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Chapter 27 : Another Piece Uncovered
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Another Piece Uncovered
A/N: Thanks to CapoExecutor for the Hell's Laughter spell.
The heads of house came into the hospital wing to find Madam Pomfrey waving her wand over Jane and Irene with a frustrated look on her face. All of the children still appeared to be scratching. She turned to Minerva. "I don't what it is. I've tried to vanish the fleas and I've even tried a mild freezing charm, but they just keep coming back."
"Then it has to be a hex of some kind," Filius said, his eyes squinted in thought. "If they were ordinary fleas you would have been able to rid the children of them with the freezing charm."
Horace sighed loudly. "It has to be Mr. Potter and Mr. Black again. We should confiscate their wands and do a Priori Incantato."
"We could do it if we had any reason to suspect they were the ones who did it," Minerva answered. "We have no witnesses to Mr. Potter or Mr. Black doing anything wrong so we have no reason to take their wands."
"But who else would do anything like this?" Pomona protested. "We know Mr. Potter's angry about his godfather's suspension by the Board and since Mr. Snape's grandfather is one of the governors it makes sense that Misters Potter and Black would want to hex him and all his friends by extension."
"Do you think this is another spell from Mr. Black's cousin?" Horace asked.
"It could be, but I believe I'll speak with Irma and see if they've been in the library and what they were looking at," Filius remarked. "She does keep a close eye on students who she considers troublesome when they're in the library. I'll let you know what she says." He departed the hospital wing.
"I've canceled classes for the day so we can get this figured out," Minerva said.
"This is awful!" Lily said with tear in her eyes. She itched so badly and wanted to scratch, but Madam Pomfrey had put soft, thick gloves over their hands and used anti-itch salve, but nothing seem to lessen the itching and feeling of fleas jumping all over her. "I know they must be in my hair too!"
"Try not to scratch; I know it's difficult," Madam Pomfrey said sympathetically. "Your heads of house are working to find out what's happened.
Page Break ~*~*~*~* Break
James and Sirius were up in their dorm room rolling on their beds and laughing hysterically. "Did you see their faces when DeCuckoo yelled out about the fleas? I thought Silly Lily was going to faint on the spot!" James laughed.
"And the way those other snakes practically trampled each other trying to get away from the flea-bitten foursome!" Sirius guffawed. "I wish we could let your godfather know what we did to get revenge for his suspension! I'll bet he'd get a kick out of it!"
"He would!" James assured him. "He was the top prankster in Gryffindor House when he was at Hogwarts. He always told me stories about how he used to prank the Slytherins constantly."
"Snivellus and his friends had better have learned their lesson! They better not mess with us anymore or your godfather either."
James laughed loudly. "Well, according to that book they're going to be scratching for awhile because unless you know the counter-hex the fleas keep coming back and nobody knows the counter-hex except us so they won't be bothering us for awhile!"
"It serves those stuck-up bastards right!" Sirius growled. "They all think they're better than everybody else even the half-bloods and Muggleborns."
"Yeah, Loopy, Longboob, Starchy, Lilligoop, DeCuckoo, Goshit and Stinkery are snobby Purebloods. Snivellus, Arsedrews, and Pee-Pee are stuck up Half-bloods and Dodohurst and Silly Lilly are conceited Muggleborns."
Sirius began guffawing loudly. "Cool nicknames for that lot!"
James gave an elaborate bow and replied, "Why thank you, Siri."
"At least we can have one night without Pee-Pee's loud snoring!" Sirius said.
"Yeah, maybe Madam Pomfrey can give him a new nose while he's in there! I swear he snores louder than a roaring dragon!" James complained.
"Can you imagine what Snivellus must sound like then? I mean his nose is so huge it's a wonder we don't hear his snoring way up here!"
They were both convulsed with laughter at that.
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
"I had to give the children a mild sleeping potion so they would sleep while we searched for a solution to the fleas or else they'd be scratching themselves unmercifully," Poppy was saying as Filius entered Minerva's office, carrying a heavy book and seated himself on the sofa next to Poppy.
"Did you find anything out, Filius?" Horace demanded. He and Pomona were seated in squashy armchairs opposite Minerva's desk.
"It seems Mr. Potter and Mr. Black had spent quite a bit time in the library last week. That in and of itself aroused Irma's suspicion and according to her it was the Charms section they were perusing. It seems one book caught their interest in particular." He patted the book he was holding in his lap. "It had been shelved in the wrong place and caught Irma's eye immediately. It's titled The Book of Obscure Spells and can anyone guess what spell I found inside?"
"A spell to give someone fleas, I assuming," Minerva answered.
"Exactly," Filius agreed. "The hex they used is called Pulex Oppugno, Flea Attack."
"Is there a counter-hex for it, Filius?" Poppy asked.
"Fortunately, yes," he replied. "It's Claudico Pulex. Once you cast the counter-hex the fleas will be gone for good."
"If you'll excuse me I'll return to the hospital wing and cast it," Poppy said getting up.
"Do we have enough proof to confiscate their wands, Minerva?" Horace asked
"I think we do and I think I'm going to be keeping their wands here in my office when they're not in class. They've proven over and over again they can't be trusted to use their wands in a responsible manner outside of class."
"They don't use their wands in a responsible manner half the time in class," Filius muttered.
"It's a good thing Albus is gone or else you you'd never be allowed to do it," Pomona remarked.
"I think it's about time that Mr. Potter and Mr. Black find out they aren't exempt from the rules."
Minerva went from her office to Gryffindor Tower. She saw that Lily, Alice, Remus, Frank, and Peter had already returned from the hospital wing and showed no signs of their ordeal with the fleas aside from the glares focused on Potter and Black. "Mr. Potter and Mr. Black, please follow me to my office and bring your wands also," she requested.
James and Sirius looked at one another, wondering why McGonagall wanted to see them, but followed her out. When they got to her office, she ushered them inside. "Please have a seat," she directed.
James and Sirius seated themselves in two wooden chairs in front of her desk.
Minerva held out her hand and said, "Please surrender your wands."
"What! You can't just take our wands for no reason," James objected. "I'll tell my dad and he won't allow it!"
"I'll return them tomorrow before class, but you'll be required to return them to me after your last class or perhaps you would prefer another round of cleaning all the houses this time?"
James and Sirius angrily handed over their wands. "This isn't fair!" Sirius growled. "We didn't do anything. You can't blame us every time something happens to those babies!"
"Oh, you did it and it can be proved," Minerva replied. "Does the Book of Obscure Spells ring any bells, Gentleman?"
"My dad's going to be really angry when he finds out about the way you're persecuting us!" James threatened. How in Merlin's name had they found that book?
"Nonetheless, Mr. Potter. My decision remains. I'll have custody of your wands for two weeks," Minerva said. "You may return to Gryffindor Tower."
James and Sirius stormed out of her office. They went back to the dorm long enough for James to write a note to his father and then headed off to the Owlery.
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
Severus, Lily, and the rest of their friends met in the Room of Requirement that evening. They were all enjoying the fact that McGonagall had confiscated Potter's and Black's wands.
"Well, at least we won't have to worry about them casting anymore hexes on us for two weeks," Lily said.
"I know your grandfather said not to cast anymore hexes or spells on them, but they really need to be taught a lesson," Jane said. "My grandmother is Hebrew and she's talked about this one spell she used on an overly persistent suitor to get rid of him. It's called Hell's Laughter. The incantation is Sheol Tzachak. It causes the person you cast it on to become trapped in a nightmare of their own worst fears. The only drawback is it would have to be cast on Potter and Black while they were asleep because that's when it's most effective and it only last for one night. You'll see them surrounded by a yellow glow if you've cast it correctly."
Remus who was particularly good at spell casting volunteered to learn the incantation and cast it on James and Sirius.
"Nightmares about your worst fears, huh?" Severus said with a smirk. "I wonder what their worst fears are."
"Sirius' are probably that he won't be popular," Peter said. "He's already started flirting with the girls in Gryffindor Tower."
"Merlin arse!" Reg exclaimed. "You guys should see how much time he spends in front of the mirror at home!"
"Potter's easy," Irene snorted. "He won't be the great Quidditch star and nobody will pay attention to him."
"Besides that, it's a spell that wouldn't be thought of as a spell because everybody suffers from occasional nightmares," Caddaric pointed out.
Emily nodded in agreement. She had kind of a crush on Caddaric. "There's no way it could be traced back to us."
"You better cast them on different nights just to be on the safe side though," Dorian suggested. "Cast it on Potter one night and then wait for three or four days before you cast it on Black."
"That's a good idea because they might get suspicious if they both have nightmares on the same night," Tav added.
"I'll bet neither of them have ever had a nightmare in their lives!" Frank snorted.
"Now that we've decided that," Severus said. "Let's get back to discussing the Grimoire. Are we going to take Fleinhardt into our confidence so he'll let us search the Astronomy Tower?"
"I think we should," Alice said. "I think we can trust him not to blab to Dumbledore."
"Okay then," Severus agreed. "Lily, Caddaric, Irene, and I will make an appointment to talk with him."
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
That evening after James was asleep Remus threw back his covers, parted his bed curtains and got out of his bed. He crept silently over to James' bed, parted his bed curtains, waved his wand over James, and whispered, "Sheol Tzachak." A brief yellow glow surrounded James' body and then quickly vanished. Satisfied, Remus climbed back into his bed, and closed his curtains again.
James tossed and turned the rest of the night and the next morning he got up crabby and baggy eyed. "Merlin, Siri! I had the worst nightmares last night! They were horrible!" He whined. They walked down the stairs to the Entrance Hall. Remus was several steps behind them.
"Sorry to hear that, mate. What were they about?"
James lowered his voice. "I was on my new racing broom and we were playing the snakes when all of a sudden the tail end of my broom fell off and I was plummeting down to the ground and the audience was laughing and pointing at me. Then I dreamt that I was flying downward just about to catch the Snitch when it suddenly sprouted this big gold stinger and took off after me trying to attack me and sting me. Everybody was laughing, booing and yelling nasty remarks at me. Nobody even tried to help me! The third dream had me flying with the Quaffle tucked safely underneath my arm when my broom threw me off and then started whacking my bum and everybody watching was laughing and making fun of me! It was horrible, Siri!"
"You must have ate something that didn't agree with you last night, Jamie," Sirius said. "Mum's always yelling at me for getting food after hours and she always tells me it's gonna cause me nightmares some time."
"I guess I shouldn't have ate that third cherry tart before I went to bed," James admitted.
Remus reported to the group about James experience with Hell's Laughter that evening. Because of his heightened senses that were due to his Lycanthropy he had been able to hear everything James told Sirius about his nightmare. "As we suspected all his nightmares were about him failing at Quidditch," Remus laughed. "And everybody was laughing at him."
"The first game is this Saturday so he's really going to be mad that he can't play. We'd had better keep a close eye out even though they don't have wands," Severus warned.
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
Minerva was correcting assignments in her office when the Floo sounded. She looked up to see Charles Potter's head sitting in the fire and sighed. "What may I do for you, Mr. Potter?" It wasn't as if she didn't already know that James had probably sent a message home about his wand being confiscated the moment he set foot out her office.
"I want to talk about your confiscating James' wand, Minerva."
"Please come through," Minerva replied.
Charles stepped out of the Floo and brushed himself off. He was dressed in an expensive blue pin-striped robe with a tailor made white shirt and blue silk tie. He looked like the epitome of a British professional wizard.
"Have a seat please, Mr. Potter," Minerva indicated one of the squashy armchairs in front of her desk. "I'll call Dibby for tea." She called her personal house elf and ordered tea and biscuits. Minerva poured tea and handed out the biscuits. "Now what brings you to Hogwarts?"
"It's your seizure of James' wand! You had no right or any reason to take his wand away!"
"I had every right and reason, Mr. Potter, especially when his wand is being used to hex other students," she replied calmly.
"You mean that Snape kid and those other misfits he hangs around with?" Charles sneered. "Those Slytherins should be locked in the dungeon when they're not in classes."
"I don't care to hear your opinion of Slytherin House, Mr. Potter, as we're not talking about them. We are talking about your son and his lack of responsibility. He thinks he's free to hex anyone who's not as wealthy as him, smart as him, or their physical appearance doesn't appeal to him and that is why he does not have his wand outside of class. I will not tolerate bullying in my house, Mr. Potter."
"But you're allowing Snape and his cohorts to bully James," Mr. Potter said. "Albus was trying to protect him and what's his reward? He gets suspended for a month!"
"This conversation is not about Headmaster Dumbledore. It is about the irresponsible behavior of your son. He has bullied Miss Evans since first year; bullied Mr. Snape because he defended her, bullied Mr. Lupin and Mr. Pettigrew because they became friends with Mr. Snape and Miss Evans rather than with your son and Mr. Black."
"James would never bully a girl! Mavis and I raised him to be a gentleman."
"Apparently, the lesson did not stick, Mr. Potter. Not only has he bullied her, but he's made many distasteful remarks about Miss Evans being Muggleborn."
"You're not allowing him to play in the first match against those cheating snakes is plain stupid, Professor! James is the best player you'll ever have and his Quidditch coach says he talented enough that he could go pro right now if I'd allow him to!"
Minerva rolled her eyes. Somehow she knew the discussion would eventually roll around to James not being able to play in the match against Slytherin! "That is his punishment for hexing the Minister as you very well know, Mr. Potter. He deserved it and if we lose to Slytherin because of it so be it!"
"None of the reasons you cited is cause enough to confiscate James' wand!"
"Obviously my most recent owl did not reach you. The reason I confiscated James' wand was because he and Mr. Black decided to cast a Flea Attack hex on Mr. Snape and his friends' yesterday morning. Since I cannot trust him or Mr. Black to use their wands responsibly after repeated warnings; I've decided they don't need to have them when they're not in class." She held up her hand when she saw Charles was about to launch another argument. "My decision stands, Mr. Potter."
He rose and said threateningly, "You haven't heard the last of this! The Gryffindors on the Board are personal friends of mine as is the Minister!" He stormed over to the fireplace, threw down the floo powder and yelled, "Potter Manor!"
Minerva shook her head with an amused smile and went back to her grading. Mr. Potter was an even bigger bag of wind than Albus and she hadn't thought that possible until now!
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
Severus, Lily, Caddaric, and Irene stood outside Professor Fleinhardt's office after their last class of the day. Severus raised his arm and knocked on the door.
"Come in, please," Professor Fleinhardt called. The door swung open with a wave of his wand and they walked in. "Please have a seat. What can I do for you?"
The four sat down on the couch opposite Professor Fleinhardt's desk. Severus cleared his throat. "We want to search for something in the Astronomy Tower and of course, we need your permission to do it."
"What is it you're looking for?"
"Have you ever heard of the Grimoire of Elements, Professor?" Irene asked.
Fleinhardt nodded. "I was in Ravenclaw when I attended Hogwarts and I am the backup head to Professor Flitwick. I did hear much about the Grimoire while attending school, but nobody really knew then whether or not it actually existed or was just a fairy tale that got started many years ago much like the missing Ravenclaw diadem."
"We were asked by the ghosts to find it," Lily said. She told him the story of how the ghosts had come to them in the library and made their request. Fleinhardt sat back in his chair, his hand propped under his chin listening avidly. "We'd like to find it so they can be at rest and we can prevent the Grimoire from falling into the wrong hands. They said they chose us because they saw we've reached across house lines to make friends in other houses."
"You know I've heard it said that the ghosts only reach out to those students with the purest of hearts," Fleinhardt remarked. "So this is a great compliment to all of you. What have you done so far?"
Caddaric explained about finding the first riddle which they had decided indicated a tower and since Rowena had had a great interest in the stars and the movement of the planets they thought the Astronomy Tower was the most likely place to find the next clue.
"Yes, that does seem a probable sequence," Fleinhardt agreed. "You children have done very well and I will extend my permission to search the Astronomy Tower, but …" he held up a finger. "Only when I'm present."
"That's reasonable and we accept your terms, Professor," Severus replied.
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
Saturday morning dawned sunny, but cool and windy. Students wandered into the Great Hall dressed in scarves and hats in their house colors. There was a definite air of excitement in the Hall and had infected everyone from the professors and the students down to Mr. Filch.
James and Sirius sulked and picked at their food. James longingly cast his eyes down the table at the rest of the team dressed in their Quidditch uniforms. He still couldn't believe McGonagall was refusing to let him play – even after his dad had talked to her!
"Well, better we can't go, Jamie. I wouldn't want to see those cheating snakes win and have to listen to their bragging," Sirius whispered.
"Yeah, Siri, but the thing is we wouldn't lose as long as I'm on the team! McGonagall's committing suicide!"
"And everybody we'll know it when we lose and be mad at McGonagall!" Sirius replied smiling in satisfaction.
"That's true and it'll serve her right when everybody is mad at her!"
After breakfast the students made their way out to the Quidditch pitch. "I wish we could all sit together, Sev," Lily complained as she held back her hair in the wind.
"I know," Severus answered. He was sitting in the Slytherin box with Emily and Reg. He wished the school would get rid of all the separation between houses, but that didn't seem likely with Dumbledore in charge.
"We'd better get going so we can find good seats," Caddaric advised.
The friends made their ways to their house sections and found seats. Lily sat with Alice, Remus and Peter; MacDonald had refused to attend out of sympathy for Potter. Caddaric sat with his two brothers, and Irene sat with her housemates.
At ten o'clock both teams flew out and around the stadium to the loud cheers of the housemates. They landed and Madam Hooch walked over with the Quaffle under her arm and said, "The first team to catch the snitch wins 150 points and the game. Everybody good luck!" She threw the Quaffle up into the air and the both teams kicked off into the air. She went over to a trunk by the, opened it, unchained the bludgers that flew out and upwards and opened a small compartment letting the snitch fly out. She then mounted her broom and kicked off to referee the game.
For the first ten minutes of the game neither team scored as both Keepers were exceptionally vigilant about guarding their hoops. Jane proved to be quite aggressive about preventing the Gryffindor Chasers from scoring.
The bludgers flew around dizzily, sent back and forth by both team's Beaters. Finally Slytherin scored the first 10 points of the game when Dorian managed to get the Quaffle past the Gryffindor Keeper. Severus, Reg and Emily cheered as did Lily, Remus, Pete, and Alice. Caddaric and his two brothers cheered and so did most of Ravenclaw. The game lasted more than two hours as the points mounted – Slytherin was at 190 points while Gryffindor had 50 points.
Tav suddenly spotted the snitch zooming around by the announcer's box and headed towards it only to have the Gryffindor Seeker cut in front of him, nearly knocking him off his broom and grab the snitch. She held it up smiling brightly.
Madam Hooch blew her whistle and announced, "Gryffindor wins the match!"
"Bloody hell! We almost had it!" Reg grumbled.
"The important thing is we did our best," Severus said. "Let's go and congratulate Dorian, Tav, and Jane on their game and congratulate Frank on Gryffindors' win."
The friends later celebrated in the Room of Requirement with Pumpkin Juice, an assortment of cookies and freshly popped corn with butter and salt all provided by Clive.
"You've got a great Seeker," Tav remarked to Frank. "Merlin! I didn't even see her coming until she flew around me and grabbed the snitch!"
"When Potter heard the score all he could do was brag that it would have been much higher if he'd been playing!" Frank sneered. "What an arse he is!"
"I think I ought to cast the Hell's Laughter on Sirius tonight," Remus said. "They've probably pigged out on enough food that if he has nightmares he'll think his mum was right."
"Yeah, she's constantly yelling at him for ordering our elves to bring him food before he goes to sleep. I mean he'll eat anything they bring him!" Reg said. "If they brought him a plate of dragon dung I think he'd eat that too!"
When Peter, Remus and Frank returned to their dorm room they found the remains of a feast laying all over their room. Half eaten pumpkin pasties, cauldron cakes, and empty bottles of pumpkin juice decorated ever surface and crumbs covered all the beds. James and Sirius lay in their beds, snoring loudly.
"Merlin! What pigs they are!" Remus said in disgust, looking around.
"Well, of course!" Frank snapped. "They both have house elves to pick up all their messes at home. Mum makes me clean up my own messes. She says the house elves aren't there to wait on me hand and foot."
"I'll bet the elves don't like cleaning our dorm because it's always such a disaster area because of those two," Peter remarked. He put his hands over his ears. "And those two are always complaining about how loud I snore!"
Remus put his finger to his lips and crept over to Sirius' bed. He waved his wand over Sirius and whispered, "Sheol Tzachak." As with James, Sirius was enveloped in a yellow glow for a few seconds then it faded. "Okay, it's all set."
Sirius woke with a scream the next morning, stumbled out of bed and over to the mirror that hung over his desk.
James woke up and saw his best mate standing in front of his mirror running his hands through his hair. "Siri, what's wrong?"
By now Remus, Peter, and Frank were peering out from between the curtains of their beds. "What's going on?" Remus asked sleepily.
"I don't know. Go back to sleep."
James went over to Sirius and asked in a low voice, "Did you have a nightmare?"
"One long one," Sirius replied with a shudder. "I guess mum might have been right about stuffing myself before I go to sleep."
"What did you dream?"
"I kept dreaming my hair fell out until I was completely bald. Everybody laughed at me and didn't pay any attention to me! When my hair grew back, it was bright green and because I had green hair I got sorted into Slytherin! I told the hat I wanted Gryffindor, but it wouldn't listen to me and kept insisting since I had green hair I had to go to Slytherin! Regulus and Snivellus were put in charge of me and made me do all sorts of nasty stuff fit only for a house elf!"
"I guess we shouldn't have ate and drank so much last night," James said looking around the room at the remains of their feast.
"I swear I've learned my lesson and I'm not eating anything before I go to bed after this!" Sirius declared.
Behind his bed curtains, Remus smiled.
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
The next morning Severus, Lily, Dorian, Tav, Emily, Jane, Alice Reg, Remus, Peter, Frank and Caddaric reported to the Astronomy Tower where Professor Fleinhardt was waiting. Under his supervision they carefully searched the classroom, diligently searching for anything that looked out of the ordinary. No hiding place was found.
"Let me try one thing more," Professor Fleinhardt said. He turned in a circle chanting, "Lateo Abunde Resero." Nothing happened. "I can definitely say whatever it is, is not hidden in the classroom."
"What about the parapet?" Dorian asked. "Could it be hidden out there?"
"If it is out there, it'll take us months to find it," Alice groaned.
"Actually no it won't, Miss Starkey," Professor Fleinhardt replied. "If you children will follow me outside I'll demonstrate it for you."
They all donned their cloaks and followed him outside on the parapet. He cast the same spell as he had inside the classroom while turning around slowly.
"Wait!" Severus called. "I saw a light over on the west wall there."
"Ah! So there is something hidden out here," Professor Fleinhardt said. He pointed his wand at the west wall and said, "Lateo Abunde Resero." One brick shone brightly for a moment and the children ran over to it. "It's this one, Professor," Lily said pointing. "But how do we get it out so we can see what's behind it?"
"Easy enough, Miss Evans," he replied and pointed his wand at it and said, "Emoveo."
The brick slid out enough for Frank and Tav to pull it the rest of the way out and set it on the ground. Lily reached into the hole that the brick had concealed and pulled out a small bronze scroll case that was as old and ornately decorated as the one they found previously.
"Open it, Lily and see what's inside," Emily urged.
A/N: Lateo Abunde Resero – Hidden Thing Reveal, Emoveo – Remove.
Note: I shall be putting this story as well as my others on temporary hiatus because my mom is terminally ill and in hospice.
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