Chapter 16: Repercussions
After serving that one detention with Lockhart at the start of the year, Harry knew that whatever McGonagall dreamed up for him to do would be absolutely merciful. What he was really frustrated about, was reporting to Professor Snape's quarters afterwards. It just really wasn't fair. Harry had tried twice to ignore Malfoy's instigations, and now he just knew he was going to be in trouble with both McGonagall and Snape. Malfoy on the other hand, was getting off with a slap on the wrist and he had been the bigger offender. Ron and Neville had both been able to vouch for that.
When he arrived at McGonagall's office however, he was slightly surprised to see Filch standing there and couldn't help but groan. Nobody was anywhere near as bad as Lockhart when it came to detention, but Filch was definitely in second place. Even having to scrub cauldrons and prepare potion ingredients for Snape didn't compare to scooping out the Owlery for Filch. Not only was it a lot of disgusting work, but you also had to deal with Filch standing over you criticizing both your work, and the respect of students in general.
"Good evening Professor," he replied with a sigh.
"Good evening Mr. Potter," McGonagall replied glancing at him over some papers she was grading. "I thought that you could spend the evening organizing some things for me." She pulled out a stack of parchment that was bound at the top like a muggle paper tablet. "Am I correct in assuming that I can teach you a charm to use tonight and you will never use it without a professor's explicit permission?"
"Yes ma'am?" Harry was more than a little confused at the question. If he was going to be helping her, why was Filch there? What would she need help organizing? She was the strictest teacher in school and always perfectly put together. He couldn't see her having a single paper out of order, let alone something that would take an entire detention. And why would she teach him a spell that he wasn't allowed to use?
He didn't have time to ponder all of that for long however, because Malfoy walked in. Harry could hardly hide his delight when McGonagall welcomed him and stated that he would be serving detention with Filch. He was going to be working on some simple organization task while Malfoy whatever filthy task Filch had planned for him. Harry personally hoped he did have to clean the Owlery. Or even wash out the bed pans in the infirmary. He didn't get to find out however because Filch didn't explain as he led the blonde away. It was with a much lighter heart that Harry tuned back into his own instructions from McGonall.
"The spell that I'm going to teach you is the duplicate charm." Professor McGonagall seemed to ignore his confusion as he picked up her wand. As she picked up a blank piece of parchment however, she peered at him sternly over the top of her spectacles. "As you can imagine, the duplicate charm makes duplicates of parchments. It's similar to a copy machine in the muggle world."
Harry wanted desperately to ask how she knew about the muggle world, but bit his tongue. McGonagall was not a teacher you interrupted for trivial matters, bothered with questions, or pried into her personal life.
"You are going to use the duplicate charm tonight to make copies of this packet. You will have to copy each parchment individually, and make sure that each packet is complete and exactly the same as this model one I have for you. If you try to get smart and decide to duplicate another student's homework with this charm however, I can assure you that the consequences will be severe."
Harry couldn't repress a sigh at that comment. It was practically the same line Snape had fed him all of Christmas break. She'd just changed the wording from 'you won't like the consequences' to 'the consequences will be severe.' Sighing however, had not been in his best interest.
"Mr. Potter, I can promise you now that if you are not mature enough to handle this, I can find something else for you to do." The tone in her voice expressed that the secondary task would not be pleasant, and Harry quickly shook his head.
"No ma-am, I wasn't meaning anything bad," he stated hastily. "I was just thinking that it's slightly annoying nobody seems to trust me."
"Well you don't exactly have the best track record in trust Mr. Potter." McGonagall's tone was softer and she gave him a half amused smile that made his head spin in even more confusion. "Either way, I'm just putting it out there that if I find out that you used this spell without permission, like to make a copy of someone else's homework or copy your own homework for a friend, then you will be in detention every day for a month. That is in addition to whatever the Headmaster tacks on for violating the Hogwarts cheating code. You will also have the pleasure of dealing with your father after everything else has been settled."
"Yes ma-am, I understand," Harry replied wide eyed. The Headmaster's threat of expulsion rang in his ears again and again, and he didn't even want to think about what Snape would say.
"I'll warn you now that before any teacher grades their stack of homework; they perform a simple test to check to see if the duplicate spell has been used. All they have to do is tap the entire stack of parchments. If a duplicate spell has been used, the original will glow green, and the duplicate will glow red." With that she placed the packet of parchment on her desk, and laid the blank piece of parchment beside it. "Now, the incantation is 'duplicatam.' Say it without your wand first."
"Duplicatchum," Harry responded hating how he tripped over his wording. Learning the Latin had always been the hardest part in performing the spells for him.
"No Mr. Potter, now repeat after me," McGonagall responded patiently. "Du-pli-cat-am." She pronounced each syllable slowly, and after Harry got that, she had him practice saying it all together. "Alright, now that you know the incantation, all you do is run your wand down the original copy like this," she ran the tip of her wand down the length of the first page of parchment of the packet, "say the incantation, and tap your blank parchment." She tapped the blank parchment, and the wording from the packet transferred over.
"That's really cool." Harry stared at the parchment with wide eyes. He'd seen the muggle copiers, and unless the paper was typed and the machine was working perfectly, you could easily spot the duplicate. Now however, both pieces of parchment sported McGonagall's flawless penmanship and looked exactly the same.
"Yes, it certainly comes in handy," McGonagall replied flashing him a small smile that quickly vanished. "As I said, you'll have to copy each one individually, so take that stack of blank parchment, this packet, and get started. After you have finished a single packet, put it together, in order, and lay it here on my desk so I can bind it." While both the duplicate and binding charms were both rather simple and easy to pick up on, they weren't generally taught to students until fifth year since the younger students would have no use for them. At 12, Harry's magical core was also still strengthening, so it wasn't wise to try and train him in two different spells at the same time.
By the time Harry finished the graduation packets, Harry was extremely sick of the duplicate spell, and couldn't help but think that this would make a very good punishment for someone that did use it to copy homework or something.
When he was finally released at 8:00, he hastily stuffed his wand in its holster and bolted for the door before McGonagall could change her mind and give him another task. Once out of her office however, he slowed his pace and sighed as he made his way to the dungeons.
Severus had been relieved that everything seemed to be going so well. No it wasn't perfect, he could see Harry trying desperately to avoid public places, but they were getting by. He had always overseen the first study session of the term just to make sure everything went smoothly and answer any questions that came up. This time however, he wasn't sure how long it would take for him to trust control over to the prefects. He and Harry hadn't seen eye to eye even over the holiday, but he had always felt the need to protect him, and even he had to admit that setting Dumbledore's Golden Boy up against all of the Slytherins was a recipe for disaster. Sure they would behave themselves when he was watching, but there was no telling what some of them would do when his back was turned.
Draco Malfoy completely ignoring his instructions had not come as a surprise to Severus, but that didn't make it any less frustrating. He had seen the blond causing problems for the three Gryffindors the instant they arrived at the Great Hall. He had silently congratulated Harry on being the better man and ignoring the Slytherin not just once, but twice even. Severus couldn't hear the dialogue, but when Draco had tripped Harry he had immediately risen to his feet, fearing the confrontation that would follow. He was too late however, and silently swore as he saw his son finally attack. Harry had been doing so well, and now Severus was going to have to punish him.
While he had released Harry to Minerva's hands for the evening, Severus still had the Weasley boy to deal with for detention that night. He set the redhead the task of pickling some toads, took a strong headache reliever, and sank into the chair behind his desk to work on grading the essays he had collected today. While he gave the appearance of being completely focused on the work in front of him, he could honestly say he couldn't understand a word of what he was reading, and this time it wasn't because of sloppy handwriting.
That first night at Prince Manor, Severus had been up thinking of a way to answer Harry's question about what would get him grounded, and fighting had been one of the things that had made the final list. There was no doubt he was going to have to ground the boy, but he was unsure exactly how he was going to go about it while at a boarding school, and how long he should be grounded for. Severus knew that under normal circumstances, he would quickly ground the little brat for an entire week, maybe even two, for violating school rules right in plain view of the entire school. These weren't exactly normal circumstances however. For starters, Severus had to admit that the boy's entire world had been turned upside down. It was probably going to take some time before he truly found his feet again. It was also going to take time for him to find out who his friends were since he was pretty sure the child was getting hell from at least some of the other Gryffindors. It wasn't every day you found out one of yours was actually the son of evil Potions Professor and Head of Slytherin. There was also the fact that Harry had tried to avoid the confrontation twice.
Severus was still pouring over the first essay in his stack when there was a knock at his office door. The outline of the door glowed green alerting him that it was a student, and when he saw that it was about 8:30 he had a guess of who it might be. "Enter." He called out looking back at the essay and finally reading the first sentence.
He heard the door open, some feet shuffle, and then the click of the door being shut again before the shuffling of more feet slowly coming towards him. "Pick up your feet when you walk Mr. Potter, and it would be in your best interest to stop gaping, clean up your station, and get out of here Mr. Weasley. I will expect you tomorrow evening at the same time." He scrawled his quill loaded with red ink across the first paragraph of the essay before finally looking up and pointing to a plain wooden chair in front of his desk. "Have a seat." He then looked back down at the parchment, fully aware that the red-head was cleaning up as slowly as possible. "Unless you would rather finish those toads tonight Mr. Weasley, I would suggest that you be on the other side of the door in 30 seconds." That got the brat moving quicker, and Severus scratched through the second paragraph in red.
Harry didn't bother to ask how the man knew it was him, or how he knew that Ron was watching his every move since he hadn't even looked up from his desk. Instead he picked up his feet the walk the last few steps, and then took the 'offered' seat. He then squirmed there in anticipation as Snape remained silent, and Ron moved like bottle of molasses in December. He was slightly relieved, but also nervous when his friend was told to hurry up and get out. That didn't exactly bode well for him, but at the same time he wouldn't have the embarrassment of getting torn apart for 'dunderheadedness' in front of his friend.
Severus studied the boy in front of him for several moments in complete silence. In the two weeks they had been alone at Prince Manor he had come to realize that Potter wasn't arrogant brat he had thought. He was an insecure adolescent that had an uncanny knack for finding trouble and sticking his nose where it didn't belong.
"Alright Harry," he decided to use the boy's given name for at least the first part of this conversation to help him make an honest effort to let the boy give his side of the story and try and be fair. "We both know that we need to talk. I saw what happened in the Great Hall this evening, but I want you to tell me exactly what was going on."
To say that Harry was shocked was the understatement of the century. The man was actually going to give him a chance to speak here? "Well sir," Harry's throat felt dry, and he found himself staring at his trainer that had somehow come untied. "I've been trying really hard to just ignore everyone that tries to pick a fight. I've gotten pretty good at just turning a blind eye most of the time, and I was even able to do it with Malfoy. Even after he tripped me I wasn't planning to attack him, but then he said something about my mother and I just lost it."
Severus listened patiently as the pre-teen explained about ignoring everyone, and though it bothered him that he should be so good at it, due to the Dursley's no doubt, he couldn't deny that it was a very useful skill for the kid to have in a situation like this. When he mentioned Lily however, the Potions Master felt his heart rate pick up in anger. Lily's deception about the child's identity had been quite a blow, but he still cared deeply for her and he wasn't about to let her memory be tarnished. "What did he say about your mum Harry?" It was only through his years of spy training that the anger didn't show through the man's face or words right now. Instead it sounded like a simple question, as if he was just trying to understand the situation more.
"Well, it was more about you sir," Harry mumbled starting to dig the toe of his trainer into a spot on the flagstone floor. "She was just a passing comment, but it still made me mad."
"Well, what was this 'passing comment?'" Snape demanded starting to get irritated at the little miscreants games.
"He said that you being my father didn't offer me any protection because it just proved that you were a filthy mudblood lover." This sentence wasn't mumbled, but Harry still stared right at his feet.
"Mr. Potter, look at me right now," Severus demanded sternly. He mentally kicked himself for not forcing the boy to have eye contact with him through their entire discussion, but this was something he wanted to make clear right now. "I never want to hear you say that word ever again young man. Do you hear me?" At getting a quick head nod he continued. "Any foul language, that word included, will land you with a serious mouth washing and your nose in the corner, and I don't care if we are here in my office or in the Great Hall. Do you understand me? I want a verbal answer."
"Yes sir," Harry whispered looking bright red in the face at the very thought of standing in the corner for the entire Great Hall to see. He quickly shook that off however, and looked back at his Potions Professor. "I was just explaining what Malfoy said that made me so angry. He'd used that word about Hermione at the start of the year. I hadn't known what it meant back then, but Ron tried to curse him and when I learned why I wanted to go back and hex him myself."
"I understand that Mr. Potter," Severus switched back to the formal name now that he was getting to the serious part of the discussion. "You are well aware however, that fighting, with a wand or fists, is not allowed here at Hogwarts. It is also one of the things I told you would get you grounded correct?"
"Yes sir," Harry mumbled staring at the ground once more.
"Eyes on me young man," Severus ordered firmly. "I don't know what has come over me, but I've decided to once more be lenient with you. Instead of grounding you for an entire week, you will only be grounded for 3 days, starting tomorrow." He watched the boy nod his understanding before he continued. "What are the conditions when you are grounded Mr. Potter?"
"Any time not doing chores is spent in my room with no pleasure reading material, games, or flying no allowance, I have to write lines, and I go to bed at 8," Harry responded in a dull voice suppressing a sigh.
"That is correct," Severus stated with a quick nod. "As we are at Hogwarts, you will be in a room I have set up here in my personal quarters from right after your study session until classes the next day. You will be permitted to go to lunch in the Great Hall with your friends, but you will eat breakfast and dinner in your room down here. During your free periods you will be sitting in on whatever lesson I am teaching so that I can keep an eye on you."
Harry couldn't suppress a groan as he leaned his head back against his chair. This was going to suck majorly.
"Since you currently have detention as well as being grounded, you will be woken early to serve a morning detention since you are supposed to be getting ready for bed at the normal 7:00 time. You will also have 500 lines to write, and since it is already past your bedtime, you will find the line written on parchment for you after your lessons tomorrow. As for right now, you have 15 minutes to be showered, changed, teeth brushed, and in bed before I extend your grounding to a full week."
"Yes sir," Harry mumbled as he stood from his chair. He got directions on where his room and the bathroom were, and silently left the sinister professor to is essays, all the while silently cursing both Snape and Malfoy.
When he entered the door that separated Snape's office from his living quarters, Harry couldn't help but stare. The office had been dark and creepy with all the bottles of floating things, but inside the actual living quarters, it was quite nice. Everything was still decorated in green and silver, but there was a comfortable looking plush couch and matching armchair settled around a thick throw rug settled in front of a fireplace that sprang to life and warmed the room the instant Harry stepped through. There was also a tea table sitting on the throw rug, and Harry gave a small smile at the thought of Snape sitting in the arm chair, one leg resting on the other knee, leaned back reading the morning paper while he sipped his morning tea.
Harry pushed this image out of his mind however and headed for the bathroom. When he entered he saw a pair of his pajamas, clean underwear, his slippers, bathrobe, and his toothbrush and toothpaste was all neatly sitting on the counter waiting for him and two thick, large, green and silver towels were hanging from a rack on the wall. Knowing he didn't have time to poke about, Harry quickly showered and dried himself with one of the green bath towels before dressing for bed and quickly brushing his teeth. He picked up his dirty clothes and towel, knowing Snape would skin him alive if he left them lying about, put them in the hamper provided, and headed back into the main part of the quarters once more.
"Good to see you are capable of following some instructions Mr. Potter." Harry nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard Snape speak, and spun around to find the man in the armchair with one leg resting on the other knee while he sipped a cup of tea and didn't look up from the Potions Journal he was reading. Harry couldn't help a small smile as it was almost the exact image he had pictured when he'd first seen the setup.
"Good night sir," was the boy's only response as he turned to enter his room. He stopped once more however as he saw a small window in the center of the door with bars across it, and underneath was a small white label that read 'Prisoner 24601.' Looking back at Snape with a confused look he asked "Prisoner 24601?"
"It has relevance Mr. Potter," Snape replied glancing at him over the top of the journal. "I'm sure if you care enough you could ask Ms. Granger and she'll be able to tell you all about it. You may want to make sure you have lots of time though since the novel has over 1000 pages and Ms. Granger will most likely have the entire thing memorized."
Harry just shook his head as he turned the knob to enter the room. As much as he wanted to defend Hermione, he had to admit that it was probably true. Hermione was the type of girl to sit down and read what was probably the longest novel in the world simply because she would then be able to say she had read it. After the door, Harry wasn't surprised to see that his room was set up like a type of prison cell. After his grounding over the holiday, Harry had told Snape that it had felt like he was doing hard time. Snape had remarked that he would keep that in mind and that Harry couldn't do the time he shouldn't do the crime. Now it looked like Snape had, indeed, taken Harry's comment into consideration and used his twisted humor in response.
He walked over to the bed; a thin mattress on a wire frame bolted to the flagstone wall, and sat down. He couldn't help but notice that even though he actually was in the dungeons of Hogwarts in January and his room gave the appearance of a cold cell, the actual temperature around him was quite comfortable. The mattress was also as soft and comfortable as his bed back in Gryffindor tower, and as he pulled the single polyester blanket over him, he felt the warmth of a heavy quilt. He couldn't help a small smile as he reaffirmed the fact that he absolutely loved magic.
Severus watched Harry look at his bedroom door and had to hide his grin of satisfaction behind his Potions Journal. He hadn't expected the 12 year old to know that prisoner number reference, but the rest of the set up would be easy enough to recognize. The way Severus had it figured; he could give Harry the image of being a prisoner, while still giving him the comfort of a decent life.
When the clock in his living room chimed 9:00, Severus put a marker in his reading and stood. He left his private quarters with his robes billowing behind him, and entered the Slytherin Common Room. As he had expected, there wasn't a single 1st or 2nd year in sight, and even with the room still fairly crowded it was fairly quiet so that the noise wouldn't travel up to the dormitories. When their formidable Head of House entered however, many of the students just sitting and talking suddenly found it in their best interest to clear out and before Severus had even sat down in an armchair the room was considerably more empty.
Severus didn't speak a word as he sat in his armchair staring at the portrait hole. It wasn't often that he found it necessary to wait for one of his students in the common room like this, but when things had played out like they had he didn't exactly have a chance to confront the miscreant himself. The Slytherins tended to have such a hard time out amongst the rest of the castle that Severus demanded a show of house unity, and he refused to humiliate them in front of the other students. As soon as he got them behind closed doors however, there was no telling the hell he would drag them through. Students complained that he was a tough teacher, but only those that sported green knew the emphasis he placed on house pride.
Draco Malfoy was rubbing his sore muscles as he stumbled into the Common Room at about a quarter after 9. As a 2nd year he was supposed to already be in his bed, but a pass was given to be able to serve detention. The price for that pass however was quite high, and Draco knew from experience that Filch was the least of his worries. Sure enough, Draco stopped dead as soon as he saw the figure dressed in black watching his every move the instant the portrait opened to allow him access. He could still clearly remember the flying and dragon incidents from the previous year, and he had sworn he'd stay under the man's radar from then on.
Severus remained in his chair as the portrait hole swung open to reveal the 13 year old blond. For years the young Malfoy had visited Severus at Spinners End, and for years the spoiled brat had grated on his last nerve. Severus had put the boy in his place a few times since starting Hogwarts, but it seemed like a hopeless case. While he was at Hogwarts and under his care however, Severus was going to make sure that Draco obeyed his rules or faced his consequences.
"Good evening Mr. Malfoy," Severus's voice was soft, but it still drew the attention of everyone still in the common room; just as it had on Christmas night. "I would hope that by now you would have learned to listen to my instructions."
"Uncle Sev, I..." That was as far as the blond got before a tall dark figure practically flew out of his seat stopping just in front of him.
"I am not your Uncle Sev here Mr. Malfoy, and I am surprised you would even try that title after what you had to say about me to my son earlier." Severus was ignoring that he had never thought of himself as an uncle to the pampered Malfoy heir, as well as the fact that he was still having a hard time referring to Harry as his son in his head, and now he had just declared it in the center of the Slytherin Common Room without batting an eye. "You are already my lab assistant, so I am placing you on restriction until you copy the House Rules 500 times, and perform 10 hours of House Service."
"500 times?" Draco couldn't help the squeak that came from his voice as he spoke.
"Maybe it will help you remember the rules since you can't seem to remember my words mere hours after they were spoken. You will also serve 10 hours of House Service, and you will be restricted to the Common Room outside of class and meals until both tasks are completed. You may not count your hours as my lab assistant as House Hours, but you will instead find your copy parchment and a list of tasks for you to perform on your night stand in the morning. You will also do well to remember that you are to adhere to an 8:00 bedtime while on restriction. With that in mind, I would highly recommend that you get into bed as soon as possible seeing as it is well past that time." With that he spun on his heel and quickly crossed the Common Room once more to enter his private quarters.
Severus was fully aware that there wasn't a soul in the room that was actually studying anymore, but he also knew that none of them would dare to breathe a word about anything that happened behind the closed doors of the Slytherin area. House unity was one of Severus's strictest rules, and the consequences of breaking it were severe.
Author's Note: I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. I'm sorry it's been three weeks once more, but I can tell you I'm trying to get these up as fast as I can. It will be another bit of a wait because I have to be completely moved out of my apartment on Friday but I hope to not keep you waiting for more than two weeks. I'm so glad that so many of you like my story though, and I'm touched you think I should write a story of my own Hermione Riddle. Also, I'm glad to see that some of my reviewers are comfortable enough writing a review in their own language. My Spanish is far from perfect but I enjoy the practice Kendra Dhyanna. Though I'm not sure which language you used Rebecca73. I'm not quite brave enough to read a fanfic in Spanish since my main language is English.
Do you think Hermione will know the book Snape is referencing with Prisoner 24601? How should she explain it to Harry? I'll have you know that I haven't read the book myself. I saw the play several years ago as a school requirement and got the idea for the prisoner number from reading 'The Indigo Spell' so that is not my original idea either. Also, I hope you thought Draco's repercussions were alright. I've really been struggling with that.