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Snape's Worst Nightmare
A Valentine's Day to Remember
"Poor Sirius," said Brianna, her pretty face plainly showing her sympathy.
James nodded, looking over at his normally mischievous younger brother. Sirius sat on his own in the far corner of the Gryffindor common room, arms crossed, his face darker than a thundercloud. "I've never seen him like this before."
"Has a girl he liked ever done this to him?"
James laughed. "All the time. Sirius doesn't know how to behave around a girl he likes, so he just annoys her. Once she gets angry enough to tell him to go away, he just shrugs and starts annoying the next girl."
Brianna laughed, a merry sound that caused not a few of the older students to look around at her to see what was so funny. Most looked at her with curiosity and amusement, though the fifth and seventh year students gave her dark looks.
Arthur closed his Charms textbook with a satisfied sigh, stood up and came over to sit down next to his cousins. "Bri, unless you want to be hexed into next week, I'd keep it quiet around the students studying for their OWLs and NEWTs."
Immediately, Bri sobered and mouthed apologies to those studying for their important exams. One by one, they returned their attention to their work, though not a few of them twirled their wands in their fingers as a silent warning. Bri slouched down in her chair, red-faced.
"That colour really suits you, Bri," smirked Arthur.
Brianna poked her tongue out at him.
Chris Weasley appeared behind the group and tapped James on the shoulder, silently indicating that they should look at a scene playing out in a different corner of the common room.
Isabella Weasley was holding court, at least that was what Brianna called it.
Isabella simply sat quietly, doing her homework, unconsciously exuding her Veela charm. Normally, several student wizards would just seem to gravitate towards her, clumsily trying to gain her attention. The only thing funnier to the Nightmare Dozen than the convoluted showing off by those trying to attract 'Bella's attention, was 'Bella's complete and utter disinterest in them.
Now, a sixth year student named Miles Balthazar leaned over her, his right palm flat above her head on the wall behind her. Desperately trying to bedazzle the young witch with wit and banter, he was completely unaware of the massive first year student silently stalking up behind him.
James, Chris, Brianna and Arthur all snorted with repressed laughter as the older student frowned and turned around, no doubt wondering why the lights had been dimmed. His nose almost touched Charlie Weasley's large chest, and it became apparent from Miles' expression that he knew it wasn't the dimming of the lights that caused the sudden darkness. With a deepening expression of horror, Miles slowly looked up, until he was staring straight into the crystal blue eyes of Isabella's particularly protective brother. Several people watching burst out laughing as 'Bella's prospective boyfriend yelped in fright and dove for cover.
At least three separate hexes from the frantic fifth and seventh year students hit Miles, causing him to simultaneously dance, sprout horns and be surrounded in a malleable, iridescent bubble of silence.
Even Sirius cracked a smile at the commotion.
Charlie didn't even bother to glance in Miles' direction, he simply sat down quietly next to his sister. She looked up at him, then wordlessly shifted over a little to allow her large brother's legs to fit under the table. In seconds, they were silently studying for their upcoming Charm's presentation.
With a sigh, Sirius stood and walked over to join his cousins on the armchairs and couches. He plopped down with no grace next to Arthur. "How many does that make?"
Arthur shrugged. "I stopped counting at fifteen. I suppose around twenty, maybe twenty-two."
Brianna cocked an eyebrow. "Twenty-two what?"
Arthur rolled his eyes. "Boys that Chuckles there has scared away from 'Bella," he said. Looking over at Uncle Bill's children he added, "Do you reckon that he'll ever stop growing?"
Brianna also looked over at Isabella and Charlie, now sitting together as if they had never been apart. As physically different as any two people could possibly be, they never the less always looked out for each other with a dedication that made the other Weasley twins look like normal siblings. Even the Potter triplets occasionally got angry with one another, but Bill's children had never fought a day in their lives.
"I don't know. He's over six and a half feet now, and he only just turned twelve," replied Brianna. "If he keeps going he'll be able to intimidate Hagrid soon."
Arthur cracked a smile. "Which Hagrid? Rubeus, OlympÃ© or Melgwyn?" he asked, looking over his shoulder to ensure that Melgwyn, the enormous second-year son of Rubeus and OlympÃ© Hagrid wasn't within earshot.
Brianna shrugged. "I meant Rubeus, but any of them will do."
James turned to Sirius. "So, who turned you down now?"
Sirius snarled. "She didn't. Her brother and his friends did."
The others looked at Sirius in surprise. "What happened?"
Sirius took a deep breath. "Kate and I were just talking, she is a big Cannon's fan by the way, when her brother and his friends came up behind us. They hung me upside down for a while, then stripped my robes off and locked me in the girl's toilet."
James looked at his brother carefully. "That's not all, is it?"
Sirius shook his head, blushing furiously.
James and Arthur exchanged looks. "Her surname's Brulingstone isn't it? She's a Hufflepuff, isn't she?" asked James.
Brianna nodded. "We have Herbology with her."
Arthur grinned a particularly vicious smile. "Her brothers and his friends are in Slytherin though..."
Chris smiled too. "I think we'd better recruit 'Bella on this one."
The last of the intense OWLers finally closed their books and headed off to bed in the early hours of the morning. Sirius raised his bleary head, blinking away the sleep in his emerald eyes as the last of them finally entered their dorm. Noting that all was clear, he withdrew two hand-mirrors from his robes and tapped the edges of both with his wand. "All clear," he whispered into the mirrors, his almost irrepressible grin back in place.
Moments later, eleven first-year students made their way down into the scarlet and gold common room. Remus and Brianna stoked the fire, and soon the room filled with warmth.
"Right." started Chris. "You heard what happened to Sirius today. We now have an obligation to get back at seven Slytherin gits."
"What does that have to do with me?" asked Isabella.
"You honestly haven't noticed what has happened around you, have you?" smirked Brianna.
Isabella rolled her eyes. "If you mean those silly gits who can't concentrate around me, then... yes..." she said, her eyes lighting up with realisation.
Charlie looked livid. "You're not going to use my sister as bait!" he snarled.
Isabella smiled and put her hand on her brother's arm. "It's OK, I think I know what they have in mind."
Heidi spoke up. "If you are going to try and get 'Bella to woo those idiots, then you'll need to time it properly. If they talk to one another about being approached by her..."
Isabella waved Heidi's concern away. "If I tell them not to tell anyone, they won't."
"I didn't think your Veela charms were that sensitive," said William, his brow furrowed.
Isabella gave him a big smile. "They're not," she said. She turned and looked up at her brother. Her extremely large, protective brother. "I think I have another thing I can threaten them with to ensure their silence."
Charlie looked both flattered and uncomfortable. "I don't know, 'Bella. You might get a reputation."
Chris shook his head. "Once the story of this prank gets around, no one bar the Gryffindors will be brave enough to talk to her for years," he said with a smile. "It will be easy for you to keep an eye on her then."
Both Charlie and Isabella looked happier at that thought.
Heidi shook her head again. "That still doesn't get around the fact that 'Bella needs to approach these idiots individually. How can we be sure they are alone, and not being eavesdropped upon?"
Eleven heads drooped at that. Even Remus and Brianna were frowning in thought, trying to come up with a foolproof way of isolating seven separate students. James looked around at them, a superior grin on his features. "Well guys," he said to them. "It just so happens that I accidentally found myself accidentally going through my Dad's old school things. Accidentally, of course," he finished, drawing a old, tatty, crumpled piece of parchment from his robes.
The day before Valentine's day dawned clear, but cold. Students were rugged up in thick, heavy clothes as they ventured down for breakfast. Row upon row of students breathed fog in the cold hall.
Hot food and drinks were the order of the day, several younger students who had never drank coffee before experiencing their first caffeine rush. Several of the older students were watching with amusement, the teachers with discontent. It would be difficult to control them today.
With a fluttering rush, the morning mail was delivered. Owl after owl entered the Great Hall and dumped letters, packages and notes in front of the intended recipients. James, Chris and Isabella sat at the end of the table, closest to the door to the Great Hall. The trio huddled around the Marauder's Map, intently studying the clumps of students walking towards the Hall for breakfast.
Ignates Brulingstone and his six ever-present Slytherin friends glared at a pair of first-year Hufflepuff witches, scaring them out of their way. Chuckling to themselves at the way they managed to frighten two witches half their own weight, they made their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast. The enormous doors swung open, and the beautiful Gryffindor part-Veela witch stepped out, looking simply divine.
Ignates held the door open for his friends, just to get a longer look at her slim figure as she literally floated with grace down the hall. Just as he was about to enter, she half turned, and beckoned to him.
The Slytherin frowned, looking around to discover to whom the beautiful girl was signaling. No one else was in the hall.
He turned back to find her still looking at him. Dumbly, he pointed to himself.
Isabella nodded, and smoothly stepped around a corner.
Ignates swallowed, straightened his tie, and followed.
As soon as he rounded the corner, slim hands grabbed his lapels and dragged him close. With the sudden realisation that his body was pressed against the most desirable witch in the entire school, his heart started thumping in his chest, fast and loud.
He opened his mouth to say something, only to have her warm fingers cover his lips.
"Shhh," she whispered softly, sending shivers of delight down Ignates' spine. "I don't want my brother to find us," Isabella slowly traced the backs of her fingers down Ignate's chest.
The thought of her large, protective brother dampened his enthusiasm somewhat, but he nodded his accent.
"Good. Please, will you be my Valentine?" she pouted.
Unable to form a coherent sentence, Ignates just nodded dumbly.
"Oh, wonderful! Thank you!" Isabella whispered, bouncing on the balls of her feet in excitement. "But please, don't tell anyone!" she pleaded, pressing herself against him. "I mean anyone! If anyone overheard you telling someone and my brother found out, well..."
Ignates nodded again. "Our safe is secret with me," he said enthusiastically.
"Thank you," she whispered. Isabella again slowly ran her hand up and then down the front of Ignates chest, down to his waist. "Will you show me what it means to be a woman?" she asked huskily.
It took all of Isabella's self control not to laugh at how far the bully's eyes bulged in his sockets.
Isabella stood on tiptoes and leant forward. "Meet me in Hagrid's old hut on the edge of the forest, nine pm, on Valentine's day. I'll be waiting," she purred in his ear as she quickly slipped round the corner.
It was several minutes before Ignates trusted himself to speak. He went to breakfast imagining forbidden delights.
James let out the deep breath he discovered he was holding. "Merlin, 'Bella! Where did you learn to do that to a boy?"
Isabella giggled. "Mum does it to Dad all the time. Usually just before he has to go to work. I just learned from her, since she is the master. When she first arrived at Hogwarts for the Tri-wizard Tournament, she had Uncle Ron just about eating out of her hand, but Daddy managed to resist her charms enough to make her very interested in him." Isabella shook her head at the imagined scene. "She loves Daddy so much, but she does love to tease him."
Chris shook his head. "Is KyriÃ© as bad as you?"
Isabella raised one perfect eyebrow. "Don't you mean, as good as me?" she asked archly.
James chuckled aloud and hugged his part-Veela cousin. "Isabella, you are incredible."
She giggled, and hugged James back. "I know. Now, who's next?"
For the rest of the day, several Slytherin students were stalked throughout the castle, skillfully isolated, then ambushed with Isabella's unearthly charms. Every one of them fell to her attack.
The Gryffindors were almost undone when a particularly unwelcome professor came across their group eavesdropping on Isabella's latest victim.
Luckily, Arthur had glanced at the Maraurder's Map in time to note that the unwelcome dot belonging to Professor Snape was approaching the group from behind. Arthur leapt to his feet and whipped out his notebook.
"Ahh, such a large gathering of Weasleys and Potters," Snape sneered. "Just what requires you all to gather around in such a tight group?"
"I wasn't aware that gathering in a tight group was against the rules, sir," deadpanned Arthur.
Snape narrowed his eyes and tilted his head back. "Failing to answer to a teacher is against the rules, Weasley. What are you doing?" Snape demanded.
Arthur smiled. "Gambling, sir."
Snape's involuntary gasp of surprise covered the rest of the Nightmare Dozen's own. "Gambling?" Snape repeated.
"Yes, sir. I'm running a book," supplied Arthur, ignoring the confused looks from his cousins.
"Five points from Gryffindor," said Snape, a self-satisfied smile playing on his lips.
Arthur looked down at his notebook. "Um, let's see. Let's see. Here we go... Alex!" Arthur exclaimed, his brother jumping slightly. "Alex wins the first pot."
Snape frowned at this most unexpected response. "What?" he snapped.
Arthur looked up at him innocently. "Alex placed his bet on five points being deducted by you, even though no rule had been broken."
Snape coloured remarkably quickly. "You are placing bets on me?" he demanded incredulously.
Arthur nodded. "You'd be amazed at the sheer variety of responses everyone believes you will come up with. Admittedly, none of them involve anything benign, like cracking a joke or walking away and leaving students to their own devices. No, they all appear to have something to do with you making sure a student has a bad day."
"Detention, Weasley," Snape snapped.
Chris jumped up and down. "I got the second pot!" he shouted.
Snape's face darkened. "You what?" he spat.
Chris smiled widely, knowing it would irritate Snape even more. "I bet on the fact that you'd give him a detention. I was lucky enough to get first pick."
Arthur nodded sagely. "Everyone wanted that one."
Snape was making strangling noises in the back of his throat. He spun on his heel and stormed off, his black cloak billowing out behind him.
The last words he heard from Arthur was, "Right, no one got the third pot, no one picked he'd walk away. For the forth pot though, who bet on 'puce' as the colour his face would turn when he found out what we were doing?"
The seven Slytherins came down to Hagrid's hut at five minute intervals. It took some timing, but Isabella managed to convince each to hide in a different part of the hut from her brother, who was prowling around outside.
Judicious use of silencing spells kept each of the Slytherin housemates ignorant of the others, right up until they were all dispelled, and each heard the voice they had been desperately waiting for.
"I'm yours!" came Isabella's honey-smooth voice to each of their hiding places. "Take me!"
The non-prefect Gryffindor students with cameras, omnoculors and the like were all told in advance to gather near the castle exit closest to Hagrid's old hut. Shrugging to themselves at the odd request, they burst into laughter at the sight of seven naked, petrified wizards running flat out towards the castle from Hagrid's hut, all cupping their family jewels.
Immediately the photographers fanned out, snapping picture after picture. Ignates, in the lead, was the first to notice the group ahead. He quickly turned to run in a new direction. The others followed.
For amost a quarter of an hour, seven pale pairs of pimple covered buttocks were repeatedly photographed and recorded as Isabella's prospective Valentines tried to reach an empty castle entrance. Large groups of students would fill any exit the naked Slytherins got close to, forcing them to run in a different direction to find another entrance. From the doorway of Hagrid's old hut, Isabella, Charlie and Sirius sat on the step laughing so hard that tears ran unheeded down their cheeks.
The rest of the Nightmare Dozen, with the exception of Heidi, ran amongst the mortified Slytherins, snapping photo after photo. Heidi stood in the doorway of the main entrance, the Map in one hand. Shouts of, "They're going for the west entrance!" from her were enough to ensure that the entertainment continued for a long time.
As expected, the commotion drew the attention of some students from other houses. Almost like a dam bursting, close to a hundred newcomers joined in the fun of taunting the seven naked bullies. Students in the higher years were able to cast spells to summon their own camera and omnoculors from their common rooms to assist in recording the night for prosperity.
Finally, the noise caught the attention of some prefects who, after taking some time to laugh themselves sick, tried to contain the situation. They would have been more authorative had they been able to stop laughing just as hard as the other students. Not long after their arrival, Professor Flitwick appeared on the scene.
After having a chuckle himself, the diminutive professor raised his wand and summoned the naked students, covered them in a shroud of darkness to preserve what ever dignity they retained. The bullies scurried off to the Slytherin common room to clothe themselves.
As more and more teachers arrived on the scene, twelve first year Gryffindor students quietly made their way to Gryffindor Tower, avoiding the crowds.
An hour later, Isabella Weasley sat nervously in the dank dungeon office belonging to Hogwart's Potion Master. She swallowed in an effort to move the stubborn lump in her throat, and looked up at the livid features of Professor Snape.
He had been staring at her for almost a full minute, waiting for the silent girl to answer him.
"Answer me!" snapped the oily teacher.
Isabella looked down at her clasped hands, and kept her mouth closed.
Snape leapt to his feet and slammed his palms down on his marble desk, causing Isabella to jump in alarm. "Do you wish to be expelled?" Snape shouted.
Isabella's glorious eyes widened in fright, but she remained silent.
Both of the room's occupants jumped at the sudden explosion that reduced the ancient oaken door into tiny pieces of kindling, each sliver smashing with excessive force against the even older stone walls opposite the entrance. Half of Isabella wanted to laugh at seeing Snape leap half a foot into the air in fright, while the other half wanted to burst into relieved tears on seeing her formidable uncle storm through the now permanently open portal to Snape's realm.
"What the hell do you think you are doing?" Harry demanded as he stormed around Snape's marble desk to stand next to Isabella's chair, his emerald-green eyes almost glowing with anger in the dim light.
Snape quickly recovered his composure. With a sneer he said, "Nothing that concerns you, Potter. If you wish to do something helpful, for a change, go and inform Minerva that there will be one less student inhabiting Gryffindor Tower tomorrow."
Professor Snape was completely surprised when the Defense Professor reached out over the desk, grabbed him by the front of his robes and hauled him bodily across the flat marble surface. Snape ended up lying on the desk, his hawk-like nose ending up tip-to-tip with Harry's own.
"You haven't changed at all have you?" Harry spat. "Even after everything that has happened, you still hold Gryffindor House responsible for all the slights and insults you suffered as a child."
The fear in Snape's eyes gave way to anger. "I'm not the only one that hasn't changed, Potter! It seems that you also cannot see past the chip on your shoulder." Snape slowly drew his wand from inside his robes.
Harry's eyes didn't leave Snape's own. Letting go of Snape with one hand Harry, with a single swipe, batted Snape's wand, sending it flying. With only one hand, he pulled Snape across the desk and pushed him up against a wall.
"You complete idiot! You think I'm here because she is a Gryffindor? That the others were in Slytherin?" he snarled. "I'm here to make sure you still have a job tomorrow!"
Snape swallowed painfully, Harry's fist pressing hard into his chest. "What are you talking about?" he wheezed.
Harry let Snape go, watching as he fell in an undignified heap on the floor. "Hypothetical question, a first year Slytherin witch is found with seven naked upper-class Gryffindor wizards. Who do you want expelled?"
Snape snarled at Harry silently.
"Exactly," said Harry. "Now, tell me what the Governors would say if you suggested the first year was to be expelled."
With as much dignity as a man who had just been hauled around the room could muster, Snape stood, swaying slightly, but remaining silent.
Harry nodded. "It was a prank. Let it go. If you punish anyone but your own students, questions will be asked, and you won't like the answers."
Without waiting for an answer, Harry turned and put his arm around Isabella's shoulders. Quietly, the pair left the once immaculate, but now chaotic, office.
Snape watched the pair leave. Running the conversation through his mind again, he groaned out loud. Once more, he owed a Potter. This time, he owed his dignity.
Nothing horrified the Potion Master more than the idea of being in a Potter's debt.
Once out of Snape's office, Isabella grabbed a handful of Harry's robes and buried her face in them, crying softly. Harry sighed, and placed his arms around her. Holding his sobbing niece close, he grasped the phoenix pendant he wore and whispered, "Sanctuary."
The portkey tugged both of them into Harry's office.
Harry skillfully maneuvered his niece into one of the comfortable armchairs. Without letting go of her hands, he withdrew his wand and charmed a tea set to pour a couple of cups of mint tea. Ready in seconds, Harry passed one to Isabella.
"Here, have a cup of tea. It will help calm you down," he whispered.
Isabella gratefully accepted the cup. The pair sat in silence for a few minutes as Isabella composed herself. Finally she looked up. "Thank you, Uncle Harry."
Harry smiled at her. "Perhaps I should thank you. It has always been an ambition of mine to throw Professor Snape around."
Isabella blushed, and finished her tea. "When I got the message that he wanted to speak to me, I was so frightened."
Harry nodded. "You probably should have expected it."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Isabella shrugged. "I don't know. You might be angry."
"Why would I be angry with you?"
Isabella shook her head. "Not at me. At the people we played the prank on."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "You mean after what they did to Sirius?"
Isabella's mouth dropped open. "You know?"
Harry smiled. "All through my time here, I was constantly amazed at the headmaster's ability to know what was going on. He never seemed to be surprised, and always had another method of discovering information."
Isabella bit her lower lip. "He told you how to find stuff out?"
Harry shook his head. "I simply opened my eyes," he said enigmatically. "Now, as much as I was furious with Brulingstone and his friends, I wanted to see how Sirius would handle himself and the situation. It pleased me to see that you all pitched in to help him."
"So, we're not in trouble?"
Harry shook his head. "No, but I did want to talk with you. Believe me when I say that I know the unrelenting attention of others is annoying. But you have an innate ability that others lack. One that can encourage others to do your bidding."
Isabella frowned. "But I'd never..."
Harry reached out and took her hand. "I know. But you will be tempted in the future. I just want to make sure you to know that playing with the feelings of others can seem funny, but that same ability could be used for dark purposes."
Isabella nodded. "But you know I'd never do such a thing."
Harry sighed. "I know you'd never deliberately use your abilities for dark purposes. But other people can and will try to manipulate you into doing things you wouldn't normally."
Isabella nodded again. It seemed the safest thing to do. Silently the pair finished their tea. They finished and shared another hug, before leaving Harry's office.
"Goodnight, 'Bella," said Harry as he led her to Gryffindor Tower. "Oh, and tell James that I'd like my Map back."