It's just gone Christmas not too long ago so this is a present for all my devoted readers.

Chapter 12

Discussions, Repercussion and HALLOWEEN!

In their next potions lesson, Sal and Violet experienced a taste of Severus's vindictiveness. At first it was slightly satisfying to watch, but soon lost it's appeal. They hated the other first years, definitely, but as Severus's pitiless eyes and nasty words tore the other Hufflepuffs to shreds, Sal felt sorry for them, realised they were only children, after all. Violet disliked her father's behaviour for another reason. After one lesson, in which Ravenclaw lost over fifty house points, one of her classmates tripped her on the stairs. She landed hard and grazed her hands. Severus wasn't making it easier for them.

Harry, on the other hand, was largely preoccupied. He was keeping track of Malfoy's actions around school with a sense of stunned disbelief. Somehow, Simon had found his arch-nemesis in Malfoy, and the two strutted around Hogwarts spitting insults and getting each other into trouble. But it wasn't until he heard Malfoy boasting in the common room that he really paid attention.

"You did what?" Harry yelled over the conversation.

Malfoy puffed out his chest. "Yeah, I did. I challenged that pathetic Gryffindor coward to a duel."

"It's not enough that you got him onto the quidditch team? He's already outclassed you once. Isn't that enough."

Malfoy went red. "Shut up, Snape."

"Look, there's no way you're going to win."

"Says who? Just because you're a wimp."

Harry rubbed his forehead for a moment in frustration. "Look, he's been trained by the most powerful, experienced aurora's since before he could walk. There is no way in- oh, you know what, forget it. What do I care?"

Malfoy just sneered as Harry turned and walked into the dormitory. True, Malfoy did need a lesson in humility. Harry just wished Simon wasn't the one who would teach him.

Out in the corridor, Harry set off the find one or the other of his siblings. As predicted, Violet was in the library.

"Simon and Malfoy are going to have a duel tonight." Harry said without introducing himself.

"Sounds like a win-win situation to me. Doesn't matter who gets elephant ears or vomits slugs, I'll be happy either way."

Harry plopped into the armchair behind her. Somehow he didn't think either of them were going to be using kiddie-curses.

"I'm going with Malfoy."

Violet snorted loudly. "You're not serious."

"Yeah, I am."

"He doesn't want your help."

Harry sat up straighter. "You know what Simon is capable of. Not just personally, but magically. And Malfoy seems to have gotten on his bad side in a major way. Would you really just sit by?" He knew he had won when Violet didn't answer immediately.

"Ah crap, Harry. I'll go get Sal."

As she rose from her chair, Harry felt slightly guilty. Because he knew, deep down, that his motivations weren't nearly as noble as he'd led her to believe. But it was such a perfect opportunity, he reasons, and what harm was there, really, in exacting some petty revenge?

It was very uncomfortable balancing on the highest shelf in the trophy room, waiting for Potter and Malfoy to arrive, but Harry decided it was going to be worth it.

It was Sal's idea to prank them the muggle way, using cauldrons, string and nets. Violet had added a magical touch by applying a sticking charm to the mud they'd filled the cauldrons with, creating a sinister concoction that would glue their victims to the spot. Harry chuckled to himself in the darkness.

"Shush!" That was Violet.

The plan was to wait for both parties to show, then dump the cauldrons and exit unnoticed. With luck, both partied would blame the other, be unable to cause any harm and Harry, Sal and Violet would be blame free. Well, that was Violet's plan, anyway.

Minutes passed. Sal began to grumble. Then the door slowly opened, admitting five Gryffindors. Violet was disgusted; Malfoy wouldn't stand a chance.

"Where is he?" Simon whispered.

"I dunno, what's the time?"

The five waited for a few minutes, getting edgy at the precariousness of their situation. Filch could arrive at any moment.

"Let's just get out of here." Simon said finally. "Yellow-bellied Slytherin isn't going to show." They turned to leave. It was at that moment that Harry pulled hard on his string, upending a cauldron of adhesive slime over the unsuspecting first years. Sal squinted at Harry in the darkness, then thought what the hell, smiled, and emptied his cauldron, too. Violet just stared at brothers angrily.

Sal cocked an eyebrow, reached over and tugged her chord for her, which was filled with trophies of assorted size. The five Gryffindors looked up just in time to see their fate, and to Violet's horror she watched Hermione Granger shriek in fear and duck. It only took ten seconds, but made a hell of a noise, between the trophies crash, the mud's splat, the Gryffindor's screamsand Sal's delighted laughter.

In the aftermath, groaning was heard. Apparent trophies were heavy. Woops. Hermione was trying to help herself and Longbottom break free. What was she even doing here? Violet grumbled to herself. Potter was fuming, his head and shoulders stuck fast to the ground. his arms and legs flailing uselessly. "MALFOY!" He raged, "THAT SNEAKY LITTLE BASTARD!" Harry was having none of that. He planned to take full credit.

"Not Malfoy." Harry grinned. "The Snape's." Harry slipped his feet over the edge and allowed himself to drop. It was further than he thought and pain shot though his feet and ankles. He nearly toppled over but regained his footing, keeping his face smooth.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Simon snapped, trying to maintain dignity whilst laying glued to the floor.

"Having a bit of fun. At your expense, of course." Sal slip off the shelf, but being taller and stockier, managed it much more successfully than his brother.

"Oh, that's what it was about? A bit of fun?" Violet sprung after her brothers, landing in a crouch and rising, cat-like, her eyes glittering. She immediately smacked Harry across the arm. "You're a moron, you know that right?" Harry just shrugged. Violet rolled her eyes.

Simon, who didn't like being ignored, started hollering again. Hermione screamed at him to shut up. "I'm surprised Filch isn't here already!"

"Oh, yeah. We shouldn't be here gloating." Sal added, turning to leave.

But Violet was at Hermione's side, trying to pull her free.

"Oh, no way." Muttered Harry, but he realised there was no time for more discussion. He went over and extracted Neville, with some difficulty. "Can we go, now?"

"But, what about them?" Hermione piped up.

"No, not happening. Uh-uh."

"Uh, guys… I reckon I can hear Filch coming." Sal interrupted, standing in the doorway.

Harry and Violet both sprinted for the door. But a backwards look revealed Hermione trying to pull the others free. With a sigh, she waved her wand, reversing the sticking charm. Then she bolted.

Safely back in her bed, Violet wondered briefly if her brothers had made it back safely. Then she thought stuff them. 'Oh, we're going to make sure Simon doesn't misuse his magic. Yeah right.' Then she remember how ridiculous Simon looked, and began to giggle into her pillow. Perhaps it was worth it, she decided, and fell asleep smiling.

The next morning they listened more closely than usual to the usual breakfast banter, checking for any circulating rumours that suggested Simon had opened his big mouth. Sure enough, when Padma sat down at the table, her eyes were bright with the deliciousness of a scandal. Violet's jaw fell as she listened to the gossip. Apparently what had happened was this; Simon had been going to duel with Malfoy, who had promised to bring twenty Slytherin groupies. Simon had only taken his trusted best friends, in a noble gesture. Malfoy didn't show, but as Simon was walking back to his dormitory, Filch started chasing them! So they ran and ended up in the forbidden corridor. The story got a big muddled here, but there was something about a locked door, a close call and a giant three-headed dog that spat sticky saliva. Apparently, they'd crawled into the common room at one in the morning, yelling loudly about monsters and cursing Dumbledore for endangering their lives.

"Well," Violet drawled once Padma had finished, "The Boy Who Lived has quite and imagination. Don't remember reading about thatin the daily prophet." Padma just laughed, then got back to the serious business of scoffing breakfast and moaning about the days lessons.

The next month passed quickly. Violet had struck up a cautious friendship with Hermione. Once it had been confirmed that Hermione was not, in fact, one of Simon's groupies and that Violet was actually trying to prevent a more serious event occurring. i.e. an event in where Simon blew Malfoy's arm off. Between Hermione, Padma and her sister Patil, Violet found herself amongst a group of girlfriends.

As for Harry, he had gotten used to the fawning of the Slytherin first years. He didn't think of them as real friends. They were too ready to spout their parent's pure-blood ideals, as though they, at eleven, were experts on matters of magical lineage and the destructive influence of muggle genes. But at least he wasn't constantly insulted or ignored. All in all, it was better to be accepted amongst the Slytherin's, even if the company was a bit wearisome.

Only Sal remained friendless. It seemed to him that every year had to have an underdog. Neville was Gryffindor's. Malfoy, due solely to his disdain for Harry, was Slytherin's. Which left Sal and Violet to fill the role for Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. Sal wondered if it got better after a few years. Perhaps his classmates would mature? It seemed like a bleak thing to hope for.

Finally it was Halloween. The triplets had been looking forward to it for weeks, but once again Malfoy's big mouth got him into trouble.

When Sal woke in the morning, he jumped out of bed and ran into the common room wearing only his boxers. It looked the same as the night before. Damn, Sal thought. Where is beautiful lady vampire? The man-eating lounge chair? The 12 foot anaconda? Those lying Gryffindor twins. He exited the common room, still hopeful, and grinned at the sight before him. Along the corridor, spider webs clung to the banisters, complete with oversized tarantulas that leered at him menacingly. The statues and suits of armour were more active that usual, pulling garish faces and or banging their weapons. Blood seeped from the walls, but on closer inspection was unsubstantial, just an neat illusion. Every now and then a scream could be heard, indicating that some early rising students disliked these new changes. Sal got dressed quickly and headed down to breakfast, getting jumped by a fake banshee along the way.

Violet had just finished her second lesson and was in a good mood. Charms had been a lot of fun, as they spent the entire lesson levitating streams of water around the classroom. It was a lot more difficult that moving solid objects but as everyone got the hang of it, ribbons of liquid were zooming over their heads, reflecting the light and looking quite beautiful. Violet thought she might try and capture the sight on paper. She also wanted to draw Padma, purple with embarrassment and soaking wet, after Neville had dropped a veritable pond on her head. Perhaps she'd give it to her as a Christmas present. She grabbed a few sheets of paper and some charcoal from the bedside table, planning to work on the sketch during lunch.

On her way back down to the dining room, she stopped dead at an odd sight. Hermione was slumped against the wall, held awkwardly by a red-headed Gryffindor boy. Violet's eyebrows nearly rose off her face. Hermione? With a boy?She was about to back away when she heard a muffled sob and realised it wasn't quite the situation she's imagined.

She hurried over, knelt down by Hermione. "Hey, what happened?" She wondered mildly if a teacher hadn't given her quite as much praise as she deserved or something. Hermione was ridiculously sensitive about schoolwork.

"Malfoy… well, he called her a mudblood." The boy said, looking relieved that a girl had arrived to take his place as comforter. Hermione continued to sob into her knees.

"That bastard!" Violet yelled.

"Yeah. Um, I'm gonna go get lunch. Don't worry 'bout it, 'kay, Hermione?"

He gave her a pat on the shoulder and hurried off.

"Hey, Hermione." Violet said, settling back against the wall.

"It was so embarrassing." Hermione muttered, sniffing loudly. "There was a whole group of the Slytherin's, even some fifth years, and they all laughed and said.. and said I don't even belong here. That I should go back and to London and-"

Hermione broke down completely, rose quickly and practically ran down the corridor.

Violet had a short battle with herself, her anger at Malfoy fighting with her concern for Hermione. In the end, though, she followed Hermione into the girls toilets and tried to comfort her from behind a locked cubical door.

"Look, Violet, I appreciate it," Hermione said finally, "but I just need to be alone for a bit, okay."

"Alright.. okay. I'll see you later."

Lunch was already over, but Violet positioned herself at the entrance to the dining room, waiting for the Slytherin's to exit. She caught a glimpse of white-gold hair in the crowd and felt cold with fury. She was sick of this arrogant little prick, causing trouble at every turn. She squeezed her way through the rush to Malfoy, narrowed her eyes and proceeded to kick him in the back of the knees. He fell to the ground, at which point she leaped on him, grabbed a fist full of his hair and pulled hard. Then she leaned over and yelled in his ear "I never want to hear the word mudblood come out of your mouth again, Malfoy." She let go of his hair. "God, what is wrong with you?" She said more quietly, then sprung up, looked around at the startled faces and walked quickly away.

Sal was even more impressed by the decorations when he entered the dining room for dinner. Floating above their heads like icebergs were massive pumpkin's, complete with cut-out faces and filled with what must be hundreds of candles. Every now and then one of them would burp or cackle with sinister laughter. Thousands of bats flew beneath the starry ceiling, their leathery wings creating a constant breeze. The tablecloths were covered with enchanted embroidery, depicting ghosts and zombies and frightened Hogwarts students. The stitching moved around, much like the paintings, creating a mini horror movie across the entire table. As Sal sat down, he noticed a Gryffindor student getting chased around the gravy pot by a fanged slug. He found this highly amusing and, chucking to himself, set about gorging himself stupid on the huge variety of food piled high upon the tables.

The Gryffindor had just been caught, the slug teaming up with a werewolf to corner him by the pumpkin pie. Two little monsters were in the middle of fighting over the red scraps of yarn when Professor Quirrell sprinted through into the dining room. He slumped himself on the teachers table, gasping. "Troll, in the dungeons..." Quirrell gasped. "Thought you ought to know." He then sank to the floor in a dead faint.

Everyone went silent for about fifteen seconds. Then everyone started yelling.

The chaos was quite incredible, and Dumbledore had to shoot several purple firecrackers into the din to get the students attention. He then ordered the Prefects to guide the houses back to their dormitories. Harry thought that was pretty stupid. The troll is in the dungeon. Um, I live in the dungeon. You want us to go to the dungeon!

Sal didn't see the point of entering the massive crush of students attempting to get out the door. Instead he climbed up on his table and looked for his siblings. Harry was lingering beside the Slytherin table as a prefect issued orders, his face creased with concern. Where was Violet? Oh, there, having a fight with someone, as usual. Something about her pleading expression compelled Sal to go find out what was happening.

Violet was just turning away from the prefect she'd been arguing with when Sal appeared at her side.

"What's up?" He asked innocently.

"Oh, you know, the usual, a huge man-eating troll's roaming around the school." Violet replied, her voice dripping with irritable sarcasm.

"So, what you yelling at the prefect for?"

Violet looked around, grabbed Sal's arm and literally dragged him through the crowd and out into the corridor. Once they turned a corner and were out of sight, Violet told Sal about Hermione.

"Oh god, Violet, she'll be okay. The troll is terrorising the dungeon, not being a peeping tom in the girls toilet."

Violet's expression suddenly turned stubborn.

"Okay, okay!" Sal said, raising his hands in defeat. "Wait a sec, I'll go get Harry."

"But-" Violet began.

"I mean it. I'll just be a minute, wait right here, then we'll all go."

Sal disappeared around the corner and into the thinning crowd. Five seconds later, Violet ran in the opposite direction, towards the girls toilet.

Sal and Harry rushed back to Violet, only to find her conspicuously absent. Sal was just about to utter a string of obscenities when Harry pulled him down behind a suit of armour.


"Shh!" Harry whispered. A moment later, Quirrell ran past them, looking very nervous.

"He's going to wrong way…" Harry mused, after Quirrell's footsteps had receded.

"Um, bigger problems to worry about at the moment." Sal said, already sprinting towards the girls toilets.

The troll was lumbering towards them, it's small, moist eyes fixed hungrily upon the cowering figures. It made a grumbling noise and raised its club.

"Hermione, MOVE!" Violet screamed, pushing the girl roughly. At the last second she did, both of them diving out of the way at the last second. Porcelain and tiling shattered, filling the air with dust. The troll swung around, reading itself for a second attack.

"Fuck." Violet whispered, realising they were now trapped in a corner.

"Oh my god!" Yelled Sal, crashing into the bathroom and taking in the sight of the slobbering 12 foot troll and it's enormous wooded weapon. "OH MY GOD!"

"Huuuurrr…" Grumbled the troll, swivelling it's lumpy head, distracted by Sal's outburst.

Then all hell broke loose. Violet and Hermione tried to take advantage of the troll's preoccupation and run past, but their movement brought it's focus back to them. The club swung in a wide arc, smashing mirrors and sinks along the way. The girls dropped to the floor then began scrambling away, cutting their knees and palms on broken glass. The troll started stamping around, trying to step on them instead, it's arms swinging wildly.

Sal and Harry had spread out. Sal was furiously sending curses at the troll, with zero effect. Harry was trying to reach the girls when he realised it was futile. Any second now its feet or club were going to connect, and someone would die. It was this thought that made Harry grab a large chunk of stone, climb a remaining section of cabinet and leap onto the trolls back.

He nearly stuffed it up, nearly lost his grip and slid uselessly down the trolls back. Only adrenaline and desperation kept his left arm locked around the trolls thick, slimy neck. He then brought his right hand up and, gritting his teeth, gouged the jagged rock into the trolls face. The next thing Harry knew he was holding on for dear life as the troll stampeded around, trying to shake him off. It's club was flying in mad directions almost hitting him twice, then the club was gone. The troll stopped in confusion then a resounding crack was heard as the giant piece of wood connected with the trolls head. A second later it was on the floor. Harry rolled off, landing in an undignified heap, the bloody stone still clutched in his hand.
Harry stood shakily and only just had time to notice Violet still pointing her wand at the troll when the teachers entered.

"Gee, you're a bit late!" Sal barked, blood streaming from small cut above his eye.

Hermione spluttered incoherently and looked at Sal in disbelief. Yeah, you're right, probably shouldn't have said that. Sal thought as his heart rate slowed.

It took several seconds for the teachers to take in the situation, which gave Violet time to put away her wand, Harry to ditch the rock and stand beside his siblings, Sal to wipe the blood from his face and Hermione to imagine just how many ways a student can be punished.

None of the Snape children were eager to look at their father directly.

"Explain!" Severus said in that quiet, deadly voice of his.

"Well, you see, professors," Harry began, but then realised he had no idea what they were doing in this bathroom. Sal hadn't stopped to explain. "Um… ah…"

"Hermione was in the bathroom. She was… upset." Violet said. "And I came to warn her, you know, about the troll being in the dungeon…"

"But as you can see," Sal piped up, seemingly determined to get them all expelled, "The troll wasn't in the dungeon." Hermione discreetly leant closer to Sal and pinched him, hard.

There was a long silence, filled only by the sound of water gushing from broken faucets.

McGonagall snapped. "WELL OBVIOUSLY IT WASN'T IN THE BLOODY DUNGEON! WHICH IS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE GONE STRAIGHT TO YOUR DORMITORIES!" Her voice got squeaky at the end of her outburst and she paused, seemingly to get a grip on herself. Harry thought this probably wasn't a good time to mention the troll-dungeon-Slytherin dormitory thing.

Instead he peeked at his father, and his heart fell. Severus wasn't staying out of the conversation out of leniency, it was doing the exact same thing as McGonagall, fighting to keep his temper in check. It was then that Harry realised they were in deep trouble.

"Rounding up stragglers." McGonagall continued more calmly, "Is a job for a prefect. Care to tell my why you didn't see fit to inform one of them?"

"I TRIED!" Violet raged, furious tears spilling down her dirty cheeks. "I tried, but he said no. He said I'm not running around the corridors looking for your friend. He said go ask daddy to do you a favour!" She continued to sob, head in her hand, having a small breakdown. I nearly died, blood is dripping down my legs, there's a dead troll next to me and you're standing here lecturing me? Harry put his arm around her and felt her shaking.

"You should have found a teacher, then!" McGonagall continued, but Violet was beyond answering.

"Leave it, Minerva." Severus interrupted. "You lot, get to the hospital wing. Professor McGonagall and I will be there shortly."

Madam Pompfrey bustled around them, dabbing at their wounds and applying a salve that both stung and burnt. None of them felt much like talking, except Hermione who kept whispering "I'm so sorry."

Severus and McGonagall reappeared, their previous shock and anger somewhat dissipated.

"Okay." McGonagall snapped. "What I was to know is why you're all not dead."

"I dropped the trolls club on it's head." Violet said shortly. "With a levitation charm."

"What happened to it's eye?" Severus asked.

"That was me." Harry replied. "I hit with a rock. Several times." Severus gave him a disbelieving look. "After I climbed onto its back to distract it." He finished quickly.

Severus Snape coloured in anger. What a reckless Gryffindor thing to do…. Risk his life for a… a… distraction? He was about to open his mouth, to criticise every aspect of their foolish behaviour, from Hermione's pathetic sulking, to Violet blindly endangering her brothers to Harry jumping on a trolls back like a moron, but Minerva began speaking first.

"You will each receive fifty points for looking out for a fellow student and possibly saving a life." McGonagall told the triplets. "What you did was stupid and dangerous, but ultimately very noble." Violet found this very comforting. Who cared about losing or gaining points when they were nearly killed?

McGonagall seemed to read her expression. "And I will be speaking to the prefects of each house. To remind them how important their duties are in a time of crisis. The prefect you asked for help, Miss Snape, will lose his badge and get detention. I assume it was Mr. Niles?" Violet nodded. Severus didn't agree with Minerva rewarding his children for nearly getting themselves killed, but didn't contradict her.

"Well. You may return to your dormitories one Madam Pompfrey gives you leave." McGonagall then left without giving them a second look.

Severus turned to follow, but Violet's slumped shoulders and tear-tracked face made him pause. He gave her a quick hug, kissed her dusty hair and followed McGonagall through the door.

Violet gave the floor a small smile.

They headed to the headmasters office together and Minerva berated him the entire way. It wasn't the first time she had criticised his treatment of the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws and usually Severus tuned her out. This time, however, her words had barbs.

"Did you actually think your behaviour was helping them! Alienating them from their houses. I thought you were more intelligent, Severus. You let your ridiculous sense of pride blind you. I don't blame that Ravenclaw prefect.. wait that's not true, I'm gonna wring his neck, actually… But you're just as responsible, Severus. You nearly lost them all tonight, all three of them. You're a bloody fool."

"I know."

If you guys want to give me a present R&R I'm hoping to go well over one-hundred before I wake up

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year