Okay, okay. I don't mean to start yet another story, but I was watching the movie of Half Blood Prince, and an idea for a short one-shot came to me that I just had to write out. It's a "What Harry should have said/done" story, similar to my other stories "Hijacking the Kangaroo Court" "Harry's Had Enough" and "You Owe Me."
Kind of got myself a little series out of that theme going, haven't I? Perhaps I should make a one-shot collection for these. I do have several other ideas on the theme.
Anyway, the scene in question is one featured in the film, not the book, but it works, so just go with it. Events in both the films and the books are also referenced.
Having been excused by Professor McGonagall, Leanne left the office of the Head of Gryffindor.
The Professor turned her attention to the other three students present, Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger.
"Why is it," McGonagall began wearily "that when something happens it is always you three?"
"Believe me, Professor," replied Ron "I've been asking myself the same question for six years."
Just then the Head of Slytherin House, Professor Snape arrived.
He proceeded over to McGonagall's desk and took out his wand to begin examining the necklace there.
"What do you think?" asked McGonagall.
Snape gave a flick of his wand, causing the necklace to turn in the air before replying "I think Miss Bell is lucky to be alive."
"She was cursed, wasn't she?" asked Harry "I know Katie. Off the Quidditch pitch she wouldn't hurt a fly. If she was delivering that to Professor Dumbledore, she wasn't doing it knowingly."
McGonagall gave a nod and said "Yes, she was cursed."
After a moment Harry said "It was Malfoy."
This caused both Ron and Hermione to send looks of incredulity at him.
Both teachers turned around to fix him with a glare.
"That is a very serious accusation, Potter." said Professor McGonagall.
"Indeed," agreed Professor Snape "Your evidence?"
Harry frowned in confusion and asked "Evidence?"
He mouthed the word several times as though in thought before turning to Hermione and asking "I don't think I've ever heard of that."
Hermione shook her head and replied "Don't be stupid, Harry."
"I'm not," replied Harry "I cannot recall ever hearing that word spoken in my life."
"Stop playing the fool Potter." said Snape "You know damn well what it means."
Harry shrugged his shoulders in response, his face fixed in a look of utter perplexity.
Hermione sighed and just decided to get it over with "Harry, evidence what is used to support an assertion. For example if someone were to be accused of stealing something, evidence is what is used to back up the accusation."
Harry's expression became one of understanding "Oh yeah! I remember hearing about that once at school when I was about eight. I thought it had fallen out of practice."
"Potter," said McGonagall, wearily "Evidence is still something that is required, and you cannot go around making accusations without evidence to back it up."
"Really?" asked Harry.
"Yes, Potter." replied McGonagall.
"Huh. Well, could you do me a favour and tell him that?" he followed his question by pointing to Professor Snape "After all, he accuses me of doing things all the time either without the slightest bit of evidence, or completely against all evidence to the contrary."
"Don't be ridiculous, Potter." said Snape with a sneer.
"During the first potions class I ever attended you accused me of purposefully allowing Neville to ruin his own potion in order to make mine look better, when I was actually listening to you prattle on about how well Malfoy's potion had come out. And later in that school year you accused the three of us of being "up to something" simply because we were talking in a corridor. Second year you accused me of having something to do with the petrification of Filch's cat when I had been at Nearly Headless Nick's Death Day Party."
"I did not know that at the time." said Snape through gritted teeth.
"And you never asked," replied Harry "You just accused. In third year you accused me of somehow helping Sirius to escape from Professor Flitwick's office when all evidence supported the fact that I had been locked in the Hospital Wing during the escape. You also accused me of being in Hogsmeade when I was not allowed to leave the castle for my own safety, and you based this entirely upon the assertion of Draco Malfoy that he saw me… well, just my head. Something that he, by the way, provided no actual evidence for."
"Come off it, Potter." said Snape "You were seen lurking by the statue of the one-eyed witch."
Harry frowned "What does that have to do with anything? I mean it's not as if it's a passageway leading to Hogsmeade. If it were it would have been blocked off for security reasons, right?"
Snape said nothing in reply. He merely glared.
Harry continued "Fourth year you accused me of entering my own name into the Goblet of Fire, despite the protections around it preventing me from doing so. You also accused me of stealing gilly weed and the ingredients for Polyjuice potion from your own personal stores without any evidence at all. Do I need to go on?"
The look on Snape's face told Harry that the only reason that the man wasn't ranting and raving at him right now was the presence of Professor McGonagall.
Deciding to let up on Snape, Harry said "And it's not just him. During my second year everyone accused me of being the heir of Salazar Slytherin."
"They had evidence based on the fact that you could speak parseltongue." said Snape.
"But at the same time they ignored the evidence against the accusation." Harry pointed to Hermione "A Muggle-born who regularly outshines many of the purebloods in my year, and who is also one of my best friends. It took her being attacked to make them realise that it wasn't me."
"Fourth year, again, there was the accusation that I entered myself in the tri-wizard tournament. Just about the entire school, as well as many people at the Ministry, the staff at the Daily Prophet and most of the general public believed the accusation despite all evidence pointing to that fact that such a thing should have been impossible for someone two months into his fourth year at Hogwarts. And do I need to bring up last year?"
"Very well, Potter, you have made your point." said Professor McGonagall.
"Good," said Harry "But I am still accusing Malfoy."
"Not without evidence you won't." said Snape.
"Alright," said Harry "Then I accuse you of favouritism of your own house, particularly Draco, bias against those not of your own house, particularly Gryffindor, and discrimination, mostly against me. And I have five years and three months' worth of evidence to back that up."
"Why you insolent little-" Snape began before remembering that McGonagall was there and regaining control of himself.
"See?" Harry asked McGonagall "Evidence counts for nothing in this place. I have plenty of evidence to support my accusations of Snape, and that makes me insolent."
McGonagall turned to Snape and said "Why don't you go and see if Poppy needs a hand in the Hospital Wing? She may have found out more through her examinations of Miss Bell."
Snape gave a slight nod to her and then stormed out of the room, his black robes billowing.
McGonagall watched him go before turning to Ron and Hermione and saying "You two may go as well."
The pair sent looks towards Harry before turning and leaving.
Once they were gone, McGonagall seated herself behind her desk and fixed Harry with a stern look.
"Mr Potter, do you have any evidence at all to support your accusation of Draco Malfoy being involved in the cursing of Katie Bell?"
Harry sighed heavily and sat down in a spare seat.
"Before school started, I witnessed him entering Borgin and Burke's shop in Knockturn Alley. There was a necklace in there that looks remarkably like the one now sitting on your desk. On the way to school I overheard him talking with some other Slytherins. He seemed to think that he had been given an important job to do by Voldemort. And there are a lot of little things too."
"Like what?" pressed McGonagall.
"He isn't acting like himself." replied Harry "He has dropped out of the Slytherin Quidditch team, and you know how much he relished that position. He doesn't bully anymore. I've yet to hear him sneer out the word 'Mudblood' once this year, and it has been a while since he called me 'Scar head'. Also I've seen him going around without Crabbe and Goyle by his side. It's like he is trying to keep a low profile."
"Perhaps with his father's arrest he is frightened of retaliation." suggested McGonagall.
Harry shook his head "No. You saw him at the end of last year. He was all ready to try and attack me when you turned up, He wasn't humbled by his father's arrest, he was angry, and eager to make me suffer for the part I played in his father being exposed for what he really is. And if he was afraid of retaliation, why ditch Crabbe and Goyle? And he knows that if anyone does try to do anything to him he can just set Snape on them."
"So you think that he is keeping a low profile because he doesn't want them to know what he is up to?" asked McGonagall.
"Exactly." said Harry.
"But what would You-Know-Who want with a Hogwarts student who has only just completed his O.W.L. exams?"
Harry gave a shrug and replied "If I knew how Voldemort's mind worked, we'd be a lot closer to ending this war. But look, isn't a major part about the pro-pure blood movement about keeping power and wealth within the same family, passing it down father to son? Does it not make sense that with his father out of the picture, Draco Malfoy has taken his place?"
"I suppose it might," conceded McGonagall "But the question still remains – why a schoolboy?"
"Maybe just information," said Harry "Maybe I'm wrong about his involvement with the necklace and Voldemort just wants Malfoy to collect information. Don't forget that Malfoy attends this place with the children of many like sided families; Ron and Ginny from the Weasley family, Susan from the Bones family, Neville from the Longbottoms, me… Then there's Hermione and Luna, both of whom were there the night he was exposed and ten of his Death Eaters were captured."
Seeing that she still looked unconvinced, Harry continued "Look, I know my evidence could be considered flimsy at best, but didn't Professor Dumbledore tell us at the welcoming feast to inform a member of staff if we note anything strange or suspicious?"
"He did," confirmed McGonagall.
"Well, I am here informing you that Draco Malfoy is acting extremely out of character. I have given you my evidence like you asked for, so I'll leave you to decide what to do with it. However I will inform you that even if you decide that it is nothing, I will be keeping a close watch on him from now on."
McGonagall nodded and said "Very well, Potter. I will consider the matter carefully. You may go."
Harry thanked her, got up and left.
And the final result is up to you, though I think that we all know that McGonagall would just inform Dumbledore, who would insist that Snape had the situation well in hand, and the year would end in pretty much the same way as it did in the canon.
But maybe a few more people learn that Dumbledore wasn't the all-knowing man he had them all believe.