Title : working title – Hogwarts under siege
Author : odyssey
Disclaimer : This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Brothers Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Spoilers : to be safe – for all four books
Summary : When a mysterious disease attacks Hogwarts in Harry´s 7th year it is up to Prof. Snape to find a cure in time.
Rating : to be really safe – PG-13
Preliminary comments : I apologize in advance for all grammatical or other errors but this is the best I can do without a beta-reader. I hope that they will not reduce the `reading quality´.
Please review and let me know that someone is reading this story. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.
Dedication : To all the great fanfic-writers whose stories have brought me hours of pleasant entertainment. I hope that I can give some of it back with my little narration.
`Firs-years over here! This way!´
A loud voice roared overcoming the noise of the students who had just arrived with the Hogwarts express. The shadowed silhouette of a giant of a man could be seen over a few dozen pointed hats, perched on top of nervous pupils´ heads.
Hermione pushed herself up onto the tips of her toes and started waving her arms enthusiastically.
`Hagrid! Over here!´ She hopped up and down in excitement trying in vain to catch the man´s attention.
`Here, let me help.´ her friend Ron Weasley, a tall, freckled red-head offered and started shouting himself. `Hagrid! Hag-´ his voice broke momentarily, changing from the deep tenor that he had developed over the past year into his high childhood-voice. Ron´s eyebrows rose in panic – hopefully no one had noticed that! Damn puberty and the thousand ways of embarrassment that accompanied it! He swore softly as he noticed the muffled laughter beside him. `What´s so funny about that, Potter?´ Ron addressed his best friend who desperately tried to keep a straight face.
`Nothing, Ron, it´s just…´
He was spared any further troubles as Hermione finally got Hagrid´s attention and the huge teacher approached the group.
`Harry! Ron!´ the half-giant cried in delight, `And Hermione!´ He threw his huge arms around the three friends, nearly chocking them with his welcome. `Ready for your last year?´
Muffled sounds escaped from Hagrid´s tight embrace and reminded him that the young pupils needed some air to breathe. A deep blush crept over Hagrid´s hairy face and with a shy smile he released Ron, Harry and Hermione. `Oops´ Hagrid chuckled. `Ye should have said somethin´.
`No harm done´ Harry - ever the diplomat – smiled while running his hands through his untidy black hair.
`Has Dumbledore found a replacement for our lost DADA-teacher?´ Ron asked, referring to the `cursed´ job which had been occupied every year by an other teacher.
Hagrid furrowed his brows. `I think so, yes. He´s – wait a minute!´ His eyebrows shot up until they almost touched the brim of his hair. `Hermione! Is that what I think it is?´ he beamed and pointed at a slim badge that proclaimed `HG´ in delicate silver letters.
Hermione grinned up at him and nodded.
`Our Hermione! She´s Head Girl!´ Hagrid roared and lifted her up into the air, swirling her around while Hermione squealed in a very un-lady-like fashion.
Ron and Harry beamed at her, both clearly proud of `their´ Hermione.
`It was to be expected, wasn´t it ?´ Harry grinned.
`Most intelligent witch of her generation, I reckon.´ Ron chimed in proudly.
`That only proves that this generation has lowered its standards concerning intelligent witches.´ a cold voice drawled behind them. `Isn´t the giant supposed to attend to the first-years? Dumbledore should get better personnel.´
Hagrid blushed once more, furious both with the intruder as well as his enthusiasm which had made him neglect his duties for a few minutes. Muttering a good-bye into his beard he lowered Hermione gently to the ground and made off towards a group of chattering first-years.
`Malfoy, you…!´ Ron was about to start one of his famous hate-tirades, but was interrupted by his own his cracking voice which suddenly turned high once more.
`Now this is scary´ Draco Malfoy laughed in an artificial high voice. `Bad boy Weasley is threatening to squeak me to death!´
Crabbe and Goyle, two thugs the size of full grown gorillas and Draco´s constant companions, broke into grunting laughter sending bits of spit flying while Draco merely raised an elegant eyebrow and smirked in his infuriating way.
`You should work on your voice, Weasley. See you later, losers´ he drawled and lazily headed for a group of snickering Slitherins; Crabbe and Goyle following him like well-trained animals.
`Well´ Harry sighed, `this only shows that there are some constants in life : the sun is yellow, the summer sky blue and Malfoy is a stupid ferret.´
`Too true, my friend, too true´ Ron muttered, still nurturing his wounded pride.
Together they prepared to cross the lake which would bring them to the castle.
The new term started without surprises. The overly excited first-years were sorted without difficulties, there was a great feast right after Dumbledore´s traditional speech (`Strawberry! Feather quills! Plum!´) and the new defence against the dark arts teacher, a thin middle-aged man by the fanciful name of Prof. Hicks, was introduced and scowled at by Prof. Snape who had once again been passed over and was thereby forced to remain potions-teacher.
Classes had not changed either : Prof. McGonagall was still strict but fair, Prof. Trelawny insisted that Harry´s death was close at hand and Prof. Binns, the history of magic teacher, droned on and on in an endless monologue. In fact, the seventh year was in serious danger to turn out to be the most boring year that Harry and his friends had ever had.
`Voldemort´s been awfully quiet lately, don´t you think?´ Harry turned his attention to Ron while Prof. Snape was scribbling wildly on the blackboard. Ron´s face went pale.
`Will you stop saying that name?´ he hissed between clenched teeth.
`But he has been quiet. I´m sure he´s up to something.´ Harry insisted.
`Maybe he has given up. Maybe he has gotten himself a life and is getting tanned on a remote beach in the pacific?´
Harry snorted and returned his attention to his potion which was brewing happily in his cauldron. A few minutes of concentrated stirring passed.
`We should sneak out tonight and search for secret passageways.´ Ron finally decided.
`We already know all secret passageways.´
`Well, we could re-discover them. Or re-decorate them. Whatever!´
Both went back to their cauldrons, stirring the potion as if it was the most fascinating thing in the world. The minutes dragged by.
`Maybe we should try and discover Prof. Hicks dark secret. He´s our DADA-teacher after all, so he has got to have a dark secret!´ Harry suggested hopefully but Ron merely shrugged.
`He´s going bald. There´s nothing dark or mysterious about that.´
Both boys sighed in resignation and fixed their eyes on Hermione´s and Neville´s backs who were sitting right in front of them.
`How about trying some new pranks? Fred and George send me a new invention of theirs.´ Ron finally whispered.
`Or how about paying attention to the lesson?´ a silky voice interrupted their conversation.
Harry and Ron froze. Snake towered over them, dark hair framing his pale face contrasting sharply with his glittering black eyes.
`P-P-Prof. Snape?´ Ron stuttered.
`Expected someone else, Weasley?´
`No, Sir. Absolutely not, Sir. I -´
`Quiet, boy.´ the potions master snapped, than continued in a deceiving mild voice. `As much as I loathe interrupting your conversation for something as trivial as potions, I am afraid I have no choice but to do it nevertheless.´ Snape´s voice was dripping with sarcasm. `Now that you have granted me honour of your attention, would you please be so kind and -´
Suddenly a gurgling noise filled the room and Moira Donovan, a curly haired Gryffindor, clutched her throat with trembling fingers. She prepared to scream, but only managed to produce a hoarse croak as a sickly green fluid sipped out of her mouth and nose. Snape was with her in an instant forgetting his deliciously planned punishment for Potter and Weasley immediately.
`Draco! Get Pomfrey!´ He shouted and the silver-haired boy shot out of his seat at once and ran out of the dungeons at a neck-breaking speed. `Moira!´ Snape turned his attention back to the coughing student who was now leaning heavily into his arms. `Can you hear me, Moira?´
The girl tried to answer, but doubled over as an other wave of sticky green liquid poured out of her mouth. Green tears tickled down her face as she raised her panic filled eyes.
`It´s ok, girl. Don´t strain yourself.´ Snape whispered in an unfamiliar soothing voice as he gently supported her head and made her bend forwards so that she wouldn´t choke on the liquid. Merlin´s beard! What could that be? No known potion could ever induce this kind of reaction! An allergic reaction perhaps? No, it was too uncommon for that. Anyway, she would not make it to Madame Pomfrey in this shape. He had to stop that uncanny emerald flow.
He ran his wand over her back and murmured relaxing charms for what seemed like eternity while the rest of his class was suspended in shock. Finally the coughing subsided and the thick flow turned into a thin dripping of green drops that stained her chin and robes. Moira whimpered weakly as Snape decided that she was fit to be transported, lifted her up into his arms and ran to the infirmary after informing the class briskly to clear the room and return into their respective common rooms.