Marauder The Slash Nymph, NEW MOM (marauderthesn) wrote in mtsn_hp_au,
Marauder The Slash Nymph, NEW MOM

Another Prisoner, Another Professor: Chapter Sixty-Two

Back at school.

“I want this match to be over with as soon as possible,” Wood said, sitting on top of one of the common room tables and resting his feet on a chair. “Let’s not give them a chance to score points if we can help it. We’re going to forget defense and go straight for offense in this one, so Fred, George, that means you focus on hitting the Slytherins with the Bludgers, not keeping the Bludgers off our team. Everybody’s improved a lot in reflex drills. I need you to be even more alert than usual, because Fred and George aren’t necessarily going to have your back, okay?”

Alicia Spinnet and Katie Bell exchanged wary looks. “What if there’s a Bludger coming right at us?” Alicia asked. “Are they supposed to just ignore that if they don’t think they can whack it at a Slytherin?”

“Nobody’s ignoring anything – we’re just putting the focus on offense.” Wood turned to Fred and George. “And we can’t focus on offense if we’re out of the match, so make sure nobody’s taken out. Harry, don’t pay too much attention to what Malfoy’s doing unless you can see both him and the Snitch. My guess is he’s going to waste a lot of time feinting to try to throw you off. Try to forget it’s Malfoy, all right? Don’t let too much personal feeling in. Just think of him as the Slytherin Seeker.”

“Yeah,” Harry retorted, “the Slytherin Seeker whose parents might’ve killed my godfather’s brother...”

Somehow, word had got around Hogwarts very fast that Professor Black was Harry Potter’s godfather and Harry was going to be living with him from now on. In one way, Harry was glad Sirius was planning to leave Hogwarts once the school year ended; he wasn’t keen on the thought of spending the next four years working especially hard to prove that any good marks he got weren’t because his godfather was a professor. “You should always work especially hard,” Hermione told him reprovingly in the library after dinner. With less than a week left until the Quidditch final, Harry couldn’t spend more than a minute in the common room without someone wanting to give him advice on the match. “You’re here to learn how to do magic, not how to play Quidditch.”

“Hermione, what d’you think Quidditch is?” Ron asked incredulously, erasing a mistake on his Astronomy chart. “Besides, let’s face it, flying fast on a broom’s going to be loads more helpful than reading ancient runes once we’re out of school. Unless somebody digs up a carved rock, what’re you ever going to need ancient runes for?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Hermione said casually, pulling a scroll of parchment out of her bag. “Maybe just – “ She paused, unfurled the scroll, and began to read. “’Twenty-seven December, nineteen-seventy-five. Mum told Sirius that if he hates our family so much, he ought to move out and – ‘”

Harry stood up so he could lean over and see the parchment. “You’ve got Regulus’s diary written out in ancient runes?”

“It’s working really well,” Hermione replied, rolling up the parchment again and returning it to her bag. “This way I can read it whenever I want and anyone who sees it’ll just think it’s homework. Professor Black was really nice about it, he let me sit in his office and copy out the diary while you two were in Divination. He said I helped him using one book and we’ll see if I’ve got any ideas about this one.”

“Yeah,” Ron muttered to Harry as Hermione went to get more parchment for her essay. “Black really hates her so much...”

Hermione did have some ideas about Regulus’s diary, but they weren’t about Regulus. “I still can’t believe Snape’s a half-blood,” Ron said during their Care of Magical Creatures lesson on Wednesday. They were sitting outside Hagrid’s hut, overseeing flobberworms sleeping in a box; several feet away, Lavender, Parvati and Neville were watching Seamus and Dean compete over who could stack the tallest worm tower. It looked as though Dean was in the lead. “Who wants to hang around a bunch of people who think you’ve got dirty blood? What was Snape doing joining the Death Eaters?”

“Ron, he thinks he’s got dirty blood!” Hermione exclaimed, loudly enough that Fang, dozing on the steps, opened one eye before closing it again. “Think about it – Snape could’ve grown up around all the rich purebloods if his father hadn’t been a Muggle. His mum taught all three of the Black girls, his grandfather had some sort of important business – it doesn’t sound as though they were fantastically wealthy, but they were part of that society. Then Snape’s mum married a Muggle and he had to be a Snape instead of a Prince – “

“Wonder why he didn’t go through with changing it,” Harry said, watching the Whomping Willow shake off some of its last dead leaves. A crooked row of tulips was growing outside Hagrid’s window. “That’d be the Death Eater thing to do, wouldn’t it? Don’t like your Muggle dad, get rid of his name – “

“They must just find a way to ignore when someone’s not a pureblood, if they really want him on their side,” said Hermione. “Malfoy was even willing to do it with you – remember before the Sorting when he wanted to shake your hand?”

“That’s right!” Ron said, sitting up. “Imagine if you’d done it – that would’ve been a great day for the Malfoys, dear old Draco bringing Harry Potter over to the dark side.”

“They couldn’t have brought me over to the dark side,” said Harry. “They probably would’ve just found some way to finish me off with an exploding potion or drown me in the lake.”

Quidditch practice was scheduled for every evening until the match; Wood and Flint had flipped a Sickle to determine when each team would have the pitch, and Gryffindor had ended up with two hours just after dinner. The weather was mild enough now that some of the non-players in the house started doing their homework in the stands so they could see how practice was going. One of them was Percy, who spent each break in the practice nagging Wood about studying for N.E.W.T.s until Fred and George, out of Wood’s hearing, finally made a rude suggestion about what Percy could do with himself.

No longer hidden by Cedric Diggory, the team’s Firebolts were being guarded around the clock in the common room, with Nearly Headless Nick taking the night shift. Colin Creevey volunteered for the hour after classes finished; in his spare time, he was trying to work out how to rig his camera so it would automatically photograph any Slytherin intruders. “Do you think any of the Slytherins will actually try to break in?” Harry asked Wood as Lee Jordan climbed through the portrait hole to relieve Colin of his watch. “That’d be really stupid, even for them – “

“Probably they won’t,” Wood said, sitting down in an armchair and opening his Transfiguration book. “But I’m not going to risk it. Besides, this is building house spirit.”

In Potions, Snape had finally allowed the Gryffindors and Slytherins to sit at different tables again; Harry got the impression Snape expected him to do something nasty to Malfoy during class and send him to the hospital wing. “You know, this isn’t really hard,” Neville said happily, stirring his potion counterclockwise. “It’s sort of like cooking, isn’t it? Gran always says I’m a good cook. Professor Black’s been really helpful, too. You’re really going to live with him?”

“Yeah,” Harry replied, glancing at the blackboard for the next direction. As he turned back to his cauldron, he caught a glimpse of Pansy Parkinson’s smirking face.

“If you win the Quidditch Cup, just enjoy it while it lasts,” Pansy told him on their way out of class. “Flint’ll be gone next year. Once we get a new captain, there’s no telling what might happen.”

“Yeah,” said Ron. “No telling if you’ll get even worse and be the biggest failures in the history of Hogwarts Quidditch...”

“There’s no telling who’ll stay on the team.” Pansy looked Harry in the eye for a split second. “Have fun playing with Draco.”

“Blimey,” Ron said as Pansy walked away. “You don’t suppose she wants to be Seeker, do you?”

“I can’t see any reason to rule it out,” replied Hermione, watching as Pansy turned the corner and disappeared from their sight. “One of the Parkinsons was Slytherin Seeker before Regulus got the spot. Maybe it runs in the family.”

“There’s an idea for one of Nymphadora’s horror films,” Ron said to Harry. “Generation after generation of hideous pug-faces diving after little golden balls…”

Sirius was making Harry a potion for a dreamless sleep; with two nights left until the Quidditch final, Harry didn’t want to find himself having nightmares about dementors or losing to Slytherin by three hundred points. “I heard from Moody today,” Sirius said, handing Harry a steaming mug. “He’s found indications that Remus has been everywhere from Canada to Tokyo over the last several months. It doesn’t seem he’s been to Berlin, though, which is about what I expected. Looking for allies would be too much of a risk.”

Sirius’s potion was the color of a melted blue ice lolly and tasted like prawns. “D’you think he’s tracking down his last piece of evidence?” Harry asked. “If it could be anywhere from Canada to Tokyo, he might never find it – “

“There’s something else.” Sirius leaned back against his desk. “Moody thinks – and this is just his opinion – that Remus hasn’t been abroad for the last ten weeks or so. The Aurors are scouring every forest in Britain during each full moon. Lately they’ve been finding werewolf hairs in places more than fifty miles away from any address listed on the Werewolf Registry.”

“So he could be closing in.”

“He could be closing in.” Sirius took the empty mug from Harry and set it down behind him. “I don’t want you to worry, all right? No matter what side he’s on, I don’t think he’s coming for you. Remember, he broke into our house. If Remus really wanted to harm you, I think he would have done something much more sinister than leave Regulus’s diary.”

“I’m not worried,” Harry said, but a heady shot of anticipation was running through him. If Lupin was closing in, it was only a matter of time before they would have the answers they’d been looking for.
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