Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Harry Potter.
"Green is so not my colour. I mean, it's so common that you could practically blend in the background. And this shade of green… ugh! Sooo depressing! Couldn't you guys have chosen a better colour? Who decided on it, anyway?"
It was early morning and Blaise, Draco and Naruto were headed to the hall for breakfast. The peaceful morning that Blaise had anticipated was quickly shattered when Naruto decided to join them. The boy kept raving on about colours and what-not that Blaise wasn't entirely surprised when he looked over at Draco and saw his highly annoyed face.
Draco, who could not take any more of Naruto's rant that had been going on for the last ten minutes, replied through gritted teeth. "It was the noble Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts, that decided on the bloody house colour. Maybe he fancies it. But I don't know. Nobody does. So quit whining and be quiet for a moment!"
Blaise expected Naruto to be taken aback but instead, the blonde replied. "Looks like somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I'm just commenting, y'know. He could've chosen a better colour."
"Like what? I daresay… orange?"
"Orange?" said Blaise, raising an eyebrow.
"The bloody git is obsessed with orange," said Draco with a shudder. "You should see him when we first met. He was covered from head to toe with the horrible colour. Good thing that Mother reprimanded him or else he'll be having orange robes!"
"Orange is not so bad," smirked Blaise, deciding to humour Naruto. "It's a bright colour."
"See? Blaise agrees," said Naruto victoriously. "You're outnumbered."
"Like I care," huffed Draco.
They were now entering the Great Hall which only held a few students as Blaise and his friends decided to have breakfast early. They were heading to the Slytherin table when the loud blonde turned to Blaise and with a deep seriousness that Blaise had wondered how he could have been able to keep a straight face when he asked: "Say, Blaise, I'm planning to have the orange campaign to promote the significance of orange in our lives… do you want to be vice-president?"
For a moment, Blaise considered laughing outright but held himself when he saw Draco's expression. He had looked at Naruto like he had said the world's stupidest thing... which it probably was. He decided to play along just to torture Draco.
"Sure. Why not?" answered Blaise, grinning.
With immense disbelief in his face, Draco said before hurrying to the table and plopping on his seat: "You guys are mental."
Grinning from ear to ear, they followed Draco to the Slytherin table and proceeded to eat breakfast. Well, Draco and Blaise were eating breakfast but Naruto was practically inhaling his. It was a feat that was causing heads to turn their way. Draco, however, was not acknowledging the two boys' presence.
"So, Naruto, how are your OWLs?" asked Blaise, trying hard not to feel nauseous at the speed that Naruto was eating. Perhaps, engaging him in conversation would slow him down. "You haven't taken last year's OWLs as you were a transferee, right? But you have to have them if you would want to proceed at NEWT level."
"Oh, don't worry," said Naruto, looking up from his food. "I got them alright. I took the LOWLs."
"No, LOWLs," replied Naruto. "I have to take the Late Ordinary Wizarding Level Examinations before enrolling to Hogwarts, you see. Mine's really not good but you should see Draco's. He's really smart."
Draco, who was grumpily eating his scones a moment ago, looked up and was surprised at the unexpected compliment.
"Oh, err… yes, that's right. I mean… thanks," said Draco, uncertainly.
"No problem," said Naruto and he beamed at the other blonde.
Blaise who was surprised at the exchange, didn't say anything but merely raised his eyebrow.
After finishing their food, they engaged on small talk while they waited for Professor Snape to come and approve their schedules. Draco seemed to be in a lighter mood after what Naruto had said earlier. Blaise had a sneaking suspicion that Naruto did it to cheer Draco up but he noted that Naruto seemed to be pretty sincere about it.
Finally, it was Blaise's turn and Draco was next.
"Well done, Draco," Professor Snape commented after approving Draco's schedule. " An O for last year's potions… your father must be proud."
"Indeed, professor," commented Draco, his voice taking up a proud and sugary tone. "And Father had said that it was because I have you Professor, a great and noble Potions Master, as a teacher that I was able to reach this achievement."
Blaise mentally rolled his eyes at this and Naruto, he saw, actually did.
After handing back Draco's schedule, Professor Snape turned to Naruto. The blonde Slytherin handed him his LOWLs with religious care. However, the Head of Slytherin House was not impressed with Naruto's "Dreadful" at Potions. Nevertheless, he was cleared to do Ancient Runes, Charms, Defence Againt the Dark Arts, Transfiguration and Care of Magical Creatures.
The three of them almost had the same schedules.
As they were turning to leave to catch their first period of Ancient Runes, Naruto looked back and bounded to Professor's Snape.
"By the way, Professor Snot," said Naruto, happily. "Do you like orange?"
And the world seemed to stop.
"That idiot," moaned Draco, horrified. And Blaise whole-heartedly agreed.
Draco ran and proceeded to drag Naruto before Professor Snot-err... Snape recovered from his stunned silence. Practically running, Draco hissed at Naruto while Blaise couldn't help himself but chortle exuberantly.
It was only the start of the day and Draco Malfoy was currently on the process of developing a head-ache. For one, he had to deal with Naruto's constant blabbering that almost nearly got them killed or at least got them nearly hexed by Professor Snape earlier this morning. He had never seen the Professor's face look so… Draco shuddered. Two, Blaise seemed to be enjoying his current predicament. Three, he had barely understood what Professor Futhark, the Runes teacher, was saying at the moment and that coming from the person who got an "O" for Ancient Runes. Four, the blonde was stuck with Naruto and the filthy Mudblood Granger as they were assigned in groups of three. And last, but not the least, Naruto was unexpectedly a natural at this subject. He, inexplicably, seemed to know the exact rune to place in the exact position and for what exact use. He couldn't help but notice him and Granger nodding at the same time whenever Professor says something.
Come to think of it, Draco moodily recalled, Naruto would always seem to be interested in the subject back when his Mother was still tutoring him.
"… uh, Draco?" Naruto whispered.
"What?" said Draco, off-handedly.
"Professor Futhark is calling you."
"Huh? What are you talking abou-?" Draco turned around and discovered that every face in the room was turned to him. He heard a few students snigger in the back. He vaguely noticed the Mudblood girl raising her hand. "Oh… uhh… pardon Professor?"
"For the third time, Mr. Malfoy," said the Runes Teacher, her face getting impatient. "Can you name this rune and provide its meaning?"
"Err…," Draco began. He was squinting at a rune that looked like a sharply-written letter R. He was having a hard time remembering with Naruto's whispers of "Raido! Raido!" at his back.
"Sorry, Professor," said Draco, annoyed. "I don't know."
Professor Futhark looked like she was about to say something, thought better of it and turned to the annoying know-it-all beside him. "Yes, Ms. Granger?"
"Raidô meaning 'ride or journey' is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of the r- rune of the Elder Futhark ᚱ. The name is attested for the same rune in all three rune poems, Old Norwegian Ræið Icelandic Reið, Anglo-Saxon Rad, as well as for the corresponding letter of the Gothic alphabet r, called raida."
"Excellent, Ms. Granger," Professor Futhark's face breaking into a delighted grin. "Ten points for Gryffindor!"
"See?" Naruto grinned at him. "I told you."
Draco didn't know if he could survive this day. Come to think of it, he didn't know if he could survive the rest of the year.
"We got so much homework for Runes," Hermione said anxiously when Harry and Ron joined her for their Defence Against the Dark Arts subject. "A fifteen-inch essay, two translations, and I've got to read these by Wednesday!"
"Shame," yawned Ron.
"You wait," she said resentfully. "I bet Snape gives us loads."
The classroom door opened as she spoke, and Snape stepped into the corridor, his sallow face framed as ever by two curtains of greasy black hair. Silence fell over the queue immediately.
"Inside," he said.
Harry looked around as they entered. Snape had imposed his personality upon the room already; it was gloomier than usual, as curtains had been drawn over the windows, and was lit by candlelight. New pictures adorned the walls, many of them showing people who appeared to be in pain, sporting grisly injuries or strangely contorted body parts. Nobody spoke as they settled down, looking around at the shadowy, gruesome pictures.
"I have not asked you to take out your books," said Snape, closing the door and moving to face the class from behind his desk; Hermione hastily dropped her copy of "Confronting the Faceless" back into her bag and stowed it under her chair. "I wish to speak to you, and I want your fullest attention."
His black eyes roved over their upturned faces, lingering for a fraction of a second longer on Harry's than anyone else's.
"You have had five teachers in this subject so far, I believe."
You believe . . . like you haven't watched them all come and go, hoping you'd be next, thought Harry scathingly.
"Naturally, these teachers will all have had their own methods and priorities. Given this confusion I am surprised so many of you scraped an O.W.L. in this subject. I shall be even more surprised if all of you manage to keep up with the N.E.W.T. work, which will be more advanced."
Snape set off around the edge of the room, speaking now in a lower voice; the class craned their necks to keep him in view. "The Dark Arts," said Snape, "are many, varied, ever-changing, and eternal. Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible."
Harry stared at Snape. It was surely one thing to respect the Dark Arts as a dangerous enemy, another to speak of them, as Snape was doing, with a loving caress in his voice?
"Your defenses," said Snape, a little louder, "must therefore be as flexible and inventive as the arts you seek to undo. These pictures" - he indicated a few of them as he swept past - "give a fair representation of what happens to those who suffer, for instance, the Cruciatus Curse" - he waved a hand toward a witch who was clearly shrieking in agony - "feel the Dementor's Kiss" - a wizard lying huddled and blank-eyed, slumped against a wall - "or provoke the aggression of the Inferius" - a bloody mass upon ground.
"Has an Inferius been seen, then?" said Parvati Patil in a high pitched voice. "Is it definite, is he using them?"
"The Dark Lord has used Inferi in the past," said Snape, "which means you would be well-advised to assume he might use them again. Now. . . "
He set off again around the other side of the classroom toward his desk, and again, they watched him as he walked, his dark robes billowing behind him.
". . . you are, I believe, complete novices in the use of nonverbal spells. What is the advantage of a nonverbal spell?"
Hermione's hand shot into the air. Snape took his time looking around at everybody else, making sure he had no choice, before saying curtly, "Very well - Miss Granger?"
"Your adversary has no warning about what kind of magic you're about to perform," said Hermione, "which gives you a split-second advantage."
"An answer copied almost word for word from The Standard Book of Spells, Grade Six," said Snape dismissively (over in the corner, Malfoy sniggered), "but correct in essentials. Yes, those who progress in using magic without shouting incantations gain an element of surprise in their spell-casting. Not all wizards can do this, of course; it is a question of concentration and mind power which some" - his gaze lingered maliciously upon Harry once more - "lack."
Harry knew Snape was thinking of their disastrous Occlumency lessons of the previous year. He refused to drop his gaze, but glowered at Snape until Snape looked away.
Another hand shot up in the air and Harry was surprised to discover that its owner was Uzumaki. He saw Snape scowl before he reluctantly acknowledged the Slytherin and it made Harry wonder what the blonde did to be rewarded with such an expression.
"Uzumaki?" Snape drawled.
"Professor Sno- uhh.. Professor Sni- I mean, sir," he said while looking at Malfoy who warningly shot him a glare. "Is it really necessary, Professor? Saying your spells out loud also has an advantage. I mean, announcing what you're about to do could strike fear in your enemies as you let them know what's coming on to them. Also, if it was me, I'd like to know what killed me so I could do better next time."
"But then, you'll be dead, Uzumaki."
"Err… right. Forget that last bit."
Harry turned to look at Snape, unsure of how he would respond. But to his surprise yet again, he saw amusement in Snape's eyes.
"Sadly, Uzumaki, the people from the Dark Side don't follow the same rules," said Snape. "And I do recall, we are not from some crappy old comic book whose hero foolishly announces his entrance with grandiose music and who also shouts nonsensical stuff about saving the day and what-not and all the while charges at the opponent with his trademark move and finishes the opponents valiantly. Also, I think, that a mediocre thin pale boy"- his eyes flicked at Harry's direction and again he knew that he was the one Snape was talking about, seeing that Uzumaki was in no way pale-"will be no match against the Dark Lord, much less strike fear in him…"
Hot anger overtook Harry and he was about to say something when Uzumaki interjected again.
"Oh, so you read comic books, Professor?" said Naruto, almost conversationally as if they were only the ones talking. "You seem quite familiar with them…"
"No," Snape said blatantly. "And I don't like orange."
"What on Merlin's beard are they talking about?" muttered Ron, incredulous. "And they seem pretty chummy, too."
"Hush, Ron!" said Hermione, reproachfully.
Giving them his attention now, Snape gave them instructions: "You will now divide into pairs. One partner will attempt to jinx the other without speaking. The other will attempt to repel the jinx in equal silence. Carry on."
Although Snape did not know it, Harry had taught at least half the class (everyone who had been a member of the D.A.) how to perform a Shield Charm the previous year. None of them had ever cast the charm without speaking, however. A reasonable amount of cheating ensued; many people were merely whispering the incantation instead of saying it aloud. Typically, ten minutes into the lesson Hermione managed to repel Parvati's muttered Jelly-Legs Jinx without uttering a single word, a feat that would surely have earned her twenty points for Gryffindor from any reasonable teacher, thought Harry bitterly, but which Snape ignored. Malfoy viciously kept sending Zabini jinxes while the dark boy tried to keep up with his whispered "Protego." The pair that was causing a scene, however, was Neville and Uzumaki. Harry wondered how they even got paired in the first place. Neville's croaked jinxes were all over the place as his Slytherin partner kept evading, dancing back and forth and yelping occasionally.
"Uzumaki, repel the jinxes," Snape barked, "not evade them!"
"Yes, Professor Snip!"
Harry didn't had the chance to ponder if his hearing was being funny for Snape was sweeping between them as they practiced, looking just as much like an overgrown bat as ever, lingering to watch Harry and Ron struggling with the task.
Ron, who was supposed to be jinxing Harry, was purple in the face, his lips tightly compressed to save himself from the temptation of muttering the incantation. Harry had his wand raised, waiting on tenterhooks to repel a jinx that seemed unlikely ever to come.
"Pathetic, Weasley," said Snape, after a while. "Here - let me show you-"
He turned his wand on Harry so fast that Harry reacted instinctively; all thought of nonverbal spells forgotten, he yelled, "Protego!"
His Shield Charm was so strong Snape was knocked off-balance and hit a desk. Uzumaki was beside him in an instant. The whole class had looked around and now watched as Snape righted himself, shrugging Uzumaki off and scowling.
"Do you remember me telling you we are practicing nonverbal spells, Potter?"
"Yes," said Harry stiffly.
"There's no need to call me 'sir,' Professor." The words had escaped him before he knew what he was saying. Several people gasped, including Hermione. Behind Snape, however, Ron, Dean, and Seamus grinned appreciatively. Uzumaki was actually choking on his laughter.
"Detention, Saturday night, my office," said Snape. "I do not take cheek from anyone, Potter . . . not even 'the Chosen One.'"
"That was brilliant, Harry!" chortled Ron, once they were safely on their way to break a short while later.
"You really shouldn't have said it," said Hermione, frowning at Ron. "What made you?"
"He tried to jinx me, in case you didn't notice!" fumed Harry. I had enough of that during those Occlumency lessons! Why doesn't he use another guinea pig for a change? What's Dumbledore playing at, anyway, letting him teach Defense? Did you hear him talking about the Dark Arts? He loves them! All that unfixed, indestructble stuff –"
"Well," said Hermione, "I thought he sounded a bit like you."
"Yes, when you were telling us what it's like to face Voldemort. You said it wasn't just memorizing a bunch of spells, you said it was just you and your brains and your guts - well, wasn't that what Snape was saying? That it really comes down to being brave and quick-thinking?"
Harry was so disarmed that she had thought his words as well worth memorizing as The Standard Book of Spells that he did not argue.
"Man, that was a riot!" Naruto said, laughing again as he remembered what Harry had said earlier. "I wish I used the same line on Iruka-sensei back home. His face would be sooo priceless!"
"Who?" asked Blaise.
"No one, really," replied Naruto nonchalantly. "He was only the Great Naruto Uzumaki's teacher back home who had the special privilege of teaching the said wonderful person."
"Uh-huh… and I bet Professor Snape must feel very special to be your teacher," Draco stated. "You don't have Potions, do you? So, be gone already."
"Awww… come on, Draco. You want to get rid of me already?"
"Wah! So blatant! How mean."
"You remind me of someone."
"I bet he's a great person."
"No, he's just as stuck-up as you are."
"Cut it off, you two," Blaise interrupted. "We're here."
Just as like Blaise had said, they had already arrived at their place of destination. There were already a small number of students gathered in front of the dungeon door, waiting for the Potions professor to come out.
"What's your next class, Naruto?" asked Blaise, striking up a conversation.
"It was called Wear of Fanciful Slippers or something."
"Care of Magical Creatures, you mean."
"You must be bonkers if you seriously want to take that class," Draco snorted. "I bet you'll be that giant's only student."
"What do you mean?" asked Naruto, curious.
"You'll know," they said mysteriously to him, smirking.
A few moments later, Harry and his friends showed up, giving them hostile looks which Draco and Blaise sent back. But before they could utter words, the dungeon door opened and a large man came out of the door. As they filed into the room, Blaise turned back to Naruto and waved.
"See you later, Naruto," Blaise said, while pushing Draco who was glaring at Harry. "Come on, Draco."
After all of the students disappeared inside the room, Naruto saw that the coast was clear and quickly conjured a clone to keep an eye out for Draco. Checking his schedule, he figured out his next class was going to be held at the grounds by someone named Professor Hagrid. He quickly trotted to the said location.
Naruto already knew his way around the castle. It was mainly due to his clones who he had ordered to explore and familiarize the entire place last night. He had discovered secret passages, entrance and exits to rooms and grounds alike. He was convinced though that he had still not discovered everything. Naruto's clones will continue the expeditions at night. These are all vital if he wish to protect and guard his charge effectively in such a large place. Keeping an eye on him is simply not enough. Ninjas take every precaution, after all.
Reflecting, Naruto knew that Draco was given a special mission by the Dark Lord that he refuses to reveal. The wizard's refusal of cooperation would prove difficult for the shinobi. Naruto should do something to eradicate his charge's loyalty to the Dark Lord, make him see what is important. He would have to do this to help Mr. Malfoy's intention of going to the Light side. But for now, Naruto was left with no choice but to keep watch and follow his initial orders: Protect and guard Draco Malfoy. He just had to pretend to be loud and clueless to avoid suspicion. In other words, be himself. Naruto discovered that just being himself provides a good cover.
Naruto was on the grounds now and was searching where the class would be situated. He noticed that the place was deserted and no one was there besides him. He was beginning to wonder if his schedule was wrong or something when he saw the largest man he had ever seen. Deciding to ask him, he neared the man.
"Hey," said Naruto. "You know where I can find Professor Hagrid's class?"
The large man who had been so gloomy before, beamed at him.
"Professor Hagrid?" the man boomed, Naruto had to step back from surprise. "Why, yer lookin' at him boy!"
"Eh?" the Slytherin blinked. "You're Professor Hagrid? But you're huge!"
"Got a problem with tha' kid?
"Uhhh, not really…" Naruto quickly answered. "So where are the other students, sir?"
"They're not comin'," the giant grunted, suddenly looking away. "Yer me only student fer this class."
I guess Draco guessed right.
"So… uhh… what should we do for this class, Professor?"
"Nah," the giant said, smiling again. "Jus' call me Hagrid. I've never been good with formalities and stuff."
"Alright, Hagrid," said Naruto, smiling brightly.
"What do ye say about meetin' a hippogriff, eh? I don' suppose yeh've met Buck—I mean, Witherwings!"
Okay, it's official: I'm a big procrastinator. It's been months since I updated. I know. I totally had this whole chapter planned out but I was being lazy to just sit and type it all out. But then, yesterday, I was feeling really guilty and I was like "What the hell? Just publish the freaking chapter already!" and so I did.
And guys, I'm sorry to say this, please don't expect any quick updates yet. There are still a few holes in the story that I have to fix and I still need to edit the past chapters. Also, I have to plan real well how this fic would turn out. Truthfully, I did this all in a whim without any thought of what should happen next and I need time to organize my thoughts. And hey, I think I'm gonna be busy with all the paperwork I have to do for school. Also, there's the fact that I'm a procrastinator. Heehee!
So if you wanna motivate me to update the next chappie already or maybe just make me feel guilty, then REVIEW! I'd really love that, you know. 3
REVIEWS! REVIEWS! REVIEWS! I crave for REVIEWS!