mark for a real one."

Alastor was outraged. "I saw his other arm, Laddie," he declared angrily. "Don't be a fool! He has a true Mark branded into the flesh o' his arm!"

Cornelius waved the Auror off, disinterested and skeptical. "I don't care to hear of your delusions, Moody," he said. Alastor snarled in response--how could Fudge shrug off such a grave matter?! "You're only being paranoid. Step down. You saw nothing."

Moody stomped his wooden leg into the ground, startling the group with an ear-splitting CLUNK. He was beyond enraged by the Minister's antics. "MARK MY WORDS, FUDGE," Alastor warned with a low growl. "You will regret making the mistake of allowing this Death Eater to walk freely!"

With no further comment, the Auror stalked off as fast as his leg and wooden appendage could carry him, leaving the Minister to shake his head pityingly at the paranoid man's display. "He truly believes he saw the Mark, doesn't he?"

--------------------------------

Alone in the former home of Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore cleaned the rest of the late Gilderoy Lockhart up with a wave of his wand. He walked slowly up to his study and through the brick wall, catching Messrs. Snape, Lupin and Black in a rare moment of non-animosity. They were playing a game of strip poker. And they were doing a miserable job of disrobing each other, seeing as they couldn't take off their Armani suits. As it was, all of them were sockless. But that was it. *whaps slashy people*

Snape scowled and grumbled, eyeing his cards distastefully. "You know, Black, you're even stupider than I thought. How can we play strip poker when we can't take off our clothes?"

"Didn't see you disagreeing, Snape," Black growled, shooting the former Potions Master a glare.

Lupin added in his two Knuts. "You should be thankful, Severus," he said cheerfully. "After all, you've been losing the most."

Snape grumbled more and looked around, obviously looking for something to change the subject. His eyes fell on Dumbledore, who was still standing in the doorway. "Ah. Headmaster. Care to join-"

He froze as he noticed the grave expression on the Headmaster's face. "What happened?" he asked with a cold, hard look.

He surveyed the three attentive convicts sadly. "Cornelius Fudge is stationing Dementors on the castle grounds," he began heavily. "I trust you three to be more careful when wandering about," Albus observed as the three faces before him displayed their shock and anger openly.

"...Something unforgivable happened as of yesterday."

--------------------------------

Remus Lupin wandered down to the Hogwarts gates, safely under the veil of invisibility. He watched as a veritable army of black-robed figures slowly glided towards the school, led by a man in fruity lime green robes. Yes, with his cute little bowler too. Let's take a moment to imagine the horrible, yet incredibly hilarious image of a rather dumpy man in his late forties wearing neon green clothes. Barf bags are located under your seats.

Taking a side trip to the kitchen, Lupin emerged with about a pair of rounded objects and headed towards the enormous double doors of Hogwarts. Dumbledore was standing in front of the gates in robes of deep purple, glaring at the incoming horde of dementors. They stopped in front of Dumbledore. Fudge cleared his throat and attempted to speak firmly, although his voice was weak and trembling under the headmaster's gaze. "I've brought the dementors, Dumbledore. Do you have anything to say?" The last was meant to come out in a challenging tone, but it quailed halfway through and faltered as Dumbledore's stony visage didn't change in the slightest.

Unseen and unnoticed, Lupin crept out of the gates and stood behind Dumbledore, making horrendous faces at the dementors. In one hand he held a pair of eggs and in the other he grasped a hastily constructed dementor voodoo doll. Acting much like a circus clown, he waved the doll and the eggs around in an overly obvious manner, making sure that the dementors had their 'eyes' trained on him. Then he began stuffing his eggs down the doll's mouth, making its entire head bloat like a beached whale left out in the sun too long, letting the gasses inside its belly expand and- err.. Yah.

Incredibly, Lupin's voodoo skills started working as the lead dementor grasped at its suddenly huge head. Its rattling breath was abruptly cut off as it started twitching before finally bursting into black flame, leaving behind a small pile of ashes that quickly blew away in the wind. A brief silence fell over the small army of dementors. Then there was a huge rattling sound as the dark figures started conversing with each other.

As one, the army turned and fled, floating swiftly across the lake. Three of their number were messily devoured by the giant squid, who wasn't affected by their Aura of Doom. Yup, Akane really felt that she had to capitalize that. The distressed Darth Vader noises that they produced oddly resembled a baby's rattle, while the strangely fluid movements of their arms as their antigravity fields abruptly failed and they fell into the deep water brought to mind the twitching of a fly's legs as you remove its wings. Hooray for vivid imagery.

Fudge gaped at the retreating mass of dementors, his mouth working silently as if he was in serious need of air and the nearest source of oxygen was five miles away. While retaining his beached fish look, he turned to stare at Dumbledore, at Hogwarts, then turned again to stare at the three black cloaks that slowly rose to the surface of the lake.

"I...I'll be back, Dumbledore! Mark my words, I'll be back!" Fudge stammered, grabbing his badge (which happened to be a portkey) and vanishing. Dumbledore stood still for a moment, considering the small butterfly fluttering in front of his face, before turning and looking directly at Lupin.

"What did you do, Remus?" he asked merrily, the familiar twinkle shining in his eyes once more. As if on cue, the Invisibility Potion's effects wore off and Lupin appeared, phasing into existance with a look of slight annoyance on his face. He had never understood how Dumbledore could see invisible people as if they had huge neon signs attached to their backs saying 'U CANT SEE ME HAW HAW HAW'. With a sheepish grin he said, "I just gave them a little... incentive to leave, Headmaster."

Dumbledore laughed and eyed the bulbous-headed dementor doll in Lupin's right hand. "You know, Remus," he commented placidly, pointing at the limp doll. "Voodoo is labeled as a Dark Art by Jamaica's Ministry of Magic." Noting the werewolf's look of panic, he smiled mischievously, looking like a kid who had just played a prank on his teacher. "But we're not in Jamaica, are we? I think we can look over it just this once." Dumbledore gestured at Lupin, who was very obviously visible. "And I think you should get back to your comrades, Remus."

--------------------------------

Breakfast in the Great Hall began as normally as any. The Hufflepuff Gilderoy fangirls were animatedly discussing the 'Dashing Blond Angel's' wonderful Valentine's Day contributions (but also idly wondering why they hadn't seen him since lunch of the previous day). Ravenclaws were having an intellectual debate about transfiguration. The Gryffindors were speaking to each other about Quidditch matches and the chances of winning the Cup with Harry Potter on the team. The Slytherins, strangely enough... were deep in a quite captivating discussion with one Draco Malfoy and his accompanying first years.

Very odd, considering said Draco Malfoy had spent nearly all of his time in bitter silence. What could have caused this sudden change of heart? This irked Fred and George in a far corner of their minds, and in an unconscious decision as natural as breathing, the twins decided to bother Malfoy with another of their daily tricks.

"Hey, Malfoy!" Fred shouted with a grin, obviously up to no good. Draco turned just in time to catch sight of the small, brown, spherical gags hurtling in his direction. Evidently, George, who was sniggering uncontrollably at his image of the results, had thrown them.

Both twins were severely disappointed as Draco smirked and calmly drew his wand, leveling it at the Crunchy Nads. "Impedimenta!" The brown spheres immediately slowed to a halt in midair as the twins gaped at the actual retaliation--and yet, Malfoy wasn't finished. He opened his mouth for another incantation:

"Pepullo!" he intoned. Malfoy's Banishing Charm sent the balls hurtling toward the one and only uniquely scarred boy of the entire Great Hall. "Catch that, Potter!"

Too bad Harry turned a few seconds too late. The majority of the Crunchy Nads slammed straight into his chest and quickly burst open, encasing his robes in a stiff, web-like substance. Every time Harry tried to move, his clothing made a crunching sound. Like any normal 11-year old boy, he paniced and tried to take off his outer robe, managing to break the cloth in half (imagine T1000 and the liquid nitrogen. XD) "Oi! Harry! Don't move! I'll fix it," Fred said, drawing his wand and moving forward.

Shooting a disgruntled glare at Malfoy, Fred dispelled the Nads with a wave of his wand, although Harry's robe remained broken like a piece of soft glass. It doesn't make any sense, you say? Well... It's magic. Haw haw haw. If Harry had continued struggling, all of his clothes would have snapped in half, and the twins didn't really want to embarrass their friend like that.

Of course, Angelina Johnson was another story...but never mind that.

"Hey, what's the big idea, Malfoy?" Fred demanded. "Finally deciding to fight back?

"What a shame, too," George added. "We even had a camera for the look on your face!"

"Sorry to disappoint you," Draco replied with his trademark smirk, clearly not apologetic in the least. "But I'm not some delusional little kid, you know." His fellow Slytherin first-years were giving the blond a strange look--they weren't completely used to this new Malfoy yet.

"Oh, really?" Fred asked with a grin. "Have you forgotten that Howler, Malfoy?"

"Yeah!" George sniggered, catching on as to where the 'conversation' was going. "I don't seem to remember, Malfoy--do babies really come from Owl Post?"

Draco continued to smirk good-naturedly as Fred and George laughed at the memory. "Of course not. There is such a thing called 'sex.' I've been over that for a long time now. Unless..." His smirk grew wider. "You two want a go at one of my father's house elves. I'm sure I could smuggle one over here."

Now it was Malfoy's turn to laugh as the twins gave him a look as if to say 'Who are you and why in Hell did you decide to take over Draco Malfoy's body?' They'd never know how close to the truth they really were. Draco merely laughed and sat turned back to his meal, disregarding the gaping his fellow Slytherins were sending his way.

Meanwhile, Harry had pocketed the leftover Crunchy Nads and turned back to his own meal, sending Draco Malfoy odd looks every once in awhile. Ron was gaping at the silver-haired boy, himself.

"Wonder what's gotten into Malfoy over there!" the Weasley exclaimed, astonished at the retaliation.

"Just a change of heart," Hermione shrugged, although the frown on her face suggested that she thought something was up. "He must have finally realized how silly all of it was."

"I dunno," said Ron, also frowning. "I think the git's up to something. I don't like the smirk on his face."

"Just because of a smirk on his face, you think he's up to something?" Hermione wondered aloud. "Maybe he's just proud of himself for standing up to your brothers!"

She quickly ate her words when she saw Draco and the Slythering guffawing over something and glancing over in the Trio's direction. Seems like he was popular once more.

"See?! What'd I tell you!" Ron exclaimed with a frown. "He's no good."

Harry, although he didn't voice it, felt the same. It was time to start keeping an eye on Malfoy--no telling what he'd do, now that he's developed a spine. But...then again...something else caught his attention. A man at the doors of the Great Hall--A man with a long silver beard and deep purple robes...

"Hey! Look! It's Dumbledore!" Harry whispered urgently. "He's back!"

And sure enough, there he was. The Trio turned to take a good look at him, quieting at the grave expression on his face. They gave the Headmaster their full attention, wondering just what he had to say; surely he was about to break some bad news to the students, no?

Albus Dumbledore strode grimly to his chair at the staff table. Instead of taking his seat, however, he turned to survey his very own students. The usual twinkle once held so joyously in his cheerful eyes had diminished--his sapphire orbs now looked deadened, deeply saddened and grievous over the recent events. He looked every year of his 150 years upon Earth and more, and beyond this, he looked utterly exhausted.

"Students and staff of Hogwarts..."

The roar of students' chatter slowly died down as Dumbledore's commanding voice reverberated off the vast walls and high ceiling of the Great Hall. Child and staff alike turned their full attention the Headmaster of the school.

"It is in my deepest regret that I must deliver this grave and terrible news to you." He took the still, foreboding silence as a cue to continue. "Gilderoy Lockhart was murdered last night."

It wasn't until the clattering sound of a fork crashing to the floor that the silence was finally broken. Fangirls of the late Lockhart wept pitifully in memory of their flashy idol. Some of the boys weren't as surprised at the news, but were still horrified at the prospect nonetheless. Draco Malfoy made an attempt (a rather convincing one, too) at looking bewildered and shocked. Hushed whispers of newly cultivated rumors started a buzz of clamor in the Great Hall.

The Headmaster calmly motioned for the students to quiet down, patiently waiting out the time it took for some of the more sensitive girls to compose themselves. "It is true that the murderer has not been caught yet." This started up another round of murmurs (which were quickly silenced by a sharp look from Professor McGonagall). "For your safety, the Ministry of Magic will station guards at all entrances to the castle and grounds. Hogsmeade visits have been cancelled for the time being. Students will not be allowed to wander the corridors without an escort any longer; instead, a teacher will escort each of you from class to class. Halls will be monitored regularly by professors, prefects, our own Head Boy and Girl, and our caretaker, Mr. Argus Filch. Madam Hooch will now supervise Quidditch practices.

"We ask for your utmost cooperation and understanding of this dire situation. The Hogwarts Staff and Ministry of Magic are both working to find the one who committed this unforgivable act. Please follow these new rules closely or you may be forced to face a most painful death at the hands of an unknown attacker." The students gaped mutely at their Headmaster, lost for words. "Thank you."

Dumbledore reseated himself in his high-backed, ornate chair as the students continued to gape silently at him, denying the facts presented to them with the pleading look in their eyes. The twinkling returned to his features, albeit much weaker than most were used to. "Well, what are you waiting for? Breakfast will not become any fresher by letting the air get to it. Eat up! Prefects will escort you to your first class of the day at the end of the hour." The students reluctantly picked up their utensils and returned to their food as the news of the murder performed flip-flops in their minds.

Three seats away from the much-missed Albus, a flamboyantly robed man smiled as cheerfully as he had throughout the entire speech. But, of course, since the entire Hall was too busy with their own gossip, no one could notice such an abnormality.

...Well...actually, that was a lie. Two noticed the grin on his face.

Sonores shot Nad a coldly affectionate (hey! It's possible!) glance out of the corner of her eye. She was amused beyond belief at the news of Gilderoy's death, and, for once, couldn't help but risk displaying a flicker of emotion in public. Hermione Granger, however, found something suspicious about Professor Nad's wide, contented smile. She found it so suspicious, in fact, that she made a mental note to keep an eye on their newer Potions master. Of course, she never voiced these thoughts to her two friends--they were busy giving each other horrified looks, as if to say 'Holy Hell, Snape and Black have finally struck!' They'd be sure to search even more desperately than before.

But never mind the resident psychopath, banshee, and often wrong 'detective trio' for the moment. Fresh rumors had sprung up at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...some much more wild than others.

"I think Snape, Lupin, Sirius Black did it! We all know they're loose somewhere," a Hufflepuff insisted forcefully (real rumor-starters, aren't they?).

"NONSENSE! There's no way a buncha convicts could enter a place like this, especially with Dumbledore as Headmaster!" another replied, triggering a group discussion on the topic.

"But Dumbledore's been away on business for awhile..."

"I don't buy it. I mean, really, it seems more likely that a student did it."

"I think Draco Malfoy is more likely to have commit such a murder--did you see how different he's been acting?"

"YEAH! Even the Slytherins have been supporting the rich git now--did you SEE they way they grinned at the news of the murder?"

"I coulda sworn they were congratulating Malfoy..."

"Oh yeah? Well, I think it was the Head Boy and Girl. They've plotted the murder together!"

"The Head Boy and Girl? No way!"

"Well, who else could have done it? The prefects?"

"I wouldn't rule that possibility out..."

"Bah. And how could the prefects do it? Drown him in the prefect bathroom's bubble bath?"

"Maybe Filch and Mrs. Norris did it. They're creepy."

"Who knows? Let's just hope whoever-it-is rots in Azkaban for what they did."

--------------------------------

Lupin walked in on Snape and Sirius still playing their game of poker. It seemed that they had both realized the futility of playing strip poker when they couldn't take off their clothes and had now moved on to betting. Black had lost and he was being forced to imbibe an entire bottle of mayoketchup, a foul Muggle sauce that combined the greasiness of mayonnaise and the strong tomato taste of ketchup. Yup. Greasy tomatoes. Remember, barf bags are located under your seats. :D

Sirius finally lost his great battle with extreme nausea and rushed to the bathroom, holding one hand to his mouth and waving a hurried welcome to Remus with the other. Snape smirked at him as the sound of forced retching echoed through the thin walls, followed by an awful lot of dry heaving. "Well?" was all he said, obviously waiting for Lupin's battle report.

After the brief summary, Lupin tried to escape to the safety of his quarters, but just as he set foot outside the doorway, he was stopped by the odd sensation of being choked by fine cloth. Lupin looked back to see Snape holding his collar, effectively stopping his forward movement. Yes, I'm writing this out all detailed-like and stuff for you idiots out there. You know who you are. No, not you. The person beside you. Mhmm. Yep. Riiight over there.

"Not so fast, werewolf," Snape said nastily, dragging Lupin back. "Would you mind telling me just where and how you came to learn a highly dangerous and forbidden Dark Art?"

The lycanthrope shook his head, beads of sweat starting to run down his forehead. "Umm... So very sorry to burst your bubble, Severus, but I do mind. Now if you'll excuse me..." However, his steps were once again for naught, as Snape's grip on his collar didn't loosen in the slightest.

"That wasn't a question, Lupin. Tell me or I'll be forced to extract an answer from you, one way-" The gleaming Selecting Stiletto appeared in Snape's free hand, whistling dangerously through the air. "Or another."

"Err... ahh... Ilearneditfromawitchdoctorinafrica," Lupin muttered, attempting once more to break free of Snape's hold. He was abruptly stopped by the unpleasant sensation of having a red-hot brand pressed into his back. Needless to say, he shrieked like a girl and twisted outrageously in a desperate attempt to escape the burning silver touch.

The dagger appeared once more at Lupin's throat, as a slightly deranged light started to shine in Snape's eyes. "I couldn't hear you, werewolf. A bit louder!"

Lupin's bloodshot eyes tried to focus on the deadly weapon at his throat, watching it tremble slightly in Snape's hand. The silver glint seemed to thirst for his skin. "I LEARNED IT FROM A WITCH DOCTOR IN AFRICA LET ME GO FOR MERLIN'S SAKE SNAPE HAVE YOU GONE MAD?!?!?" he bellowed, wrenching his clothes out of the former Potion Master's grip and falling to the ground, breathing heavily.

Sirius Black chose that moment to walk in. Let's take a look at things from his point of view.

1. Severus Snape is holding a silver dagger in his hand and he looks just about ready to use it.

2. Remus Lupin is down on the ground, clutching his back and teetering on the edge of unconsciousness.

A growl rose from deep in Black's throat, and suddenly he looked much like the ruthless mass murderer that most of the world thought he was. "Why you..." Words were flushed down the john for the moment as he tackled Snape, knocking the Stiletto out of his hand and sending them both crashing into the wall.

~(-_-~) Half an hour later... (~-_-)~ (Ph33r the dancing guardians)

Lupin glared at Snape. Snape glared at Black. Black glared at Snape. Dammit; he was outnumbered.

The trio was holding packs of Nevermelt Ice to their bruises, seeing as they wouldn't very well be able to walk into the infirmary and ask for a patch of healing salve. Black was the first to break the silence.

"You could have told us that you got uncontrollable urges to hurt living things from time to time, Snape," he spat, restraining the urge to slam the greasy git's head into the wall. "I don't imagine that it's the kind of thing that you bring up over dinner, but it just might have been important, don't you think?" The sarcasm oozed out of his mouth and fell with a slimy splat at his feet, crawling out the door and into the kitchen, where it was baked into a cake. Not really. But after reading about mayoketchup, doesn't it seem positively scrumptious? No? So sorry. The spare barf bags are located to your right.

"I didn't think you cared, Black," Snape said bitingly, glaring daggers at the man. "After all, who was it that tried to kill me when we were in school, hmmm?" Severus was an expert at changing the subject.

After another brief scuffle (although this time with words), the three put their heads together.

"Fudge will be back soon, probably with Aurors," Lupin said gloomily. Humans weren't as easily taken care of as magical creatures were.

Sirius shrugged helplessly, looking not-too-worried about the situation. "We'll deal with it as it comes. I, for one, am going out for a walk." So said, he stood, grabbed a vial of Invisibilty Potion, and strode purposefully out the door.

Lupin glared at Snape. Snape glared at Lupin. Excellent: the odds were even. Lupin's gaze seemed to burn as he continued staring at the greasy man sitting in front of him. He opened his mouth...

"Last one to the lake is a rotten Horklump!" he cried, springing to his feet and dashing out the door before Snape could do more than blink. Blink he did, before he growled and pulled out his wand, hastily chasing the annoyingly cheerful werewolf.

--------------------------------

Although many troubles and tribulations would befall him in the years to come, Cornelius Fudge would remember that sunny spring day after Valentine's as one of the worst of his life. He reappeared in front of the Ministry building with a faint pop to find a most unpleasant surprise.

All of the Aurors in the entire Ministry were standing in front of the large structure, sporting a variety of signs ranging from picket fences to elaborate magical banners. At their head stood none other than Alastor Moody himself, bearing a huge sign with 'Auror's Rights' emblazoned on it in huge sparkling letters.

"Auror Moody..." Fudge began, but was cut off by a stern wave of the grizzled man's hand.

"Before you ask, Fudge, we're on strike. We put our lives on the line more than anyone else in the entire Ministry, and what do we get? Low pay and no trust, that's what!" Moody ranted, his magical eye spinning madly. A sweatdrop slowly slid down the back of Fudge's head as he laughed nervously.

"Well, you see, Moody... The dementors won't go near Hogwarts for some reason... So I'd like for some Aurors to-" The poor Minister was once again interrupted. Moody gave the man a lopsided grin before turning to enter the Ministry building. His voice drifted on the wind back to Fudge.

"If you really want Aurors stationed at Hogwarts, ye'll have to prove your mettle to us, Minister."

With a dubious glance at the hostile Aurors surrounding him, Cornelius Fudge followed the old Auror into the depths of the Ministry.

~(-_-~) Hours later... (~-_-)~

Panting desperately for breath, Fudge collapsed on a nearby rock, rolling his pudgy bulk under the shade of a nearby cliff. He and Moody had been hiking for the past two hours and the Minister, not used to severe workouts, was at his limits. It would feel so good to just close his eyes and rest for a minute. Yes, just a minute or two...

His pleasant thoughts were rudely interrupted when a booted foot nudged him. He cracked open his eyes to see the imposing figure of Alastor Moody standing over him. The man hadn't even broken a sweat. In fact, he appeared to be enjoying the whole thing. "Get up, Fudge. Our destination is just over that hill," he said, pointing at a nearby mountain. Fudge took one look at it before his eyes rolled up and he fainted dead away.

~(-_-~) Hours later... (~-_-)~

Wearing robes which may once, a long time ago, have been deemed clean, the Minister of Magic fell into a boneless heap in front of a forest of huge trees. The smallest of them made a sequoia look like a toothpick. Moody walked up to the heap of quivering flesh that was Fudge and grinned. Not a nice grin by any stretch of the imagination.

"Here's where you get to prove yer worth, Fudge," Moody declared, rummaging in the pack he carried at his side. "You have to cut down the mightiest tree in this forest..." The old Auror drew out a stiff, frozen herring. "With this."

~(-_-~) Hours later... (~-_-)~ Again. Yup. XD

The mightiest tree in the forest sported a gaping wound as a man in dirty green-brown robes hacked doggedly at it. The tool he held in his hand was barely recognizable as a fish and his hands themselves were bloody and raw. Slowly, his motions stopped and he looked around furtively. Moody was nowhere in sight. Reaching into his robes, Fudge pulled out his wand and pointed it at the crack in the tree...

"Diff-"

"Not so fast, Fudge," came a voice from behind him. Sweating bullets, the Minister turned to face Moody. He had his own wand out and was also pointing it at the tree. "The rules were without magic, I think. Looks like this turn is forfeit." Ignoring Fudge's futile cries of protest, Moody channeled his energies into the wood.

"Regeneratio!"

The anguished cry of one who has truly nothing to lose echoed through the still night sky.

--------------------------------

~(-_-~) Many hours before... (~-_-)~

"Hey, you got the Nads?" a mischievous voice whispered to his companion.

"'Course I do! D'you have the map?" another whispered back.

Fred and George Weasley, pranksters extraordinaire, had not taken heed of Dumbledore's speech about wandering the corridors alone. They wanted to play pranks; they wanted to laugh at their own, brilliantly concealed jokes; they wanted to claim their fifty-first toilet seat!

And, by golly, they were going to do so, no matter what anyone else told them.

Fred held up a seemingly blank, rolled-up piece of parchment with a grin. "Got it right here. Let's get started!" He unrolled the parchment and gave it a tap with his wand. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good!"

Instantly, the ordinary, 'blank' parchment came to life. Messrs. Moony, Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail were the ones to thank as a map suddenly appeared in Fred Weasley's hands. Two little dots labeled "Fred Weasley" and "George Weasley" were plotted in a corner of the empty Gryffindor common room, exactly where the twins were currently situated. Filch and Mrs. Norris patrolled the dungeons (along with Professor Sonores). Professors Nads and Flitwick were wandering the corridors by what seemed to be the entrance to the Ravenclaw common room. Professor Sprout was closely guarding the Hufflepuff entrance. Professor McGonagall was hanging about the halls surrounding the Fat Lady portrait. A dot labeled 'Peeves' was passing through the Charms classroom and into the Transfiguration chamber, holding 'Mr. Binky'.

All in all, it was risky business to go out with the teachers on their close guard. But no worry--as long as Fred and George both kept an eye on the parchment, they'd be able to get by, no sweat.

And so, off they went, creeping about the halls, trying to make as little noise as possible. Up and down the corridors prowled the duo, planting their Crunchy Nads in convenient places upon the ground. They silently hoped that a hot girl (like Angelina Johnson or Alicia Spinnet!) happened to demolish their clothes by accidentally stepping on them. All went as planned.

...Until...

"Hey...Fred! Have we ever been through this passageway before?" George asked of his twin, pointing to a corridor behind the Vincent the Valiant statue students constantly passed by without a second glance. After all, he was not only extremely ugly, but he was also covered in scars and had a large wolf hanging off of his hand.

"I dunno, George. I think this calls for some exploring, don't you agree?" Fred grinned back.

"There doesn't seem to be anyone by the statue..."

"Let's go, then!"

And off they went. The Weasley easilys passed through the bum of Vincent the Valiant, finding four rooms branching off the main corridor. With triumphant smirks, the twins entered the first room--only to frown and find that it was a rather boring room. Only a bed, a bookcase, and a dumb, sliced-up, rock-hard Christmas fruitcake. Ah, well. At least they denoted that the place was definitely lived-in.

They tried the next room. Same as the first, save for the slices of fruitcake. Nothing interesting whatsoever.

Finally, the twins entered the third room.

...Now, that was interesting. Was that bookcase filled with bottled--potions? Sludgelike potions? And even then, more than half of the bottles seemed to be empty. Strange.

Of course, George, being the reckless one he is, snatched up a bottle and uncorked it. "I say we try it."

"But what if it's poisonous, George?" Fred asked, eyeing the brown liquid. He grabbed a container off the shelf and took a wiff. "Hmm... Let's see. It smells like mud, looks like mud, and by all appearances, it is mud. Which probably means it's poison," he said casually, putting the beaker back on the shelf.

"Oh, come now, Fred! Why would... whoever lives here drink poison?"

"Who knows? Maybe it's a trap for curious gits like you."

Before Fred could get another word of protest out, George downed the whole thing in one gulp. He promptly disappeared as the last drop slid down his throat.

"...Er...George? GEORGE?"

"Fred?" George's disembodied voice drifted about. "You were right about this stuff... it tastes like mud, too."

"Where are ya, mate?" Fred asked. "I can't see you anywhere...."

"That's just it, Fred! I haven't moved!" George exclaimed. "This stuff makes you invisible..."

Fred broke out into a wide grin. "Invisible? Awesome! You know what we could do with something like that?"

"Spy on the girls in the showers?"

"And play pranks absolutely flawlessly!"

"LET'S TAKE SOME!" they shouted simultaneously. Fred immediately lunged for the bottles.

Unfortunately...the potion had distracted the twins so much that they hadn't noticed the other person in the room until it was too late. A sharp intake of breath and the slamming of a door caused the twins to freeze in their tracks.

Slowly, oh so slowly, Fred Weasley made an about face...

And looked up into the black, glittering eyes of Severus Snape.

--------------------------------

PS Author's Notes:

Not much humor, we're moving into the plot. Kinda. More like... err.. forcibly capturing the plot with a weighted net. It retaliated with a severe case of writer's block. And then it broke Akane's arm and smote Lari with a mighty throat infection. Life sucks. XD

Just how biased IS Dumbly, anyway?

Has anyone noticed that Dumbledore + Pokemon = Dumblemon, which, seperated differently, can mean 'Dumb lemon', which, in turn, can imply the lemon drops which Dumbly so prefers?

Much thanks to

Sara, for bugging us when we lost all will to write, much like Sam with Frodo in Mordor. :D

Sarah, for taking the trouble to review when she was tired after a long day of school. (? XD XD)

Yen, for trading reviews. :D

ellerfu, who liked the Howler. XD

savannah, who reviewed twice fer the same chapter! :D

Messanger X, who actually changed the content of this chapter.

Arraven, for liking our one-liners (which we had to come up with within five minutes, or else we bugged each other to death. XD)

Hecate, who I haven't had the chance to meet lately. XD

Tess, who writes goooood fics.

And on ff.net...(from the start... Oy vey.)

Helz, who knows who she is. Beware, she's Siriusly Peeved.

Ayod Botla, who used the ^_^ emoticon.

Duchess of Hell, who reviewed from the start. :D

Lyss, who is very Lyssy. (we KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE, LYSS!)

Switch, whose British accent overwhelemed us.

sombra, who managed to convey his/her emotions in a single, quaint, very internety 'LOL!!!!!'

Kelz, the ferret.

Moon-Ying, who first used the XD emoticon, much favored by me and Lari.

Astral Fou-lu, who really has to finish writing Evaluation! >O

Darkwolfgoddess, who made us have a food fight.

Katherine, who is also known as Star. XD

*K*, who managed to tie for the reviewer with the shortest ID award, along with Yen.

Kimmers, who is Kimmers and also Helen. :D

Silv, the most perverted perv this side of perviness.

Hecate, who is also an obscure figure in mythology that Akane swears she could remember if only she tried.

Elektra-chan, who wants to know what we're smoking. (Find out what the Rock is cooking first :P)

Nataly Ravenlock, who liked our Kompleet Saikoness. :D

The mysterious Yodelman, who we fervently pray does NOT spend his days yodelling.

Leila C. Snape, who liked Honestly. (we liked it too. XD)

Preciouss with two s's, who liked our Voldiesnitch (which was MY idea, by the way. No Lari involved. XD)

erieka127, who double posted. :D

Sophie W>, who understands Akane.

Evie, who gets her kudos right here. :D

Saphron, who likes Slayers. Incidentally managing to be like us. :D

Marauderess, who managed to cheer Akane up in her darkest hour.

CreamyCoconut43 (Ashley), who.. err.. eww. *thinks about coconuts covered in cream* XD

Wendelin the Weird, who we strongly suspect has a pyromaniacal fetish. :D

Last, but certainly not least (that's kinda obvious)

Jeanna, who takes the time between plotting to rule the world and playing sex games with Draco Malfoy to beta-read our fic.

Nancy, who also betas our fic and beats us viciously with a riding crop when we make grammatical mistakes. No, not really. But it sounds dramatic, ne? :D

Chapter End