Disclaimer: Anything you recognize belongs to J.K. Rowling. Oh! And I don't own the list either.
Remus Lupin was used to having all eyes on him. As a werewolf he always looked sick, tired and sometimes he even limped around. Those that passed him normally mistook him for a beggar with his ripped cloak and dirty clothing. He was used to the stares.
What he wasn't used to were students examining him like they knew. The fear bubbled inside of him as he sat at the dinner table, nodding his head, pretending to listen to what Professor McGonagall—no, Minerva—was saying to him. In reality he was staring back at the students who were staring at him.
There were whispers, he was sure. Red headed twins kept pointing to him and nudging the students around them at the Gryffindor table. Remus raised his eyebrow and cursed himself for not being able to read their thoughts.
"Ah, Remus, are you feeling alright? You look a little under the weather."
Remus snapped to attention, feeling foolish because of the nervous feeling he got whenever McGonagall addressed him. He had to get used to being her colleague, her equal. He turned his head and gave her a small smile. "Of course, Minerva. Long trip. No worries."
McGonagall pursed her lips and focused on cutting the chicken that was on her plate.
"Are you sure there's nothing wrong?" Filius Flitwick asked, on the other side of him. "A headache?" he mused. "Maybe you owe someone some money?"
Remus stared at the small man, mouth agape with horror. He knew he should have patched up his robes and shined his shoes before the feast.
McGonagall glared at Flitwick. "Filius! Stop that! Leave poor Remus alone. As I was saying earlier—"
She began speaking again, something about cauldrons and cats that Remus didn't quite understand. He pretended to listen, still certain that others were examining him.
He just wasn't sure if it was only the students now.
It was a risk.
The students knew it was a risk, especially since it was the first day back to school and they had just finished the traditional welcome back feast. They were expected to rush off towards their common rooms and fling themselves onto their beds with full bellies, waiting for the first day to officially begin.
But the selected few couldn't miss this. It was a tradition that the second years had looked forward to during their first year when the older students had whispered to them about the bet.
They didn't know how the three got away with it year after year. How they weren't caught and thrown out of Hogwarts. Some said they had a deal with McGonagall, that they gave her a cut, which helped her afford her emerald green robes.
Others were certain the two made a deal with the new Professor, that they chose the date with him or her and that's when they would mysteriously disappear. Though the three who were running the 'bet' hadn't won themselves in the four years that they had been running it.
"A day! One day! I have fifteen sickles—"
"A day?" A voice questioned back, shocked. "Even Quirrel lasted longer than a day."
"A week!" Another shouted, waving their hands in the air defiantly. "Two galleons for a week!"
A boy scoffed at the back of the crowd, shaking his head. "Stupid second years," he murmured.
Shushing was going down the short line of students who kept reprimanding each other as they waved their hands in the air, practicing their technique to be seen and heard.
At the very front, a boy with dreadlocks and dark skin waved his wand in the air, emitting red sparks that hit the ceiling and silenced the line.
"Everyone calm down!" He shouted, pocketing his wand and staring at the group of wide-eyed anxious students. His brown eyes scanned the heads, counting twenty-five, five more than welcome. He smirked and shook his head, clapping his hands together with excitement. "We're nearly ready! Just waiting for—"
Before he could finish his sentence, the door behind him was thrown open and two red headed boys struggled out of the broom cupboard they were squeezed in, pushing at each other to break free.
"I told you it was a bad idea to stay in there!" One shouted at the other, dusting himself off and shaking his leg, which was wet and smelled questionably of cleaning supplies.
The other grinned while he flung a white towel off of himself and smacked the darker boy on the back with his free hand.
"What a turn out, Lee," he said, blue eyes falling on the line, scanning the students. "Oh! You, you, you, you and you! First years aren't welcome. You'll get your turn next year. Come on then!" he shouted, wagging his finger at the scowling faces. "Get lost!"
The five the boy had pointed out kicked their feet and rushed off towards their houses.
"Alright then, we'll go through the rules real quickly seeing as you lot are a bunch of misbehaving—"
"Really, miscreants? I wasn't going for that, George."
George Weasley grinned at his twin brother and shrugged his shoulders. "They're a bit dodgy this year, aren't they?"
"Get on with it then!" One of the students shouted, at the glance of the angry red face of a third year Gryffindor, George rolled his eyes.
"Oi! No back talk," he yelled with a grin. "I'll hit you with my beater bat! Third years," he whispered to himself, "seriously. Alright, money up front. One person to each day, highest gets the day and—"
"Whoever wins gets it all!" Fred shouted loudly. His voice echoed down the corridor and everyone silently glared at him. He gave them a sheepish grin and shrugged his shoulders. "Lee, mind doing the honors?"
Lee Jordan, the dark skinned friend of the twins, grinned. There was a mischievous glint in his brown eyes as he stepped on a wooden crate that had been next to him the entire time forgotten. He coughed and waved his arms in the air and began to point out and shout feverishly. "We'll start with one day. Let's start the bidding at…ten sickles! DO I HEAR TEN SICKLES? TEN SICKLES, TEN SICKLES!"
A hand shot up quickly, a fourth year Ravenclaw brunette girl with a scowl on her face yelled, "Ten sickles!" She elbowed the boy next to her that was throwing his hand up and hopping up and down ready to up the bet.
"Twenty sickles, Lee!" The boy shouted, glaring at the girl. "Twenty sickles!"
Lee waited for another to respond as the boy who had shouted, a nameless second year Hufflepuff with long brown hair and questionably hairy sideburns kept waving his hand in the air. "TWENTY SICKLES! DO I HEAR TWENTY-FIVE? TWENTY SICKLES…GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE, SOOOOOOOOOOOLD," he sang out, pointing to the Hufflepuff, "TO THE SECOND YEAR WITH THE UNIBROW!"
The boy scowled and smacked his hand on his forehead as George ushered him forward. "Hey!" he shouted, glaring at Lee.
"We don't fight with the truth," Fred reprimanded him, eyeing his sideburns and unibrow. He handed him a feathery blue quill and a piece of parchment, "name here. Come on, hand over the money then. Don't forget to sign clearly…"
As the twins finished the transaction, George jingling the moneybag before pocketing it, Lee was roaring again, searching for the next contender.
"One week is next!" shouted Fred, giving Lee the heads up.
Lee nodded and rubbed his hands together with excitement. "LET'S START THE BIDDING AT TEN SICKLES FOR ONE WEEK!"
Three hands shot up. "Oi! Jordan, thirty sickles!"
"Thirty-five!" A fourth year blonde haired Ravenclaw girl shouted, shaking a heavy moneybag in the air.
"Thirty-OW!" The boy next to her, a short Gryffindor second year rubbed his nose from where her elbow hit him and growled. "Thirty-six!"
"THIRTY-SIX! THIRTY-SIX! GOING ONCE! GOING TWICE! SOOOOOOOOOLD TO THE FOURTH YEAR THAT HASN'T GONE THROUGH PUBERTY YET!"
The girl turned red as the boy she had elbowed snickered next to her. "Hey—"
Fred chuckled, pulling the fourth year towards him. "You can fight him and have a fair chance when you go through a growth spurt. Come on then, hand it over, haven't got all day."
"Next up, one month!" shouted George, standing next to Lee. "We'll start the bidding at five sickles," he whispered with a grin.
Lee nodded, eyes glued to the rest of the students that were bobbing up and down ready for the next date. "Five sickles! Anyone for—bugger." Lee paused and elbowed George who was silently gulping next to him.
The students turned around and jumped in their spots as they stared at the looming figure of Potions Master, Severus Snape. He stood with a sneer on his face and dark eyes squinting, eyeing each student and mentally tacking their name on an ever-growing list for detention.
"What do we have here?" he questioned. "Students out of their beds during curfew, gambling," his eyes fell on the moneybags that the students were trying to discreetly hide behind their backs.
"You were supposed to be watching—"
"The map," Fred finished for his brother. He hung his head in shame. "Bloody first years."
Snape didn't move from his spot, he pointed his finger at Fred, George and Lee who were glaring at him. "Detention, three weeks. Professor McGonagall will hear about this."
The door creaked open loudly making Argus Filch jump behind his desk. He slammed the open drawer shut and his grey eyes glared at Severus Snape. A sneer was on his lips as Severus bounded towards him, dropping moneybag after moneybag on his desk.
Filch's eyes gleamed as he heard the tinkle of the sickles, knuts and galleons.
"The Weasley twins and the Jordan boy were gambling in the corridors," he snapped with annoyance, dropping a piece of parchment on the desk.
Filch stared at the parchment, reading the words that were written on it to himself, gritting his teeth. "Weasley's! Troublemakers, the lot of them. If only I could use my chains…Dumbledore is too soft. No one has to know," he grunted and pointed to the oiled chains that were hanging on his walls. "So, what will it be Severus?" he wheezed.
Severus bit the inside of his cheek. "I give him five months, not a day more."
"You're wrong, Severus!" A voice shouted. His dark eyes darted to a corner of the room where a woman draped in shawls and beads with frizzy brown hair and large glasses was hiding. "I see—"
"Of course you do, Sybil," Severus drawled out sarcastically.
Her eyes blinked and she ignored his comment as she dramatically waved her arms in the air and said in an airy voice, "The Grim! Poor man won't last any longer than two months," she declared with a sad sniff.
"You said that about the last one," muttered Filch.
"Six months." Another voice said. The three inhabitants of the room rolled their eyes as Nearly Headless Nick floated into the room with a jaunty smile.
"You can't bet, Nicholas! Your ghostly galleons aren't worth anything here," Septima Vector said, rushing into the room. She dropped her moneybag on Filch's desk loudly. "It's basic arithmancy. There's a trend. They're lasting longer and longer each year. He'll make it to the end. The last day. Not a day longer," she declared.
Sir Nicholas, as he preferred to be called, scoffed. "Oh, and how did you figure that one out, Vector?"
"Well, if you cross multiply—"
"No one wants to hear about that!" shouted Filius Flitwick, swishing his wand as he scurried into the room. His moneybag floated to Filch's desk and he shook a finger at Septima. "Put me down for three months. He looks a bit weary already and it isn't even the first day. Won't last very long, will he, Severus?"
They all turned to Severus who was trying to blend in with the dark corner of the room, hoping to be forgotten.
"Let's hope not," he snapped.
"I change my mind! I thought Lockhart would outlast us all. I say three, maybe four and a half months," Sir Nicholas argued. "Ah, put me down for four months and fifteen days!"
The other four began to protest, arguing again that the money from the ghost wasn't any good. As the Professors and the Caretaker argued, two more quietly entered the room, staring with shock at the loud commotion.
"What's going on here?" questioned Minerva McGonagall, lips pursed in a tight line.
The Professors stopped shouting at each other, Sybil ready to predict the untimely death of them all if they didn't listen to her as Filius began levitating a book to hit her over the head while Filch stood hunched over his desk, muttering to himself.
"Ah, Minerva!" yelled Septima, she was a blur of red robes as she quickly shoved the parchment on Filch's desk out of view.
"I'm showing Remus to his chambers where I'm sure you're all heading so you'll be ready for the first day," she suggested, eyeing Sybil with a shake of her head. She could smell the sherry on her from the doorway.
"Of course, Minerva. Ah, Professor Lupin, are you sure you're feeling alright? You look ill," Filius squeaked.
Remus stared at the group of Professors who were staring at him and examining him under the dim light. He coughed and shook his head, taking a step behind Minerva with nervousness. "Long trip. No worries."
"Are you sure?" pressed Septima, a glint in her eyes. "There's nothing wrong? A headache? A dark creature lurking around the corridors…maybe you owe someone some money?"
Remus cursed in his head. He really should have shined his patched up his robe better. "Err…" He looked at Minerva for some help but she just arched her eyebrow in question.
"Septima!" Minerva chastised after an after thought. The arithmancy professor turned red and she walked over towards Severus to mask the embarrassment.
"I see a GRIM—"
"Oh," Filius muttered, "enough, Sybil."
McGonagall shook her head and turned towards the door, muttering something that sounded oddly like 'fools' to Remus. "Come on, Remus, this way." He didn't need to be told twice and rushed out the door. As a quick after thought, she turned back and walked into the room, towards the hunched over Filch.
All eyes were nervously glued to her as she rummaged inside her robe pocket. "Mr. Filch—"
"Yes, Professor?" he wheezed.
"Put me down for ten galleons for the end of the school year," she said, plopping a large moneybag on his desk.
"How did you—" Sybil began, eyes wide with astonishment.
McGonagall snorted as she rushed towards the door again. "I see things too, Sybil dear," she said, exiting the room.
The Professors and Sir Nicholas were silent as Filch wheezed and grabbed a black quill, dipping it in some ink. He grumbled to himself and reached for the parchments that were on his desk.
It didn't matter to him that the parchment he was scribbling on wasn't his but belonged to Fred and George Weasley. It didn't matter because the title of them both said the same thing:
Betting Pool for the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor
Author's Note: I'm having such a hard time writing humor! So I hope this was funny. Let me know in a review. This was for the 'Things I'm Not Allowed to do at Hogwarts Challenge.' Thanks for reading!
Edited: May 2012.