Chapter 20 : Scouting for Clues
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Scouting for Clues
Severus was sitting in the common room early the next morning practicing the Transfiguration lesson they’d learned yesterday. Transfiguration and Charms were still the two subjects he was always going to have to work harder at, but he knew Lily and Dorian would help him again if he got stuck.
A short, thin boy with black curly hair and dark brown eyes came through the door that led to the dorms, carrying a book bag. Severus stood up when he saw him. He put out his hand. “You’re Regulus Black?”
The young boy nodded and looked up at Severus with an uneasy expression. He hoped this tall kid wasn’t going to punch him for something Sirius had done.
Seeing his expression, Severus said, “I’m sorry, I’m Severus Snape and I’m going to be your second year mentor for the first month. I’ll show you around the castle, help you with your homework, make sure you’re fitting in and nobody’s bullying you in this house or any other house.”
Regulus’ shoulders relaxed as he smiled and let out his breath. He shook Severus’ outstretched hand. “I’ve heard mum and dad talk about Hogwarts plenty of times, but I never imagined it was this big.”
“Well, I can show you some of the shortcuts me and my friends have discovered that will save you some time going to classes and getting to the Great Hall.”
“That would be great, Severus.”
As they walked from the dungeons to the Great Hall, Severus said, “I apologize for not meeting you yesterday morning.”
“It’s okay. I heard what happened with your cat and those stupid Potters demanding to have a Magical Creature Expert come in and examine him to make sure he wasn’t evil. Mum’s always saying the entire Potter family is dumber than a tub of flobberworms.”
“I’d have to agree with her assessment,” Severus replied as they walked into the Great Hall.
“Maybe I should owl Mum and tell her what Sirius and Potter tried to do to your familiar. The only thing is he’d know it was me that did it.” Reg said.
“Thanks for the offer, Reg, but they didn’t succeed.”
They sat down next to Dorian and Tav at the Slytherin table. “Guys, this is Regulus Black. I’m his mentor for the first month.”
“Nice to meet you, Reg,” Dorian said shaking his hand. Tav nodded at him and also shook his hand. “We saw you at Platform 9 ¾ with your mum and dad.”
“Reg, these are my friends, Dorian Andrews and Tav DeLuca. They’re third years. Dorian was my second year mentor last year.”
At the Gryffindor table, Sirius nudged James and pointed, “Looks like the little prince found a new friend.”
“Snivellus,” James grumbled. He was still angry that once again Severus had managed to outfox him.
Severus waved at Lily across the Hall and Lily waved back.
“Oi! Silly Lilly, did you bring your dolly to school with you this year?” James yelled down the table.
“Yes I did, Pottyhead,” Lily answered. “I’m going to bring her every year.”
“Hey, Potter!” Frank yelled. “Did you stick your head in the toilet and flush it? Is that how you get your hair to look like that?”
“Shut up, Longboob! I’ll have you know my dad and I only go to the best and most expensive wizard barber!”
“Well, I wouldn’t give him a tip next time,” Frank replied.
Lily, Alice, Remus, and Peter hooted loudly at Frank’s comment.
Quidditch tryouts were going to be held this weekend and Frank was really looking forward to it. He’d been practicing in his spare time with help from Peter and Remus. He was hoping to beat Potter out of a place on the team and put the arrogant toerag in his place.
When breakfast was over Severus and Regulus walked out into the hall. Severus was intending to show Regulus a shorter way to Charms when they found themselves confronted by James and Sirius. “Well, look who it is, James; Snivellus and mummy’s little prince!” Sirius sneered
James was twirling his wand around. “Yeah Siri, I owe Snot-nose Sniv a big one. It’s his fault that I was made to look like a fool in front of my dad and Godfather Albus!”
“And I owe the little prince here for being an all-around spoiled brat.”
They were so busy with their revenge scheme that they didn’t see Lily, Alice, Frank, Remus, Peter, Dorian, Tav, Emily, or Jane creeping up behind them. Caddaric and Irene followed the others out to see what was happening.
“I think not, Potter. It was you who made a fool of yourself by lying.”
Minerva and Horace could see there was something going on out in the hallway as they noticed the students milling about the doorway. Albus, as usual, was paying no attention as he was chatting with Filius. “I think it best if we take a peek outside and see what’s going on.”
“Excellent suggestion, Minerva,” Horace replied lumbering to his feet.
As she cut through the group of students standing in the doorway, she immediately spotted what the trouble was. “Mr. Potter, Mr. Black! Wands away! You two do recall the rule about not doing magic in the hallways, I trust?”
“They started it; they tried to hex me and Sirius as we were coming out!” James exclaimed pointing at Severus and Regulus.
“The only wands I see drawn are yours and Mr. Black’s, Mr. Potter.” Horace pointed out. “Mr. Snape, what have you to say?”
“They were going to hex Regulus and me,” Severus replied calmly. “They were waiting for us when we came out. Potter’s still mad because he made a fool of himself yesterday and Black wants to hex his brother because he was sorted into Slytherin.”
Minerva turned to the crowd of students in the hallway. “Everybody go to your classes! If you’re late for my class, you will not be excused.” She turned back to the problem at hand. “Mr. Snape and Mr. Black, please go on to your classes.”
“But …” James started to protest, but seeing Minerva’s expression he stopped.
“Mr. Potter and Mr. Black, you will serve detention this weekend with me. You will report to me at nine o’clock Saturday morning where you will be cleaning the desks in my classroom without magic.”
“But Saturday’s the Quidditch tryouts!” James objected. “I can’t miss that! I’m the best player you’ll ever have!”
“They aren’t until the afternoon and if you work diligently I’m sure you can be done by then,” Minerva said, obviously unimpressed by James’ claim
Severus hurried into his first class, History of Magic, and slid into the seat Lily had saved for him next to her. Professor Binns floated out through the blackboard, called roll, and immediately began lecturing in his monotone voice about the Goblin Wars of the 1500’s. He gave no indication of even noticing James and Sirius when they stalked into the classroom late, muttering angrily and sat down in the very back of the room.
“What happened?” Lily whispered. They were seated in the middle of the classroom where Binns couldn’t easily see them whispering.
“I don’t know. McGonagall told Regulus and me to go to class. From the way they look, I’m assuming she gave them detention.”
“Not that it will do any good. They’ll just run to Dumbledore and he’ll waive it like last year,” Lily replied.
“Probably,” Severus agreed.
They walked to Charms, waving at Irene and Caddaric as they passed them in the hall. “I wish we could have some classes with the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs,” Lily said wistfully.
“I think it would be interesting if we had a mixture of Houses in class,” Severus replied.
“Have you had any thoughts about what the ghosts told us yesterday?” Lily asked.
“No, I talked to Dorian, Tav, Jane and Emily about it too. None of us had any ideas. We thought it wouldn’t be hidden anywhere in Ravenclaw Tower as that would be too obvious a place unless Rowena placed some kind of invisibility charm over it.”
They walked into Charms and sat down. Professor Flitwick greeted them cheerily as was his custom. He was holding a glass as he talked and all of a sudden he allowed it slip out of his hand and fall to the floor. “Oops!” There was the unmistakable tinkling of broken glass. “No problem,” he said and pointed his wand at the smashed glass. “Reparo.” The broken pieces immediately flew back together and glass, whole again, flew up into his hand. “A very useful spell you can use to repair broken things or rips in your clothing. It cannot be used to heal cuts and wounds though. Those will still require a visit to Madam Pomfrey,” he warned. “Now, I’m going to hand out a shattered item to each of you and you will try and see if you can return it to its former shape.” Flitwick had each of the students come up to his desk and take a moleskin bag containing what sounded like broken crockery.
Severus grinned as he imagined Flitwick staying up all night smashing plates, teapots, and ugly statuary against a wall in his apartment. He opened his bag to find broken crockery.
“Now remember to pronounce the spell correctly as you point your wand. The spell is Reparo and do be careful because the shards are sharp.”
Lily pointed her wand at her pile of shards and said, “Reparo!” The shards immediately reassembled themselves into an ugly statue.
“Excellent work, Miss Evans!” Professor Flitwick exclaimed. “I can see you have a definite talent for Charms. Ten points to Gryffindor and another five for being the first one to do the spell.”
Severus grimaced at the statue and whispered to Lily, “I think that statue should have stayed broken.”
“It is pretty horrible,” Lily said and giggled.
Severus turned his attention back to his crockery. He tried the spell three times with no discernable results. He thought the shards may have moved a bit on his third try, but that may have been wishful thinking on his part.
“You’re trying too hard, Sev,” Lily whispered. “You’re trying to force your magic to do what you want it to do. Do you remember our lessons last year? Relax and just let your magic flow through you.”
Severus took a deep breath, closed his eyes and imagined his magic as a wave washing through him and enfolding him completely. He waved his wand and whispered, “Reparo!” His shards flew together and reassembled themselves into an ugly flowered teapot.
“Well done, Mr. Snape.” Professor Flitwick called. “Ten points to Slytherin.”
Avery could not do the spell and he kept angrily poking at the pile of shards on his desk and muttering curses as he waved his wand. Why could Snape do it and not him? Suddenly his pile of shards exploded, flying all over the classroom.
Severus covered Lily to prevent the shards from hitting her.
“Is anybody hurt?” Flitwick asked looking around the classroom, but at seemed as if everybody had ducked in time to avoid getting hit with any debris. He turned to Avery. “Mr. Avery, the spell is Reparo not Bombarda! Ten points from Slytherin!”
“Idiot!” Severus muttered. Avery managed to lose the ten points he had worked so hard to gain.
“Silly Lily is Flitwick’s favorite and teacher’s pet; that’s why she gets so many points!” James sneered as he and Sirius cut around them.
“Lily gets points because she’s brilliant in Charms and she doesn’t act like an arse in class,” Severus snapped
“And you two morons lost us points with your stupidity,” Alice said. “You two lose ten points in every class.”
James and Sirius had assembled their shards into its previous form, but thought it would be funnier to transfigure them into squat, bulbous versions of Professor Flitwick. He didn’t appreciate their humor and took five points from each of them.
“Well, wait until I start playing Quidditch,” James bragged. “We’ll have so many extra points our hourglass won’t be able to hold them all.”
Peeves, floating above them, blew a loud wet raspberry at James’ remark.
“You tell him, Peeves,” Severus said. “It’s pretty bad, Potter, when even Peeves thinks you’re a git!”
“Shut up, Snivellus!” James growled. He and Sirius stalked off in the direction of the main staircase. “I hate that slimy prick!” James muttered to Sirius as they walked up to Gryffindor Tower.
Severus, Lily, Alice, Frank, Remus, and Peter went to the library and sat at a table in the back where Madam Pince couldn’t easily overhear them talking. “I think what we need to do is divide up the search for the Grimoire of Elements so we’re not all doing the same thing or going about the search willy-nilly,” Severus suggested.
“What did you have in mind, Sev?” Lily asked.
“Well, we’ll need somebody to research and find out everything we possibly can about the Grimoire.”
“That makes sense,” Remus agreed. “I volunteer to do the research.”
“I’ll help Remus,” Lily volunteered. “I’ll ask Irene if she wants to help us.”
“We’ll need somebody to copy and organize your research notes too.”
“I can do that,” Peter offered. “Maybe Tav can help me with that; he writes really well with a quill.”
Severus nodded. “I’ll ask him and let you know.” He thought about something else for a moment before Alice asked, “What will the rest of us be doing, Sev?”
“I thought the rest of us could talk to the portraits. After all, some of them have been hanging here for centuries and they might have seen or heard something about the Grimoire without realizing it.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Frank said. “Alice, Caddaric, and me can do the seventh, sixth and fifth floors.”
“Dorian, Jane, Emily, and I can do the rest of the floors. Hogwarts was founded in the tenth century so to narrow the search parameters, we should only talk to portraits dressed in tenth or eleventh century clothing because the Founders were probably close to middle-age when they decided to establish Hogwarts and probably didn’t live for more than a hundred years afterwards.”
Severus himself was planning to visit with the portrait of Salazar Slytherin which hung in the common room of Slytherin. “Somebody should also talk to Peeves. He’s been here forever too and he might know something or have seen something.”
“Yes, but all he’ll give us is smartass answers,” Alice pointed out.
“That’s true,” Severus conceded. “Maybe I’ll ask the Bloody Baron to talk to him. Peeves’ is really afraid of him and he’d more likely tell him if he knows anything.”
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After their last class of the day, Alice and Lily retuned to Gryffindor Tower. James was sitting in the common room bragging to Sirius how he was going to wipe the floor with others trying out for the House team. “My coach told my dad I’m the best player he’s ever seen and they’ll probably want to make me captain next year.”
“His dad probably paid his coach extra Galleons to say that,” Alice whispered to Lily who started giggling. They went up to their dorm room that they shared again with Brenda, Nancy and unfortunately, Mary MacDonald. Both Alice and Lily got their Beatle posters out of their trunks and used a Sticking Charm to put them up on the wall over their beds.
“Who are they?” Mary sniffed.
“A Muggle musical band called the Beatles,” Alice answered shortly. “They write, sing, and play their own songs. They’re far better to listen to than that cow Celestina Warbeck.”
“It’s our side of the room and we can put up whatever we want,” Lily added, sensing Mary was spoiling for a fight. She plopped down on her bed. She’d placed the picture Severus had drawn of her when she visited Mirrorvale on the nightstand next to her bed.
“Who drew that?” MacDonald asked haughtily.
“Sev drew it while I was visiting him this summer.”
“Looks like his grandparents should hire somebody to teach him how to draw. I‘d be embarrassed to have that thing sitting out where everybody could see it and I definitely wouldn’t admit to visiting a Slytherin!”
“Shut up, MacDonald!” Lily snapped. “If I were you I’d be concentrating on my studies so I don’t end up getting grounded again all next summer because I cheated and flunked practically every subject!”
Mary’s face turned a dull red then she snarled, “You little bitch! It was all Snivellus’ fault I got bad grades. He probably put some sort of evil curse on me that caused me to fail! Sirius says he knows more curses than most seventh years!”
“That’s a lie, you cow!” Lily shouted, her temper broiling.
“How dare you call me a cow, you little bint!” Mary screamed, grabbing hold of Lily’s hair.
“I call them as I see them!” Lily yelled back. She grabbed hold of Mary’s robe hood and pulled it down over her head to force her to let her go of her hair and then kicked her shin.
Mary squealed and let go of Lily’s hair, but grabbed hold of her blouse and ripped it and then grabbed hold of her slip preparing to rip that when Nancy, Brenda, and Alice intervened pulling them apart.
“I’m telling Professor McGonagall on you!” Mary bawled.
“I wouldn’t, MacDonald,” Alice warned. “Because we’ll tell her you attacked Lily first.”
“I’ll tell James and Sirius and they’ll sort you!” She ran to her bed and flung herself down on it and closed her curtains.
Nancy and Brenda rolled their eyes and shook their heads at Mary’s dramatics.
“Go ahead, MacDonald,” Lily replied sarcastically. “I’m not afraid of the two stooges!”
“It’s almost dinner time,” Alice said. “I’ll see if I can do that spell Professor Flitwick taught us today and fix your blouse.” She flicked her wand at Lily’s blouse and said, “Reparo!”
Lily looked down to see her blouse looked as if Mary had never ripped it. It looked brand new in fact. “It works great!” She exclaimed in delight. “I remember when Professor McGonagall brought me my letter, she did a Reparo on an armchair to prove to my parents she really was a witch and it looked as if we’d just brought it home from the shop.”
“I wonder if Remus found anything? He stayed in the library after the rest of us left,” Lily said.
“We’ll ask him at dinner, but you’ve only started looking and there may not be a lot written about it either,” Alice replied.
As they left their dorm room Mary stuck her out between her curtains. What were that bunch of losers looking for that was so important? Maybe James and Sirius would know.
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The next morning Severus rose earlier than usual. He, Dorian, and Tav were planning on talking to the portrait of Salazar Slytherin when nobody else was around and they wanted ample time. Hopefully Salazar would know something that could point them in the right direction.
Dorian and Tav were already waiting outside Severus’ room when he crept out the door. “Ready?”
Dorian and Tav nodded and they quickly and quietly walked down the hall to the common room. The portrait of Salazar had its eyes closed and was snoring softly. Looking at him Severus decided he was rather scary. He was bald with deep set eyes, heavy eyebrows, with a mustache and, Severus thought, a rather scraggly looking beard. He was dressed in an elaborately decorated black robe and was wearing a locket around his neck with a large, ornate ‘S’ upon it. His hands resting in front of him had long fingers with long nails and he was wearing rings on his index and last fingers of both hands.
“Do you think we should wake him, Sev?” Dorian asked.
“What is it you require from me, young man?” Salazar replied opening his eyes.
“I’m Severus Snape and this is Dorian Andrews and Octavius DeLuca. We wanted to ask you about the Grimoire of Elements.”
“Ah yes! Rowena’s book; it is a book of very great power.” He looked at them shrewdly. “Why do you boys want it?”
Severus pondered Salazar’s question before answering. If he answered with the truth, Slytherin might think they weren’t ambitious enough and refuse to answer, but Severus had a feeling if they lied he would immediately see through it. “The ghosts asked us to find it for them because it should have been given to Helena on her mother’s death.”
“Oh yes! Their fight about Helena wanting to marry the Baron; the entire castle was aware of it when it happened. Rowena thought her daughter worthy of a higher peerage.”
“Do you have any suggestions as to where Rowena may have hidden it?” Severus asked. “We’ve heard that both the Headmaster and the self-titled Lord Voldemort have an interest in acquiring it,” Severus asked. “We’d like to prevent both of them from getting their hands on it if at all possible.”
Slytherin pondered the question. “The problem is this castle has a lot of rooms that appear suddenly and disappear just as suddenly, but I do not believe she hid the Grimoire in a room that disappears for a hundred years. I do believe she wanted Helena to have it, but as a punishment for defying her I think she made it difficult for her to find.” Salazar stopped speaking and after a pause continued, “I do recall seeing her on the seventh floor many times, but she may have been visiting Godric’s domain.” He shook his head frowning angrily. “I dislike both of the men you put forth. I met Tom Riddle when he was a student. He took great pride in being a descendent of mine, but I did not like his beliefs and did not want to be associated with them. Your Headmaster is a very ambition man and I dislike the manner in which he blackens my House.”
“Do you think she may have left it with Gryffindor or possibly left it in the tower?” Tav asked.
“I do not think she would have left it with Godric, for despite the rumors, he too was very ambitious and he sought its power and many spells. You might ask Helga; she and Rowena were as sisters and Helga did not seek the power of the Grimoire.”
“If you don’t mind, Sir,” Dorian said. “May I ask you a question that has nothing to do with the Grimoire?”
Salazar nodded sagely. “You may.”
“You said you don’t like the way the Headmaster deals with Slytherin House and I’ll agree it stinks, but weren’t you against Muggleborns being educated at Hogwarts in your day?”
“No. I was against plucking them off the streets and directly into the school as Godric wanted to do. Many Muggleborns had powerful magic, but did not know they were magical so they were never taught how to control it as the students who came from magical families were. What I proposed was educating them in controlling their magic before they were admitted to the school so as not to accidently hurt themselves or others.”
“That sounds like common sense to me,” Tav remarked.
The boys thanked Salazar for helping them and sat down to write down what he had told them regarding the Grimoire. Severus would share it with the others at their free period.
Severus reported to the others what Salazar had told him when they were huddled in the back of the Library during their free period.
“Where could she hide anything on our floor?” Lily wondered. “If she did she must have used some type of concealment spell.”
“But he also told Sev that we should talk to Helga Hufflepuff’s portrait,” Alice remarked. “I suppose hers is in Hufflepuff somewhere. We should ask Caddaric.”
The week passed quickly and Saturday afternoon found Severus, Lily, Alice, Peter, Irene, Remus, and Emily sitting in the stands watching the Quidditch tryouts. Since Hufflepuff had only one open position they went first. They cheered as they watched Caddaric capture Snitch after Snitch. Amos had asked Madam Hooch to make the choice and she chose Caddaric not because he was Amos’ and Kendall’s brother, but because he was the best of the ‘Puffs trying out. Gryffindor’s tryouts were next. They needed to replace two of their Chasers and one of their Beaters. Frank, James, and Sirius all tried out. The Gryffindor captain, Archibald Threadway, made his choice; Frank and James were the new Chasers, but Sirius had been rejected as a Beater because the captain felt he was unnecessarily rough and aggressive.
James argued in Sirius’ favor, but was told by the captain that his decision was final.
The tryouts for the Ravenclaw and Slytherin teams would be held the following Saturday.
James and Sirius trudged back into the castle after the tryouts. “You should have made the team, Siri,” James stated and then offered, “I can go to my godfather and have the captain’s decision overruled if you like.”
“Thanks, James, but that would make me a ready target for the jerk’s hostility. He’d probably be on my arse about every move I made.”
“Beaters are supposed to be aggressive and rough,” James complained. “What does the moron think that you’re supposed to do; fly over and politely ask the other team’s Beaters not to hit the Bludger at your team?”
Sirius hooted. “Maybe we should find a hex when cast will cause him to fly around with his arse stuck up in the air for a perfect target and we can stick a sign to it that reads ‘whack me.’ I wonder if Bella knows any hexes like that?”
Mary jumped up from one of the squashy armchairs when they came in and threw her arms around James. “Congratulations on making the team, Jamie!”
“Thanks, Mary,” James replied.
“I’m sorry you didn’t make it, Siri, but Threadway’s a moron and wouldn’t recognize real talent if it kicked him in his arse!”
“Unfortunately, no-talent-Longboob made the team too which goes to show even more what a jerk Threadway is,” James declared.
“Hey, I overheard something interesting this week,” Mary said.
“What?” James and Sirius said at the same time.
Mary told them what she’d overheard Alice and Lily talking about.
“I wonder what they could be searching for?” James said.
“Snivellus is most likely involved so it’s probably something bad, like a new curse,” Sirius declared.
“See if you can find out anything more, Mary,” James requested. “We can nip it in the bud and Dumbledore will award us with all kind of points if we prevent Snivellus from cursing the entire school.”
“What about Remus and Peter?” Sirius asked. “I thought we were going to get them away from that lot they’re hanging around with?”
“We tried this summer, Siri,” James pointed out. “They didn’t want anything to do with us and they barely speak to us in the dorm so as my mum always says; they made their bed and now they have to lie in it.”
Hope you forgive the delay but Alethea27's computer broke down and she had to get a new one before she could write and send this to me.
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