Disclaimer: The wonderful world of Harry Potter and all the wonderful characters are J.K. Rowling's!

Chapter Nineteen

More Than A Feeling

Hermione shifted uneasily, gazing around her professor's sitting room with wary interest. Lined with dark mahogany built-in shelves filled with various novels and trinkets, the room was quite handsome, though a bit stiff for Hermione's taste. In the plump armchair adjacent to her own, Ginny sat surveying the room in a similar fashion. Her chocolate eyes landed on a collection of framed photographs nestled amongst the rest of the professor's possessions. Straining her eyes to try to see what each frame held, Ginny leaned forward in her chair, and sighed when she realized that she could make out little more than silhouettes moving about. Distracting her from her previous attempts at spying, Professor Donovan pushed open the heavy wooden door and strode into the room.

"Right then, let's begin, shall we?" he asked, after closing the door and silently charming a sound barrier behind him.

The girls nodded at him, each displaying their own symptoms of nerves; Hermione chewed the corner of her lip ever so slightly, while Ginny tapped her fingers restlessly on the arm of the chair.

"I want to know why you thought I was from the future," Donovan said directly, his eyes shifting over his students with an unreadable expression.

"Err, it's a long story, sir," Ginny mumbled in response.

The professor smirked, then gestured at the many books surrounding them. "As you can see, I quite enjoy stories."

The girls exchanged a glance, unsure of how to continue. It was clear that Donovan wanted answers, but they were unprepared to give them to him. Which meant only one thing – they would have to distract him.

"Actually, sir, we had a few questions of our own. We tried to talk to the headmaster but he said we should talk to you, rather."

"Oh, did he?" Donovan questioned, stroking the slight brown stubble that had accumulated on his strong chin.

Hermione nodded, "He did."

"Very well then, what is it that you desire to know? I wouldn't want to deprive my students of any important information, regardless of how personal it may be," he finished, his deep voice dripping with sarcasm.

Ginny opened her mouth, a retort ready, but was silenced by a glare from Hermione. The redhead sighed but gestured for her friend to speak instead.

"Thank you, sir. Our question, you see, is in regards to the exercise you orchestrated in class – the game, sir."

Donovan frowned, bringing his thick fingers into a steeple before him. "What about it, Miss Granger?"

Hermione took a deep breath. "Well, why was that lesson even necessary? We're first years for Merlin's sake, what in the world were you thinking?"

The professor's brows knitted together, his frown deepening exponentially. "That'll be fifteen points from Gryffindor for addressing me with such disrespect. And yes, it was necessary. Little risk was involved – "

"Little risk? Oh for the love of god, you've got to be joking. Four students were stranded and missed lessons for an entire day, with one of them suffering a nasty, potentially life threatening wound-"

"What? There was an injury?" Donovan interrupted, leaping up from his seat to pace about the room.

Ginny rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Yes, a bloody bad one at that. Sirius was bit down to the bone by a snake, thank Merlin it wasn't poisonous and that I managed to find them in time to heal it."

"Sirius was bit? Oh fuck, I had no clue…" Donovan trailed off, shaking his head and looking downright ashamed of himself. "What happened? Tell me everything, Miss Evans and don't leave anything out."

Ginny rolled her eyes but complied, telling the tale from the very beginning of their arrival.

Remus sat comfortably in his usual spot on the window seat, watching as James and Sirius engaged in yet another match of wizard's chess. Beside him, Peter sat scribbling out a letter to his mum at home. Remus sighed in boredom, wishing that he had indeed brought his book down to the common room with him. The board game continued to drag on, with both boys concentrating intently on the task at hand. Both Sirius and James were known to be quite competitive, and it was with great chagrin that James realized his king was cornered. Sirius, though, upon winning the game, pumped his fist high into the air grinning enthusiastically before taking a victory lap around the common room. This action gained the attention of the entire room who looked on in a mixture of interest and annoyance, before turning back to their work.

"Oh shut it, you tosser," James mumbled darkly, before standing and climbing the stairs heavily to their dormitory. Sirius rolled his eyes at his best mate's dramatic exit, and instead turned to face the other two boys.

"Fancy a trip to the kitchens?" he asked, grinning sloppily at the thought of food.

Peter nodded enthusiastically, "Yeah, yeah, can we stop at the owlery too? I've got to send this off to Mum before she gets too worried…" he trailed off darkly, blushing at the memory of what had happened the last time he had hesitated to write his mother back.

Sirius snorted, "What, don't want another howler from mummy dearest?"

Remus cracked up at his words, remembering the look of utter embarrassment that Peter had worn upon the howler bursting open during breakfast a few weeks before. The short boy glared up at them, though this didn't last long, and soon he had joined them in laughter.

"Ah, good times," Remus mused, finally regaining control over his body and ceasing to laugh.

Sirius and Peter nodded animatedly, before jumping to their feet, ready for their venture to the kitchens. "Coming Remus?"

The lanky boy shook his head in response. "No, I don't think so. I think I might go try to cheer James, you know how he holds grudges."

Sirius groaned. "Ugh, true… I think I'll pick up some treacle tart for him while I'm down there, which should do it. Want anything?" His friend grinned, gave him his order, and then strode up the stairs to find James.

"James?" Remus called, knocking twice on the door before turning the cool handle to step inside the marauders' shared room.

"Hey," the raven-haired boy greeted, sitting up on his four-poster to smile at his friend.

"Rough game," Remus said, shaking his head. "You'll get him next time, I reckon."

James' expression turned to that of a glare at the mention of his loss, however his face perked up at the other boy's encouragement. "You really think so, Remus? I mean he hasn't lost a match yet, not even to Gerald, and he's bloody brilliant."

Remus nodded at this. It was true; Sirius was virtually undefeatable, even by the older students within the house. Despite this, he continued to encourage his friend, knowing that it was only necessary to improve his mood. "True, but someday he's bound to lose, and it'll probably be to you, after all you're the only bloke thick enough to keep challenging him."

James chuckled, taking the teasing as a compliment to his perseverance, and clapped his friend on the back. "You're a right good mate, you know that, Remus?"

Remus shrugged, "I try." For a brief moment, the stress of hiding his secret nearly took over, and he came close to telling the other boy his deepest, innermost thoughts. He opened his mouth, then snapped it shut once more, knowing that now was not the time.

"Earlier you stated that you yourself healed Sirius?" professor Donovan inquired, staring at the young girl in front of him intently.

Ginny nodded. "Yes, sir."

He lifted his eyebrows in surprise. "If that is true, then how did you do so? The snakebite was deep, was it not?"

Ginny fumbled with the hem of her skirt, nervously avoiding eye contact with her professor. He cleared his throat, spurring her on, and she had no choice but to answer. "Erm, yes, sir, it was a rather deep bite. I cured it with a spell I learned, I'm not sure how good of a job I did, though, as my magical reserve was rather low, but I tried my best."

"What spell?"

"Episkey, sir."

Donovan looked impressed, then smiled at her in a fashion that she had never before associated with her professor. He looked almost gentle, his lips pulled back over his white teeth in a friendly manner.

"Quite impressive, Evans. I must thank you for saving Sirius' life, I do not know what would have happened without your assistance," his voice trailed off, his eyes clouding over with guilt and, surprisingly, sorrow.

"Professor?" Hermione said gently, bringing him back from his daydream.

"Oh, my apologies," he said, turning his face back to it's usual mask of indifference.

"Not to pry, sir, but what was that all about?"

Donovan shook his head at the two girls, not wishing to disclose his secrets to them. "Nothing, I simply was concerned for the safety of my student." Pushing the sleeve of his robe up, he glanced at his watch, and quickly changed the subject. "Oh, my, would you look at the time. Past curfew already, I suppose I'd better return you to your tower."

The girls nodded, and stood to leave, stretching as they did so. They had been seated speaking to the man for the past few hours, and it was no surprise that this had caused their muscles to stiffen.

"Wait one moment, if you will," Donovan murmured, before disappearing through the door into his private quarters.

Ginny, ceasing the opportunity crossed the room to peer at the photographs that had caught her attention earlier. The majority of them were of a young man, whom she presumed to be a more youthful version of Donovan, laughing merrily with his friends. In another picture, the same young man was portrayed on broomstick, quaffle tucked under his arm, and flying steadily towards the three hoops at the end of the field. Ginny grinned at this; damn, he was good. Hoping to see more pictures of her professor in action, she moved her eyes to the next picture, then gasped in shock at what she saw. Donovan knelt down in the photograph, holding a miniature broomstick steady as a young boy climbed onto it. This was not shocking, though, but it was instead the young boy that caught her attention. He looked to be about four or five, with ear length black hair, and sparkling grey eyes. There was no denying that the young boy was indeed Sirius Black.

Before she could wave Hermione over to view the picture with her, Ginny heard the heavy footsteps of her professor returning, and quickly made her way back to where she had previously been standing.

"Right then, follow me," Donovan stated with a grim smile, not noticing the blush that had crept up onto Ginny's face, before waving his hand and making the sound barrier disappear. Hermione and Ginny linked arms then followed him back through the door to the classroom and into the darkened halls.

"What was that back there?" Hermione whispered into Ginny's ear, taking care to be sure their professor would not overhear them.

Ginny pursed her lips, shaking her head back and forth. "Not now, later," she promised, before speeding up so that they were a few paces behind Donovan.

"Lumos," Donovan murmured, lighting his wand as to cast light in the direction they went. The two girls followed his lead, withdrawing their own wands and doing the same thing as they made their way behind him. The professor turned and eyed their lit wands with curiosity.

"You seem to know quite a lot of magic for first years," he mused, his thick brows dropping in thought.

The girls exchanged a glance, then nodded, smiling hesitantly. "Yes, sir, thank you. We've been studying a lot, you see, trying to get caught up what with me being muggleborn and such," Ginny stated.

Donovan's eyes widened even further. "Extraordinary," he murmured, before grinning ruefully at the two girls. "It seems as though I miscalculated you two when I first met you, I must apologize for the way I treated you."

Hermione smiled kindly at him. "Oh, it's quite alright, Professor. We weren't exactly the nicest to you, either."

Donovan chuckled, nodding his head. "You two are quite the meddlesome little bastards, aren't you?"

Ginny laughed, somewhat shocked at his joke, "You could say that."

"I'll be sure to watch out for the two of you, then, after all, with such great magical prowess as you have now I'm sure I can expect great things, or shall I say trouble, to come."

"What, us?" Hermione responded, grinning up at the man in delight. Never before had she seen this side of him, and she was pleased to discover that he was actually quite kind. Dumbledore's trust for him was beginning to make sense, although she still held some doubts as to whether he was being completely honest with them in the duration of their earlier discussion.

"Yes, the both of you, and Sirius and his bloody friends as well, I reckon," Donovan said, frowning at them, though not looking seriously concerned in the least.

Ginny's eyes narrowed at the direct mention of Sirius; what relationship did the two of them have? Why had Sirius not mentioned his connection with Donovan before? Before she could think of any way to inconspicuously question her professor they had arrived in front of the fat lady, who snored rather loudly in her chair, scowling at them upon being woken by the professor.

"Right then, go on through so I can be sure no more trouble is made tonight," Donovan said with a shadow of a grin, before waving them in front of him to the portrait.

"Goodnight, Professor, see you in class tomorrow," the girls called, before stating the password and clambering through to the common room.

"Where were you two?" Sirius asked, spotting them as they entered the room. Ginny grinned, taking in his now puzzled face and comparing it to the much younger boy in the photograph. Yes, it had definitely been him in the picture.

Hermione shrugged in response, "Exploring the castle."

Lily's eyes widened, especially shocked that her bookish friend could be such a miscreant. "After curfew?"

"And you didn't bring us?" James exclaimed in mock horror.

Ginny and Hermione chuckled heartily, before throwing themselves down on the sofa beside Lily and Alice. Lily shot James a glare in response to his remark, making it clear to him what she though of rule breakers. She then turned to scold her sister and best friend, reprimanding them for their behavior.

Alice rolled her eyes at the scene before her, knowing that Lily would continue on for god knows how long if she wasn't stopped. Clearing her throat gently to get the three other girls' attention as well as the boys', Alice leaned forward in her seat. "I've got an idea," she said with a hint of mischief.

"And what is that?" Remus questioned, dropping his book to listen to her suggestion.

"I think it's time for a round of truth or dare!" she exclaimed, causing the other girls to squeal in remembrance of the fun times they had enjoyed on their first night in the castle.

"Brilliant," James declared, jumping to his feet and coming to high-five the petite brunette. "Right then, shall we begin?"

A loud cheer of agreement rose from the group, rousing the attention of the few students still in the room. Seated at a table, Katie lifted her head from writing a paper, and looked up to see her circle of friends clearly ready to have a good time. "Hold up," she called, packing up her parchment and ink. "I'm in too!"

"Great," Sirius called across the room. "Gather round, then," he said, patting the spot beside him. Ginny eyed this gesture with slight annoyance, wishing that it could have been her who had received such an invitation. With a start she realized she had been experiencing jealousy, and quickly shook her head to rid herself of such thoughts. After all, this was Sirius, Harry's godfather. Anything between them would be just plain wrong, not to mention a total and complete lie on her part.

"Lily, darling," James called, breaking Ginny from her thoughts, and causing the object of his affection to glare at him. "Will it be truth, or will it be dare?"

The pretty little redhead rolled her eyes, but complied, answering with truth. James' hazel eyes lit up with glee. "Do you like me?" he exclaimed, causing the others to laugh at his lack of tact. If there had been any doubt before that James liked Lily, then it had been shed, as his feelings for her were now painstakingly obvious.

Lily blushed in response to the boy's question, taking her time to answer and watching with fascination as James' face became more and more pinched as he waited to hear whether his affection for her was returned or not. At last Lily opened her delicate mouth to speak, "Well, yes, James, I do like you as a friend."

"As a friend?" James roared. "I mean whether you liked me as more than a friend or not!"

Lily shrugged, faking that she had not known his intentions. "Oops, my bad, looks like you'll have to wait until next turn."

James growled under his breath, shaking his head at her antics, and vowing that he would indeed find out as soon as it was possible. Sirius, though, had other ideas, and quickly whispered in Katie's ear to pass it around that no one should ask anything of James as to block him from having another turn. Lily laughed delightedly at this when it reached her, and shot Sirius a look of gratitude. James, only just catching on to what had happened, dove for Sirius, wrestling him to the floor and seeking his own sweet revenge, much to the amusement of his friends.

Meanwhile, Severus Snape sat alone and abandoned, his lanky legs hanging off the dock over the freezing lake. Pulling his cloak tight around him, he glanced back over his shoulder, searching for his sister in the darkness. He sighed, recognizing that still she was not there, although it was already an hour and a quarter past their scheduled meeting time.

"Damn it, Hermione," he muttered under his breath, picking up a stone and chucking it out into the water, before standing to return to the castle, all previous thoughts of apologizing forgotten in his anger.

A/N: Alright, there's another chapter for ya, I hope you liked it! I know that Donovan's character has been a bit wish-washy, but hopefully this chapter set it in place that he really is a fairly decent guy (or is he? dun dun dunnn) and that the girls are beginning to trust him. Anyways, a huge thanks to WeAreLoveStory for reviewing!


Mischief Maintained

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