The prank had opened up many gateways for Harry and Gabriel and, in true prankster fashion, they had targeted many of the people that had made it their life mission to torment them from day one.
Needless to say, Draco Malfoy and quite a few Slytherin's showed up to Breakfast one morning glittering different shades of pinks and yellows, much to the delight of the student body but they weren't the only targets on Harry's list, new ones added one day when he found Luna Lovegood, the strange girl that could see their wings, walking down the hallway with a ripped bag and damaged textbooks.
Honestly, Harry wasn't sure what caused him to react so badly as he had only met the girl once, but Harry had quickly located the Ravenclaws responsible (in nauseated him when he discovered that one of them was a prefect) and quickly destroyed what they loved most: their image. Coming to breakfast with clown hair and painted faces, their cloths decorated in neon signs that proclaimed them to bullies, Harry nearly choked on his breakfast when he saw the group break down sobbing in the middle of the Great Hall.
It was beginning to occur to him that he was going to far.
'They deserved it!' Gabriel argued with him as they left the Great Hall that day. 'What right do they have to call someone crazy just because of their belief system?'
'We went to far,' Harry admonished as he remembered the calming draughts that had been forced down the group's throats. 'We never should have gone that far. Pranks are one thing but what we did wasn't anything better than what they were doing to Luna!'
Gabriel seemed to go silent and Harry couldn't tell if his memories were sulking or thinking it over. 'We'd be a psychiatrist's dream patient.' Harry sighed.
Whether or not Gabriel agreed with him on if they'd gone to far (which they totally had) didn't seem to matter as laughter rang through their head. 'You got that right,' Gabriel laughed.
After seeing the reactions that came from the Ravenclaw girls, Harry couldn't bring himself to do anymore big pranks. With Snape, he knew that the man deserved it and besides rage, it didn't actually hurt the professor (who Harry was beginning to doubt actually had feelings. Gabriel and he had a bet going on) and Malfoy deserved to have his insane ego brought down a few notches from its mountain high pedestal.
But if it wasn't one thing, it was another. Snape, no matter if there was evidence or not, had decided (rightly so, for once) that Harry was the root of all his problems over the last two weeks and was determined to make Harry's life a living hell, surpassing all of his actions in years previous. Harry couldn't go to class without leaving with a detention and he barely had time for homework, let alone to prank anyone.
It was because of this that the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, Oliver Wood, was fuming as Harry arrived three hours late to practice the third day in a row. "That's it!" Wood shouted, his face turning an impressive shade of red. "You've had detention every day this week and I can't remember the last time we practiced with our Seeker in attendance. What is Snape even giving you detention for?!"
"Today?" Harry asked dryly, rather fed up himself with what was going on, his wings fidgeting as he tried to stop his irritation from sending them sliding through the other members of the Quidditch team. "I was apparently breathing too loud."
Oliver paused mid-rant to just stare at him, astonished at the most blatantly stupid reason to give someone a detention in his school career. Fred and George also raised their eyebrows in surprise. The Twins had been given pointless detentions from the Potion's Master before and even they knew that this was so obvious mistreatment of a student; Snape should have known better. "You've got to be kidding," Katie Bell deadpanned after taking a minute for his answer to sink in.
Oliver didn't appear to be able to form words and settled for a wordless scream of rage instead. "We are going to Professor McGonagall," he managed to hiss after he forced himself to calm down. "I don't care if she has to get Headmaster Dumbledore involved, this is going to far. I bet that you haven't any time to do homework, let alone practice for the game!"
It was true. Harry was just glad that it was the second month of school, otherwise he might be failing all of his classes at this point. Runes, Transfiguration, and Potions had new essays nearly everyday and Harry was just glad that Charms was on Mondays or else he would be utterly screwed. It also helped that Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures rarely ever assigned out of class work and Harry had begun skipping more than just History of Magic to get all of his work done on time.
Yet he didn't really think that Professor McGonagall would really do anything to stop the problem. They had gone to her during their first year with their suspicions and she had just brushed them off. Sure she had listened last year after the confrontation with Malfoy and she had taken time out of her busy schedule to help Harry learn to better control his magic, only stopping when it became impossible to meet as the Heir of Slytherin began petrifying more and more people but this was a bit different. This was a complaint towards another teacher, one that had gotten away with harassing him for the past two years.
What was going to make this year any different?
The answer was homework. As soon as Wood had moved on from his lack of ability to show up for Quidditch to also not being able to get any homework done, McGonagall lost it. "Then how have you been getting your essays in, Mr. Potter," she asked, her eyes narrowed and seeming to gleam with a promised punishment if he even tried lying to her.
'Then don't,' Gabriel offered. 'Sometimes, the truth is a lot harder to deal with than a lie.'
"I've been skipping History of Magic," he finally said, making sure to shift his feet instead of his wings in discomfort. He doubted that she would believe him if he just stood there and stated it matter-of-factly. "I've also been skipping dinner."
And lunch but she didn't really need to know that he'd only eaten toast for the past few weeks. Not to mention the late nighters he'd been pulling just to keep up on his assigned reading. In fact, ignoring the essays, Harry had been forced to forego many activities the last few weeks as classes began giving out more and more work. He hadn't even seen Hope or any of the others since the beginning of the year! Harry's stomach gave another uncomfortable lurch, as it had be wont to do since he virtually stopped eating, and he ignored it in favor of studying the rage in his Head of House's eyes. She was fuming, something that he hadn't really seen her do before. Be angry, yes. More than once. Be stern and unrelenting? All the time! But fuming so badly that he couldn't even understand her when she began to talk and stormed out of the classroom? Nope. At least last year he sort of knew to follow her but this year, neither Oliver or Harry wanted to see just what their professor was going to do to he colleague.
"Should we just wait here?" Harry asked the stunned Quidditch Captain.
"I don't know," Oliver said, shaking his head with a frown. "I don't think I've ever seen her that angry. Snape seems to have overstepped a line."
"What line?" Harry snorted and gained a questioning look from the other. "That man has been harassing me from day one! I don't even know why he hates me so much!" He wasn't buying the 'your father saved his life' excuse that Dumbledore had given him at the end of his first year one bit. "He keeps comparing me to my father and I've never even met the man!" How could he be like someone that, until first year, he hadn't even known what they looked like?
Oliver gave him a sympathetic look. "The man's horrible," the seventh year agreed. "I never learned a thing from him during class and frankly, I doubt that anyone does. It amazes me that Dumbledore still keeps him around, glorified bully of a professor that he is."
"No kidding." Harry sighed and this time Oliver heard it when Harry's stomach growled in discontent.
"When was the last time you ate," the Quidditch Captain asked, suddenly back to being stern as he looked at Harry's expression. "I don't think I've seen you at lunch all week."
"I've been skipping," Harry shrugged, trying to sound nonchalant about it. "Had homework and I wasn't about to give him the satisfaction of assigning me another detention for not getting his stupid essays done."
'Bastard,' Gabriel grumbled. 'Can't believe he still works here. Wonder how he even got the job in the first place.'
'No idea,' Harry answered as he and Oliver fell into a rather tense silence, the Quidditch Captain having practically ordered him to eat tomorrow, homework or no homework.
'Waiting sucks,' Gabriel sighed as time seemed to pass by.
'You bet it does.'
Minerva McGonagall was furious. No, she was beyond furious. When Harry and Wood had come to her last year, it had been different. The problem was amongst the students and she had easily taken care of that in attempt to make up for brushing of Harry's rather well-founded worries the year before.
Now Severus had crossed a line and she hoped that the man was ready to pay for it. She didn't doubt for a second that it had been more than just dinner he was skipping, his elective, Runes, being held twice a week and nearly always having an essay assigned each class. Bookwork was a given after every class that Hogwarts had and she knew that Filius, Severus, and herself, always had an essay due for the next lesson. If the boy had been skipping History of Magic, then he would have had to find time to get those essays in as well. She had no doubt that dinner wasn't the only meal he had been skipping.
There was a reason that detentions weren't given out daily and Severus had ignored that reason in favor of his blind hatred towards a dead man that Harry Potter had never even met.
She arrived at his office with time to spare, not even bothering knocking as she threw the door open and saw Severus' face twist in surprise. "Severus Snape," she growled and was more than pleased when he former student immediately stood to attention. It seemed that some things never went away completely, she thought in satisfaction. "Fourteen detentions in two weeks, Severus."
It did him no favors that his face immediately twisted into scorn. She cut him off before he even tried to speak. "Your dententions are right after dinner and until curfew, Severus," she snapped. "I know that for a fact as you have always operated that way. When did you think that he would have time for his classwork? Surely not just on the weekends! Not while taking Ancient Runes, getting his assigned reading done, and finished the essays assigned by other classes! I had wondered why the essays Mr. Potter had turned in were subpar to his usual work and now I know why!"
His face hadn't changed, the same scornful sneer in place as she ranted. That only further infuriated her and she had to stop herself from cursing her former student. "I thought better of you," she snapped and suddenly, he wasn't looking all that scornful as he had been. "It's been what, fifteen years? Sixteen? And you can't let go of the hatred of a man twelve years dead."
Snape finally snapped. "JAMES POTTER-!"
"IS DEAD!" Minerva roared back, causing him to step back in shock. "He died protecting his son! He died before he could even begin to live and you are here, alive, while he lies dead and buried! Harry Potter and James Potter aren't the same and never will be for the simple fact that Harry never had the chance to know the man!"
Something cracked in Severus and he stared at her, lost for words and his rage gone. Minerva didn't let that stop her, though. This anger and self-righteous behavior had gone on for long enough. "James Potter is dead. Sirius Black is the most wanted man in the Wizarding World and the Muggle World, not to mention quite possibly insane. Peter Pettigrew is dead. Remus Lupin? Well, this is the first job that Remus has been able to get in quite a long time. The Marauders all came to a horrible end and here you are, still holding onto your childhood rivalry and you know for a fact that you gave as good as you got. You have a job and career while most of them barely had a chance to live."
Severus was looking at her as if he'd never seen her before and she had a horrible feeling that she just wasn't getting through that thick head of his. "I had hoped you would realize on your own and change. I hoped that I wouldn't have to interfere and you would prove yourself to be a professional. But you have proven me wrong time and time again. Well no more!" She snapped at him, her voice raising. "Dumbledore has been lenient on you, Severus, and if he would reel you in, I'll go above him. You have deliberately put the welfare and education of a child at risk and you've done it more than once! This time, you will deal with the consequences of your actions."
Severus was becoming pale as she talked and seemed to have finally realized that the line he had crossed couldn't be fixed. She had tried for years, since he had first began working here, to see the good in him. To find the bright child that she remembered from her Hogwarts years. The rivalry with James Potter and his friends, to hear Severus tell it, was bullying but she remembered and knew for a fact that Severus was never the victim. The cutting curse he had invented, and yes, she knew about that, had been used on the Marauder's more than once. Yet he had never been punished for it just like the Marauder's hadn't been punished for their pranks.
It was time to stop waiting to see the good and time to start protecting her students because it seemed that no one else was going to. "Be prepared," she told him. "The Board will be notified by morning and you'll no doubt be investigated. Sharpen up and actually teach the students, not talk to them, and maybe you'll keep your job."
"Minerva," Severus began, obviously about to try and talk her out of it. Ever the Slytherin, she thought fondly but only frowned at him, turning to leave.
At the door, she stopped and look at him. He looked lost and angry at the same time and she had to wonder how it was that he had turned out this way.
"You know, Severus," she told him as she prepared to leave. "You've become exactly what you claimed to hate: a Bully."
She left a silent office behind her.