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Laocoon's Children: The Fugitive from Azkaban
Chapter 5

By copperbadge

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AU. When Sirius and Remus go looking for Peter Pettigrew, they make a wrong turn and someone else finds him first. Eight years later, Sirius owns a book store and Remus manages it for him. When Harry stumbles into the store and they find out the truth, they decide it's time to be Stealing Harry. (SB/RL slash relationship in later chapters.)

Author's Notes: At one point in this chapter I have used dialogue verbatim from The Prisoner of Azkaban. This is intentional, as Laocoon's Children does run parallel to the books. In this instance, the text of Dumbledore's speech is taken directly, with only minor alterations, from canon.

In addition, JKR's system of class scheduling for Hogwarts is absolutely untenable. So I have arbitrarily redesigned it. Cope. :D


"Balls, we have missed the Sorting and all the seats are taken," Harry said, when they arrived in the Great Hall. The last of the first-years was just making his way to the Slytherin table.

"Bad luck," Draco sighed, sitting down at the end of the Hufflepuff table, next to the first-years. Padma found a couple of Ravenclaw girls who had saved her a seat, and Neville squeezed himself in on the other side of the first-years, next to Seamus Finnegan.

Harry, undeterred and unashamed, walked down to where Marcus Flint and most of the other Quidditch players were sitting with the sixth-years, elbowing his way in.

"Oi!" said an annoyed sixth. "Find your own seat!"

"Shove off," Flint told him. "Potter's with us."

"Ta," Harry said. "What're you doing back here?"

Flint sneered. "Fumbled my NEWTs. Got to take the year again. Anyone going to say anything about it? Thought not."

"Shh," said Towler, a fifth-year who played Beater for the team. "Dumbly's talking."

"...nother year at Hogwarts!" Dumbledore was saying, standing at the lectern in front of the high table. "I have a few things to say to you all, and as one of them is very serious, I think it best to get it out of the way before you become befuddled by our excellent feast."

The Slytherin Quidditch team, en masse, groaned. Dumbledore frowned slightly; behind him, Snape smiled.

"As many of you are aware -- particularly after their search of the Hogwarts Express -- our school is presently playing host to some of the Dementors of Azkaban Prison, who are here on Ministry of Magic business."

Harry turned to glance at Draco and saw a Ravenclaw lean across the space between tables to give him a shove. A few other Hufflepuffs closed ranks around the blond boy.

"They are stationed at every entrance to the grounds," Dumbledore continued, "and while they are with us, I must make it plain that nobody is to leave school without permission. Dementors are not to be fooled by tricks or disguises -- or even Invisibility Cloaks," he added blandly. Harry grinned at him. "It is not in the nature of a Dementor to understand pleading or excuses. I therefore warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. Dementors are capable of seriously injuring even the innocent when their tempers are aroused. Fortunately, they have been banned from entering school property, but I cannot speak to your safety from them -- or other dangers -- outside of the grounds."

Behind Dumbledore, Remus sat next to Snape with his hands folded on the table, looking pale and grave. Dumbledore turned to look at him. Harry wondered how much Remus' owl had said about what the Dementors had done on the train.

"On a happier note," Dumbledore continued, "I am pleased to welcome two new teachers to our ranks this year. First, Professor Remus Lupin, who has kindly consented to fill the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher."

Remus stood and gave a hasty bow to a scattering of applause, mainly from the Weasleys and Harry's band of friends. Several Gryffindor girls were giggling with their heads together, Ginny at their centre. Most of the Slytherins in the immediate area were murmuring discontentedly: "Snape missed it again!" "He'll never get the job." "Dumbledore doesn't like him."

"In addition," Dumbledore said, spreading his hands to quiet the crowd a little, "Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, has chosen to retire in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs. I am delighted to say that, after some discussion with the Board of Governors, his place will be filled by our own Rubeus Hagrid, who has agreed to take this teaching job in addition to his gamekeeping duties."

Hagrid, the enormous gamekeeper, stood with an abrupt jerk and gave a clumsy imitation of Remus' bow. Remus clapped him on the shoulder when he sat down again, then winced and shook out his hand to banish the sting.

"Now, with introductions out of the way, let me wish you a bright new year of studies," Dumbledore said. "And let the feast begin!"

Immediately the tables filled with food -- giant tureens of mashed potatoes, sides of beef and roasted chickens, overflowing bowls of bread, pitchers of pumpkin juice and cool iced water. Harry heaped his plate high, being in competition with boys and girls whose arms were much longer than his, and settled down to enjoy the meal, keeping one eye on Remus at the high table. He seemed to be doing all right, making conversation with Hagrid, and Harry felt a surge of pride for his adoptive father.

"So," Flint said, talking around a mouthful of turkey, "We're down seriously this year. We've got me for Keeper, Pipsqueak's bound to be out of practice in Seeking so you'd better find some time to make it up -- "

"I'll be fine," Harry replied, annoyed.

"Sure you will, tiny," Towler put in.

"Pucey's our only Chaser left, and Towler's a hell of a Beater but not good enough for two."

"Care to wager on that?" Towler asked, buttering his bread.

"Not the cup I'm not, but we'll have a contest sometime," Flint answered. "Tryouts are next Sunday."

"It's already Tuesday. That hardly gives people a week and a half to sign up!" Harry said, thinking of Draco.

"Long enough. No slackers on this team, right?" said Flint, which made Harry stifle a grin. Marcus Flint was the laziest Quidditch player he'd ever met. "We'll be looking for two new Chasers and a Beater. Anyone got recommendations?"

"Blaise Zabini flies all right, but I've no clue how he plays," Harry said. "I imagine Colin Creevey'll try for something or other."

"Cricket? He's smaller than you are! If he tried to bat a Bludger he'd fall off his broomstick," Towler said with a laugh.

"Sharp though," Harry answered. "And he's a quick little bug. Are all the teams doing tryouts?"

Flint nodded. "Sure, we're doing a big mass thing, I arranged it with the other captains. Way more embarrassing that way," he added with a chuckle. "Oliver Wood likes Neville Longbottom for Beater, you know."

"Good, 'cause he's pants at it and that'll make it easier on us," Harry replied. "Speaking of flying, have you seen the Firebolt yet?"

The conversation rapidly changed to the merits of the Firebolt, the history of the company, the personal preferences of the players, and several jokes about who liked what kind of wood. Harry listened, actually getting many of the jokes for the first time. He even joined in on the chorus when the Slytherins and Hufflepuffs both broke into a rude song about the Holyhead Harpies and their lovely soft bristles.

Betwys Beddau had been fun, and London had been interesting, but Hogwarts really was the best.


It took Remus until after dinner was over to corner Snape. McGonagall had passed word down the High Table that there was to be a gathering for punch and light dessert in the professors' common room after dinner; Remus finally found Snape folded into a chair by the empty fireplace with a cup of punch in his hands.

"May I sit with you?" he asked politely, indicating the other chair. Snape gestured to it dismissively. "I was wondering if I might have a word before classes begin tomorrow."

"Oh?" Snape asked, disinterestedly.

"Listen, I know we haven't always been on the best of terms and you and Sirius are -- well, I won't try to come up with a word for that -- but I think we've managed to reach a sort of detente in the last few years, don't you?" Remus asked.

"A detente?" Snape said scornfully, raising an eyebrow.

"A truce? I don't approve of the way Sirius treated you at school, I never did..."

"Nor, if I recall correctly, did you -- "

" -- do much to stop it, I know," Remus interrupted. "And I'm sorry for that. Honestly, though, we're both adults; we're going to see a fair bit of each other what with the -- potion and both of us living in the castle and all. I'd like to put that behind us, if you will," he continued. "I think we have a lot in common, Severus. I want to make a clean start with you."

He offered his hand. Snape looked down at it, then back up at him. "Nymphadora didn't put you up to this, by any chance, did she?"

Remus looked perplexed. "Do you think I'm not capable of wanting to make amends myself?"

"It has more to do with her annoying habit of wanting me to get on with everyone," Snape said, then sighed and shook his hand lifelessly. "A fresh start, as you say -- but don't expect we shall be great friends or that I'm going to help you with your lesson plans or any of that."

"Wouldn't dream of it," Remus said drily. "That's very decent of you, Severus."

"Yes, well, don't let word get out," Snape replied.

"That you're a decent human being? My lips are sealed. If you'll excuse me..."

"Ah yes. Mingling," Snape said, his lip curling in distaste. Remus picked up his cup and wandered back over to the cauldron of punch, where Madam Hooch and the Headmaster were discussing the events on the Hogwarts Express.

"Our hero of the hour!" Hooch said, smiling at him. "We were just saying how wonderfully pithy your owl was."

"Mr. Lupin has rarely been at a loss for words in his life," Dumbledore added.

"Dementors aboard train; students endangered. All well, proceeding to Hogwarts. Medical attn. for Potter. Signed RJL," Hooch repeated dramatically.

"Yes, well. Therein lies a mystery, you know," Remus said. "Has the Headmaster informed you that Cornelius Fudge was on the train?"

"Was he?" McGonagall asked. "Why would the Minister for Magic want to take the Hogwarts Express?"

"I've no idea," Remus said. "He said it was because he found the train less stressful than flooing straight to Hogsmeade, which is obviously a line, but I can't think of any other explanation. After the Dementors came on board he Apparated away pretty quickly."

"Perhaps he was coming up early for the Azkaban inspection," Flitwick said, picking up a discarded Daily Prophet and folding it so that the headline on the back was visible. "He's supposed to be having a look at the new safety features on the prison."

"Can't imagine that'll be much fun, if he's so skittish around Dementors," Remus said.

"I'm skittish around Dementors. Horrible creatures," said Madam Pince.

"Well, good thing we have a big strapping Defence professor to keep them at bay, eh?" Professor Sinistra said, winking at Remus. "I'm off, children; Mercury's leaving retrograde tonight and I always like to watch that. See you all at lunch."

"I think I will slip away too, actually," Remus said, finishing his punch. "Bit of a long day for me. Besides, I'd better go make sure Dobby hasn't utterly destroyed my belongings -- I left him unpacking my rooms, but he can get a bit overenthusiastic."

"Sleep well, Professor," McGonagall said, putting a slight emphasis on his title.

"Thank you, Deputy Headmistress, I plan to," he answered with a grin, leaving the common room and pausing in the hallway to get his bearings briefly. Then, with the confidence born of seven years' sneaking around the castle, he made his way to the rooms he'd been assigned, near the entrance to Gryffindor's dormitory tower.

He found Dobby in the hallway outside his room, unloading an enormous chair from the old dumbwaiter.

"Evening, Mr. Howson," he said, nodding to the ghost of the old porter, who was directing Dobby bossily. "How are you?"

"Little Lupin!" Howson crowed, tipping his hat. "Fine, sir, and yourself?"

"Getting along. Good to see you're still about the place. Dobby, what are you doing?"

"He's bringing you some proper furniture," boomed a voice from the doorway to his quarters, and Sirius' head poked around the doorway. "Come on then, I didn't sneak all the way here from the Shrieking Shack just to get caught and tugged around by my earlobe by McGonagall."

Remus grinned and took the chair from Dobby, carrying it effortlessly into his rooms.

"Right, elf," Sirius said, "Get ye to the kitchens for a day or two. I'll call when I need you."

Dobby bowed so low his nose banged on the hallway's stone floor before he vanished. Remus shut the door after him and allowed Sirius to kiss him hello before inspecting his rooms.

"Bit poky," Sirius said professionally, looking around. "But then you did always like poky."

"I don't expect to spend much time here -- did you have Dobby refurnish it? My books aren't even unpacked!"

"I just had him take the broken stuff away. And the ugly stuff," Sirius added.

"Sirius, your definition of ugly..."

"Well, I was tired of looking for flats in Hogsmeade. I still haven't found a proper one. There's a nice house out near the fens, though. It's rather big, actually, but -- "

"How big is big?" Remus inquired, amused.

"Three bedrooms, plus a library and a study plus all the usual rooms. But it's a good investment! I can fix it up and then rent it out when or if we move back to London. And it's got lovely big gardens..."

"One wonders how anyone ever mistook you for straight," Remus said, reaching for a box of books on the floor. "First you redecorate my rooms, now you're going on about lovely gardens. Oof!"

His muscles protested and he nearly dropped the box; Sirius caught one edge and helped him move it onto the table.

"Raw animal magnetism," Sirius answered.

"And your horrible taste in art. Listen, I need to talk to you about Harry."

"No you don't," Sirius said, wrapping one arm around his waist. "We can talk about Harry tomorrow."

"Sirius..." Remus pushed him off, gently. "You know Dumbledore said there were Dementors guarding the grounds?"

"Sure, that's why I went underground when I came in. Did you know the east tunnel collapsed? Looks like it's been years -- "

"They searched the train. One of them attacked Harry."

Sirius froze. "What?"

"He's all right, just a little bruised up. But he passed out, and I thought -- "

"Is he in the hospital wing?"

"No -- Sirius -- " Remus grabbed his arm as he made for the door. "He's fine. Well, probably not completely fine, but he'll be much less fine if you go bursting into his common room..."

"Has the nurse seen to him?"

"Yes, all right? I made sure she checked him out. When I left the Great Hall he was having a grand time and eating ice cream."

"You didn't tell me sooner?" Sirius demanded.

"He's all right, Sirius! I only thought you ought to know, and I didn't want you to panic, which you're clearly going to do anyway..." he tugged Sirius back from the door and gave him a gentle push onto a sofa near the big windows.

"You're sure he's all right?"

Remus crossed his arms. "Do you think I'd have left him alone if I thought otherwise? The boy has to preserve some kind of respect with his friends, though. I promise, Sirius."

"Okay," Sirius said, looking calmer. "Thank you for telling me."

"You're welcome," Remus said, properly interpreting Thank you for telling me as I'm sorry I am insane. "Listen, why don't you Padfoot up tomorrow morning and you can come to breakfast with me and see for yourself."

"Do you have him for class tomorrow?"

"N...o," Remus said, checking his schedule. "No third-year classes at all tomorrow, I won't have Harry in a class until Monday. But if you want to come along, we can have dinner in Hogsmeade after my last class. And this weekend you can show me this house you like so well."

Sirius looked placated, though still a little worried.

"And you can stay here tonight if you like," Remus added, tempting him. "Bet you always wanted to have a passionate affair with a Hogwarts Professor."

Sirius smiled at that and jerked his head at the box of books on the table. "Want help unpacking?"


"All right, gentlemen," Padma said, sitting at the Hufflepuff table the next morning. Harry, a very sleepy-looking Neville, and Draco were all eagerly eating breakfast while Denbigh, head of the kitchen elves, waited on the early-rising foursome. "You know what time it is."

Draco put his fork down and groaned. "Index cards?"

"Index cards!" Padma said with relish, taking a handful of white cards out of her book bag. "Who's got what when and with whom?"

"Who wants to know?" Harry asked, but he took a card anyway and began writing down his schedule. "You lot all have Arithmancy tomorrow afternoon, don't you?"

"No, I've got Runes," Padma said. "Well, both. You know, it's sort of silly really, I'm not even going to be using the time-turner all that much."

"Not for classes," Harry agreed.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Padma, you have a device which allows you to travel in time. Do you have any conception of how much mischief we can get up to this year with a time traveling accomplice? It boggles the mind!"

"It boggles your little mind, I'm sure," she replied with a sniff and a teasing grin. "Honestly, I can't use it much, I think they monitor it or something."


"Maybe a little," she allowed. "But not much!"

"All right, all right."

"How'd they even let you have one?" Draco asked, writing industriously and with many ink-blottings. "I mean -- after last year..."

Harry saw Neville kick him under the table. Draco winced. Padma's lips were pressed into a thin line.

"I have to catch up," she said determinedly.

"Yeah, but I mean, not about classes, but -- ow! Neville! Ow! Harry!"

"Don't mind him," Neville said. "You're fine, aren't you?"

"Sure," Padma agreed. "Done with your schedule?"

"It's a thing of beauty," Neville said, propping it next to his plate. "We have Dark Arts together, don't we Harry?"

"I think so," Harry said. "Yep. Dark Arts and Divination. You should have taken Divs, Draco."

"No thanks. Besides, it means I have Friday afternoon off," Draco answered. "Listen, people are showing up; you guys had better go before the Prefects get stroppy."

"Sure thing," Harry said, sliding off the bench and crossing the aisle to the Slytherin table. Neville climbed up over the table with simian agility and settled into a seat at Gryffindor just as Percy Weasley, the most officious Prefect in the school, appeared in the doorway. This year, in addition to his Prefect's insignia, he had a Head Boy badge pinned to his collar.

The hall filled up quickly as Harry finished his breakfast and double-checked his schedule. Cricket Creevey brought up his brother Dennis to be introduced; Dennis had gone into Gryffindor and was a little anxious about fraternising with Slytherins. Harry privately decided Creeveys were genetically disposed to making things difficult for themselves.

A shriek of glee near the doorway made him look up, then stand up to try and see over everyone else, who were also standing up. He could see Remus' head bobbing towards the High Table, but surely Remus wasn't causing the commotion --

All became clear as Remus mounted the steps to the High Table's dais, followed by an enormous black dog who came easily up to his hip. Padfoot, tongue lolling, tail-wagging, saw him to his chair and then leapt down, avoiding the many hands outstretched to pat him and making a beeline for the Slytherin table.

"Hello, dog," Harry said with a laugh, allowing Padfoot to lap his cheek affectionately.

"He isn't yours, is he Harry?" someone asked.

"Nah, he belongs to R -- Professor Lupin," Harry answered, as Padfoot leaned past him to steal a helping of bacon from the table. He rubbed Padfoot's jowls affectionately. The enormous dog finished the bacon in record time, then sniffed Harry all over, wagged his tail, and trotted away again, pausing briefly to nudge Draco with his nose. Draco grinned at Harry, but Harry noticed that Dumbledore and Snape were both looking distinctly unamused.


Harry's first class was History of Magic, which was boring on several levels; Binns was of the old school (the very old school; he was a ghost) and didn't believe in making learning interesting. Perhaps he really believed history was interesting on its own merits, but his lectures, if possible, made it drier than it had been to start with. There was also the fact that Harry had read several wizarding history books, so some of it wasn't even new information. He spent most of the class doodling an intricate design in the corner of his desk and wondering what Remus was up to.

Remus was not having quite as placid a morning as Harry; after leaving the Great Hall slightly ahead of the crowd, in order to have a few minutes with his classroom before the students began to arrive, he had bid Sirius goodbye, calmly walked to the faculty washroom next to the Defence classroom, and been violently ill from nerves. Twice.

By the time he washed his face and drank enough water from his cupped hands to kill the acid in his throat, he was nearly late. He arrived to find a half dozen seventh-year students already unpacking their quills and books in the expectation of a full morning of teaching. God, seventh years. Too young to have stopped testing boundaries, too old to punish easily, and far too cocky to reason with. He remembered seventh year all too well.

There were two mixed-house classes for seventh years; not enough of any given House wanted to take Dark Arts for him to make a full classroom from them. He had one this morning, for the whole morning, which was clearly some kind of sadism.

Well, at least he had a place to begin.

"Good morning," he said. "My name is Professor Lupin, as you know, and I will be in charge of your education this year. I understand your course of study may have been a little...irregular."

There was a smattering of laughter from the back of the room. Remus smiled.

"So I'm going to make sure that you get those gaps filled in, as well as preparing you for your NEWTs. You are all planning on taking a NEWTs in Defence? How many of you plan to go out for the MLE?"

Most of the hands went up. Remus nodded.

"Very well then. Quills away and books closed, please; pack up your bags, as we will not be returning to the classroom today."

The students all looked at each other, startled.

"Well, come on then, you haven't got all day," Remus continued.

"We normally have a test on the first day," a shy-looking Ravenclaw said, blushing immediately when he made eye-contact.

"What makes you think you won't?" he said, and walked out of the classroom. Behind him there were hurried rustling noises as they tried to strap up their bags and catch up. When the first few appeared at his elbow, he began asking questions.

"What are three ways of disposing of an Ashwinder egg?" he asked. "Come on, it's all right. I'm not talking to myself, you know."

"Uh, freezing, burying in sand, and, uh..." a tall Hufflepuff fumbled on the third.

"A containment charm," another supplied.

"Very good. Who can name the four cagetories of Dark potions?"

"Acquisitive, Manipulative -- "

" -- Unforgivable, and Invasive."

"Hey, I was going to say those!" complained the boy who'd started the list.

"No interrupting, you're all big kids, you know better," Remus said, pushing open the side-door that let out onto the Hogwarts grounds. A group of startled-looking first years were learning to fly broomsticks off to the right. He led them down and across the steep slope, towards a clearing near the lake. As long as he kept them off their footing, they couldn't kick back...

"Where are we going?" someone asked.

"I like the fresh air," Remus replied. "Here we are. All right," he said, stopping on level ground and turning to face the breathless Sevenths. "I know Professor Tonks drilled you in duelling last year -- how many of you are in the Duelling Club?"

Every hand went up.

Remus grinned. This might be fun after all...


Following his Charms class, Harry had a free afternoon and he knew everyone else did too; he lay in wait outside McGonagall's classroom for Draco to come out. When the rest of the Hufflepuffs passed by, Harry poked his head in and found Draco still sitting at his desk, working. McGonagall was nowhere to be seen.

"Hey!" Harry called. "C'mon!"

"Can't," Draco replied, half-turning.

"Sure you can, it's our first day," Harry said, walking down the centre aisle. "You can't have that much homework already. We're all going to go to the Defence classroom and play pranks on Remus' students so they learn proper respect for their professor. It'll be fun!"

"Nah," Draco said. "You go on. I've got remedials."

"What?" Harry asked. "Remedials? First day back? McGonagall isn't merciful, is she?"

"Well, I sort of signed up for it," Draco said reluctantly. "I mean, I was middle of the class last year because of Transfiguration, I want to be top of class this year. It's important now, you know."

"So I'll help you, why do you want to spend more time in a classroom?"

"McGonagall says she thinks she knows how to help. It's fine, Harry, go on. See you at dinner, okay?"

"You're welcome to stay, Mr. Potter," said McGonagall's voice behind him. Harry stiffened. It was instinctive -- he swore he'd seen Sirius do it once or twice. "You could use a few extra hours on your diction."

"Ah -- no thanks -- Professor," Harry said, turning around and backing away slowly. "I'll just -- go -- to -- my...common room."

He fled with a backwards glance at Draco, who didn't look as miserable as Harry would have been in his shoes.

Padma and Neville should have been coming out of the free-study class in the library, but when Harry arrived only Neville was there.

"Where's Draco?" Neville asked.

"Where's Padma?" Harry asked.

"Is it just us? Padma's doing extra tutoring to get up to speed on what she missed. She says it'll only be a month."

"Draco's doing remedials in Transfigs."

"Again? It must be some kind of genetic disorder."

"I dunno what it is, but he seems to like it. Come on. We can still spy."

Harry and Neville crept towards the Dark Arts classroom by slinking along the walls and, once, taking refuge in an empty room on the first floor.

"You stand guard," Harry whispered. "Then I'll stand guard and you can have a turn."

"Should've brought your invisibility cloak," Neville sighed.

"Takes all the fun out of it," Harry said. "It's fine in a -- you know, a greater cause, but when it's sneaking for the sake of sneaking, invisibility's boring."

The classroom door was open just slightly, and Harry knelt down and pushed it a little until he could see inside, his head just past the doorjamb. Remus was pacing back and forth at the front of the class.

"So, the theory behind this is -- yes -- "

"Brocklehurst, sir. The theory of equative properties states that the force of magic in a given object is reduced in efficiency by the same amount as a Muggle object in high magical fields."

Remus had moved out of sight now, though it sounded like he was walking past the windows. Harry narrowed his eyes at Elaine Brocklehurst. He had yet to forgive her for helping to dye Neville green in their first year. Perhaps a croak-throat hex...

"And what are the implications of this, Mr. Diggory?"

"Magic meant to interact on a normal basis with Muggles must be slightly stronger than magical items meant to remain in a magical environment, Professor."

"Yes, we all know that," Remus said, sounding much closer now. Harry had just about fixed his wand on Brocklehurst's neck. "What I mean to ask is, with an eye to theoretical experimentation, what can we learn from bringing Muggle objects into a magical field?"

There was a sudden thump. Harry had a brief vision of Remus' newly-shined shoes before all he saw was stars. He tumbled backwards into Neville, who fell over also. The door had slammed shut, directly on his nose.

He sat up slowly, rubbing the tip of his nose where the wood had knocked him backwards. Behind him, Neville pushed himself upright.

"He slammed the door on me!" Harry said, outraged. "My nose is bleeding!"

"He's not half mean as a professor," Neville observed, laughing. "He's got your number right enough, Harry. Serves us right for spying."

Harry, pride and nose both still smarting, stood up and gave Neville a hand up too. "Come on, let's go steal some snacks from the kitchen and plot our revenge."

"He is a professor, Harry," Neville said, slightly apprehensive. "And you did deserve it, you know."

"Maybe," Harry allowed. "But he shouldn't get away with it."

Neville rolled his eyes and tickled the pear at the entrance to the Hogwarts kitchens. "Yes, how dare a professor escape punishment for putting you in your place, Harry Potter."


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