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Chapter 25 : Stern Conseqeunces
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by Snapegirlkmf and Alethea27
Sirius and James were herded towards Dumbledore's office by the Minister and McGonagall. Both witches were plainly furious and didn't look the least bit lenient. Sirius's stomach was knotted with dread. He knew very well that hexing the Minister of Magic, even on accident, was a terrible thing to do. He could only imagine what his mother would say (and do) when she learned of the incident. He was going to be paddled within an inch of his life for sure. He eyed James, who didn't look at him.
His friend looked slightly nervous, but Sirius would bet that he wasn't afraid of what his parents would do so much as he was afraid of what McGonagall and the Minister would do. James' parents had always doted on him and if James acted innocent and remorseful, they'd forgive him. Sometimes Sirius wished he had the Potters for parents.
Once inside the office, the still fuming Minister Bagnold snapped, "The counter-hex, boys! Now!"
James told her it. "Reconcinno, Minister."
As soon as she was restored to her original state, she rounded on Dumbledore. "Well, Headmaster? I was not aware it was school policy to allow House rivalry to escalate to the point of students shooting hexes at each other in the halls. Especially hexes such as that."
"It is not, Madam, I assure you," Dumbledore began.
"Good. Now, I expect you to punish these two immediately and pointedly. I believe one of them is your godson, correct?"
"Yes, Madam. James Potter is my godson," Albus said, with a hint of pride, indicating him.
Bagnold sniffed, she was not impressed. "It's clear you're not doing your job properly if this is how he behaves." She shot a glare at James, who winced. "If you were my godchild, Mr. Potter, and had behaved so shamefully in public, you would be getting a long session with my paddle, young man. Such . . . pranks are something which need to be strongly discouraged and are unacceptable on school grounds. That goes for you also, young man!" She directed her next glare at Sirius. "I shall be owling your parents about this incident, actually, in your case, Mr. Potter, I shall be speaking with your father directly. Hopefully, they will impress upon you the error of your ways."
"Millicent, please do stay for supper," Dumbledore said. "I apologize for all of this, and I'm sure these two also feel extremely upset about what happened, don't you, boys?"
"We're sorry, Minister," Sirius and James chorused, managing to look chagrined. "We promise to behave from now on."
Millicent sniffed. "I've seen troublemakers like you before. And if there's not an improvement in your attitudes, you may find yourself without a wand and booted out of Hogwarts. Am I clear?"
She turned back to Dumbledore. "Forgive me, Albus, but I've quite lost my appetite. I shall be getting back to the office. I trust you will punish these hooligans properly. Good day!" she nodded to Minerva before Flooing away.
Minerva was livid. Never in all of her years as a teacher did she so long to turn students over her knee as she did then. But since she wasn't permitted to do that, she decided to do the next best thing. She tugged Albus into a far corner of the office, quickly set a privacy ward, and said, "Well, Albus? What are you going to do about them? Even you can deny that they've gone too far this time."
"I'm not denying anything, Minerva. They did wrong, I'm simply disagreeing with how the Minister suggested I handle it."
"Really? Your godson could use a good spanking in my opinion," Minerva said.
"But Minerva, it wasn't done deliberately. If it hadn't been an accident, and Millicent happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, then I would spank James. But they did apologize and they seem sorry for what they started."
"I'll believe it when I see it, Albus. And being sorry for what you did doesn't negate the consequences, Albus. It never does." Minerva stated. "So, I repeat, what punishment will you give them?"
Albus seemed despondent, as if he were unsure of how to punish his favorite students.
Minerva wanted to pull his beard out. His dithering over what should have been stern consequences was driving her up the wall. "Oh, come now, Albus, I'm not telling you to snap their wands. Just to give them so stern consequences for their actions. They started a brawl in the middle of the Great Hall, in front of the Minister, and then hexed her! What if they were in Ravenclaw? Or Slytherin?"
"I . . . I would give them a month's worth of detention, doing something very boring and tedious, and restrict their extracurricular activities," he replied.
"There you have it then. Since Potter and Black aren't old enough for Hogsmeade weekends, we can't take that away. But what I can do is suspend Potter from Quidditch this first game, and ban Black from it also. That will really upset them, and depending on how well they manage my detention, I may restrict them from further games, though I hate leaving the team short a Chaser. But discipline must be maintained, Albus."
"Yes, Minerva, you're right. And in addition to that, they will have to deal with their parents as well," he reminded her.
Minerva snorted, for she knew quite well how Charles and Mavis dealt with their son, it was one reason why James was always in trouble, because their consequences were never firm enough or they never followed through on them. Sirius' parents, however, were much stricter, and Minerva figured the eldest Black child would soon be regretting his prank tenfold.
Minerva dispelled the ward and together the two walked back to where the two were seated.
Dumbledore took a seat behind his desk, and the twinkle was gone from his eyes. "Sirius and James, I have to say that I am most disappointed in your behavior. Starting a brawl and hexing the Minister, even by mistake, are not things a Hogwarts student should aspire to—"
"But Uncle Al, she got in the way," James began protesting. "We weren't even aiming at her, we were aiming at the Slytherins."
"That maybe so, but the fact is that she did get hexed and that is a serious offense. You are lucky, gentlemen, that she did not order you expelled for conduct unbecoming a wizard of your station."
"Instead she threatened to beat us," grumbled James, ignoring Sirius kicking his ankle.
"It is what would have happened to me or to anyone who behaved thus in our day," Albus said, rather sharply. "If I had found you guilty of deliberately intending to harm Minister Bagnold, James, I would have administered one."
James' eyes bugged out. "You wouldn't! That's . . . unfair!"
"I'm your godfather, and have some authority over you," said Dumbledore sternly. "Remember that. As it is, I have spoken with your House Head and she has suggested certain consequences for your behavior. Minerva?"
Minerva eyed both of them sternly. "You have disgraced not only yourselves but the entire House of Gryffindor today, gentlemen. I cannot recall any year when I have been so embarrassed and humiliated. Therefore I have decided that besides the wrath of your parents, you shall face a month's detention and restriction on Quidditch. You will not be playing in the first Quidditch, Mr. Potter. Now will you be seeing it, Mr. Black. You shall also have detention the entire month, working on cleaning the Slytherin common room . . . without magic."
Both boys began to cry out in earnest. "Uncle Al! I need to play Quidditch! It's not fair!"
"Yeah, and I don't want to scrub the Slytherin common room," objected Sirius.
"These punishments are non-negotiable," Minerva interjected. "Take your punishment like a man."
"Why should we have to clean the snakes' common room?" whined James aggravatingly.
"Because you started this whole mess by trying to hex them," Minerva snapped. "I want an end to this foolish rivalry, and having you two take responsibility for your actions. You have been allowed to get away with far too much, and this is where it stops, gentlemen. As you are cleaning I want you to remember you have no one except yourselves to blame and if you'd don't like the punishment, don't hex people . . . for whatever reason. And let me stress, that if I find you to not be doing a satisfactory job, you will be on suspension from Quidditch indefinitely."
"Are we allowed to eat, or are you gonna starve us?" complained Sirius. He was hungry and he didn't want to face Walburga on an empty stomach.
"You may eat, in my office." Minerva said. "I shall eat with you."
Then she led them away, still fuming.
By the evening, the whole school knew of their punishments. The Gryffindors were either disgusted or felt sorry for them, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff just rolled their eyes, and the Slytherins were gloating. Lily had to listen to MacDonald moan and complain about how unfair Dumbledore and McGonagall were being, and finally she couldn't stand it anymore and left to study in the library.
There she found Severus and Irene, trying to decipher the riddle, and said, "I swear, if I had to listen to Mary bitching one more time about poor Jamie, I was going to vomit!"
Irene rolled her eyes. "It boggles my mind what she sees in him. I mean I've known him my whole life, and he's always been a spoiled brat who thinks he can charm his way out of everything. My aunt and uncle always have an excuse for his bad behavior. I'll bet you a Sickle that he won't even get lectured by them, and he'll give them some pity story about how he wasn't to blame for hexing Minister Bagnold."
"I'll bet you a Knut that Mrs. Black comes down and gives Sirius the walloping of his life," Severus remarked.
"Well, at least someone cares in his family to discipline him properly," Irene said. Then she bent over her paper with the riddle on it, writing down more words that might answer it. "I hope we can break this before we have the holiday."
"We will," said Lily. "So, what have you got?"
"Not much," sighed Severus. "I thought it referred to churches, but why would women be against that?"
"Maybe because a lot of women got burnt at the stake because of overzealous pastors and priests?" suggested Lily.
"I think it's a palace," Irene said.
"But the Moors built palaces too," argued Lily. "And they weren't Christians."
"And you don't raise a palace, at least not spelled that way," Severus said. "That's r-a-z-e, and it means to knock down. You build one."
"Have you asked Dorian and Caddaric to help?" asked Lily. She was tired and fresh out of ideas at the moment.
"I will, soon as I get back to my dorm," Severus answered. "And I can't wait to see Potter and Black with aprons on scrubbing the floor like Potter's house elf."
"Now that's funny! Cousin James actually doing chores for once," Irene laughed. "You should take a picture of it. Wait till I tell my mum. She's going to keel over."
Orion received the letter from the Minister just as he was leaving the Ministry to go home to Grimmauld Place. He tucked it in his pocket to read later, after he had dinner with Walburga. He figured it was a reply to a petition he had sent out, asking the Minister to approve some funding to rehaul the Auror Program, and make it more selective and stricter in evaluating Auror performances. There were a lot of deadbeats in the program, old Aurors who just sat around on their asses and let the younger ones do the dirty jobs, and some of the new recruits from the Academy hadn't been trained right and it took weeks to bring them up to speed. Orion was disgusted, because that wasted time that could have been spent following criminals.
As he was getting in the lift, he saw owls coming with the evening edition of the Prophet. Walburga would already have her copy by the time he got home, and he looked forward to reading it with her.
But when he stepped out of the fireplace, he was greeted by a very agitated Walburga. "Love, what's wrong?"
She looked pale as milk and there were two spots of color in her cheeks. She clutched the copy of the Daily Prophet in her fist and waved it about agitatedly. "Haven't you seen, Orion? This just arrived and . . . oh, I cannot bear the shame of it . . .!"
"The shame of what?" Orion asked. "Here, sit down and calm yourself, Walla. Have a drink." He poured her some sherry from the sideboard. "Now, what has you all hot under the collar?"
"Take a look at this!" she cried, thrusting the paper at him. "The second article on the second page! Just look! I want to kill that wretched brat!"
Orion read the following article, which was called Minster Pranked by Students While Visiting, and stated that Minister Bagnold had been pranked with a Medusa Hex by students James Potter and Sirius Black as she was crossing the hall to the staff table for dinner. Orion paled. "Merciful Merlin!" he cried. He read it again, because he couldn't believe it. Then he gasped and reached into his pocket to pull out the letter. Swallowing hard, he opened it.
The letter detailed what had happened at the school, and how his son had been involved and how very angry and embarrassed the Minister was and a suggestion that he impress very firmly on his son the inappropriateness of his behavior. "Oh, I shall, believe me."
Walburga gulped down some sherry before saying, "I just cannot believe he would do such a thing, especially after last time. He's determined to put me in an early grave with his shenanigans, I swear it, Orion! How can I ever hold up my head at the Witches Aide Society again? He's made a laughingstock out of our Name!" She groaned. "Orion, I want you to fetch him home, this instant!"
"All right, Walla. I'll bring him here so we can talk to him," Orion said gravely.
"Talk to him!" his wife yelled. "I want to . . . to blister his behind so he won't sit for a week! I'm tempted to pull him from Hogwarts entirely and send him to a . . . a reform school! What in Merlin's name is wrong with Dumbledore, letting the students run wild this way? Has he no concept of discipline?"
"Not much, from what I gather. And it doesn't help that Siri follows around James Potter, who was always a troublemaker, and he's Albus' godson. I'm sure that James is the mastermind behind most of those pranks. I've always said that kid was a bad influence."
"Pity, because his bloodlines are decent," snorted Walburga.
"Look, let's eat and then I'll go and pick up Sirius." Orion said, then he poured himself a shot of firewhiskey and downed it before escorting his wife into the dining room for supper. This was not the homecoming he had planned.
Sirius stood in front of Orion's desk in his study, looking at the carpet, which was a gold and blue diamond pattern. He could count all the fibers while listening to his father lecture. He had known they were going to be furious with him, but not mad enough to actually come and get him from school!
" . . .Do you know that your mother is in such a state right now that she wants to withdraw you from Hogwarts?" Orion demanded sharply.
That brought Sirius' head up fast. "No, Dad! She can't do that! Our whole family's gone to Hogwarts."
"She can if she feels you're not getting a proper education there," Orion said sternly. "And right now all we've seen is you getting substandard marks and playing pranks on the Minister, young man! Explain to me how that's possible if you are studying and learning the way you ought? Perhaps it's the Headmaster at fault. He's always been lenient with some students, and you're his godson's best friend. Sirius, I know you know better. You weren't raised like James, to run wild and disrespect your elders, to bring disgrace upon your House."
"Dad, it was just a prank! We intended to prank some stupid Slytherins, not the Minister," Sirius protested.
"Oh? And that makes what happened all right? You hexed the Minister of Magic!" Orion said angrily. "Do you have any idea how that looks? What people will say to me and your mum? I'm an Auror, how does it look for me that my son was involved in such a shameful incident? I'll tell you how it looks—it looks like I'm a terrible father, that I don't teach my kids how to behave."
Now Sirius was feeling ashamed. Was that really what people would think? "But that's not true, Dad! You're not a terrible father."
"Well, your foolishness has made it seem like I am. I want you to stop following after James, Sirius. He's a bad influence on you. He makes you do things that are wrong and get in trouble. Things like this. Tell me, was it his idea to hex the Slytherins?"
"Uh . . . it was sort of both of ours. They hexed us first." Sirius said sullenly.
Orion scowled. "Even so, it seems like you two do nothing but get in trouble together. I've a good mind to forbid you to be friends with him. Only I know you'll probably defy me, so I'm going to give you a warning. If you get into anymore trouble with James Potter this year, I'm going to pull you from Hogwarts and send you to Durmstrang."
"No! No, please!" Sirius was horrified. All his friends were at Hogwarts, he didn't want to go to some school in Siberia.
"Then you better remember how to behave, boy." Orion said, his eyes dark with disappointment. "Come here, young man. You've earned a good paddling. Maybe now you'll finally learn to do what's right."
Sirius gulped, but he had known this was coming, and better his father than his mother. He shuffled over to Orion and Orion took him over his knee and removed a ruler from his desk drawer. He brought it down smartly across the seat of his son's trousers. And the next sound in the study was Sirius wailing and promising to never do it again.
In his office in the Department of International Magical Cooperation, Charles Potter put down the Daily Prophet chuckling. That was some prank Jamie and Sirius had pulled; it was hilarious and harmless so he didn't know why everyone was so upset. He and Mavis had gotten a nasty letter from McGonagall yowling about how badly Jamie had disgraced Gryffindor House. It was an accident anyway. Jamie had been aiming for the Slytherins and Dumbledore and Bagnold just happen to be in the way and got caught by the hex. Honestly, didn't anybody have a sense of humor these days?
An authoritative knock on the door of his office interrupted his musings and Minister of Magic Millicent Bagnold strode in.
Charles stood up. "Minister, you honor me with a visit to my humble office. What may I do for you?"
Bagnold glared at him. "I want to know what kind of punishment you're issuing your son for carelessly throwing hexes around a room full of people."
"Professor McGonagall's already punished James. He won't be able to play in the first Quidditch game against Slytherin and she's making him and Sirius help the elves in charge of Slytherin House clean it for detention. Mavis and I feel he's being punished enough and we don't need to punish him any further, but we forbade him to ride his broom for a week," Charles replied smoothly.
"He doesn't need any more punishment?" Bagnold asked in disbelief. "I've spoken with some of the professors at Hogwarts and do you realize your son is on the verge of becoming a first-rate bully?" She stood in front of Charles with her hands on her hips. "He's been caught hexing first years and girls. He apparently feels anyone who doesn't meet his standards in wealth, appearance or intelligence deserves to be hexed."
"Those are ridiculous accusations, Minister. I know my son better than them and he's a good and decent boy because that's the way Mavis and I have raised him!" Charles said hotly.
"I want to make sure he's punished for this latest episode. As the victim of the attack, Wizard Law, as you well know, gives me the right to demand punishment and to view it."
"Let me understand, Minister. You expect me to pull Jaime out of school, bring him here, and completely humiliate him by spanking him in front of you?"
"That sounds about right," she replied nodding. "Let me know after you've spoken with your son."
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
Severus, Dorian, and Tav were all laughing after they heard about Sirius being spanked by his father. Apparently he had been complaining to Potter about it in their dorm room without the benefit of a silencing spell and Remus, Frank, and Peter had overheard the whole episode.
"I'll bet Black howled louder than a teething baby," Dorian said.
"You should have heard him when his mum spanked him last year," Severus chuckled.
""I'll bet they love cleaning Slytherin house," Tav smirked.
"And under Clive's supervision too," Severus grinned. "He's Arlo's and Mitzi's cousin and a hard taskmaster."
They gave the password and the entrance to Slytherin House appeared. They went inside to the amusing sight of James and Sirius bums up, cleaning the common room fireplace under Clive's direction.
James hated being filthy and hated taking orders from this little prick of a house elf. He glared up at Severus. "What are you looking at, Snivellus?"
"Something my cat dragged in, Potter."
"You think you got away with this, but this isn't the end, Snivellus," James threatened.
"You is to shut up and clean the fireplace," Clive ordered angrily. "You do not bother the students."
"We'd better leave before I do something," Dorian whispered. "Their bums sticking up in the air are just too tempting."
Horace passed Severus, Dorian, and Tav as they were heading to the dorms. "Good evening, Mr. Snape, Mr. Andrews, and Mr. DeLuca," he said nodding.
"Good evening, Professor Slughorn," they replied and turned into the hallway leading to the dorms.
Horace made his way over to James and Sirius. "Mr. Potter, you are to go to the Deputy Headmistresses' office immediately."
James got up and attempted to brush himself off, but it was useless as he was covered in soot and dirt. He went upstairs to McGonagall's office and knocked on the door. McGonagall opened it and James walked in to find his dad sitting in one of the squashy armchairs in her office with a cup of tea. Charles got up in shock. "James, what on earth …you're filthy!"
"Siri and I have been forced to clean the Slytherin common room fireplace by some tyrannical elf named Clive," James whined.
"Is this really necessary, Minerva?' Charles demanded. "I don't see the point of making an heir of one of the most noble houses do this work when there's over a hundred house elves here to do it."
"The point, Mr. Potter, is that James is being punished for throwing hexes indiscriminately around in the Great Hall and after this detention I'm hoping he'll remember this lesson if he's tempted to do it again."
"I'm here to take James home for the evening. I'll have him back before classes start tomorrow morning."
James left the office with his dad. "Why am I going home, Dad?"
"I'll tell you once we're home, son, but I don't want to take the chance of anybody else overhearing."
Once they arrived at Potter Manor James took a shower and dressed in fresh clothing. He went downstairs into the dining room where Mavis served him a big slice of his favorite cake with a glass of pumpkin juice.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this, Jaime, but Minister Bagnold is insisting that I punish you in front of her."
"But Dad …" James spluttered dropping his fork.
Charles held up his hand. "Now don't worry. I've got it all planned out. I'll spank you, but I won't hit you very hard, but you'll have to pretend that it really hurts and make a good show of it."
"What kind of Minister demands a child receive corporal punishment for what was clearly an accident just to assuage her ego?" Mavis snapped. "We're certainly not voting for her when she runs again and I think we should tell all our friends not to vote for her either!"
"Take it easy, my dear, I've got everything in hand," Charles assured her.
The next morning Charles sent a message to the Minister requesting her presence in his office. "Now remember, Jamie, make this look good and I'll buy you that new Phoenix racing broom you've been wanting."
There was a knock on the door and Minister Bagnold stepped in. Charles assumed a very stern expression and said, "James, I am very disappointed with your behavior. You've embarrassed Minister Bagnold and your mother and I." He sat down in his desk chair, pointed at his knees and ordered, "Bend over."
James, putting on a look of pure trepidation, shakily bent over his father's knees. Charles began smacking his bum. James began whining, crying, and wiggling around. "Dad, you're hurting me!"
"You know you deserve it, James so take it like a man." Charles continued administering the smacks to his bottom all the while listening to James' convincingly fake wails. After the last smack he stood him up. James' face was red and streaked with tears. "I hope you're satisfied now, Minister."
"I know it was hard, Charles, but I believe James has learned a valuable lesson."
After she had left the office, both of them started laughing. "That was excellent acting, Jaime," Charles said congratulating him. "You almost had me convinced for a moment that I was spanking you too hard. How did you manage the tears?"
James smiled and took an onion out of his shirt pocket. "I just kept sniffing this while you were spanking me, but I hardly felt a thing. Can we go to Quality Quidditch Supplies and get my new racing broom now?"
"We certainly can, but just make sure Professor McGonagall doesn't see it."
"I promise, Dad."
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
The Hogwarts Board of Governors was once again meeting at Mirrorvale in order to keep their intentions secret. This time they were deciding whether to suspend Dumbledore and for how long if the vote was affirmative.
"We can't suspend Albus," one of the Gryffindor governors protested. "Who will run the school while he's gone?"
"I'm sure Minerva can handle it just fine," Marius replied dryly. "I'm sure the other professors will be happy to help her in any way they can."
"Albus is a complete failure as Headmaster. Before long we'll have the Ministry wanting to run Hogwarts unless we do something," one of the Ravenclaw governors pointed out. "And that would be a disaster!"
"Imagine letting those two renegades run wild!" The Hufflepuff governor snorted. "Why in my day they would have been chained to the wall in the dungeon for a week if they had hexed the Minister of Magic."
"Let's take a vote," Abraxas Malfoy demanded. "I say we suspend Dumbledore for three months!"
"I think one month is enough to impress him of his folly," Marius replied. "Along with a stern warning that if he doesn't shape up and stop favoring his godson and his friends he will be dismissed."
"That's sound reasonable, Marius." Another of the Ravenclaw governors agreed.
They took a vote and Marius suggestion passed with one vote against and two abstentions. After the governors had left, Marius and Vesper had tea and Marius told her what had occurred at the meeting.
"Who gets the joyful job of informing Dumbledore?" Vesper asked.
"Why that would be me, dear."
"When are you going to tell him?"
"I'll probably Floo over after dinner. I'll check on Severus while I'm there also."
"I'll prepare a tin of the blueberry scones Mitzi baked today. I know how much he enjoys them. He's growing so fast, but his weight hasn't caught up with his height yet."
Marius chuckled. "I suggest you pack a few extra, my dear. You know Sev will want to share them with all his friends."
After dinner Marius Flooed over to Hogwarts and made his way to the Headmaster's office. He knocked on the door and it opened. Dumbledore was seated behind his desk and glanced up at Marius as he came in. "Marius, good to see you. What can I do for you?" Albus said jovially.
"I'm here to tell you, Albus, that the Board of Governors has voted to suspend you for a month without pay and you be given the warning if this kind of behavior continues you will be dismissed."
A/N: Hi, we'd like to apologize for the wait for this chapter but we've had computer problems, health problems, and sick mothers to deal with, so please be understanding. And please review!
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