This is the last chapter to be posted before I go away for a week and a bit. Enjoy!
Chapter 10: A Protest
"Okay, I have a plan."
Justin looked up warily from his breakfast.
"What kind of plan?" he asked suspiciously.
"Well, I've been thinking…"
Epsilon glared at him.
"I've been thinking," he continued. "And I came to the conclusion that Binns is a sucky teacher."
"Really," said Justin flatly. Epsilon frowned.
"Are you alright?"
"Fine," he sighed. "Just… just my father being a Class A Dick."
"Oh, yeah. I know all about that…"
"I heard that."
The boys jumped as the voice came out of Epsilon's pocket. He grinned and fished out the mirror, propping it up against his orange juice.
"Speak of the devil."
"Good evening, boys."
"It's morning here," said Justin.
"So it is. Good breakfast?"
"As always," said Epsilon. "How are things over there?"
"Okay," said K. "The Notillians are getting a bit… what's the word…"
"Pretty much. It'll be alright, mating season only lasts a few weeks. So what's new with you guys?"
"Oh, the usual. We're going to boycott History of Magic!"
Justin choked on his water.
"Uh huh, I was about to say…"
"That's your grand plan?"
"What's wrong, Justin? Never led a rebellion before?"
"But it's against the rules."
Epsilon sighed. So far, his plan had been working a treat. Even the six-foot-tall Slytherins had readily agreed when he finally got them to listen to him. The Ravenclaws had been a bit sceptical, but even the ones taking their OWLs had admitted that they could learn more from their textbooks than the lessons. The Hufflepuffs had been easy to convince, and the Gryffindors were all too eager. All except one…
"Yes, Granger, it probably is," said Epsilon. Each house had had their goody-goodies, but this girl took the biscuit.
"We can't just not turn up to lessons!"
"Um… yes we can."
"We'll get into trouble."
"Possibly, but what are they gonna do? Expel the whole school? Put us all in detention?"
"Well…" she chewed her lip nervously.
"C'mon, Granger," he whined. "If this works, maybe next year we'll get a proper teacher!"
"Alright," she relented. "On your head be it."
Epsilon ignored Snape's surprised declaration. The four heads of houses and Dumbledore were all stood in the headmaster's office, staring at Epsilon incredulously.
"You set this up?" continued Snape.
"Not what you expected is it?" grinned Epsilon. "And before you ask, no, I am not here to take the wrap for some older student."
Even Dumbledore was surprised now.
"You led this…" said McGonagall. "This… boycott all by yourself?"
"Single handed," said Epsilon proudly. The teachers were still looking disbelieving, their minds racing. They had expected it to be an older student, fifth year, maybe. A Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. Not a first year Hufflepuff. All except…
"You knew," he said to Dumbledore. "You knew all along."
"Albus," said Sprout. "Is this true?"
"I'm afraid so," he sighed, stroking his beard. "I must admit I was… curious."
All of a sudden, the headmaster's plan fell into place in Epsilon's mind, and he laughed.
"Oh, that's clever," he grinned. "Sir, you should have been in Slytherin."
Dumbledore frowned at this, and Epsilon heard him mentally checking his 'occlumency' shields.
"C'mon, sir!" said Epsilon. "Aren't you going to share your 'big idea'?"
Everyone was looking expectantly at Dumbledore.
"Binns came to me a few days ago," he sighed. "He was most upset to be lecturing to an empty classroom."
"Binns noticed that?" gasped Flitwick.
"Yes," said Dumbledore seriously. "And he is beginning to realise he is dead."
"So you want us to keep going," said Epsilon, his eyes sparkling. Dumbledore nodded.
"He is on the brink of resigning as it is."
"Excellent!" cried Epsilon, jumping up. "I'll go spread the word for us to continue."
He ran to the door, and swung it open, turning around to deliver one last message.
"By the way, I dunno what occlumency is, but it doesn't do shit for ya."
He hurried down the spiral staircase, and past the gargoyles. Some older Slytherins were standing a little way down the corridor, and Professor Black was close by, watching them suspiciously.
"Okay guys," said Epsilon, so quietly that Black wouldn't hear. "Spread the word to keep going. Dumbledore is now on board."
They nodded, and one saluted respectfully. Epsilon grinned and ran off down the corridor, a pale Professor Black in his wake.
Happy birthday! I hope you have a lovely day. I'm afraid you will have to wait until you come home to receive your present, but I hope you will put it to good use next year!
On a more serious note, I must offer you congratulations in your campaign. Binns has given his notice for resignation, and we governors are exceptionally pleased to see him go. Hopefully the abysmal marks that we have come to expect in his subject will begin to pick up. A little bird told me that you were one of the ring-leaders, along with your Hufflepuff friends. Although I admit that I was initially dubious about you spending so much time with those of a lesser blood, I must conclude that they are a positive influence, and are teaching you free-thinking and independence in a way that I cannot.
Have fun, work hard, and good luck in your remaining exams.
"Thank Merlin that's over!" exclaimed Epsilon, throwing himself onto the grass. What a horrible fortnight!"
"It wasn't too bad," said Justin mildly. Draco nodded in agreement.
"Not too bad? I hate sitting still!"
"At least there's no more until next year," said Draco sleepily, stretching out in the hot sun. "And we have a whole week to ourselves before the results come out."
"Yeah…" said Epsilon dreamily. He leapt to his feet. "Who's up for a celebratory lap of the grounds?"
"Nah," yawned Justin. "You go, we'll watch you."
Before he could sprint away, Epsilon found himself caught by the familiar hand of Professor Black.
"Not so fast, Mr Brown."
"No buts. Sit down."
Grumbling, he settled back onto the grass.
"So," said Black in a conversational tone. Finished your exams then?"
The thought hit him so hard, he found it tumbling out of his mouth before he could stop it.
There was silence, and Epsilon clapped a hand over his mouth. The only other person Black had told was Dumbledore.
"How do you know that?" asked Black angrily.
"How does anybody know anything," he answered cryptically.
"Is it true?" asked Justin. Black nodded.
"I'm moving on," he said.
Epsilon curled up on the grass. Black wasn't 'moving on', he was leaving because of Epsilon, because he couldn't stand to see his best friend's face belonging to a total stranger. After all these years…
"You don't have to keep running for your whole life," said Epsilon softly. Black stared at him.
"Anyway, I came to congratulate you on your campaign. We were told this morning that Binns has resigned."
"We know," the three said together.
"We've known for weeks," laughed Epsilon. "Looks like the staff were the last to catch up again."
Black looked from one to the other.
We have our sources," said Draco smugly. Black sighed.
"Well, anyway, take twenty points each for initiative, and another twenty for leadership."
"Thank you sir," they chorused. Black got to his feet.
"You kids be good now," he said, before leaving.
"Finally!" cried Epsilon. He leapt up and sprinted away. Justin and Draco looked at each other, and laughed.
"Americans, huh?" said Draco.
"You're telling me. Just be grateful you don't have to share a dorm with him."
They laughed again, and began to fish out the plastic toys that had taken up permanent residence in their pockets.