Professor McGonagall wasn't pleased when she was told what happened at the pitch. "The nerve of that man!" she growled under her breath. "And to think that Mr. Malfoy would even consider uttering that...that!" she couldn't seem to put her anger into words and was storming out of her office in a furious rage as Harry and Oliver strained to keep up. "I'll be having words with him about this!"
Harry had never seen the Professor in such a rage before and he couldn't help but wonder what 'mudblood' even meant. Glancing at the simmering rage that was Professor McGonagall, he decided to hold off on asking until he and Oliver were alone.
They arrived at the potions classroom in only a few minutes after leaving the Transfiguration Professor's office, having nearly sprint the entire way after the rather fast moving professor. Harry almost felt bad for Snape.
"Severus Snape!" she shrieked as she burst into the classroom. It was lucky that it wasn't a weekday as the potion's classroom was empty of everyone but the four of them. "I don't care what you think your team needs the pitch for, you are not above the assigned rule Severus! Your team has to book the pitch like everyone else!"
Snape made to say something but was interrupted. "Don't think I don't know that you waited for the Gryffindor team to be practicing," she hissed. "Try-outs for Slytherin were done four days ago and the pitch was perfectly free then! Your team can have the pitch for today but they have forfeited their spot tomorrow!"
Snape's eyes narrowed and Harry stared wide-eyed at the steaming Professors. "Very well," the man spat, dark eyes flashing in anger. "If that's all?"
"No that is not all!" McGonagall snapped, still furious. "Mr. Malfoy is to be informed that he has detention with me for the next week!"
It soon became obvious that someone from the Slytherin team had already spoke to the Potion's Professor. "And what of Potter? Surely he'll be punished for cursing a fellow student," the man sneered at Harry as he spoke.
"I highly doubt that a burst of Accidental Magic can be considered 'cursing'," the Transfiguration Professor sniffed in disdain. "He has however been docked ten points and assigned lessons to better control his magic with me after school for as long as it takes to make sure such an outburst doesn't happen again."
Seeing as he could have ended up scrubbing cauldrons for the next week instead, Harry didn't protest and even Oliver didn't say a word against it. Professor McGonagall wasn't anything if not fair.
"Mr. Malfoy says differently," Snape didn't seem to want to let this go.
"I suppose he also says that the Gryffindor team plus Ms. Ganger and Mr. Weasley didn't hear him call Ms. Ganger a 'filthy little mudblood'?" McGonagall asked, her voice easily showing that she already knew the answer. From the enraged twisting of Snape's face, Draco had indeed left that out of the story he had told.
"Make that two week," Snape spat, eyes dancing in anger. "I will also...speak to Mr. Malfoy about his behavior."
The two students watched the swift change in the potion's master with shock. It was unheard of to have Snape adding onto a Slytherin detention!
"You both are dismissed," Professor McGonagall said as she turned to them. "I expect you in my office after dinner until this problem is solved," she added, looking at Harry who nodded his acceptance.
It could have been worse, he thought to himself as he and Oliver practically ran from the classroom.
Quidditch practices resumed the next day, though this time the team made sure to go to bed early the night before so that they could be properly awake the next day. Life at Hogwarts went on as normal and October arrived quicker than they were ready for.
October, sadly, meant that the weather turned from warm and sunny to rainy and muddy like someone had flipped a switch. Oliver, determined to make sure that they were prepared for all sorts of weather, increased practices to everyday and most days, the team came in soaked to the bone and muddy from walking up the lawn from the Quidditch pitch. Harry wasn't surprised when after a week of coming in soaking wet, he ended up sick.
Gabriel, however, was. 'Why does it feel like we went a few rounds with a pissed off vampire?' Gabriel asked, whimpering as their body ached and their head throbbed.
'It's called having a cold,' Harry answered as he sneezed. Professor McGonagall had excused him from his after dinner lesson on controlling his magic after he showed up with an impressive amount of tissue in his pockets and a bright red nose. "Go get some rest," she had advised as she dismissed him. "Madame Pomfrey can give you some Pepper-Up in the morning for your classes."
Oliver had even let up on him with practices after Fred and George pointed out that he looked like a strong wind would blow him over at the moment. It wasn't all the surprising to find out that Angelina and Katie had also caught a cold from the long practices and since three of his players were out for the count, Oliver had no choice but to postpone anymore practices until they were all back on their feet.
'Well I don't like it!' Gabriel moaned as they headed inside in an attempt to get to their next class quicker after taking an outside shortcut. Luckily it wasn't raining so besides the mud on his shoes, Harry was still in perfect condition for class.
His internal conversation was interrupted by Sir Nicholas muttering in the hallway that he was heading down with what looked like a letter in his hand. "...don't fulfil their requirements...half and inch if that!" the ghost grumbled, glaring at the letter as if it had physically offended him.
"Hello Nick," Harry greeted the ghost as Gabriel perked up in the back of their mind. 'I didn't know there were ghosts here,' he commented in curiosity.
Nicholas froze as he turned to look at Harry, he already clear white face paling until Harry wasn't sure he could make out any of the features that were usually ever present. "Hello Harry," Nicholas said, looking at him cautiously.
'He can tell I'm here!' Gabriel sounded delighted. They had already known that the goblins could tell that Harry was different than before but to have someone from Hogwarts identify it immediately just cemented the fact that certain beings were able to comprehend the change that Gabriel had initiated in Harry.
"Are you alright?" Harry asked the ghost, ignoring Gabriel's delight as his cold made itself known again. He sneezed, his glasses fogging up at the sudden warm breath and his eyes watering with the force.
"Yes, yes," Nicholas waved the question off and peered closer at him. "You don't seem to be doing all that well, yourself, however. I must say, I do not miss cold season all the much."
Harry hummed, nodding. "I can't say I would miss it either," he told the ghost with a grimace. "My head is throbbing something fierce."
Nick relaxed into the conversation and finally began explaining about the letter. It seemed he was disgruntled at not being able to join the Headless Hunt and Harry had to say, getting hit with an ax forty-five times and still having just enough skin on your neck to hold it on painted a rather gruesome picture of how the ghost had died. 'Really, his head is nearly completely cut off,' Gabriel said as he listened. 'I don't understand why they just don't let him join. Is it really a big deal that his head didn't fall off all the way?'
Harry didn't comment as he was distracted at that moment by a soft meow coming from where his feet were. Looking down to see Mrs. Norris looking up at him accusingly, Harry let out a put upon sigh and knew that Filch wouldn't be that far behind.
"Best get out of here," Nick advised as he looked a Mrs. Norris. "Filch is in a rotten mood."
Filch could be in a good mood? Harry wondered as the caretaker seemingly warped into the corridor as if whatever bond he held with the cat had summoned him. One look at Harry and then the mud that was on the corridor floor (which didn't even come from just him!) and Harry found himself being dragged to the caretakers office as the man ranted about frog eggs and unruly children.
Really, the man was overreacting! It was just a bit of mud and most of it wasn't even from Harry who hadn't moved all the far before he had begun talking with Nick. Filch didn't see it that way and complained about the extra scrubbing that the mud would cause him as if it was Harry's fault that an hour had now been added to the caretaker's work.
'Who pissed in this guys oatmeal?' Gabriel grouched as Filch began filling out the report form. 'I doubt that a bit of mud is all that much work when he can just wave his wand and have be gone.'
Harry agreed silently as a loud bang came from upstairs. Filch growled in anger, "Peeves! I'll get you this time!" The caretaker seemingly forgot about him and was gone in an instant, report still sitting innocently on his desk half-filled out.
'Quick, now's our chance!' Gabriel told him. 'Get out of here!'
Harry was about to do that when a pamphlet caught his eyes. It was glossy and purple with silver lettering that stood out on the drab desk that took up most of the room in Filch's office. 'Kwikspell,' Harry read the silver lettering silently. 'A Correspondence Course in Beginner's Magic.' He quickly read over the front side, bringing the pamphlet closer to him so he could read it better. Harry flipped it open, reading the introduction before moving on to lesson one, fascinated at how it described different ways that some people held their wands and the ways it could affect their casting.
So engrossed as he was in reading it, Harry didn't notice when Flich came back and gave a pained grunt at seeing Harry with the glossy purple instruction manual. "You-you...my private mail! Not that its mine of course but..."
Harry stared at Filch as he wrung his hands around his wrists, baffled. "Um," he said, eyes wide. He honestly couldn't tell if the man was mad beyond belief or embarrassed and as he began threatening him about telling something clicked in Harry's mind. "You're a squib!" he realized and was horrified as he realized he'd said that aloud. Filch stopped his sentence in its tracks to glare at him.
"N-not that that's a problem!" he amended as Gabriel radiated horror in his mind from his earlier snide comments. It seemed that his counterpart was realizing just how much work Filch would have to do to keep the castle clean without magic and how much work that mud had added to what was probably an already impressive work load. 'No wonder he always looks upset,' Harry thought to himself.
"Don't you going telling anyone, you hear me boy!" Filch snapped and went back to all the horrible things he would do to him if he found out that Harry had told anyone.
"I'm not going to tell!" Harry finally yelled over the threats before slamming a hand over his mouth in surprise at his outburst. Filch was similarly surprised Harry had never yelled in the caretaker's presence. He blushed scarlet as the grouchy man stared at him.
"I-I mean it isn't like it's problem!" Harry defended his reaction, eyes wide. "The castle's cleaner than Aunt Petunia's kitchen most of the time and the Headmaster wouldn't have hired you if it was a problem and I'm sorry about the mud, it didn't seem like a big deal and I didn't know-" Harry continued to babble off apologies as he waited for the oncoming blow that Filch was sure to throw.
'Freaking Dursley's!' Gabriel grumbled as Harry's babbling continued. 'Not all adults hit children for yelling and now we've got even more issues to work through!' His counterpart whined as Filch continued to stare at them in shock. 'We should have just left when we could.'
Harry didn't argue with that, also regretting staying around to read the Kwikspell pamphlet, no matter how interesting it had been. He never was good at talking to adults and from the way Filch was starting to look more and more incredulously at him, Harry didn't think that he'd ever get better at it.
'We will,' Gabriel assured him. 'It just takes some confidence, which you sorely lack but don't worry, we'll fix that!' Harry didn't know if he wanted to know what Gabriel meant by that and finally shut his mouth with an audible snap, glancing up at Filch from behind his fringe.
The man looked stunned at Harry's rambling and couldn't seem to close his mouth. Harry looked carefully placed the pamphlet on the nearly empty desk, babbled another apology, before darting behind that man and out the door.
That could have gone so much better, he noted absently and berated himself for his reaction to Filch catching him. It wasn't the caretaker would be allowed to hit him but the purple color he had been turning had reminded him a lot of Uncle Vernon.
Harry, being already a half an hour late for his next class, decided his head felt like it was going to explode and headed to the hospital wing instead. Being fussed over by Madame Pomfrey sound like a much better alternative than getting scolded by Professor Flitwick.
Filch avoided him like the plague after their strange encounter in his office and Harry couldn't find it in himself to be disappointed. Halloween was soon upon them and Harry forgot all about the strange incident, although he did thank Nick when he found out that the Gryffindor ghost was the one that got Peeves to knock down the Vanishing Cabinet.
Harry was looking forward to having a carefree Halloween Feast with his cold fully gone and no death threats yet this year. The Great Hall looked just as magnificent as it had the year before (minus trolls running around the castle) and Harry engrossed himself into the meal with the rest of the student body.
That was until a student came in screaming and crying, running up to Professor McGonagall and going on about a dead cat and blood near the girls bathroom. The students were quickly told to go back to their dorms early (for the second year in a row, Harry noted in sadness) as the teachers rushed out of the room with the girl in the lead.
So much for an uneventful Halloween, Harry thought as he followed the rest of his house back up to the Gryffindor Common Room.
Maybe Halloween was cursed.