Of the Hogwarts students blasted out of their peaceful slumber by that horrified shriek, it was the Slytherins who were the ones to at once reach for their wands. However, after a quick check for enemies in their vicinity, those house members in the green-and-silver ties judiciously removed their fingers from gripping these magical sticks when they remembered exactly where they’d just woken up.
Professor Binns’ classroom was considered to be neutral territory for all, with this arrangement genuinely respected by every Hogwarts house. Even the most rabid pureblood extremists in Slytherin adopted a live-and-let-live attitude just this once against the mudbloods and other unacceptable scum while they were…studying together in the History of Magic class. In turn, no matter how much the other Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, and Ravenclaws detested the snakes, the rest of the castle’s pupils left them alone during their ghostly teacher’s never-ending lectures.
This astonishing result was due to one simple fact: staying on guard against potential harassment by any rival house in that specific Hogwarts class also meant having to stay awake while listening to Professor Binns’ mind-numbing drone covering centuries of tedious, unmemorable historical dates, details, and circumstances. No one knew exactly when it’d started (anyone’s best guess was the day after their teacher’s death generations ago, which incredibly caused him to be even more boring), but an unspoken truce had been speedily agreed between the houses. Each and every one of these residences’ inhabitants quickly seized upon the convenient chance for an undisturbed nap during school hours, and so it’d went for the next couple of hundred years.
Today, however, everyone in the classroom had now been rudely brought out of their state of idyllic unconsciousness. This would’ve normally evoked hard stares, nasty threats muttered sotto voce, and even a few discreet hexes sent towards the pest who’d just roused them all by screaming at the top of his lungs. Led by the Slytherins, of course. Except at this very moment, Professor Snape’s darlings were instead quite content with being vastly entertained by seeing Scarhead Potter apparently go insane.
Closely watching with utter fascination shared by virtually the rest of the class, Draco Malfoy and his cronies observed how a trembling, sweaty Potty standing where he’d jumped out of his seat now frantically patted his skinny body all over with both hands. A look of real relief abruptly blossoming on that pillock’s face bafflingly occurred right after this. Until, things got even better.
“Keep it down, mate,” came in a sleepy mumble from the seat next to Harry. There, Ron Weasley was still using his folded arms as a pillow upon the top of the table where he’d lately been dozing. Even this young man’s famed ability to catch forty winks anywhere at any time had been slightly disrupted by whatever his best friend had his knickers in a twist about at the moment. Unfortunately, this sixth son of a large wizarding family was now about to have his day really
His unfocused gaze lowering to stare down at an oblivious Ron, Harry’s countenance rapidly contorted into supreme wrath. Again bellowing as loudly as possible to the awed class, the hope of the wizards and witches of Britain scandalously declared, “YOU BASTARD, I’M GOING TO KILL YOU FOR WHAT YOU DID TO HERMIONE!”
Right after that, before anyone could react to what he’d just said, Harry pounced. He grabbed Ron’s exposed neck in a steely grip with all ten fingers, yanked him entirely off the table bench by arm strength alone, and while holding up his friend’s body in the air, Harry started viciously shaking Ron back and forth. Within a few seconds, the unlucky young man in Harry’s clutches was nearly out cold, feebly thrashing his dangling limbs, all while his face turned the same tomato color as his hair. Ron’s unanticipated ordeal only ended because of an appalled witch screaming, “Harry, what are you doing?!
Maintaining his most savage glare at the back of Ron’s slumping head, Harry froze in shock. He gawked from the corner of his eyes at where Hermione had arisen from her own seat. Unthinkingly letting go of Ron, to then ignore how his near-insensible best mate collapsed onto the classroom floor with his chin bouncing off the stone tiles there while at last going down for the count, Harry spun around. The Boy-Who-Lived next instantly wrapped his arms around the stunned girl in a rib-crushing, jubilant hug.
Harry was still caught up in his half-asleep dream state as the final remnants faded away of this teenager’s worse-ever nightmare, with all of its absurd yet extremely realistic details which are the exact qualities of these types of terrifying mental images. So, even if it was totally idiotic of him to do this, Harry then incautiously said something unforgivable to Hermione.
Two minutes later, the Slytherins were one and all gleefully watching the dreadful consequences of Harry’s error. Which in turn lasted until Professor McGonagall spoiled their fun by casting a mass Obliviate charm upon the whole class. From where she was standing in the room’s doorway, the Deputy Headmistress tucked away her wand. She looked around at the glassy-eyed students who’d just forgotten everything they’d recently witnessed. McGonagall also dourly listened to Professor Binns even now imperturbably delivering his monotonous lecture, and the woman gave an immense, weary sigh over what’d just happened to one of her lions.
Soon afterwards, Professor McGonagall swept into the Headmaster’s office, declaring to its sole occupant the instant before stepping inside the castle tower, “Albus, I’ve had to deliver Harry again
to Poppy for a stay in the hospital wing to have his latest injuries treated!”
At his desk overflowing with Ministry paperwork, Albus Dumbledore glanced up in real surprise. He exclaimed, “What, already? That’s got to be a new record for him, getting hurt right at the start of his sixth year!”
Dropping his quill onto the scattered documents covering the desktop, the elderly wizard looked pensive for a moment before continuing, “Well, let’s look at the bet sheet to see who won. I’m not sure if anyone put down their name for it this early…”
Taking a chair in front of her superior’s desk, McGonagall sniffed, “Sybil did, just like always.”
Watching Albus pull open a top drawer and root around in there for several moments, a hint of acid crept into the severe woman’s strong Scots accent with her adding, “Honestly, how does she ever expect to collect if Harry and all the rest of us are dead because of a meteor hitting the castle during the start of the sorting feast?”
Absently answering, “I haven’t the slightest idea, Minerva. You’ll have to take it up with Sybil,” the Headmaster’s gaze through his reading glasses traveled down the sheet of paper he’d just pulled out from the drawer. Dumbledore eventually nodded with satisfaction.
Holding up the paper, this wizard beamed at his sour-faced assistant, telling her, “Ah, yes. It’s a tie between Professor Sprout and Madam Hooch as to the first month of term. We’ll need the specifics to pick the winner. Who or what did it to Harry this time, and how exactly is he damaged? Details please, Minerva.”
“It was Hermione Granger, Headmaster,” reluctantly revealed Professor McGonagall. She watched this man suddenly sit upright in his chair and stare at her in disbelief. Before he could protest at what he’d just heard, the transfiguration teacher went on in a very morose tone. “As for his condition, Harry has a broken nose and serious…bruising lower down.”
The Headmaster frowned at his companion refusing to meet his eye. Nevertheless, while tapping a wrinkled finger upon the bet sheet he’d laid down on his desktop, Albus reproved her, “Minerva, you’re quite familiar with the rules. It doesn’t count until Harry actually needs to visit Poppy. You could’ve healed him up yourself without any trouble, so why--”
With implacable determination, McGonagall succinctly interrupted, “No.”
Now glowering directly into Dumbledore’s astonished expression, this woman further asserted in her iciest voice, “This was clearly a case for Poppy to deal with herself. Even if it wasn’t, I bloody well am not
going to put my wand anywhere near at where an enraged Miss Granger had unreservedly jumped up and down with full force onto that young man’s groin!”
In the ensuing short silence throughout the Hogwarts office, Dumbledore discreetly crossed his legs in their robes under his desk.
Eventually clearing his throat, the Headmaster risked, “You obliviated them all, naturally.”
At Minerva’s stiff nod, the magical school’s elderly administrator sighed in irked acceptance. Half-musing to himself, Albus muttered, “Quite right. We must keep all three of the Golden Trio together in our conflict with Voldemort, no matter how much they behave like teenagers. By the way, exactly what brought it on this time? Were you able to get anything?” With those last words a keen look was sent to where the professor was shrugging in her chair.
“It’s completely gone from their recollections now, Albus. You know that,” an apologetic McGonagall informed him. At seeing his lined face droop in genuine disappointment, this woman obligingly pointed out to the Headmaster, “But I did manage to receive a few impressions after doing it. Luckily, it was one of the rare times for that spell’s caster to receive a memory backlash from everyone I obliviated. I warn you, though, they’re all jumbled together and frankly it doesn’t seem to make any kind of sense.”
“Let me be the judge of that, Minerva,” urged Albus, leaning forward in his chair, his intent gaze signifying his absolute concentration.
The witch obediently replied, “Oh, very well. From what the class remembers, Harry woke up screaming in the middle of Binns’ lecture, assaulted Mr. Weasley for no reason at all -- I took care of his
injuries, by the way -- and then hugged Miss Granger. In their embrace, Harry told her something very peculiar which made her instantly break free, hit him in the face as hard as she could with her textbook, and when he fell to the floor, she--”
“Yes, yes, Minerva,” Albus hastily broke in, “we’ve already gone over that. What exactly did Harry mention to Miss Granger?” This was austerely finished by the Headmaster despite the abrupt smirk now displayed by his female companion.
The evil little smile on McGonagall’s lips faded into evident puzzlement, as she bemusedly lifted her eyebrows. “For whatever it means, Harry was so glad her pet songbirds were the same size as before, because it proved Ron had absolutely nothing to do with the latest batch of bread rolls baking in the kitchen. Don’t look at me like that! I’m just repeating the best I can what he said!” Those last words indignantly burst from the witch at seeing how dubiously Dumbledore was regarding her.
Bringing up a calming hand, the Headmaster soothed his ruffled assistant, “I know, Minerva. From my own personal experiences over the last couple of years in having to wipe out Harry and the others’ memories all too often, it’s true the occasional carry-over from them can be most confusing. I still have no idea why that little house-elf with such a fixation on James and Lily’s son is viewed in Harry’s mind as a pet horse.”
Both Dumbledore and McGonagall shared an identical baffled look, until the older of the pair then briskly ordered, “We’ll have to discuss this further later on, Minerva. In the meantime, Poppy must’ve healed up Harry’s, er, wounds by now. Given how Binns has to still be talking, the rest of the class should be sound asleep again. A few quick spells by you, and Harry can be back in there with no one the wiser. All right, off you go.”
Glad to hear her leader was once more taking charge as was only right and proper, McGonagall arose from her chair. Giving the Headmaster a dignified nod of acceptance, she left the room. Looking after the departing woman until she was out of sight, Albus Dumbledore was soon lost in thought. He leaned back in his chair, brought his hands up to chest level to press their fingertips together, and stared upwards at the stone ceiling. A minute later, the low rumble of an elderly wizard talking to himself was heard in the office:
“And I thought Sybil was difficult to understand. But this won’t stop me, either. Let’s see now…small songbirds, bread rolls baking…how about tiny tits, bun in the oven? No, it doesn’t make any sense, not with Mr. Weasley in the mix. Hmmm…could this be a subtle reference to his enormous appetite? It’s a definite possibility, that. Keep it in mind, Albus. Harry, of course, is the most important part of the equation, so what were his reasons for acting in such a manner in the first place? That’ll be a good start…”
Author's Note: Yes, it's one of those "....and it was all a dream" fics. Hey, put down the torches and pitchforks! I gave you fair warning in the summary when I mentioned this story's cracktastic properties. After all, it's not like I threw in a long-lost twin sister, had the entire castle read the whole seven books, or did some of the other innumerable genres...