3. A New Hobby Rumours spread quickly - not only through the grapevine. Rumours about Snape being even more vicious, vile and viperous - which had to mean something, mind you. During a secret staff meeting, excluding only one Severus Snape, it was decided against mutiny - although it had only been a slim majority. McGonagall had been uncharacteristically furious, but given the facts that her new lover had left with no word nor kiss and that this lover had conferred his duties on Snape and not herself, it was intelligible. Within only four days, there seemed to be a whole new routine at the Wizardry School. First and second year Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws and Gryffindors weren't allowed to walk through the halls of Hogwarts in groups smaller than five (it was said that if Snape 'attacked', four had to distract him and the last had to call for help, but there were no living evidences to confirm if this worked in emergencies). The students shied away from drinking pumpkin juice due to a series of mysterious happenings during breakfast and dinner in the past few days. Mysterious happenings such as unnatural hair-growing, abnormal growth of particular body parts and interesting changes of hair and nose colourings. And if you considered that the Weasley twins graduated Hogwarts a year ago, it wasn't a task too difficult to figure out what was going on - though no student had the gall to point a finger on it, and no teacher had proof. But even though pumpkin juice was off-limits, they had to eat and drink. Eventually - and that was the point Snape counted on. "Just look on the bright side." Hermione reasoned quietly, pouring herself a glass of water. "Dumbledore will be back soon enough-" "Where did he go anyway?" Ron interrupted her. "Snape mentioned only this organization, uh, CAGUS ..." Harry's voice petered out. "He said 'CGAOS'." Hermione said, frowning a bit, not at all happy that she'd been interrupted. "What could that possibly mean? CGAOS ..." Harry mused. As hard as he thought about it, but couldn't come up with anything. "Maybe it's an abbreviation for 'Chocolate, Gums and other Sweets'." Ron chipped in, grinning widely at his quick response. "Maybe not." Hermione retorted dryly. 'Why should an organization have such a silly name?' "But it is just like him, isn't it?" Ron shuffled the rest of the potatoes into his mouth and swallowed quickly. "After all, everybody knows Dumbledore's a molac." "A what?" Harry asked, slightly confused. "Yes, Ron, enlighten us." Hermione agreed. "What is a 'molac'." "Molac, you know, a 'more or less anonymous chocoholic'." Harry snorted while trying to disguise his laughing and Hermione once again scolded Ron for his immature behaviour. "Yeah, Mom." The redhead whispered under his breath as his friend had finished her lecture. Maybe he should consider stopping with his funny nonsense, the only thing he got from it was a pair burning ears. "In twenty minutes we'll have double potions ..." He groaned loudly, burying his fingers in his hair, as his eye caught the time. "The first time since Dumbledore left Hogwarts." Harry pointed out solemnly. "That's true. We'd better hurry, we don't want to be late." Hermione hastily gulped down her water and put a book, which had lain on the table, back into her bag. Harry and Ron regarded her with half amused expressions. "Twenty minutes, Mione. No need to exaggerate." "But maybe Hermione's right. What if Snape makes his threat true?" Ron asked, looking worried. "You know, the one where he said he'd use the ones who are coming too late to his class as guinea pigs ..." He shuddered involuntary at this thought. "Or what if he moved up his lesson? Better get going ..." Harry sighed, defeated, and got to his feet. "You know, I always thought that Snape should get himself a hobby ..." "A hobby?" Hermione echoed as they made their way towards the dungeons. "Yeah, something he likes or so." "Potions." Ron supposed. "Potions are his life, not his hobby." Harry countered. "Something that he likes - besides potions ..." He trailed off, thinking of something that the greasy git of a Potions Master could be fond of. It was a dreadful consideration. "Torturing students?" Ron threw in. "RON!" Hermione hissed. "What? It's true." Hermione merely rolled her eyes. "It wouldn't be a good idea to propose to Snape that he should torture students as a new hobby, would it?" Harry asked, smirking slightly. "Merlin, no!" Ron gasped. "Do you suggest that we find a hobby for Professor Snape, Harry?" Hermione queried. "That's a nice idea." "No, that's not nice." Ron retorted automatically. "It's selfish-" "That'd be Slytherin!" "It's a brave idea then. I mean, we have to think like Snape to know what he likes, don't we? This will be truly challenging!" "Okay, what could he possibly like?" Harry asked out loud again, furrowing his brows in a thoughtful manner. As the three Gryffindors passed through countless corridors, there seemed to play the melody of Jeopardy, indicating that they were pondering hard on this question. "Argh! I give up," Ron growled after two minutes headache, "I can't even begin to think like our old morose Potions Master!" "That's it!" Hermione announced suddenly, as if her friend had just activated the proverbial bulb, now shining brightly above her head, startling both boys - her outburst, not the bulb. "We give up?" Ron asked despairingly. No such luck. "No." Hermione said, rolling her eyes impatiently. "The 'old morose Potions Master', which isn't a nice thing to say, by the way, was the trigger." "The trigger for what?" Harry asked, while Ron growled a low "Spit it out!" "I had to think what a person had to lack to be called 'morose', while the word 'old' is definitely disputable, I mean he isn't even-" "Hermione? Come to the point! I don't understand where you're heading ..." While Ron couldn't follow the girl, Harry could and stared, mouth agape, at her. "No! Are you suggesting ...?" "Why not? It would be the perfect solution." "But it's cruel! Who would-" "Hey!" Ron cut into the conversation. "What are you talking about?" "A girlfriend" Hermione replied. "W-what?!" Sighing, Hermione repeated her suggestion. "He is lonely, everybody can see that. Maybe he needs just a push into the right direction." 'Yeah' Ron agreed mutely, smirking. 'Into the direction of the next cliff-side.' "If that's really, what he 'needs'," Harry began, shuddering slightly, "then who? I mean, who would want to become ... Snape's g-girlfriend? McGonagall is too old for him ..." "Thanks for the mental picture, mate." Ron complained, shaking his head fiercely. "... besides, they don't really like each other," Harry went on, as if he hadn't been interrupted. "Come to think of it, Snape doesn't like one single person of the staff - female or not." "Are you implying that Snape ...?" Hermione asked, considering this new information. "Yeah, that's it!" Ron threw in. "He is gay. Problem solved." "That wouldn't solve our problem, and no, I don't think he's gay." Harry rubbed his chin thoughtful. "Who would be suitable?" After another two minutes silent pondering, Ron's eyes glistered evilly. "I have the perfect girlfriend for him." "Who?" Hermione asked, curious, while Harry merely lifted his brows. "You!" "Huh?" "Not 'huh'. You, Mione!" Ron said, smirking slightly. "You were the one who suggested to find him a girlfriend, now you have to face the consequences!" "No! I'd never-" "Hey, Ron, I think that's a fabulous idea!" "Thanks, mate." "That's not funny." Hermione huffed and glared at the two boys exasperated. "Back to the point. Who would be the most likely candidate?" "Do you know the proverb 'teasing means loving'?" "Doesn't that imply that Snape loves everybody at Hogwarts?" Ron remarked dryly. "What about 'opposites attract'?" "That's a good one, Harry. Who is the exact opposite of Snape?" "Tonks." Ron snorted. "He's tall, she's small. He's all black, she's brightly coloured. He's always gloomy, she's nice. He's always the same, she changes every so often. He's utterly meticulous, she's utterly clumsy. They'd complete each other perfectly." He laughed loudly, his voice echoing in the vast corridor. "Um ..." He prodded as nobody laughed with him. "That was a joke. You didn't take it seriously, did you?" At the end his voice was near panicking. "No! You can't do that to her! She was always nice to us!" "Ron, calm down. It's not as if we were going to marry her off to the devil in the flesh." Harry shook his head. "How do you know for sure?"
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