Snape's Worst Nightmare
The Hogwarts Express
Harry silently looked on as his three sons tore around the platform. He had one arm around his wife's waist, the other holding his youngest daughter, Margaret. Ginny held the hand of their other daughter. Little Lily Potter looked relieved that her three older brothers would be leaving the home for ten months. Try though she might, Harry knew her well enough to see that she would miss them once they were gone.
It was only another three years before Lily herself would be heading off to Hogwarts. Harry sighed to himself as he listened to Percy drone on about the situation he managed to resolve between the French and Belgian Ministers. All his children were growing up, and no amount of magic would stop that.
Harry stiffened as he noticed the slicked back platinum blond hair on an older student bearing down on Remus. This will be interesting, he thought to himself.
"Out of my way, Scruffy!" shouted Damien Malfoy, his prefect badge prominently displayed on his lapel. With a shove, the newly appointed prefect pushed the smaller student to the ground as he stormed past.
Remus hit the platform hard. He looked up reproachfully at the prefect, wondering what he had done wrong. Malfoy stopped and turned to face him.
"What? What are you looking at me for?" the Slytherin prefect asked, his voice as smooth as honey.
"You pushed me over," replied Remus, still stunned enough that coming up with a witty answer was beyond him.
Malfoy's eyes glittered with malevolent glee. "Are you accusing a prefect of deliberately pushing you over?" he asked dangerously.
Before Remus could respond, a voice from behind them answered for him. "I suppose it would be pointless for someone to expect that a Slytherin could remember what he did only seconds ago."
Damien spun around to confront the speaker, only to find that no one was there.
Remus recognized the dry voice of his cousin Arthur. Rather obviously, Arthur had somehow managed to obtain Uncle Fred's invisibility cloak.
A soft footstep to Remus' right caught his attention. He heard a quiet swish of moving fabric, and suddenly Remus found himself under the cloak with his cousin. Arthur held up a finger to his lips, a grin on his mischievous face.
Malfoy, unable to locate the person who taunted him, spun back to continue berating his latest victim. "No one makes a fool of a... Malfoy," he started, before realising that there was no one there to be intimidated.
Laughter erupted around the Slytherin prefect as he turned in a complete circle to try and locate his initial target. Damien's face flushed with rage and he stormed onto the train.
Arthur silently helped Remus to his feet, the pair still safely ensconced under the precious cloak. "Come on," whispered Arthur. "We need to find a safe place to take this off without my father seeing."
"I can't believe you stole Uncle Fred's invisibility cloak!" Remus whispered sharply back.
"Borrowed. I borrowed it."
"Were you planning on returning it?"
"At some stage."
Arthur snorted, but quickly covered his mouth to cover the noise. "Once I'd saved up enough galleons to buy my own, of course."
The pair slowly made their way through the crowd towards one end of the platform. Remus noticed a tall, thin figure ahead of them. He groaned softly and closed his eyes.
"What?" asked Arthur.
"Dad. He's in front of us."
"So? He can't see us."
"Art, when was the last time anyone, and I mean anyone, managed to get away with anything in front of my father?"
Arthur frowned in thought. "I can't remember. I know Dad and Uncle George keep trying to play pranks on him, but it always seems to backfire on them."
Remus nodded. "I have never in my life seen him taken in by anyone. He can always see right through any prank, joke or trick you care to try."
"What about your mum? Aunt Hermione told me that she keeps stealing his socks. The whole family thinks it's funny. He can't seem to stop that."
Remus shook his head. "He has turned that around on her. He just keeps stealing them back. She can't work it out, since he doesn't leave the room. His socks just appear back in his closet. It drives her nuts."
Arthur gave him a doubtful look. "Anyway, we're not trying to play a prank on him. We're just trying to get past him to get out from under this cloak. I want to have it with me at Hogwarts."
"I hope you're right."
The two of them slowly made their way past the final throng.
"Did you know that invisibility cloaks were put on the list of prohibited items a couple of years ago?" Harry asked his wife.
Remus and Arthur froze in shock.
Ginny frowned at her husband. "Yes, why on earth did you bring that up?"
Harry shrugged. "I was just pondering what would be an appropriate penalty for a student having one."
Arthur and Remus looked at each other, dread evident in their eyes.
Ginny's frown deepened momentarily, then her eyes lit up with understanding.
"What did you have in mind?" she asked coyly.
"Perhaps an hour or so in a lecture with a particularly boring Uncle of the student in question," he said, tapping his chin in thought. He then turned and looked straight at Remus.
Harry watched the pair huddle together under Fred's invisibility cloak after humiliating Damien Malfoy. It took a fair bit of acting to keep the two boys in his line of sight without seeming that he was staring at something.
That's one of the problems with having your own eyes, Harry mused. In his seventh year he had studied Alastor Moody's magical eye for a project, and had imbued his glasses with the same charms over the course of several months. As long as he kept his son and nephew in the frame of his glasses, he could 'see' them under the cloak.
The pair struggled closer. Remus caught sight of him and visibly groaned. It took a great deal of Harry's self control to keep from smiling.
As soon as the two troublemakers got close enough for them to hear his voice, Harry said out loud, "Did you know that invisibility cloaks were put on the list of prohibited items a couple of years ago?"
Ginny turned to face her husband, her elfin face with a small frown. "Yes, why on earth did you bring that up?"
Harry gave his shoulders a theatrical shrug. "I was just pondering what would be an appropriate penalty for a student having one."
He watched with delight as his brilliant wife realised what was going on. "What did you have in mind?" she asked, in a seductive tone.
He tapped his chin as if deep in thought. "Perhaps an hour or so in a lecture with a particularly boring Uncle of the student in question," he said as he turned to face his son.
Remus saw his father's eyes on them and closed his own eyes in defeat. "Busted," he said, his shoulders slumping.
Arthur looked at him in shock. "But how?"
Harry reached forward and whipped off the cloak. He raised an eyebrow and waited.
"Um. Hi, uh, Dad."
"Yeah, uh, hi, Uncle Harry."
"We were, we were just, um..."
Harry stayed silent, waiting patiently.
"Remus fell, and er, I was, um..."
"Yeah, we, um..."
Harry's emerald eyes flickered over the two boys. With a practised flick of his wrist, the cloak was folded and draped over one arm. He then reached out and minutely adjusted Remus' tie. He held their gaze for a moment longer before gracing them with a tiny sly smirk and walked off to speak with another parent.
Remus and Arthur let out the breath they were holding and visibly sagged, both feeling like they had just escaped from certain death.
The train had been rumbling north for only ten minutes before Remus had been pressured into telling his cousins what had happened on the platform. All twelve were crammed into one carriage to hear the tale.
"That prefect Malfoy is a disgrace," huffed Heidi. "I can't imagine what the teachers were thinking when they appointed him."
Brianna nodded. "He is a disgrace, but it is only the head of house that appoints prefects."
"Isn't Professor Snape the head of Slytherin?" asked Charlie.
"Yes," replied James, looking up at his enormous cousin who had elected to stand. There would be no room for the others with him on the seat. "But I think he obviously made a mistake this year."
Brianna covered her mouth in shock. "The Professors don't make mistakes!" she gasped.
Isabella rolled her perfect eyes. "Oh please, Bri. Drop the act."
Brianna lowered her hand and snickered. "Sorry 'Bella, I couldn't resist."
"Yeah, well, there are no teachers on the train, you don't need to..."
"Yes there is," interrupted Zachary. "I saw Professor McGonagall get on the train at the station."
The eleven other occupants digested this information.
"You know," started Sirius, "I don't really like that Malfoy."
James nodded, a huge grin on his face. "I think we'd better have his prefect status revoked. I can't see he would be at all fair to us, given the family history."
Isabella looked shocked. "How do you intend to do that?" she asked.
James and Sirius wore identical grins. Remus was looking at them both nervously, but also had a smile on his face.
"Well, 'Bella," replied James. "Malfoy gets out of his prefect meeting in about an hour. Sirius, you find the head girl. Remie, you get to..."
Minerva McGonagall looked up as the door to her carriage opened. For a second she thought the Defense Professor had managed to turn himself into a child.
"Excuse me, Professor. May I ask you a few questions?"
The deputy headmistress closed her book with a thump. "Of course, child. I don't think I need to ask who your parents are."
The boy smiled and nodded. He held out his hand in greeting. "Remus Potter, Ma'am."
With a small smile at the formality of the greeting, McGonagall shook the small hand. "Minerva McGonagall, but you will be required to address me as Professor McGonagall once we reach school."
Remus nodded. "Thank you, Ma'am."
"Please take a seat, Mr. Potter."
Remus thanked her again and sat down opposite her. "What can I do for you?" she asked.
Remus frowned. "My Uncles have been telling me stories about their sorting. I don't believe them in most things, and I doubt I have to wrestle a troll, but I was wondering what we had to do to be sorted?"
McGonagall rolled her eyes at a particularly bad memory, but her smile remained. "This would be your Uncles Fred and George, I presume?"
Remus nodded. "I don't normally believe them, but I was just wondering, since my mum told me that dad and Uncle Ron rescued Aunt Hermione by jumping on a troll in their first year..."
McGonagall's smile vanished. "Indeed they did. It was a very brave, but foolhardy act on their part. I believe I awarded them house points for 'sheer dumb luck' afterwards."
Remus smiled at this. Smoothly, he continued to talk to McGonagall, drawing out more and more of his family's history.
"Hey look! It's the bouncing ferret's son!"
Damien Malfoy spun around, a snarl on his aristocratic features. He saw a messy bunch of dark hair race round a corner. With a growl, the Slytherin prefect tore after his insulter.
Malfoy rounded the corner of the corridor, only to trip over a conjured piece of rope, which disappeared as soon as he turned to look at it. At this point several nearby compartments opened, and once again Damien Malfoy was under the scrutiny of dozens of eyes after making a fool of himself.
He stood, patted himself down, stuck his nose in the air and walked down the corridor, fuming to himself.
Looking in each of the compartments on the way, Malfoy found the one that blasted kid was hiding in and almost ripped the door open.
"You thought you'd get away from me, eh?" he said threateningly, reaching for the small boy.
"Get away from you, Malfoy?" came an unwanted voice. "What do you mean?"
Damien turned to face Felicity McDougal, Head girl and Ravenclaw prefect. "That little pest insulted me and ran. Since he doesn't have a house yet, I was going to, um, give him a stern talking to."
Felicity raised her eyebrows questioningly. "When did he insult you, Malfoy?"
"Less than two minutes ago, in the corridor."
The head girl narrowed her eyes. "He has been in this compartment talking to me for the last half hour, Malfoy. I think I'd better inform the headmaster that you are abusing your prefect privileges."
"Nonsense," Damien scoffed. "He just ran in here."
Felicity stood and towered over the shorter prefect. "He most certainly did not! You dare accuse me of lying?" she screeched.
At this outburst, several people started crowding around the doorway, looking in at the commotion, gasping at the fact that Malfoy had been suggesting that the head girl was a liar. Damien was distracted enough to miss the fact that the majority of the new arrivals had red hair.
"I know there is bad blood between your two families, but really, to take it out on a first year before he even gets to Hogwarts is simply unforgivable. Detention Mr. Malfoy, and twenty points from Slytherin for your behaviour."
Damien fairly shook with rage, looking directly at Felicity, willing her to crack under his powerful and intimidating gaze.
Felicity simply stared down at him. It would appear to anyone present that she had several goldfish at home, and practised her stare on them.
Damien's eyes started watering. A mocking "Don't cry, Malfoy," came from the crowd outside the door.
Growling in frustration, the Slytherin prefect broke the stare and spun around to face the speaker. Unable to pick the unfamiliar voice out from the crowd gathered in the doorway, he pushed through the throng and stormed out of the compartment and down the carriage hall.
The snickers and mocking laughter followed him all the way to his own compartment.
Felicity looked down at Sirius. "I'm sorry he acted like that. I know that your fathers hated each other with a passion. My Aunt was in their year at school."
Sirius nodded and put on what he hoped was a brave face. "Thank you. Um, thank you for sticking up for me."
Felicity smiled. "There is no need to thank me, that's what we prefects are here for."
Sirius smiled and bounced on his seat. "So, what stories has your Aunt told you about my father and Malfoy's?"
James watched Malfoy exit his brother's compartment purple in the face. He turned to Zach and William. "Right, Zach, go check on Remie, I'll set up one more try."
Zachary gave James the biggest grin. "Go for it Jimmy. Come on Bill," he said, turning to his red-haired cousin. "Let's keep an eye on that bugger until Jimmy is ready."
William nodded. "I'll get Chris to help."
Damien Malfoy fumed to himself. Somehow that little bastard had convinced the head girl to lie for him. Well, as soon as he showed his head out of that compartment he'd be sorry.
The old lady with the trolley slowly trundled down towards his compartment. Malfoy snarled at her slow progress. He stood and reached for his purse, his stomach growling loudly.
"Hello, Ma'am. I missed the trolley before. May I buy something from you now?" James asked sweetly.
The old lady smiled down at him. "Of course, dear. What is it you'd like?"
As James picked a selection of items guaranteed to stain clothes she continued to speak.
"You look remarkably like a young boy I remember. You wouldn't happen to be a Potter would you?"
James nodded. "My father is Harry Potter. He told me to be sure to be polite to you."
"Oh, that's so sweet of him to remember me. Go on, take what you want, I won't tell."
A smile split James' face. "Thank you very much, Ma'am. I really appreciate it."
Damien had just finished his first pastry when he looked up to see the smirking face of the first year he had knocked over. With a roar he lunged to the door, yanking it open.
What threw him off was the fact that the first year didn't pull back in fear. Sparkling green eyes betrayed their amusement as several stains spread down the front of Malfoy's robes.
With a second, louder roar the Slytherin prefect chased the younger student down the halls.
James watched as the blond boy jumped straight at him, though the intimidating effect was spoiled by the fact that the blond prefect had to stop in time so he didn't crash nose first into the door. With a mighty yank, the door was wrenched open, just in time for James to toss the bundle of food he had constructed.
Beetroot featured prominently, along with pumpkin juice and blueberry jam. Malfoy's blond hair clashed horribly with the cacophony of colours on his now stained shirt.
With a cheeky grin, James bolted down the corridor, an enraged prefect on his heels.
Remus knew his brother was in danger; he felt it in his bones. The three brothers had always known when one of the others was in danger. They could even feel which brother it was who needed help.
He could feel James running closer, knew he was only a few steps away. The door to the next compartment slammed shut. He looked up at the Transfiguration Professor, who was looking curiously at the source of the sound.
"Please forgive me interrupting you, Professor, but there is one thing I've always wanted to ask you."
"Could I see your animagus form?"
"Who told you I was an animagus?"
Remus bit his lower lip and looked down at his hands. "I, I read up on them when I was small. I just always wanted to meet one."
McGonagall smiled again, and suddenly a grey tabby was sitting where Professor McGonagall had been.
Damien stormed down the passageway, looking in each of the compartments for his quarry. With a shout, he saw his target, sitting in the corner of an empty compartment. The door was almost torn off its hinges.
"No one here to save you now, you little bastard," spat Malfoy, his face enraged. He lunged at Remus, grabbing him by the front of his robes and lifted him off the seat. Damien drew back one fist and was about to punch Remus when a vice-like grip clamped down on his wrist.
Malfoy spun around to look directly into the furious eyes of the Transfiguration professor. With a gulp, he lowered his victim to the floor and stammered, "P-p-professor! W-what are you doing here?"
"Ensuring that the ride to school goes smoothly, Mr. Malfoy. Perhaps you would care to explain why you are physically molesting a student?"
"Um, he stained my robes."
McGonagall's lips were as straight and hard as any ruler. With a quick flick of her wand, no stain remained. "You are a wizard, Mr. Malfoy. As such, something as simple as a stained shirt is no cause for causing bodily harm. Waiting as long as you did to respond is simply inexcusable."
"Waiting? But Professor! I just chased him in here now!"
"I beg your pardon? Are you saying this boy just arrived in this compartment?"
Malfoy nodded. "I just chased him in here. You weren't here to see."
McGonagall's eyes bulged with fury. "Perhaps you missed the presence of a grey cat on the seat opposite, Mr. Malfoy."
Damien Malfoy swallowed loudly.
"For your baseless accusations and abuse of prefect power, a wee-, no, a month of detention, see me each night in my office this September at seven. For lying to a professor, fifty points from Slytherin. For assaulting a student..." she reached over and plucked the prefect badge from his lapel. "Good day, Mr. Malfoy. Professor Snape will assign another fifth-year Slytherin as prefect in your place."
With a murderous look at Remus, Malfoy started to leave the compartment.
"One last thing, Mr. Malfoy."
The look of hatred turned to one of fear. "Yes, Professor?"
"I never want to see you speak to Mr. Potter here again. Is that understood?"
"Yes, Professor," he spat, and left.
Nine Weasleys and three Potters sat around the end of the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall. Professor McGonagall had just dropped what looked suspiciously like a prefect pin in front of Professor Snape.
"I wonder what his reaction will be?" mused Chris Weasley.
They all watched as the Potions Professor fixed his steely gaze on Damien Malfoy. The former prefect looked down at his plate and tried to ignore his head of house.
The story of Malfoy's return to the non-prefect ranks had been spread throughout the Gryffindor table, and sniggers could be heard all over the hall.
Malfoy looked up at the scarlet and gold table, and fixed his gaze on the three Potters there, all of them smiling merrily at him. As one, they raised their goblets to him in a silent salute.
"Well," said James, turning back to the others. "The Potters and Weasleys are back. We are all in the same house, and we managed to strip a git of his 'decoration'."
"To Hogwarts," toasted Sirius. "May it be the site of many more Gryffindor accomplishments."
"To Hogwarts," intoned the rest of the table, and they all drank deeply. None of them noticed the Defense professor smile, and drink deeply to the toast himself.