Chapter Twenty-Three: Lineage Books and Fudge
"Severus!" Draco said, surprised, as his godfather stormed into the Apprentices' Common Room.
"Where's Potter?" Snape demanded, quickly looking over those present.
"Longbottom went to get him and Finnegan up," Draco answered. "Should you be up?"
Severus leveled a glare on his godson that would have melted stone if possible, then turned his attention to the others in the room. Tonks was there, on the floor near one of the room's two fireplaces, with a stack of textbooks, lesson plan books and assorted parchments spread around her, looking lost as could be. Blaise Zabini and Luna Lovegood were rearranging part of the room for some project.
"Get showered up, Millie, we're almost ready to get started," Blaise called out to the girl who had just entered the tower.
"Morning, Professor, it's good to see you up and about." Millicent smiled on her way past him, "Blaise, could you--" Millie held up her arm, showing him a bloodied rag around her wrist. "Cockatrice Hatchlings. He has Cockatrice hatchlings in Stable five! Bloody named them Edwina, Imogene and Felix!"
Severus watched with glittering eyes as the girl sat on a desk chair and held out her arm. His eyebrow shot up at the healing charm applied, which was followed by Zabini saying he would head up to his rooms and get a salve he had made for Madam Pomfrey that should be cooled by now.
Pansy Parkinson-Malfoy was reading a letter of some sort with her youngest sister Patience on her lap. Ten-year-old Pen Parkinson was trying to interest her five-year-old sister Persephone in a game of some sort.
"What about Boggarts?" Tonks burst out as she looked up from her mess of paperwork in the corner of the floor.
"We had them third year." Draco glared at her. "You're an Auror--"
"Just because I know it, doesn't mean I have a bloody clue how to teach it, cos," Tonks huffed.
Tonks gave him a dirty look. "Well, what do you think? Boggarts for third years? Or you just here to loom like a great ruddy bat?"
Harry awoke panicked by the weight pinning him to the mattress. He struggled and shoved...
"OWWW!" Seamus landed on the floor with a thud. He quickly got back up, worried. "Harry, you all right? Another vision?"
"Er, no," Harry managed, thoroughly embarrassed and still slightly winded from his panic attack. "Just a regular nightmare."
"Harry, Seamus?" Neville called out loudly before he entered the bedroom. He stared a bit puzzled at Seamus, who was half-kneeling beside the bed, half leaning on it, and Harry, who sat in a tangle of covers, red-faced and slightly short of breath.
"I don't want to know. Just be glad Blaise didn't come to wake you himself," Neville said, then launched into a rundown of the morning thus far without either Harry or Seamus asking. "Everyone's up and waiting on the two of you to get the books done. Mr. and Mrs. Tonks left; they are dealing with getting Mrs. Parkinson's body from the ministry so they can bury her, I guess. Karkaroff's been taken a new set of nightshirts and dressing robes and the Unabridged History of Quidditch. Everyone voted, Seamus is moving in with you--"
"WHAT!!" both the other boys shouted.
"Pansy and her sisters are taking my rooms. I'm taking Seamus'. Blaise and Draco are switching about so Draco's across from Pansy and Blaise is on the top floor. And ... well ... no one wants you left alone after that vision last night, Harry."
"Bloody hell," Harry muttered.
"Y' don't mind, do you? I mean..." Seamus did not like the idea of Harry being caught in a vision like the one the night before with no one around either.
"What I mind is being declared a bloody invalid that can't be left alone!" Harry growled.
Neville got that stubborn set to his jaw. "Well, you'll just have to put up with it a bit. You scared the hell out of us, Harry! Besides, are you really going to make those poor little girls put up with Malfoy? If Seamus doesn't move down with you, then Pansy and the girls are going to end up in with him. Little one is scared to death of him."
Harry gave Neville a glare. "That's low."
Neville stood his ground with his trademark nervously stubborn look.
"We'll be down in a minute."
"All right." Neville said.
Harry sighed. "We'll summon a couple house elves and get the rooms switched around."
Harry sighed. "Oh this morning just gets better and better. Good morning, Professor. What are you doing up here?"
"More to the point, what have you little imbeciles been up to...?" Snape began snarling.
"Where's Finnegan?" Draco asked, cutting off his godfather, who gave him a disbelieving scowl.
"He's sorting out the house-elves so everything gets moved where it's supposed to be. Pansy, does she sleep in a bed or a crib?" Harry nodded at the toddler on Pansy's lap.
"Bed. She's going on three," Pansy huffed. "And her name is Patience."
"How the devil am I supposed to know?" Harry rolled his eyes.
"House Elves aren't supposed to be in this tower, Potter." Snape glared.
A *crack* preceded the arrival of four house elves, which cut off Snape?s building tirade. Trays laden with tea and pastries were put on the low tables, around which sat a group of sofas.
"Sirs and Misses be needing..."
"No thank you, Noddy," Harry answered the elf quickly. The House-Elves disappeared quickly.
Patience Parkinson began wailing.
"Brilliant," Harry grumbled shooting a glare at Snape.
"Mister Potter, House-Elves are not to be in this tower. You will learn you are not above the rules," Severus snarled quietly with a look of disdain at the hiccupping tot.
"I don't think I'm above the rules."
"Ease off!" Tonks glared in Severus' direction. "How you feeling this morning, Harry?"
Tonks snorted in disbelief.
"What's wrong with you, Potter?" Severus snarled.
"Vision," Harry said tightly.
"You little FOOL!" How dare the bloody little idiot advertise his vision in front of the whole of the castle! Had he no sense? No caution?
"Don't make the baby cry again!" Harry hissed.
"Did you owl Dumbledore?" Severus ground out under his breath, as the rest of the lot was concerned with the once again wailing toddler.
"No. But I will send a message with Fawkes if he shows up."
"It was Bellatrix LeStrange, her husband and a few others." Harry said quietly. "He's looking for a crystal."
Severus' eyes widened. He reached to grab the boy and shake him, and screamed in agony, having once again forgotten the condition of his hands. Constant dull pain had been his companion for so long that he barely noticed it in any form, but the agony that his hands exploded into when he thoughtlessly tried to use them was rival to the Cruciatus.
"Bloody hell," Harry muttered and steered Severus to sit on one of the sofas. Pansy hurried her sisters upstairs; the little ones traumatized enough without exposure to Severus Snape in a rage.
"Yes, I'm a dunderhead that needs Occulmency lessons." Harry rolled his eyes. "Where's Remus?"
"I didn't ask where he went off to. Why would I care where that beast goes?" Severus said dangerously. He wondered how much of an idiot the boy was. Had he no concern for anyone's safety? He was just blurting out things that could possibly lead to conclusions that would endanger others. Draco and Pansy both were particularly unknown quantities. As much as Severus considered the boy family, he did not trust anyone raised by Lucius Malfoy. It was suicidal to do so.
"That beast is going to be your nurse and assistant, none of us bloody have time," Draco spoke up.
Severus eyes narrowed. "You and Potter ... are getting along."
"Hah!" Tonks shook her head. "Harry, Hagrid's got cockatrice hatchlings, you're going to have to do something about that."
"Can't I play dumb until Dumbledore gets back and let him deal with it?" Harry groaned.
"Milicent already got hurt this morning. You need to take care of them now, Harry."
Severus' eyes burned blacker than ever at that. Had the twit of a woman tried to take charge at all?
"Right, after we get the books done. Go help Pansy settle her sisters," Harry groaned.
Severus' burning gaze turned on Harry as Tonks did just that.
"Don't hex her; it really isn't worth the bother. We'd have Fudge and a bunch of Aurors all over the castle and I've enough of a headache already today, sir," Harry said dryly.
Two hours later the Lineage Books were finally done. "Oh Merlin," Tonks whispered shakily and fainted.
"Bloody hell," Harry muttered looking at his own book. Fudge was just going to love the Dark Wizard Grindelwald's granddaughter teaching Defense Against Dark Arts. On the bright side, he had a full succession of Heirs at least on the Gentry portion of his Inheritance. Dudley, Tonks, her sister and nephews.
Harlan Gentry ~~m~~ Flora Tiberion
Dahlia Gentry ~~m~~Edward Smythe
Violet Smythe (born witch, reduced to squib at age 16)
~liason~ Mortimer Grindelwald
William Edward Tonks (adopted & raised by Muggles)
Ambrosia Tonks ~m~ Cameron MacDougal
Cameron MacDougal Jr.
~m~Henry Evans, Sr.
Petunia Evans ~m~ Vernon Dursley
Rose Annabelle Dursley
Lily Evans ~m~James Potter
Harry James Potter
Henry Evans, Jr.
Severus tried to grab Harry's book, which the boy promptly held out of reach. "You'll hurt yourself again," Harry said, then held the book up for Snape's inspection. Well, the explanation for the first metamorphmagus ever outside of the Gentry family was clearly made. Tonks was the great-great-granddaughter of Harlan Gentry.
"Didn't know that." Harry pointed at the Grindelwald line in the family tree. "But I knew Tonks was related to me somehow."
That caught Snape's attention, "She put the potion to skin?"
"We all did." Harry nodded.
"LET ME SEE YOUR MARKS NOW, ALL OF YOU!" The sooner that Severus knew what he was dealing with concerning this lot, the better. Fudge was trying to prove Merlin knew what, other than he was an idiot. Dumbledore was merrily playing his own little game of wits with the universe at large, and as usual, had yet to bother explaining anything to those most caught up in his machinations. Voldemort was at once the most deadly and the most straightforward of the short list of wizards who were likely to drive Severus insane. After all, the Dark Lord's motives were simple: world domination with a good bit of gratuitous torture and murder.
The verification of the staff's capabilities to teach their subjects had been a drawn-out exercise in futility on the part of Fudge and the Secretary of Education. After all, Hogwarts did not have the reputation as one of the finest Wizarding schools in the world without reason. One by one, each professor's past was gone over with a fine tooth comb. Fudge had become increasingly irate as Dumbledore cheerfully countered every protest with an annoying smile and twinkling eyes.
"Severus Snape!" Fudge said triumphantly.
"Severus ... why, Cornelius, I'm surprised that you are protesting him. Just a matter of protocol, I presume. What in particular about Professor Snape? He entered Hogwarts over two years early. He served a potions apprenticeship under Nicholas Flamel. Certainly, you cannot doubt Mr. Flamel's skill with alchemy and potions. Professor Snape passed all the licensing tests the Ministry requires for Apothecaries or potions-makers at St. Mungo's before he was finished with his, was it sixth year, Professor McGonagall?"
"Yes, Headmaster. Severus began preparing for his application to the Potions Masters guild over the winter holidays that year." Minerva nodded, barely keeping the amusement out of her own voice over both what an ass Albus was making of Cornelius, and the memory of Christmas Dinner all those years ago. Four girls had petrified and mobilicorpused an enraged boy to the festivities. The holiday crackers had not been the only explosions in the Great Hall.
"Mmm, let's see, Severus was nineteen when he was admitted into the Potions Masters Guild. I do believe that is quite the youngest ever. Nicholas Flamel was the previous youngest and he was twenty five, though only three weeks younger than Harlan Gentry was when he was admitted to the Potions Masters Guild, also at age twenty five. Hogwarts is quite privileged to have such a skilled Potions Master willing to teach young students."
"He's a Death Eater!" Fudge spluttered.
"Cornelius," Dumbledore said smugly. "He was cleared of all wrong-doing. Moreover, you yourself must certainly believe that, as you just saw to it that the Parkinson sisters were placed under his supervision. Surely you would not place small children under the care of a man if you have any doubts of his suitability as a guardian."
Fudge, nearly purple with rage, began protestation of the nominees to be admitted to the Teaching Accreditation Program. Dumbledore met these with the same slightly dotty smile and twinkling eyes that had Fudge ready to hex the older wizard.
The proposal of Hermione Granger and Pansy Malfoy both taking their NEWTs a year early was met with some dissension. Albus cheerfully pointed out that many on staff were not as young as they used to be, and with Voldemort on the loose, it was in Hogwarts and the Ministry's best interest to have as many suitable candidates trained as soon as possible. Participation in the program certainly would not guarantee a teaching position. Hermione's school record spoke for itself. Pansy's grades were in the top ten of the students of their year consistently and Mrs. Malfoy getting her NEWTs passed was something the Ministry had to agree was in the young lady's best interest.
Fudge tried to argue ties to Voldemort on the account of Bill Weasley being put forth as a possible for the program.
"Cornelius," Albus smiled innocently. "The man is the son of the Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Department and the brother of the Secretary of Education. Mrs. Weasley has had nothing to do with her father or his associates since she was a small child. The Weasleys have always been quite prominent in their defense of Muggle rights."
"Oliver Wood is hardly exceptional in any specific area of magic." Fudge latched on to the next name on the list, and wanted nothing more than to hex those damnable twinkling eyes from Dumbledore's head.
"Actually, Oliver Wood was quite a good student. He certainly could have made Head Boy were it not for the fact he was in the same year as Education Secretary Weasley. While young Secretary Weasley here took top marks in classes in their year, the number two and number three position fluctuated between Mr. Wood and Mrs. Penelope Weasley. Madam Hooch has expressed interest in retiring in the next few years, having agreed to stay on staff until we find a suitable replacement. Mr. Wood has three years of professional Quidditch on his resume; I dare say he would make an excellent flying instructor and Quidditch coach."
Cornelius Fudge ground his teeth. His nostrils flared with his heaving breathing as he was forced to listen to the review commission and the Hogwarts School Board carry on over what a coup it would be to have an ex-professional Quidditch player as the flying instructor of the school. Even Snape, who should have been easy to discredit, slipped past the board, and how could Cornelius begin to protest after it was pointed out he had just turned over three young girls, if indirectly, to Snape. If it was the last thing he did, Cornelius Fudge was going to bring Albus Dumbledore down.
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