The school year began like it had every other year with the addition of their new elective classes. Harry was also grateful to see that Professor Lupin proved to be much more competent that Lockhart or Quirrell had been, actually going as far as locating certain magical creatures and bringing them to class to teach them how to deal with them. The only thing that irked Harry was the fact that the Defense Professor had kept him from facing the Boggart during their first class. Even then, Lupin had a valid reason for stopping him. 'Let's face it,' Gabriel had sighed after hearing the explanation. 'Most people would assume that Voldemort would be our Boggart as well.'
The truth was that with so many memories, neither Harry nor Gabriel knew what their Boggart would be. It definitely wasn't Voldemort (and wouldn't have been even if Harry had never touched that tree) but that was all that was certain. There were many things in Harry's memories that frightened him and if that thing could read minds and seek out fears as well as Lupin had alluded to, then it might even be able to pick up on Gabriel's fears.
'Which would be even worse than having a psychotic Dark Lord appearing in the classroom.' Their wings had shuddered at the very thought, the movement still causing odd tingles in his back whenever his wings moved.
Harry had to agree and sometimes even wondered if he wanted to have him memories back completely. Don't get him wrong, he wanted to be whole again but he had caught glimpses of his past as Gabriel before and he didn't much like what he saw.
His spirits were lifted, however, when he made his way with Hermione and Ron down to Care of Magical Creatures, Ruth purring happily in his arms.
"Mate," Ron asked as they walked, his own book looking rather pleased to see Harry. "Is that book purring at you?"
Hermione looked both amused and exasperated at the book that was cuddling in Harry's arms. Harry just gave Ron a grin, not bothering to reply as they arrived at Hagrid's hut just in time for the class to begin. "Alright, all ye follo' meh!" Hagrid called out to them. Harry noted with annoyance that Malfoy and his goons had also decided to take this class, snickering as Neville's book tried to eat him. Sighing, Harry promised himself to help the accident prone boy once they got to wherever Hagrid was taking them.
Speaking of which, Hagrid seemed to be leading them into the Forbidden Forest. Harry himself didn't have any problem with this but he could already hear the Slytherin's muttering complaints underneath their breaths. 'If they even try to mess this up,' Gabriel threatened emptily. There really wasn't anything they could do about it even if the Slytherin's did try to mess up Hagrid's first class.
"Right, here we are!" Hagrid called out as they reached a clearing not to far into the forest. Harry could even still see the castle from where they were standing. "Now open yeh books ta page-"
"How?" Malfoy sneered. Hagrid cut his sentence off, turning to look at the sneering Slytherin in confusion.
"'Ow what?" the large man asked and Harry could see that Hagrid actually didn't know what he was talking about. Harry had just been about to make his way over to Neville to help him but aborted the motion in favor of seeing how Hagrid dealt with this. As the Grounds Keeper, all the man could do was report incidents to the Head of House and hope that they would take care of the problem.
Now that he was a teacher, however, Hagrid had the authority to assign detentions and take points from the ferret faced pounce but it seemed like Draco had forgotten that small fact. Harry looked forward to seeing that realization shoved down the arrogant teens throat.
"How do we open the blasted things?" Draco demanded again, most of the class grumbling in agreement. It seemed like all of them had gotten their books before Harry had taught the shopkeeper how to open them.
Hagrid looked stunned. "'ave none of yeh open yer book yet?" he asked only to receive positive answers from everyone but Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
"You stroke the spine, Malfoy," Ron finally snapped before snickering. "Or just give it to Harry. They'll never bite again afterwards."
More than a few people turned to look at Harry, who was petting his own purring book as Hermione's tried to climb into his arms. Draco's face was an interesting mix between pissed and stunned as he looked on the rather odd scene. Harry resisted the urge to smirk at the blonde and felt rather proud of himself for succeeding.
With that, the lesson continued. Hagrid introduced them to Buckbeak the hippogriff and Harry was volunteered by the rest of the class to be the one to approach that rather pretty looking creature. 'Griffin's are better,' Gabriel said. 'But he is rather nice looking for a hippogriff.'
All things considered, Harry didn't mind all that much when Hagrid picked him up and plopped him on Buckbeak's back. The flight was amazing and Harry's own wings ached to be put to use. If he wasn't in the middle of class, trying to blend in, and confident of his ability to use said wings, Harry just might have spread them and flown next to the hippogriff. It was the first time that he had flown since he'd regained his wings and he could the combined longing of himself and Gabriel to use them.
Then Malfoy did something stupid. Insulting Buckbeak after being warned at the beginning of the lesson that Hippogriff's were very proud creatures and shouldn't be insulted was sheer stupidity and left Harry wondering if the blond moron had paid even a bit of attention to Hagrid's warning at all. It was luck that Harry was still standing close enough to Buckbeak and Malfoy to tackle the blond annoyance out of the way of Buckbeak's attack. Malfoy landed on the ground uninjured and Harry ended up with rather impressive gashes on his arm.
"Are you mentally stupid?" He hissed, ignoring the pain as he focused on Malfoy. "Do you have a death wish? What part of 'hippogriff's are proud and violent creatures when provoked' did you not comprehend?!"
Malfoy didn't answer and just stared at him as if Harry had broken all his expectations in one go. He was looking, Harry realized, at his shoulder. Frowning, Harry turned his head to get a good look at the damage and was more than surprised to see that it was bleeding heavily and soaking into the fabric of his robes. Buckbeak grunted from behind him and Harry was surprised to hear the remorse in the hippogriff's uncertain grunt.
"I'm fine," he assured the concerned creature but was quickly corrected by an irate and worried Hermione who was flanked by Ron.
"You most certainly are not!" she snapped at him before signalling to Hagrid. "We'll take him to the Hospital Wing," she told the rather stunned man. Hagrid quickly gave them the go ahead and Harry found himself being pulled to his feet by the two.
"I'm fine!" he insisted, attempting to pull away. "No need for the hospital wing!" He hated that place. No offense to Madam Pomfrey but he had seen enough of the Hospital Wing during the past two years to last him a lifetime.
Arguing was futile, however, and Harry soon found himself picked up by Hagrid and carried to the Hospital Wing, where Madam Pomfrey stood, seemingly waiting for them.
'Well, we aren't getting out of here anytime soon,' Gabriel grumbled as the white clad women narrowed her eyes and tutted at them.
If Harry thought that the school year would get any better after that, he had been sorely mistaken. The first potion's class of the year had certainly proven that and it was obvious that Snape, the bigot, was determined to make up for his rather tame demeanor last year by taking point from Harry for every single thing that the thirteen year old did.
It seemed that the only reason Snape hadn't continued with his rather cruel and spiteful ways the year before were more due to the risk of Harry's magic attacking him out of anger than of any acknowledgement that Harry wasn't the arrogant brat that Snape thought he was. Gabriel was also becoming increasingly furious with how the man was acting and it was a miracle that Harry managed to keep his magic under control.
In fact the only sign of anything being wrong were the way his wings would flare out anytime that Snape came near them. Harry sometimes wished that his wings were tangible, if only to see the look on Snape's face when he was knocked to the ground by the appendages. 'If only,' Gabriel said mournfully and he was forced to content himself with the fact that Snape, despite his best efforts, would never manage to dishearten him.
'I have to wonder why he hates us so much,' Harry sighed after yet another potions class (the second of the year) where the man had done his very best to attack Harry and everything that he stood for. 'What did we ever do to him?'
'Don't ask me to explain the minds of assholes,' Gabriel grumbled back, their wings twitching with suppressed anger. 'I would love to give him a large heeping of just deserts.'
For some reason, Harry got the feeling that 'just deserts' had more meaning that he could currently remember. 'You know,' he began conversationally. 'I'm sure Fred and George would be dying to take advantage of being invisible.'
Gabriel was silent, probably processing what Harry was getting at, before the archangel began cackling merrily. 'What are we waiting for?' he asked and Harry forewent answering in favor of grabbing his cloak and going in search of two redheaded pranksters.
This promised to be fun.
Fred and George, unsurprisingly, were more than willing to help him get a little payback. They were also more than willing to take advantage of his invisibility cloak, while also bringing another helpful factor to the table: The Marauder's Map, a magical map of Hogwarts that showed all the secret passageways along with telling them where everyone in the castle was at all times.
'That would be more than a bit useful,' Gabriel commented as they looked at the magic soaked map. The colors were so interwoven that the piece of parchment rather resembled a liquid rainbow. Harry had to blink a few time before the black writing on the parchment became visible against the glow of the magic. Dumbledore was pacing around his office, small footprints following the tag that read 'Albus Dumbledore'. McGonagall's tag was right next to that of Marcus Flint's and Harry assumed that the Slytherin seventh year was either in trouble or discussing his grades in her class (it was NEWTS year for him, after all).
"This is bloody brilliant!" Harry told the Twins, grinning at them. "Where'd you get it?"
"Nicked it from Filch's office our third year!" Fred told him, smirking.
"Was in his confiscation draw," George added. "Figured there had to be more to it than just parchment if it was in there."
"Cool." Harry studied the parchment a little longer. "There's got to be layers of spells on this! I bet it took forever for them to make." From the way the magic seemed to be weaved together like a blanket or well knitted shirt, Harry assumed that whoever the Marauder's were, they paid much more attention in class than they'd probably been given credit (pranksters never were). 'Some of that magic looks familiar, though,' Gabriel mused. Harry had to agree. There was a certain shine to more than one strand of magic in the design that seemed to have a strong sense of familiarity to him, almost as if he should know that magic even though he'd never seen it before in his life. Harry shook his head, frowning as he dismissed the thought. What were the odds of that happening?
"The Chamber isn't on this," Harry mused, catching the attention of the Twins.
"We know," George said mournfully, glancing sadly at the paper.
"We checked as soon as we heard that Ginny was missing," Fred added. "She wasn't anywhere in the range of the map."
Harry frowned before grinning. "If they didn't find the Chamber, I bet there are more than a few passageways that they didn't find either."
Fred and George nodded mournfully. They didn't seem to catch onto Harry's thought process. The map was obviously old as he knew for a fact that some of the passages on this were caved in. The Honeydukes passage was still in use and he didn't think that Filch had found it yet but was there really only two ways into Hogsmeade in this entire castle? Harry doubted it. The Marauder's, whoever they had been, hadn't found every secret in the castle and though the magic on it was done well enough that it had survived however long in Filch's office (assuming that no one had found it before the Twins and had it confiscated later) then they had obviously been talented and had used advanced spells for a student.
"So, black haired brother of ours," Fred began, regaining Harry's attention from his inner musings. "What did you have planned for our dearly hated Potions Professor?"
Harry grinned and told them, watching with satisfaction as their grins steadily grew the more they heard. "Is it manageable?"
"Oh, young naive Harry," George said mournfully, shaking his head in sadness. "It is more than doable!"
"It's positively genius!" Fred added and Harry almost felt bad for the asshole that was Severus Snape...almost.
"What are we waiting for?" George said and Harry let himself be dragged under the cloak by the enthusiastic twins.
With that, the three co-conspirators got to work on setting up their prank, Harry taking care of the more muggle aspects, seeing as the Twins had little to no knowledge on muggles. Gabriel spent most of the time cackling insanely as the worked, giving suggestions here and there on how to improve certain parts of their trap.
It was a good thing that it was a weekend because by the time they had finished, it was nearly four in the morning and they'd yet to sleep any that night. "Snape is going to murder us," George said in awe as they looked at their completed work.
A little bit of magic to help certain things that couldn't be rigged the muggle way and they had created what was essentially a giant version of a mouse trap. It was keyed to Snape's magic, something that Fred and George had rigged up while Harry was busy laying out the glue covered net and rigging it to the bucket filled with hair dye (which he was glad that he had bought during the summer holidays on what at the time seemed to be only a whim) along with a rather generous amount of glitter. Basically, the net would fall when Snape passed under it and the man would then be turned a rather nice shade of pink and covered in glitter.
It wasn't the most elaborate of traps but it was made with so little magic that it would be nearly impossible to trace back to the three pranksters and anyone could have rigged up the muggle aspects of it with the barest of knowledge. The kicker of the entire thing was the second magical part the Fred and George were working on. It was a rather complicated charm that would have various messages displaying on the back of the surely professor's robes depending on who was looking. The best part was that the spell couldn't be dispelled by anyone, not even Fred or George, and would last for at least two weeks.
The three took another few seconds to admire their work before ducking back underneath the invisibility cloak and heading back to the tower, easily avoiding Mrs. Norris and Filch. Harry quickly said goodnight as he darted up into the third year boys dorm and slipped into his bed, unnoticed by his still sleeping roommates.
He couldn't wait to see the look on Snape's face tomorrow and Gabriel was happily cackling in their head, pleased with at least being able to do some sort of payback.
'Oh that was so worth the lack of sleep,' Gabriel laughed as they watched a pissed of glittering pink Snape storm into the Great Hall the next morning. The man was swearing up a storm and seemed to simmer even more as the students at every table attempted to keep their laughter to themselves. Harry was suddenly very glad that he had, had practice at the Dursley's, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to keep the laughter in.
The best part was that message charm was working perfectly and to Harry nearly lost it when he read what it was currently displaying: Bully Alert! Bully Alert! Keep Away From Small Children!
'Fred and George are geniuses.' Harry admired the brightly flashing message. Snape didn't seem to notice that it was there yet, to busy blaming (for once, rightly) Harry for his current state and demanding that he (Harry, that is) be expelled for this. It didn't seem to matter that there was absolutely no proof that Harry had anything to do with the prank (even though he so totally did).
"Now Severus," Dumbledore tried to reason with the fuming professor. "There is no proof that Mr. Potter was involved with this." And there wouldn't be either, seeing as Harry had made sure to not cast any spells, making sure nothing could be traced back to him. He wasn't sure why Fred and George hadn't been worried about that but decided that they had probably found a solution to being traced awhile ago (or more likely, they just didn't care).
"I want whoever did they expelled!" The man seemed to realize blaming Harry wasn't going to get him anywhere and changed tactics. "This disrespect of a professor can't go unpunished!"
Hypocrite was the word that seemed to be on the minds of every student in the Great Hall as even most of the Slytherin's seemed to, grudgingly, like Professor Lupin and everyone knew what Snape said about him behind the man's back and to the man's face.
"I'm sure that the culprit didn't mean any harm," Dumbledore once again tried to placate the irate potion's master. "It is a relatively harmless prank."
Harry didn't know what was more amusing; watching the varying degrees of anger flash across Snape's face or the forced down amusement on the faces of the other professor's as the man continued to argue with the Headmaster on how the perpetrator would be punished. Even as the bell rang and student's filled out to head to their morning classes, the two continued to argue on the matter and potion's class was cancelled that day.
'No Snape for a week,' Gabriel cheered. 'And no one will ever believe that we had anything to do with it now that Snape's immediately blamed us without evidence. Definitely worth the lack of sleep.'
'Definitely,' Harry agreed, plans already forming for other pranks in his head, listening half-heartedly to Hermione's heated ranting on how it was wrong for Snape to immediately blame Harry, who didn't even do anything. He made a mental note to never corrected her of that notion.
'I wonder how long it'll take him to notice the other part of the prank?' Gabriel wondered.
The echoing scream of rage that followed quickly answered that question.