Chapter 14: Interludes Part II
Snape demanded the attention of the entire class in point zero, zero two seconds flat. All eyes were on him. If he was upset about what the twins did, it didn't show. Snape's face was a blank page. The way the broodish man was able to keep such good control of his emotions had always unsettled Harry. Everyone in the classroom waited with bated breath. He certainly had charisma.
" 'You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making,' he began. He spoke in a barely more than a whisper, but the class caught every word - Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort. 'As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, and ensnaring the senses…I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death - if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.' "
Harry just barely raised an eyebrow at the little speech. It both intimidated the students and compelled them to excel in the class. Harry wondered if the pretty words worked so well on Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors. Somehow, Harry doubted the words had the same appeal to the other two houses. It was also painfully obvious, to Harry anyway, that Snape liked to use that particular speech with out changing it from year to year. Snape then looked to Harry as if he was going to put him through the ringer. For a moment Harry actually thought that Snape was going to put him on the spot, but the pale face of Snape paled even more, and to the untrained eye it never happened. Harry sniggered to himself. His mother's craziness sometimes came in handy.
Instead of hounding Harry, Snape found some Ravenclaw to torture. The boy, who was obviously Muggle-born, didn't know any of the answers. As the boy was shown how inept he was, Harry was diligently taking notes. There were only a few others who were taking notes as well. Harry assumed that those actually writing down the onslaught of a cruel teacher were the ones that had actually met Snape before coming to Hogwarts. Sure enough, those taking notes were Draco and Theo. The other Slytherins followed suit in writing notes, being the little followers they were. Sally nearly blanched at the treatment of the Ravenclaw. Harry desperately wanted to roll his eyes.
When the hounding was done, Snape took points from those who weren't taking notes, excluding Crabbe who couldn't keep up with what the professor was saying. When that was said and done, Snape put everyone to work on a simple Cure Boils potion. Draco was having a field day with the way Snape said that he was doing the best. Harry knew that Snape was Draco's godfather. He had heard from the boy himself when he was bragging all night in the dorms. It had irritated Harry to no end.
Harry's potion was going perfectly, if a little slowly. Sally had no clue what she was doing, and Snape wasn't to big on helping others or showing an example more than once, so Harry sat there telling her what the tools and cauldron did, and explained what the ingredients would do for the potion. Harry caught Draco scowling when some of the other Slytherins and quite a few Ravenclaws were paying more attention to Harry. There was even a Ravenclaw who was taking notes.
"Harry, how do you know all of this?" Sally asked amazed as Harry crushed snake fangs.
"My mother brews all kinds of potions for my father and the other Aurors at the Ministry. I've been watching her doing it for as long as I can remember. She even let me brew an Awakening Potion once. We tested it on my father. It had a little too much billywig stings in it. He was bouncing off the walls for days. It was quite entertaining." Harry gave a hearty chuckle. Sally and several other students looked very impressed with Harry. "She is incredibly strict though, my mum. After that she made me practice every potion in the textbook until I had everything memorized. Now, you need to stir three times counterclockwise and fuse your magic into the potion."
Sally did as Harry told her. When Sally tried to infuse her magic into the potion it had turned an ugly brown color. Harry sneered inside, but he smiled reassuringly to Sally. The girl was thoroughly confused by what happened.
"The hardest part about brewing any potion is infusing your own magic into it. It's what makes potion-making a magic; otherwise Muggles would be able to do it too. Unfortunately, we'll have to start over. Go ahead and start crushing the snake fangs like I showed you, and I'll clean out the cauldron." Harry's voice was so sweet and reassuring that Sally blushed with gratefulness. She was sure that if she had been anyone else's partner, they would have yelled at her.
By the end of the class period only four groups had been able to successfully brew the potion. One was Draco's group, another was a Ravenclaw group, Theo and Blaise had just barely gotten theirs finished, and Harry had finished a potion, but was making Sally rebrew one for herself. Harry wasn't going to lie, he was finding her struggling to brew the potion correctly be quite entertaining. His amusement was easily hidden by the selfless mask he wore on his face.
What was stumping all of the students was the infusion of magic into the potion. Harry understood, that this part was pivotal to practicing magic in other areas such as charm work or transfiguration. It was almost basic. Harry was glad that his parents took him to get his wand on his birthday and made him practice as much as he could over the summer. He now had a good grasp of basic magic control, although it helped that both of his parents were prodigies in their own rights, and the fact that his companion's approval encouraged Harry to push himself further than what his parents thought possible.
Harry wondered briefly if the other students would have done better if Snape hadn't been yelling at them the entire time. That was entertaining as well, except when Harry himself got yelled at for showing off. That put a damper on Harry's mood until a Ravenclaw botched up her potion so bad that it exploded in her face. That had been funny. Harry sniggered at the thought as he put his things away.
"Potter," said Snape authoritatively. Harry stopped and turned to the professor. "stay back for a moment." Harry knew by the tone of the potions master's voice that the only thing that was keeping him civil was the fact that Harry was a Slytherin. Harry frowned and wondered how long that was going to last. All of the other students had left when Snape spoke again.
"I have a letter for you from your mother," Snape hid all of him qualms with the situation very well, Harry decided when he heard the very cold and void voice. A letter addressed to him was sitting on Snape's desk. Harry grabbed it and sure enough, there was his mother's handwriting. This was why Harry didn't get any morning mail.
"Did you write her sir? About my sorting, I mean?" Harry asked warily. Snape didn't say anything, instead the professor shooed the boy with a waive of his hand. Harry openly scowled at the man that was no longer looking at him. Harry left with the letter in tow. Harry became more irritated when he saw that Sally was waiting for him outside of the Potion's room. Harry didn't hide his irritation this time.
"Harry, I'm sorry I got you in trouble…" the Mudblood said in a small voice. Harry had to bite his tongue to stop himself from snapping at the girl.
"It's not that that's got me upset…" said Harry vaguely.
"Are you going to go back to Dungeon?" Sally asked.
"No, I'm going to see if I can find Neville," Harry said with forced politeness. Sally's face fell, but she nodded and said good bye to Harry. The green eyed boy then headed to the fourth floor tapestry that hid all of the history classrooms. Harry had hoped that Neville got lost around the area. As Harry actually got to the fourth floor, he remembered that Susan had been in class with him. Harry huffed and turned around. Only to be caught up in two pairs of arms and then was promptly dragged away.
"What're you doing all-"
"-the way up here Harry?"
"You don't have class until seventh block and that's on the sixth floor," the twins said as the dragged Harry down the stairs.
"I was looking for Neville," Harry let the twins lead him down the stairs.
"Why do you need to see Neville?" Fred asked confusedly.
"Snape gave me a letter from my mum," both twins stopped pulling Harry down the stairs, and promptly pulled him back up them. Soon Harry found himself in one of the dusty classrooms that was never used.
"I solemnly swear I'm up to no good," Fred said while pointing to a ratty piece of parchment. Harry scowled.
"My father has been looking for that everywhere," Harry said accusingly with his arms crossed over his chest. The twins smiled sheepishly at him. The Potter heir shrugged and figured that it was in good hands all things considered.
"Neville's in the Gryffindor Common Room," George said still examining the Marauder's Map. "Ron's on his way to the Great Hall though. If you want him to open it for you." Fred grinned devilishly.
"You know that he won't after what happened the last time we had him open on of your Howlers." Harry was quickly running out of options. "What about Susan?"
Fred snorted, "Maybe if you beg her."
"What do you suggest-" Harry felt his companion tugging at him. He could tell his companion was annoyed with his younger and inexperienced wards. "Put the letter on the far desk and we'll open it from a distance. One of you know how to do that right?"
Fred looked away with an annoyed expression, but George nodded. Harry placed the letter on one end of the classroom and stood behind George who cast the spell. The letter sprung into the air and flopped open onto the desk. After a few moments of nothing, Harry approached the letter. Harry did a quick skim and handed it to the twins who were trying to read it over Harry's shoulders.
"That was anticlimactic," the twins said together. All the letter entitled was a congratulations and a do your best in making friends. All three of them frowned. That sounded nothing like Lily. The three of them took this as a blessing.
"Do you have a break now?" Harry asked.
"No, but since it's History of Magic with Bins, we thought that we could skip out after a little bit." they said together. Harry nodded.
"I have nothing to do for a while, and I don't want to sit and listen to Draco Malfoy any more than I have to." stated Harry.
"We can go check out what's in the third floor corridor," the twins smiled.
"Eventually, but not on the first day of classes. Give me a few weeks to adjust." said Harry incredulously. The twins laughed at him.
The twins had nearly gotten away with skipping class, but they were caught by Professor McGonagall on their way to the Quidditch Pitch. They got points taken away, Harry would have too if he hadn't claimed that he didn't know that they had class. With Harry's first source of entertainment gone, Harry wondered to the Black Lake where Godric, the giant squid, immediately swung its tentacles out of the water toward Harry.
Harry could hear Susan laughing at him from somewhere behind him. Neville patted Harry on the back. "Is it nice to know that if you fail with women giant squid will always love you?" Harry really wanted to punch Sirius for telling us some of he things he did. They were eleven years old. They should not know the hidden meaning behind statements like that, let alone be able to tell jokes about them as well.
"I was really hoping that you forgot that the tapestries sometimes change places," Harry said to Neville who was now looking very confused. "I was going to have you open a letter from my mother." Neville scowled and then pointed to Susan and blamed it on her.
"What did the letter say?" Susan asked.
"Not much, just the usual stuff like congratulations on getting into Slytherin and make friends." Harry paused and then gave Susan the letter. "It was weird." Susan's eyebrows almost looked like they were touching her hairline after she had read the letter.
The group of childhood friends stayed by the lake for a long time, and they were even visited by Hagrid, who nearly knocked down Ron, Neville and Harry at once. That was not fun. Eventually the squid left Harry alone, because he wasn't giving it any attention. The first years could have sworn that Godric was jealous.
Susan looked at her watch. "It's nearly eleven. Lunch starts soon." The others looked at her. "We should get there soon if we want to bombard the twins. I want to know what kind of punishment they will get for their morning activities."
The others laughed. Harry didn't get the chance to ask the twins what happened and was incredibly curious about their punishment as well. They hadn't even seemed like they got in trouble, but then the twins got in trouble a lot, and were probably so used to it that punishments didn't even faze them anymore.
When the quartet reached the Great Hall they couldn't find the twins among any of the tables. The Hall only had a few students in it. There were seventh year Slytherins and Ravenclaws sitting together. They seemed to be working on their school work. Susan studied the group a little closer and saw that there were even Gryffindors and Hufflepuff sitting with them. It seemed that Draco was the only one that was opposed to inter-house mingling. Susan scoffed at the thought of Draco Malfoy. Susan didn't like his father either. His mother was a little snooty, but she was also very nice. In fact, Narcissa was something of a role model to Susan.
Susan had aspirations to become a renowned healer like Narcissa was before she married Lucius Malfoy and became a wife and mother. In fact, it was Narcissa who first introduced the healing arts to Susan at a Ministry party once. Susan sighed. Her idol represented everything that she and her family were opposed to. That didn't stop Susan from admiring the Malfoy matriarch, but it did put a damper on her future ambitions. Susan wanted to study under Narcissa in the future. Susan didn't see that happening in the near or far future at all. Susan was brought out of her stupor when someone nearly knocked her over.
Sally-Anne Perks was practically running into the Great Hall. She looked to be in tears. Theo stepped beside Susan. The rest of the quartet was looking at him curiously.
"The other first years and some of the second and third years were making fun of her. They called her some pretty bad names." Theo explained.
"They called her a Mudblood didn't they," stated Harry. He almost sounded indifferent to the fact. Theo nodded.
"She took it well for a while. Apparently she was trying to focus on concentrating her magic, but she kept failing. Then Pansy got in her face." Theo scowled. "I think she was trying to impress Draco…"
Susan didn't say anything, but she squared her shoulders and started to stomp toward Sally-Anne. She was stopped by a firm hand on her shoulder.
"There's nothing you can do for her." Theo said, and explained further by the look on Susan's face. "She's not looking for acceptance from you. She wants it from Slytherins. Just think about it. If the other members of her house except her, that means she can rest easy. It wouldn't mean anything if it was someone from a different house.
"You don't have to live with her everyday. It's easy for you to say words of comfort, but you don't have to see what happens in the Snake Den." Susan looked to Harry. Harry only watched the crying girl. Susan followed her gaze. Sally-Anne was being comforted by some of the seventh year Slytherins.
"The one who just hugged her is a half-blood. The blonde girl is a Muggleborn, and the ones with brown hair are both purebloods. All four of them are very respected in Slytherin House." Harry voiced his observations. "Once Sally impresses the rest of the house, she won't have many problems.
"You see, Slytherin is a little divided. There are the traditionalists and the modernists. The house is nearly divided evenly between the two. Besides, there's a kind of finesse to getting the other Slytherins to…recognize you."
"Showing off in class is one of them," said Theo snarkily. Harry laughed at him.
"If you had the chance to show up Draco would you go for it?" Harry asked the blue eyed Slytherin.
"You have no idea," Theo grinned. "I've known Draco since we were in the womb. Our mothers would have…'play dates' while they were still pregnant."
"Must have be terrible listening to him brag about how much more room he had than you," Harry snorted.
"Will she really be alright?" Susan asked before the conversation could get anymore off track.
"Yeah, don't worry about it too much. The upperclassmen will talk to all of us about it later tonight I'm sure. The blonde girl, Elodie Williams, is the Head Girl this year. She takes these things very seriously." The non-Slytherins looked at the kind looking blonde girl with awe. Theo went to sit at the table that had the most Slytherins at it. He sat a little ways away from the seventh years though.
Ron immediately went to the table that had the most Gryffindors in it. Harry sat down to Theo. Neville and Susan stood at the Great Hall doors. Susan was deep in thought. Neville put his hand on her shoulder, much like the way Theo had done before.
"Don't worry too much about it, Susan." Neville reassured Susan. "Harry'll look out for her. It seems like…Theo?…will too."
Susan nodded, and she and Neville sat with Ron.