Chapter 11: Gryffindor Baiting
Disclaimer: I do not in any way, shape or form own any of the recognisable characters or settings. Everything belongs to JK Rowling
Harry and Severus returned to Hogwarts a day before the students returned. While Severus arranged his supplies and wrote out lesson plans, Harry wandered idly around the corridors. He avoided Filch rather successfully and then he encountered Peeves. The poltergeist cackled upon discovering the young boy and started pelting him with wads of chewed gum he'd peeled off the underside of desks. Harry gave the poltergeist his best glare before turning tail; and running. Peeves chased him down several corridors until Harry locked a door behind him. Bored now, Peeves flew off to pester Filch.
Relieved, Harry turned and found himself staring at a huge mirror. Standing on two clawed feet, the shiny gold frame locked incredibly out of place in the dusty, unused classroom. Curious, Harry walked closer, examining the mirror's inscription as he moved.
'Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi,' Harry murmured to himself. 'What does that mean?'
Harry glanced at the mirror and stiffened in surprise. Suspicious, Harry looked behind him to find himself alone. Looking back at the mirror, Harry could see himself standing between Severus and a red-haired woman of medium height.
'Mum,' Harry said quietly. 'Odd.'
Harry looked up at the inscription again and puzzled over it some more.
'It's not Latin,' he said decisively. 'But what it is I don't know.'
He looked at his parents again ad cocked his on one side thoughtfully.
'It is not the future,' Harry said aloud. 'Nor is it the past it is the one thing I wish for most in the world, though.'
The young Slytherin felt frustrated as he attempted to work out the riddle.
'The most desirable thing to me,' Harry muttered. It clicked suddenly. 'That's it!' Harry cried. 'It's written backwards in a mirror. I show not your face but your heart's desire. Ingenious!'
He studied the mirror for a little longer before shrugging and turning away. 'Perhaps I should persuade Father to go on dates,' Harry mused.
If Harry had been facing the mirror, he would have seen Lily fade before his eyes while a nameless and faceless woman took her place.
'Dating?' Severus looked horrified by the very idea. 'What gave you that idea?' Severus demanded.
Harry stared at him blankly. 'I thought you might be lonely,' he said.
Severus snorted. 'I'm not lonely,' he denied. 'I have my Potions and, more importantly, I have you.'
Harry smirked. 'Gryffindor.'
Severus gasped. It was a game they'd played over the holidays. When one of them acted outside f the Slytherin norm, the other would "Sort" them into another House. The both of them thought Gryffindor the ultimate insult and loved classing the other as one.
'How am I being a Gryffindor?' Severus demanded.
'You're in denial,' Harry said simply. 'I suppose I could you a sappy Hufflepuff as well, though.'
Severus looked thoroughly annoyed by his son, who was outright grinning now.
'You little brat!' Severus lunged for Harry, grabbing him by the waist and throwing him to the floor. Long fingers dug into soft sides, tickling the young boy mercilessly. Harry writhed, squealing with laughter. Severus laughed along with his son, neither noticing when the door swung open to reveal Dumbledore and McGonagall.
McGonagall cleared her throat, causing both Snapes to cease laughing and look up.
Rising to his feet, Severus inclined his head to his two colleagues. 'Headmaster,' he said. 'Minerva. What can I do for you?'
'We would like a word with Harry, Severus,' Minerva said.
'Alone,' Dumbledore added.
'In your office?' Severus asked.
'Yes.' Dumbledore beamed happily.
'I'll be right behind you, Headmaster,' Harry said coldly.
McGonagall frowned and Dumbledore's grin fell.
'Yes,' Dumbledore said. 'Right.'
'We'll be going, then,' McGonagall said stiffly. 'Don't be long, Snape.'
Harry didn't answer as McGonagall swept from the room, hurrying Dumbledore along in front of her.
'I don't like this,' Severus said bluntly. 'It feels like they're going to trick you into something.'
'Don't look them in the eye,' Harry said.
Severus nodded. 'Especially Dumbledore,' he said. 'He's a very skilled Legilimens.'
'What's that?' Harry asked blankly.
'Mind reader,' Severus said dryly.
Harry's eyes widened. 'That's actually possible?' he gasped.
Severus rolled his eyes. 'Go, before they give you a detention.'
'For what?' Harry drawled. 'School doesn't start back for another two days.'
'They'll think of something,' Severus said. 'Now go!'
Harry went. It didn't take him long to get to the gargoyle protecting the entrance to Dumbledore's office. Unlike the other students who would have stood there trying to guess the password, Harry knew exactly how to get the animated statue to move.
'I have an appointment with Headmaster Dumbledore,' Harry said monotonously.
'Name?' the gargoyle groaned.
'No record,' the gargoyle droned. 'Password required.'
Harry was well aware that Dumbledore had a way of listening to all conversations outside of his office so he shrugged. 'Fine. I'll be going then.'
He turned to walk away when the gargoyle said, in a panicked voice, 'No! Wait! I was told your name is Potter. Not Snape.'
'Then, Sir Gargoyle,' Harry said, playing to the statue's vanity, 'you were misinformed.'
The gargoyle preened as much as a motionless gargoyle could. 'I do apologise, Mr Snape,' the gargoyle said. 'Please do enter.'
The gargoyle slid aside and Harry inclined his head at it. 'Many thanks, Sir Gargoyle.'
Harry stepped onto the winding staircase and allowed it to carry him up to Dumbledore's office. He didn't bother knocking so when he entered both Dumbledore and McGonagall were scowling angrily.
'Harry, my boy!' Dumbledore cried upon seeing Harry. The elderly wizard plastered a smile on his face and encouraged Harry to sit down. Harry sat, staring coldly at Dumbledore. 'Now, my boy,' Dumbledore began.
Harry interrupted him by holding up a hand. 'I am not,' he said frostily, 'nor will I ever be, your boy.'
McGonagall's jaw tightened. 'You will speak to the Headmaster with respect.'
Harry ignored her. 'Furthermore,' he said, 'you will cease calling me "Harry" as you have no right to be so familiar with me. You will address me as Mr Snape or not at all.'
Both Dumbledore and McGonagall looked absolutely furious now.
'Very well, Mr Snape,' Dumbledore said tightly. 'Onto the reason I asked you up here.'
'Yes, Headmaster?' Harry said.
'Your father,' Dumbledore began. 'I mean, James Potter, left something in my possession before he died. As his adopted son, it rightfully belongs to you.'
He slid a flat parcel across the desk to Harry and waited. Harry pulled the package into his lap and stared at Dumbledore.
'Aren't you going to open it?' McGonagall questioned.
Harry blinked. 'No,' he said shortly.
McGonagall pursed her lips. 'Then leave,' she said in a clipped voice.
Harry gracefully rose to his feet. Without a word, he swept from the office.
'An Invisibility Cloak?' Daphne sounded awed.
'They're real?' Mandy questioned. 'I thought they were a myth?'
'They're real,' Harry confirmed. 'Tried it out last night.'
'Speaking of night,' Daphne cut in. 'How have you been sleeping?'
'I had a nightmare Christmas Eve,' Harry said, 'but none since then.'
'That's good,' Mandy said. 'You look your old self again.'
'He looks the same to me,' Daphne said.
'You don't know him like I do,' Mandy said. 'There are very subtle differences.'
Daphne looked put out as she crossed her arms. 'We're having a chat alone in a bit,' she told Mandy.
The smaller girl shrugged. 'Ok,' she agreed.
Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger stood outside the library talking in hushed voices.
'Fluffy is guarding the Philosopher's Stone,' Granger whispered.
'What's that then?' Weasley asked.
'It's a legendary stone that can turn lead into gold and create the Elixir of Life that gives the drinker an immortal life.'
Weasley looked impressed. 'Whoever made it must be very clever,' he said.
'Nicholas Flamel created it,' Granger informed the redhead. 'He and Dumbledore are friends so when You-Know-Who set his eyes on stealing it, Dumbledore must have offered to keep it safe for him.'
Weasley gulped. 'You-Know-Who?' he repeated. 'But he's dead.'
'Dumbledore told me otherwise,' Granger said smugly. 'He's going to come back.
'But that would mean he's here in Hogwarts!' Weasley cried.
'No, Ronald,' Granger snapped impatiently. 'But Snape is probably a Death Eater. He'll be the one trying to steal it for his Master.'
Weasley scowled. 'Big git,' he said.
'Language, Ronald,' Granger snapped.
'Yes, language, Weasel,' said Harry, stepping around the corner with Daphne.
'Wouldn't want you corrupting Little Miss Prissy here, would we,' Daphne added.
'Sod off,' Weasley growled.
'Tut tut, Weasel.' Harry smirked. 'Didn't your mum teach you to play nice with others?'
'At least I have a mum,' Weasley snapped.
Daphne snarled and would have lunged at the hot-headed Gryffindor if Goyle hadn't stepped in front of her, cracking his knuckles threateningly.
Harry shrugged. 'Unlike some, I don't need someone coddling me.'
Weasley spluttered indignantly. 'My mum does not coddle me!' he bellowed.
Several students stopped to see what was going on. They started whispering among themselves, speculating as to what started the argument.
Harry smirked at Weasley. 'Really?' he drawled as Malfoy elbowed his way to the front of the crowd. 'That's not what I hear. Ronniekins does change his underwear each day, doesn't he?' Harry spoke in as shrill a voice as he could,. 'He is eating healthily, isn't he? Make sure he's in bed by 10, won't you, Percy?'
The crowd started laughing and Harry, Daphne, Crabbe and Goyle melted back into the throng as Malfoy stepped forward.
'You have a bedtime, Weasel?' he snickered. 'Oh how wonderful. The Weasel has to be in bed by 10 while the rest of us stay up as late as we want.'
The crowd fell silent as Dumbledore and McGonagall pushed their way through.
'It's better than being a Death Eater's son!' Weasley shouted.
Incensed, Weasley and Malfoy pointed their wands at one another, prompting Granger and Parkinson to do the same to each other. There was a loud bang, a lot of smoke and the four of them went flying back.
'Detention,' Dumbledore said. 'All four of you.'
'But Snape started it!' Parkinson wailed.
'Nonsense,' Severus snapped, appearing suddenly. 'My son and his friends aren't even here.'
Looking around, Weasley, Malfoy, Granger and Parkinson saw that Severus was right.
'But…' they all protested as Dumbledore led them to his office.
A/N: I would like to thank an anonymous reviewer for pointing out that in the last chapter I said that Harry received a present from Padam, which isn't actually possible since she died in the troll incident. So thank you whoever you are and I am going to go back and change that. For those who don't want to return and read the chapter again, I'm going to change it to another present from Severus. Sorry.
Thanks to iGymnast for betaing this for me. You're a real sweetheart!