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7. Love-tinted Air Tonks pushed through to the Owlery, limping slightly and rubbing her arm, which would be shimmering green and blue with bruises by the time of the next day. It had been a long way, and she'd had various more or less minor accidents. Hogwarts was indeed a dangerous place - at least for someone as Nymphadora Tonks, who gave the meaning of the word 'klutz' a whole new dimension. Shrugging the ample morning incidents off - and wincing while doing so -, Tonks chose an owl which would deliver her first report to the Ministry of Magic. Of course, she hadn't said anything about Albus Dumbledore not being at Hogwarts. After she had tied the small parchment to the leg of the owl and let it fly, Tonks sat down in front of the mirror and sighed. Then she pulled out her rose-coloured glasses and put them on, watching as the plain brown owl morphed into a beautiful specimen of the crooked-nosed bat species. "Amazing" She sighed, temporarily lost in her daydream, featuring herself and one well-known Potions Master. After her drooling had halfway subsided, Tonks decided that she would write Severus a letter. A love letter from a secret admirer, to be precise. She got some parchment, a quill and the ink, and then set to work. "Dearest Darling ... no, he wouldn't even read the third word ... Hey there, Potions Master and My Commander ... nah, maybe not ... Good-day Gorgeous ... I guess I'll have to spell the letter to be fire-proved." "Ah ..." Tonks scrunched her eyes and leaned forward, searching for the perfect words for her Poetic Prince. "Ah-" The quill feather tickled her nose and before Tonks could finish her second sentence, she sneezed. "Achoo!" Glaring disgusted at the piece of parchment before her, she quickly disposed of it. "Yuck. Well, new round, new luck." ~+#+#+~ Severus Snape never knew that he was staring in Nymphadora Tonks' private production, and he was glad for it. He had enough to do with his new headmaster duties. No-one told him that he had to help Fudge chose the colour of his socks! That was utterly ridiculous. 'Utterly ridiculous, indeed' Snape thought, smirking. 'I guess after this green-orange stripped stockings debacle, he will refrain from asking me for my opinion.' But Fudge wasn't the only one. It seemed as though the headmaster had some sort of an insider "Ask Dumbledore" social service. People asked the silliest questions, expecting answers to their petty problems. Who was he? Some kind of twisted Dr. Sommer?! Snape sighed frustrated and began to response to the various letters, advising frustrated mothers to take their children from Hogwarts (if they were in Gryffindor), telling the Weasleys to not reproduce any further and giving ludicrous tips in general. There were also a few early applications for the position of the DADA position for the upcoming year. With an evil glint in his eyes, Severus made paper-planes and let them sail into the roaring fireplace. Satisfied, he observed how the parchment crumbled to ashes. Snape didn't recognize the eerie calmness as something out of order. He wasn't prepared for the attack. "Ah!" He yelped, as Fawkes assaulted him, pulling roughly at his hair. Not for the first time, Severus was glad that his black locks were so greasy, for the phoenix didn't get a firm grasp and slipped with his beak. "Silly bird!" But Fawkes wouldn't have any of it and went on attacking the Potions Master like a bomber. His sharp beak left a few nasty cuts on Severus' hands, but those would heal. 'Even if I have to strangle the blasted bird to wring the tears out of him!' He thought darkly. Fawkes trilled a war-song and flew majestically through the air. It was now his duty to protect the headmaster's office from this dark figure. He knew too well how his master acted when sweets were involved. But this went too far. The greasy (Fawkes tried to spit out the remaining bits of Snape's hair) pseudo-human couldn't just burn important letters! "Petrificus Totalus" Severus said lazily, pointing his wand at the still circulating bird. Hitting it straight in the chest feathers, Fawkes' eyes almost bulged out unbelievingly. Damn that mortal! ~+#+#+~ "Ouch!" Hermione growled. "That's the third time, Ron. If you step on my foot just once more, I swear you'll regret it!" "That's not fair, Mione! Harry stepped on your foot twice! I did it the first time!" Ron retorted. "He!" Harry interjected. "And who kicked me in the ribs at least ten times?" "Not me!" Hermione and Ron said in unison. "Then it have to have been me ..." Harry rolled his eyes, and the group went on. Hidden underneath the Invisibility Cloak, they made their way towards the dungeons. Hermione clutched the list of ingredients tightly, as the three of them broke into Snape's office the second time. But this time it was for his own good. They had to use every detecting spell they knew, for the Potions Master's office seemed now even safer than Fort Knox. Not that Snape hadn't always been the paranoid one, but after they had first broken into his office, it had gotten worse. After snatching the needed ingredients and Harry's little chat with the snake which was the official Potions Keeper, they went to retreat. Hermione managed to cast a simple sleeping charm onto the unsuspecting snake, after all, it would have made Snape suspicious if his loyal snake would let someone to his potions if he was unharmed. And as there was only Harry Potter who was a Parseltongue, it would have been an easy guess. Only when they were safe in the Common Room, huddled together in an not occupied corner, did they dare to breathe again. They got everything they needed. And soon they would be able to brew their little love potion.

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