51

A Cauldron Bubbling

Alethea27

Minerva leaned over to Horace the next morning as they were eating breakfast and said, "Albus was telling me this morning that Mr. Potter fire-called him last night, insisting that he examine everybody's wand to find who the culprit was that cast the spell that caused Mr. Potter's and Mr. MacTavish's hair to fall out."

Horace snorted and replied, "Good luck with that! He may as well put the entire school in detention because that's how many people dislike Misters Potter and MacTavish."

"You don't need to tell me, Horace, and Mr. Potter was behaving as a spectacular sore loser at the end of the match on Saturday."

"Are you thinking about having him on the Gryffindor team next year again? I believe one of your Chasers is graduating this year."

"I don't know. He's an excellent flyer, but his attitude would need to improve vastly before I'd even consider it. He has no idea of the definition of teamwork."

Horace shook his head. "I don't understand Mr. Potter's continued attitude. I've had plenty of only children in my house over the years and while it's true that some did start out bratty; they were quickly pulled to the curb by their Housemates."

"Yes, but they didn't have Charles and Mavis Potter for parents either," Minerva pointed out. "Or a headmaster who allowed them to get away with all kinds of bad behavior for the first two years."

"That's certainly true," Horace answered. "But Albus is aware that the Board is keeping a close eye on his actions due to his inaction regarding Mr. Potter's behavior. It's too bad they can't do the same for the Potter's inaction regarding Mr. Potter's discipline."

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

The teens walked from their defense class. It was their last class of the day and they were talking animatedly. Today, Professor Gold had taught them a few of the simpler defense spells they could use in a confrontation with an opponent.

"It's really a good idea," Jane said. "As your opponent would be expecting you to use a more complex spell than a Knockback Jinx. It would catch them off their guard."

"I thought it was good advice that he stressed that we should vary our spells too," Frank added. "And not use the same one all the time."

"Yes, so it doesn't become permanently linked to you and all your opponents would know right off what to expect," Lily added.

"Like Potter and Expelliarmus," Severus pointed out. "When I get partnered with him; he's on the floor within five seconds because I already know he's going to use Expelliarmus first thing and it's easy to disarm him."

Remus shook his head. "I can't believe that he doesn't see that either. A first year could probably take him down as long as they knew he always uses Expelliarmus first."

"He thinks he's smarter than Professor Gold that's why," Pete said. "So he doesn't listen to anything he has to say."

"I liked to see Pothead duel a dark wizard," Jane snapped. "He's probably mess his pants first thing!"

Frank chuckled. "And then the dark wizard would drop dead just from the smell alone because when Potter farts, it really stinks!"

"And then he'd claim he dueled him to the death," Emily giggled.

"The only way he could get him anyway is if the Death Eater had to duel one handed because he was holding his nose shut with his other hand," Sirius joked.

The teens walked into the Great Hall for lunch. They saw Caddaric and Irene sitting at the Hufflepuff table and joined them. Lily, Irene, and Emily had been busy researching Charms for their planned map while Sirius had been helping Severus, Frank, Remus and Pete design the map. As he had said he did know a lot more about Hogwarts than the rest of them.

Since Dorian and Tav were a year ahead of the rest; their knowledge of Charms was invaluable as was Jane's and Reg's willingness to explore and report back.

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Daniel, Mary, and Lisa lounged in the Gryffindor Common Room after Defense, munching on the contents of the big box of sweets Mavis had sent James as a consolation for the humiliation he had suffered at the spell that made all his hair fall out in front of the entire school. Formerly she would have also sent chocolate cookies for James to give to Dumbledore, but since he had revealed himself not to be on James' side; she wasn't going to bother.

James strode back and forth in front of them. "I know one of them did that to me and you, but I don't know which one," he said. ""The entire school was laughing at us because we were bald!"

"It was quite humiliating," Daniel agreed. "They had to be older to know whatever spell they used on us so it was likely Arsedrew and DePuka."

"My godfather refused to do anything to find out who did it," James said, dropping on the couch beside Mary. "He told my dad it was just a prank and Madam Pomfrey fixed us up in a few minutes."

"Huh!" Mary snorted. "He didn't have the entire school laughing at him and you can't 'fix' that."

Lisa sniffed. "The only purebloods in the bunch are Black, DeLuca, Lillibridge, Longbottom and Starkey and two of them are Slytherins so Merlin knows what they get up to. The rest of them are mutts."

"Snivellus is a half-blood. My mum remembers when his mum married that Muggle. My mum said it was the biggest disgrace ever!" Daniel said.

"Snivellus is the best example of why purebloods shouldn't marry Muggles," Mary said

"We need to find a good hex to get back at them and show them what a waste of space they are," Daniel said.

James scrunched up his face, thinking. "Well, I did find this book last year that had some really good hexes in it, but I don't know if I can find it again and I don't remember the name of it either."

"Well, do you remember any words in the book title at all?" Daniel asked a bit impatiently.

"Yes, I think the word obscure or maybe it was obscura was part of it," James answered. "But I don't remember the section of the library I found it in and we can't ask Pince to find it for us either because she'll run tattling to McGonagall because she knows I used it last year to cast that flea hex on that bunch of prats."

Daniel let out a loud sigh of frustration. Except for Transfiguration and Defense, James sometimes seemed as thick as a plank! "Well, if it was a book of hexes, we'll probably find it in the Charms section of the library."

"We can go look before dinner," Mary said enthusiastically. She couldn't wait to get back at those two brats she had the misfortune to share a dorm room with for all the misery they had caused her over the last three years, including the recent Howler she'd gotten from her parents when she and James had been caught following Remus under James' cloak.

"We probably shouldn't all go together and look in the same section of the library either or Pince may get suspicious," Lisa suggested.

"Good point, Lisa," Daniel complimented her. "We'll go one at a time and stay out of Pince's sight."

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Minerva was working on her lesson plan when there was a knock on her door. She looked up to see over the door the names Horace Slughorn, Pomona Sprout, and Filius Flitwick. "Come in, please," she called and then summoned her personal elf to bring tea and biscuits.

The heads came in and sat down on the comfortable sofa and squashy chairs in her office. Minerva poured tea and passed around the biscuits. "Is there a problem in the making since you've all come to see me at once?"

"Other than the fact that we think there might be another hex war brewing between Mr. Potter and his friends and Mr. Snape and his friends, no," Pomona answered.

"We haven't any proof of course, just a suspicion," Filius spoke up.

"Irma tells me she noticed Mr. Potter, Mr. MacTavish, Miss MacDonald, and Miss Troyer coming into the library one at a time lately and searching in the Charms section," Horace said.

"Well then it's a good thing I asked Irma to remove the book that Mr. Potter and Mr. Black found that flea hex in last year. If that's what they're looking for they won't find it as it's safely locked in Irma's office."

"That's good, but we still need to keep a close eye on all of them," Pomona said.

"We shall do that," Minerva said. "I see any sign of another hex war starting again; I'll have Mr. Snape and his friends and Mr. Potter and his friends in detention faster than you can say Expelliarmus," Minerva assured them. "I will not have innocent children getting caught in the crossfire."

"Not to mention us professors," Horace added.

"The other thing we wanted to discuss was if there will be another end of the year visit with the Founder's portraits?" Filius asked. "It seemed to go very well last year and the Founders seemed interested in doing it again. Lady Ravenclaw has mentioned it to me and you know how reticent she usually is."

"Yes, Salazar has been after me about it already too," Horace added. "He seems keen to do it again."

"As is Helga," Pomona replied. "She mentioned it the first day the students were back."

"I'm sure we can arrange it again. I will speak with Godric's portrait about it and let you know," Minerva said.

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Daniel chuffed as he slammed shut the book he'd been looking through and tossed it on the table. So far all their searching had produced a big, fat zero. It would be helpful if James could at least remember the section of shelves where he'd found the book as the Charms section was extensive. That would certainly narrow their search down a bit. He would really like to find the book as it sounded as it could have some interesting hexes in it.

"Is there anything I can help you find, Mr. MacTavish?" A voice asked.

He turned to find Irma standing behind him and gave her his smarmiest smile. "No, Madam. Thank you, but I believe I've found the right book for my extra credit report for Charms."

"Well, it's fifteen minutes until curfew so you'll need to check it out right now if you intend to make it back to Gryffindor Tower before nine o'clock."

As she walked away from him, Daniel made a face at her behind her back. She was almost a Squib from what his parents said. He checked out the book, receiving a warning about taking good care of it and having it back when it was due so others who needed it could use it.

He walked back to Gryffindor Tower in a huff, carrying a book he really didn't want in the first place.

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

The friends met in their usual meeting place after their last class. Peter and Sirius were absent again and Dorian, Jane, and Tav were at Quidditch practice. They had been practicing whenever Applewhite was able to reserve the pitch.

"Slytherin seems to hold more practice sessions than Gryffindor does," Lily remarked. "Their captain has them out for practice no matter what the weather," Lily remarked.

"Yeah, I know. On one hand I think Threadway should be doing the same with us, but on the other hand I'm happy not to have to fly in storms, rain or snow," Frank said.

"Where are Peter and Sirius?" Severus asked. "It seems they've been missing a lot lately and not because of Quidditch either."

Frank shrugged. "They've been spending a lot of time in the library and doing a lot of whispering when they think Remus and I are asleep," he said softly and then lowered his voice even further. "I overheard them say something about helping Remus, but I don't know what they're planning to do."

Severus frowned. "Well, I don't think they're trying to invent the Wolfsbane Potion so it must be something else."

Lily was sitting beside Severus doing her Charms essay looked up at Severus comment. She put down her Charms book and dug into her book bag for her defense textbook. She paged through it swiftly to the part on Werewolves. She had been reading ahead and recalled something she had read in that chapter. She quickly found it and jogged Severus' arm. "Look at this, Sev," she urged pointing to a certain passage in the chapter.

Severus took the book from her and read where she was pointing.

"What's it say?" Frank asked with an eye on Remus who was studying with Irene.

"It says a fully transformed werewolf will not harm a human that's in an animagus form," Severus replied.

"Is that what Peter and Sirius are trying to do?" Lily asked.

"I hope not," Alice chimed in. "It can be very dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. They should talk to Professor McGonagall."

"That's a good idea, Alice," Lily said. "I'm assuming as Head of Gryffindor, she knows about Remus and as the transfiguration professor she must teach it."

"Mum once said it can take as long as two or three years before you're able to transform into your animagus form," Frank explained.

"I don't know how often it's taught here though or even if it still is. Maybe, she only has special classes for people who show an aptitude for it or interest in it," Alice said.

Severus shrugged. He had absolutely no interest in the subject. "We don't know for sure what they're doing so we really can't do anything unless they ask for our help."

"They may not even be able to manage it by themselves," Lily added.

"Sirius is quite clever and he's really good at Transfiguration," Frank pointed out. "He and Potter are about equal there."

"That's true," Severus admitted.

The door to the room appeared and opened as Jane, Dorian, and Tav came in from Quidditch practice. "Whew!" Jane said flopping down into a chair. "We had a long practice!"

Dorian grinned. "Yeah, it's Applewhite's last year and he wants to win the Cup."

"You can't blame him if he wants to go out on top," Tav replied as he grabbed a biscuit from the plate on the coffee table and sat down. "Besides, I've gotten rather used to seeing the House Cup on the mantle in our common room."

Frank grinned. "We might have some redecorating plans for you though."

The doors appeared again and Sirius and Pete entered the room.

"Where have you guys been?" Regulus asked. "It's almost dinner time."

"We've been in the library. I've been helping Pete with Transfiguration and he's been helping me with Potions." Sirius made a face. "I'm still pants at that and it's my own fault for goofing off with Potter the last two years instead of listening to Sluggy."

Since it was time for dinner, they made their way from the seventh floor to the Great Hall. Severus and Lily walked behind the rest. "Grandma owled me today that she'd sent your parents and Dorian's an invitation for you and Dorian to visit us over the holidays."

"I'm sure my parents will let me, but Tuney's written me that she'll be home for a few days during the holidays and I want to make sure I have enough time to see her. I don't think she's going to be back from Paris permanently until after we leave for Hogwarts next September."

"Grandma wrote me that checked with your mum about Petunia before she sent the invitation out."

James and his friends we're already seated in their usual spots and James was holding court as they walked past. "Here come the losers!" he said loudly.

Sirius stopped and turned around, "Losers, huh? None of our families have ever been expelled from Gringotts, Potter! It's pretty sad when even the goblins turn up their noses at you!"

James jumped to his feet with his wand out. "You take that back, Black, you dirty, dark wizard!"

Sirius quickly pulled his wand out too. "I won't take anything back, Potter! I stand by my insult!"

Minerva saw what was happening from the head table and hurried over. "Mr. Black and Mr. Potter, wands away and five points from each of you for having your wands out when you're not in class! Now be seated and be quiet!"

Reg rolled his eyes. Sirius would never learn to hold his temper and pick his battles especially around imbeciles such as Potter, MacTavish, MacDonald, and Troyer. At the rate he and Potter were losing points for Gryffindor, Slytherin or one of the other houses would win the Cup by default simply because there would be nothing left in the Gryffindor hourglass.

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Charles Potter was working in his study when his wife knocked on the door. "Charles, the elves have dinner on the table."

"Coming, dear," he called. He locked what he'd been working on away in his desk and got up.

"What are you working on, Charles? You've locked yourself in your study when you've come home for the past week and come to bed much later than normal," Mavis asked.

"A way to get back at those snooty goblins. They've gotten way above their station! How dare they treat a wizard of my standing in such a cavalier fashion?"

They sat down at the table in the dining room. As Mavis filled her plate, she asked, "What are you planning to do?"

"I'm working on plans to open another bank in Diagon Alley and I'm planning to run Gringotts into the ground! By the time I'm through with those goblins, they'll be crawling out of the wreckage of Gringotts on their hands and knees, screaming for mercy!" He proclaimed. "And they won't get any from me!"

"Or me!" Mavis declared. "And we'll have a safe place to store our money again. I worry continually that we'll be robbed by Death Eaters because, thanks to Rita Skeeter, everyone knows what happened at Gringotts and this Lord Voldemort probably knows how wealthy we are." She thought about the rooms upstairs that contained sacks of Galleons, Sickles, Knuts plus valuable artwork and heirlooms of every kind.

"Don't worry, Mavis. My bank will be warded so well that any Death Eater that tries to enter will be thrown out into the middle of the street!"

"I'm so proud of you, Charles. I know there probably are many other wizarding families who are sick of the tyranny of those goblins! They'll come flocking to our bank when it opens! What are you thinking about calling it?"

"I was thinking about calling it the First Bank of Diagon Alley and I'm already looking at tearing down that empty building next to Slug & Jiggers so when people come out of the Leaky Cauldron, our bank will be the first thing you see. I'd like to get their building too, but those two old farts refuse to move."

"Isn't there some way you can force them out of there?" Mavis asked. "There's an empty building right next to Madam Malkins where they could move."

"I pointed out that out to them. I even told them that moving there would increase their business because of all the business Madam Malkins gets, but they still refused."

"Maybe somebody could start a rumor that one or two people have gotten sick from their potions or that their ingredients aren't fresh. Maybe James' friend Daniel or Lisa parents' could accidentally let this slip at a party and then when they start losing business, they'll be more than happy to move to a better location." She hadn't suggested the MacDonalds because she knew they would never go for it.

"That's an excellent idea, Mavis, but we must make completely sure that nobody traces it back to us or all my efforts with this bank will have gone for naught."

"Of course, dear. We'll think about it some more before we act."

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

You just can't keep losing your temper like that, Siri," Reg said as they walked from the Room of Requirement. "You know what mum and dad will say if they hear you've been fighting again?"

Sirius shuddered as he recalled he'd gotten his mum's hand and his dad's ruler across his bum more than once in the last two years. "Are you going to tattle on me, Reg?"

Reg snorted loudly. "Of course not! But you need to control your temper around that idiot Potter because McGonagall's going to get fed up at some point with you two losing Gryffindor points all the time and she will write a letter home."

"I just can't stand that spoiled smuck!" Sirius swore. "He thinks he and his family are better than everybody else and his family's barely 500 years old!"

"Neither can I, but there's no point in getting into a fight with him every time he opens his stupid mouth, is there?"

"Well, no, I suppose not," Sirius grudgingly admitted.

Page ~*~*~*~* Break

Lily and Severus were bundled up in their winter cloaks, scarves, hat and gloves and standing outside in the courtyard. Lily had conjured a jar for each of them that contained a blue flame to keep their hands warm. It was only eight o'clock, but so dark they couldn't even see the Black Lake.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing Mirrorvale again and your grandparents …and you alone …away from school I mean," she explained hurriedly.

"I know," Severus nodded with a smile on his face. "I like all our friends; they're a lot of fun and I enjoy being with them, but sometimes it's really nice to be alone with just you like now and we seldom get to do this."

Lily blushed and smiled, "I was thinking the other day about how we met. Do you remember, Sev?"

Severus laughed. "Yes, Grey got away from mum and she was worried about him so she sent me out to look for him. I found you petting him and I was really surprised because he normally only let us pet him."

"I was surprised to see him because I always wanted a cat, but could never have one be because of dad's allergy to them. We had just moved in that morning and mum was trying to get the house straightened up before dad came home. Tuney and I had a fight so mum separated us; she sent me outside to play and Tuney had to play in her room by herself."

"Mum invited you over for tea when she found out you were new to the neighborhood," Severus added wistfully. Sometimes he still missed his mum and dad so bad. He felt Lily take hold of his hand.

"Its okay, Sev. I miss them too. Your mum was so nice and your dad was always telling funny jokes."

Severus smiled. "Mum had to occasionally get after him because sometimes they were kind of off-color."

"I wish things could have been different for you, Sev. I really do," Lily said earnestly a tear sliding down her cheek.

"It's okay, Lily," Severus replied brushing the tear away with his finger. "I've got grandpa and grandma plus your mum and dad so I don't feel as lonely as I did …right after it happened." Seeing her so close, Severus bent and gave Lily a soft kiss on her mouth.