The next few weeks went much the same way as the first
week of term in that everyone was getting used to being in classes
and having homework to do daily again. The three friends were much
the same. They split their time between doing their homework as well
as studying and researching in the library and sorting out the items
that were in the room of requirement. They found themselves enjoying
their time spent there quite a bit, especially Hermione.
With each new discovery, Hermione got even more enthusiastic about going back and finding more new treasures though not at the expense of homework of course. When done with anything else that needed to be done, and when they weren't in the room itself, she could often be found reading a book that they had recently found while there. Harry and Neville both found books from there to read from as well.
Harry was mainly researching the duplicating spell that Voldemort had used against him in the future to his great success and Harry's demise. Harry could think of numerous ways to use it if only he could find it. He was having absolutely no luck in the matter. He was determined to find it though.
Harry had even less time than the other two, because he had a certain snake to visit. He often spent time in the late evenings in the chamber with Viride. They had become good friends, and he enjoyed talking with her.
She had great insights into Voldemort's mind, though sadly she did not know where he had gotten the duplication spell as he had found it after he had known her. Harry often returned to his dorm after their conversations feeling a bit more relaxed if a bit more frustrated at the same time. He really wanted to find that spell.
Harry also spent some evenings with Professor Snape. He never seemed to run out of stories to tell him about his mother. Harry found that he really enjoyed those evenings spent in Snape's office, and he had a feeling that Snape did as well, even if he would never let anyone know.
He also made a late night trip up to the room of requirement in order to hide the vanishing cabinet. During one trip, Hermione had made a comment about it, and Harry would rather not tell his friends about it just yet. He thought that he might tell them someday, but for now it was better that it be kept secret, as he didn't want anyone to read their minds and find out that he had the vanishing cabinet and start to ponder as to the reason why it was in his possession.
The trio had also gone to the second DA lesson of the year, it was much the same as the first, except that halfway though the lesson, they moved on to stunning charms. The other main difference between this meeting of the DA and the last was that Harry and Neville paired up while Hermione ended up paired with Ron Weasley.
It rather surprised Harry when Ron was able to keep his mouth shut throughout the whole lesson. Harry did notice him glaring a bit at Hermione afterward. This might have been due to the fact that she was able to stun him twice while he never came close to even sending a stunning spell at her. It was certainly a little better than how he could be so Harry was not too bothered.
Before the three friends knew it, it was Saturday the first of February and the three first years were tired. They had just gotten back from a long day of sorting things in the room of requirement, and they were very tired. They decided to go out by the lake and relax for a while before dinner, even though it was still rather cold out.
They were sitting there for a few minutes when Neville took a chocolate frog out of his pocket and proceeded to eat it. As soon as Hermione noticed it she got irritated and proceeded to tell Neville off.
“Really Neville. We are about to go to dinner. If you continue to eat sweets then you will not eat any dinner, for you will not be hungry. Besides too many sweets will rot your teeth which is not a good thing at all.” Hermione said rather loudly.
“I'm sorry Hermione.” said Neville after he had swallowed his bite of chocolate and was done looking sheepish. “I just felt like some chocolate and wasn't really thinking about how we would soon be going to dinner. I will be more careful in the future, and besides wizards don't get rotten teeth.”
After catching the confused look on Hermione's face, Neville went on to explain, “We have charms for that.”
At that he looked down at his lap to where he had lain he chocolate frog card from the package and gasped. The other two quickly came over to see what was the matter. Then Hermione also gasped and Harry pretended to look surprised.
The chocolate frog card that Neville had gotten was Albus Dumbledore's, but that wasn't what had surprised two out of the three students. What surprised them was the mention of Nicholas Flamel.
“To the library!” shouted Hermione.
The other two gathered their things and followed quickly so as to not lose their friend. Five minutes later they hurried into their usual secluded corner of the library just as Hermione came back with a huge tome.
“Why didn't I remember him before. Of course we couldn't find him in the books we were looking for; We were thinking that his achievements had to have been recent. After all he is the only six hundred and something year old man alive. Why would we think to look back so far. I, however, read a bit about him in this book that I had checked out ages ago.
It says here that he worked with Dumbledore to discover the twelve uses of dragon's blood. That is what he has been working on in most recent years. However, he is most famous for creating the world's only philosopher's stone.” Hermione said.
“What's a philosopher's stone Hermione.” asked Neville.
“A philosopher’s stone is a creation of an obscure branch of magic called alchemy. It can turn lead into gold, but that is not the most valuable aspect of it neither is it why Quirrel would want it. One of its most interesting features, and the reason why the Flamels are still alive today, is that as long as someone drinks the elixir of life that it produces, then they will live forever.” explained Hermione.
“Wow.” said Neville after getting over his shock.
“Indeed, and we can't let him get it.” said Hermione.
“Agreed. We will have to keep an eye on the third flood corridor whenever we can to make sure that Fluffy is still there and that the stone is still safe.” Harry said.
The other two quickly agreed and they went back to their lives with the addition of keeping an eye on the third floor where Fluffy was to make sure that he was still there, whenever they could.
Very soon it was the day of the Gryffindor vs. Hufflepuff match. It was once again weird for Harry to not be playing. He felt it even weirder that he would be cheering for Hufflepuff in this match instead of Gryffindor. He would just have to get used to it. After all, it wasn't like the sorting hat would suddenly change its mind and put him in Gryffindor again.
Shaking his head, he got up and went down to meet Hermione and Neville at the Ravenclaw table for lunch. They had figured that it was better that they sit at a table that was neutral for this match rather than either the Hufflepuff or Gryffindor tables in order to avoid the other students ire for 'sitting with the enemy.' It was a good idea; Too bad it didn't work.
Students from both Gryffindor and Hufflepuff were glaring at them like they had betrayed them. Ron was glaring especially hard. The Slytherins just seemed amused, and the Ravenclaws didn't seem to care. That was alright with Harry. They could glare all they wanted; The trio would not change their minds about sitting together.
They made their way to the stands and decided to sit together once again in the Ravenclaw section. Ravenclaw house was split about half and half about who they wanted to win. Though slightly more wanted Gryffindor to win just so that Slytherin would be even further behind them and therefore less likely to win the quidditch cup and also the house cup.
Harry once again got a bit of a shock when Madam Hooch came out to referee. He looked to the teacher's stands and spotted Snape beside Quirrel, who didn't look to happy about it. Logically Harry knew that Snape would have no reason to referee this match as Harry wasn't playing, but part of him was still expecting it.
In this case it made sense to have Snape sit right beside Quirrel to make sure that he didn't do anything drastic like he had during the Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match. Snape obviously figured that Quirrel had had something to do with the missing snitch, though he couldn't know exactly what had happened. Harry wasn't likely to tell him either. Though he supposed that he could have found out what had happened from reading either Hermione or Neville's minds. It was unlikely though.
Thinking about that made him think about all of the wild stories that he had heard after that particular quidditch match. One person had said that they were sure that it thought it was an actual snidget and was looking for other snidgets. Another person thought that someone had stolen it and was planning to release it in the great hall during dinner as a prank.
The wildest tale of the bunch though was from a second year. They spun a wild tale about how it had gained intelligence and was planning on coming back to Hogwarts to teach History of Magic. However, instead of goblin rebellions, it would focus on the history of Quidditch. Harry had to laugh at that one though he did think that a snitch would be a much better teacher than Professor Binns was.
He was brought back out of his thoughts when Lee started announcing the teams coming onto the field. Harry cheered along with everyone else. He cheered mostly for Hufflepuff, but wasn't adverse to Gryffindor either.
The game was a long one. The Gryffindor chasers were in top form as always as was Oliver Wood. The Hufflepuff chasers and keeper weren't bad either. It was the seekers that were the problems.
In later years Cedric Diggory would be a much better seeker, however at the moment he wasn't so great. He was only a third year after all and this was his first year on the team. He just needed more experience.
Where Cedric needed experience, the Gryffindor seeker just stunk, end of story. They were once again more focused on the game than looking for the snitch. This led to Gryffindor's downfall.
Cedric snatched the snitch right out from under the other seeker's nose two hours into the match. Hufflepuff won by 100 point as the score was Gryffindor 270 Hufflepuff 370. Much cheering went on. The three friends had enjoyed it a lot, and as such lingered not far from the entrance to the castle.
Therefore, when Snape excited following a Quirrel who clearly did not want to be followed, they saw them. They decided to follow. Harry took out his invisibility cloak and follow they did.
They followed as Snape and Quirrel stopped in a clearing not far into the forbidden forest. They saw Snape staring intimidatingly at Quirrel who appeared to be trembling. They were having a discussion very familiar to Harry.
“I I don't know why you wanted t t to meet me here of all p places Severus..”
“Oh, I thought we'd keep this private, Student's aren't supposed to know about the philosopher's Stone after all.” said Snape icily.
“W what S Severus I I don't..” Quirrel mumbled
“Have you found out how to get past that beast of Hagrid's yet?”
“B b but Severus, I-”
“You don't want me as your enemy, Quirrel,” said Snape taking a menacing step forwards.
“I I don't know what you-”
“You know perfectly well what I mean. So you won't dare to try your little bit of hocus pocus. I'm waiting.”
“B but I d d don't-”
“Very well. We'll have another little chat soon, when you have had time to think things over and decided where your loyalties lie.”
And with that he strode out of the clearing with Quirrel not far behind him. Both of them just missed the trio as they stood still in shock, and still under the cloak.
Seeing as how it was close to curfew they reluctantly separated under the agreement that they would discuss what they heard in the morning. Harry was soon ensconced in a common room filled with happy Hufflepuffs. He stayed for a while to enjoy the party and then went to bed.
The next morning, the three friends gathered in the room of requirement, which provided them a copy of their favorite spot in the library. They decided to go there instead of the library because the room was much more private, and so they could talk freely without fear of being overheard.
They spent the entire morning discussing it. Harry had to spend time convincing them once again that Snape was not going after the stone, and that it was Quirrel.
“Look guys. Snape was obviously trying to figure out how much exactly Quirrel knows concerning what is guarding the stone.” Harry said.
“Then why was he threatening Professor Quirrel?” asked Neville.
“He wanted him to know that if he tried anything then he would stop him.” said Harry.
It took a few minutes more, but he eventually convinced them of the truth. Neville especially was a little skeptical, Then again, he was still rather afraid of Snape so that was sort of to be expected.. After all, it took years in the first timeline for Neville to stop fearing Snape. Harry would help him though, and hopefully, he would overcome it soon.
March went rather quickly with nothing interesting happening. Hermione soon had them studying like mad for the end of the year exams even though they were weeks away. Harry let her as he knew it would make her happy and Neville especially needed the help. April went this way as well until one day they ran into a certain half-giant whilst in the library studying.