AN: So, this chapter is mostly filler, and it's short too. I know, I know, I go a day without an update and I don't even have the decency to write a long chapter? I'm afraid that I'm going to be going longer between updates, but the updates themselves will be longer. Now, I have a few questions for you. First, how do you feel about the Snape in my story? Do you think he's too mean, too nice, or perfect just the way he is? Some other have been mentioning that they wish to see an adult figure that the kids can count on. Who do you want to see? Also, it has to be kind of believable. How would they know to go to Madam Bones if they don't even talk to Susan? Thirdly, though this isn't really a question, start thinking about (and telling me) what pairing you want. I'm planning on a Percy/Penelope Clearwater, but pretty much anything else is up for grabs. Thanks to all my readers. Thanks to my 222 favorites and 405 followers. Special thanks to reviewers A Lady of Time, phoebe turner, akasanta, nokeyunderscore, Kairan1979, The Sea's Wing's, sparky0sw, serenityselena, NATWEST, Siriusly Grim, SomeGuyFawkes, Majerus, LoonyLouisStein, red-jacobson, ladysavay, mwinter1, Cateagle, Katzztar, kentrek1, serialkeller, slicerness, Lightningblade49, wolfish-willow, femalefarrier, Loves to read books, Wonderbee31, MariusDarkwolf, and JannaKalderash. Final word count before monstrous author's not: 2,420
Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter franchise.
Lee Jordan was used to falling a bit behind. He had been friends with Fred and George since all three met on the train first year. Lee had never actually believed most of the things he heard about twins until he met Fred and George. The two always had the same idea at the exact same time. They always knew what the other was thinking, and almost always forgot that Lee didn't have the same mind connection. The twins would babble on about their idea, bantering back and forth, and finally turn to Lee for his opinion, only to find that he had no clue what they were on about.
Yes, Lee Jordan fell behind quite often, but never during Quidditch. He was quite happily commentating on a fake game during Gryffindor practice. Colin Creevey, Ron, and Hermione sat in the stands opposite him. Percy would've come too, but McGonagall had asked him to stay in her office for a moment. Next to Lee sat Neville and Ginny. The ginger girl hadn't really wanted to come, because it meant seeing Harry Potter, but Neville had coaxed her out of the Common Room.
Lee was having a good time, glancing around the pitch in order to hopefully catch a flicker of gold, when instead he found a gaggle of green.
"What the…" he murmured, forgetting that he was speaking into the mic. "Can the Gryffindor team take a brief time out?"
The players flew down next to Lee, Oliver wearing a deep frown.
"What do you think you're doing?" he asked, irritated.
Lee purposefully shut off the mic and replied, "There are snakes in the lion's den. Repeat: There are snakes in the lion's den."
"Lee, you do know that no one understands any of your secret codes, right?" Angelina said exasperatedly.
"Fine," he huffed. "The Slytherin team is on the pitch right now."
"What?" Oliver thundered. The team zoomed around and landed next to the Slytherins.
"Flint, what are you doing here?" Oliver demanded.
"We're going to use the pitch, of course," Flint said smoothly.
"That's impossible, I booked the pitch," Oliver was beginning to turn red.
"Really? That's too bad. See, we have a signed note from Professor Snape," he sneered, handing over a piece of parchment.
"'I give my permission for the Slytherin Quidditch team to use the pitch today in order to train their new seeker.' Who's your new seeker?"
A pale boy with a pointed chin, platinum blonde hair, and a smirk stepped forward. "I am."
"Malfoy," Harry growled.
"Potter," the boy spat.
Lee had heard loads of things about Draco Malfoy, and not one of them was good. He was a rotten, spoiled, little boy whose one goal in life seemed to be to make everyone else's lives absolutely miserable.
"Like the new brooms, Wood?" Flint boasted.
"No," Oliver muttered, jaw clenched. Gleaming, pristine handles and carefully groomed twigs were promptly thrust into Oliver's face. He tried not to crack.
"Way faster than the Nimbus 2000," One taunted.
"I heard that international teams are going to be switching to these," Another claimed.
"I guess you Gryffindors will never get your precious Cup now," Flint sneered.
That seemed to be the final straw for Oliver, and he moved to-
"At least no one on the Gryffindor team had to buy their way in. They got in on pure talent." The voice of Hermione Granger broke through Oliver's haze, and he seemed to force himself to relax. All of the Gryffindors smiled at her comment.
"Filthy little Mudblood," Malfoy snarled.
"Yeah, dunno why she's even here," Flint agreed.
If Lee had thought Oliver angry before, it was nothing compared to watching one Quidditch captain charge towards the other, fists first.
"What were you thinking?" Katie shrieked.
"That I was gonna kill Flint," Oliver groaned.
"I can't believe you thought you could've taken him on," she continued.
"I could've," he argued. "It was the other two guys that took me down."
"It probably didn't help that you called his mum a troll," Lee snickered.
"Oliver!" Katie scolded.
"Katie, you haven't seen his mum yet. She's got to have at least a little bit of troll blood in her," Oliver said.
"We thought it was wicked," the twins claimed. "Almost as cool as the time Dad fought Malfoy."
"Now that was great," Percy declared as he walked into the Hospital Wing. "Although I'm surprised you're doing stuff like that now you're a prefect."
"What?" Oliver asked, confused. "I'm not a prefect, you know that."
"Ah, so she hasn't gotten to you yet-"
The Hospital Wing doors swung open again, only this time it was Professor McGonagall who strode in.
"Mr. Wood, if we could have a quick moment alone," she suggested, glancing at the large group assembled by his bedside. Hermione moved to get up, but Oliver flung his arm out. She sat back down. He turned to McGonagall.
"Anything you want to say to me can be said in front of them."
"I see." She gave them all a smile. "Now, Mr. Wood, I'm afraid Mr. Weasley has again declined to take up his original position as prefect. I was hoping that-"
"My answer stays the same," He interrupted her.
Her smile dimmed. "I see," she repeated. "And I suppose there is no way for me to convince either of you otherwise?"
Percy and Oliver shook their head.
"You do realize this means that we will be short one prefect, that Gryffindor house will not be equally represented among the other three houses?"
Both boys refused to give in.
"Very well," she sighed. "And for the record, Mr. Weasley and Mr. Wood, I do not blame you." And then she swept out of the Hospital Wing, head down.
"Whoa," Ron muttered. And that summed up all of their thoughts quite nicely.
The next day, when Oliver was released from the Hospital Wing, he seemed a bit upset. The twins who had been sent to escort him back to the Common Room, decided to cheer him up.
"We heard McGonagall rip into Snape about the pitch," one whispered.
"She said she didn't care what he said about their seeker," the other murmured.
"Don't worry Ollie. We'll beat them, even with their stupid new brooms," they chimed.
"Yeah, stupid," Oliver echoed.
The twins exchanged knowing looks.
"You liked the new brooms, didn't you?"
"No!" Oliver denied quickly. "More like…loved them because they're so fast and sleek and shiny."
"Oh Ollie," The two sighed.
"We're gonna die, boys. We're gonna die. There's no way we'll win now!" He moaned.
Katie would be lying if she said she liked all of her classes. She used History of Magic as a rather convenient naptime, as she had it just after lunch. That class was just boring, but Potions made her sweat profusely and wonder if vomit negatively impacted potions. Like most students, Katie had been looking forward to Potions until she met Professor Snape.
"Bell, quit gazing off into space and do some real work."
"Bell, I see your Gryffindor tendencies have led you to subpar potions skills."
"Bell! Stop chit-chatting and read the instructions on the board."
She had cried in her room after the first lesson and vowed to be the best Potions student he'd ever seen. She'd memorized the text book, something she'd never done before. She spent all of her time in the library, reading dusty old books on brewing. She'd even begged some older students for secret tips on certain potions.
But finally, just before Christmas holidays, she'd realized something. No matter what she did, it would never be enough. Snape wanted to hate her; he wanted to see her crack under pressure. Well, she decided, I won't give him the satisfaction. Not now, not ever.
Today though, was definitely trying her patience. He seemed in a particularly bad mood, shouting at them and then going suspiciously quiet and moody. Frankly it was starting to scare her. Snape had always been rude and sarcastic, but never had Katie witnessed this level of…well, she didn't know what to call it. He just seemed so unhinged.
"Bell!" He barked.
She jumped and knocked over a nearby cauldron, letting out a muffled scream.
"I'm so sorry-" she apologized
"What were you-" he snarled.
"I didn't mean to, I just, I. You startled me, so I, I mean. At least nothing was in it right? I promise I'll be more careful-"
"Silence!" He roared.
Katie clamped her mouth shut.
"What is wrong with you today? Is the pressure of going up against an undefeatable team getting to you?" He smirked. "Or maybe you just realized that no matter what you do, you won't ever be good enough? That you'll always be some stupid, pathetic girl that can't accomplish anything?" He smiled cruelly and turned away.
Tears welled up in her eyes. How could he know that? She had stood tall and looked him right in the eye, hiding all her insecurities. The other Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs gave her pitying looks. Their stares stung almost as much as the remarks themselves. Her skin burned with shame. She couldn't focus, couldn't even see with the tears blurring her vision.
"I-I have to go," she gasped to Leanne, her potions partner, and she packed up her stuff hurriedly. Hot tears began making tracks on her face. No, no, not now!
People started whispering, the noise bouncing around her head. It was too much. Then she ran, barely registering his yell.
"20 points from Gryffindor for walking out of class, and another 10 for running in the halls!"
Oliver Wood wasn't really all that interested in Charms, but then again, he wasn't really all that interested in much besides Quidditch and friends. Why bother with classes when he had his career already planned, right? Unfortunately, his mother didn't see things the same way, so he was still here.
"Hey Wood!" A Slytherin whispered from behind him. He gritted his teeth.
"Psst! Wood!" Another boy hissed. Oliver made a hole in the parchment he was taking notes on from pressing down too hard with his quill.
"Probably too scared," the first taunted.
"What?" Oliver snapped.
Flitwick stopped teaching for a moment to peer at them. "Mr. Bole, Mr. Derrick, I do wish you would stop muttering in the middle of the lesson. And Mr. Wood, I expected better of a prefect."
"I'm not a prefect," Oliver exclaimed.
"Oh?" Flitwick's miniscule eyebrows rose. "I suppose Mr. Weasley has-"
Beside Oliver, Percy mutely shook his head.
"Oh, my goodness. Then, Gryffindor is missing a prefect?"
"Even the Gryffindorks know that their house sucks," The first boy sniggered
Oliver spun around in his seat and immediately started toward the bigger one, Bole. He briefly thought of what Katie might say when she finds out, but ultimately decided that House pride is worth more than a third year's ire. He gives a small smile when he sees Percy stand up to deal with Derrick.
"Albus, let's go for a walk," McGonagall suggested to Dumbledore. Really she just wanted to ask him a few questions in a place where he couldn't retreat. She was going to get some answers, one way or another.
"Of course, Minerva," He acquiesced.
They set off in the direction of the courtyard. Several times Minerva moved to say something, but he appeared lost in thought. They passed room after room, but upon seeing Filius instructing some first years, Minerva could no longer hold it in.
"I'm worried about Mr. Weasley. He has never acted like this before." She waited impatiently for a reply.
"I wouldn't worry. Arthur has always had a deeper fascination with Muggles than the rest of us."
"Arthur?" She asked, surprised. "I'm talking about Percy. Albus, are you alright?"
"Oh yes, yes. I must have simply been lost in memories for a bit," he chuckled.
McGonagall wasn't so sure. She waited until they were out in the courtyard to test him. There was no one to overhear them, and besides, the fresh air might do him some good.
"Mr. Black seems to be adjusting well," She mentioned casually.
"Ah, yes. I admit, I initially had my doubts, but his friendship with James Potter seems to have helped."
Minerva swallowed. This couldn't be true. She began subtly guiding him back to his office, mind reeling. What was going on? He seemed stuck in the past. How was he possibly going to run a school like this? He couldn't, Minerva realized with a sinking heart.
"Minerva," he said, stopping suddenly just outside of his office. "Mr. Black had already graduated, has he not?"
"Several years ago," she confirmed hesitantly.
His face went pale. "I need to think," he whispered hollowly. Minerva couldn't recall ever seeing a man so broken. She had come to his office expecting answers, but now she only had more questions.
That night at dinner, Dumbledore rose to make a speech.
"Does he do this often?" Ritchie Coote, a first year, asked impatiently, eyeing the roast beef on his plate.
"Almost never," Harry whispered back.
"Students, staff, and ghosts here at Hogwarts," he began.
"And poltergeists!" Peeves intervened.
"And poltergeists," Dumbledore allowed. "I have a very important announcement to make. You will all be the first to know this. I am getting a bit old, as you all can tell," he paused.
Uneasy laughter echoed in the Great Hall.
"No need to be alarmed. I am not in any grave danger. However, I have decided that I am no longer able to keep up with all of my responsibilities. As some of you may know, I am not only Headmaster, but also Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards. I realized that I have been neglecting one of my duties. So, I regret to inform you that I am resigning from the post of Headmaster of Hogwarts. I leave you in the more than capable hand of our own Professor McGonagall."
With that, he sat back down, acting completely unaware of the chaos he had just created.