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Disclaimer: If I were Rowling, I'd have probably put a stop to this nonsense by now! You may also recognise a short line from a well known phenomenon in the world of various Potter fanstuffs. Once again I shall give full credit at the end to avoid spoilers ahead of time. Enjoy!



Snape couldn’t help but sneak glances at Ron as they both brewed the counter potion step by cautions step. That meddlesome Weasley had pulled off his jumper and rolled up his sleeves in a very pretentious way and his hair was stuck up at all angles, reminding Snape strongly of fresh carrot peel. But much as he hated to admit it, Snape couldn’t help but notice that the boy was showing admirable ability considering the task at hand. Perhaps he had been too hard on those who were not in his own house…

‘Sir – isn’t the potion supposed to be steaming now?’

Snape snapped out of his thoughts like a toad snatching a fly. ‘What?’ he spat, looking into Ron’s cauldron with a wrinkled smirk. ‘Yes, that’d be the colourless vapour rising from it now, Weasley – going blind are we?’

Ron ignored the insult to concentrate back on the textbook, staring at it hard enough to burn holes in the page. ‘I meant yours, Professor,’ he clarified with a small smirk of his own. He continued to mutter the next set of instructions whilst Snape snorted loudly and turned back to his own steam-less cauldron. That was the third time Ron had caught the potions master off his guard and it was a very unsatisfying feeling. Surprising, what he was able to do when he put his mind to it and wasn’t cowering with fear…

‘Watch this, Mr Weasley, and learn,’ said Snape loudly, with a hint of impatience. He reached for his ladle and stirred the liquid in a zigzag manner as if in slow motion, stopping every three strokes to let the surface settle.

Ron looked on in quiet fascination, only slightly disappointed as a silver swirl of mist began to rise from that cauldron too. ‘Lucky guess again,’ he said jovially. ‘Better be more careful Sir or you’ll be unable to fix it next time and you’ll poison the poor staff.’

‘Why you-’

Ron stepped hastily away, stifling his chuckles with the sombre thought of Hermione still kissing Malfoy. Fun as it was to goad Snape and actually excel at his worst subject for once, this was not the time to dawdle. Smile fading to a determined frown he picked up a pestle and began grounding a quarter of moonstone – the last ingredient to be added before stewing could begin.

***
A pin would have felt awkward dropping in the silence that followed Dumbledore’s completion of his dare. Everybody was staring at him, mixed expressions scattering the circle as he sat there twiddling his wand, completely and utterly beardless. The usual twinkle still shone in his eyes, highlighting his round, pink cheekbones, but it did not fail to hide the many creases and wrinkles mapping their way across his wise old expression.

It was Professor McGonagall who broke the atmosphere. She let out a loud squeak of horror and rushed to his side to look closer at his face as if willing the whiskers to begin sprouting again.

Trelawney beamed in triumph. ‘See? SEE?’ she shrieked. ‘He’s nothing without his beard, look at his naked nostrils – you wouldn’t want to get close to that now Minnie dear, would you?’ She began to giggle and let out tiny hiccups whilst stroking her own chin as if to mock the situation. ‘She’ll soon see sense and look to me for love,’ she added knowingly, nodding at a rather shocked Harry. He shuffled backwards into Ginny and immediately regretted doing so, as she clasped him tightly around the waist with one arm and began running her other hand through his hair, crooning softly and shushing his protests.

Laughter now echoed around the classroom and several of the students were rolling about on the floor or gasping and clutching their sides. Dean still couldn’t stop staring at Dumbledore, forgetting completely that he was in charge of the game, and Draco was looking extremely pleased with himself for suggesting such a rebellious act to their respected headmaster.

‘Err ok,’ began Dean finally, as some of the love-struck couples began turning to each other again. ‘Very well played Draco… and hats off to Professor Dumbledore for taking the dare so admirably.’ He paused as Seamus spluttered ‘shouldn’t that be beards off?’ and looked determinedly away from the sight of Neville and Parvati curled up together holding hands.

‘Yes, yes, quite…’ he said, ‘thank you Seamus. Now Headmaster, it’s your turn to ask somebody. I’ll spin the wand as usual, but this time you have to go with whoever it lands on. Put’s a bit of an edge on the game that way. Oh, and does anybody have any veritaserum by any chance?’

Unsurprisingly nobody answered this question, and most looked blank or confused.

‘No? Didn’t think so… Oh well, we’ll just have to play ‘truth’ the trusted way then. If anybody ever chooses that option, that is...’

‘Get on with it!’ called Lavender. ‘I want to see some more action if we’re forced to sit around here all afternoon…’

‘You do, do you Lav?’ responded Seamus, reaching out to tickle her sides.

‘Minnie- I mean, um, Minerva, please!’ protested Dumbledore on the other side of the circle, pushing her hands away from his face gently. ‘It’s not going to grow back if you keep touching it…’ He gave Dean a huge wink and gestured that he should continue with the game.

Dean hastily spun his wand again. It landed on Trelawney, who made a great deal out of the situation, boasting that she could predict Dumbledore’s move and that she could do a far better job of things than he did.

‘Headmaster?’ prompted Dean with a slight sigh of exasperation. He silently prayed that Ron was nearly ready with the potion, because he didn’t think he could stand much more of this…

‘Sybil – truth or dare?’

Trelawney batted her eyelashes beneath her ridiculously thick goggles. ‘Wouldn’t you love to know!’ she said in a cool, husky tone.

Dumbledore sighed. ‘Yes, yes, we’re all longing to hear you predict your own answers, my dear.’

McGonagall gave a snort, and Trelawney scowled. ‘Fine – I too shall take a dare, for I can predict that truth is seldom interesting and answers already find me from the beyoooooond!’ She gestured dramatically towards the ceiling then fixed her gaze on the headmaster, head slightly tilted to one side. ‘You were saying?’

‘I was saying nothing, as a matter of fact, but nevertheless it is my turn to speak. You choose dare, and I say this: I dare you not to make another prediction for the rest of the day.’

Most of the students looked disappointed by this request, but Trelawney seemed rather amused. ‘Really Albus, is that all?’ she said loftily. ‘I expected far more from you. Don’t you think that-’

‘Are you saying you can’t complete my dare?’ interrupted Dumbledore, a smile playing at the corner of his lips.

‘Oh no!’ exclaimed Trelawney. ‘No, I was merely saying that it was rather easy…’ she turned her misty eyes on McGonagall. ‘I was hoping to impress Minnie here with something dashing. I can predict that-’

‘Sybil!’ exclaimed McGonagall, as everyone around the circle laughed and shushed.

Trelawney put a hand to her mouth. ‘Oh dear, silly me! Of course, I was just testing you Albus,’ she said with a light giggle. ‘I accept the challenge and shall predict no more out loud.’

A chorus of mutterings filled the room as it was quietly debated for how long Trelawney would last before predicting again. Dean spun his wand and Trelawney had to ask Hermione a truth because she was too preoccupied with Draco to want to attempt a dare. The divination professor didn’t seem to care much about Hermione’s life and merely asked what her opinion on baubles was. Hermione looked slightly taken aback as she replied ‘Well, they’re alright I suppose. They give Christmas a bit of a cheer but look rather funny out of season…’

‘But what about my baubles, ‘Mione?’ smirked Malfoy, pretending to be offended.

Dean groaned. Ron had been gone for over two hours now and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could hold the fort in here. Perhaps he should go find out how it was going…

‘I dare Professor McGonagall to give us a sock puppet show with Professor Dumbledore,’ Harry said suddenly.

‘But it’s not even my turn!’ she exclaimed, and for a moment looked just like her usual no-nonsense self.

Hermione reached into the centre of the table and gave Dean’s wand a shove. It whizzed about and finally slowed to a stop, pointing to McGonagall.

‘What Harry said…’ Hermione directed sweetly, before turning back to give Draco a kiss.

‘I pick truth though!’ McGonagall protested.

‘Please Professor!’ wheedled Harry. ‘I never saw anything like that when I was a kid – you know how the Dursley’s treated me…’ he pouted slightly and pretended to be close to tears. ‘I bet Professor Dumbledore would be happy if you let me have this moment of happiness.’

‘Well, I suppose…’ McGonagall still seemed to hold doubts, but one glance at her precious ‘Alby’ was enough to get her smiling again.

‘I would be delighted to assist,’ he said, voice slightly higher than usual as if he were trying not to choke. ‘This may be a while, Dean, do you wish to sit down?’

Dean saw something more reflected in the headmaster’s serious blue gaze and immediately understood. ‘No thank you Professor, however I might just pop out to the bathroom…’

‘Of course,’ replied Dumbledore. ‘I can take care of things here.’

Dean was only remotely disappointed to be missing the sock puppet performance.

‘Be right back,’ he said gratefully, and made a dash for the door.

***

‘I have to say Weasley that my past judgement of your skills with the delicate art of potion brewing may have been a little… off.’ Professor Snape stared down his nose at Ron’s cauldron, which was simmering with many tiny bubbles and looking exactly like the somewhat stained illustration in the text book. ‘Granted you took longer than myself to complete the result, but unfortunately your immense precision has to be noted.’ He pulled up his sleeves and tried to ignore the look of triumph that flashed across Ron’s face. ‘Yes, yes… Now hurry up and transfer it to a large flask, we haven’t got all day!’ He already regretted opening his mouth, and getting impatient helped him feel more his usual critical self.

Ron wasn’t quite sure if he was dreaming, but hurried to do as he was told. First all the ridiculous consequences of the love potion prank and now Snape was dropping him compliments? He shook his head and ran a hand through his hair to smooth it down, immensely aware that he must look a complete mess.

‘Come on, Weasley,’ called Snape, already at the door. ‘We have an owl to cure…’

Ron nearly choked on a sudden burst of laughter. He’d almost forgotten about Pig and Filch. ‘Yes Sir,’ he replied, corking his flask and hurrying after the potions master.

The corridor outside the potions lab was dimly lit, and as usual it was difficult to see very far ahead. Snape had disappeared into the darkness and Ron only caught a glimpse of his silvery outline now and then as he followed behind using his own wand light to show the way.

‘AAAAAARGH!’

Ron nearly jumped out of his skin. ‘Whazzup?’ he exclaimed stupidly, and broke into a sort of jog. ‘Professor, is everything alright?’

He rounded a corner and stopped short at the sight that met his eyes. A very dizzy Filch had come looking for Snape, and had clearly just fought off the body-binding spell he’d been subjected to earlier. Wheezing loudly and still dressed to impress, the caretaker had locked Snape in a tight embrace and was currently stroking his back and muttering terms of endearment. The poor potions master had no choice but to stay still as a statue and wait out the affection.

‘I’ve been looking for you for ages, Sevvy dear!’ Filch explained, finally stepping back, but not letting go of Snape’s arm.

Ron couldn’t help but splutter in laughter. Sevvy dear? he mouthed to a fuming Snape, who glared daggers at him in the odd lighting.

‘Yes, well, I’ve been busy haven’t I, Filch?’ replied Snape between gritted teeth.

‘Oh I know Sevvy dear, I know… you’re an important member of this institute and the best at your profession!’

Snape coughed lightly and Ron could well imagine him blushing in the darkness. ‘Thank you Argus, that’s very nice. Now if you would-’

‘And all the students fear you so much!’ continued Filch, his eyes filling with tears of admiration. ‘You’re the only one I know sees it my way. If only we were in charge of discipline my lovely we’d have this whole school top of the league in no time!’

‘Right, ah yes, um Filch, would you like a drink?’

Ron raised his eyebrows as Filch contemplated Snape’s strange offer. Could it really be that easy…?

‘Ehhhh nice one my lovely!’ smiled Filch, ghastly bronze fillings glinting between slimy teeth. ‘But I’m not thirsty for anything but you today.’ He pushed the flask of potion back into Snape’s hands, and stepped forwards, puckering up his lips. The flask did not appreciate this tone of refusal and fell to the floor with a light smash. 

A sort of gagging noise came from Snape’s throat. ‘I see,’ he managed to croak out, apparently lost for ideas now. His foot narrowly missed Ron’s as he stepped backwards to escape the physical contact, and Ron saw him reaching for his wand…

‘Ron is that you?’ There came a sudden beam of light from up ahead and Dean emerged round the corner, eyes wide as he noticed Snape and Filch blocking the corridor.

‘Yes I’m here!’ Ron called, as Snape let out a sigh of relief at the distraction.

‘Where?’ asked Dean, voice cracking at the hilarity of the situation. ‘Hello Filch, Professor Snape, Sir. What are you two doing hiding out down this deserted corridor?’

He and Ron stifled their chuckles as Snape scowled and Filch’s cheeks flushed deep red in the wand light.

‘Snape was just offering Filch a drink, weren’t you Sir?’ explained Ron. ‘But Filch doesn’t feel the need for a pick me up…’

‘I see!’ replied Dean, eyes glimmering with understanding as he noticed the flask in Ron's hands and the spillage of something similar at Filch's feet. ‘You know, there’s a huge party happening in the transfiguration classroom right now. Even Trelawney, McGonagall and the headmaster are there enjoying the fun – perhaps you could treat Snape to something there instead, Mr Filch?’

Ron started at Dean in amazement. Had he really managed to get the love-sick professors in one place as well? That was way more than he could have hoped for…

‘A party, you say?’ asked Filch, scratching his ear, eyes still on Snape.

‘Yes – quite the romantic atmosphere,’ confirmed Dean, attempting to keep a straight face, his lips quivering as a result.

‘I’m sure you’d love to go with Filch, wouldn’t you Professor?’ prompted Ron, tempted to nudge the horrified teacher in the ribs.

‘I- well,’ stammered Snape. He suddenly seemed to understand what the boys were trying to do and turned to Filch with a forced smile. ‘It would be my pleasure.’

‘Good, well that’s settled then…’ said Dean, winking at Ron. ‘I’ll show you both the way while Ron goes to get more drinks, yes?’

‘Sure,’ agreed Ron. ‘Pumpkin Juice and Butterbeer do the trick?’

‘Perfect,’ grinned Dean. ‘See you soon, mate! And try not to be too long!’

Snape's head swivelled briefly backwards, and his eyes bore into Ron's as if warning him his potion had better do the trick now one batch was useless.

‘Spiders couldn’t get me to move quicker…’ muttered Ron, following them through the lower levels of the castle before turning off in the direction of the kitchens.

***

‘…And then the transfiguration teacher fell in love with the Headmaster.’ McGonagall moved her arm along the back of the table so that her tartan sock puppet moved closer to Dumbledore’s blue starry one, fingers clasped together in a pointed, puckered position.

‘Boring!’ called Draco as Harry yawned and several other students rolled their eyes.

‘Give us something fun… with song!’ demanded Seamus.

‘But I-’

McGonagall’s protests were interrupted by the door opening. In stepped a grinning Dean followed by Filch and Snape holding hands. They stopped short at the sight of McGonagall and a beardless Dumbledore sitting on the floor behind a desk, bare feet stretched out in front of them and socks on their hands.

‘Severus, Argus, come join in the fun!’ exclaimed Trelawney, who was apparently greatly enjoying attempting to tickle McGonagall’s feet with a levitating feather.

Filch looked slightly confused, and raised one eyebrow. Had he been in his right mind he would probably have run a mile or gagged at the situation. ‘This is the party?’ he asked, turning to Snape as if checking he really wanted to be there.

Snape gritted his teeth and nodded, which put the caretaker back into a contented reverie. ‘Apparently so… Need any help, headmaster?’ he asked, eyes glittering with disdain.

‘No, no, sit down and make yourself comfortable Severus. Professor McGonagall and I are just performing a little show for Mr Potter and his friends.’ He directed his gaze at Dean, who was trying not to laugh for about the hundredth time that day. ‘I trust there is not much longer until the end of the entertainment?’

‘Ron’s gone to get drinks,’ said Dean. ‘He’ll be back soon with butterbeer and pumpkin juice.’

‘Excellent,’ replied Dumbledore, touching his chin with a socked hand as if he had forgotten there was no longer a beard to stroke.

‘Get on with the show!’ called Seamus again, because Lavender was still hankering after ‘action’.

The two professors looked at each other. Dumbledore shrugged and McGonagall leaned in to whisper something in his ear.

‘If we must…’ he replied, readjusting his hand within his sock.

Beside him, McGonagall did the same. They opened their mouths and took deep breaths, then began to make them dance up and down.

‘Singing our song, all day long at Hoooooooogwarts!’ they sang in unison.

There came a loud, considerably male shriek from Harry’s side of the classroom, which made several people jump.

‘What now?’ complained Seamus, glaring at Harry for interrupting the song.

The famous Boy Who Lived didn’t seem to care. He was nearly at the door and fighting off a giggling Ginny who was apparently trying to stop him from leaving but kept getting distracted by his ‘springy’ hair.

‘Mr Potter, where do you think you’re going?’ boomed Snape automatically, forgetting this was not class time, and that any of them could leave if they wished to.

‘Yeah, come back Harry!’ called Dean desperately, worried that everything would get out of control if anybody escaped before Ron returned with the counter potion.

‘No!’ yelled Harry. ‘Pansy’s gone somewhere and I want to find her!’

‘But you want to be with me!’ reminded Ginny, pouting and flicking her hair about in what was supposed to be a seductive way.

‘Wait- Pansy’s gone?’ said Dean, glancing hurriedly around the room and realising Harry was right. A sinking feeling made its way from his throat to his feet, leaving something squiggly in his stomach. If Pansy had left then she must have gone to find Ron, and if Ron didn’t make it back here with the drinks…

‘Oh no!’ he groaned, and pushing Harry roughly out of the way, rushed madly out into the corridor.



A/N: Ok, I might have ended up extending this story a wee bit. Just to clarify, this was going to be the final chapter but I decided to add a little bit of extra drama and tension towards the climax just to keep it interesting :P There shall be one more chapter to go, and that one will be the last in this mad mayhem of a story! I hope it shall not be long in coming, I know exactly what will happen and should be able to complete and post it within the next week or so. Many thanks for sticking with me on this ridiculous journey! Feedback appreciated as always, even if you think the characters would never ever act this way and it's getting too silly!

Finally, yep, I had McGonagall and Dumbledore start acting a bit from the Potter Puppet Pals 'Mysterious Ticking Noise', and the song they attempted to sing was indeed taken from that widely popular video. If you haven't seen it yet, youtube it straight away because it's something every Potter fan should see.

Rosai :)

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