Chapter 11 : More Mishaps
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The next morning Minerva found the charmed letter from Horace and read it. She went over the fireplace and fire-called Horace. "Can you step through to my office?"
"Certainly, Minerva," Horace replied.
Minerva stepped aside so Horace could come through. "I take it you received my note?" Horace said as he stepped out of the fireplace and brushed the ash off his teaching robes.
"Yes, and I'm quite angry that Professor Hardbroom would do such a thing!"
Horace sat down in one of the squashy armchairs in front of Minerva's desk. "Well, I did have a moment when I wondered if I wouldn't be violating the confidentiality agreement also by sending Marius those letters, but he is on the Board of Governors and they should know what's going on in this school."
"I'm sure the Governors would have gotten those letters, Horace, had any of the parents known who to send their owls to, especially the parents of the Muggleborn students. Only a few parents, and they're mostly purebloods, know who's on the Board of Governors."
Horace went on to explain how he'd gotten his house scores from Dumbledore. "And I'm going to be setting up study and tutoring groups this week in case he checks."
"That is a good idea, Horace, and it probably wouldn't hurt my House any to do something along those lines."
Horace got up, preparing to go to breakfast in the Great Hall. "I'll keep you posted on anything I hear from Marius, Minerva."
Minerva nodded. "I'd appreciate it."
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Lily and Alice walked into the Great Hall and sat down in the middle of the table. They proceeded to serve themselves from the various platters filled with fried eggs, bacon, bangers, fried potatoes, and fresh fruit. There were also freshly baked cinnamon rolls.
"Hey, Silly Lily, I bet your 'P' turns into a 'D' by the end of the year!" James yelled down the table.
Sirius, who was sitting next to him, grinned and added in a loud voice. "No, mate. She'll be a definite Troll!"
Lily's bottom lip trembled at their insults. Alice leaned over and said, "Pay them no mind, Lily. They're a couple of trolls themselves!"
"I won't, Alice!" Lily said. Her eyes narrowed and she said in a determined voice. "I'm going to have an 'E' or even an 'O' by the end of the year!"
"That's the spirit!" Alice replied.
She met Sev and Dorian at the door. Dorian waved goodbye to Severus and Lily, and hurried off to his first class. Severus, Lily, Frank, and Alice walked to Potions, chatting about their holidays. They walked into Potions and took their assigned seats. Horace was already seated behind his desk and had today's lesson already written on the board. Remus and Peter came in and just before the bell rang, James and Sirius came sauntering into the room.
"Mr. Potter?" Horace said as he spotted them. "I want to see your book bag. Please bring it over and place it here." He pointed to a spot in front of him on top of his desk.
James looked at Sirius, who shrugged, and then brought his book bag over and set it on top of Slughorn's desk. "Open it for me, please." James did so and Horace poked around inside of it. "All right, Mr. Potter, you and Mr. Black may be seated in your assigned seats."
"How come you're not looking in anybody else's bag, Professor?" James whined.
"Because, Mr. Potter, I don't have any reason to suspect they might be attempting to bring dangerous items into my class such as invisibility cloaks or prank items when thrown into a cauldron might cause a dangerous explosion or deadly fumes."
James slumped down into his seat, pouting. Sirius sat down beside him. He knew James had brought his invisibility cloak back with him, but he couldn't take it out of his trunk because Longbottom would be sure to run tattling to McGonagall if he saw it.
"Today we are going to brew the Forgetfulness Potion. This is one that will be on your final exam. Who can tell me something about it?"
Lily raised her hand. Slughorn pointed at her. "Yes, Miss Evans?"
"Some of its most important ingredients are Jobberknoll feathers, cockroaches, and knotgrass."
"Excellent, Miss Evans! Ten points to Gryffindor. Can anybody tell me anything else about this potion?"
Surprisingly, it was Peter who timidly raised his hand next. "The Jobberknoll is a tiny, blue speckled bird that never makes a sound until the moment of its death when it lets out a long scream of all the sounds its ever heard. Its feathers are an important ingredient in this potion."
"Excellent, Mr. Pettigrew! Ten more points to Gryffindor." Horace said. "Now the ingredients and instructions are on the blackboard. You have an hour. Please begin."
Lily went to gather the ingredients while Alice lit their cauldrons. She came back and they both read the instructions for adding the ingredients.
Severus did his usual walk around the room, peering into cauldrons and answering questions. He observed that once he wasn't under the influence of Potter and Black, Pettigrew actually wasn't that bad of a student. "Don't add the ground cockroaches until after you give the potion two clockwise stirs and one counterclockwise stir," Severus advised Peter and Remus.
"Thanks, Severus," Remus said. "We missed that step when we copied the instructions."
"No problem, Remus." He wondered over to Frank and Mary's cauldrons. "Everything fine here?" Mary glared at him and turned up her nose at him.
"Yes. I don't seem to be having any problems today," Frank stated. "Thanks for checking, Sev."
"Who does Snivellus think he is anyway?" Mary hissed to Frank as she tried to stir her potion, which was bubbling furiously and giving off a smell like rotten eggs.
Frank wrinkled his nose at the smell issuing from her cauldron. "I think you might want to ask Severus for help, MacDonald. He might be able to help you set your potion to rights."
"I'd rather get a zero than ask for his help!" She snorted.
Frank shrugged and added the final ingredient, Jobberknoll feathers, to his potion, gave it one counterclockwise stir and was pleased to see it turn the cherry red color it was supposed to be.
As Severus moved around the room, he was pleased to see that both Lily's and Alice's potions were the correct colors as was Frank's and Peter's and Remus' potions. He tried to see how Potter and Black were doing, but received a glare and muttered threats from both of them. Avery and Rosier weren't doing badly, but he could tell their potions were not going to be the correct color. The Lestrange twins and their partners, Aden Wilkes and Sebastian Zabini's, potions were hopeless. He'd probably end up tutoring them next if only to keep Slytherin from losing any more points. He supposed he might have to tutor Potter and Black too.
"Time's up. Please step back from your cauldrons." Slughorn called. He got up and started down the aisles, looking at the students' potions. "You forgot to add your knotgrass, Mr. Black. That's why your potion isn't the correct consistency or color. A zero for today. " He sighed as looked into James' cauldron. "I've told you before; you cannot add all your ingredients at once, Mr. Potter, and expect successful results," He said poking at the gunk inside James' cauldron. "A zero for today also." He walked over to Lily and Alice's workstation. "Oho! Excellent work, Miss Evans and Miss Starkey! Your Forgetfulness Potion is perfect! Full marks for both of you."
He walked over to Frank's and Mary's workstation. "Miss MacDonald, your potion smells dreadful. You obviously did not read the directions before starting to brew and that earns you a zero." He glanced into Frank's cauldron. "Excellent work, Mr. Longbottom. Full marks." He continued checking the other students' potions. Remus and Peter got full marks while Avery and Rosier only got half-marks because their potion was the wrong color and Rodolphus Lestrange and Sebastian Zabini got a zero as did Rabastan Lestrange and his partner Aden Wilkes. As the bell sounded, Professor Slughorn said, "Everybody who incorrectly brewed their potion I want a 3-foot essay on what you did wrong and how you could have brewed your potion correctly. For those who got full marks I'd like 3 feet on the other uses for Jobberknoll feathers, knotgrass, and cockroaches. Dismissed except for the ones who received a zero today."
After the rest of the class had left to go to their next class, Professor Slughorn said, "I will also be setting up tutoring sessions for you, Mr. Potter, Mr. Black, Miss MacDonald, Mr. Wilkes, Mr. Zabini, and the Misters Lestrange."
"Not with Snivellus!" James yelled. "I refuse to do any tutoring with Slytherins and you can't make me!"
"No, I'm not assigning you to Mr. Snape, Mr. Potter, but only because I suspect you'd make the tutoring sessions very unpleasant for him. I have a sixth year Gryffindor, Finn Connelly, who is a very competent brewer and is willing to tutor for a small fee. I'm sure yours, Mr. Black's, and Miss MacDonald's parents won't have any objections to paying the fee to keep you from flunking potions."
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Lily bit her bottom lip nervously as she walked with Sev, Alice, Frank, Remus, and Peter to Charms. Severus noticed her nervousness, but didn't say anything until they reached the classroom and the others had gone inside.
"Lily, what's wrong?"
"I'm nervous, Sev," Lily admitted. Not that she could ever hide her feeling from him even when they were five. He always knew when she was upset. "My potion was good and Potter's was bad and every time I do better than him in something, he gets really nasty."
"Don't worry, Lily. I'm certain the professors are keeping an eye on them and they won't allow them to torment you."
Lily nodded and they went into the classroom and sat down. Professor Flitwick came in and the bell rang a few minutes later. A few seconds after that, James, Mary, and Sirius rushed into the room. James was exclaiming loudly. "I think that old fart is prejudiced against Gryffindors and I'm owling my dad as soon as I can and I think you should do the same!"
Mary nodded in agreement. "Brilliant idea, James."
"I would, but you know where my parents stand on all things Slytherin." Sirius said, plopping down at his desk.
Professor Flitwick cleared his throat and said loudly, "Please sit down, Mr. Potter, Mr. Black and Miss MacDonald. Do you have a note to excuse your lateness?"
James walked up and gave Slughorn's note to Flitwick. He glared at Lily as he walked past her.
"Today's lesson is the Wingardium Leviosa spell which is used to levitate objects. Now remember to swish and flick your wand. Now, if you'll repeat after me. 'Wingardium Leviosa.' Now remember to stress the middle syllable of Levi-o-sa."
"Wingardium Levi-o-sa," the class said in unison.
"Very good," Flitwick said. He got down off his desk and stood in front of the class. "All right! You each have a feather so let me see what you can do."
Lily closed her eyes, visualizing the feather floating in the air in front of her, opened her eyes and swished and flicked her wand over the feather while saying, "Wingardium Leviosa." She gave a cry of delight when the feather began to rise and floated in front of her. Suddenly it burst into flames, the cinders falling to her desk.
"Guess you get a zero for this class, Evans!" James sneered.
"Mr. Potter!" Professor Flitwick roared. "I saw that. Detention! My office tonight at eight o'clock." He turned to Lily. "Ten points to Gryffindor for being the first to do this, Miss Evans."
Severus who was sitting across from James and Sirius, heard Potter mutter, "That's what he thinks." Obviously, Potter was planning to run to Dumbledore and get Flitwick's detention waived. He sighed as he looked at his feather. He had managed make it float a couple of inches off his desk, but then it had fallen back down and he hadn't been able to make move again.
"Do you need some help, Sev?" Lily asked.
"I can't get this feather to rise more than a couple of inches off my desk. I only did it once and I can't even do that much again," Severus complained.
"I think maybe you're trying too hard."
"I think I'm not trying hard enough," Severus grumbled.
Lily bent slightly, putting her hand on his shoulder for balance. "Here, let me have your wand hand." Severus looked at her strangely, but allowed her to pick up his hand. "Okay, relax and close your eyes."
Severus closed his eyes, but he didn't feel too relaxed.
"Picture your feather floating in front of you. Picture it so clearly you can see every detail of it," Lily said in a soft voice near Severus' ear. "Now swish and flick your wand," she moved his hand in the correct motions. "Now say the incantation."
"Wingardium Leviosa." Severus' feather floated upwards and in delight he made it twirl and dip. "I did it. Thanks for your help, Lily."
"You're welcome, Sev. We can practice some more on Friday."
In Transfiguration, Professor McGonagall had them change a button into a pot, using the incantation, Bulla Mutatio Ollae. Severus again struggled with the transfiguration. He thought he'd gotten it for a moment when his button morphed into a pot briefly, but then quickly snapped back into a button. "Bloody hell!" Severus muttered under his breath. He had the beginnings of a headache and their next class was Hardbroom's. He looked around him. Potter and Black seemed to have no trouble transfiguring their buttons into pots
Lily was having a more difficult time, too, but after several attempts, she got her button transfigured in to a pot.
"Read the next lesson and write a three foot essay on it," Minerva said as the bell rang.
"You'll get it, Sev. Dorian and I will help you get that Exceeds in Charms and Transfiguration by the end of the term," Lily promised.
"You'll have your work cut out for you," Severus said with a smile.
Hardbroom was seated behind her desk as they walked into the room. Severus was careful to go straight to his seat, get out his book, and sit with his hands folded on his desk.
"Hey, Snivellus?" James called as he strutted into the room with his chest thrust out. "It's another Poor today for you and Evans."
"Shut up, Pothead!" Severus snapped.
"Ten points from Slytherin for name calling, Snape!" Hardbroom said.
Severus saw Lily was about to protest and shook his head at her. It wasn't worth both of them getting points taken away.
"Today we're going to have a review of the defense spells you've been taught so far. It seems the majority of Slytherins and Miss Evans received 'P's' on their semester exams. Everybody up!" She moved the desks with a wave of her wand leaving the center of the room clear. "You'll partner up with one attacking and the other defending. Mr. Black and Snape, you're up first. Mr. Black, you will attack; Snape, you'll defend."
Severus and Sirius walked to the center of the room. The rest of the students stood back along the edges. Severus had no worries. A shield spell was one of the first things Black Lief had taught him.
"Stupefy!" Sirius yelled sending a jet of red light at Severus.
"Contego Tantus!"Severus said and Black's Stupefy bounced harmlessly off his shield.
Hardbroom circled around them. "Come on, Mr. Black! You're facing a slimy Slytherin snake that will cheat faster than you can say Expelliarmus and this is the best you can do? What are you going to do next? Cast a Cheering Charm at him?" Hardbroom sneered.
"Confundo!" Sirius yelled again whipping his wand at Severus, but again it bounced off his shield harmlessly.
"You're facing this future Death Eater who's looking for any opportunity to kill you and you've given it to him twice already. You're pathetic!" Hardbroom raged.
"Repello Maxima!" Sirius roared before Severus had a chance to put up his shield. The blast caused him to fly into the wall with such force that the wall cracked. He was briefly aware of the pain that filled his body before he passed out.
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"In addition to the letters from the parents and the student scores from the last two years, I've also discovered that Haldana Hardbroom was rejected by the Black Cloak Academy. This information was given to me by Kieran Magnusson who not only is the Head of the Academy, but an Instructor as well. He said Miss Hardbroom was rejected because she showed very strong prejudices towards certain people; people she felt were unworthy to be protected and she appeared to enjoy setting them up to fail."
Marius had called a secret emergency meeting of the Board to present the evidence he'd been able to collect on Professor Hardbroom. It was being held at Mirrorvale to circumvent any interference from Dumbledore. Tea, scones, muffins, and cookies sat plentifully on a table in the living room where the meeting was being held.
"By certain people, Marius, I'm assuming you mean anybody who isn't a Pureblood?" Richard Leicester, one of the governors asked.
"Unfortunately, yes. What I've heard from my grandson and some of his friends is that she does not like half-bloods, Muggleborns, or Muggles. Nor does she like Slytherins."
"Well, she's a Gryffindor. They haven't gotten along for centuries," Another governor grumbled. "I don't know why Albus always wants to make our job harder than it should be."
"I think we have more than enough information about this woman to put her and Albus on notice that if she doesn't change her teaching methods, she will be dismissed and he'll be facing an inquiry," Abraxas Malfoy snapped. "I call for a vote! Those in favor say Aye. Those against say Nay."
All, but two of the governors said Aye. The two who responded with Nay were former Gryffindors.
"Vote taken and recorded. The Aye's have it," Malfoy said.
"We will call a special meeting with Albus and inform him of our decision," Marius said.
"When do we want this meeting to take place?" One of the governors asked Marius.
"As soon as possible. We need to get this resolved quickly and fairly," Marius answered. "Does anybody have any objections to hold the meeting in two nights?"
There were no objections. Marius nodded. "Good. Richard, please inform our secretary to send owls to the Headmaster and Professor Hardbroom about the meeting and please have her stress that the meeting is mandatory for both of them."
Leicester nodded, but pointed out, "You know that he's going to say he's unable to fire her because he won't be able to find another defense teacher."
"If worse come to worse I'll allow our bodyguards, Black Leif and Conor Magnusson, to teach the class until the term ends or perhaps Kieran has an instructor he can borrow temporarily from the Black Cloak Academy."
"It sounds like we have things solved so Dumbledore can't complain," Malfoy said, gleefully rubbing his hands together. His ultimate goal was to get rid of Dumbledore, but if he could throw some mud on him along the way, all the better!
The meeting was suddenly interrupted by frantic knocking at the double walnut French doors. Marius hurried to the door and opened it to find Vesper, pale and frantic. "What is it, my dear? What's wrong?"
"It's Sev, Marius. I just received a fire-call from Horace that he was seriously injured in class and he's in the Infirmary."
"What class?" Marius asked with a sinking feeling.
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Marius and Vesper stepped out of the Floo in Dumbledore's office, looking around for Albus, but he appeared to be out of his office.
"Marius and Vesper, I'm so sorry I wasn't here to greet you when you arrived," Minerva apologized as she hurried through the door that connected her office to Dumbledore's.
"It's all right, Minerva," Marius assured her. "We just now arrived."
"Can we please see our grandson, Minerva? We've been so worried ever since Horace fire-called us and told us Sev was injured in class."
"Of course," Minerva replied. "I was told by the Headmaster to bring you to the Hospital Wing as soon as you arrived." She led them out of Dumbledore's office.
"What happened, Minerva?" Marius said. "Was it Professor Hardbroom's class?"
"Unfortunately, yes, Marius, it was. I interviewed his classmates and they all told me the same thing. Apparently Professor Hardbroom decided to do a review of all the defense spells they've learned. She put the children in partners with one child attacking and the other one defending. She partnered Severus with Sirius Black when she knows the two cannot stand one another. Mr. Black cast two spells at Severus, Stupefy and Confundo which bounced off the shield Severus erected. The children said Professor Hardbroom was egging Mr. Black on the entire time telling him he was weak and pathetic. He apparently got very angry at her insults and cast the Repello Maxima spell. Severus didn't have a chance to put up a shield and the spell sent him flying into a wall hard enough to crack the wall." She glanced at Marius and his face looked like a thundercloud. Vesper looked as if she would enjoy ripping Professor Hardbroom's hair out, one strand at a time.
"Where on earth did he learn a spell such as that?" Vesper demanded angrily.
"He says his cousin, Bellatrix, taught it to him."
Marius shook his head. "And she is definitely one of the less stable members of the Black family."
"Sirius Black has always been an angry mean child and when he and James Potter became fast friends, he became an even worse hellion!" Vesper declared. "I'll never forget the time they wrecked Alice Starkey's eighth birthday party. They thought it would be hysterical to put exploding candles on her cake and of course when Amelia Starkey lit them, the entire cake exploded! She ended up covered in cake as well as most of the guests."
They arrived at the doors to the Hospital Wing and stopped in surprise. Lily, Dorian, Alice, Frank, Remus, Peter, and Dorian's friend, Octavius were seated outside the Hospital Wing.
"Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Prince," Lily said. "We're waiting for news of Sev."
"You children should be at lunch," Minerva said, but she didn't really have the heart to scold them as she could see they were very worried about their friend.
"None of us were very hungry, Professor," Alice replied.
"We just want to know if Sev's okay," Dorian added.
"We'll go inside and find out about Sev and then we'll let you know how he's doing," Vesper promised.
Madam Pomfrey was talking to Professor Dumbledore when Minerva, Marius, and Vesper walked in. Dumbledore held up his hands and said, "Now don't worry, Severus is fine. Just a little accident in class."
Vesper saw Madam Pomfrey frown at Albus' description of a 'little accident.' She pushed past Dumbledore and went over to Poppy. "How is Severus, Madam Pomfrey?"
"I've mended his injuries and I should be able to dismiss him later tomorrow. He fractured his shoulder and collarbone plus he broke three ribs and cracked two others when he hit that wall. He had a concussion also. Even though I healed his concussion I want him to stay in the hospital until I'm sure he's not suffering any after effects." She led Vesper over to Severus' bed as she talked. "I've given him a Sleeping Draft containing a pain reliever so he won't wake up until later this afternoon."
"Thank you, Poppy." She sat down on the bed next to Severus and brushed his hair out of his face. He resembled Eileen with his raven black hair, dark eyes, and pale skin, but she could also see Toby in him; he had definitely inherited his nose and smile from his father. Marius came over to check on his grandson. He Summoned a chair, transfigured it into a comfortable armchair and sat down. Vesper left briefly to tell Sev's friends that he was going to be okay and he would be awake when they got out of classes so they could see him then.
Severus didn't wake until late afternoon and found his grandfather and grandmother sitting by his bed. Vesper, as usual, was reading what appeared to be a new potions book and his grandfather was reading through a stack of papers, stopping occasionally to initial them. "Grandpa, Grandma …" Severus said.
"Sev," Vesper sat down beside him and gave him a hug. "We were so worried! How are you feeling, darling?"
"I'm a little bit achy, but otherwise fine."
"Do you need a pain potion?"
Severus shook his head and then said, "But I am hungry, Gran."
Marius chuckled. "We can fix that easily enough. Tippy?" He called.
A tiny elf popped in. Like all the house elves at Hogwarts, she wore a tea towel with the Hogwarts crest on it. She was Madam Pomfrey's personal elf and helped her in the hospital. "What may Tippy be getting for Master and Mistress?"
"Can you please bring my grandson a light meal? Perhaps a bowl of soup and some fruit?"
Tippy nodded energetically. "Tippy will be right back." She was back in a few minutes carrying a tray with a bowl of chicken noodle soup and a bowl containing sliced apples and bananas.
"Thank you, Tippy," Vesper said, taking the tray from her.
"Tippy is always happy to serve, Mistress," She said with a bow and then popped out again.
Marius punched up Severus' pillows and put them behind him so he could sit up and Vesper set the tray down in front of him. Severus picked up the spoon and dipped it into the chicken noodle soup, blowing on it before taking a sip.
Vesper watched Severus consume the soup and the fruit. He was getting so tall, but his weight had yet to catch up with his height.
They suddenly heard a sudden commotion out in the hall and heard Lily's voice hiss, "This is a hospital. You've got to be quiet or Madam Pomfrey will get mad and kick us out."
"Your friends were here at lunch time waiting to see you, but you weren't awake so they said they would come back as soon as classes were over," Marius smiled.
The doors opened and Lily, Dorian, Alice, and Frank came in with Remus, Peter, and Tav trailing behind. When Lily saw that Severus was awake, she ran over, threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. "Sev! I'm so glad you're okay!"
Severus returned her hug. Lily had always been an affectionate girl even when they were five and was never afraid to bestow a hug whenever she felt it was needed. "I'm fine. Madam Pomfrey is going to let me out tomorrow, I think."
"I've got your homework for you," Lily said as she reached into her book bag. She brought out a roll of parchment and gave it to him. He saw she'd written the assignments for all of the classes he missed.
"Thanks, Lily, I won't miss anything now." Severus replied, putting the roll of parchment on his bedside table. He looked at the rest of their friends. "Gran, Grandpa, I think I know you know the Starkeys and the Longbottoms, but I don't think you've met their children. This is Frank Longbottom and Alice Starkey. Standing behind them is Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, and Octavius De Luca or 'Tav' for short."
"I'm pleased to meet you all," Marius said. "I must say, Frank, you're a mirror image of your father, Harvey."
Frank nodded. "I don't even have to introduce myself. People take one look at me and say, you must be Harvey's son."
Vesper had been pleased to note that most of Sev's friends were from Gryffindor. She had been a Ravenclaw herself and remembered the competition between Slytherin and Gryffindor in her days at Hogwarts, but back then it had been a clean competitive spirit rather than the hatred it was now.
Suddenly the hospital doors flew open and Dumbledore strode in. He looked extremely angry, a piece of crumpled parchment in his hand. He came over to Marius and held out the crumpled parchment to him. "Exactly what is the meaning of this, Marius?"
Finally, Hardbroom's downfall has begun. How will Dumbledore react? Find out next chapter!
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