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Chapter 39


“What curse did he use again?” Terese asked shakily, as she and Sirius stood outside Dumbledore’s office.


“Sectumsempra” Sirius responded grimly. 


“Where… where… did he learn that?  Surely not in Defence…” her voice trailed off suspiciously.  The gargoyle that guarded the office suddenly moved.


“Mr and Mrs Black” Professor McGonagall’s voice came down the stairs.  They went upstairs without another word.  Professors Dumbledore, Snape and McGonagall were standing by the desk, looking grave. Harry was sitting on a chair in front of them, staring blankly at the floor.


“Harry…” Terese began, but was stopped by Sirius gripping her arm.  She looked at him furiously. He gave her a look warning her about Snape.  She pursed her lips but kept quiet.


“What’s going on, exactly?”


“Mr Potter is responsible for nearly killing Draco Malfoy” Snape said, with barely concealed glee at his most despised pupil’s predicament. “With the sectumsempra curse.”


“And where did he learn that?”  Terese snapped.


“That is what I am keen to find out” Snape said smoothly, his black eyes boring into the teenager in front of him.


“I didn’t know what it would do” Harry mumbled.


“Where did you hear it, Mr Potter?” McGonagall asked, her voice as cold as ice.


“I… I don’t remember.”  Dumbledore fixed him with his piercing gaze but didn’t say anything.  The door suddenly burst open and Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy burst in. Terese automatically tensed.  The last time she had had contact with Lucius, he her prised her son from her arms. 


“My Son.” Lucius hissed.  “I want an explanation.  And I want Potter punished!” Sirius and Terese moved round to stand behind their godson.


“Appropriate action will be taken, Lucius” Dumbledore said, levelly. 


“What…” Sirius began.


“I think it’s up to the staff to determine the punishment, Black.” Snape sneered.


“Expulsion at the very least” Narcissa hissed. 


“I don’t believe Harry did this entirely in unprovoked spite.” Dumbledore stated.


“Of course, his father never did” Snape muttered.


“Severus.  James’ youthful misdemeanours are not the subject”


“And forgive me if I don’t leave treatment of my son with a bunch of Death Eaters.” Terese snapped.


“Tess” Sirius warned under his breath.


“Perhaps Mr and Mrs Black would like a moment with Mr Potter” Professor McGonagall interceded. 


“Thank you, Professor”   Terese said, reining in her anger and forcing her voice to remain steady.  Harry stood up and they were shown to an anti-chamber where, years ago, they had all retired to discuss their invitation to join the Order of the Phoenix.  As soon as the door shut, Terese turned to Harry, her face blazing with fury.


“Harry!! What on earth were you thinking?  You could be expelled! Then what…?” 


“Terese” Sirius said harshly.  She stopped in surprise.  He hadn’t spoken to her like that for a long time.  “He doesn’t need you going off at him.” 


“I didn’t know… I didn’t mean…” Harry began.


“Harry, where did you get that spell?”  Sirius asked him.


“I read it.”


“Where?”  Harry stared at the ground, obviously having some kind of internal conflict.


“Harry.” Terese tried again.  “Look, we can’t just let this go.  We need to know where you’re getting this stuff.”


“From my potions book.” Harry said, still mumbling.


“Your potions book?”  Sirius was bemused.


“I borrowed an old book at the beginning of the year and it had all this writing and instructions in it.”


“So that’s why you’ve been doing so well” Terese said.  Harry nodded.


“Whose book was it?” Sirius asked.


“It just said ‘The Half Blood Prince’”


“That’s why you were asking at Christmas!” Terese exclaimed.  “Where is the book now?”


“In the Room of Requirement.”


“Are you going to get it back?”  Sirius asked wearily.


“No.  I’m not” Harry replied after a minutes thought.


“Promise?”  Terese sat next to her godson.  “Swear to me you won’t look for it again.  We should be able to do some damage control if you leave it where it is.” He nodded.


“Yeah. I promise.”  Terese hugged him.  “It was horrible, seeing what that spell did…”  She hugged him again.  “Will Malfoy be ok?”


“Did anyone do the countercurse on him?” Sirius asked.


“I think Snape might have.”


“Then he’ll probably be alright.” 


“Ok. Good”


“Another thing, mate.” Sirius began.  “Don’t be try curses you don’t know on someone again, will you?”


“Definitely not.”


They stood up and went back into the office.


“Well?” Malfoy hissed.


“It was an accident.  He didn’t know what the curse would do.  He knows it was a stupid thing to do…” Sirius told them.


“I don’t see that that makes any difference” Narcissa said haughtily.  “My son is in the hospital wing due to an unprovoked attack.”


“I don’t suppose for a minute it was unprovoked” Terese said, glaring.


“It wasn’t, he had his wand out as well.  He was about to curse me”


“I think, then, that suspension is unnecessary” Dumbledore said.  “I leave it to Professor Snape to give Harry his punishment.  I daresay a few detentions would suffice.  Now, Harry, I believe it’s time for dinner.  Sirius, Terese, you must be anxious to get back. And Lucius and Narcissa, you must want to go back to Draco.”


“As long as I know Snape won’t abuse his power and mistreat Harry” Terese said, glaring at him,


“He won’t” Dumbledore assured her. 


“Come on Tess.”  Sirius guided her out into the hall.


“Who do you suppose the Half Blood Prince was?” He asked her as they headed off the Hogwarts grounds to apparate.


“I don’t know.  I definitely don’t remember it from the two years I was here.”


“And Moony hadn’t heard of it.  Maybe it was a Slytherin thing.”


“Maybe.  I think it’s just lucky Dumbledore wasn’t forced to expel him.”  Terese sighed.  She linked her arm through his as they apparated to Grimmauld Place, hoping that the whole unpleasant episode was done with.


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