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4. You-Will-Know-The-Topic-If-You-Read-The-Chapter Pitch black and ice cold was the veil concealing the sinisterly chuckling figure - as every little child - muggle or not - knew, 'pitch black', 'ice cold' and 'sinisterly chuckling' were attributes of evil creatures, like Severus Snape for example. But Snape wasn't really 'evil' in the common sense, he'd merely came off the straight and narrow. This, though, no one could possibly see at the first sight, when looking at the scene in the chilly dungeons where the Potions Master brewed one treacherous concoction or another. It didn't help either that these concoctions' intended purpose was none other than to be tested on unaware students to see if they were dangerous or not. Now, one could say that was a waste of resources; and that'd be absolutely true. However, after Voldemort's second - and hopefully last - downfall (caused by none other than that insufferable Boy-Who-Wouldn't-Even-Die-If-He-Tried-VERY-Hard-Without-A-Wand-Under-A-Permanent-Body-Binding-Spell-And-Without-His-Glasses ... he'd probably just lose his balance, causing Voldemort to trip over him and impale himself on his own wand), Snape was, well, 'bored' for lack of a better word. Of course, he'd never admit it; even under some kind of exotic tickling torture. Thanks to Dumbledore for making his irresponsible decision while obviously on a sugar high, but maybe it was just his joyful anticipation, who knew? If one thought about it, it was quite a miracle Dumbledore still had all of his teeth, considering how often he plopped some sweet or another into his mouth - and that for more than 150 years. Snape sighed and continued his rhythmic stirring. ~+#+#+~ "Puh" Hermione sighed, plopping down on the couch in the Gryffindor Common Room beside Ron and Harry. "I didn't think it'd be that easy ..." "I still don't approve ..." Ron groused faintly. "Do you think Lupin suspects anything?" Harry queried, deliberately ignoring his friend's complaint. "No, I only told him what we talked about." Stretching her legs, Hermione leaned back into the cushions, making herself more comfortable. "She is our friend ..." "OK. So he thinks we just want to get a bit more practical training in DADA." Harry nodded, approvingly. It had been a bit of work to convince him, but finally he'd admitted that maybe Tonks would be a good influence for Snape. Well, they couldn't force anything, but they could set the ball rolling, couldn't they? "Yeah. And who'd be better than an auror, who knows exactly what you have to expect?" Hermione grinned slyly. "Friends don't do things like that. They don't stab you in the back, you know ..." "OK," Hermione growled exasperated. "Stop it, Ron! No need to get overly emotional." "But maybe I don't want to play Armour! Ever thought about that?" "Ron," Harry interjected quietly, smiling slightly, making his friend turn his direction. "Magic Knight Rayearth is something entirely different, you know? But come to think of it ..." He scrutinized Ron from head to toes. "You'd make an excellent Amor. I always pictured him as a redhead." That didn't have any calming effects at all. "But I don't want to be an Armour - or an Amor! And least of all for SNAPE! Do I have to pronounce it for you? You know I hate him and I thought you hated that greasy, slimy-" He didn't get to finish his tirade as Hermione's delicate hand whooshed through the air and connected with his cheek in a rather embarrassing way. The loud bang echoed strangely in the fortunately empty room, as Ron stared wide-eyed and with one hand on his burning cheek at his friend, who seemed equally shocked of this sudden display of physical violence. "Ow." Harry watched, never intruding the safety distance. "I'm so sorry, Ron, I really am! I don't know what came over me ... But let me assure you that hurt me more than you!" Hermione all but babbled, wringing her hands nervously, casting quick glances at the rapidly swelling cheek half hidden behind Ron's rubbing fingers. "Oh yeah!" The redhead replied sarcastically. "I'll have difficulty speaking, but it hurt you more than me!" "No, seriously. Here, look, my hand's all red and it tingles unpleasantly ..." Hermione's voice petered out, as she held her hand out to the boys to have them see for themselves. "Oh, if that's the case ..." Ron looked pseudo apologetic. "I'm terribly sorry my stubbles irritated your tender skin." Harry laughed out loud, slapping his friend's back amicable. "You have no stubbles, Baby-face!" "Thanks for reminding me." Ron grumbled, inaudibly. "I'm sorry, Ron." Hermione repeated, then cast a quick spell to treat the swelling. "But I told you often enough not to insult professors - especially Snape!" "Yeah, yeah..." The redhead mumbled, finally. "Even if I don't agree with everything, I can appreciate the distraction Tonks may cause. Maybe Snape won't be that ferocious ..." "Let's just hope he never finds out we were the ones who set everything up." Harry said, relieved that his two friends hadn't strangled each other due to Hermione's clip round the ears. "Yeah." Ron approved. "Or else he would hex us into oblivion and back." "Or he could force us to test new potions to see if they are dangerous ... which he does anyway, so what's the point in there ...?" "Or he could make us wear Slytherin robes." "Or he could gut us and use our intestines for some dark potions." Hermione watched the two boys, fascinated, while they tried to come up with the creepiest possibilities of Snape's punishment for them. "Or he could declare the whole library a restricted area." She chipped in. Harry and Ron stopped mid-discussion at the outburst of their female friend. "What a nightmare." "Definitely the worst scenario." "I know you two don't care enough for your studying," Hermione huffed. "If it weren't for me, you two wouldn't even know where the library is! Not that you'd know WHAT a library is in the first place-" "Alright," Harry tried to calm his friend, while he turned the conversation back to its former topic. "Weren't we talking about ..." At this point he trailed off, as the portrait hole swung open and a few first and second year Gryffindors strolled in, making themselves comfortable near the fire. He didn't want to waste any time by searching for another empty room, and they couldn't go to neither the boys nor the girls dorms. "We can't talk ..." He whispered towards his friends, then added louder, "yes, 'Mione, I've finished my transfiguration assignment," as he received a few suspicious glances from the other inhabitants due to his whispering. "Sna- um, You-Know-Who," Harry began anew due to the gasps he heard. "You-Know-He-Only-Wears-Black will never come to You-Know-Where if we don't have an excellent You-Know-What, you know why." While Ron looked puzzled beyond anything, Hermione nodded thoughtfully, while trying to come up with a plan to coax Snape to a place to have an informal meeting with Tonks. It shouldn't be too special to awake suspicions on both sides, nor should it be too plain. "You-Know-They-Aren't-Really-Golden could ask You-Know-He-Doesn't-Bite to arrange a You-Know-What-Kind-Of-Lesson to let You-Know-That's-Not-Her-Natural-Hair-Colour show how to defend against No-One-Knows-How-Dodgy-The-Stuff-Truly-Is brewed and of course supervised by Who-Would-Have-Guessed-He's-One-Of-The-Good-Ones." "Great idea, You-Wouldn't-Even-Know-I-Love-You-If-I-Said-So!" Harry smiled at Hermione and then turned to Ron. "After that is set ... Come on, I-Know-You-Didn't-Even-Get-Half-The-Information-But-I'll-Just-Pretend-You-Did, let's play some Wizardry Chess, shall we?" ~+#+#+~ Utterly concentrated, Tonks poured the mixture into the mug on her desk, steadying her slightly trembling arm with her other hand. She was nearly done as a loud banging, followed immediately by another bang - indicating that the one who'd knocked on her door, didn't want to wait, so he'd just threw it open. With a cry of surprise she spilled her tea over her just finished report. Groaning, she looked up, causing her lime green pig-tails to wiggle, and came to meet a vision of red - the only one she didn't like to meet. "Wotcher, Percy" She greeted, forcing a smile. "What can I do for you?" "That ... werewolf - I still can't comprehend why Minister Fudge let Dumbledore hire this Lupin again. He is a danger for all the students and not only for them. But just because Dumbledore says he trusts him, we have to do the same. As well as this ..." Tonks was halfway through her second cup of tea, which she enjoyed by tuning out Percy's tirade, as he finally came to a halt. "So, what can I do for you?" She asked again, trusting that Weasley hadn't said anything of importance til now. "Lupin asked for you to help him with a few lessons DADA with his seventh years. Minister Fudge decided it'd be a good opportunity to see how the werewolf is doing ..." Again, Percy babbled about how dangerous werewolves were in general, and this one in particular. "You'll stay for two weeks at Hogwarts and you have to report everything out of place immediately." Tonks smiled - genuine this time - and thought about what Percy would do with some kind of information, indicating in the least that Dumbledore hasn't absolutely everything under control.

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