Bonjour! (yeah, sometimes my french background just can't be fought)
so, as promised, the next chapter is up and ready. I'll admit it was pretty easy to set this one up. I didn't have too much to rewrite on this one, I'll admit. So... here we go.
Revenge is sweet... and mine
Three days later, Ian hadn't renounced his revenge. But still there was no way to find out when the two Slytherins would be ready to move. Kieran had gone missing in the library, and they only saw her briefly in the meals between classes. Ian reckoned that she was up to something, and when she was in that mood, it was always better to leaver her at it. Kieran's mind worked in a very special way, sometimes. Ian, knew by experience, having known her for most of his life, that when she went into a researching frenzy, you needed to stay out of her hair, because instead of helping her, you had very good chances of slowing her down.
And then, in the middle of the fourth day after their last encounter with Macke, Kieran came in the Great Hall, a huge smile etched upon her face.
"You look as if you discovered how to make the philosopher's stone," said Ian as she sat in front of them.
Kieran didn't say a word, but threw him something that looked like the ear plugs that Joel was using outside Hogwarts. Some Muggle gadget to listen to music. He looked at it, bemused. Kieran gestured for him to put it in his ear. Even more puzzled, Ian did what she wanted.
"… And do you think that Potter will give us some test tomorrow?"
Ian looked around him, trying to find the origin of the voice. But Kieran winked at him. She tapped her ear. Then she showed to him a little switch that was linked to the ear-plug.
Ian pressed it and the voice changed.
"… Oh, my, I wish I was older… Professor Potter is soooo cute!"
Ian pressed again.
" … No way, I've got this essay to hand out to Potter today…"
"… It's not that I don't deny the right of Potter of being a teacher," echoed the voice of Snape.
"Still you act as if he's not a part of this staff, Severus," said the voice of Professor Sinistra. "But he deserves to be respected as much as you do…"
"This is amazing," said Ian.
"I know," said Kieran. "Not to sound immodest, but I'm quite proud of it, this time."
"How does it work?" asked Ian, fascinated.
"Well, it picks up any conversation where the word Potter appears," said Kieran. "I couldn't get it to focus on people talking, or I would have made it spy on Macke directly. But the castle is sending way too much interference to follow one person. But a word… it seems to work. The switch is used to go from one conversation to the other, when several persons are speaking of him at the same time. Its range widens to the whole Castle."
"Wow!" said Alba, her eyes as saucers. "How could you come up with something like this?"
"Well, at first I thought I'd go from the pattern of the Weasleys' extendable ears," said Kieran. "But I couldn't find what I was looking for. And then I remembered that guy whose Mum had enchanted his earplug to work in Hogwarts. I did some research on Charms. And I came up with this. It's not perfect, but…"
"Not perfect?" said Ian and Joel at the same time.
"Kieran, you just came up with the only system in history to bug conversations in Hogwarts, and you say it's not perfect?" said Joel, in disbelief.
"How does your mind function, honestly?" asked Ian. "This is seventh year stuff, even more."
Kieran blushed a little. She smiled at the three of them.
"You've got to show this to Flitwick," said Ian. "Once we are through with it, of course," he added. "I'm sure he will give you loads of points for this."
"It's a spying device," said Kieran. "It's against the rules!"
"Yes, you're right," said Ian, thoughtfully. "Maybe not Flitwick, then. I'll show it to Alexander. "I'm sure he'll speak of this with Dumbledore."
"But, Ian, this is even worse!"
Kieran looked terrified at the thought.
"Kieran," said Ian patiently. "How many times do I have to tell you that Dumbledore is my first client for the rumours and information I gather when I spy. He'll love this. And don't you realize? You did this in three days!"
"We'll see," she said, doubtfully. "Anyway, for now, all we have to do is to open our "ear", and to be ready to get them."
The looks were fierce, as they greeted Terry Longwand as he entered the Common Room. Kenneth shook his head in annoyance. This was ridiculous. Granted, he didn't like the fact that Slytherin had taken a huge step ahead in the race for the House Cup, although if one were fair, it was more a huge step back by the two other Houses. Still, it didn't seem right to punish Terry for so long, especially, since he had been trying to help a teacher.
But there was something odd regarding this whole mess. Terry and Ian had fallen out, somehow, over the events of that night. It was unlike those two to let points come in the way of their friendship, so Kenneth wondered whas was going on there.
Terry gloomily made his way toward an armchair, near the fire, and some people made a show of getting out of their seats to avoid even being near him. Kenneth was about to say something when he was beaten to it by a loud, clear voice.
"Now, this is just plain stupid," said Alwena Silverleaf, getting up and walking to the centre of the common room.
She gathered all attention, if only because she was one of the prettiest girls in the school, despite being only in fourth year. But she was also wearing her silver Quill brooch, which had made her a celebrity in the school. And for those who knew her, the fact that her temper was legendary guaranteed that people listened when she talked.
Kenneth had a smile and paid attention, while Terry was looking at Alwena, bewildered.
"I mean," said Alwena. "You're really going to turn your backs on a Housemate for a few points? And for the record, Edward," she added to one of her classmates, who had been in the group that had moved seats at Terry's approach, "what you just did was so sickeningly low that I think I ought to kick your arse for it. Really? You're going to act around Terry like you're a bunch of Slytherin bastards?"
That did seem to get everyone's attention and certainly caused a few people to look down in shame.
"So, starting now, everyone is to stop acting like jerks to Terry," said Alwena, pushing her advantage. "And I mean it when I say I'll kick your arse if you don't."
There was some mumbling at that, and a few nods all around. Terry seemed to breathe in relief. But Alwena didn't seem to be done, actually. Kenneth moved a little closer, curiosity burning in him, and he observed as Alwena walked straight to Terry.
"As for you," she said. "I've heard from Kieran that you've had a fight with Ian? What the hell?"
"Er... You couldn't understand, Wena," said Terry.
"Oh, you'd be amazed by what I can understand," said Alwena, sternly. "Kieran told me all about it. You've implied this was Ian's fault? How pathetic is that?"
"Pathetic? Now, wait a..." began Terry, but she wouldn't let him go on.
"Yes, pathetic!" said Alwena. "You're what? Some kind of weathercock to shift with the wind like that? I thought you were a Gryffindor. If you begin something, at least have the courage to face the consequences. No one forced you to go with Ian. And it's not his fault Macke trapped him. Now, to lay the blame at his feet is just as lousy as Ed's attitude. Now, you'll apologize to your friend, and you'll act like a Gryffindor, there."
"Er... okay?" said Terry, who wasn't sure exactly of how much trouble he was actually in.
"Good," said Alwena, firmly. "Because I'm not helping a guy who cannot face his own decisions. Got that?"
"Su... Sure," said Terry.
"Then, chin up, Longwand," said Alwena. "You've lost a hundred points... So what? Now, fancy a game of chess?"
Terry nodded, a smile slowly forming on his face. Kenneth's grin was clear as he looked at the two of them settle before a chessboard. Soon, as Alwena began to move her white pawn (she had argued that, since she had just rescued him from the kennel, and she was a lady, she should have the whites, to which Terry had replied 'a lady?' before to concede the whites under threat of a slap), other people began to gather around the two players, their chat getting more relaxed as time passed.
Before Terry lost his bishop, it was as if he hadn't been shunned out by the others a few minutes earlier. Before he lost his first knight, his year mates had resumed talking to him. By the time he was soundly defeated by Alwena, it was as if nothing had happened.
Kenneth met Alwena's eyes and saw her cunning smile. He knew that this chess game hadn't been the only game the french girl had been playing. She winked at him and he raised a discrete thumb up at her performance of the evening.
That was quite an achievement.
Ian still couldn't believe what Kieran had achieved so quickly. But it served his goal so perfectly that he stopped questioning himself. They all took turns to track conversations. During the classes, it wasn't easy, but still, the conversations where "Potter" came up appeared to be reduced to none, or no more than two whispers, during class.
Quickly enough, Ian, Kieran, Gina, Joel and Mark, who had all decided to get involved in this, were able to survey the whole of Hogwarts' small talk about Professor Potter. It was frightening. The amount of conversations was unimaginable. Most of them were sighs of young girls, or discussion on tests and courses, but from time to time, Ian caught a part of discussion between teachers, and even some discussions between Potter himself and Miss Weasley, or his friends. Ian discovered with some amusement, that when his friends were trying to sound angry with him, they called him Harry James Potter, in emphasis. Even Miss Weasley used his family name as a tender word sometimes. Ian usually turned from the Ear, his own ears red as Gryffindor's Banners, when this kind of talk came up.
It took three more days to get something interesting. And on Sunday's evening, Ian, who was checking on the Ear as usual, caught the voice of Macke.
" … Potter won't be in his office. He'll be too busy trying to keep his girlfriend. So we can act in two hours."
" Alright," said Venansius. "The thing is already done. We only have to settle it."
Ian dropped the Ear. He nodded to Kieran, and walked across the Common Room, to join his friends, who were playing chess. Joel was losing, badly, facing Alba.
"I'm gone in one hour," whispered Ian in Kieran's ear. "They're going in action tonight."
"I'm coming with you," she replied.
"No way," said Ian. "Either I'll be the only one in trouble or I'm getting out of this alone. I won't put you in danger. Terry was almost hurt by the noise, last time."
Kieran argued the most angrily she could, given that she had to whisper, but, finally, she agreed to stay behind.
One hour later, Ian slipped from the Common room, and sneaked into the corridors of the school. He was even more careful than the last time. At the turn of some corner, he nearly ran into two Ravenclaw seventh years, busy making out. Ian passed right behind them without being noticed.
I'm getting even better at this, he thought with a smile.
He reached the Defence Classroom and used the gifts Alexander and him were training to read if there was any kind of Magic at work in the corridor. None, so far... Ian found a dark spot, in one of the corners of the place. He hid himself carefully inside it. He had dressed all in black for the occasion. Then, he began to wait patiently, like some hunter for his prey.
He only had to wait for less than an hour. He then heard voices whispering. Macke and Venansius walked in the corridor, very discreetly, but Ian couldn't miss them. They were carrying packs of stuff that Ian didn't recognize. They silently began to work. They traced some strange pentagram with chalk. While Macke was drawing it on the ground, Venansius was whispering some incantations, spreading some bits of powder and twigs of sorts at the different points of the pentagram.
"So what will it do?" asked Macke.
"It will trap him and he won't be able to free himself from it," said Venansius. "If we're lucky, he could be trapped head down. He will need the help of another teacher to get rid of this. And who's the closest teacher?"
"Snape," said Macke, grinning malevolently.
He closed the Pentagram and Venansius deposited a little stone at the end of the last point. It suddenly began to glow with a green light.
"Now, it's active," said Venansius. "The first one to put his foot in it will activate it. So, now, take the root and use it to make it invisible…"
Ian had heard enough. He suddenly walked out of the shadows. The Slytherins hadn't seen him at all.
"Hello," he whispered behind their back.
Macke and Venansius gave a start and jumped. Ian winked and a slight shockwave pushed them off balance, and they fell right into the pentacle! The trap started itself with a flashing light and stranded them in the air, struggling madly to escape it. Waves of light were surrounding them, and they were completely imprisoned, unable to make the slightest move.
Ian walked close to them and made a little wave of his hand.
"Interesting, huh? How does it feel from the inside, guys?" he asked, with a wicked grin.
Macke looked at him in rage, while Venansius was more shocked to see him here.
"What? Did you really think I was going to give it up?" said Ian. "You clearly don't know who you're dealing with. Now, that's quite a trap you've fallen into. I'd say it's… Dark Arts, wouldn't you? I guess I'll have to call for competent help, don't you think?"
Ian ran away, to the South Tower, and climbed up the stairs to Professor Potter's door. He knocked on it loudly.
"Professor, there is a problem!" he shouted.
The door opened on a confused face. Miss Weasley was looking sleepy. Ian did his best to avoid looking at her, since she was only wearing a sleeping gown.
"What's going on?" she yawned.
"Two students," said Ian. "They're stranded in some kind of trap."
Potter appeared at the door, his wand in his hand and dressed in a green dressing gown. He only shot a quick look at Ian. He seemed to understand quickly what was going on.
"Lead the way," he said, calmly.
Ian brought him back in front of the Defence Class. Macke and Venansius were still trying to escape, but couldn't. Potter looked at them, saw the Pentacle, shot a quick look at Ian and then smiled lightly.
"In trouble, Mr Macke?" he asked, brightly.
"I don't see what's so funny, Professor Potter," said the voice of Snape, coming from the corridor.
The dark looking Teacher was striding in the corridor, coming from the dungeon.
"This is a trap that could be very dangerous," he said. "What kind of revenge is that, Malcolm!"
"I didn't set this up, Sir," said Ian, very coolly, as he was completely honest. "I sensed some magic acting weirdly, so I came to see what it was. They were busy around this pentacle. When they saw me, they panicked and fell into the pentacle. Then it stranded them like this. I immediately went to Professor Potter's apartment to get help."
Snape narrowed his eyes. He turned to Macke and Venansius.
"He lies!" exclaimed Macke, under panic. "He set us up to fall into this trap! He loves to deal with this kind of stuff."
"Then why would he come to my door right after it?" said Potter. "Why save the delight of leaving you stranded there all night long, while he would escape any trouble?"
"Maybe he wanted to humiliate them in front of you," said Snape.
"Instead of the whole school? I don't think the Slytherins would care very much about being humiliated in front of me anyway," said Potter. "And I do wonder why you are in possession of this root, Mr Macke. It's strange, because it's a kind of root that can only be used once in a ritual."
"I… I took it from him, Sir," said Macke, to let go of the root, but unable to open his hand. "To stop him!"
"I see," said Potter. "You don't know what use is this?"
"No, Sir," said Venansius. "Of course not. We don't deal with that kind of thing."
Potter sighed deeply.
"I understand," he said. "I think I will have to trust your good will," he added, looking pointedly at Snape. "I guess I'll have to free you, then to punish Mr Malcolm."
Ian felt his heart drop suddenly. It couldn't be! He couldn't be punished again. Potter raised his wand. And he exchanged one quick look with Ian… and winked!
"Wait!" shouted Venansius.
"A problem, Mr Venansius? You prefer staying like that, maybe?"
"It won't work. If you try to dispel it this way, it will only create a lightning bolt that will shock us!" said Venansius, under clear panic, now.
Ian's eyes widened in shock. It was even nastier than he had thought it to be! How did they dare try to use this on a teacher? Ian noticed that Potter smiled cunningly.
"Yes, Mr Venansius, I know," he said, his tone turning steely, in an instant. "I do happen to know what a Pentacle Snare is. The thing that bothers me is that you would know so much about it. Wouldn't it suggest that if you're so well acquainted with its effect, you could very well be the one who designed it?"
Venansius' eyes popped out of his head. He sighed in defeat. Macke shot him a disgusted look.
"Idiot," he said between clenched teeth.
This time, it was Potter's turn to narrow his eyes.
"Now, will you tell me why this Pentacle Snare was set up to be invisible, thanks to the root in your hand, Mr Macke? More importantly, why was it set up in front of the Defence Classroom, and more precisely in front of my office?"
Silence from the both of them.
"I don't like this kind of joke," Potter went on, anger clear in his voice. "This is dangerous, stupid and won't be tolerated from anyone. Any other than me could have been trapped in this Pentacle. Your act is as irresponsible as it is misguided and it could have led to a terrible accident. It appears many jokes of this kind have been played in the Castle, this year. If I am to discover that any of you was even remotely involved in these other offences, be sure I'll kick you both out of Hogwarts. And I mean that literally."
"You'll meditate on this in your whole two months of detention, Mr Macke, Mr Venansius."
Potter pointed his wand at the Pentacle.
"Scourgify!" he said.
The pentacle disappeared. The two Slytherins fell brutally on the floor. Ian couldn't help but to find this vision enjoyable. He was able, however, to refrain a smile. Venansius was trying to get Macke off his back. Macke shot Potter a venomous look.
"Don't even think about it, Mr Macke," said Potter. "You're already in enough trouble for one night, and for one year, as a matter of fact."
Macke succeeded in getting on his feet, without paying any attention to Venansius, who finally followed.
"Now, everyone will return to their dormitories," said Professor Potter. "And that will be three hundred points taken from Slytherin. And five from Ravenclaw, Mr Malcolm," he added, "as you shouldn't be here, either."
Ian nodded. It was fair. He wouldn't even protest against something like that. Macke's utter defeat was totally worth five points.
"If I may, Professor Potter," said the voice of Snape, who had stayed silent until now. "I'm not sure that three hundred…"
"You may not, Professor Snape," Professor Potter cut him. "This is my call here. Dark Arts involved in a joke against a teacher. I doubt anyone would contest my decision. Now if you think that your House is lacking points, I'm sure you can add the missing ones during your lessons, as you always do. Those two students were caught preparing something that cannot be tolerated!"
Snape narrowed his eyes again, looking quite upset. Potter held his gaze without even blinking.
"I said that everyone return to their dormitories!" he said, without even lowering his eyes.
Macke and Venansius looked at Snape for instructions, as if Potter wasn't in position to give them orders.
"Now!" shouted Potter, without turning to them, but with such authority in the tone that it reminded everyone of who he was.
The two third years gave a start and moved quickly. Ian walked away on his way to the Nest. He was smiling broadly by the time he reached the corner. He made a swift move to step out of view and hid himself carefully. The sound of the conversation between Snape and Potter was clearly audible in the corridor.
"You seem to have grown in confidence, Potter," Snape was saying.
"Possibly," said Potter, on a hostile tone. "Now, if I may, you should make sure to notify your students that all professors are to be listened to and obeyed in this school. Not only the teachers you like or respect. If you have a problem with me, that mustn't have any impact on the discipline, here."
"You give yourself too much importance if you think that I…"
"Come off it, Snape!" cut Pr. Potter again. "I've seen the way your students behave with Mrs Weasley, Hagrid or Alexander. They wouldn't do it without your implicit approval. You may not like us, Severus, but still we are teachers of this school! The Slytherins will behave the same way as the other Houses. You know far too well where rebellious behaviour against teachers can lead. I'm tired of always cleaning up the mess that the Slytherin House is creating in this place!"
"You were the expert in "mess", Potter," spat Snape.
"I've never put other students in danger in the name of indiscipline!" said Potter, furious. "I didn't try to kill a teacher, like Malfoy did!"
"You jinxed me, once, Potter," said Snape, silkily.
"You were threatening my godfather," said Potter. "You were wrong at the time, as I'll remind you, and none of the students has ever known it! I never questioned your authority, Snape. Do not question mine."
"You don't have…"
"Enough! I'm here because Professor Dumbledore thought I would be fitting the job! If you have some problem with that I suggest you discuss it with him! But I won't let you interfere again with any of my decisions! Am I clear?"
"Crystal clear," hissed Snape.
"Good," said Potter. "Now you'll be kind enough to settle Mr Macke and Mr Venansius' two months of detention, that are incidentally, not open to negotiation, and I'll settle Mr Malcolm's detention with Professor Flitwick. Good night."
Ian suppressed a gasp. He hadn't planned on a detention. But then again, that was fair, if you considered it honestly… He suddenly realised that Professor Potter was walking in his direction. He recoiled even deeper in the dark.
"I know you're here, Ian," whispered Pr. Potter.
Ian swore in silence. He walked out of the darkness, to face his punishment. But he then saw Pr. Potter smiling lightly.
"I thought you had given up this spy career of yours, after the mess it got you in," he said.
"Well, I reasoned that being informed usually keeps you out of trouble," said Ian, on a very low voice. "I couldn't let one setback ruin my calling, could I?"
"I guess so," said Pr. Potter, with a grin. "So, what are we going to give you as a detention?"
"Two months, huh?" said Ian with a wince.
"I said a detention, Mr Malcolm, not full months of detention. As I said, your only offence tonight was to be out of your dormitory," said Pr. Potter.
"Oh," said Ian, sighing in relief. "That makes sense."
"Now, I'll make sure you join your Common room safely," said the professor.
They set off for the Nest.
"Professor?" asked Ian. "Why does Snape hate you like this?"
"It's Professor Snape, Ian," said Harry, reprovingly. "And it's an old story. Let's say simply that he had issues with my father. When I came to school, he decided not to make my life easy. I guess that I had my wrongs as well."
"You don't believe that," accused Ian, sarcastically.
"Maybe not," said Professor Potter, with some amusement in his eyes. "But I can't allow students to lose their respect for any teacher of this school. Even Professor Snape, with all the issues we have. You must understand that even if I don't like Professor Snape, I'm forced to admit that he's a very savant Potions Master. I never wanted to learn or to listen in his class, but despite our enmity, I learned a lot from him. He's competent, and he's proven his value in very dark times. You mustn't forget that. He may be unpleasant, but still he deserves respect, especially from students."
Ian was very aware that Potter meant any word he was saying. He nodded slowly. They had reached the Nest statue.
"Have a good night, Ian. And in the future, try to stay away from trouble for real. Professor Snape will have his eyes on you. Don't give him any reason to get you."
Ian nodded again.
"Er… Professor?" he said. "Thank you."
Potter smiled lightly.
"You're welcome, Ian," he said, winking. "And thank you. I would have been ridiculous stranded in that Pentacle, in the morning."
Ian chuckled as Potter was walking away. He looked at him for a long moment, before to whisper the password. The eagle statue moved out of the way and Ian entered the Nest… to find himself facing his whole year, boys and girls combined. And in front of everybody, Eamon Clarke was waiting for him arms crossed, frowning wildly, now, his eyes twitching a little.
"Where in Merlin's Name, were you again, Ian?" he asked coldly. "Seeking trouble again?"
"None of your business," said Ian.
"Oh yes it is," said Clarke. "Our Hourglass has lost five sapphires again," he said, pointing to the hourglass that was hanging in the Nest. "What the heck did you do?"
Kieran made a step forward.
"You agreed to give him a second to explain what happened, Eamon," she said. "So?" she asked, turning to Ian.
"So I got them," said Ian.
"You got them?" said Joel, stupefied.
Kieran smiled and winked at Ian.
"What does that mean 'you got them'?" asked Clarke, losing patience.
"I knew Macke and Venansius wanted to set up a trap for Professor Potter," said Ian.
"Yes, old story, Ian," said the Prefect. "You already told us that…"
"I know," said Ian, smiling. "And tonight, I caught them. I made them fall into their own trap, and then I called Professor Potter for him to see it."
"And you lost us five points again?" asked Joel, scandalized by the punishment
"Well, yes, along with a detention, because I was in the corridors," said Ian.
"And the Slytherins are now far in the lead, even with all the points your friends tried to get us back since you reduced our chances to nothing," said Clarke.
"Eamon, please," said Kieran. "Potter escaped the joke, thanks to Ian. That's more important than the House Cup."
"He has a funny way to pay him back," said Joel, frowning.
"Well, in fact, Snape was there, so Professor Potter had to be fair. So he gave me a detention and took five points from Ravenclaw, so Snape wouldn't object to the two months of detention Macke and Venansius managed to get."
"Two months?" repeated Mark, impressed.
"Oh, yeah," said Ian, in triumph, "along with three hundred points taken from Slytherin. And this puts Slytherin out of the race for the House Cup," he added to Clarke, with some kind of mockery.
"Three hundred?" said Alba in awe.
"So now, the race is open again. We're tying Gryffindor just behind Hufflepuff. With the coming Quidditch results, we have a chance to get in the lead. Add to this the points we usually get for the exams, and we can get this damned Cup you want so badly, Eamon."
Eamon was still under the shock. Three hundred points from Slytherin was a complete disaster for the Serpent House. They couldn't catch up with this, no matter how hard they would try. He then smiled lightly.
"Did you plan all of this?" he asked.
"Well, I didn't hope for three hundred," admitted Ian. "But I knew that catching Macke and Venansius would even back the scores. Professor Potter was angry enough to get beyond my calculations. Let's just say we paid five points to lose Slytherin three hundred."
"You're amazing, Ian!" exclaimed Morag Monaghan.
The third years gathered around Ian to congratulate him. Clarke was forced to send them all to bed before they started some kind of celebration. Climbing up the stairs, Ian exchanged one look with Kieran, before she entered her dormitory. She beamed at him and winked another time. Ian chuckled before to follow his roommates into their own dormitory.
While he was explaining in detail the whole story to his friends, Ian regretted that spells on doors separated the girls' dorm from the boys'. It would have been great to share this with Kieran, Gina, Diana and the others. That would have to wait for the breakfast.
Later, Ian fell asleep, quite satisfied. He had prevented some serious offence to the rules and to the school safety. And in the meantime, he had somehow avenged himself.
This was a good night. Ian thought that it was a curious thing that he would consider a night where he got a detention and lost his House five points as a good night.
Question of perspective, for sure.
And here it is... Now, in the next part, we'll focus back on the main plot, and introduce a whole new character.