A Potion's Incident and a decision to be made
It was a nice morning at Hogwarts. The sky was shining, despite the fact that autumn had come, the Great Hall was warm and everyone's was preparing for the year's first lesson. For Harry Potter it would have been a nice morning if the year's first lesson was not Potions. He could not quite understand why on Earth they had to do their Potion's lessons so early in the morning. He looked at Ron, who was devouring his breakfast. He, also, was not looking forward for the year's first Potion's lesson. Well most Gryffindors didn't. To Harry's astonishment only a few people had decided to quit Potion's lessons. According to Ron, the Potion's N.E.W.T was regarded to be an extremely important qualification in the wizarding world. Therefore most decided to continue studying the lesson. Harry looked towards Neville's direction. He seemed more than happy with his choice of lessons. Neville had told them, at Hogwarts' Express; that he had chosen to stop going at Potion's lessons and concentrate on his Herbology's N.E.W.T.S. Apparently Professor Sprout had offered to teach him a special N.E.W.T examination on how to grow different kind of magical plants. Neville had accepted happily, and he was now sitting with his Mimbulus mimbletonia in front of him anticipating the year's first Herbology lesson.
"Why do we have to go into that dungeon again?" Ron pouted unhappily "First lesson with that git? This is definitely not a good sign!"
"Ron!" Hermione stated being a little annoyed "I know you don't like Snape but do you mind not calling him a git? You are a Prefect. What…"
"Yeah, yeah Hermione I know. What example do I give, when I am calling our Professor a git all the time?" Ron stated as if he had heard that question a thousand times.
Harry smiled. Ron had raised his eyes in desperation while Hermione was once again giving him the good old "You-are-a-Prefect-and-calling-your-professor-a-git-is-not-to-be-done-around-small-eleven-year-olds" speech. He was feeling happy that his two best friends were with him in that Potion's class. Admitting it to himself, he could not understand how on Earth he had ever managed to get an "O" in his Potion's O.W.L.
He had been sitting in that small crammed bedroom of his when a grey feminine owl tapped her beak against the window's glass. On other situations he would have heard Uncle Vernon's wails about the "retched owls", but that day when he opened the window for the owl to enter, he saw Uncle Vernon glaring at him, his face red as if he was going to explode muttering something under his breath. After seeing his nephew coming back from that school of his with full-grown wizards escorting him; he knew that he was in deep trouble. Harry, after that fateful meeting, was allowed to communicate with his friends freely without being questioned to whom he had sent a post or why.
The teenager opened the sealed envelope with Hogwarts' emblem on it and started reading. When he finished he blinked twice and pinched himself in order to assure himself on the fact that he was not dreaming. Then smiling he re-read the letter.
Dear Mr. Potter
I am pleased to inform you that your O.' results have arrived. I want to congratulate you for your passing marks and inform you that Hogwarts' Express will leave King's Cross on September the first.
The list for the books required for this year's classes as long as your O.' results are enclosed inside.
Harry looked at his O.' diplomas. Each subject's was different colour and it had handwritten notes that explained why the student had received the mark assigned. He knew he had passed but did he dare to look? Harry felt his hands trembling slightly, therefore he set the papers upside down and placing a finger he chose the first one.
The first one had a magic picture of a girl transfiguring a stone to a canary. The parchment was yellowish and with red shining letters and it was marked with an "O". The handwritten note stated that he had described and defined most questions perfectly, though his Switching Spell definition could have been better.
The second parchment presented two wizards duelling with one another. A golden "O" was shining brightly and seemed to change colour when the parchment was moving. The handwritten note stated that he had received one-hundred-and-ten per cent for his examination due to his Patronus Spell.
His Charms result presented a wizard levitating an hourglass. It had an "E" labelled with blue ink. The note mentioned that points were lost due to the fact that he had use a Growth Charm on his rat instead the Colour Change he was supposed to.
His Herbology had another "O" and his Care of Magical Creature's result an "E". His Divination results were marked with an "A", something that Harry was expecting. The whole exam turned to a great fiasco and he was wondering how on Earth he had ever received an "A" in the first place. His History of Magic was graded with a "P" and the handwritten note stated that he could re-sit the exam again the year after.
At last there was one parchment left. He wondered whether he should have looked at it. This exam was going to prove whether he was capable of becoming an Auror. He turned the paper slowly and studied the picture. A witch was stirring a cauldron and the mark was an "O". Harry was in the verge of screaming with happiness. Oh, he could only imagine Snape's disbelief when he would have received the letter. He looked at the handwritten note. His definition on moonstone and mandagora were good and his potion had the results expected. Yet there was a different handwriting included. A handwriting Harry knew well. In small, almost unrecognisable letters there was written.
I will expect better things from you this year Potter.
Now why had Snape written that to him?
"HARRY!" a loud voice entered his ear bringing him back to reality. Harry looked around and saw Ron looking at him.
"Mate it's time for Potions. We don't want to be late."
Harry stood up and followed Ron to the Dungeons. He sat with Ron and Hermione as the other Slytherins, Gryiffindors, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs entered the class. Malfoy glared when he saw him entering the classroom. Harry smiled. He could bet that Malfoy was not expecting him to pass the O.W.L examination with an "Outstanding".
"Good morning class." Professor Snape said when he entered the room "As you know I am not going to ask how you passed your holidays. I hardly care. Whoever is in this class has proven worthy of getting an "O" in his O.W.L examination." He looked at Harry's direction for a moment before he would continue "Though I cannot understand how. Now this is your programme for the first part of the N.E.W.T examination" Snape finished and waved his wand for the parchments to appear in front of each student.
Then turning around he started writing a potion's ingredients. A long list of potions appeared in front of each one of them. Malfoy raised his hand.
"What is it Mr. Malfoy?" Snape asked not looking away from the blackboard.
"What is Combination Potions Professor?"
"They are a new material in the N.E.W.T exam and we are going to start the term with them. They are the only Potions that require two persons to be made and we are going to spend the semester with them. Since the pairs will be chosen by lot, you can end up with anyone from any house. Therefore you will spend a lot of lessons preparing the same potions with different persons."
Harry looked at Hermione and Ron being apprehensive. That meant that he could end up with anyone. He imagined himself trying to make a Potion with Malfoy. No, on the other hand, he did not want to imagine such a thing.
Three weeks had passed since that day. Harry had practised with Padma, Hermione, a Ravenclaw boy called Steven and others he could not quite recall. That day, like every day, Snape entered the room holding a goblet that contained small folded pieces of parchment. Pacing around the room he gave to each one of them a piece of paper that contained a number. When everyone had a number he shot with his wand and numbers appeared.
"7 with 21" he called first. Seamus stood showing his seven and a Ravenclaw girl named Susan followed showing her number. This continued for some time and Harry got more and more anxious while the pairs were decided. Suddenly he heard his number.
"18 with 3" Snape shouted. Harry stood up showing his piece of paper when he saw who was his match. The two glared one another, staring each other into the eyes. This would have turned into a great staring contest, but Snape decided to intervene.
"Mr Malfoy, Mr. Potter, get your seats"
It seemed that it was going to be one very long lesson. Malfoy was trying to ignore Harry and concentrate while he chopped the bat wings into small equal pieces. Harry was stirring the potion being bored to death and trying to not to look at Malfoy.
"Potter you are stirring this potion too quickly." Harry did not look up and tried to subdue the feeling of anger. Malfoy was ordering him. He began stirring slowly when Malfoy grabbed his hand and hissed "You are too slow now"
"Then why don't you do it yourself?" Harry snapped at Malfoy who looked back being angered.
"Maybe I'll do that" Malfoy replied in the same tone as he let Harry take his place. However he was not going to stay quiet for a long time. When Harry had started to chop the madnagora's roots Draco eyed him apprehensively. Harry was measuring his armadillo bile when Malfoy touted.
"Will you leave me alone Malfoy? I did not ask for your opinion" he whispered as he grabbed a bowl of white powder.
"You have to be precise at potions. Do you know the consequences of not making a potion correctly? Do I have to remind you of your friend Longbottom's mistakes?"
"Don't you even dare insult Neville in front of me Malfoy" Harry hissed holding the bowl in his hand.
"Oh yeah what are you going to do?"
Harry could control himself no more. He threw the bowl at Malfoy who ducked in time. The bowl and everything it contained landed into the cauldron. The liquid turned from faint blue to lime green before it exploded, filling the room with purple smoke.
"Everyone go under your desks and cover your nose!" Professor Snape shouted while he covered his nose with a handkerchief and retreated behind his mahogany desk.
Some coughs and splutters were heard and then it was silence. Snape put his hand inside his robes, took his wand out and waved it in a circular way. Immediately the purple smoke dissolved and the room was filled with pure clean air. The students reappeared from behind their cauldrons, still holding their handkerchiefs that covered their face. They seemed to be using their handkerchief to suppress their urge to giggle hysterically, for their always dignified professor was kneeling on the floor and was looking at them from behind his writing desk. Then, with a glare that seemed to state "Tell-this-to-anybody-and-I-will-personally-torture-you-before-I-kill-you", the hook-nosed professor stood up, paced down the room and towered in front of Draco Malfoy's and Harry Potter's cauldron.
Draco was standing still, covered in that lime green liquid from head to toes.
"Mr. Malfoy" Snape started with a cool tone in his voice "I could have expected that from any other student but not from a Slytherin's Prefect. Mr. Potter, and you, should learn to behave your age. What if this was a real exam? What if someone got hurt? Five points from both Slytherin and Gryffindor. Now where are you Mr. Potter?" Snape concluded when he realised that Harry was not there.
A loud shriek echoed inside the room and Snape looked at the direction it was heard. Padma, who was standing next to Harry's and Draco's cauldron pointed at the floor. Snape saw Harry's robes but no Harry standing there. Had the boy evaporated from the blow?
"Severus, get a grip on your self. No student of mine had ever evaporated from a blow." Snape contemplated arguing with himself.
"HE HAS DISAPPEARED IN THIN AIR. THE BLOW KILLED HIM!" Padma wailed looking towards the rest of the class. The others seemed to be in shock and Hermione touched Ron's shoulder to prevent herself from collapsing. However the robes twitched slightly and Snape knelt behind the cauldron and engaged himself for a while.
"Unfortunately Miss Patil you are wrong" Snape muttered as he rose in full height. A pale, white baby was staring at the rest of the class with his olive-green eyes. It was draped inside Harry's school robes and was resting inside Snape's left forearm. "Mr. Potter has just turned into an infant. Class Dismissed!"
Dumbledore and McGonagall were informed immediately and hurried to the hospital's wing. Madam Pomfrey was checking Harry in another room, while Snape described the lesson's incident. When he finished he stood up to leave but Dumbledore insisted that he had to stay with them. Snape sat down and tried to keep himself neutral. He felt awkward being in the same room with McGonagall and Dumbledore since they were both his professors in the past. He almost felt like a naughty schoolboy. He leaned back and looked outside the window. He was feeling nervous but he did not know why. He hummed under his breath and unconsciously tapped the floor with his shoe. Madam Pomfrey entered the room holding baby Harry.
Harry was now wearing a violet pyjama that had the magical picture of a duckling embroidered on it. The duckling was swimming inside a lake, quacking every once in a while. Madam Pomfrey gave Harry to Dumbledore, who beamed. Harry looked at the white-bearded man as if he was trying to remember something important. Then turning his head he looked towards Snape's direction. Snape stared at the baby's direction for a while before he would turn his head towards Madam Pomfrey.
"If we disregard the fact that this was caused during an accident, Mr. Potter is a healthy three-week old baby." Madam Pomfrey commented looking at Dumbledore and Harry, "The antidote will take a week to be prepared and can be only given by doses so that it would not cause damage to the brain. Someone has to look after Harry, who will luckily be back to his old self by Christmas."
"Who is going to look after Harry, Albus? McGonagall asked "I will not allow you to send my student to those Muggles again. You know that they have mistreated him."
"I have to agree with you Minerva." Dumbledore said while his blue eyes shone. "Harry has to stay inside Hogwarts to be protected by Voldemort's Death Eaters - Stop fidgeting. When will you start saying his name?"
This was addressed to McGonagall and Snape, who flinched at Voldemort's name.
"But as I was saying he has to be looked after by someone, who will not treat him like the Boy-Who-Lived." With those words he turned to see Snape, who getting the message stood up and shouted
"ABSOLUTELY NOT! I HAVE FOLLOWED POTTER, LOOKED AFTER HIM IN HIS FIRST YEAR BUT I WILL CERTAINLY NOT LOOK AFTER THE BOY AS A BABY!"
"Come on Severus." Dumbledore started giving Harry to him "Look at how much he likes you" the old wizard stated while Harry snuggled comfortably on Snape's lap and rested his head at Snape's soft black robes. Severus Snape looked at both McGonagall and Dumbledore and then at baby Harry, who seemed to look at him with huge pleading eyes. Closing his eyes, he gave the baby to McGonagall. Standing up into one of his infamous poses, he looked at Dumbledore's eyes. Being determined he spoke softly and very slowly
"No. I am not taking him and there is nothing you can do to convince me. And that is final."
Snape opened his chamber's door feeling exhausted. His chamber was as big as a flat. Blue wallpaper with small gleaming gold stitches was on the room's walls and the fireplace was lit; making the room warm. A crammed library was at one part of the room along with Snape's office. A door that led to a huge bathroom was at his left and a small living room with a round table and three velvet armchairs was at his right. And in the middle of the room there was the biggest bed anyone could have ever imagined.
"Ga!" said a small voice in amazement and delight. Snape looked down at the petite baby in his arms and wondered how Dumbledore had ever managed to convince him. Sighing deeply he answered back.
"Yes Potter "Ga!" indeed"