Harry stopped dead in his tracks. He had been two paces behind Ginny, trying to catch up to her as she swiftly made her way of the Great Hall, clearly wishing to avoid conversation. He was about to grab her arm, his temper slowly rising, when she tripped and fell into the arms of Severus Snape.
‘Snape? Seriously?’ Harry mentally groaned. Like he could handle any more trouble than his divided parents, cocky godfather and aroused girlfriend! Harry stood rooted to the spot as he observed the sixteen year old Severus.
Severus Snape the sixth-year was almost exactly the same as Harry had witnessed in his Potions master’s memory in his fifth year. He was pale and had an almost deadened look to his pallid complexion; his eyes were expressionless and cold and his hair hung like a lank and greasy curtain around his countenance. He was not difficult to recognise, owing to the fact that Harry had already seen him in this age before but judging from Ginny’s look, he could see that she had recognised him too. Harry tried to move forward, to help Ginny regain her balance but his legs refused. How was he supposed to face the person who he respected so much? How was he supposed to face the person who had died to protect his only love’s son? How was he supposed to face Severus with the knowledge of what he will do for Harry and his mother in the future?
Harry forced his legs to move just as Snape moved away from Ginny with a sneer, leaving her rooted to the spot. However, Severus was unsuccessful in avoiding what had been approaching as surely as Christmas in December.
“Well, well,” Harry turned around to see his father blocking Snape’s way. He saw Lily and Chris stop a few paces behind James, silently observing the scene. Harry felt himself dreading the next few moments. “Looks like dear Snivellus has dropped back into this world. Where were you last night, Snivelly?” James Potter asked. “I had planned an awesome prank for you.”
“Get out of my way, Potter.” Snape’s voice was low, but it had the distinctly menacing quality that made it obvious that he had already joined the Death Eaters.
James and Sirius laughed. Harry did not see the funny aspect in the matter and knew he had to stop his father and Sirius before they did something. They were pointing their wands towards Snape; these guys had no fear of the teachers either.
“NO!” Harry yelled.
“Feeling something for this piece of filth, Jackson?” Sirius sneered.
“N-no, I am not,” Harry replied, affronted, “But he’s doing nothing to you, is he? Why do you want to hurt him?”
“He exists,” Sirius and James said at the same time, both adding a casual shrug to the sentence.
“I had no idea you could stoop that low.” Harry had not wanted to say that but he knew that to someone as proud as his father, the line would hurt. And indeed, it did. James lowered his wand, looking faintly ashamed of himself. Sirius, however, looked like Harry had hit a nerve.
“Hey!” The annoyed Black caught Harry’s arm. “Let me make a little something very clear to you, Jackson,” he spat Harry’s alias at him. “You do not come to our school and take us on on the first day, alright? You will regret it if you do,” he muttered, his voice controlled. “So be wise and watch your step and who knows, you might even become a friend of ours.” He let go of Harry’s arm and walked past him and Ginny. Then, stopping as if he had suddenly remembered something, he called over his shoulder to Ginny, “You owe me ten galleons, hon.”
Ginny turned her head in the opposite direction after making a disgusted face at Sirius. He smirked and beckoned to James who had been lurking around Lily. James walked past them, clapping Harry on the shoulder and the two Marauders made their way towards the classrooms, hands in their pockets.
Lily and Chris joined Harry and Ginny as they slowly walked towards the dungeons for their first lesson, Potions.
“Are you alright, Ginny?” Lily asked, appearing concerned.
“Yeah, I’m fine, thank you, Lily,” Ginny smiled at the girl who had been unbelievably hospitable and amiable with her.
“Harry, don’t spare a second thought for those two,” Lily advised, wrapping a hand around his forearm. Happiness coursed through him instantly; he felt his spirits heighten and his mood was extremely good all of a sudden. “Potter is a worthless toe-rag who is too arrogant to do anything but torture Snape and Black is just thinks he’s some kind of saint because of his ‘devilishly good looks’,” Lily rolled her eyes as she made quotation marks in the air with her fingers; she was clearly trying to make Harry feel better about the scene that had just happened and Harry loved her for that. He grinned.
“Don’t worry, Lily,” he assured her. “I didn’t mind in the least. However, speaking of Sirius Black’s good looks”–he turned his attention to Ginny–“what happened to you?”
“What do you mean?” she asked, appearing genuinely confused. Unfortunately for her, Harry knew better.
“You know what I mean, Ginny,” he muttered, slowing down to fall behind Lily and Chris to avoid being overheard. They were now deep in their own conversation, walking leisurely with Chris’ arm resting around Lily’s shoulders.
“I don’t know what you mean, Harry,” she raised her head defiantly. “And if you would like to tell me what it is, please do so now or otherwise, we’ll be late for class.”
Harry narrowed his eyes; he had expected her to avoid his questions but did not understand the reason behind her sudden formality and stiffness.
“I meant, I know you were attracted to him; I saw you give him that look. Your eyes glazed over and you were looking at him like you were going to leap across the table and jump him!”
Ginny lowered her head, not responding.
“What’s wrong with you, Gin?” Harry burst out, incensed. “This is my godfather we’re talking about and more importantly, you are my girlfriend!”
Ginny raised her eyes, tips of her ears turning the crimson, trademark Weasley hue that signified her disbelief and infuriation. “Girlfriend? Really? I thought that it ‘was complicated’?” Her tone was dripping with derision and Harry realised what the whole thing was about. Even though it had been a mutual decision, Harry knew that Ginny was not as accepting of their relationship’s undetermined status as he was. He knew that it had upset her that he had not even had the guts to admit to strangers about their dating status and she was now wondering how he would commit to something much more permanent if he couldn’t even admit they were dating?
“Ginny, look–” he began talking when Lily turned around.
“Hurry up, you two, we’ll be late for class.”
Ginny glanced at Harry, insecurity apparent on her troubled visage, as she hurried forward to join Chris and Lily, who had picked up pace. Harry had no idea what to do and, as they reached the Potions classroom, the thought of solving everything was driven from his mind in anticipation of the first lesson of his sixth year in 1976.
Slughorn’s bulky form opened the door to the classroom and Harry and Ginny entered along with all the other sixth years. The sixth year Griffindors had their NEWT level Potions classes with the Slytherins and, as Harry and Ginny made their way to the last desk, which would hide them from most people’s view, Harry noticed Snape sitting in the shadows. Apparently, despite his brilliance, Snape avoided attention.
Taking his seat, Harry noticed Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew sharing a table with James and Sirius at the one next to his. This was the first time that morning that Harry had glimpsed the two of them. Remus looked pale and on edge and his jerky movements and the shadows under his eyes clearly stated that the full moon had just passed. Peter Pettigrew, on the other hand, was another matter. Harry felt a corrosive hatred for the boy even in his teens and he couldn’t help but look at him heatedly. The plump, mousy teenager looked rather timid sitting in the dismal classroom in the presence of his intimidating classmates and best friends. Had Harry not already hated the boy, he would have felt a surge of pity towards him, owing to his taciturn attitude.
Giving in to his desire of observing his father, Harry let his eyes wander back to James. He had his left hand in his hair, continuously ruffling it to make it even messier; his mouth was hung open slightly and he was staring at Lily Evans two desks away, who was busy arranging her things neatly in front of her. Harry looked at his dad and laughed slightly. James Potter really had been a shamelessly infatuated individual before he had finally gotten together with Lily. And Sirius? Sirius was the carelessly handsome guy, lounging in his seat, completely at ease with the world, his hair falling effortlessly into his eyes and a slight smile playing upon his lips as he swept his eyes around the classroom. Arrogant as he was, though, he seemed blatantly oblivious of the countless Gryffindor and Slytherin girls eyeing him hopefully.
“Alright, settle down everyone,” Slughorn’s voice boomed over the chatter in the room and everyone quietened. “I hear we have new students with us, today? Where are they?”
Harry and Ginny raised their hands slowly. So much for lying low, thought Harry ruefully.
“Welcome to your sixth-year Potions class!” he said jovially. Then, turning to the whole class, he began speaking aloud, “We are beginning N. E.W.T. classes now and I expect all of you to be at your Potioneer best. All of you had a very good O.W.L. result and I expect all of you to maintain that grade. However, I must warn you that you all need to be serious about your studies now” –His gaze moved to set on the Marauders– “and concentrate on being less mischievous.”
Sirius Black grinned back at the Professor and leaned forward in his chair to rest his arms on the desk. After that, Harry zoned out. He did not care what Slughorn was teaching as he had already gone through the curriculum before and he was much more interested in observing the students of the past rather than study Potions again. He did make the potion Slughorn had assigned him to test his abilities; however, he did not follow that Prince’s instructions as he remembered them. He had figured that in the presence of the Half-blood Prince himself and his mother; the ultimate Potioneers, it would be better if he let them have their share of glory and not risk changing the past by becoming one of Slughorn’s favourites and joining the Slug Club once more.
His potion was remarked to be passable and better than Slughorn had expected it to be and Ginny’s was exceptional. Harry looked at her, amused. He had never shared lessons with her so he had not known what she excelled at – it was clear now that Ginny Weasley was rather good in Potions. She, however, seemed to follow his train of thought as she leaned towards him and whispered, “Don’t worry, it’s not what you think; I was no better at Potions than Ron. This is only because of my Healer training.”
Harry’s eyes widened as he comprehended that. He had forgotten that. Looking at her from the corner of his eyes, he observed that she was in a good mood; Slughorn’s praise had left her in better humour than Harry had seen her in all day.
The lesson ended a few minutes after that and Harry and Ginny made their way to Transfiguration, closely followed by the Marauders and Lily. Chris turned a corner and vanished, saying that he did not take Transfiguration. They were joined by Kate outside the classroom who smiled at Ginny and then frowned at Sirius Black as he waved his hand in greeting. He had a smirk on his face; he clearly enjoyed annoying girls and Harry could see it in on his face that he could not stand girls ignoring him. He was an attention seeker and as Ginny gave him the same look as Kate, he spoke to her from two paces away, “You still owe me ten galleons!” She ignored him again, engaging herself in conversation with Lily and Kate.
Harry shook his head in defeat. He could make her understand the importance of staying away from Sirius Black. But he knew all to well that her ignoring him would only cause him to pursue her more. Little did he know how right he was.
Transfiguration was torture. Ginny had always disliked the subject and she hadn’t ameliorated the slightest bit, even after graduating. And to top it off, it was Sirius Black and James Potter’s best subject. They had mastered becoming Animagi transformation in their fifth year and Ginny had expected this. But she could not understand her sudden annoyance at Sirius Black. She wanted to avoid him for the rest of her life but it seemed like he had a different plan. He was constantly glancing at her; smirking in his usual, cocky manner; getting on her nerves with his unintentional perfection; his grey eyes twinkling; sable locks falling carelessly into his eyes, making him look ever so appealing. THAT! That was what was bothering her! Her uncontrollable attraction towards him! He was Harry’s godfather, for Merlin’s sake! Why was she ignoring that fact? She knew what kind of a teenager he had been; she knew that he was in her past and she knew that she could not get together with him and change both his future and Harry’s past. She had no future with him.
Shaking her head, trying to clear it of thoughts, she wondered what was going wrong with her. Had she honestly just thought of the possibility of a future with Sirius Black?
Sitting at the Gryffindor table, Ginny banged her head on it. It had been only half a day into the past and she was already going plumb crazy. Her relationship with Harry was in shambles; she was continuously tempted to feel Sirius Black’s sinful body against her own and she was forming a bond of friendship with Harry’s sixteen-year-old mother. The world had certainly gone topsy-turvy.
She could hear Harry and Chris converse about the lesson but she took no part in it. She did not know where the rest of the sixth years were but she cared little at that moment. She still had to get through Defence Against the Dark Arts and Charms with them. It did not hurt to not see them for some time. She was doing perfectly well on her own. In fact, it even helped that Harry was giving her space to let her ponder her thoughts on her own.
Therefore, she had no idea when she dozed off but, sometime later, she felt a hand on her arm rousing her. It was Chris.
“It’s time for Defence, Ginny,” he said. “Are you okay? You up for it?”
She stood up slowly.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” she assured him. “Thanks for waking me up.”
The Great Hall was almost empty. The students had all walked to their lessons and Ginny hurriedly made her way to the classroom she knew was used for the N.E.W.T. DADA classes.
The students were filing in and Ginny, joining the line, searched for Harry. She found it hard to believe that he had left her alone at the table. He was already in the classroom, seated behind Chris and Lily, the bench beside him empty, and was staring at a small piece of parchment intently. She was making her way to the bench when something caught her eye. Looking around, she saw Sirius Black gesturing at the empty seat beside him. Really? she thought, raising her eyebrows at him. He grinned at her, glancing at Harry as if he knew exactly what was going on between them. She huffed and, raising her chin haughtily, walked up and sat beside Harry, not looking at his godfather again for the rest of the lesson.
Without looking up, Harry slowly passed her the parchment. She looked down at it, wondering what was so important. What she saw surprised her. She had completely forgotten that they had to check up on Xenon. The parchment had listed down Xenon’s most recent activities and one of them included a trip to The Leaky Cauldron. She looked up at Harry, her finger on that particular detail. He nodded at her, confirming that her thoughts were right. Xenon had already known about the magical world before he had gotten his powers.
“Do you think Kingsley knew?” she whispered, her voice almost drowned by the chatter in the classroom.
“I don’t know, Gin.” Harry frowned slightly. “We don’t know anymore whether what Kingsley told us was the entire truth or not. All we can now do is work on it ourselves with all the details we already have and can manage to gather.”
She nodded. “So, what do we do about this?” she asked, gesturing towards the parchment.
“That’s what I was thinking,” Harry was instantly alert. “I will have to get back to my dormitory before all the other boys; I have a way of finding out what Xenon’s up to but I need to be alone for it. So I wanted to tell you that you probably won’t see me after this class. You’ll have to back me up through dinner too. And one more thing: after dinner, could you please go to the library? We have to go through all the books on time-travelling and time-turners to figure out a way to get out of this time. I don’t want to stay stuck here where my future is actually my own past.”
“Yeah, okay,” she nodded, “I’ll do that. You just make sure that we stop Xenon at all costs.”
Harry nodded just as they heard a door open behind them. Turning around, they saw the new professor enter the classroom in simple black robes that complimented his form perfectly.
A collective gasp went up in the classroom as every female eye turned to the striking teacher. With his thick, dark curls and twinkling navy eyes, he was a stunning man, but not ostentatiously so. The ebony cotton emphasized his long and lean physique as he strode into the classroom with confident strides and turned a genuine, dimpled smile on them.
“Welcome to Defence Against the Dark Arts, students. You all got satisfactory O.W.L.s and have now entered N.E.W.T level where the studies get much more demanding. I expect all of you to excel at them as you know that during these times everyone needs to know how to defend themselves.” His grin widened, his easy attitude making them comfortable in his presence. “Now, let’s begin with today’s lesson, shall we?”
He moved to the centre of the classroom. “Today, we begin with non-verbal spells. Can anyone tell me what those are?” he asked the class and Harry saw the marauders, Lily, Chris, Kate and Snape instantly raise their hands. Professor Schroers pointed at James who stood up, looking smug, and gave him the answer.
“A non-verbal spell is a spell which is performed without saying the incantation out loud. Performing spells nonverbally is very difficult and requires a good deal of practice, as it requires concentration and mental discipline alone.”
“Precisely. Ten points to Gryffindor. James is absolutely right. Nonverbal spells are extremely difficult to do so I advise you not to get over confident. They require a lot of concentration and would exhaust you mentally if you are not good at them initially. And to help you with that I have come up with a new idea. To help you to concentrate solely on nonverbals, I want you all to not to talk in my class for the next week. Throughout the coming week, we will not talk amongst ourselves and will try to do all our spells nonverbally. If you are not successful at you initial attempts, no problem. Try again and KEEP trying until you finally get it. Starting today we are not talking unless I allow you to and are going to concentrate solely on getting these spells right. Now, let’s divide in pairs and one of you attacks, the other blocks their partner’s spell.”
There was instant bustling in the class as the students moved about dragging chairs and desks to the walls to make space to stand and practice spells. Harry and Ginny paired and pretended to be trying extremely hard as they knew that could not appear to be excellent. However, they were the only ones trying. James Potter, who had paired up with Remus, was constantly attacking Remus who was constantly blocking his attacks. They were clearly excellent at nonverbals.
“Excellent!” Schroers exclaimed as Lupin blocked yet again another attack. “That’s how it’s done, James, Remus, good job! Twenty points to Gryffindor!”
“Thanks Bastian!” James replied enthusiastically
“Are they on first name terms with their Professor already?” Ginny asked Lily, who was partnering Chris beside Ginny.
“They are,” she replied, throwing an annoyed look at James, “They are excellent at whatever they do and apparently Professor Schroers likes excellent students and Potter and Black there made sure that they had Butterbeer with him as soon as he arrived. They are very particular about being in the good books of the new teachers.”
“They like their popularity,” Harry observed out loud.
“Yeah,” Lily scoffed, “They love that, along with undivided attention, excellent grades and bullying people.” Harry raised his eyebrows in apparent surprise. Lily was making it clear that she was not a big fan of that lot. Ginny wondered what had caused her mind to change so drastically that she fell in love with James Potter when she had disliked so heartily.
“Who did that?” They suddenly heard Professor Schroers exclaim.
Ginny looked around to see Severus Snape hanging upside down in the air, suspended by his ankle. His robes fell down; revealing his underpants. She laughed out loud along with many other students who were grinning and pointing at Snape. Professor Schroers was trying extremely hard to pull Snape down but to no avail. Snape looked furious even in his current state and was brandishing his wand uselessly when there was a sudden bang and he crashed down to the floor. A few Slytherins and the Professor ran over to his aid when the bell rang. They all hurriedly packed their stuff, trying to avoid the questions that Schroers was bound to ask.
Out the doors she saw the Marauders leave the corridor hurriedly. She did not care where they were going. She and Harry had a free period before dinner and she was hoping to spend it with him. However her plans failed the minute she saw Harry waving at her and then turning around, heading towards the dormitories. She realised that he had to work so looked around for Lily and Chris. She knew she had to go to the library but thought she’d spend some time with them but looking around she realised she was alone. Sighing and resigning herself to a lonely evening, she made her way to the library.
She dragged her feet slowly, her strength almost zero at that moment. She had skipped dinner, intent upon finding a way to get out of it this time; she did not want to stay here, where she had to spend evenings all alone; where Harry was barely hers; where everything was new and where Sirius Black was present. Going through the books she had realised that this was hopeless. They would have to ask Dumbledore’s help to jump forward. She knew that time-turners could not jump years into the future so she had not searched much on them. Looking for other time travelling ways had been tedious. Time travel was a complex subject and very less people had experimented with it and even less people had actually survived it to write books on it. She would have to come back again and check the Restricted Section for more details as the books in the other section had made it obvious that advanced knowledge on time travelling was not to be handled lightly.
Ginny sighed. She had a whole corridor to walk and it was already eleven. She knew she would not get caught so near to her dormitory so she had slowed her pace. Losing herself in her thoughts, she had almost completely stopped when she sensed someone standing right behind. Her senses suddenly alert, her body rigid, she switched her mind to defence mode and turned around abruptly, trying to surprise the person behind her. However, instead of surprising him, she was shocked into stillness herself. Of all the people who could have walked up on her, the world chose Sirius Black.
Her hands had been up in the air ready to strike when he had caught them, his body closer to her than she could have imagined. She tried to struggle but failed miserably. His grip was strong and she could see determination in his grey eyes. They were hooked onto her brown ones, intense and passionate. He slowly lowered her arms, clasping her hands instead; his hands were hard, his grip strong yet surprisingly warm but they made her body relax in a way not a massage could have done. His hair was wet, most probably with sweat, but it still fell in his eyes making him even more tempting than he already was. She had no idea what he was trying to do but she had no strength or will to fight him. His eyes explored her hesitant and reluctant face, boring into her eyes, travelling down her face, lingering on her lips; stopping on the brown tresses of hair falling over her face. He raised one hand slowly, the other grabbing her waist seemingly impulsively, moving the lock of hair off her face leisurely and placing it behind her ear.
He was so close now that she could feel his breath on her face. She could smell his cologne slightly, accentuating his presence even more. He moved slightly, aptly moving her against the wall, their bodies moulded together now. Her breathing was getting rapid, adrenaline pumping through her body. He appeared extremely calm, his left hand gripping her waist like he would never let go and the other gripping her chin. Their eyes locked. His head came closer and she closed her eyes before his lips touched hers. A spark lit up inside her, urging her to respond, to move her hands and grip his neck, to bring him closer, to feel his body atop hers, but on the other hand warning her of who he was. She was in a dilemma and had to choose.
“We can’t do this,” she willed herself to whisper against his lips.
“Why?” He backed up slightly, cocking his head to one side, “I know you’re having fun,” his smug expression brought her back to her senses completely.
She shoved him away surprised that he didn’t fight back. She began running till she reached the corridor and realised he hadn’t followed. She turned. He was leaning against the wall, smirking at her, his face dripping with arrogance and pride.
She turned the corner, the portrait of the Fat Lady looming up.
“You still owe me ten galleons, Watson!” she heard him yell from a few feet away.
Ignoring him and her loudly beating heart, she entered the common room and was making her way to her dormitory when she noticed Harry pacing the common room looking upset. Her heart skipped a beat. There was no way he could have seen that! He could not know! There had been no one out there, she was sure! Harry could not have seen that!
He looked up at her, not knowing about the battle raging inside her and not hearing her pulse hammering in her own ears.
“We have a big problem Ginny,” he said, his face looking haggard.
“W-what’s wrong?” She was finding it hard to control her breathing.
“Rudolph Xenon is planning to steal a wand from Ollivander’s.”
A/N: Chapter five! Can't believe it! Hehe i am excited about the story now.. Hope you guys like it. Do you like the suspense? What do you think will happen now? Keep reading and please please please do review!