Harry rose from his seat in the common room which was all too comfy and he found that he didn’t want to leave it, especially since he knew that he was going to Potions next. He walked down through the school with Seamus, Dean and Neville although they parted on the third floor as Seamus and Dean left to go to Divination which Harry found very difficult not to comment at but somehow he managed as he and Neville carried on to the ground floor. “See you later.” Harry said unhappily to Neville who walked out of the front entrance and waved before walking off to Greenhouse 5 which he had never entered and probably wouldn’t dare to, knowing that some kind of flesh eating plant would probably catch him the moment he did. Instead he crossed the entrance hall and passed through a small door which led to the dungeons. He walked quickly, not wanting to be late to his first NEWT class which would not have helped matters much at all since he already had to deal with Snape; he didn’t want to deal with Snape who was irritated as his unpunctuality. He entered the classroom and chose a seat right at the back next to Hermione who had already arrived. He opened his mouth to ask her something but he closed it again as Snape appeared at the front of the classroom. “Congratulations,” Severus said to the small class which was assembled before him. There were only Harry and Gr— no, Potter and Granger from Gryffindor, a handful of Ravenclaws and from Slytherin house there was Malfoy and Blaise Zabini sat at the front of the room. There were no Hufflepuffs who had dared to take the course. “You have successfully proven that you can stir a cauldron at Ordinary Wizarding Level. Unfortunately for you, NEWT requires more than one brain cell and I do not doubt that some of you will have a very difficult time in this class.” His eyes flickered to the back of the room for a moment and met those of Harry’s. Irritably enough, Severus found that he felt slightly uncomfortable with the idea of mocking Potter infront of his potions class. He made a mental note to attempt to humiliate him more often in an attempt to regain the contempt he had previously held for the boy instead of that strange feeling between compassion and indifference. He could only hope that these odd feelings were the after-effects of living with the boy for a month in that godforsaken house. “This week you will be making a simplified version of the Polyjuice potion. Now, can anyone tell me what the Polyjuice potion does?” Silence filled the room and Severus allowed a slight smile to curve his lips before adding, “Potter?” “The Polyjuice potion will change the appearance of the drinker to that of another person although part of the person the drinker wishes to transform into must be present in the potion.” Harry said quietly and Severus looked hard at him across the room before reluctantly admitting that he was, in fact, correct. “Yes, when brewed properly the drinker of the potion will become an exact replica of the person whose body part is in the potion.” Severus said coolly to his class, already moved to one of his worse moods due to Potter’s successfully answering his question. “Isn’t that what happened to Moody a couple of years ago?” Malfoy whispered loudly to Blaise but Severus ignored him and chose to continue with his lesson. “As I have already said, the potion you make will be simplified and will only take one week to brew instead of the usual length of time which is what, Mr Potter?” Severus asked, desperately hoping to catch him out. “One month, Professor.” Harry answered and kept his face carefully neutral so that Snape had no reason to attempt to deduct house points from him. “Correct.” Snape admitted. “The instructions for today’s lesson are on the board, you will be making the potion on your own and should you finish before the end of the lesson then you have not followed the instructions properly. You may begin.” He watched as the students pulled out their cauldrons and potions ingredients for that lesson whilst others read through the instructions on the board. He moved behind his desk and sat down to mark all the many potions essays which were infront of him. He had already marked Potter’s earlier in the summer which has been later re-marked by Dumbledore and given a grade two grades higher than the one he had originally given. He supposed that he may have been slightly harsh on him but then this was NEWT level, he wasn’t going to go soft on the boy just because he was pretty much doomed to die. Severus swallowed and looked down at the essay infront of him which he had been staring at but taking nothing in. He still remembered the way he had been treated by Voldemort, the torture had been unbearable and he had screamed and even begged for mercy until he could take it no more and had fallen unconscious from the agony he had been subjected to. He didn’t want to imagine how awful the punishment that Harry would face from Voldemort would be for the most ghastly offence of defying him on numerous occasions. He would die the next time the Dark Lord got his hands on him, he knew that much and it would be agony and slow and… a shudder passed through him slightly and Severus blinked to see that once again he was staring down at that same piece of unmarked homework written by Zabini. He glanced up and noticed that Potter was looking at him strangely. Severus scowled at him and as his scowl broke unwillingly into a more neutral expression he quickly looked down so that the moron wouldn’t see it. Harry wondered what on earth was wrong with Snape, he hadn’t yelled at him all lesson or criticised his work or so much as even sneered at him as he passed by. Despite the fact that Snape was busy marking work, or from the looks of it just staring at it, he would normally have barked out orders or tried to humiliate him repeatedly throughout the lesson and yet he was doing nothing. He wasn’t even complementing Malfoy or giving out house points to Slytherin. He wondered briefly if the torture he had been subjected to had made him forget his intense hatred towards him and hoped that he had perhaps forgotten who he was or that he was present in his class. He glanced up at the instructions again and added the stewed lacewing flies into the cauldron and stirred them clockwise thirteen times before leaving it to simmer. He glanced sideways at Hermione’s and noticed that his was almost the same colour as hers so he couldn’t be far wrong. He looked across the room to see that Malfoy has just added his lacewing flies and instead of turning a pale blue in colour as his and Hermione’s currently were, his was bright red and bubbling violently. Severus glanced up from the parchment that he had been staring at to see Potter looking across the room at Malfoy who was looking fearfully around the room, hoping that someone else’s potion was the same violent shade of red as his. Sadly for him, everyone else was sat behind a sky blue potion. He sighed inwardly as he realised that the moment he attempted to stir his potion it was likely to explode and cover the entire room with his potion which could serve as an interesting poison and for a moment he wondered what the effects would be should he test it on Potter but a second later he snapped out of it as he dragged himself to a standing position and quickly crossed the room to Malfoy before he could get close to stirring his potion. “Unless you want this appalling concoction splattered all over the walls and yourself then I would suggest that you don’t attempt to stir it, Malfoy.” He said coldly as he vanished his potion and told him to start again from scratch. Malfoy glared at him as he marched away from him and back to his desk but had enough time to hear him comment to Zabini. “My father said that when the Dark Lord tortured him he screamed and begged for mercy before passing out.” Malfoy sniggered and Blaise Zabini did the same. Snape took a deep breath as he remained composed and sat back down in his seat. He knew that now he was exposed as a spy for the Order that the Slytherins would be eagerly telling each other the news and would shun him almost certainly. He didn’t mind this too much since the rest of the school would probably cease to loath him as much as they had previously done, not that he cared what any of those moronic Gryffindors thought of him. Besides, most of his house wanted to purge all the muggleborns from the school and he did not want to be associated with people like them. He wondered how many other Slytherins thought the way he did – that anyone with a competent grasp of magic had the right to be there. In that he almost certainly stood alone. He glanced up from his desk to see Potter staring hard at Malfoy and muttering something. He spotted his wand unsubtly pointed at his back but instead of deducting a few dozen house points from Gryffindor, as he would have done before, he allowed him to curse Malfoy first. At the front of the room Malfoy screamed and fell forwards into his cauldron, his head becoming lodged in there along with the shredded Boomslang skin. A smirk touched his lips before he forced it to disappear. “30 points from Gryffindor for that, Potter.” He barked across the room as he left Malfoy staggering around, blinded by the cauldron covering his face and his awful blond hair. He was not in the mood for watching out for the morons in his house that morning, especially when they chose to insult him amongst themselves. If they were going to be like that then he may as well let Potter have his fun, giving him some amusement at the same time and then take points from his rival house in abundance because of it. That way everyone won. Well, everyone but Malfoy of course, but who cared about him? It was nice not to have to pretend to like that blond cretin in his house for a change; before he had been forced to act respectful to him at all times due to Lucius’ position in the Death Eaters but now he could do whatever he liked and that included putting the brat in detention with Argus every evening for the rest of the year. A smile touched his face slightly at the idea of Malfoy cleaning out toilet bowls, scrubbing the trophies and keeping the school clean all by hand every night for an entire year. He shook his head slightly, attempting to remove all thought from it which concerned Malfoy and that cauldron lodged on his head, Malfoy in detention, Potter cursing Malfoy, Potter being cursed by Voldemort and all such Death Eater related things as he glanced down at the dozen essays or so infront of him. He picked up his quill and not bothering to read them he marked them quickly. He gave Malfoy a D, Zabini an A and the Ravenclaws all received Es. He just hoped that those damned Ravenclaws wouldn’t see it as a personal insult and attempt to re-write the essays in an attempt to achieve an O. He glanced back at Malfoy’s awful work and couldn’t help but feel rather malevolent when he saw the large red D scrawled in the top corner of the parchment. That was all the evil he was likely to be able to perform that day but it still gave him a small feeling of unfairness which made him smirk slightly. Harry wondered what Snape was so pleased about as he watched his potions master smirk at the paper on his desk. He assumed it was an essay that someone had written and dearly hoped that it had been Malfoy’s. Speaking of Malfoy, he glanced up and saw his rival staggering around the room, one hand on the wall as he attempted to find the door or his seat. At the moment he was at the back of the room and walked face first into the adjoining wall which caused both himself and Hermione to smile malignantly. Somewhere in the school a bell rang, signalling the end of classes and everyone quickly packed away as Malfoy staggered along the side of the room. There was a heavy clang as he tripped over something and Harry had a sneaking suspicion that it was Michael Corner’s foot. At the front of the room Snape waved his wand and pieces of parchment flew back to each individual but Hermione and Harry and each glanced down at their grade feeling either disappointed in themselves or irritated with Snape for marking them lower than they felt they deserved. “Be gone, I have a class to teach!” Severus shouted across the room and ushered the students out of the room before quickly vanishing Malfoy’s cauldron and ordering him to leave along with the rest. Malfoy shot him a dirty look before sulkily trudging out of the classroom with the rest. “Get back here a moment, Potter.” Severus called after Harry who was just out of the door. The boy turned and regarded him apprehensively before walking back to him. That was the way Severus liked his students – filled with fear. “Yes, Professor?” Harry asked, wondering whether he was about to be put into detention for doing absolutely nothing. “Occlumency lessons. Tuesdays and Fridays in my office at eight. Do attempt to be punctual.” Severus said to him, “Now get to your next lesson.” Harry turned and quickly walked out of the room and ran after Hermione, catching up to her quickly to see that she was walking with the Ravenclaws who had been present at their lesson: Terry Boot, Michael Corner, Anthony Goldstein and Padma Patil. “Get out of my way, Potter.” Malfoy snapped as he barged past him and quickly walked down the corridor as he made his way to the hospital wing. “I wonder why he’s in such a hurry.” Harry said lightly as they walked along with the Ravenclaws. “Probably because he doesn’t want everyone to see that he smashed his nose in when he fell onto his face.” Terry said with a slight smile. Malfoy wasn’t just awful to the Gryffindors after all. “Where are you going now?” Hermione asked them. “Defence against the dark arts.” Padma replied. “Same here.” Harry said to her. “Loads of people took it.” Michael said as they made their way back up to the entrance hall. “Yeah, I’ve heard our class is pretty much the D.A.” Terry said lightly, glancing at Harry as they walked. “So Harry, are you running the D.A. again this year?” Padma asked, hoping that he would say yes. “No,” He replied and everyone looked slightly disappointed, even Hermione, although she had already known that he wouldn’t be running the defence association again. “We’ve got a good teacher now, the D.A. isn’t needed anymore.” “I know, but still…” Hermione said as they walked quickly up the stairs and joined with some of the Hufflepuffs making their way to defence against the dark arts. “I still can’t believe they hired Lupin again.” Ernie Macmillan said, “After all that the Slytherins were saying about him as well. Still, if Dumbledore trusts him then so do I.” He said, placing all his trust in the judgement of the headmaster, as so many other people did. Harry wondered briefly how his guardian’s first class had been. He had known that Remus would be teaching Slytherins during his first lesson and he hoped that it had all gone smoothly for him. Similarly he hoped that there would be none in the class he was about to attend who would now be prejudiced against him, after all it was widely agreed that Remus had been the best teacher for defence against the dark arts that they had ever had. They reached the room on the second floor to see a stream of third year Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws filed out of the room, most of them chatting excitedly about their lesson as they made their way to their next class. Remus appeared in the doorway and motioned for them to go in. As Harry passed him their eyes met for a moment and Harry thought that his slight smile looked rather strained; he couldn’t help but wonder how his previous lesson had gone for him as he entered the room and sat down at the front of the room with Hermione and they were joined by Ron a moment later as he arrived, gasping and panting as he struggled to catch his breath, and threw himself down in the chair beside Harry. Harry glanced over his shoulder to see Malfoy walk sulkily into the classroom and collapse into a chair near the back of the room. Remus walked down the middle of the room and almost tripped over as Malfoy stuck his foot out and laughed at him. “Watch where you’re walking, wolf.” Malfoy sneered at Remus who composed himself in the blink of an eye and stood at the front of the room, facing them. “Welcome to your first lesson in NEWT defence against the dark arts.” Remus said and the room went deadly quiet. Quickly glancing around the room, Harry noticed that everyone there except for Malfoy, had been a part of the D.A. “Because this is your NEWT it means that you have made the choice to be here. I have also made the choice to be here to teach you skills that you may well find invaluable to you in the future. As I am certain you are all now aware, I suffer from lycanthropy—” “So basically, you’re a werewolf.” Malfoy cut in and Remus looked at him coldly. “Yes.” Remus said, “And anyone who has a problem with this can leave right now and not come back. As I have said, it is your choice to be here to learn defence from me. Is there anyone in this room who wishes to leave?” Remus asked quietly and at the back of the room Malfoy stood up. “I’m leaving.” Malfoy said loudly, “I’m not staying here to be taught by a filthy half-breed.” “100 points from Slytherin. Now get out, Mr Malfoy.” He said and Malfoy stormed out of the room. “And don’t come back!” Harry shouted after him, letting his irritation at Malfoy get the better of him. There was laughter from the class before Remus flicked his wand and the door shut again. They looked to him and he smiled slightly. “Thank you, Harry.” Remus said, although there was a definite tone of disapproval in his voice as he said it, yet the sparkle did not leave his eyes. “Anyone else wish to leave along with Mr Malfoy?” He asked but no one left or even looked as if they wanted to. “Very well. Now, over the next two years you are going to have to learn a lot. It will all build on previous lessons which you should have covered although owing to certain problems with staffing in this particular subject over the years you may find some of it extremely difficult. This will cause little problem with time however, as I know that after your defence lessons last year you have learnt many spells which would normally have been learnt this year.” Remus’ eyes flickered to Harry’s for a moment and so did those of many other students in the room. “At the start of the year we will be going over duelling and defensive and offensive spells in some depth which you have probably never experienced before. There will be many practical lessons which I hope that you will all take part in. Then, after Christmas you will be learning about dark creatures such as hinkypunks, grindylows, and werewolves.” He said the last word with a sense of reluctance in it which he could not hide but he carried on nonetheless. “I believe I have talked for long enough now. Today we will be having a practical lesson in this room so wands out everyone and books away. I must warn you that due to the fact that everyone has their own unique style of duelling, you will not be duelling with the same person each lesson. For today you will duel with whoever you choose, next lesson I will choose your partner for you. “So, if you would all choose your partner and we’ll begin.” Remus finished and the room which had been silent and listening to their professor with rapt attention the moment before was now mostly walking around the room, picking their partner and sorting out disagreements between them. Harry scowled slightly when Ron stood with Neville. “Sorry Harry, I promised Neville that I would this morning.” Ron said to him and it soon appeared that the numbers were odd as Harry was left on his own without a partner. Remus smiled slightly at him. “Very well, it looks like you’re with me, Harry.” Remus said to him. Fabulous, a chance to be humiliated infront of the D.A. just what I always wanted… He thought but wasn’t particularly displeased with the fact that he would be working with his mentor that lesson. Remus let his eyes flicker around the room as he noticed that Harry scowled at Ron who was stood with Neville, signalling that they were partners and Harry clearly had no one. He knew that the numbers were odd and he was quite surprised to learn that no one was willing to go to Harry and work with him for the lesson. He supposed that it was because he had taught them all the year before that they were all so reluctant to be with him again, as if they were actually equal to him in skill at defence against the dark arts. “And you can assist me with the demonstration as well.” Remus grinned and Harry looked reluctant to say the least. “I don’t bite, Harry.” The teenager stuck his tongue out at him as he walked to the front of the room. Harry kept his eyes on Remus as his godfather quickly waved his wand and murmured something under his breath causing all the desks and the chairs in the room to move to one side of the room and pile themselves up, leaving them with a large space in which to work. “Pay attention please.” Remus said to them, “Today we’re going to go through the basics, since I don’t believe you’ve had all that much experience with duelling. I do not mean to patronise but you must understand the fundamentals of duelling before you can build upon it. “Since I am certain that every person in this room can disarm their opponent we will go through reversing unfriendly spells back to your partner today. We will be working with the jelly-legs jinx and that only to ensure that there will be no accidents. So Harry, if you would be kind enough to attempt to jinx me…” Remus said and Harry nodded as he sent the jelly-legs jinx straight at him. “Protegium!” Remus said and the spell shot straight back at Harry. “Protegium. Harry repeated and the spell bounced back off his shield and to Remus again who smiled and caught the spell in a strange kind of net which at first glance had appeared to be a shield but then when you looked closer, it was discernible that it was made of tiny magical threads. The second the spell touched the net it was sucked into Remus’ wand and disappeared, much to the intrigue of the students in his class. Harry raised an eyebrow slightly at this but didn’t comment. “If you need to block the jinx at any time or you feel that the seemingly endless reversing is becoming too much for you then use Protego to end the spell.” Remus said to them, “I would like you all to attempt to keep the jinx bouncing between you as long as possible. We will do this for a while until I believe you all capable and we can then move on to some more difficult spells to reverse. Now, begin and try to spread out as much as you can.” The class spread out across the room, leaving all the pairs with plenty of space to work in. Remus and Harry stood at the front of the room for a few minutes whilst Remus surveyed his class to make sure that no one was in any trouble with the spell but to his satisfaction they all seemed to be able to use the spell perfectly. “You know when you teach us about werewolves…” Harry said. “I will conform to the curriculum, Harry.” Remus replied before he had even had chance to finish the question, “It’s all fine and good knowing that werewolves aren’t all evil but when the exam board is monitored by Fudge you don’t want every student taking the exam saying that they are classed as dark creatures but are not necessarily so. As far as you and every student in this class are concerned, I am a dark creature.” He said softly so that they would not be overheard. “I’ll not write or think that ever.” Harry said and Remus smiled slightly. “I’m glad you would never think it but it could jeopardise your grade in this subject if you don’t answer what you know to be the ‘correct’ answer in the exam.” Remus said as they moved opposite each other and started to rebound the spell between them across the room, staying close together so that the challenge was greater since their time to react to the spell was sliced effectively. “Move closer to each other once you’ve got the hang of it.” Remus called over the class and the students slowly began to move closer and closer to one another. This caused a few people to wobble around the room for sometime when they did not react fast enough and indeed Hannah Abbot was chased around the room by Ernie for a good few minutes before he got close enough to her to counter-jinx it. Eventually Harry and Remus bored of simply reflecting the same spell back and forth at one another when they were standing barely a metre apart and Remus watched the room working for another few minutes to check that everyone was alright with the spell before moving on. They covered Protego, binding spells such as Locomotor Mortis - the leg-locker curse and Petrificus Totalus - the full body bind before Remus went on to demonstrate some more destructive curses such as Reducto and explaining that a good Protego could block this although it would need an extremely strong Protegium spell to reverse it completely. He briefly touched on the subject of the Unforgivables, and informed them that nothing but strength of will could prevent the Imperious curse and it was a well documented fact that nothing could stop Avada Kedavra. He did mention that there was a counter-jinx which could be used to lessen the pain from the Cruciatus curse and if it was strong enough then sometimes block it completely, although he would only touch on that briefly and explained that he would teach them about that at another time. Eventually the end of the lesson arrived and everyone felt quite disappointed that their first class at NEWT defence against the dark arts had come to an end so soon, although it had been a full hour since they had entered the room and that was going over time by a few minutes but Remus found that the class was quite reluctant to leave the room. After some time they left after he had given them some homework and promised them that they would be putting their spells together during the next lesson to duel with one another and they would see him duel, if Harry would partner with him. Harry had agreed, although unwillingly; he didn’t particularly want to lose spectacularly to Remus infront of the class he had been teaching himself the year before. “You don’t seem too pleased at the idea of duelling with me next lesson.” Remus said to Harry once the class had cleared out of the room. Ron and Hermione had left Harry to go to dinner and Harry had stayed behind to talk to Remus for a while since they hadn’t really had the chance to speak on their own since the previous morning. They both knew that things were going to change once they arrived back at Hogwarts and they could no longer be as close as they had once been but just because they knew this didn’t mean that they had to like it. “Losing spectacularly infront of people who I taught last year. Sounds like fun.” Harry said and glanced at Remus who smiled at him and put his arm around his shoulders as they walked to the door, rather more slowly than they would normally have walked; they didn’t want to break their touch but at the same time they couldn’t stay in this classroom for ever, nor could they walk down the corridor with Remus’ arms about Harry’s shoulders. “It doesn’t matter if you lose. You duel amazingly now.” Remus said lightly as he waved his wand and all the desks moved back to where they had once been when they reached the doorway and Remus removed his arm from Harry’s shoulders albeit a little reluctantly. Harry rolled his eyes at his complement, certain that Remus was only saying it to make him feel better and they chatted about their day so far as they walked down to get some lunch from the Great Hall. “You’re lucky; you’ve got a free lesson now.” Remus said to Harry as they made their way down a staircase onto the ground floor and walked towards the entrance of the great hall. “I’ve got to teach Gryffindor and Hufflepuff first years next and first year lessons are always incredibly dull. They can’t do anything!” “What did you expect? Masters of duelling?” Harry asked him with a smile as they neared the great hall and they couldn’t help but notice how their pace slowed. “Come and see me later on, won’t you.” Remus said to him as they passed through the large doors and a few people glanced around to see who had entered before going back to their own meals. “Course, your lesson ends at three so I’ll go to your office around then.” Harry said to him as they parted and Remus felt slightly happier than he had done all day. It wasn’t that his lessons had been bad but they hadn’t been particularly good either. The one with the DA had been the best and Malfoy had been in there and had attempted to trip him up, insulted him publicly and had eventually stormed out of the room for no apparent reason. His other lessons had been interesting since the students that hadn’t known that he was a werewolf had been informed that he was by himself, to save the trouble of circulating gossip which would manage to turn him from a werewolf into a serial killer who could destroy a man with a single touch, was attempting to kidnap The Boy Who Lived on a regular basis and was a werewolf. For some unknown reason, gossip around Hogwarts tended to move in that direction. He sighed as he walked over to the staff table and sat down with his friends, knowing that however bad his last lesson of the day could go, he would be meeting Harry after it. A/N: Soooo, what did you think? Any good? Updates should carry on every two days or so for a while at least since I have two pre-written chapters and I'm starting a new one as well but I get my GCSE art exam tomorrow. That means I have five weeks of preparation during which I will be stressed and doing a lot of art whilst I try to keep up with the three beta working things I'm doing for people so basically I won't have the time to try and write fanfiction, not that lack of time's ever stopped me yet. Anyway, after the five weeks of prep then I take my exam but then soon after I have my german speaking test and from there my tests will start becoming more frequent. Damn being in year 11. Anyways, this is my way of saying that I can't write nearly so often as I did before now that my exams are a-coming but I'll try nonetheless. Now that you're all thoroughly bored sick of my ramblings I'll go now :o)
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