Author's Note: This is another short story I wrote last summer. As always, the characters are not mine.
"I don't know..." Ron said as he ambled down the empty castle corridor, the blazing firepots throwing flickering shadows onto the dark walls. The Gryffindor lazily toted a pile of books under one arm, several of them slipping dangerously from his grasp and ready to fall any moment. "I just can't get that Draconifors spell. I don't know what I'm doing wrong..."
"You have to keep practicing, Ron." Harry replied as he walked beside his red-headed best friend, his own stack of books held against his chest. "You can't give up."
"I know, but the test is tomorrow and I still can't get the statue to come to life!"
There was a hint of panic in Ron's voice, almost the edge of hysteria and Harry paused a moment to study his pal more closer. Was that fear in his eyes? And the hand that held his wand was white knuckled. It was very odd, especially since they were on their way back to the Gryffindor common room after getting some books from the library for their upcoming essays. The tall stack of hardcovers weighed heavily in Harry's arms and he longed to put them down. Spotting the perfect place just ahead, he shoved them beside the metal feet of some unknown wizard statue that decorated the hall. Leave it to Dumbledore to fill every available inch of space with statues, paintings, tapestries, mirrors and anything else he found in far away exotic bazaars. "Ron, do you want the dragon statue to come to life?"
"After seeing what that blood Horntail did to you in the Triwizard, why would I want it to come to life? That would be just bloody stupid! That thing almost killed you!" Two of Ron's books fell to the scuffed stone floor with a loud thud, the sudden sound causing Ron to jump. He looked around wildly, his mouth hanging open a bit. "What...?"
"Your books, Ron..." Harry pointed at them.
"Oh..." Ron bent to pick them up only to have the rest of them fall onto the floor.
"Look, why don't we just practice it right here?" Harry suggested as he pulled hid wand out of his pocket. "No one's around and it shouldn't take very long. The corridor is deserted..."
"Yeah, until Filch comes along and gives us a month of detention..." Ron moaned, depressed. "I'm just going to fail tomorrow, I just know it!"
"You'll just have to be quick then!" Harry replied, his voice filled with confidence. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the tiny bronze dragon statue that they had used in class. It was no taller than his finger and he found it hard to believe that Ron could be scared of it. "Look at it, Ron! It's so small! How could it ever hurt you?"
"So are spiders and their bite can kill you, mate."
Harry huffed, his breath momentarily blowing his dark locks of hair off of his famous scar. "Look, Ron. I faced a real Hungarian Horntail in the Triwizard and I'm not scared of this little itty bitty one. If it bothers you, I'll just blast it with my wand, all right?"
"You promise?" Ron asked as he stood there uncertainly biting his bottom lip.
"Yes!" Harry glanced up and down the corridor, pleased to see that no one else was in sight. Now where could he place the statue? It would have to be on a table or something up off the ground. There! There was a small side table propped up against the wall near a woven tapestry of Snape. Unlike the paintings, the tapestry didn't seem to be alive, a fact that pleased Harry to no end. The real Snape was bad enough and two of them in Hogwarts would be way too much. Harry darted forward and placed the statue on the small table and quickly stepped back. "Here! Aim here, Ron! Remember to swipe the air with your wand, nice and smooth..."
"All right..." Ron took a battling stance, his empty hand up in the air and his wand at the ready. Then he swiped at the air and shouted the magic word. " Draconifors!"
An angry red fireball shot out of the tip of his wand and flashed through the air with a roar of thunder. However, Ron's aim was off and the fireball landed smack dab in the middle of the tapestry!
The tapestry caught fire and within a few scant seconds had spread to the far edges, black smoke pouring fourth like the evil breath of a dragon.
"Ron! You were supposed to hit the statue, the statue!" Harry exclaimed, horrified at seeing the tapestry burning away to nothing at such a rapid speed. Any moment he expected some alarm to go off, to hear some loud clanging or something, but nothing of the sort happened. Still, his forehead was covered in sweat and his heart pounded rapidly as his green eyes scanned the hallway in both directions. "We got to get out of here before Filch comes!"
"I'm sorry!" Ron cried as he bent to snatch up his fallen books. "My aim was off..."
"Well, you did the spell; you just hit the wrong thing." Harry added as he dashed to collect his own books. At least two minutes had passed by now he reckoned and still no teachers had come running. Still, he was nervous as can be. Burning school property surely was a serious offense, maybe one that could get him expelled! The smoke was clearing thanks to a nearby open window and one glance towards the ex-tapestry told him nothing remained of it at all. Not even any ashes marked the spot where it had been just moments ago.
"Boy, that thing was a real fire hazard!" Ron commented as he gawked at the now empty spot on the wall. "You know, I don't ever recall seeing that one before. I mean, I should remember seeing a tapestry of ol' Snape's greasy head hanging in the hall..."
"Maybe they just bought it or something..." Harry stared at the spot, his eyes narrowing. There was a slight but noticeable difference between the brick colors of the wall. If he could see it, the teachers were bound to see it. And then they would start asking questions... "This isn't good, Ron. We need to replace that tapestry and quick! Tonight! Now!"
"Huh?" Ron gawked at the youngest Triwizard champion ever. "I don't know how to knit or weave!"
"There's a spell we can use. We just need to steal a bed sheet from somewhere..."
A few moments later Harry had the stolen goods thanks to a nearby linen cupboard, the sheet spread out on the corridor floor and his wand at the ready. "Now help me with the spell, Ron. Just concentrate on what Snape looks like as hard as you can..."
"Tractus!" Harry shouted as a blueish-purple light shot from his wand and hit the old bed sheet. Soon the sheet started to change colors, black being the most prominent one...
"Headmaster, this is an outrage!" Severus Snape hissed loudly as he stood in the hall before the bed sheet "tapestry" that hung on the wall. "I don't know who THAT is supposed to be, but it is not ME. I do not look anything like that at all!"
Albus Dumbledore coughed into his hand, covering up a laugh. He could see the caricature did indeed look like Snape in a weird way. All of the other teachers were gathered around it as well, many of them making odd sounds.
On the bed sheet, a bug-eyed Severus Snape yelled at an imaginary audience. His eyes were actually protruding from his head, the pupils itty bitty black dots filled with fiery rage. His mouth was open impossibly wide, his tongue and tonsils visible. His nose was very prominent and pointed, like a cliff even mountain climbers would fear to climb. His normally lank and greasy hair was flung outward, testimony to his powerful wrath. And his flowing black cloak flared outward like a pair of bat wings, the ends teasing the air. A solitary hand was raised in a tight fist while the other pointed off behind him somewhere, no doubt at piles of dirty cauldrons that needed cleaning. Or perhaps the hand pointed at some explosion in Potions class, an almost daily occurrence thanks to certain students. To add injury to the bad drawing, for that was indeed what it was, a cartoon Snape, the edges of the bed sheet were tattered with hundreds of loose threads hanging everywhere.
"And it's NAILED to the wall! How dare they use real nails, NAILS!" Snape bellowed, unknowingly copying the very stance in the drawing, one hand raised in a tight fist and the other pointing down the long corridor. His eyes were bulging with anger and his mouth was wide open as he complained. "It was Potter, I just know it! POTTER! Only he would have the audacity to do something like this!"
Albus chuckled to himself quietly, as he knew something like this happened every year at Hogwarts when they taught the Draconifors spell in Transfiguration class.