It was almost curfew on the third day of the term, when Harry entered Snape's and his quarters. Snape was sitting at his armchair reading a potion's magazine. A stack of books was on the coffee table. He took his eyes from what he was reading for a moment.
"Twenty minutes to curfew."
"I am glad to see you too…" Harry entered and slumped on the sofa in front of Severus, and removed his shoes. "Why can't I have my detentions with you? Don't you need the lab to be cleaned? What about your famous collection of dirty cauldrons?"
"The term has just began the cauldrons start piling after the second week…"
Harry breathed deeply and snuggled into the pillows. He still had to review his homework…
"Evidently you have not enjoyed your detentions this far, so their memory is going to be a good deterrent when you contemplate doing something dangerous or thoughtless, again."
"Dad… he is having me answering his fan mail!"
"That will help you improve your penmanship, if nothing else..." Snape kept reading his journal.
"You are not going to get any sympathy from me, young man. You still have three more detentions to fulfill and there is not use in complaining to me. Do you plan to stay for the night?"
"No. I guess I better go. Don't want McGonagall on my case for breaking curfew… and I don't want to interrupt your reading…" Snape closed the journal and watched Harry slumped on the sofa. The child's eyes were closed… but he looked tired. Minerva had scheduled Weasley's and Harry's detentions with out asking him to take them. He was not sure if she thought he would be too hard or too soft with the two miscreants, but he could tell that Harry was miserable.
"Did you just answer his mail?" Harry opened his eyes and saw that Snape placed a cup of chocolate on the table in front of him. He leaned onto it and caught the sweet warm smell… he had always loved it. He took a sip and looked up to his father.
"I know that doesn't seem to be too hard, dad, and he insists that he wants to take it easy on me… he keeps reading the letters of his fans aloud to inspire me! How many ways are there to call a person handsome? I get so tired of hearing him that I even started singing to myself… I think that I want to quiet him with a silencing charm…"
"If you curse a teacher you will have problems sitting, are we clear?"
"Yes, dad. But I would appreciate it if you were to find a couple of cauldrons for me to wash…"
"Do not let any of your classmates hear that or my reputation will suffer…"
"No one would believe it." Harry placed the empty cup on the table and stood stiffly. "Thanks for the chocolate, I guess I have to go now…"
Snape stood to. "I'll walk you to the tower."
They left the dungeons and as the corridors were empty this close to curfew Snape passed his arm over Harry's shoulder and felt gladly that the boy snuggled a little against him…
"Thanks… for the chocolate. Sorry for all the whining…"
"You can whine all you want when you are at home, son." Snape thought for a moment and said, "Come tomorrow evening before dinner… I'll have things for you to do. I'll arrange it with Minerva."
"For detention?" Harry couldn't believe how hopeful he sounded.
"You may call it that if you want." Harry could tell that Snape had one of his rare smiles. "Bring your books, I also want to see how are you organizing for the term."
Snape walked back to his quarters amazed, not for the first time, about the many ways the child had changed him.
A week later, Snape had been walking toward the dungeons after picking some interesting parchments from the library, on his way he almost crashed with a fuming Madam Hooch, followed by three shamefaced kids; she had their wands in her hand and had been marching them through the corridors to Dumbledore's office. As Malfoy was in his house and Harry was his son, she accepted to leave them with Snape to sort things out.
He escorted them to his office and asked them to stand in front of his desk.
Malfoy was standing straight and looking at the wall. Weasley was looking a little green and standing beside a bucket that was full of slugs. And Harry was interested in his shoes. Three wands were on the desk and two brooms were standing by the wall behind the desk.
"Fighting in the quidditch field… pointing wands and using magic outside classrooms… plain brawling…"
"It was not Slytherin turn on the quidditch field…" Mumbled Harry.
"You said we could use the field today, sir."
"Yes. Mr. Malfoy, I said that you could use the field as soon as the team there ended their practice…"
"They had already used it for 3 hours, sir."
"It was the Gryffindor trials… Dad, we had just started, Wood had booked the field for all morning!"
"You agreed that we needed to practice… I had barely flown with the team!"
"And you were going to duel for the use of the field! You should have allowed your respective captains to settle it with Madam Hooch. You know fighting is against the rules and you are not supposed to point your wands at each other. What curse did you use on Weasley, Mr. Malfoy?"
"I didn't do that, professor." Malfoy sounded indignant. Snape looked incredulous. Weasley had stopped throwing up slugs in the bucket just a couple of minutes ago. It was clear that Harry had not done that. That only left Malfoy…
"It was mine, sir… I… a jinx… sir. It bounced back at me."
Snape could tell that Malfoy was surprised about the redheaded boy's confession.
"It bounced?" Snape asked interested
"Yes, sir…" Weasley placed his hand between his robes before realizing that his wand was not there… he looked at the desk… "My wand is not working properly…"
Snape took the wand at looked at it. The wand was splintered at the middle and had some spell-o-tape keeping the pieces together. Snape looked incredulous.
"What happened to this wand, Mr. Weasley?" Wands were almost indestructible to his knowledge.
"I… it got bended during the landing of the car… on the 'Whomping Willow' it got hit by one of the branches. I… tried to repair it but…"
"Wands can not be repaired with spell-o-tape, Weasley" Said Snape with contempt. "A crack like this would make it very unreliable and dangerous. Do you mean to tell me that you have been using this wand in class since the beginning of the term? Have you informed your parents? Are you getting a replacement?" Snape started talking dangerously slow.
"Not really, sir… I mean… I have not told them… they were very angry after the car thing and…"
"They do not have any money to get him a new one. The Weasels are poorer than rats. Blood traitors!" Said Malfoy, between teeth… with the clear intent to be heard.
"Shut up, Malfoy" Harry thumped Draco. Draco staggered and was about to fall when Snape took him by his arm. Once his student was balanced he turned and took Harry unceremoniously by the scruff of his neck and stood him facing the wall.
Ron's face was redder than his hair.
Draco looked smug.
Snape had hoped to be able to read the old parchments. After he was sure that Harry was well placed he turned and his stare removed the smile from Draco's face.
"Mr. Malfoy, go to your common room, you are to stay there for the rest of the day. You'll have detention with me tomorrow morning after breakfast."
"Yes, sir." Malfoy flinched at the pronounced sentence, being sent to his common room on a Saturday evening and having detention on Sunday morning! He looked lovingly at his broom; he was not going to dare to ask his house Master for it. Not until after detention. At least he was being allowed to go, he turned and smirked at Ron… he was about to take his wand when Snape said.
"You will get your wand back for class on Monday." The smirk was erased from Malfoy's face and He walked dejectedly out.
Snape closed the door and turned to look at Ron.
"Mr. Weasley, use the floo powder in the mantel to Floo call your parents…"
"No, please… sir."
"What did you say?"
"Please don't expel me…"
"Draco was calling Mr. Arthur names, Dad. He… " Harry said turning from the corner.
"I am not expelling you, Weasley, you will have detention just like Malfoy. I want you to call your father to tell him about the wand. You need a replacement."
Ron kneeled and a couple more of slugs fell into the bucket. He stood up and kept pleading with Snape.
"I will be careful, Sir. I won't use it if you… Even if they learn about the wand… They… I mean they won't be able to afford a new one, sir." Ron's face was redder than his hair.
Snape understood Ron's predicament. He could hear Harry holding his breath in the corner.
"Mr. Weasley you are going to inform your father that your wand needs a replacement. And then you are going to tell him that I will provide you with the funds for a new one and that you are going to work for me, to pay back the cost of it."
"Work, Professor?" Ron couldn't believe his ears. Snape was going to buy him a new wand! They were very expensive!
"Yes. Mr. Weasley you will help me prepare potions ingredients twice a week until Christmas."
"Really, Sir? I mean... thanks, Sir."
"I will keep your damaged wand until we could go to 'Diagon Alley' for a new one."
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."
"Proceed with the call, now."
"Yes, sir… sir… Do I have to tell them about… the slugs… I mean… it was really an accident…"
"You mean to say that it was an accident that your wand was out or for you to have ended throwing up slugs as the charm was directed at Mr. Malfoy?"
"I'm sorry, sir. I just wanted Malfoy to shut up…"
"You will inform your father about the morning happenings and tell him that I would talk to him if he needs me to. "
"Yes, sir." Ron walked to the mantel, took a fistful of powder, threw it in the fireplace and kneeling called for the Burrow, soon enough the kitchen appeared and Ron was glad that it was his father whom answered.
Meanwhile Snape stood behind Harry.
"You may turn, Mr. Potter."
Harry obeyed; he kept looking at the floor.
"I'm sorry, dad."
"Son, can you give me a reason for what happened this morning? The last time I saw you three together you were friends."
Harry heard that the tone of voice had changed, sound more tired than angry. He looked up.
"I am not sure… dad… I can guess… Ron told me that; Mr. Malfoy and Mr. Weasley had an argument at 'Diagon Alley' when they went to get the supplies for school. They almost punched each other… And Draco has been behaving strange since the beginning of the term… he… we have not really talked… He is angry with us. He said we were just wanting to show off by the way we arrived… and this morning he was really rude with Ron about his family… Ron… I… I am not sure who took the wand out first… Madam Hooch… Are you keeping my wand too?"
Harry felt weird with out his wand.
"You may pick it up Monday before class…"
"And your broom will stay in here until next Wednesday."
"Dad… no please, the trials…"
"I doubt it that the Gryffindors would get a better seeker, son. No flying for you until next Wednesday, hopefully that will be a reminder."
"I was not fighting at all I…"
Ron returned at that moment.
"Have you talked with your father?"
"Yes, sir. He thanks you for letting me work for the wand…"
"What did he say about the brawl?"
"He said that… it was a school thing and… that I should have a school punishment. He said that he… trusts you."
"I see. Detention with me on Monday and Tuesday, next week, Weasley. After dinner."
"But Draco is only getting one detention!" said Harry.
"Mr. Malfoy, didn't throw sluggish curses."
"He throw something, he missed Ron because I pushed him!"
"Mr. Malfoy's punishment is not in discussion here. Monday and Tuesday, Weasely."
"Yes, sir." Ron started coughing and run to the bucket to throw some more slugs. Snape waited for him to stand up and then gave him a vial.
"This will get rid of the slugs."
"Thank you, sir."
"Now, you two, go to your common room and spend the rest of the day finishing your homework. There will be a potions test on Monday. I do not want to see you again until meal time at the great hall."
Harry sighed for his wand and looked at the brooms that were leaning on the desk, at least Draco's broom was also there. He knew that it was futile to keep pleading. He turned and was surprised that Ron shook hands with his father. He had to admit that it had gone better than what he thought. Harry gave Snape a quick hug and both boys left the dungeons relieved about the last encounter with the potions master.
Once out of the dungeons, Harry decide to take a detour from the way to the tower. As they were walking he stopped and turned…
"Snape said to go directly to the common room…"
"No he didn' say directly… Since when are you in such a hurry to obey him?" Harry was missing his broom and wand… and had heard a strange noise.
"Since he is going to get me a new wand, I don' want him to change his mind, mate."
"He won't…" Harry looked at his best friend, then moved his head and started walking fast. Ron walked beside him…
"Where are you going?"
"I heard something… It will take us only a moment to investigate…"
"But I didn't hear it…"
"You were babbling so much about the trip to 'Diagon Alley' for your wand that I doubt you could hear a Troll coming this way..."
Ron tripped Harry and both kept pushing each other and laughing. Fooling around until they found each other in the second floor.
"Sh. Lockhart quarters are just around the corner. You don' wanna find him…"
"Harry, I still can't hear what you are hearing… this is just the girls bathroom and it is out of service…"
"How do you know?"
Ron moved Harry's face until his nose touched a paper sing by the door.
"And look…" Ron splashed his feet in the water that was outside… "Yuck! Better follow what ever you are hearing to the kitchens… I'm hungry."
"Yes, I know… it was disgusting… but… after that thing that Snape gave me… it's over and I'm hungry…"
Harry stopped at the middle of the hall and was turning his head, like looking for a faint sound.
"What is it that you're hearing, Mate? Maybe it was Peeves… and we are going to fall in a trap…"
"We are not first years anymore…" Harry kept moving his head looking for the voice, finally he sighed, "It's gone now… It was like someone mumbling… talking with himself… but it seemed very… angry... like a…" Harry turned to look at his friend and then said, "let's go to the kitchens."
On Sunday morning, at the breakfast table, Ron and Harry were talking about the trip to get the wand, they mentioned the voice that Harry heard and the test for potions.
Hermione put a spoonful of granola on her plate of fruit, and looked at her friends angrily…
"You could have told me before…!"
"What?" Ron asked with a mouthful of toast. "I bet Harry's ears were still tingling after Snape's lecture. I didn' hear a thing, even when we went back to the corridor…"
"About Monday's test! I won't be able to review all the material!"
"Hermione it's only the second week of classes, we had only had 3 potions' classes…"
"Did Professor Snape say if he was going to ask about the additional lectures?"
"He didn't give us a guide, he only said that there was going to be a test on Monday…"
Hermione shook her head in disbelief they should have told her yesterday! "Hurry up with your breakfast I have to review my notes and…" She stood up.
Harry and Ron saw her leave the table. Ron took another toast and the strawberry jam.
"She won't let us rest… I wanted to play some snap and…"
"Let's go to the library…"
"Are you insane?"
"Listen… Hermione is going to the common room! She won't think about looking for us in the library."
Ron followed his best friend into the library and through the bookcases. As it was Sunday of the second week of the term, the place was almost empty.
"Here are the potion's books… Don' you think she'll look here?"
"She already has all the copies she need in the common room… Any way… keep it quiet…"
Ron rummaged into his robe and took out a pack of cards from a pocket.
"We should have asked her to use her wand to quiet the cards. Snape still has to take me for my new wand…"
"He'll give me mine tomorrow… Didn't he tell you when were you going?"
"Na… He just said that I would have to wait until he could be spared from the castle for an afternoon…" Ron was going to add that he was a Greasy Git, but thought it was not appropriate, after all Snape was going to pay for his wand…
They turned at the last bookcase and found a table with a couple of chairs. Ron placed the cards on the table. A blond figure stood up beside the case.
"What are you doing here?" Malfoy sounded surprised and annoyed.
"Beat it, Malfoy. Why are you not flying on your new, broom? Afraid of scratching it? " Draco pulled a chair and sat down. He took the cards and started shuffling them. Ron looked at him amused… the three had been punished because of him and now here he was inviting himself to Ron's cards…
"Professor Snape, kept my broom, Weasley. Don't you remember?"
"I couldn't notice. I was burping slugs…"
"He kept mine too." Said Harry commiserating with the blond boy. "Are you still on the team?"
"Yea… they would loose the brooms if I'm out of the team… Isn't it great? Friends bought with brooms…"
"Why? Couldn't you just be on the try outs?"
"Leave it to my ability? That is not the Malfoy's way… Why risk it…? after all he has more than enough galleons to buy brooms and my place in the team…
"Does my father know?"
"What would he do? He doesn't choose the team… he doesn't even like the game…" Draco kept quiet. Ron and Harry didn't know what to say.
"Sorry I pushed you, Potter… but… my father… It seems that he doesn't want me associating with you or Weasley…"
"I didn't ask. But… after that… disagreement in 'Diagon Alley'… someone from the Ministry went searching for dark objects into Malfoy Manor…"
"Did they find something?"
Draco just glared.
"Sorry…" Ron sat.
"So are we playing snap?"
"Too noisy…" Harry shrugged. "Snape also kept my wand."
"Are you going to hang out with us?"
"Yep. Just remember that we are not friends… what are you doing here?"
"Hiding for Hermione…"
"She wants us to study for a potions test…"
"A potions test?"
"No you don't…" Ron divided the cards.
Thanks a lot to Kat for helping me edit this chapter. Thanks to all that still reading. I will try to update soon. I appreciate your reviews very much.