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Chapter 42 : A New Mystery
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A New Mystery
By the time the sorting was over with, out of thirty children, Gryffindor had gained eight new members, Slytherin seven, Ravenclaw eight, and Hufflepuff, seven.
McGonagall took the stool and Sorting Hat out of the Great Hall. Seeing she was out of earshot, James leaned over and whispered to his new friends, "I've brought some of my dad's campaign buttons with me. If anybody you know wants one, let me know."
Daniel and Lisa nodded and smirked down the table at Lily, Frank, Alice, Sirius, Remus and Peter. "There's a prime bunch of losers," Daniel sneered. "A bunch of blood traitors and Muggleborns."
"Watch out for them," Mary warned. "They hang around with a bunch of Slytherins and they know more curses than the seventh years."
"Didn't they hex you two with some really nasty ones last year?" Lisa asked.
"Yes! Like that awful one that turned my hands red," Mary hissed. She was still angry that McGonagall had let Lily get away with no punishment for that.
"Yeah and the time when I caught Snivellus and Evans out of bed and they shot a manure hex at me and got away, but I got caught by Filch and McGonagall gave me detention!" James added.
Further down the table, Lily nudged Alice and asked. "Who's the kid sitting with Pothead? He has a face that makes me think of a rat."
Alice looked down the table and made a disgusted face. "He's Daniel MacTavish III. He's a complete pureblood snob. Figures Pothead would hang out with him. They're two peas in a pod if you ask me."
"His father's works for the Department of Magical Transportation and he's a big supporter of the things Potter's campaigning on," Frank added.
"I remember him when he was five," Sirius said. "He looked even more like a rat then than he does now."
"I wonder if we're going to have to be on our guard all year long like last year," Peter said.
"Maybe I'll have to get out my magic ruler again," Alice joked not noticing Sirius' wince as he'd had two sessions with it in the previous years.
Over at the Slytherin table, Severus, Dorian, Tav, Jane, Reg, and Emily were checking out James' two new friends.
"Of course Pothead would make friends with the second biggest pureblood snob after him," Reg said. "His father and Abraxas Malfoy are cousins."
Severus nodded and added, "And they're both blood status fanatics too as I recall."
"I'm really surprised he'd have anything to do with him given the fact that he's related to the Malfoys," Dorian remarked.
"Probably because he's the only one that wanted to be friends with Potter," Jane remarked. "Troyer, too; she's a carbon copy of MacDonald. Her old man works in the Ministry at the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes."
"Well, I just hope Professor McGonagall keeps a close eye on those four because they all look sneaky to me," Emily added.
Tav grinned. "Well, at least none of our families have ever had the goblins throw us out of Gringotts!"
Dumbledore got up at the end of the meal and made the usual speech about staying out of the Forbidden Forest, Mr. Filch's ban on all Zonko products, and reminded the students that there was no magic to be done in the hallways between classes. "As it's the first night for the first years, I will dismiss you to get settled in so you can rise early, be bright-eyed and ready to learn tomorrow morning."
As the Gryffindors were leaving, Minerva separated James from the rest. "Mr. Potter, please come with me and I'll show you to your new dorm."
"What! Why can't I stay where I was?" James complained. "Black should move out! In fact he should be resorted into Slytherin. That's where he really belongs; he never was a true Gryffindor!"
"The elves have already taken your trunk to your new quarters so you will just have to get used to it," Minerva replied, ignoring his whining.
"I'm going to owl my dad and he'll make you put me back!" James threatened.
"That's your choice, Mr. Potter." She opened the door to the dorm and stood aside.
"But this is the second year dorm!" James said in shock.
"It's the only dorm that didn't already have the required number of students.
James plodded inside still sulking. Minerva shook her head as she closed the door. It appeared that some things were never going to change.
Lily and Alice got unpacked and settled in. Brenda and Nancy talked quietly as they unpacked, but MacDonald was nowhere to be seen. Unfortunately, she came in a few minutes later complaining loudly about McGonagall changing Potter's dorm and putting him in a second year dorm at that.
"I wish Professor McGonagall would move her to another dorm," Alice muttered.
"I've got Potter campaign buttons if you two want them," Mary said to Brenda and Nancy. "If you're not supporting Charles Potter then you're supporting the Dark."
They looked at her strangely and Brenda asked, "Didn't McGonagall say we couldn't wear them last year? I'm sure she hasn't changed her mind about it."
"I'm not getting off on the wrong foot by being caught wearing one of those," Nancy added. "I don't need detention my first week of school or my last."
"Shut up, MacDonald," Lily ordered. "Some of us already know what Pothead's father stands for and we don't want any part of it!"
"Yes, some of us want to be awake in class tomorrow," Alice said pulling her pillow over her head.
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
After their house meeting, Severus found the fourth year dorms. He unfortunately still had the same roommates Avery, and the Lestrange twins, and they were still dumb as doors. He wondered who would be their defense teacher this year since Professor Bones had gotten word that she had been accepted by the Auror Academy at the end of last year. He hoped the hiring decision had not been left entirely up to Dumbledore or Merlin's staff there was no telling what they might get for a professor.
"Oi, Snape!" Avery called. "Did you get summer homework done?"
"Yes," Severus answered. "Did you?"
"No. We all had better things to do this summer. Give us your homework so we can copy it," he demanded.
"No, it's you dumb asses' problem if you didn't do your homework."
"There's three of us and only one of you. We can just take it," Avery threatened.
"Go ahead and try," Severus challenged. His mind went swiftly through some of the defensive moves Black Leif and Conor had taught him.
The three of them were moving towards him when suddenly Greymalkin jumped in front of Severus hissing and growling. With his fur standing on end he looked twice bigger than normal. He eyed the three malevolently and showed his claws, growling loudly. Severus had never seen him act like that before.
"Oi, Avery!" Rabastan cried. "That cat's crazy or something!"
"I'm not getting bitten or clawed up by that thing!" Rodolphus added. "Remember what it did to Potter and Black last year."
Avery backed off, but continued to glare at Severus and his cat. "Just remember, Snape. You have to share this room with us for the entire year so you better decide what's in your best interest!"
They returned to their side of the room balefully eyeing him. Severus finished unpacking and putting his books he'd need for class tomorrow in his book bag. He cast the Snoop's Retribution Charm on both his book bag and his trunk in case they tried getting into either one while he was asleep or gone. He got undressed and got into bed, pulling his curtains shut. Grey settled next to him, purring loudly. "Thanks, Grey," Severus whispered petting him.
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
Lily and Alice walked into the Great Hall at eight o'clock the next morning and were surprised to find Remus was already there. He looked pale and had faint dark circles under his eyes. The third year defense textbook was open in front of him.
"Are you feeling okay, Remus?" Lily asked.
"You look as if you might be coming down with something," Alice added.
Remus smiled at them. "I'm fine. It just takes me a little longer to get to sleep after I've been sleeping in my own bed all summer."
"I can understand that," Lily added. She spotted Irene and Caddaric and waved at them and then glanced at his open defense book. "It looks as if we're going to be learning about dark creatures – hinkypunks, kappas, Red Caps, vampires, and werewolves this year."
"Has anybody heard anything about our new defense professor?" Alice asked buttering a piece of toast.
"Nope," Frank answered sitting down. "Not a word."
Sirius and Peter walked into the Great Hall chatting and sat down next to Frank and Remus.
Severus, Dorian, Tav, Reg, Jane and Emily walked just behind Sirius and Peter. Lily waved at Severus who smiled and waved back.
At 8:30 James followed by Mary and his two new friends walked into the Great Hall. They forced some first years to move just so they could sit in the very center of the table.
Severus shook his head as he watched him. Potter obviously hadn't learned anything from being suspended for a year.
Fifteen minutes before the bell, McGonagall walked up and down the table handing out the schedules. "First years," she called. "Please keep your schedule in a safe place so you do not lose them."
The bell rang and James motioned to a first year boy. "Hey you! What's your name?"
"Roland Summerset," the boy answered.
"Well, guess what, Rolly? It's your lucky day because you get to carry my book bag to class for me."
"But …but I'll be late for my first class," he protested.
James bent down to him and said, "Unless you want me to depants you in front of the entire school I suggest you do as I want."
Roland flushed and picked up James' heavy book bag.
"Here, Rolly!" Daniel sneered, dropping his book bag in front of him. "You can carry mine too. Muggleborns aren't much good for anything else."
MacDonald and Troyer stood by snickering at the first year that was practically in tears.
Lily saw what was happening and marched up to James. "You leave him alone and carry your own books, you lazy toerag!" She turned to Roland. "You go on to class. You don't have to do anything for him."
Roland didn't need to be told twice. He picked up his book bag and hurried to catch up with his year mates.
"Stay out of this, Evans unless you want me to hex you!" James threatened.
There was a pop and a ruler suddenly appeared out of nowhere and gave James a sharp crack on his bum. "Oww!" he screeched.
The ruler turned threateningly towards MacTavish who paled, picked up his book bag, and ran.
"How dare you!" Mary yelled. "I'm telling Professor McGonagall that you did magic outside of class!"
"Then you'd better tell her it was because Pothead was bullying a first year and the three of you were standing by encouraging him," Alice replied, unruffled by Mary's threat.
Mary grabbed James' arm. "Come on, Jamie. Let's go before we're late for class." They left with Lisa trailing after them.
Lily and the others waited for their Slytherin friends. Their first class was Care of Magical Creatures with Professor Kettleburn and they walked outside to a grove of trees where the first class was being held.
"Good morning, everyone," he called cheerfully as they approached. He was short and balding, but had full sideburn and a full mustache that framed his mouth. Kettleburn called role first, carefully marking off the names as they answered. "Now, please open you books to chapter one."
They learned about flying insects that looked a bit like a miniature lizard called an Irish Belle that kept trees healthy by eating the insects that could harm the tree. "They make their homes in all sorts of trees even wand trees and get along well with the bowtruckles who are the guardians of the wand trees because they recognize that the Irish Belle is there to help their tree rather than harm it. You'll be learning more about bowtruckles in your fifth year."
Somebody raised their hand and asked if the Irish Belle was from Ireland.
"No, it's always been in this country. It called that because it's an emerald green color."
As most of the class scribbled notes as Kettleburn lectured, James sat back on his hands and complained about how boring the class was to his new chums. "I only took this dumb class so all the nature wizards would think my dad was interested in all that crap and vote for him. Who cares about trees?"
"If you don't shut up, Potter. I'm going to shove something down your throat!" Jane threatened.
"And I'll help her," Frank said.
"What, Potter?" Frank hissed.
"I'm going out for Chaser when tryouts start. Mary said the guy who replaced me wasn't even half as good as I am and needs to resign for the good of the team."
"Good luck," Frank muttered. Potter was in for a big shock as their current Chaser wasn't about to resign just because Pothead wanted him to. The only open position this year was a Beater.
Their next class was Defense Against the Dark Arts and everybody walked into the classroom feeling a bit anxious not knowing what to expect. It was jokingly known as the 'Hardbroom Effect'.
The professor who awaited them was good-looking, a little pale, with shoulder length straight brown hair and eyes, in his thirties, and dressed in an ordinary robe that looked neither fancy nor expensive. "Good morning, students. Please have a seat," he said pleasantly.
James, Lisa, Daniel, and Mary all sat together. James smirked at them and mouthed, "Wimp!"
"I am Professor Gold. Please raise your hand or say 'Here' when I call your name."
"He seems really nice," Lily whispered to Severus who nodded.
He called their name, looking carefully at each student's face as they answered. "I'm going to seat you in alphabetical order so I'll be able to learn your names quickly."
Severus was thankful that he ended up two seats behind Potter so he couldn't pull anything without him noticing, but poor Pete was in front of Potter with MacTavish in front of him. Fortunately Frank and Remus were seated across from him so they would make sure Potter or MacTavish didn't bully Pete.
"This year we will not only be learning about dark creatures, but I will be teaching you stealth and observation techniques. If any of you are familiar with the Auror Alastor Moody then you know his motto is constant vigilance – always know what's going on around you. In addition I will be teaching you simple warding spells that can be used for protection. Any questions?"
He looked around the classroom expectantly. "No? Well then, please open your books to the first chapter entitled 'Hinkypunks'."
Coming out of the classroom, most of the students were pleased that they had a competent professor and somebody who could teach them other kinds of magical skills.
"Did you see his robes?" James hooted to Daniel, Mary, and Lisa. "Merlin! It looks like he bought them off the rack. Probably too poor to have them made!"
"Gold? Gold," MacTavish muttered. "I don't recall that name as being amongst the really prominent families like yours and mine."
"He's probably a Muggleborn who couldn't find a job anywhere else," Lisa added cruelly.
"Whatever he is he's an obvious loser," Mary said. "We know that much."
Severus, Lily, Remus, and Emily went onto Arithmancy while Frank, Alice, Sirius, Jane and Pete met up with Caddaric to go to Muggle Studies and Potter and his cronies headed up to the North Tower for Divination.
Since Arithmancy tended to be a small class it tended to have all the houses in one class and they were delighted to find that Irene was in the class too. Lily had been nervous about Arithmancy, but during the two weeks she'd stayed at Mirrorvale, Vesper and Marius had given her a thorough grounding on it and now she was feeling more confident about her choice.
At lunch everybody discussed the new classes they had taken and what they had learned.
"I didn't know Muggles have done so much," Pete said in amazement. "They've gone to the moon more than once while we wizards have never even thought about doing it." He took a sandwich off the plate in front of him and took a bowl of salad. He was trying to lose weight with encouragement from Remus.
"Not to mention all the things they've invented in place of magic to make their lives easier," Frank added.
They had double Potions immediately following lunch. Horace had decided over the summer that he would pair a Slytherin with a Gryffindor to cut down on the sabotage and the possibility of exploding cauldrons. There was a lot of grumbling at his announcement particularly from Avery, Potter, MacTavish and the Lestrange's. Severus grinned as he imagined Potter's reaction to having to work closely all year with a Slytherin. He was taking fifth year potions now, but still wearing two hats as Horace's assistant and tutor.
"Alright, quiet down!" Horace said. "This will be for the entire year." When he was finished calling out names, everybody moved to their new work stations. James had been paired with Avery; Sirius with Rodolphus Lestrange, MacTavish with Rabastan Lestrange, Remus had been paired with Nott, Pete with Rosier, and Frank had been paired with Parkinson. Emily and Alice were now partners and Lily and Jane. MacDonald and Troyer had been paired with too particularly prideful Slytherin girls by the last names of Bulstrode and Kent who was a first cousin to Frank's partner.
"Today, I'll be teaching you about the Shrinking Solution and we will be brewing it tomorrow. I want you to read the first chapter and then we'll discuss what you've read." He gave them a half-hour to read the chapter while he left the room briefly to check if his owl order had arrived from Slug and Jiggers. James and his friends were sitting in the back snickering and whispering instead of reading. Severus shook his head. Potter and his friends were going to end up flunking Potions if their current attitudes continued.
"Alright, times up," Horace called coming back into the room. He began firing questions out which most of the class were able to answer with the exception of Potter and his friends and Avery, Rosier, and the Lestranges. Horace frowned. "You did do the reading? I gave you a half-hour to read one chapter so I do not understand why you're unable to answer my questions."
"How can we understand what we're reading when there's so much noise in the classroom?" James complained. "Evans was muttering to herself when she reads. I think Longbottom fell asleep because he was snoring loudly. The Slytherins were practicing their dark curses instead of reading and Pettigrew was eating and making loud slurping noises." Mary, Lisa and Daniel all nodded in agreement.
"He's lying," Severus said. "He and his friends were messing around instead of doing the reading."
"Take that back, Snivellus!" James yelled jumping to his feet. "How dare you accuse us of lying, you dark Half-blood! You're not worthy to kiss any of our feet!"
Severus made a disgusted face. "Nor would I want to!"
"Sev's right," Lily said. "Potter and his buddies were goofing around making it hard for the rest of us to do our reading."
"Everybody already knows you always side with the lying Slytherins, Evans so don't make yourself look like an even bigger Muggleborn fool!" Lisa snapped.
"Shut it, Troyer, you pureblood bigot!" Alice snapped back at her.
Horace held up his hand to stop the arguing. "Given your past performance records, Mr. Potter, Miss MacDonald, Miss Troyer, and Mr. MacTavish, I'm inclined to believe you didn't do the reading and that will cause you to lose five points each."
That did not sit well with the rest of the Gryffindors. Potter and his friends had lost them most the points that the others had gained by answering Slughorn's questions correctly.
Jane and Emily were certainly disgusted with their housemates. All they cared about is joining You-Know-Who when they turned seventeen.
"When my dad is Minister of Magic," James bragged. "All the Slytherins will be gone and anybody here who doesn't do what my dad wants will be kicked out."
Peeves floating above James and his friends blew a loud raspberry in response to James' claim.
"You tell him, Peeves!" Remus called as they headed to Astronomy with Professor Fleinhardt.
James growled and swore he was going to solve the mystery of Remus Lupin.
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