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Chapter 19 : Potions Studies
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“Harry, don’t panic, it’s all right. I promise that I won’t tell anyone, all right? I can only secretly commend you for a really well done prank. But if you tell anyone I said that, I’ll deny everything and give you a detention.”
Harry threw the teacher an anxious smile.
“However,” Severus continued, and the child’s smile vanished from his face. “Don’t you think it’s time to cancel the spell?”
“Yes, Uncle Severus, I think so, but…” He trailed off.
“But… they don’t know the spell.” It was barely a whisper that came out of the boy’s mouth.
Harry looked anxious.
Seeing that the child was ready to panic again, Severus relented. “It’s all right, Harry. I don’t need to know who did this with you. However, if something like that happens to the Potions classroom, I shall ask you under Veritaserum.” Severus put a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “Now, don’t cry. Remember, we have to go to dinner soon. What do you think your grandparents and Poppy will do if you show up with red eyes after a short conversation with me?”
Harry offered Severus a mischievous grin. “You’ll tell them that it was me that did the prank?”
“Correct. Now,” he wrote a few words on a small parchment. “Give this to your friends, so that they can cancel the Charm. By the way, am I right to assume that the original idea was yours?”
Harry nodded. “When I was sick you told me that Sirius and his friends had always pranked you in school, and I wanted to get back at him. I’d love to prank him some more though,” he admitted, his voice getting so soft that Severus could barely read from his lips what the boy was saying.
Severus smirked. He had promised to himself to never do Legilimency on the boy without his consent and he would keep this promise. However, it would only take him two minutes watching the child in the Great Hall to know who did the prank with Harry.
Harry suddenly thought of something. “Uncle Severus?” he asked hesitantly and continued when the teacher gave him an enquiring look. “How did you know that it was me?”
Severus smirked. “In the first staff meeting, after Sirius had told us that he couldn’t find his classroom anymore, you told everyone where it was. Therefore all teachers could see the room – because you, the secret keeper, had told them.”
“Oh, all right,” Harry said nervously. ‘Will everyone else know too then?’ he thought worriedly.
“All right, let’s go, Harry. And don’t tell any of the other teachers about our conversation.”
Arriving in the Great Hall, Harry made a bee-line for the Gryffindor table, where Bill and Charlie made space for him between them. Harry handed Bill the piece of parchment and whispered eagerly to the two boys, not noticing that amused onyx eyes were watching him from the Head table.
On the next day, Bill and Harry cancelled the Charm. However, two weeks before the start of the Christmas holidays, Sirius had yet to notice that the Charm had been cancelled.
In the staff meeting, he threw another temper tantrum. “Next week is the test week, we can’t do tests outside, now, can we?” he ranted.
“Can’t you do the tests in another unused classroom?” Minerva asked reproachfully.
“The written tests, yes, of course, but not the practical tests!” Sirius shouted angrily. “Anyway, the student who did this has to be expelled immediately!”
“And how do you plan to find out who it was?” Minerva asked curiously. “Do you want to question all students under Veritaserum?”
“Are you sure that the room is still under a Charm or something? Are you trying on a regular basis?” Severus drawled.
“Oh, shut up, Snivellus! Or do you know something about it?”
A hand slammed down on the table and Harry, who was lying on the floor reading a book, could hear his grandfather’s voice. “Now! That’s enough, Sirius! You will apologize to Severus immediately!”
Harry smirked at the red marble falling into Sirius’ Hourglass. He sat up and watched the teachers. He hated loud voices because his ears hurt easily by loud shouting and Sirius was always shouting in the staff meetings. Before Sirius could even open his mouth to apologize to Severus, his face turned green. His hair turned bright red, and two red devil’s horns sprouted from his head.
The room instantly exploded with laughter. “What?” Sirius asked, looking around confused.”
Remus conjured a mirror and held it in front of his friend.
“Who did this? Do you think it’s funny?” he shouted again. Noticing that everyone was smiling at something behind him, he turned around and saw his godson.
“Sorry,” Harry mumbled and scurried to the other side of the table where he stood behind Poppy and Severus.
“Sorry is not enough! You should not do such a thing to a teacher!” Sirius scolded. “Harry, you will spend a week cleaning my classroom without magic, every day between the end of your last lesson and dinner. Do you understand me?”
Harry shook his head and said, “No! I don’t have time between my last lesson and dinner; I have to do my homework.”
“Then after dinner,” Sirius offered angrily.
“No!” Harry replied firmly. “After dinner, I’m not allowed to do anything but go to bed.”
“Then you will do it on the weekends.”
Harry stamped his feet peevishly. “No! I won’t do it at all. You have played many pranks too when you were a student, and you have been mean to Uncle Severus all the time when you were at school. I won’t clean the classroom! I don’t like being shouted at – it makes my ears hurt, and you’re shouting every time in the staff meeting,” he added in a smaller voice before he climbed onto Poppy’s lap and nestled into her robes, tiredly closing his eyes.
The teachers sat there, stunned until Flitwick felt sorry for Sirius and cancelled the spell.
“Harry,” Minerva sternly addressed her grandson to no effect.
“He’s fast asleep,” Poppy told her friend, still stunned about the child’s behaviour.
“Ah, all right. His rude behaviour was probably caused by tiredness I suppose,” Minerva said. “In fact, I’d like to commend him for a priceless Transfiguration prank,” she continued, laughing. “However, he has to learn that he can’t behave like this towards a teacher.”
One day in spring, Harry approached Severus. “Uncle Severus, Playschool is boooring.”
“But you love going to Playschool, don’t you?” Severus asked astonished.
“I like to meet my friends, is all,” Harry insisted. “And Hermione thinks it’s boring too.”
Severus snorted. “I can believe that. She’s just as much a bookworm as you are, right?”
Harry nodded and looked expectantly at his uncle. “Yes, but the others can’t even read yet, and Amelia won’t teach us anything. All we do is colouring and such, even our homework is only colouring.”
Severus thought for a moment. He could understand Harry only too well. It had to be boring for such a bright child. Maybe he could teach them easy Potions during his free periods?
“Maybe I could teach you some more Potions during my free periods if Hermione is interested as well. However, I would have to talk about this with Albus, Minerva, and Poppy as well as Hermione’s parents.”
Fortunately, everyone agreed, and a few days later, Amelia handed Hermione and Harry a note saying that they had Potions tutoring three times a week instead of their last afternoon class. Severus realized very quickly that Hermione was as adept in Potions as Harry was, and at the end of the school year it only took a bit of help for the two children to be able to brew first years’ Potions.
Hermione and Harry loved their Potions lessons and were devastated when the summer holidays began. They begged Severus so much about continuing their tutoring during the holidays, promising that they would do anything to help the teacher catching up for his lost time that Severus finally relented.
Severus arranged with Poppy and Hermione’s parents to teach the children every morning. Hermione took the Floo to Poppy’s house directly after breakfast, so that the children could walk up to the castle together.
Normally, Severus made them brew a Potion first. Afterwards, he let them help with whatever he was doing. Most times they had to prepare ingredients, a task, which was as important as the brewing itself, and Severus wanted them to learn the proper way of handling the ingredients. After spending the whole morning in the dungeons, the children had lunch in the Great Hall together with the handful of remaining teachers before they headed back to Hogsmeade to wait for their other friends to come over to play.
One day after the two children had gone home Minerva shook her head at Severus. “If someone had told me that you would willingly teach two toddlers Potions during the summer holidays, I’d have sent that person to St. Mungo’s.”
Severus smirked. “You should know by now that Harry is like a son to me. Moreover, he reminds me immensely of my own childhood, and both children are extremely adept at Potions. I can tell already that they will excel in their Potions NEWTs. By the beginning of the new school year they will be ready to brew the easiest of Poppy’s Healing Potions. I intend for Harry to become proficient at those.”
“Of course,” Albus nodded. “As a Natural Healer, it is likely that Harry will continue healing in the future. It would be a great advantage if he was proficient at brewing the Potions he needs, in addition to his innate skill. Very good suggestion, my boy.”
“Indeed,” Severus sneered.
“Aunt Poppy,” Harry called his aunt, “Can you come out here for a moment please?”
Poppy went out into the garden, where Harry and his friends were obviously plotting something. She looked around curiously.
Hermione was the first to speak up. “You remember we did that play last year for Amelia’s wedding, right? We’d like to do something like that again.”
“Can we?” the other children chimed in.
“Hmm. There is no wedding this year though. I suppose you could just practise a play to show your parents as you did last year. Hmm?”
“Yeah,” the children squealed happily.
“Maybe we could do the play at the Welcoming Feast on September 1st,” Charlie threw in.
“That’s a good idea,” Poppy agreed. “Last year I already thought the children of the Playschool and the Primary school should attend the Welcoming Feast too. However, that’s not something I can decide. Let me talk to the Headmaster or the Deputy Headmistress tonight, and I will tell you their answer tomorrow.”
She glanced at the excited faces around her and asked, “Do you have an idea what kind of play you want to do?”
“We could do something concerning Potions and at the same time have the House elves put a Potion in everyone’s drink, so that at the end of the play everyone has turned into an animal or whatever,” Harry suggested slyly.
Deafening laughter was the answer. “Yeah, let’s do that,” Harry’s friends shouted happily.
“Yeah, but,” Harry continued solemnly. “I don’t have an idea how to do such a thing.”
“Oh, Harry, dear, let me think about it. I’m sure we’ll be able to manage something about the play. Concerning the Potion, I will speak with Severus and he can help you brew a suitable Potion. That shouldn’t be a problem.”
One day, Severus released Hermione and Harry motioning them to head along to the Great Hall, saying that he would follow in a few minutes. Harry and Hermione walked up the way from the dungeons, talking animatedly.
“Your uncle is great, do you know that? To the outside he seems like a mean git of a professor but when you know him better he’s really cute.”
“Cute?” Harry shouted, horrified. “Um… by the way, Hermione,” he changed the topic, noticing that they had already arrived at the Entrance Hall. “I need to run up to my room to get something. You go to lunch; I’ll be there in a few minutes’ time.”
Hermione gave him a curious glance but nodded nevertheless and entered the Great Hall. Harry ran up to where the office of the Grey Lady was and hesitantly entered the office.
“Hello, my many times grandson, how nice of you to pay me a visit,” Rowena greeted him kindly.
“Hello, Grandmother Rowena,” Harry replied and sat down on the offered seat. “Um… I have something I would like to speak about with you,” Harry said hesitantly, unsure about what the stern lady would think about his idea. “You know, I have this idea… Um… I’d liketoprankthewholeschool,” he finished hurriedly.
The ghost laughed. “You didn’t assume that I could understand your babbling now did you?”
Harry blushed deeply and repeated, “I’d like to prank the whole school.”
Rowena snorted. “And you believe that I am the right person to confide in?”
“Hmm. No, not exactly,” Harry admitted. “However, I can’t do it by myself and I thought you might agree to help me,” he elaborated quietly.
They talked for another ten minutes, and in the end the Grey Lady promised to help Harry and to do what he had asked. “On September 3rd, right?” Rowena confirmed once more.
“Yes, please. Thank you so much! Sorry, I have to run now,” Harry replied and hurried down to the Great Hall.
“Harry, where have you been?” Hermione shouted exasperated.
“Uh, sorry, I was looking for a book, but I just couldn’t find it,” Harry answered absentmindedly. “It’s probably at home, although I couldn’t find it there either. That’s why I was searching for it here.”
“Maybe you should clean up your room a bit, Harry, hmm?” Minerva asked sternly.
Harry threw his grandmother an utterly shocked glance.
Minerva laughed. “You know, Harry, that we teachers always meet at Poppy’s place in the evening, right?”
Oh, yes, he knew that. Harry nodded, nervously pushing his food around the plate.
“Last night, I went to check on you because you were snoring so loud. But when I entered your room, I could hardly walk! With the train and all your toys strewn about, there was barely space to set a foot onto the floor.”
Harry blushed deeply while Hermione jumped into the conversation. “But that’s not Harry’s fault, Professor. You know it has been raining for a week now, and we have been playing in his room with more than ten people every day. We built up a whole town around the train track and we didn’t want to tear it down right away.”
Harry gave his best friend a grateful smile. “Aunt Poppy is going to make me clean up on Saturday morning anyway.”
For his birthday, Harry received a book from Draco, ‘Easy Potions for Pranksters’. Harry and Hermione immediately looked through the book and found a potion that made the drinker sprout parrot feathers on their heads.
“That sounds great, but does it say when it’ll wear off?” Neville asked anxiously.
“Yes, it depends on how much wing fern you insert. With five grams it will only last for fifteen minutes,” Hermione replied.
The next day, Hermione and Harry endeavoured to convince Severus to let them brew the potion. After hearing what they intended to do the professor agreed that it would be funny and he assisted the children in brewing the fairly simple potion. They filled up two phials of it, determined to test the potion on their friends first. Severus also helped Hermione and Harry writing the play together.
During the next weeks, the friends practised their play nearly every afternoon, and when they showed their play to the whole school after the Welcoming Feast they received a huge applause from students and teachers in spite of the fact that many of them were sitting there with parrot feathers sprouting from their heads.
The next day was Harry’s first day of Primary school. On one hand, he was very glad to finally be able to learn something. However, as nice as Mrs. Weasley was Harry missed Amelia terribly. After lunch he went to Amelia, climbed onto her lap and nestled into her robes like he always did on Poppy’s lap.
“What’s wrong, Harry? Didn’t you enjoy your first day at Primary school?” Amelia asked surprised.
She felt Harry shaking his head. “No, I miss you,” Harry whispered.
“Oh, I’m sorry, sweetie, but I can’t do anything about it, and I’m sure Mrs. Weasley is very nice, too.”
“No,” Harry sobbed. “She’s always scolding the twins and shouts at them all the time.”
Knowing that Harry was very sensitive about shouting, Amelia wondered how she could possibly help Harry without Mrs. Weasley knowing about it. “I’ll see if I can do something about that,” she promised.
When Harry went to bed that evening, he was much too excited to sleep. In the morning, the school would be in for a nice surprise.
Thanks to all those who participated in the poll on my Yahoo News Group concerning this story!
Thanks to Twinheart and JWOHPfan for their brilliant beta-ing :-)
I do not own any of the characters in this story; they all belong to J.K.Rowling or are a free creation, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
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